Event with H. G. Parry today – 22nd July

Catalogue link: Hannah Parry's A Radical Act of Free Magic

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we will be hosting an event with Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid, to celebrate the launch of her latest novel A Radical Act of Free Magic.

Facebook event for Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid

Where? Te Awe Library, 29 Brandon Street

When? Thursday 22nd July at 6pm

Event on Facebook

Hannah's website
Hannah Parry

The internationally acclaimed and hugely popular H. G. Parry is truly a star of the New Zealand speculative fiction scene. Her first novel, The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep, quickly gained her a devoted fan base with its Wellington setting and magical host of characters. She has since followed up with A declaration of the rights of magicians, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming A radical act of free magic — which advanced reviews have already described as “absolutely superb”.

Hannah holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University and currently lives in a book-infested flat on the Kapiti Coast, which she shares with her sister and an increasing menagerie of small animals. She lists her hobbies as: books, travelling, history, rabbits, tea, windy days, and Oxford commas (hooray!).

Casey Lucas-Quaid
Casey Lucas-Quaid

H.G. Parry will be in conversation with fellow science fiction and fantasy author, Casey Lucas-Quaid, winner of the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story (as well as ice hockey reporter, games writer and NaNoWriMo devotee).

It promises to be an entertaining, enlightening, enthralling, and unmissable event, so put it in your calendar and come along!

Browse Hannah’s books:

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A declaration of the rights of magicians / Parry, H. G.
“A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own. It is the Age of Enlightenment — of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas. But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A radical act of free magic : a novel / Parry, H. G.
“The Concord has been broken, and a war of magic engulfs the world. In France, the brilliant young battle-mage Napoleon Bonaparte has summoned a kraken from the depths, and under his command, the Army of the Dead have all but conquered Europe.  In Saint Domingue, Fina watches as Toussaint Louverture navigates these opposing forces to liberate the country.But there is another, even darker war being fought beneath the surface: the first vampire war in hundreds of years. The enemy blood magician who orchestrated Robespierre’s downfall  to bring about a return to dark magic to claim all of Europe. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find Casey’s work in…

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. V2
“Ancient myths go high-tech a decade after the New New Zealand Wars. Safe homes and harbours turn to strangeness within and without.Splintered selves come together again – or not. Twelve authors. Thirteen stories. The best short science fiction and fantasy from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. With works by: Juliet Marillier, Nic Low, Rem Wigmore, Andi C Buchanan, Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Nicole Tan, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Alisha Tyson, James Rowland, Zoë Meager, and Casey Lucas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May

Please, sir, I want some more

Charles Dickens from Oliver Twist

Below you’ll find some of our picks of the newly added fiction titles, including a timely modern-day reimagining by Keisha Bush of Charles Dickens’ Oliver TwistNo heaven for Good Boys, set in Senegal. Drawn from real life events, the novel, like its inspiration, explores the links between extreme poverty, cruelty and exploitation and the power of small, tender acts of kindness. It’s all very unsurprisingly Dickensian and sadly shows that whilst time moves on, in many ways human cruelty will always be there — a poignant and moving work.

Other highlights this month include The Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc‘s debut novel — The best things — about a family who lose everything financially only in turn to find themselves. The book is  loosely based on Mel’s own personal experiences. Also this month on our list is bestselling author Mike Gayle’s latest outing — All the lonely people — which looks set to be another very popular book from  the author of Turning forty.

Brother sister mother explorer : a novel / Figueroa, Jamie
“In the tourist town of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas, in the aftermath of their mother’s passing, two siblings spend a final weekend together in their childhood home. Seeing her brother, Rafa, careening toward a place of no return, Rufina devises a bet: if they can make enough money performing for privileged tourists in the plaza over the course of the weekend to afford a plane ticket out, Rafa must commit to living. If not, Rufina will make her peace with Rafa’s own plan for the future, however terrifying it may be. As the siblings reckon with generational and ancestral trauma, set against the indignities of present-day prejudice, other strange hauntings begin to stalk these pages: their mother’s ghost kicks her heels against the walls; Rufina’s vanished child creeps into her arms at night; and above all this, watching over the siblings, a genderless, flea-bitten angel remains hell-bent on saving what can be saved.” (Catalogue)

The best things / Giedroyc, Mel
“Sally Parker is struggling to find the hero inside herself. All she wants to do is lie down. Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings, in one fell swoop. Their bank cards are being declined. The children have gone feral. And now the bailiffs are at the door. What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out? Sally Parker is about to surprise everybody, most of all herself.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

All the lonely people / Gayle, Mike
“In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanishing half / Bennett, Brit
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No heaven for good boys : a novel / Bush, Keisha
“Six-year-old Ibrahimah loves snatching pastries from his mother’s kitchen, harvesting string beans with his father, and searching for sea glass with his sisters. But when he is approached in his rural village one day by Marabout Ahmed, a seemingly kind stranger and highly regarded teacher, the tides of his life turn forever. Ibrahimah is sent to the capital city of Dakar to join his cousin Tienne in studying the Koran under Marabout Ahmed for a year, but instead of the days of learning that Ibrahimah’s parents imagine, the young boys, called Talib, are forced to beg in the streets in order to line their teacher’s pockets. To make it back home, Tienne and Ibrahimah must help each other survive both the dangers posed by their Marabout, and the darker sides of Dakar: threats of black-market organ traders, rival packs of Talib, and mounting student protest on the streets. Drawn from real incidents and transporting readers between rural and urban Senegal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading “Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May”

New science fiction and fantasy titles

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

This month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase features five-time Nebula award-winner Greg Bear‘s latest epic historical fantasy novel, The unfinished land, which evokes the seafaring spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work. Also included this month is The burning god — the fantastic finale to R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed Poppy war trilogy, partly inspired by 20th century Chinese history. On a much stranger and weirder note, Nino Cipri’s Finna sees carnivorous furniture running amok and elderly customers slipping through portals in a box furniture store to find themselves ending up in other dimensions. And if Finna is your cup of tea, you should also try Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör. Have a browse of these and other exciting new titles below!

The unfinished land / Bear, Greg
“Reynard, a young apprentice, seeks release from drudgery in the English village of Southwold. His rare days off lead him to strange encounters — not just with press gangs hoping to fill English ships to fight the coming Spanish Armada, but strangers who seem to know him — one of whom casts a white shadow. And after a fierce battle at sea, Reynard finds himself the sole survivor. For days he drifts, until he is rescued by a galleon, also lost– both are propelled by a strange current to the unknown northern island of Thule. Here Reynard must meet his destiny in a violent clash between humans and gods.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The burning god / Kuang, R. F.
“After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much – the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges – and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Finna / Cipri, Nino
“When an elderly customer at a Swedish big box furniture store — but not that one — slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago. To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix (ebook)
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The mask of mirrors / Carrick, M. A.
“Renata Virdaux is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.But as she’s drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, she realises her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupted magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bone maker : a novel / Durst, Sarah Beth
“Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor — a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband.  Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors — one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remote control / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa—-a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The swimmers / Womack, Marian
“After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Upright women wanted / Gailey, Sarah
“Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her — a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Monsters in the Garden Event…. Now exclusively online

Back at the tail end of 2020 we had the very special privilege of hosting an event to celebrate the recent publication of Monsters in the Garden: An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy.

In attendance were four of the most accomplished writers in New Zealand who all contributed works to the anthology: Elizabeth Knox, Tina Makereti, Dylan Horrocks and Craig Gamble.

The ensuing discussions were entertaining, informative, lively and a real insight into the inner workings of these fabulous authors as well as the current status of speculative fiction in Aotearoa.

If you missed the live event or want to re-experience this fascinating conversation you can watch below.

And keep your eyes peeled on our various social media channels for future events coming in 2021. Enjoy!



Monsters in the Garden : An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy / Knox, Elizabeth
“Casting its net widely, this anthology of Aotearoa-New Zealand science fiction and fantasy ranges from the satirical novels of the 19th-century utopians – one of which includes the first description of atmospheric aerobreaking in world literature – to the bleeding edge of now. Spaceships and worried sheep. Dragons and AI. The shopping mall that swallowed the Earth. The deviant, the fishy and the rum, all bioengineered for your reading pleasure. Featuring stories by some of the country’s best known writers as well as work from exciting new talent, Monsters in the Garden invites you for a walk on the wild side. We promise you’ll get back safely. Unchanged? Well, that’s another question.” (Publisher’s description)

Dreamhunter / Knox, Elizabeth
“Set in 1906, Dreamhunter describes a world very similar to ours, except for a special place, known simply as the Place, where only a select group of people can go. these people are called Dreamhunters and they harvest dreams which are then transmitted to the general public for the purposes of entertainment, therapy – or terror and political coercion. Fifteen-year-old cousins Laura Hame and Rose Tiebold both come from famous dreamhunting families, but only Laura proves to be blessed with the gift and once inside the Place she finds out what happened to her missing dreamhunter father .” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina
‘The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ So begins the tale of James Poneke – orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space–with two female companions. Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Being the first lady? New general fiction

Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward…In this world and the world of tomorrow, we must go forward together or not at all.”  – Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

What if Hillary Diane Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton? Well this big “what if” is at the heart of Rodham a brilliant alternative political history by author Curtis Sittenfeld whose previous novels include American wife: a novel an alternative reality version of the life of another First Lady Laura Bush.

Rodham is just one of the intriguing and enthralling books in this month’s new books list; others include Antkind the fiction Debut of Charlie Kaufman screen writer of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And two titles from South Korea Almond and Disaster tourist. Finally, we have Sex and vanity the latest romantic comedy novel from bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan.

A mixture of new releases that really does have something for everyone. Enjoy!

Rodham : a novel / Sittenfeld, Curtis
“‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader- and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No. How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Antkind : a novel / Kaufman, Charlie
” B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider – a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete. Convinced that the film will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core, that it might possibly be the greatest movie ever made, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: the film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.”  (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Almond : a novel / Son, Wŏn-p’yŏng
“Yunjae was born with a brain condition  that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends–t–but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Then on Christmas Eve–Yunjae’s sixteenth birthday a shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school, and they develop a surprising bond. As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people–including a girl at school–something slowly changes inside him. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The disaster tourist : a novel / Yun, Ko-ŭn
“Jungle is a cutting-edge travel agency specializing in tourism to destinations devastated by disaster and climate change. And until she found herself at the mercy of a predatory colleague, Yona was one of their top representatives. Now on the verge of losing her job, she’s given a proposition: take a paid “vacation” to the desert island of Mui and pose as a tourist to assess the company’s least profitable holiday. When she uncovers a plan to fabricate an extravagant catastrophe, she must choose: prioritize the callous company to whom she’s dedicated her life, or embrace a fresh start in a powerful new position? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sex and vanity / Kwan, Kevin
” On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa.  But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiance, she finds herself drawn to him again. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bitter chocolate / Lokko, Lesley Naa Norle
“Three girls in search of a missing piece of their lives; three girls who will change their world to find it. In a story that begins in the relentless heat of a Haitian summer and sweeps through the luxurious homes of America’s elite, from elegant dinner parties in North London, to the colourful chaos of the East End, Bitter Chocolate is a tale of the quest for love, marriage and finding a place to belong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Small pleasures / Chambers, Clare
“1957, south-east suburbs of London Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of forty – living a limited existence with her truculent mother.When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more she investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: But they are the subject of the story Jean is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Double agent / Bradby, Tom
“Kidnapped in Venice by a Russian defector, Kate knows she’s in trouble. But all is not as it seems. The spy offers her conclusive evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow. Kate’s holiday quickly becomes the start of her next mission.With proof of the PM involved in a sordid scandal and a financial paper trail that undeniably links him to the Russians, the evidence seems bulletproof. But the motives of the defector are anything but clear. And, more worryingly, it seems that there are key people at the heart of the British Establishment who refuse to acknowledge the reality in front of them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mistry Law and More: New Mystery Fiction

This month’s new mystery titles include the latest novel from author Sujata Massey, best known for her Agatha Award-winning Rei Shimura series. Massey’s most recent work is A Murder at Malabar Hill, described by The Spinoff as “a sumptuous crime story starring a rule-breaking badass in a sari”.

We’ve also got great new work from Berlin and London-based writer Jessica Moor. Moor’s debut novel The Keeper centres on a women’s refuge, and is based on Moor’s own experiences. For more on her time writing The Keeper, have a read of this interview at Crimespree Magazine.

A murder at Malabar Hill / Massey, Sujata
“1920s Bombay: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Temple House vanishing / Donohue, Rachel
“In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school, the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere, two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, who encourages their flirtation. Then, he and Louisa vanish. Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The guest list / Foley, Lucy
“On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The keeper / Moor, Jessica
“When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: this was murder. Still, Detective Dan Whitworth expects an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The recovery of Rose Gold / Wrobel, Stephanie
“For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold. Turns out her mom, Patty, was just a really good liar. After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We begin at the end / Whitaker, Chris
“30 years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed. Duchess Radley, Star’s 13-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lizard / Bruce-Lockhart, Dugald
“Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday, to try and rekindle their relationship. On the ferry from Athens he is offered a lucrative job, recruiting tourists to pose for and, he later discovers, to sleep with, Heinrich a wealthy and charismatic, German artist. Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until, a body is found and the finger of blame points to Haston.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little disasters / Vaughan, Sarah
When Jess arrives at hospital with a story that doesn’t add up, Liz is the doctor on call. Jess has devoted her life to family and home. But she is holding so many secrets. As the truth begins to emerge, Liz is forced to question everything she thought she knew: about Jess, and about herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clutter corpse / Brett, Simon
“Ellen Curtis runs her own business as a declutterer, helping people who are running out of space. When Ellen stumbles across the body of a woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner’s son, who has recently absconded from prison. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things – but is he really the killer?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The City We Became: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

What do you do when your past three books have all won the Hugo Award for Best Novel? In N.K. Jemisin’s case, you write The City We Became–a speculative fiction love letter to New York. Jemisin’s ninth novel has been described as “a celebration and an expression of hope and belief that a city and its people can and will stand up to darkness, will stand up to fear, and will, when called to, stand up for each other.” Perfect reading right now! (For more, check out this review in Vox.)

The city we became / Jemisin, N. K
“Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ghost species / Bradley, James
“When scientist Kate Larkin joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children, a girl called Eve, is born, Kate cannot bear the thought her growing up in a laboratory, and so elects to abduct her, and raise her alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds, and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind, and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Across the void / Vaughn, S. K.
“It’s Christmas Day, 2067. Silent Night drifts across the ruins of a wrecked spaceship, listing helplessly in the black. A sole woman, May, stirs within–the last person left alive. There is only one person who can help her–her ex-husband Stephen, a NASA scientist. As May fights for life, Stephen finds his own life is under threat, putting both of them at risk. In this gasp-inducing thriller, their relationship is the difference between life and death.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ice house / Clare, Tim
“War doesn’t end. It sleeps. Delphine Venner is an old woman now. She is old, but she remembers everything. She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and she remembers what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost. And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Sisters Grimm / Praag, Menna van
“This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire. They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again. In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Firewalkers / Tchaikovsky, Adrian
“The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And thanks to their investment, the sun can provide power. But someone has to repair the solar panels when they fail, down in the deserts below. Kids like Mao, and Lupe, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.” (Catalogue)

Seaward Stories: New Fiction

The ocean looms large in this month’s new general fiction selection. Lemuel Gulliver seemingly lost at sea in Gulliver’s Wife; Captain Cook’s Endevour wrecked on a coral reef in On a Barbarous Coast; wisdom from octopuses in The Octopus and I; a deadly sea crossing in We are Made of Earth.

Also this month: the French literary sensation All About Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard and Love by Roddy Doyle. Love has been compared to James Joyce’s Dubliners, and has received great reviews from the New York Times, Boston Globe and more. Enjoy!

Gulliver’s Wife / Chater, Lauren
“London, 1702. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down. In a climate of suspicion, Mary is caught in a crossfire of superstition and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims of the wonders he has seen, and it is up to her to navigate a passage to safety for herself, her daughter and the vulnerable women in her care.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On a Barbarous Coast / Cormick, Craig and Ludwick, Harold
“On a night of raging winds and rain, Captain Cook’s Endeavour lies splintered on a coral reef off the coast of far north Australia. A disparate band of survivors huddle on the shore. Watching these mysterious white beings, the Guugu Yimidhirr people cannot decide if they are ancestor spirits to be welcomed–or hostile spirits to be speared. One headstrong young boy, Garrgiil, determines to find out what exactly they are. On a Barbarous Coast is the story of a past and future that might have been.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All About Sarah / Delabroy-Allard, Pauline
“A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado–a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt. Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women’s lives. Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Love / Doyle, Roddy
“One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rest and be thankful / Glass, Emma
“Laura is a nurse in a pediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely fragile bodies, calibrating the machines that keep them alive. Laura may be burnt out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her any more. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Eighth Life (for Brilka) / Haratischwili, Nino
“On the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the center of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Octopus and I / Hortle, Erin
“Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula, where Lucy is recovering from surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy’s body and her sense of self in ways even she can’t quite understand. The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel that explores the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little Gods: a Novel / Jin, Meng
“Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother Su Lan’s ashes to China. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Liya’s mother before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are Made of Earth / Karnezis, Panos
“When an overcrowded dinghy capsizes at sea, a doctor is among those refugees thrown overboard. The doctor and a boy he has saved eventually reach a tiny Greek island where they are offered shelter by the owner of a travelling circus. Debt-ridden, the circus owner knows that his most valuable asset is an Asian elephant, lovingly tended by the owner’s wife even as she mourns their 10-year old daughter. The doctor is drawn to his host’s wife, all the while keeping his young companion at arm’s length.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day Two

It’s day two of quarantine and you’ve already eaten all the Toffee Pops. And the Squiggles. And the Chocades. (Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.) And besides, you’ve still got StayAtHomeFest 2020 to help you get through!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a mug of lapsang souchong, dig out that old packet of Chit Chats from the back of the cupboard and settle in for Day Two of this socially-distanced digital event!

(Day One of StayAtHomeFest 2020 can be found here.)


TOMMY ORANGE

The pressure has been on Tommy Orange since the success of There There in 2018. Luckily for readers, he’s not only running 10 kilometres a day, he’s also in the process of finishing the sequel to his debut novel! While you’re waiting, check out this great profile he recently wrote in Esquire.

Overdrive coverThere There, by Tommy Orange
“Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and hoping to reconnect with her estranged family. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death, while Edwin is looking for his true father and Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are here for the celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powow with darker intentions.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Lynda.com: Did you know that as well as writing, Tommy Orange also composes music?! Develop your own music composition skills (and more) with Lynda.com.

ProQuest Research Library: Learn more about the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation featured in There There via our in-depth research database.


SELINA TUSITALA MARSH

“What if I forget my lines, trip up the holy steps, or accidentally step back onto the sacred Cosmati Pavement, causing the Abbey ministers to cry out (like I did during rehearsal)?” It’s not easy to perform in Westminster Abbey, but for poet, academic and former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, it’s just part of life!

(And if you haven’t seen it already, check out Mophead, Tusitala Marsh’s recently-released graphic memoir–featured below.)

Overdrive cover Fast Talking PI, by Selina Tusitala Marsh
Fast Talking PI is the first ‘singular, confident and musical’ collection of poetry by Auckland writer Selina Tusitala Marsh. ‘Tusitala’ means writer of tales in Samoan, and Marsh here lives up to her name with stories of her life, her family, community, ancestry, and history. Her poetry is sensuous and strong, using lush imagery, clear rhythms and repetitions to power it forward. The list poem is a favourite style, but she also writes with a Pacific lyricism entirely her own.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

MasterFILE Complete: Read more about Selina Tusitala Marsh’s work via this collection of full-text magazines, journals and reference books.

DigitalNZ: DigitalNZ has millions of local texts, videos and audio recordings–including fantastic performances from Tusitala Marsh. Check them out via the link.

Story Box Library: “All 11-year-olds should have the opportunity to see and hear poetry in a way that explodes their world.” Discover more poetry and stories for kids via Story Box Library!


KILEY REID

You know you’ve written something interesting when your book causes shoving matches between strangers, but that’s exactly the impact Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age has been having since its release. It’s been called “a bold, urgent, essential exploration of race, class, labor, friendship, identity and self-delusion, both deliciously readable and incredibly complex.” Check it out before the movie arrives!

Overdrive coverSuch a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer, Alix, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, each other, and privilege.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy: As well as working on her second novel, Reid is also writing the screenplay for Such a Fun Age. Discover more book-to-movie adaptions via Kanopy, our free film streaming service.

BWB Books: Kiley Reid describes her writing as addressing “class, money, and race”. For more works looking at these topics, check out the BWB Books database.


ILIANA REGAN

Did you know that Iliana Regan’s culinary memoir Burn the Place was the first food title to be longlisted for a National Book Award since Julia Child’s nomination in 1980? But then, not every work about food explores such a powerful range of topics (while still having time to take readers foraging for mushrooms in the fairy-tale forests of childhood!).


Overdrive coverBurn the Place, by Iliana Regan
Burn the Place is a galvanizing culinary memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan’s journey from foraging on the family farm to opening her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth. Her story is alive with startling imagery, raw like that first bite of wild onion, and told with uncommon emotional power. It’s a sure bet to be one of the most important new memoirs of 2019.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Gale Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Burn the Place has been described as a book that combines stories about gender and sexuality with food and cooking. Discover more stories of gender and sexuality via our fantastic new database.

Lynda.com: Did you know that Lynda.com has resources specifically for restaurant owners–as well as for a range of other businesses?!

Gale Health and Wellness Resource Center: Burn the Place has also been described by the New Yorker as a “memoir of addiction”. Investigate more addiction-focussed resources via one of our key health databases.


FRANCISCO CANTÚ

Between 2008 and 2012, Francisco Cantú worked as a US border patrol agent on the US-Mexico border. His book The Line Becomes a River exposes the violence of past immigration policies towards both migrants and refugees, as well as his own psychological well-being. “This is work that endangers the soul…”

Overdrive coverThe Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú
“In this extraordinary account, Francisco Cantú describes his work in the desert along the Mexican border. He tracks humans through blistering days and frigid nights. He detains the exhausted and hauls in the dead. The line he is sworn to defend, however, begins to dissolve. Haunted by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life – but he soon faces a final confrontation with the world he believed he had escaped.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Mango Languages: As well as writing and teaching, Francisco Cantú is also a translator. Begin your own language exploration with our free language-learning database.

RBdigital: Francisco Cantú’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays and magazines including Harper’s. Download the latest copy of Harper’s via our free eMagazine resource.

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day One

It can be tough being stuck at home. You need plenty of food, you need exercise, you need social support (and, it seems, you need a large stockpile of toilet paper). But there’s something else you need, too–the arts! Presenting: StayAtHomeFest 2020!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a coffee, move the cat from the best spot on the couch and settle back for Day One of this socially-distanced digital event!


ISABEL ALLENDE

What better way to start than with the legendary Isabel Allende? The Chilean-American author has written 24 books, sold more than 74 million copies of her work and won over 60 awards. Her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, has been described as “a masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging”–perfect for times like these.

Overdrive cover A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over four generations.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy Films: As well as writing for the page, Allende has authored numerous screenplays, and had several novels adapted for the screen. Discover more via one of our free film streaming services!

Mango Languages: Want to read Allende’s work in the original Spanish? Check out Mango Languages, our free database for learning languages on the go.

Gale World History In Context: Did you know Isabel Allende’s stepfather was one of the first people to meet the SS Winnipeg when it reached Chilean waters? Learn more at one of our premiere historical databases.


MAX PORTER

Next up is UK writer Max Porter. Porter is primarily known for his debut novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers, winning him the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award and a shortlisting for the Guardian First Book Award–but did you know he also edited Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries? His most recent work, Lanny, has been described as “a joyously stirred cauldron of words.”

Overdrive cover Lanny, by Max Porter
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here, such as the boy Lanny, and his mum and dad. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Beamafilm: Did you know Lanny is being made into a film starring Rachel Weisz? Discover more book adaptations with the second of our two film streaming services, Beamafilm.

Oxford Art Online: Explore Oxford Art Online’s images, drawings and maps and you’ll be drawing like Lanny and Mad Pete in no time!

Gale Literature Center: Porter’s use of language has been compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses. Discover more about the connection via our comprehensive online literary site.


SUKETU MEHTA

Pulitzer finalist Suketu Mehta burst into Best-of lists last year with his groundbreaking This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, a book laying out a powerful argument for mass migration as a form of global justice. The work has been called “among the most comprehensive, clearest, lucid and persuasive arguments in favour of immigrant rights yet written.”

Overdrive cover This Land Is Our Land, by Suketu Mehta
“Drawing on his family’s own experience, and years of reporting around the world, Suketu Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. The West, he argues, is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. He juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of labourers, nannies and others, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before.”
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

New York Times: Suketu Mehta lives in Manhattan, and luckily we’ve got access to his hometown newspaper and its archives! Explore the New York Times via the link.

RBdigital: Mehta’s work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and Harper’s. Check out the latest copies via RBdigital, our free eMagazine resource.


VINCENT O’MALLEY

Over the last four years, Vincent O’Malley has helped to fundamentally change how many people view the New Zealand Wars, arguing that the Waikato War should be seen as the defining conflict in New Zealand history. Both The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa have been bestsellers across the country.

Overdrive cover The Treaty of Waitangi Companion, by Vincent O’Malley
“Since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 it has become the defining document in New Zealand history. From the New Zealand Wars to the 1975 Land March, from the Kingitanga to the Waitangi Tribunal, from Captain Cook to Hone Harawira, The Treaty of Waitangi Companion tells the story of the Treaty and Māori and Pākehā relations through the many voices of those who made this country’s history.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

BWB Books: Go deeper into Aotearoa’s history with free access to some of Bridget Williams Books’ most popular titles, including O’Malley’s fantastic The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa.

Raraunga Kōrero–Māori Databases: Browse an index of clippings collected by T.F. Grey, as well as an index to articles from the Dominion and Evening Post dating back to 1930. Rohe/iwi mentioned include Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Mataatua.

Wellington City Recollect: The team at Wellington City Libraries have been digitising historic photos, pamphlets and postcards from the Wellington region–look through them right here!


OLGA TOKARCZUK

Before the US publication of Flights in 2017, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was described as “probably one of the greatest living writers you have never heard of.” Two years and one Nobel Prize later, Tokarczuk has become a powerful literary figure beyond her country of origin, with English language readers waiting eagerly for the translation of The Books of Jacob, due in 2021.

Overdrive cover Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her dogs. When members of a hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals; she’s unconventional, and is fond of the poetry of William Blake…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Pressreader: Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize win was covered extensively by some of Poland’s media–but not by the newspapers of the country’s nationalist right. Compare the difference via Pressreader, our free full-page newspaper database.

Gale in Context: Environmental Studies: Looking for the most up-to-date environmental info after reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead? Check out Gale in Context: Environmental Studies, including full-text articles from New Zealand and around the world.

Gale LitFinder: Suddenly hooked on William Blake? Read his complete works via Litfinder!

Body Tourists: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

‘We only do one per day,’ says Dr Butler, ‘so we can monitor everything very carefully.’ That made me feel better about it, which–looking back–was bloody stupid. — Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

It’s hard to know where to start with this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles: there’s work from big hitters including William Gibson and Terry Goodkind, the debut novel of The Who’s Pete Townshend and Highfire by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame.

But the novel that’s really caught our attention is Jane Rogers’ Body Tourists, the story of a clinic in London that specialises in bringing the dead back to life for two weeks. The catch? The process requires a robust conduit body, sourced from poor teenagers from the local Estate. Check out the Readings review here!

Body tourists / Rogers, Jane
“In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds – procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days. It’s an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles. But at what cost?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agency / Gibson, William
“Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. Eunice, the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Highfire / Colfer, Eoin
Squib Moreau’s intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way–like when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him. An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way out. But Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou–and neither of them have taken into account the dragon…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanished birds / Jimenez, Simon
“Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Heart of black ice / Goodkind, Terry
“As emissaries to the Old World, Nicci and her companions have travelled far into uncharted territories. Now in the wake of a brutal war unleashed around the city of Ildakar, they must face a terrible new threat posed by an old foe. The Norukai, barbarian raiders and slavers, have been gathering an immense fleet among the inhospitably rocky islands that make up their home. With numbers greater than anyone could have imagined, the Norukai are poised to launch their final and most deadly war.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of anxiety / Townshend, Pete
“A former rock star disappears on the Cumberland moors. An art dealer has drug-induced visions of demonic faces swirling in a bedstead. A beautiful Irish girl who has stabbed her father to death is determined to seduce her best friend’s husband. A young composer begins to experience aural hallucinations, expressions of the fear and anxiety of the people of London. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zed : a novel / Kavenna, Joanna
“Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle’s supposedly omniscient ‘lifechain’ don’t work, or, they’ve been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle’s technotopia and life as we know it. Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The poison song / Williams, Jen
Ebora was once a glorious city, celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long. The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Legacy of ash / Ward, Mat
“A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic. Ruling families – once protectors of justice and democracy – now plot against one another. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise. Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. And Calenne, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy. As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their homeland.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menace from farside / McDonald, Ian
“Remember: Lady Luna knows a thousand ways to kill you, but family is what you know. Family is what works. Cariad Corcoran has a new sister who is everything she is not: tall, beautiful, confident. They’re unlikely allies and even unlikelier sisters, but they’re determined to find the moon’s first footprint, even if the lunar frontier is doing its best to kill them before they get there.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Poet’s Ship: New General Fiction

With family like mine, you don’t need to invent anything. — Isabel Allende

This month’s new fiction includes Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea, the story of the ship chartered by poet Pablo Neruda to save Spanish Republicans from Franco’s retribution after the Spanish Civil War. As Allende reveals in her interview with Time, one of the people who welcomed the ship to Chile was none other than her stepfather Ramón Huidobro.

Also new this month are two exciting works of New Zealand fiction: Paul Cleave’s Whatever it Takes and A.C. Buchanan’s From a Shallow Grave. From a Shallow Grave tells the story/ies of Phyllis Symons, whose body was found at the construction site of the Mount Victoria Tunnel in 1931. Listen to a reading from it here!

A long petal of the sea / Allende, Isabel
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From a shadow grave / Buchanan, A. C.
“Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site. Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Whatever it takes / Cleave, Paul
“When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her–but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honor the promise he made to her all those years earlier–that he would never let anything bad happen to her again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Strangers and cousins / Cohen, Leah Hager
“In the idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their daughter Clem. A ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance / Hurston, Zora Neale
“In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston–the sole black student at the college–was living in New York, desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world. During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forest of enchantments / Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twenty One Truths About Love / Green, Matthew
“1. Dan wants to do something special. 2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband. Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with his hilarious sense of humour, unique world-view and thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haven’t they grown / Hannah, Sophie
“All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches as Flora and her children step out of the car. Except there’s something terribly wrong. It’s the children. Twelve years ago they were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They haven’t changed at all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Say say say / Savage, Lila
“Ella is not yet living the life she imagined. Her artistic ambitions have given way to an unintended career as a care worker. One spring, Bryn hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished. As Ella is drawn into the couple’s household, she is profoundly moved by the tenderness Bryn shows toward the wife he still fiercely loves. Ella is startled by the yearning this awakens in her, one that causes her to look at relationships of all kinds in new ways…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hungry and the fat / Vermes, Timur
“Europe’s borders are closed. Beyond the Sahara, huge camps have been built for millions of people who have no choice but to wait. They have been waiting so long that they could have walked to Europe by now… if it didn’t spell certain death. When German model and TV star Nadeche Hackenbusch visits the largest of the camps with a camera crew, young refugee Lionel recognizes a unique opportunity: use the media attention to organize 150,000 refugees to set off on a march to Europe…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sisters of the Vast Black: New Sci-Fi & Fantasy

There are some big names among this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles, including Nora Roberts with the third book in her Chronicles of the One series and Jeff VanderMeer with Dead Astronauts. However the book we’re probably most excited about is by debut author Lina Rather: it’s the fantastic Sisters of the Vast Black.

Sisters of the Vast Black tells the story of a group of space-travelling nuns who must answer a mysterious distress call from a recently-established colony. However this isn’t your usual space opera: Rather’s work investigates everything from theology and faith to governance and bio-engineering–and more!

For more sci-fi and fantasy suggestions, check out Novelist Plus in our eLibrary!

Sisters of the vast black / Rather, Lina
“Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rise of magicks / Roberts, Nora
“After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness–if, indeed, they can be saved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

CTRL + S / Briggs, Andy
“Life in the near future’s not all bad. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire. But almost anything isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested–and lives traded–to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted. Now Theo’s mother has disappeared . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The true bastards / French, Jonathan
“French debuted in a big way last year with The Grey Bastards. Here, Fetching now leads her own band of half-orcs, the True Bastards, and she faces famine and desertion from within and contempt from other half-orc leaders from without. Then real problems come from beyond the grave. The sequel to The Grey Bastards, this irresistibly swashbuckling, swaggering, foul-mouthed fantasy is rollicking, cunningly clever swords ‘n’ sorcery storytelling that’s a shot of pure fun for fantasy fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warrior moon / Rivera, K Arsenault
“Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasion–these bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles. As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generations–Shefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beast’s heart / Shallcross, Leife
“I am neither monster nor man – yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Best of Intentions: New Fiction

As a reader, I love when something hooks me in. And I like an inciting event that joins characters that won’t go away. — Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age

February sees a great selection of new fiction: our favourites include Royals by Emma Forrest, Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age. Such a Fun Age has been called a “thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners” and is well worth checking out.

And if it’s spies you prefer, never fear–Robert J. Harris is here to resurrect Richard Hannay in The Thirty One Kings. So head to your nearest branch (or visit the eLibrary) and grab your copy!

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Olive, again / Strout, Elizabeth
New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is a compelling life force. The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The secret of Cold Hill / James, Peter
“Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. But it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Show them a good time / Flattery, Nicole
“A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York. Angela makes her way through a series of meaningless dates in a basement restaurant. Two university students collaborate on a play – but the unemployment offices lurks around the corner. Show Them a Good Time is a collection that subverts types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. Exuberant and irreverent, accomplished and unexpected, it marks the arrival of a thrilling new voice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Royals / Forrest, Emma
“July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay, maybe – he hasn’t decided yet. When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dora : a headcase / Yuknavitch, Lidia
“Ida has a secret: she is in love with her best friend. But any time she gets close to intimacy, Ida faints or loses her voice. She needs a shrink. Or so her philandering father thinks. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, Siggy, Ida – and alter-ego Dora – hatch a plan to secretly film him. But when the film goes viral, Ida finds herself targeted by unethical hackers. Dora: A Headcase is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud’s famous case study, retold and revamped through Dora’s point-of-view.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Catholic school / Albinati, Edoardo
“In 1975, three young well-off men, former students at Rome’s prestigious all-boys Catholic high school San Leone Magno, brutally torture, rape, and murder two young women. The event shocks and captivates all of Italy, exposing the violence and dark underbelly of the upper middle class at a moment when the traditional structures of family and religion are under threat. Albinati’s novel reflects on the legacy of abuse, the Italian bourgeoisie, and the relationship between sex, violence, and masculinity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All this could be yours / Attenberg, Jami
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex–a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister–feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is. She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life.” (Adapted from Catalogue.)

The thirty-one kings / Harris, Robert J.
“June 1940. As German troops pour across France, the veteran soldier and adventurer Richard Hannay is called back into service. In Paris an individual code named ‘Roland’ has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only he knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, one upon which the future of Europe depends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sci-Fi Lord of the Flies: New Science Fiction

Salvation Lost / Peter E. Hamilton

Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy was one of the most expansive science fiction series in recent years, and this month Liu returns with a brand new epic: The Supernova Era. Liu began writing Supernova Era soon after the political uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 (the book was published in China in 2004 and for the first time in English this year), and perhaps not coincidentally (social upheaval, disillusionment) it tells the story of an Earth that has been stripped of its adult population, leaving only children to try and navigate the future.

This month also sees some great Australian sci-fi, including The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman and the finale of Jay Kristoff ‘s Nevernight Chronicles. For more on Coleman’s work, check out this recent interview. Enjoy!

Supernova era / Liu, Cixin
“Eight years ago, a star died. Tonight, a supernova tsunami of high energy will finally reach Earth. Dark skies will shine bright and within a year everyone over the age of thirteen will be dead. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge they’ll need to keep the world running. But the last generation may not want to carry the legacy of their parents’ world. And though they imagine a better future, they may not be able to escape humanity’s dark instincts.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Salvation lost / Hamilton, Peter F
“The comparative utopia of twenty-third century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of god as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Darkdawn / Kristoff, Jay
“The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A second chance / Taylor, Jodi
“Behind the facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”–these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics; a more accurate description might be unintentional disaster-magnets. The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s and thwarting time-travelling terrorists.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The old lie / Coleman, Claire G
“Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken. When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?” (Catalogue)

Ten Thousand Doors: New General Fiction

As I continue to write in French, and my books often speak about Madagascar, it has become natural for me to translate. That’s why I consider myself as a bridge between Madagascar and elsewhere — Johary Ravaloson

Madagascar has a long literary history, but until the release of Beyond the Rice Fields in 2017, not a single novel from Madagascar had been translated into English. But things are slowly starting to change, with the recent translation and publication of Johary Ravaloson’s Return to the Enchanted Island, a retelling of the myths the author heard as a child–especially the story of the first man, Ietsy. (For more on Johary Ravaloson, check out this interview.)

Also recently released: Agent Running in the Field by the masterful John Le Carré, The Boyfriend from Wellington’s very own Laura Southgate and The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow–described as “a journey through books within books, worlds within worlds, mysteries within mysteries”. Enjoy!

Inland / Obreht, Téa
“Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life – her husband who has gone in search of water and her elder sons who have vanished after an argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home, and her husband’s seventeen-year-old cousin, who communes with spirits. Inland showcases Tea Obreht’s talents as a writer as she re-imagines the myths of the American West.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agent running in the field / Le Carré, John
“Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The boyfriend / Southgate, Laura
“Erica is 17 and in her last year of high school. Donny is 42 and everywhere – in her yoga class, at German Club, in her parents’ spare room . . . The story of a young woman who finds herself subject to the gravitational field of a charismatic man, The Boyfriend is a cautionary tale about blindly accepting traditional ‘love’ narratives. This clear-eyed, dismaying and often hilarious examination of sexual desire, trauma and growth is a remarkable debut and a perfect novel for our time.” (Catalogue)

Return to the enchanted island / Ravaloson, Johary
“Named after the first man at the creation of the world in Malagasy mythology, Ietsy Razak was raised to perpetuate the glory of his namesake and expected to be as illuminated as his Great Ancestor. But in the chaos of modernity, his young life is marked only by restlessness. When an unexpected tragedy ships him off to a boarding school in France, his trip to the big city is no hero’s journey. Only a return to the “Enchanted Island,” as Madagascar is lovingly known, helps Ietsy stumble toward his destiny.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find me / Aciman, André
“In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever. Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Irish princess / Chadwick, Elizabeth
“Ireland, 1152. The King of Lenister, awaiting news of his newborn child, is disappointed to hear he has a daughter. Diarmait MacMurchada wanted another strapping son to shoulder a spear, wield a sword, and protect his kingdom. But the moment Diarmait holds tiny Aoife in his arms, he realised she would be his most precious treasure. Forced into exile, Aoife and her family find themselves at the mercy of Henry II. Aoife – aware of her beauty but not its power – intrigues and beguiles Henry in equal measure…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The butterfly girl / Denfeld, Rene
“Naomi Cottle is an investigator who finds missing children. But the one child she has never been able to find is her sister. Now, twenty years later, there is at long last a clue that her sister might still be alive. Celia is a street child. Her life is tough and she has seen more things that any child should. Street children have been going missing and the town has been turning a blind eye. It is only when Naomi turns up that they find someone who will listen to them. And someone who might give them hope.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A modern family / Flatland, Helga
“When Liv, Ellen, and H kon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Albert Einstein speaking / Gadney, Reg
“From a wrong number to a friendship that would impact both their lives, this begins with two unlikely friends – the world’s most respected scientist and a schoolgirl from New Jersey. From their first conversation Mimi Beaufort had a profound effect on Einstein and brought him, in his final years, back to life. In turn he let her into his world. This riotous, charming and moving novel spans almost a century of European history and shines a light on the real man behind the myth.” (Catalogue)

The ten thousand doors of January / Harrow, Alix E
“In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Science fiction and fantasy: Epic conclusions and curious creations

New tales in science fiction and fantasy and delving into the vaults.  Wheel of time fans have a pre Wheel of time Robert Jordan, a.k.a. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. title to revel in. Becky Chamber’s new novella explores the potential for space exploration, boundaries expand as humans are adapted to their new environments before they arrive, but what is the fate of the homeworld they leave behind?

The confines of linear time and lifespan are challenged in Joe Abercrombie’s A little hatred and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the ninth. The Lightbringer series concludes with Brent Weeks’ The burning white. Nine years from start to finish this epic saga of magic, lies and betrayals has seen it’s characters transform as the world they know evolves around them. So who is the Lightbringer?

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.  Ariadne and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warrior of the Altaii / Jordan, Robert (print), (eBook)
“Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets, and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. This is Robert Jordan’s never-before-published first novel, which he wrote before his well-known Wheel of Time series.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A little hatred / Abercrombie, Joe
“The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the Long Eye glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another. Old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield. Savine dan Glokta plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary and the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn (print), (eBook)
“Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.  But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, has been summoned into action. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The burning white / Weeks, Brent
“In the stunning conclusion to the epic, Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, kingdoms clash as Kip must finally escape his family’s shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves. As the White King springs his great trap, and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile and his companions will scramble to return for one impossible final stand. In the darkest hour, will the Lightbringer come? (Adapted from catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
“Centuries after their defeat, the Sturm have returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space.  Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught. Five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Season of storms / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Translated from original Polish by David French
“Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver. But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world the  season of storms is coming…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Knight / Zahn, Timothy (print, (eBook)
“Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philidelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship. Competing factions control different parts of the ship with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New general fiction: forging fanciful new trails

Our selection this month includes the thirteenth novel by celebrated New Zealand Aotearoa author Elizabeth Knox. The absolute book is described by the author as an ‘arcane thriller’, a quest and a personal journey about revenge. This far ranging creation is rich in detail, born from the author’s knowledge of myth and folklore, the intricacies of the tale balancing between two worlds is a pleasure to be immersed in.

In The giver of stars, Jojo Moyes looks at the life of rural horseback librarians in Kentucky in the Depression era. A crew of five women from very different backgrounds will find their lives changed and influenced by choice and chance as they deliver books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives. Gun island weaves together a contemporary and traditional tale as characters roam, migrating like seasonal animals whose patterns no longer conform to previous paths.

Other titles range from gripping thrillers to historical tales, reprising favourite love stories and gritty gangster tales. A great variety from talented writers, something for all readers to enjoy.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.” (Catalogue)

The Dutch house / Patchett, Ann (print), (eBook)
“Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known. ” (Catalogue)

Postscript / Ahern, Cecelia (print), (eBook)
“‘We desperately need your help Holly. We’re running out of ideas and…’ She takes a breath in as if summoning the energy, ‘all of us are running out of time.’ When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone. Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life. But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…” (Catalogue)

Tin badges : a novel / Carcaterra, Lorenzo (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“As one of the NYPD’s most trusted “tin badges”–retired detectives brought in to solve cases that are beyond the reach of the everyday force–Tank Rizzo has faced off against some of the city’s toughest criminals without breaking a sweat. To tackle a case involving a dangerous kingpin known as Gonzo, Tank turns to his best friend and ex-partner, Pearl; a former mobster living out a seemingly quiet retirement as the owner of Tank’s favorite Italian restaurant; and a team of expert misfits he would trust with his life. But Gonzo will stop at nothing to defend the empire he’s built, and won’t hesitate to make it personal.” (Catalogue)

The giver of stars / Moyes, Jojo
“When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s new traveling WPA library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she’s ever met–and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. They will be joined by three other women–two white, one black–and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.” (Catalogue)

Gun island : a novel / Ghosh, Amitav
“Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta’s world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.” (Catalogue)

Pursuit : a novel of suspense / Oates, Joyce Carol
“As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night. Now an adult, Abby thinks she’s outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The following day Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge. Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before, the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug addled father; and a daughter’s terrifying captivity.” (Catalogue)

Bloody genius / Sandford, John
“At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.” (Catalogue)

A thousand ships / Haynes, Natalie (print), (eBook)
“In the early hours of the morning, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and Troy has fallen. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. Arising from this are the individual tales of the women embroiled in the lead-up to and the aftermath of that legendary war, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all…Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who, for so long, were kept silent.” (Catalogue)

New Mysteries: Danse macabre

This month the holiday titles are already rolling in, so if you want to start on your holiday reading list we have some great new crime titles for you. James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder club’s 19th edition is focused on the Christmas holidays where a lull in crime is a misleading start to season, a roller coaster ride is about to begin as a formidable criminal sets a plan into action that will culminate on Christmas day! David Rosenfelt brings levity to the season with a fun cozy mystery where canine companions are the way into solving human problems. Daschshund through the snow brings out the skills of Andy and Laurie as the reticent and enthusiastic try to bring hope and resolution to those around them despite the odds.

Susanna Gregory and Paul Doherty conjour up the social and political realities British history for the medieval and Stuart eras where church and royalty governed the pattern of people’s lives. Gregory writes as the aftermath of the plague has hollowed out 1666 London and Thomas Chalinor feels the city is in a precarious situation. Facing social unrest and political intrigue he attempts to unravel three seemingly unrelated crimes. Paul Doherty has richly illustrated the medieval era in this novel of dark suspense. The tensions in the Welsh Holyrood Abbey run high where Edward I’s body guards are conducting themselves as monks. Murderous events begin to play out and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the Secret Seal is detailed to seek out answers.

Other crime titles lead readers through unlawful acts as personal tensions and past grievances are played out in the countryside and inside city limits.  From scrapbook murder sleuths to experienced police investigators this selection of crime novels has something for all readers to enjoy.

The 19th Christmas / Patterson, James
“As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. He is planning a deadly surprise for Christmas morning. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Intrigue in Covent Garden / Gregory, Susanna
“By January 1666, the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. Thomas Chalinor is investigating several unrelated crimes at he behest of his employer. Common threads in all the cases, which seem linked to those planning to set a match to the powder keg of rebellion in the city. Chalinor is in a race against time to prevent the weakened city from utter destruction.”  (Adapted from catalogue)

Dachshund through the snow / Rosenfelt, David (print), (eAudiobook)
“Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, generously give back year-round, but they always try to do a little something extra around the holidays. Andy’s local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. This leads Andy to six-year-old Adam, whose selfless plea strikes a chord with Andy and Laurie. With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters, Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMumbo gumbo murder / Laura Childs, with Terrie Farley Moran.
“It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and giant puppets are parading through the French Quarter. As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but how long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death’s dark valley / Doherty, P. C
“At Holyrood Abbey, the old king’s former bodyguards watch over a mysterious prisoner who is kept in the abbey’s dungeon. But their peaceful existence is shattered when Abbot Henry is poisoned. Summoned to Holyrood, Sir Hugh Corbett finds the fortress in chaos. As more mysterious deaths occur, and a violent snow storm sweeps through the valley, Corbett must act quickly to identify the malevolent demon who has risen from hell to turn the abbey into a house of murder.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A bitter feast : a novel / Crombie, Deborah
“Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James and their children are guests at the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot. A centerpiece of this getaway is a charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. But a tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub, and perhaps with Beck House itself.  With so much at stake both personally and professionally, especially for Melody Talbot, finding the killer becomes one of the team’s most crucial cases.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Murder in the corn maze / McKevett, G. A
“After joining the other townspeople for trick-or-treating and the annual parade, Granny Reid and the kids head to Judge Patterson’s mansion, where a corn maze awaits. Most of the youngsters are too terrified to make it all the way to the middle. When Savannah and Granny get there, it proves to be even scarier than they expected–half buried in the mud at the center of the maze lies a human skull. It’ll be up to Granny to dig into this Southern town’s history and a mess of old family secrets.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Stone cold heart : a novel / Frear, Caz (print), (eBook)
“A young Australian woman turns up dead after a party thrown by her new boss. The initial investigation points to Joseph Madden, the owner of a coffee shop around the corner from police headquarters. Madden insists he’s innocent, that he was home with his wife Rachel at the time of the murder. But Rachel contradicts his alibi, swearing that she was home alone. As she tries to balance the demands of the investigation with a budding romance and unresolved family drama, Cat has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her own past mistakes buried.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New Translated Fiction: a Way with Words

This latest selection of works translated into English features French writers exploring the joys and depths of fiction, from comedic farce to the thought-provoking. Danish writer Ane Riel spins a dark, suspenseful tale of family possession and obsession centered around Liv, the young daughter of a reclusive household. Recently adapted into film by Daniel Borgman, Resin premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Another young girl is the pivot for a European boundary-straddling novel, The Soul of the Border. The Soul of the Border is the first in Matteo Righetto’s Mountain Trilogy featuring the area between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire in the late 19th century. Rodrigo Rey Rosa negotiates a catalogue of Guatemalan crime as his protagonist searches through the arrest records of the police archive. This work appears to flicker between the real and the embellished as details of Guatemala’s political history and current instability permeate the novel.

The girl who lived twice / Lagercrantz, David
“Lisbeth Salander has disappeared… And no one is aware that at long last she’s got her prime enemy, her twin sister, Camilla, squarely in her sights. Mikael Blomkvist is trying to reach Lisbeth. He needs her help unraveling the identity of a man who lived and died on the streets of Stockholm. He does not exist in any official records and whose garbled last words hinted at possible damaging knowledge of people in the highest echelons of government and industry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book of dreams : a novel / George, Nina
“When Henri ends up in a coma after rescuing a young girl from the Thames, his ex-girlfriend, Eddie, discovers that she is listed as Henri’s next-of-kin in his living will. Sam, Henri’s teenage son, has never seen his father alive, other than the video of him heroically saving a girl from drowning. Sam and Eddie, each previously unaware of the other, slowly begin to carve out an unexpected and powerful friendship. Full of rich, captivating characters, and in placing the serious questions of life and death alongside a wonderful and engrossing story, The Book of Dreams asks with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives after we are gone.” (Catalogue)

Serotonin / Houellebecq, Michel
“Dissatisfied and discontent, Florent-Claude Labrouste decides to abandon his life in Paris and return to the Normandy countryside of his youth. There he contemplates lost loves and past happiness as he struggles to embed himself in a world that no longer holds any joy for him. His only relief, Captorix, which works by altering the brain’s release of serotonin. With social unrest intensifying around him, and his own depression deepening, Florent-Claude turns to this new medication in the hope that he will find something to live for. Serotonin is at once a devastating story of solitude, longing and individual suffering, and a powerful criticism of modern life.” (Catalogue)

Human matter : a fiction / Rey Rosa, Rodrigo
“Human Matter is both a tour de force of fiction and a sobering meditation on the realities of collective memory, raising timely questions about how our history is recorded and retold. The Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.” (Catalogue)

Soul of the border : a novel / Righetto, Matteo
“In this exhilarating coming-of-age tale, a daring young woman braves the wilds of the Austrian-Italian border. Jole de Boer is just fifteen years old the first time she accompanies her father–a tobacco grower named Augusto–as he smuggles his product across the Italian border into Austria.  But when Augusto mysteriously disappears during one of his trips, Jole must retrace the route he took to both find a buyer for her family’s tobacco–and the truth behind her father’s disappearance. An epic tale of revenge, corruption, and salvation, The Soul of the Border is an unforgettable journey into the wild.” (Catalogue)

Vintage 1954 / Laurain, Antoine
“When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties. The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who’s on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows.” (Catalogue)

Resin / Riel, Ane (print), (eBook)
“Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think. Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing. But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents. This way, Liv would be safe.” (Catalogue)

The truth behind the lie / Lövestam, Sara
“Need help, but can’t contact the police?” That’s the ad placed by low-flying private eye Kouplan, an undocumented refugee in Stockholm forced to flee Iran owing to his work on a radical newspaper. Here he’s helping a client find her missing daughter, but something about her story is amiss. Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer… and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.” (Catalogue)