Festive fiction: The twelve authors of Christmas

The Christmas Surprise book cover

Whether you love the sound of sleigh bells and the taste of falling snow slowly melting on your tongue, or if you are more a bah, humbug type about Christmas, it is good to have a festive read over the festive season. And in this special ‘who writes like…’ promotion we have selected authors that will fit in with both sides of the Christmas season. So sit back, break open the mince pies, throw another yuletide log on the fire and luxuriate into a fantastic book.

Syndetics book coverRivers of London / Ben Aaronovitch
“My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Ben Aaronovitch? Douglas Adams, Jim Butcher, Benedict Jacka, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire.

Syndetics book coverThe fallen / David Baldacci.
“Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like David Baldacci? Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Meltzer, James Patterson, Stuart Woods.

Syndetics book coverLook to windward / Iain M. Banks.
“It was one of the less glorious incidents of the Idiran wars that led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient deaths has reached the Culture’s Masaq’ Orbital. For the Hub Mind, overseer of the massive bracelet world, its arrival is particularly poignant. But it may still be eclipsed by events from the Culture’s more recent past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Iain M. Banks? Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton, Richard K. Morgan, Alastair Reynolds, Vernor Vinge.

Syndetics book coverDeath of a dreamer: a Hamish McBeth mystery / M.C. Beaton.
“Occasionally, the rugged landscape of Scotland attracts dreamers who move north, wrapped in fantasies of enjoying the simple life. They usually don’t last, defeated by the climate or by inhospitable locals. But it looks as if Effie Garrand has come to stay. When local constable Hamish Macbeth calls on her, he is amazed to find the small woman still in residence after a particularly hideous winter. Unfortunately, Effie is also quite delusional, having convinced herself and everyone else that local artist Jock Fleming is in love with her, and that they are engaged. After a huge fight with Jock, Effie is found in the mountains, poisoned by hemlock. Now it’s up to Hamish Macbeth to find the dreamers killer before any more nightmares unfold.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like M.C. Beaton? Lilian Jackson Braun, Chris Cavender, Mary Daheim, Carole Nelson Douglas, Monica Ferris.

Syndetics book coverHeir to the shadows / Anne Bishop.
“The Blood have waited centuries for the coming of Witch, the living embodiment of magic. But Jaenelle, the young girl singled out by prophecy, is haunted by the cruel battles fought over her–for not all the Blood await her as their Savior. Some dismiss her as a myth. Some refuse to believe. And still others look forward to using her, making her a pawn to their shadowy devices. Nothing, however, can deflect her from her destiny–and the day of reckoning looms near. When her memories return. When her magic matures. When she is forced to accept her fate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Bishop? Jacqueline Carey, Gail Carriger, Kate Forsyth, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward.

Syndetics book coverThe Christmas surprise / Jenny Colgan.
“Includes mouth-watering recipes Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Colgan? Abby Clements, Debbie Macomber, Milly Johnson, Susan Mallery, Anne Perry.

Syndetics book coverThe woman in the window / A.J. Finn.
“It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening… Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies… and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble — and its shocking secrets are laid bare.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like A.J. Finn? Megan Abbott, Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn.

Syndetics book coverDaughter of the forest / Juliet Marillier.
“Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac. But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Juliet Marillier? Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin Hobb, Russell Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth Knox, Helen Lowe.

Syndetics book coverThe Denniston rose / Jenny Pattrick.
“The bleak coal-mining of Denniston, isolated high on a plateau above the West Coast, is a place that makes or breaks those who live there. Into this chaotic community come five-year-old Rose and her mother. Set in the 1880s, this is the story of a spirited child who remains a survivor.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Pattrick? Catherine Cookson, Rosamunde Pilcher, Adriana Trigiani, Mary Wesley, Winston Graham.

Syndetics book coverJitterbug perfume / Tom Robbins.
“This story begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time). It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Tom Robbins? Paul Auster, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Letham, David Sedaris, Haruki Murakami.

Syndetics book coverShelter in place / Nora Roberts.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. Then the shooters arrived.The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Nora Roberts? Susan Mallery, Julie Garwood, Sandra Brown, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Lowell.

Syndetics book coverA spool of blue thread: a novel / Anne Tyler.
“‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of special-ness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Tyler? Annie Proulx, Sally Rooney, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Donna Tartt. 

Stuff your eyes with wonder: Our Science Fiction showcase picks

Foundryside book cover

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953).
This month’s science fiction showcase picks are full of worlds of wonder and feasts of treats, including sumptuous, gorgeous, beautifully-illustrated new editions of both Ursula K. Le Guin’s seminal Wizard of Earthsea series and Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy, as well as a new work by one of the science fiction world’s most beloved writers Mercedes Lackey called The Bartered Brides!

Syndetics book coverThe books of Earthsea / Ursula K. Le Guin ; illustrated by Charles Vess.
“Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature–they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike. Now for the first time ever, they’re all together in one volume–including the early short stories, Le Guin’s Earthsea Revisioned Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story, never before printed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bartered brides / Mercedes Lackey.
“The threat of Moriarty is gone – but so is Sherlock Holmes. Even as they mourn the loss of their friend and colleague, psychic Nan Killian, medium Sarah Lyon-White, and Elemental Masters John and Mary Watson must be vigilant, for members of Moriarty’s network are still at large. And their troubles are far from over: in a matter of weeks, two headless bodies of young brides wash up in major waterways. A couple who fears for their own recently-wedded daughter hire the group to investigate, but with each new body, the mystery only deepens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great Dune trilogy / Frank Herbert.
“Herbert’s evocative, epic tales are set on the desert planet Arrakis, the focus for a complex political and military struggle with galaxy-wide repercussions. Arrakis is the source of spice, a mind-enhancing drug which makes interstellar travel possible; it is the most valuable substance in the galaxy. When Duke Atreides and his family take up court there, they fall into a trap set by the Duke’s bitter rival, Baron Harkonnen. The Duke is poisoned, but his wife and her son Paul escape to the vast and arid deserts of Arrakis, which have given the planet its nickname of Dune.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe consuming fire / John Scalzi.
The Interdependency–humanity’s interstellar empire–is on the verge of collapse. The extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible is disappearing, leaving entire systems and human civilizations stranded. Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth–or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, as are her enemies. Nothing about this will be easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its consuming fire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagefall / Stephen Aryan.
“When magic is feared, the mages must learn to fight for themselves in this powerful sequel to the standout epic fantasy Mageborn by Stephen Aryan.
The land is in turmoil. Mages are hunted by men and gods alike. Even their own kind betray each other in the name of safety and protection.
With their last refuge fallen, two young mages must conspire against a god to show the world that their abilities aren’t a curse; they are the only way to ensure lasting peace.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFoundryside : a novel / Robert Jackson Bennett.Foundryside: A Novel
“In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself. Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. To have a chance at surviving–and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way–Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe little shop of found things / Paula Brackston.
“Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more. It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. And there she discovers there is an injustice in its history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

A feast of fiction awaits you in our monthly fiction showcase!

A Keeper book cover

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.

There’s an abundance of treasures and rich pickings in our December fiction showcase. These include Huia Short Stories 12, a fabulous edition of the Māori fiction collection of short stories now in its twelfth outing, From the Ashes, a tale of friendship and family set in fifties Auckland from Deborah Challinor, TV celebrity Graham Norton’s witty A Keeper and another scintillating Tudor tome from C.J. Sansom called Tombland. So why not enjoy the feast and indulge yourself in a great read!

Syndetics book coverFrom the ashes / Deborah Challinor.
“A captivating story of family and friendship through one decade of incredible change. In 1950s Auckland things are changing – and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, whitegoods are readily available and the age of rock’n’ roll has arrived. Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caughey’s. It’s been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares. From the Ashes follows the fortunes of the women of three families through one decade of incredible change.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn island Christmas / Jenny Colgan.
“Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful. It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings? Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wych elm / Tana French.
“For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable. One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed birds / Mohammed Hanif.
“An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn’t what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it’s an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo’s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHuia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi amd Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Māori and Best Novel Extract categories. This writing competition, held every two years, is organised by the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers as a way to promote Māori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists’ fiction celebrate Māori writing and bring new writers to light.” — Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverBerta Isla / Javier Marías ; translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Berta Isla and Tomás Nevinson meet in Madrid. Young and in love, they quickly decide to spend their lives together – never suspecting that they will grow to be total strangers, both living under the shadow of disappearances.Tomás, half-Spanish and half-English, has an extraordinary gift for languages and accents. Leaving Berta to study at Oxford, he catches the interest of a certain government agency, and its mysterious agent, Bertram Tupra. Tomás is determined to evade the agent’s attentions but his fate is sealed by a series of escalating events that will affect the rest of his life – and that of his beloved Berta. Finishing his time at Oxford, he returns to Madrid to marry her, already knowing that the life they planned has been lost forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA keeper / Graham Norton.
“Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light. 40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMelmoth / Sarah Perry.
“Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTombland / C.J. Sansom.Tombland
“Summer, 1549.Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . . The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s Prophecy / Singh, Nalini.Archangel’s Prophecy
“Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill. Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world. This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Reader’s Choice – the reviews are in!

Shadowless Book Cover

From translated writing, science fiction and contemporary fiction, the variety of readers feedback is from across the fiction spectrum. This month it’s the new and classic titles that have the eyes of literary browsers. As with all reading experiences they are unique to the reader.

The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material. You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Syndetics book coverShadowless / Hasan Ali Toptaş ; translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely and John Angliss.
“In an Anatolian village forgotten by both God and the government, the muhtar has been elected leader for the sixteenth successive year. When he staggers to bed that night, drunk on raki and his own well-deserved success, the village is prosperous. But when he is woken by his wife the next evening he discovers that Nuri, the barber, has disappeared without a trace in the dead of night, and the community begins to fracture. Blurring the lines of reality to terrific effect, Shadowless is both a compelling mystery and an enduring evocation of displacement from one of the finest, most exciting voices in Turkish literature today.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought this book would be better as a short story. There were some good observations but as a novel it didn’t hold my attention”⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverJosh and Hazel’s guide to not dating / Christina Lauren.
“Most men can’t handle Hazel. But her best friend Josh isn’t most men. Josh has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?” (Syndetics summary)

“Fun, light, chick-lit novel. Quite funny and enjoyable if you want a light easy romance novel”⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverElefant / Martin Suter ; translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.
“What would you do if you woke up to see a living, breathing, tiny, glowing, pink elephant? If you’re anything like Schoch, who lives on the streets of Zürich and is decidedly down on his luck, you might well think it’s time to put away the bottle before your hallucinations get any stranger, and go back to sleep. But what if the tiny pink elephant is still there when you wake up? And clearly needs someone to take care of it? And what if you discover that it’s been created through genetic engineering, by a group of scientists who just want to use it to get rich and don’t care about the elephant’s welfare? And that they’re in cahoots with a circus and will stop at nothing to get it back? What if this little elephant is about to change your life?” (Syndetics summary)

“Ingenious. The humans involved are some of them rather tedious. But the central figure does develop excellently” ⭐⭐⭐(3/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverThe winter soldier / Daniel Mason.
“Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and, finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.” (Syndetics summary)

“This was a superb read from start to finish. Austrian med student in remote E European field hospital in WWI. Doesn’t sound promising? Believe me this will be winning Oscars in the Hollywood version in a few years. Riveting.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverStrangers with the same dream / Alison Pick.
“‘We came into their valley at dawn.’ So begins this taut roller-coaster of a novel. From three vastly different points of view, Alison Pick relates the same vivid and riveting story of one transformative year. That year is 1921, and a band of young Jewish pioneers, many escaping violent homelands, have set out to realize a utopian dream–the founding of a kibbutz–on a patch of land that will later become Israel. Writing with a tightly controlled intensity, Alison Pick takes us inside the very different minds of her three key characters–two young unmarried women, escaping peril in Russia and Europe; and one slightly older man, a group leader who is married with two children–to depict how idealism quickly tumbles into pragmatism, and how the utopian dream is punctured by messy human entanglements.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought this book was cleverly written about the beginning of something that continues to challenge international relations. A triptych that reminds that there is always multiple versions of history and the truth” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverThe fortress / S.A. Jones.
The Fortress asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment, and is absorbing, explicit, confronting and moving. Jonathon Bridge has the corner office, the tailored suits and the impeccable pedigree. He has a fascinating wife, a child on the way and a string of nubile lovers on the side. His world is our world: the same chaos and sprawl, haves and have-nots, men and women, skyscrapers and billboards. But it also exists alongside a vast, self-sustaining city-state called The Fortress where the indigenous inhabitants — the Vaik — continue to live much as they have always done. The Vaik is an all-female civilisation where Johnathon will have to live as a supplicant for a year.” (Syndetics summary)

“I thought I didn’t like fantasy as a genre but it turns out I wasn’t the target audience. It was an immensely satisfying read to the end. Fantasy is usually overly populated with books targeted at white cis men!” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverPhone / Will Self.Phone
“Meet Jonathan De’Ath, aka ‘the Butcher’. The curious thing about the Butcher is that everyone who knows him – his washed-up old university lecturer father, his jumbling-bumbling mother, his hippy-dippy brothers, his so-called friends, his spooky colleagues and his multitudinous lovers – they all apply this epithet to him quite independently, each in ignorance of the others. He knows everyone calls him ‘the Butcher’ behind his back, but he also knows that they don’t know the only real secret he maintains, encrypted in the databanks of his steely mind- Colonel Gawain Thomas, husband, father, highly-trained tank commander – is Jonathan De’Ath’s longtime lover.” (Syndetics summary)

“Interesting in parts, but needs a good editor. I enjoyed his earlier works, which had black humour, sadly lacking in this latest trilogy” ⭐⭐(2/5 stars)

Syndetics book coverSo long, and thanks for all the fish : volume four in the trilogy of five / Douglas Adams ; foreword by Neil Gaiman.
“Thirty years of celebrating the comic genius of Douglas Adams… There is a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. It’s not an easy thing to do and Arthur Dent thinks he’s the only human who’s been able to master this nifty little trick – until he meets Fenchurch, the girl of his dreams. Fenchurch knows how the world could be made a good and happy place. Unfortunately she’s forgotten. Convinced that the secret lies within God’s Final Message to His Creation they go in search of it. And – in a dramatic break with tradition – actually find it… Volume four in the trilogy of five” (Syndetics summary)

“I enjoyed it when I first read it in the ’80’s but less so this time. The basic concept of uplifted dolphins seems sillier now. However it is written well and is a classic, so it will appeal to some” ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Our most popular Fiction: Top reads at a mystery branch location

Our fiction collection brings you the talent of local writers and international award winners. Those brave enough to write out their inner workings or extrapolate on the world around them. So whether you enjoy untangling a thriller with unexpected plot twists or delving into the imagination of the world’s best fantasy writer maybe a reader’s favourite out there will be your next favourite too!

Wellington City Libraries is lucky enough to have eleven branches throughout the city. It’s no surprise that each branch has it’s own particular set of reading loves. This month the most popular ten reads is brought to you from a mystery location, maybe it’s the branch you borrow from?

Transcription / Kate Atkinson.
Syndetics book cover“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.” (Syndetics summary)

The furthest station / Ben Aaronovitch.
Syndetics book cover“A brand new novella in the PC Grant series! There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality. Only it’s more than going ‘bump’. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.” (Syndetics summary)

Why mummy swears : the struggles of an exasperated mum / Gill Sims.
Syndetics book cover“Welcome to Mummy’s world… The Boy Child Peter is connected to his iPad by an umbilical cord, The Girl Child Jane is desperate to make her fortune as an Instagram lifestyle influencer, while Daddy is constantly off on exotic business trips… Mummy’s marriage is feeling the strain, her kids are running wild and the house is steadily developing a forest of mould. Mummy has also found herself a new challenge, working for a hot new tech start-up. But not only is she worrying if, at forty-two, she’s also somehow (accidentally) rebranded herself as a single party girl who works hard, plays hard and doesn’t have to run out when the nanny calls in sick. Can Mummy keep up the facade while keeping her family afloat? And, more importantly, can she find the time to pour herself a large G+T? Probably effing not.” (Syndetics summary)

Everything is lies / Helen Callaghan.
Syndetics book cover“Sophia’s parents have lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find her mother hanging from a tree in the garden. Her father lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death. The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. To clear her mother’s name Sophia needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there…” (Syndetics summary)

Kill the farm boy / Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Syndetics book cover“Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born… there is a faraway kingdom…the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death… and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar ‘happily ever after’ that ever once-upon-a-timed.” (Syndetics summary)

Wild fire / Ann Cleeves.
Syndetics book coverWild Fire is the eighth, and final book, in Ann Cleeves’ bestselling Shetland series Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life.But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate.” (Syndetics summary)

End game / David Baldacci.
Syndetics book cover“Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They’re the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man. But now, Blue Man is missing. Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can’t help but fear the worst.” (Syndetics summary)

The after wife / Cass Hunter.
Syndetics book cover“When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.
She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband. Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.
But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death…a gift called iRachel.
The After Wife is an emotional story about love, loss, longing and belonging.” (Syndetics summary)

All for nothing / Walter Kempowski ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell ; introduction by Jenny Erpenbeck.
Syndetics book cover“A wealthy family tries–and fails–to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life. The von Globig family’s manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors–a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven’t allowed themselves to imagine.” (Syndetics summary)

Sleeping beauties : a novel / Stephen King and Owen King.
Syndetics book cover“In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.
One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? ” (Syndetics summary)

Wellington’s Most Wanted

Milkman

Have you ever wondered what are the most popular books across the whole library network? Those books that everyone wants, the most sought after, the books everyone is desperate to read? Well get ready to place your reserves and join the queue because here they are – your library’s top 10 most wanted!

10.) The diary of a bookseller / Bythell, Shaun
“Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost… In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

9.) Educated : a memoir / Westover, Tara
“Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, her quest for knowledge took her to Harvard and to Cambridge. An account of the struggle for self-invention, fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties, she has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers. The perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

8.) Past tense / Child, Lee
“Arriving in his father’s hometown in New Hampshire, Jack Reacher finds two stranded young Canadians and no evidence that his father ever lived there. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He knows his father left and never returned. Now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place? As Reacher explores his father’s life, and strands of different stories begin to merge, he makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense… and deadly.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

7.) Milkman / Burns, Anna
“The story of inaction with enormous consequences and decisions that are never made, but for which people are judged and punished. Middle, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman. But when first brother-in-law, told his wife, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

6.) The subtle art of not giving a fuck : a counterintuitive approach to living a good life / Manson, Mark
“In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Manson says. He tells it like it is–a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

5.) In a house of lies / Rankin, Ian
“A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still, is that his body was in an area that had already been searched. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now, it’s time for the truth. Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone has something to hide and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead and that it could be the end of him.” (Catalogue)

4.) Nine perfect strangers / Moriarty, Liane
“The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages. Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them… ” (Adapted Syndetics Review)

3.) Lethal white / Galbraith, Robert
“When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story after he vanished, Strike and Robin Ellacott set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book cover2.) Normal people / Sally Rooney.
“Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

1.) Fear : Trump in the White House / Woodward, Bob
“The definitive insight into President Trump’s White House from Bob Woodward. With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Magnified for your convenience! Latest Large Print Fiction titles

Every Breath book cover

The Large print collection has a great range of fiction and non-fiction material. These books feature text at 18 points or larger for ease of reading. This month there are a swathe of new titles from well known contemporary authors and a few reprints of classic authors.

Thrillers that navigate the twisted paths of dark deeds and stories that warm the heart. Loyalty to country in a time of war levers Kate Atkinson’s latest hero into a role that will affect her future reality in Transcription. In Every Breath Nicolas Sparks uses a deft hand to bring to life chance encounters that can have extensive consequences. Take a look below for more recent titles.

Every breath / Sparks, Nicholas
“Spending time at her family’s North Carolina beach cottage after her father is diagnosed with ALS, Hope Anderson mulls over big life decisions. Zimbabwe-born safari guide Tru Walls is also in town, tracking down a man who claims to be his father. Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, how long can a dream survive?” (Catalogue)

Transcription / Atkinson, Kate
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers. Ten years later, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.
Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy.” (Catalogue)

Snap / Bauer, Belinda
“On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed forever. Three years later, Jack is still in charge: of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother…” (Catalogue)

The birdwatcher / Shaw, William
“Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself. A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South’s world flips. The Birdwatcher is British crime fiction at its finest; a stirring portrait of flawed, vulnerable investigators; a meticulously constructed mystery; and a primal story of fear, loyalty and vengeance.” (Catalogue)

Paradox / Coulter, Catherine
“Chief Ty Christie of Willicott, Maryland, witnesses a murder at dawn from the deck of her cottage on Lake Massey. When dragging the lake, not only do the divers find the murder victim, they also discover dozens of bones. Even more shocking is the identification of a unique belt buckle found among the bones. Working together with Chief Christie, Savich and Sherlock soon discover a frightening connection between the bones and the escaped psychopath.” (Catalogue)

A question of thyme / Jones, Jan
“When Jen answers an advertisement to create a 1915 herb garden for a TV documentary, she expects it to get her out of a money hole, not to change her life. Borderline recluse Theo Grainger is scarred mentally and physically from an appalling fall seven years ago. Adjusting to the presence of a TV documentary team next door is one thing. Dealing with Jen Matlock, who helps people in trouble whether they want her to or not, is something else entirely.” (Catalogue)

A wartime friend / Lane, Lizzie
“Leah escapes from a train bound for a death camp – along with a surprising friend, a kind-natured German Shepherd dog. Discovered in France by an RAF pilot, the traumatised Leah wakes to find she’s forgotten everything. Lily is fostered by the kind RAF pilot and his wife, Meg. Before long their lives are disrupted once again by the war and, with their home in ruins, they are forced to flee to the country. In Somerset, Lily is reunited with Rudy, the heroic dog. However it soon becomes clear that Rudy is not just her companion, he is protecting her too, and someone wants him out of the way.” (Catalogue)

Large Print Non-Fiction:

The sheep stell : memoirs of a shepherd / White, Janet
“As a child in wartime England, Janet White decided that she wanted to live somewhere wild and supremely beautiful, to inhabit and work the landscape. She imagined searching the whole world for a place, high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery – challenging and pristine. Janet has always tended sheep – first as a young girl in the Cheviots, then on an uninhabited island off the coast of New Zealand, with a bonfire as her only means of communication with the mainland. After a brutal attack, she was forced to leave her island and returned to England, where she married, became a smallholder in Sussex, and finally bought a hill farm in Somerset. Underpinning this account is Janet’s attachment to the land, and her commitment to combine the principles of conservation with successful farming.” (Catalogue)

Believe / Adams, Nicola
“At London 2012, Nicola Adams made history when she became the first woman ever to win an Olympic Gold medal for boxing. In Rio 2016, with the nation cheering her on, she did it all over again. Years of relentless training, fundraising and determination have seen Nicola battle through injury, prejudice and defeat to become one of Britain’s best-loved athletes and an inspiration to all those who are chasing after a seemingly impossible dream. A trailblazer and a record-breaker, she has led the way for women’s boxing. From a leisure centre in Leeds to the Olympic Stadium, Nicola has become the poster girl for women in sport.” (Catalogue)

The Best and Bitey-ist Vampire Novels Ever!

Anno Dracula book cover

Over 120 years after the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the author’s great-grandnephew has written a prequel to the Victorian vampire classic! Dacre Stoker’s novel, Dracul, is based on the original typescript of Dracula as well as associated notes and journals, and “speculates on what Bram Stoker’s early life might have been like had the creatures he later created been real.”

But Dacre Stoker isn’t the first to build upon Dracula’s story: below you’ll find a list of nine unnerving titles that have been influenced by the Transylvanian Count, from Nordic noir to alternative history to a sci-fi classic (as well as one work that pre-dates Dracula by 26 years!).

The historian: a novel / Kostova, Elizabeth
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.” (Catalogue)

Let the right one in / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
“John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend, as well as a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.” (Catalogue)

Interview with the vampire / Rice, Anne
“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.” (Catalogue)

The passage / Cronin, Justin
“A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.” (Catalogue)

Anno Dracula / Newman, Kim
“It is 1888 and Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned a large percentage of the English population into the undead. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction (Dr Jekyll, Oscar Wilde, Swinburne, John Jago), the novel tells the story of vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.” (Catalogue)

Dracula: the un-dead / Stoker, Dacre
“The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendant and endorsed by the Stoker family, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew joins with Dracula documentarian Holt to create a sequel based on notes the author left behind. A quarter-century has passed, and Bram Stoker is directing a play about Dracula–who seems to be making a comeback…” (Catalogue)

Dracula’s guest [electronic resource] / Stoker, Bram
“Published in 1914, several years after Bram Stoker’s death by his widow, Dracula”s Guest is one of several stories that Stoker had wished to publish as a supplement to his most famous novel. Join him as he drags the reader out into the hills beyond Munich on one of the most terrifying nights of the year–Walpurgisnacht, or The Witches Night.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive?” (Catalogue)

Carmilla / Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
“Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate Gothic vampire tale. When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. It’s not until Laura’s father, increasingly concerned for his daughter’s well-being, sets out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.” (Catalogue)

Books on CD: a new lease on borrowing life!

The Origin audiobook cover

Audiobooks are free at Wellington Central Library! If you’re downloading or listening on CD there is no charge and the lending period for books on CD is still four weeks. We have collected all of the CD audiobooks at the Central Library and you can now find them at the end of the Fiction collection on the ground floor, just to the side of the Fiction Enquiries desk.

Books on CD are a curious phenomena in the story telling world- a whole book read to you as you choose to hear it! No USB port in your vehicle? Books on CD are great for a road trip, lengthy car trips become a time to enjoy a tale. A ten CD set can be devoured in one sitting, well you might need a comfort stop or three. Admittedly, there is the odd cringe at the delivery of the occasional narrator, but the variety of classic titles to newly published material, read by an array of performers means that there is plenty to choose from.

There are some great titles to borrow have look at some of our new acquisitions below:

Earthly remains / Leon, Donna
“During an interrogation Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off to a villa on Sant’Erasmo- a place of rest, reflection, and reading. Then David Casati, the caretaker, goes missing after a storm, and Brunetti feels compelled to investigate.” (Catalogue)

Death of a ghost / Beaton, M. C
“When Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie “Clumsy” Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all. There’s no sign of any ghost… but a dead body propped against the wall. Something strange and deadly is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the “ghost” can strike again…” (Catalogue)

The last Tudor / Gregory, Philippa
“The latest novel from Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. At seventeen, Lady Jane Grey was England’s queen for nine days before Mary Tudor claimed the throne and had her executed. Jane’s younger sister, Katherine, was locked in the Tower of London by queens Mary and Elizabeth to prevent her producing a Tudor son. But the last Grey sister, a beautiful dwarf disregarded by the court, keeps her family’s secrets.” (Catalogue)

A legacy of spies / Le Carré, John
“Spymaster le Carré returns with his greatest creation, George Smiley. Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.” (Catalogue)

The house of unexpected sisters / McCall Smith, Alexander
“Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi investigate a new mystery and learn valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest installment of this irresistibly charming series. Precious Ramotswe has always idolised her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life, but does she? Sometimes our parents surprise us, and we discover that things were not quite what we thought them to be.” (Catalogue)

The terranauts / Boyle, T. Coraghessan
“It’s 1994, and in the Arizona desert a grand experiment is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” are to live under glass in a prototype of an off-earth colony. With humor and wit, T.C. Boyle inhabits the perspectives of the players in this survivalist game, illuminating the inherent fallibility of human nature.” (Catalogue)

Origin : a novel / Brown, Dan
“In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.” (Catalogue)

The woman in the window : a novel / Finn, A. J
“A twisty, powerful Hithcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. Finn’s white-knuckler defines the term hot debut. Its heroine, the reclusive Anna Fox, hides away in her New York apartment tippling wine, watching old movies, and looking out the window, most recently at the husband, wife, and teenage son who just moved in across the way. Then she sees-or thinks she sees-something shocking, and what follows has wracked nerves enough to merit Gone Girl/Girl on the Train comparisons. (Catalogue)

New Zealand’s rich and glorious fiction contributions to the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

scarlet tides book cover

Perhaps we in New Zealand are best known for our noble and glorious celluloid contributions to the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but New Zealand also has a rich and very diverse community of Fantasy and Science Fiction writers. In this blog we aim to shine a light on just a few of those authors. Enjoy!

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 and reveals how the government has used dreams to control an ever-growing population of convicts and political dissenters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flame of Sevenwaters / Marillier, Juliet
“Going home can be the hardest thing of all… When Maeve, twenty year old daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, accompanies a skittish horse back to Erin, she must confront her demons. For Maeve carries the legacy of a childhood fire in her crippled hands. She has lived with her aunt in Britain for ten years, developing a special gift for gentling difficult animals. Then Maeve arrives home to find Sevenwaters in turmoil.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The scarlet tides / Hair, David
“Return to Urte, a land in chaos: where the smallest choice may save or damn the world. The Moontide has come, and a scarlet tide of Rondian legions is flooding into the East, slaughtering and pillaging in the name of Emperor Constant. But the Scytale of Corineus, the source of ultimate magical power, has slipped through the emperor’s fingers. His ruthless Inquisitors are desperately seeking the artefact, before it falls into the hands of those who would bring down the Empire. But there are some who have pledged to end the cycle of war and restore peace to Urte. They are the unlikeliest of heroes: a failed mage, a gypsy and a lowly market-girl. As East and West clash more violently than ever before, Urte will discover that love, loyalty and truth can be forged into weapons as deadly as swords and magic.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Burnt ice / Wheeler, Steve
“Humans and hybrids and strange new creatures fight for survival on Earth and across the galaxies. A superb space adventure from a fresh new voice. In our future worlds the Administration rules the Sphere of Humankind, the Games Board sanctions and funds wars and conflicts, and the Haulers’ Collective roams the space routes like the caravanners of old. Marko and his crew of fellow soldier-engineers are sent to investigate an unknown planet. When they encounter strange artefacts and an intelligent but aggressive squid species, they are forced to embark on a perilous journey far from the Sphere.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Phoenix rising : a Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel / Ballantine, Pip
“These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences- the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling- will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest…and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twilight of the dead / Bishop, David
“Bishop’s alternative history trilogy comes to a terrifying climax in this final novel. April 1945: as German and Russian troops fight desperate battles through the streets of Berlin, a new threat rises from the forbidding mountains of Transylvania–an undead army of Vampyr warriors. Original. April 1945: The war’s end is close as German and Russian troops fight desperate battles through the streets of Berlin. But a new threat rises from the forbidding mountains of Transylvania, an undead army of Vampyr warriors. As the war in Europe reaches its brutal climax, the bloody fight for mankind’s future begins!” (Catalogue)

The right hand of God / Kirkpatrick, Russell
“The conclusion of a superb feat of epic storytelling.Can the Company save their world? The Company and the Arkhimm have scattered far and wide in their quest to warn Faltha of imminent invasion by the armies of the Destroyer. They now have possession of the Jugom Ark, the flaming Arrow of legend which, it is believed, will defeat their enemy. When Leith carries the Ark into the city of Instruere, thousands of people flock to him to fight for Faltha in the coming war. But Leith is finding it difficult to accept people’s faith in him and his role as custodian of the Ark.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Star sailors / McNaughton, James
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple from the wrong side of the tracks gain entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet. The couple’s housewarming party becomes an all-night carnival, and revolution gathers beyond the gate.” (Catalogue)