10 New Sports Books to Boost You into 2018

A new year is the time for new sports, hobbies and activities! So jump into 2018 and let these books inspire you on to greatness. From sailing to skateboarding, hunting to video game development let these titles open your eyes, fuel your fire and help get you out there!

Syndetics book coverGo! : an inspirational guide to getting outside and challenging yourself / Tobias Mews.
“Whether it’s discovering a new place and a new way to get there, or reaching your nearest summit whilst racing your friend, Mews brings together all the kit, method and ingredients you need to get you out of your comfort zone and into an exhilarating adventure, big or small. Discover the thrill of a new escape, enjoy the pain and gain of completing a challenge and the fun and curiosity of trying something new.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood, sweat, and pixels : the triumphant, turbulent stories behind how video games are made / Jason Schreier.
“In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Schreier takes readers on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development.  Documenting the round-the-clock crunches, buggy-eyed burnout, and last-minute saves, this is a journey through development hell, and ultimately a tribute to the dedicated diehards and unsung heroes who scale mountains of obstacles in their quests to create the best games imaginable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLone wolf : how Emirates Team New Zealand stunned the world / Richard Gladwell.
“On June 26, 2017, on the turquoise waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound, Peter Burling (26) became the youngest ever helmsman to win the premier trophy in sailing, the America’s Cup. A celebration of the Emirates Team New Zealand’s win, written from an on the water perspective by one of the world’s most influential America’s Cup photo-journalists, Richard Gladwell, who also shot many of the images used in the 200-page book.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt’s not about pretty : a book about radical skater girls / concept by Cindy Whitehead ; photography by Ian Logan ; design by Elise Crigar.
“The FIRST comprehensive hardcover book ever to be published on girls skateboarding. 144 pages, featuring 65 different skater girls- from pool riding, park, street, downhill, vert and cruising, to pro female skateboarders and soul skaters – this book covers it all.  With powerful imagery by award-winning photographer Ian Logan, words and concept by 70’s pro skater and Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee Cindy Whitehead. (Adapted Amazon summary)

Syndetics book coverBeaver / with Scotty Stevenson.
“Stephen Donald etched himself into All Blacks folklore with that ‘kick’ in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park. One of the country’s most popular All Blacks, had not originally been wanted for the World Cup squad. He was whitebaiting in the Waikato and effectively off the rugby grid when the SOS went out for his services. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, combining with the hugely talented rugby writer and commentator Scotty ‘Sumo’ Stevenson in a book covering not only Donald’s sporting career but also poke the borax at both himself and his team mates.” (Adpated Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHunting New Zealand : parts unknown / Peter Ryan.
“Peter Ryan’s writing and images have been published around the world. Here he pays tribute to the game animals, people and places that have made New Zealand famous as one of the last great hunting adventures. A book for those whose hearts belong in wild places.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Syndetics book coverSurfing : skills, training, techniques / Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor.
“Crowood Sports Guides are the perfect tool for anyone wanting to improve their performance, from beginners learning the basic skills to more experienced participants working on advanced techniques. Surfing covers the history of the sport; choosing and maintaining a board; reading the ocean; skills development; advanced techniques; environmental care and surf contests and careers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand rugby country : how the game shaped our nation / Desmond Wood.
“How a small nation at the foot of the globe achieved and maintains its status at the top of an international sport is integral to the story of this country. Rugby permeates our society and its ethos sums up much of what it means to be a New Zealander. Or does it? Des Wood examines these assertions in this thoughtful and well-researched book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow cycling can save the world / Peter Walker.How Cycling Can Save the World
“Peter Walker, reporter at the Guardian and curator of its popular bike blog, shows how the future of humanity depends on the bicycle. Meticulously researched and incredibly inspiring, How Cycling Can Save the World delivers on its lofty promise and leads readers to the realization that cycling could not only save the world, but have a lasting and positive impact on their own lives.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe greatest : the quest for sporting perfection / Matthew Syed.
“What can Roger Federer teach us about the secret of longevity? What do the All Blacks have in common with improvised jazz musicians? What can cognitive neuroscientists tell us about what happens to the brains of sportspeople when they perform?  How do we become the best that we can be, as individuals, teams and as organisations? Matthew Syed, the ‘Sports Journalist of the Year 2016’, answers these questions and more in a fascinating, wide-ranging and provocative book about the mental game of sport. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

These short stories are perfect for summer holidays

This month, short stories are the feature of our ‘Other Genres’ category of fiction recent picks. There are collections from many much acclaimed writers including William Boyd, Helen Garner, P.D. James and our own Paula Morris. There are several debut short story collections also, one notably from Emily Fridlund whose first novel History of Wolves was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.

Syndetics book coverTell tale / Jeffrey Archer.
“Fourteen gripping and rewarding short stories from the master of short story writing. Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to solve a murder and the pretentious schoolboy whose discovery of the origins of his father’s wealth changes his life forever. Follow the stories of the woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League university during the 1930s, and another young woman who thumbs a lift and has an encounter of a lifetime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dreams of Bethany Mellmoth / William Boyd.
“A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs, seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. Couple charts the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery. Original, funny, surprising and moving stories from a much acclaimed writer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe relive box and other stories / T. Coraghessan Boyle.
“Known as one of our greatest American novelists, Boyle’s sharp wit and rich imagination combine with a penetrating social consciousness to produce raucous, poignant, and expansive short stories defined by an inimitable voice. The twelve stories in this collection speak to the humor, the pathos, and the struggle that is part of being human while relishing the whimsy of wordplay and the power of a story well told.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCatapult : stories / Emily Fridlund.
“Following Emily Fridlund’s acclaimed debut novel History of Wolves . The characters in these stories are sometimes calculating, at other times bewildered, they orbit around each other, enacting a deeply human tragicomedy of wit, misunderstanding, and loss. With dexterous, atmospheric, and darkly comic prose, Fridlund conjures worlds where longing is open-ended, intentions misfire, and the line between comfort and cruelty is often difficult to discern. This is a gripping collection, unsettling as much in its familiarity as in its near-gothic strangeness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStories : the collected short fiction / Helen Garner.
“This collection of short fiction celebrates the seventy-fifth birthday of one of Australia’s most loved authors. These stories delve into the complexities of love and longing, of the pain, darkness and joy of life, are all told with her characteristic sharpness of observation, honesty and humour. Each one a perfect piece, together they showcase Garner’s mastery of the form.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncommon type : some stories / Tom Hanks ; photographs by Kevin Twomey.
“A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. In this first collection the stories are surprising, intelligent, and heartwarming.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleep no more : six murderous tales / P. D. James ; foreword by Peter Kemp.
“From this brilliant crime writer, who is acknowledged as a past master of the short story, who weaves together motifs of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThat was a shiver : and other stories / James Kelman.
“A trucker passes through a town he used to know and a local tries to sell him his sister; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a Principal and his associate examine the dead body before them; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHer body and other parties : stories / Carmen Maria Machado.
“ In these stories the writer blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulist. There is a bending of bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFalse river : stories, essays, secret histories / Paula Morris.
“Fictional characters muse upon the truth behind real people, non-fiction pieces contain short interludes of fiction, fiction is written to read like an essay, made-up elements slip into true accounts. These pieces range the world, from America, to Antwerp to Aoteoroa, and talk about writers and writing, famous figures, family members, witch-burning in Denmark, cyclones and numerous pertinent and stimulating topics.”(Adapted from Syndeitics summary)

Enjoy our latest hand-picked home, garden and DIY books this new year

Get great ideas for decorating, renovating, tinkering, personalising, and most importantly enjoying your home with this month’s hand-picked home, garden and do-it-yourself books.

Syndetics book coverTinkering : Australians reinvent DIY culture / Katherine Wilson.
“At a time when the labour market is failing as a source of security and identity for many, domestic tinkering is emerging as a legitimate vocation, in ways we haven’t seen since pre-industrial times. Practices of repair, crafting, invention, building and improvising …are becoming a vital part of our informal economy and social cohesion, complicating distinctions between work and leisure, amateur and professional, production and consumption. …with a journalist’s impulse for the currency of her story, Katherine Wilson documents domestic tinkering as an undervalued form of material scholarship, social connection, psychological sanctuary and political activism… (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRenovate innovate : reclaimed and upcycled homes / Antonia Edwards.
“From converted factories and chapels to cabins built from salvaged wood, this collection of innovative, beautiful, and sustainable dwellings showcases a worldwide trend for upcycling in home design. …This international sampling of stunning new buildings and renovations will inspire readers, designers, architects, and dreamers alike to reimagine lived in spaces” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSecond bloom : Cathy Graham’s art of the table / by Alexis Clark ; foreword by Joanna Coles ; photography by Quentin Bacon and Andrew Ingalls.
“Artist, collector, and entertaining guru Cathy Graham shares her secrets for gracious living and memorable get-togethers in Second Bloom. Graham covers the essential elements that make every event shine–flowers, paper components, table setting, and food presentation. Quentin Bacon’s photographs of a seaside gathering, a casual cocktail party, or a lively dinner in honor of a friend show how to achieve winning possibilities with ease.” (Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverEveryday chic : my secrets for entertaining, organizing, and decorating at home / Molly Sims with Tracy O’Connor.
“Once upon a time, Molly Sims was a single girl who stored cashmere sweaters in her oven, and whose shoe collection far exceeded her recipe collection. But today, one husband and three kids later, a lot has changed. Supermodel? Try Supermomma! Molly has taken her style from the runway to the domestic arena, embracing the roles of home chef, party planner, organization expert, and design guru, as only she can…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLife in the garden / Penelope Lively.
“Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own, and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It is also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTake a seat : 16 beautiful projects for your home / Jemima Schlee.
“Be seated in style and comfort with this gorgeous book full of ideas to revamp the things you sit on everyday. If your chairs are looking past their best, or in need of a makeover, you will find beautiful projects that can turn sorry-looking seats into stylish centrepieces. Jemima Schlee’s clever use of fabrics, textures, yarns and paint not only add personality and character to any interior, they are also an ideal way for thrifty types to create a new look on a budget.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding with secondhand stuff : how to reclaim, repurpose, re-use & upcycle salvaged & leftover materials / Chris Peterson.
“From deconstruction methods and salvaging tips to plotting efficient cutting plans and devising creative new uses for everyday items, this book is packed with clever ways to obtain low-cost materials and ingenious projects you can build yourself. …This book is a hands-on, do-it-yourself guide that shows you how to identify materials that can be salvaged efficiently and give you step-by-step instructions on how to build cool things with what you find…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRemodelista : the organized home : simple, stylish storage ideas for all over the house / Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick ; with the editors of Remodelista ; photographs by Matthew Williams ; creative direction by Alexa Hotz.
“…Whether you’re a minimalist or someone who takes pleasure in her collections, we all yearn for an unencumbered life in a home that makes us happy. This compact tome shows us how, with more than 100 simple and stylish tips, each clearly presented and accompanied by full-color photographs that are sure to inspire. Readers will learn strategies for conquering their homes’ problem zones (from the medicine cabinet to the bedroom closet) and organizing tricks and tools that can be deployed in every room…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMary’s household tips & tricks : your guide to happiness in the home / Mary Berry.
“…Easy to use, practical and gorgeously illustrated, Mary’s Household Tips & Tricks covers everything from Mary’s golden rules for baking to her favourite flowers for each season, from how to polish silver to whether tea should be poured before or after milk. With secrets for accomplishing the most challenging home-keeping tasks with ease, Mary’s wonderfully simple book will help turn any house into a home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA well-crafted home : inspiration and 60 projects for personalizing your space / Janet Crowther ; photographs by Julia Wade ; illustrations by Tate Obayashi.
“More than just “DIY” crafts, these carefully designed projects call for good materials–like linen, leather, and wood–so the finished product will last you a lifetime. Ranging from beginner to more advanced, each item elevates a room in a way you’d never expect: a large-scale painting with an effortless “dot” design looks like a modern piece of art, flax linen bedding sewn with a few easy seams is gorgeous way to set off the bed (and is more affordable than you would think), and a copper pipe rack for hanging clothes is so pretty, you’ll want to keep it on display…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA sense of home : eat, make, sleep, live / Helen James.
“From leading Irish designer and food blogger Helen James comes a beautiful book for all who enjoy making their house a home. Room by room, Helen shares her distinctive design sensibility inspired by the natural world, as she considers the spaces where we spend so much of our time – indoor and out – from a sensory perspective: taste, sight, scent, touch and sound. Combining over 60 delicious, homely recipes – from bedroom feasts to ‘movie-night’ suppers – with essential design principles, natural beauty products, gardening plans and more, A Sense of Home is stunningly illustrated throughout. A sumptuous journey that is as pleasurable to browse as it is to put into practice – and the ideal gift.” (Syndetics summary)

10 Books to Help You Reach Your Photography Goals in 2018!

This new year you could become the photographer you’ve always dreamed you could be! Whether you want to be “instafamous” for your epic travel photos, launch that online business or just take better photos of your food. Reach for the stars, literally, have a go at astro-photography, or fine tune your existing skills with exposure, whatever your focus, these 10 books will help you scratch “become an awesome photographer” off your New Year’s resolutions list!

Syndetics book coverFashion & lifestyle photography : succeed in the commercial world and become a stand-out photographer / Dixie Dixon.
“Based on the talks Dixie Dixon, a Nikon Brand Ambassador, has given to crowds at major US trade shows, she reveals how to succeed in this exciting marketplace. From finding your vision, to building your dream team, this book will provide you with the essential gear and know-how to capture the looks of the media world that leap off the page or screen.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet’s guide to travel photography / Richard I’Anson.
“Written by internationally renowned travel photographer Richard I’Anson, he shares his wealth of experience and knowledge about travel photography in photorecentthis jargon-free guide to taking better photographs. Thoroughly updated and refreshed with advice, information and instructions on how to take amazing travel photographs using the latest digital cameras. It also includes tips on how to get great results from smartphones, DSLR cameras, drones and GoPro action cameras.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFood photography : a beginner’s guide to creating appetizing images / Corinna Gisseman.
“Whether you want to create great food images for your blog or break into the world of commercial food photography, Food Photography is the perfect place to start your journey. Corinna Gissemann, a professional food photographer, walks you through everything you need to know, starting with a primer on equipment and exposure, followed by a detailed explanation of the extremely important roles that light, composition, and styling play in food photography.” ( Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe five-minute fix : 200 tips for improving your photography and growing your business / Dale Benfield.
“Unlike many books for “beginners,” Dale takes photographers from the beginning stages and continues nurturing them into starting a business and becoming a professional. His approach of providing a lot of bite-sized chunks of information on photography techniques, business, and marketing in one book is truly unique. For the photographer who wants both business and photography knowledge, this single book takes the place of two!” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComplete photography : the all-new guide to getting the best possible photos from any camera / Chris Gatcum.
“Whether you’re a complete beginner, a casual snapper or a seasoned photographer, there is a lot to be learned from this extensive photography guide. Take the guesswork out of your photography and understand not just what to do with your camera, but how and why this affects the photos you take. Whether you own an SLR, film camera or a compact digital camera, learn how to take the best photos possible.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of astrophotography / Ian Morison, Jodrell Bank, University of Manchester.
“Join astronomer and columnist Ian Morison as he provides the essential foundations of how to produce beautiful astronomical images. From images of the Moon and planets, to the constellations, star clusters and nebulae, journey through a series of worked examples and short project walk-throughs, detailing the equipment needed, starting with a DSLR, camera and tripod, and increasing in complexity as the book progresses.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe smartphone photography guide : shoot, edit, experiment, share / Peter Cope.
“Smartphones have put powerful cameras, literally, in our pockets and encouraged us to document our lives in ever-increasing detail. But do we realize their full potential? Instructive, inspirational and updated with all the latest on VR, selfies, and the best apps, become the best photographer you can be! Suitable for all general smartphone users, compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows phones.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotography exposure / David Präkel.
“Offering a detailed guide to using exposure for expressive purposes, this is an invaluable reference tool to all students and practitioners of photography.The second edition includes new images, as well as all new case studies and practical assignments – using examples from a range of international artists. The book has also been updated and restructured to take into account the technical innovations since it first published in 2009.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne face, fifty ways : the portrait photography ideas book / Imogen Dyer & Mark Wilkinson.
“Whichever side of the camera you like to be on, this book will show you how – with some simple camera techniques and inexpensive items of wardrobe – you can revolutionize your portfolio. You won’t need to spend a fortune on props, studios or equipment; learn how to create an exciting, varied portfolio of fresh portrait photography.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe practical illustrated encyclopedia of digital photography : step-by-step guide to taking great photographs / Steve Luck.
“Expert advice from starting out to advanced computer techniques, with practice assignments and 1000 photographs.” (Syndetics summary)

New mystery novels from around the world

Mystery readers will once again enjoy the prospect of much arm-chair travel in this month’s selection of new mysteries recently added to Wellington City Libraries fiction collection. There are mysteries set in Australia, Botswana, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Siberia, and in America: Los Angeles and New Mexico. All of course, involve murder, and will keep the reader in spine tingling suspense until the very last pages.

Syndetics book coverThe trust / Ronald H. Balson.
“When his uncle dies, Private Investigator Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral, a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the fog / Donato Carrisi ; translated by Howard Curtis.
“A man is arrested in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou? What really happened to the girl? Detective Vogel will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou’s disappearance. When a media storm hits the quiet town, Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMadness treads lightly / Polina Dashkova ; translated by Marian Schwartz.
“As a working mother, Lena Polyanskaya has her hands full. She’s busy caring for her two-year-old daughter, editing a successful magazine, and supporting her husband, a high-ranking colonel in counterintelligence. She doesn’t have time to play amateur detective. But when a close friend’s suspicious death is labeled a suicide, she’s determined to prove he wouldn’t have taken his own life. As Lena digs in to her investigation, all clues point to murder and its connection to a string of grisly cold-case homicides that stretches back to the Soviet era. When another person in her circle becomes a victim, Lena fears she and her family may be next. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect them. But will learning the truth unmask a killer or put her and her family in even more danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwo kinds of truth / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse. Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison. The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe angel / Katerina Diamond.
“When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison? DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons. When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDown for the count / Martin Holmén ; translated by Henning Koch.
“Harry Kvist walks out of the gates of Langholmen jail into the biting Stockholm winter of 1935. He has nothing to his name but a fiercely burning hope: that he can leave behind his old existence. But the city has other ideas. Nazis are spreading their poison on the freezing streets, and one of Kvist’s oldest friends has been murdered. Before he can leave Stockholm’s underworld for good, he must track down the killer. As Kvist uncovers a trail of blood leading to the highest echelons of Swedish society, the former boxer finds himself in a fight to the death with his most dangerous opponent yet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling season : a thriller / Faye Kellerman.
” Four years ago, fifteen-year-old Ellen Vicksburg went missing in the quiet town of River Remez, New Mexico. Ellen was kind, studious, and universally liked. Her younger brother, Ben, could imagine nothing worse than never knowing what happened to her until, on the first anniversary of her death; he found her body in a shallow grave by the river s edge. Now he is committed to finding her murderer police believe she was the victim of a psychopath known as the Demon. In the police files, Ben’s analytical mind sees patterns that don t fit, tiny threads that he adds to the clues from other similar unsolved murders. As the body count rises, a picture emerges of an adversary who is as cunning and methodical as he is twisted.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Anthill murders / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. Across Oslo, a serial killer is hunting down young women. Each body found strangled and with a peculiar calling-card placed upon her body: a cut-out picture of an ant. The first victim is a timid theology student, the next a jazz singer, followed by the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Oslo. But despite Inspector K2’s best efforts to find a link, the only thing connecting them seems to be their murder. With assistant Patricia’s intellect put to the test and increasing pressure from his boss as the clock ticks down to the next possible killing, K2 is in danger of losing his position as Oslo’s leading homicide detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDying to live : a Detective Kubu mystery / Michael Stanley.
“A Bushman is discovered dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Africa. Although the man looks old enough to have died of natural causes, the police suspect foul play, and the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. Pathologist Ian MacGregor confirms the cause of death as a broken neck, but is greatly puzzled by the man’s physiology. Although he’s obviously very old, his internal organs look remarkably young. He calls in Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu. When the Bushman’s corpse is stolen from the morgue, suddenly the case takes on a new dimension.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd fire came down / Emma Viskic.
“Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on. Now, he is struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours. But when a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert, and simmering with racial tensions. As Caleb delves deeper, he uncovers secrets that could ruin any chance of reuniting with Kat, and even threaten his life. Driven by his own demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Out of this world new sci-fi and fantasy novels

This month the selection from the new material received in this genre covers a broad range of themes.
From conspiracies to cybernetics, robots to vampires, humour to horror, and survival to dystopia, plus many more, all provide some brilliant out of this world reading.

Syndetics book coverMageborn / Stephen Aryan.
“It’s been ten years since the battlemage war, where thousands died as mages sundered the earth and split the sky. Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure a lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with the ability. As deaths involving magic increase and the seat of magical learning, the Red Tower, falls under suspicion, two students and one lawbringer must do everything they can to combat Habreel and his followers, before magic disappears from the world for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe island will sink / Briohny Doyle.
“The energy crisis has come and gone. Cities have been rethought and redesigned, and Ecolaw(TM) is enforced by insidious cartoon Pandas and their armies of viral-marketing children. Max Galleon is a filmmaker of immersive cinema, a father to two children distressed by the world around, a distant husband, a brother to a comatose mystery man, and falling rapidly in love with a doctor who is not what she seems” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt devours! : a welcome to Night Vale novel / Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor.
“Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fifth doll / Charlie N. Holmberg.
“Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life. Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls, one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem. When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls, whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fall of the House of Cabal / Jonathan L. Howard.
“Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance, comrades for the coming travails. So assisted, ably and otherwise, by his vampiric brother, Horst, and by the kindly accompaniment of a criminologist and a devil, he will encounter ruins and diableries, mystery and murder, the depths of the lowest pit and a city of horrors, London, to be exact. As the snare closes slowly and subtly around them, it may be that there will be no survivors at all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe salt line / Holly Goddard Jones.
“In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line, a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Once out of zone, this group finds itself at the mercy of deadly ticks and at the centre of a murderous plot. How far are they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAutonomous / Annalee Newitz.
“Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understands. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe real-town murders / Adam Roberts.
“Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying. Alma’s partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe uploaded / Ferrett Steinmetz.
“In the near future, the elderly have moved online and their consciousness’s now live within the computer network. But that doesn’t stop them interfering in the lives of the living, whose sole real purpose now is to maintain the vast servers which support the new digital version of Heaven. For one young orphan that just isn’t enough, he wants more for himself and his sister than a miserable life slaving away for the dead. It turns out that he’s not the only one who wants to reset the world.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverArtemis : a novel / Andy Weir.Artemis
“Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich. Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony, just rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time. So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions, not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down. The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems, because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New contemporary fiction from award-winning authors

Among the fantastic selection of new Contemporary Fiction there are new novels by many much acclaimed award winner authors. These include Isabel Allende, John Banville, Peter Carey, and Ali Smith. Along with very popular authors, Lee Child and John Grisham, this month’s selection promises many hours of wonderful holiday reading

Syndetics book coverIn the midst of winter : a novel / Isabel Allende ; translated by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson.
“A minor traffic accident becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmasterm, a 60-year-old human rights scholar, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega,a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz, a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile, for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe death of the Fronsac / Neal Ascherson
“In 1940, during the Phoney War, a French destroyer blows up in the Firth of Clyde. The disaster is witnessed by Jackie, a young girl who, for a time, thinks she caused the explosion by running away that day from school; by her mother Helen, a spirited woman married to a dreary young officer; and by a Polish officer, whose country has just been erased from the map by Hitler and Stalin. Their lives, and the lives of many others, are changed by the death of the Fronsac. This is a story about divided loyalties, treachery, and exile; about people in flight from the destinies that seemed to be theirs before the war disrupted the world they knew.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMrs. Osmond : a novel / John Banville.Mrs. Osmond
“A novel that extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory. Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but naive girl’s experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, and as Isabel finds out too late, cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond, whose connection to a certain Madame Merle is suspiciously intimate. On a trip to England to visit her cousin Ralph Touchett on his deathbed, Isabel is offered a chance to free herself from the marriage, but nonetheless chooses to return to Italy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA long way from home / Peter Carey.
“Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well. This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture, the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe midnight line / Lee Child.The Midnight Line
“Jack Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness. The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes and the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGo, went, gone / Jenny Erpenbeck ; translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky.
“A newly retired, widowed classics professor involves himself in the lives of African refugees in Berlin, getting an education in geography, linguistics, and human suffering as well as a chance to reexamine the various displacements in his life. Initially just curious about the men demonstrating at Alexanderplatz and living in a tent city in Kreuzberg, solitary, Richard listens to harrowing stories. Fascinated by the starkness of the refugees’ circumstances and their resilience, Richard discovers new compassion within himself. But there isn’t much he can do to stop the bureaucratic grind of the German legal system or the cruelties of EU immigration policy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rooster bar / John Grisham.
“ Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. But maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, , well, yes and no.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The passage of love / Alex Miller.
“Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning. At twenty-one years, Robert Crofts leaves his broken dreams in Far North Queensland, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It’s there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him. They will be how he leaves his mark on the world. He also begins to understand how many obstacles there will be to thwart his ambition. When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path. But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDunbar / Edward St. Aubyn.
” Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he hands over care of the corporation to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan, but as relations sour he starts to doubt the wisdom of past decisions. Imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWinter / Ali Smith.
“Winter? Bleak,frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes, the shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The world shrinks; the sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. And if there’s ice, there’ll be fire. It’s the season that teaches us survival.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Classical Music Additions

This week our classical recent additions focus on French/Belgian and French-inspired performances and compositions, courtesy of Alpha Classics and Erato music labels.

Dixit Dominus, Handel & Magnificat, Bach. Performed by Vox Luminis.
A finalist for Presto Classical recording of the year, this album is beautifully produced by Belgian group Vox Luminis, directed by Lionel Meunier. “Bach and Handel are often presented as antipodes, whose musical output has little in common. … Even though their later careers could hardly be more different, it must be acknowledged that… both men were rooted in the musical culture of central Germany with its uniquely rich tradition” (booklet).

L’Homme de Génie, Haydn. Performed by the Kammerorchester Basel.
Volume 5 of the Haydn 2032 project, which aims to produce a complete set of recordings of Haydn’s symphonies before the 300th anniversary of his birth. Played on period instruments, this recording also includes the C minor Symphony by lesser-known Classical composer Joseph Martin Kraus.

Mirages. Performed by Sabine Devieilhe.
“Since the nineteenth century the coloratura soprano voice has been associated with female characters as alluring as they are exotic. This album focuses on French composers’ love affair with this exceptional voice, by means of which they draw the listener far from the real world” (back cover).

Quatuors Parisiens, Telemann. Performed by “Nevermind”.
The quartet of Anna Besson (flute), Lous Creac’h (violin), Robin Pharo (viola da gamba) and Jean Rondeau (harpsichord) combine to produce this recording of Telemann’s Nouveaux Quatuors Parisiens.

History for the holidays: New books

This month’s history picks are largely about the negative and grim, just in time for the holiday season. Pleasant subjects like the Ukrainian famine, mistreated POWs in Britain during World War 2, and failures of military in the Middle East during the post-9/11 operations are all visited. Fortunately we have something a bit more positive to bring the mood back up with an examination of how Chaucer’s works reflected fourteenth century society, and closer to home we have a history of the Hawke’s Bay area.

Syndetics book coverRed famine : Stalin’s war on Ukraine / Anne Applebaum.
“From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain , a revelatory history of one of Stalin’s greatest crimes–the consequences of which still resonate today. In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization–in effect a second Russian revolution–which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. Applebaum’s compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRichard Nixon : the life / John A. Farrell.
“At the end of WWII, navy lieutenant “Nick” Nixon returned from the Pacific and set his cap at Congress, an idealistic dreamer seeking to build a better world. Yet amid the turns of that now-legendary 1946 campaign, Nixon’s finer attributes gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. The story of that transformation is the stunning overture to John A. Farrell’s magisterial biography of the president who came to embody postwar American resentment and division. Richard Nixon is a gripping and unsparing portrayal of our darkest president. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, and offering fresh revelations, it will be hailed as a master work.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDestructive creation : American business and the winning of World War II / Mark R. Wilson.
“During World War II, the United States helped vanquish the Axis powers by converting its enormous economic capacities into military might. Crucial in this effort were business leaders. Some of these captains of industry went to Washington to coordinate the mobilization, while others led their companies to churn out weapons. Offering a groundbreaking account of the inner workings of the “arsenal of democracy,” Destructive Creation also suggests how the struggle to define its heroes and villains has continued to shape economic and political development to the present day.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe London cage : the secret history of Britain’s World War II interrogation centre / Helen Fry.
“Behind the locked doors of three mansions in London’s exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens neighborhood, the British Secret Service established a highly secret prison in 1940: the London Cage. This riveting book reveals the full details of operations at the London Cage and subsequent efforts to hide them. Helen Fry’s extraordinary original research uncovers the grim picture of prisoners’ daily lives and of systemic Soviet-style mistreatment.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLosing small wars : British military failure in the 9/11 wars / Frank Ledwidge.
“This new edition of Frank Ledwidge’s eye-opening analysis of British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan unpicks the causes and enormous costs of military failure. Updated throughout, and with fresh chapters assessing and enumerating the overall military performance since 2011–including Libya, ISIS, and the Chilcot findings–Ledwidge shows how lessons continue to go unlearned.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fall : the evidence for a golden age, 6,000 years of insanity, and the dawning of a new era / Steve Taylor.
“It is not “natural” for human beings to kill each other, for men to oppress women, for individuals to accumulate massive wealth and power, or to abuse nature. The roots of our current malaise lie in an “ego explosion” which occurred several thousand years ago. “Primitive,” pre-civilization men and women were largely free of our social ills and had a more unified and harmonious state of being than us. This intensively-researched, highly praised book explains the origins of our problems and suggests what we can do to return to a state of harmony.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe history of Hawke’s Bay / Matthew Wright.
“Hawke’s Bay has a remarkable history, brief by world standards, yet filled with colour, pace and life. This illustrated history covers the broadest sweep of Hawke’s Bay’s past, telling the wider tale of people and their ideals. It extends from the Maori history of the district to Hawke’s Bay’s rumbustious settler era, the highs and lows of the twentieth century with its wars, depressions and booms; and the remarkable social transformations of the early twenty-first.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe expanding blaze : how the American Revolution ignited the world, 1775-1848 / Jonathan Israel.
The Expanding Blaze is a sweeping history of how the American Revolution inspired revolutions throughout Europe and the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jonathan Israel, one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment, shows how the radical ideas of American founders such as Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Monroe set the pattern for democratic revolutions, movements, and constitutions in France, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Canada, Haiti, Brazil, and Spanish America.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChaucer’s people : everyday lives in medieval England / Liza Picard.
“The Middle Ages were turbulent times. In the fourteenth century alone, England was ravaged by war, plague, revolt and the overthrow of a king. Among the surviving records, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer is the most vivid. But what does it tell us about the everyday lives of medieval men and women? What did people eat, wear, read and think? Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, Chaucer’s People recreates the medieval world in all its glorious detail.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Have a browse of recent additions to our CD collection

New albums by big names such as Beck, Robert Plant and Pink are now here in our proud CD collection. The new star Kelela’s debut album and Cat Steven’s The Laughing Apple which celebrates his 50 year career, have also arrived. Check them out!

Beck, Colors
“The album is cheerier and more experimental than Beck’s last album, something attributed to his happiness with his wife, Marissa Ribisi. Those good feelings permeate the music, an experimental collage of bright pop sounds. Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a shoo-in for summeriest smash of the autumn season.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

St. Vincent, Masseduction
“Themes of power and sex, imperiled relationships and death slice through the album, St. Vincent – aka Annie Clark’s first since her 2014 breakout ‘St. Vincent.’ The thirteen tracks on ‘MASSEDUCTION’ swirl with guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats that punch with purpose. ‘MASSEDUCTION’ is the culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Robert Plant, Carry fire
“Robert Plant’s eleventh solo album and first full-length release since 2014’s acclaimed ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’. Robert, who lived in Texas for a time before returning to England three years ago, together with his friends, present the songs Carry Fire, melding unusual rhythms with naturalism and smouldering power.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Pink, Beautiful trauma
“The singer/songwriter is a happily married mother of two, creeping up on her 40th birthday — but her decision to do little more than nod at contemporary musical trends is deliberate, a reflection of how her hits and audience have crept toward the adult contemporary charts, but she’s still as liable to curse as croon” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Sam Smith, The thrill of it all
“Following an incredible success with his debut album In The Lonely Hour – including four Grammy Awards, both an Academy Award and Golden Globe, three Brit Awards, and amassing over eight billion streams to date – Sam Smith is back with his sophomore record The Thrill Of It All. The first single off the album, “Too Good At Goodbyes”, debuted at #1 on multiple global charts.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Kelela, Take me apart
“With great anticipation, Kelela’s debut album emerges as an epic portrait of an artist spanning the past and future of R&B. In her hands, however, the genre knows no boundaries and so Take Me Apart exists as an absolutely singular and fearless addition to a canon of recent classics. From her very earliest work, honesty and vulnerability have been cornerstones of Kelela’s art – even when clad in the armor of the avant-garde electronics she so deftly inhabits – and Take Me Apart sees her double down on both the emotional intensity and resonance of her message as well as the sonic seeking she is renowned for.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, The laughing apple
“The Laughing Apple brings Yusuf’s career full circle, coming 50 years after his first album. It reunites him with producer Paul Samwell-Smith and guitarist Alun Davies, prominent collaborators on landmark recordings including 1970’s multi-platinum Tea for the Tillerman. The Laughing Apple follows the common ’60s template of combining newly written songs with covers from Yusuf’s catalog, presenting some of his earliest material as he has always wished it had been recorded.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)