Posted by Emily Rowland in Recommended Reading
Trying to decide which books to take on holiday with you as you head out to the beaches – or even just to your back garden – this (hopefully) long, hot, sultry summer?
Look no further than our suggestions below:
Life's a Beach – Perfect paperbacks for sunny days
Other People's Secrets
by Louise Candlish
Ginny and Adam Trustlove arrive on holiday in Italy torn apart by personal tragedy. Two weeks in a boathouse on the edge of peaceful Lake Orta is exactly what they need to restore their faith in life – and each other.
Twenty-four hours later, the silence is broken. The Sale family have arrived at the main villa: wealthy, high-flying Marty, his beautiful wife Bea, and their privileged, confident offspring. It doesn't take long for Ginny and Adam to be drawn in, especially when the teenage Pippi introduces a new friend into the circle. For there is something about Zach that has everyone instantly beguiled, something that loosens old secrets – and creates shocking new ones.
And, yet, not one of them suspects that his arrival in their lives might be anything other than accidental . . .
'What a brilliant book this is – clever, engrossing and unputdownable. I absolutely loved it and demand a sequel!' – Jill Mansell
by Ronnie Cooper
Behind every great man there is a woman. Behind the world's greatest band there are three…
The groupie: Coco LaBiba has the beauty and she has the money, but she just needs sex, music and fame to get high. She won't give up her wild ways for anyone – except the one guy she can never have.
The wife: Marny Rammer – pretty, shy, devoted wife of the band's lead singer. But there's a price to pay when superstardom comes knocking on your husband's door, and for Marny it comes in a dangerous pile of fine white powder…
The manager: Lori Wyatt is the girl from the sticks turned kick-ass band manager who can play any man at their own game – business, or pleasure – and who will do anything she can to sky-rocket her boys to the top. Anything.
Following in the killer-heel-clad footsteps of the sirens of the sexy novel – Jaqueline Susann and Jackie Collins – comes a new voice in naughtiness, Ronni Cooper, with a novel so steamy, seductive and shamelessly addictive you'll be hooked from the very first page.
'Sexy, scandalous, shocking. A fantastic summer read' – Tasmina Perry
The Ice Cream Girls
by Dorothy Koomson
1989. Teenagers Serena Gorringe and Poppy Carlisle are on trial as the only witnesses to a tragedy that will blight their lives forever. Dubbed 'The Ice Cream Girls' by the press, they are dragged through the law courts. While a media storm rages, the jury listen intently as both girls deny the charges against them. But is one of them lying about what really happened?
Twenty years later, the secrets of their past come to the fore once again and threaten to jeopardise their lives once more. Dorothy Koomson's powerful and controversial new novel will make you wonder if you can ever truly know the people you love…
'A fast paced, gritty and exhilarating read' – Hot Stars
His Last Duchess
by Gabrielle Kimm
His Last Duchess is the captivating fictionalised account of the real life Lucrezia de' Medici who was just fourteen when she was betrothed to the fifth duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este. Historical papers document the marriage in 1559, but just three years later Lucrezia mysteriously disappears from records. Her whereabouts have been much debated by historians over the centuries and several schools of thought have emerged. While some believe that she died of natural causes, others, including poet Robert Browning, preferred to believe that Alfonso was in some way responsible for her demise.
Browning's depiction of the widowed duke in his dark and sinister poem 'My Last Duchess' has long fascinated Gabrielle Kimm and is the inspiration behind her debut novel. His Last Duchess is rich in historical detail that explores women's freedom, forbidden love and the passions, and people, of 16th century Tuscany and Ferrara.
The Many Conditions of Love
by Farahad Zama
Can true love triumph in the face of fierce family opposition? Mr Ali's marriage bureau is flourishing but trouble isn't far away once son Rehman begins secretly to woo TV journalist Usha in the small cafes and on the beautiful beaches of South Indian Vizag in an ill-advised romance.
Meanwhile the lovely Aruna has a problem or two all her own. She enjoys being Mr Ali's right-hand woman at the marriage bureau, having a wonderful husband Ram, and living in a mansion a far cry from her parents' cramped one-room house; but how long can Aruna remain happy once her spiteful sister-in-law Mani comes home to stay?
When Usha's father finds out about Rehman, a Muslim, the fat is in the fire. And what will Mr and Mrs Ali have to say when they discover too their son has been dating a non-Muslim?
A bustling contemporary marriage bureau proves a perfect backdrop for a splendid array of characters making sense of the collision between modernity and tradition in this magnificent return to the world of The Marriage Bureau for Rich People.
'A writer of charming and breezy prose, Zama pays homage to Jane Austen in a contemporary love story firmly grounded in classic wrangles over family, property and class.' – The Independent
The Truth About Love
by Josephine Hart
A young man shields his terrible wounds from his mother; a husband believes he can love his wife back to life; a young girl puts her life on hold until her family can find their way back from blinding pain; a man admits to the helplessness of obsessive love. Set in Ireland, this brilliant, intense novel tells the story of the O'Hara family who choose to remain in the place of their loss, and the stranger from Germany who has run from his.
Seven years in the writing, the tragic story of the O'Hara family allows Josephine Hart to explore the history of her homeland and the disturbing ties between love of family and love of country. The Truth About Love is an uncompromising morality tale of grief and guilt, love and redemption.
'An ambitious and poetic weaving of a long-ago family tragedy into the tragic history, and histories, of our time. Josephine Hart has come home in triumph' – John Banville
by Sharon Marshall
Sharon Marshall was a tabloid reporter for ten years. During this time she had a spectacularly lousy love life. This may well be because she did some Very Bad Things at work. Some things that didn't exactly make her marriage material.
In this true, and hilariously honest memoir, the former tabloid hack confesses how she:
- Kidnapped Jade Goody's mother
- Went undercover at swinging parties
- Broke into the Friends set – and accidentally landed a role
- Dodged death threats from pop stars
- Hired hookers
- Hassled the Hoff
- And really, really pissed off Jeremy Paxman
Plus the low down on faking expenses, how to make your excuses in S&M dungeons, the art of the kiss-and-tell and why eventually she had to quit to get her man.
The Murderer's Daughters
Sisters Lulu and Merry share a terrible past. When Lulu was only a child, she let her drunken father into the family home and watched him kill her mother – and then turn on six-year-old Merry.
Bound by their love for each other but divided by private grief, forgiveness comes at a higher price than either could have imagined. The Murderer's Daughters is a gripping and moving story of the ramifications of one violent act and the endurance of family loyalty – even when it is stretched to the very limit.
'Psychologically complex characters make Meyers's debut a satisfying read' – Publishers Weekly
The Empress of Ice Cream
by Anthony Capella
1671. Carlo Demirco is the only man in the world who knows how to make ice cream. As confectioner to Louis XIV, his talents are kept a closely guarded secret and his dishes served up for the King's pleasure only. But Carlo has fallen hopelessly in love with Louise de Keroualle, an impoverished lady-in-waiting to Henrietta d'Angleterre, sister of Charles II of England. When Henrietta dies suddenly, Louise and Carlo's lives are changed irrevocably when they are sent to London.
It quickly becomes clear that Charles II wants Louise as his mistress. The only power Carlo has left to wield is through his exquisite ice cream confections, but where will his loyalties lie, and will he seek his revenge?
Praise for The Various Flavours of Coffee: 'A fruity, full-bodied story' – Good Housekeeping
Day for Night
by Frederick Reiken
As a child, Beverly Rabinowitz fled Europe with her mother during World War II. Almost half a century later, while vacationing in Florida with her boyfriend and his son, a chance encounter leads to a strangely lucid moment in which she senses that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. It's the first of many seemingly random events that are guiding Beverly, and the people in her life, toward a startling discovery.
Day For Night illuminates how disparate, far-flung people can be connected, and how the truth of those bonds can upend entire lives. Each chapter is a small universe of its own, and together they form a dazzling novel.
Gliding effortlessly across time and space, in settings that range from Florida to New Jersey to the Caribbean and the Dead Sea, Day For Night builds toward moments of revelation, when refugees from their own lives, or from history's cruelties, come together in unpredictable and extraordinary ways.
'A great read. Each chapter gives you an intriguing tale with a character that appeared incidentally in the previous one. This 'chain letter' style story has you gripped' – Patrick Neale (Booksellers' Choice in The Bookseller)
Chill Out – Crime and Thrillers to delve into
by Duncan Falconer
Special forces operative John Stratton returns in a twisting and explosive thriller set on a North Sea oil rig and in the heart of Russia, far below ground.
An action-packed, high-octane thriller, Traitor is a page-turner packed with thrillingly authentic detail, gained from Falconer's many years as a top operative.
'Inevitably he'll be compared to McNab, but I'd say Falconer has the edge' – Mail on Sunday
When Sienna Hegarty turns up at his family home one night, covered in blood and frozen in shock, psychologist Joe O'Loughlin finds himself drawn deep into her world, trying to unearth the dark secrets her mind has buried. The police find a major piece of the puzzle at Sienna's house: her father, a retired cop, is face-down in a pool of his own blood, his throat slashed and his skull caved in. The blood covering Sienna was his.
The 14-year-old can't remember what happened that night but, at the same time, Sienna doesn't mourn her father's death. What was going on behind closed doors in the Hegarty household? Is Sienna guilty of brutal murder? And what part has her charismatic teacher Gordon Ellis played in this blood-soaked event?
Praise for Shatter: 'Exceptional suspense novel… Don't get into the second half of this book before that Green Day concert, or you'll end up staying home to see how it all comes out' – Stephen King
by Jesse Kellerman
In a mysterious, darkened old house, philosophy graduate Joseph Geist starts a new career as a 'conversationalist'. He has been employed to spend a few hours a week making intelligent conversation with elderly Alma Spielmann after answering a bizarre advert in the newspaper.
But then Alma's nephew Eric appears on the scene. Eric is a handsome, manipulative drifter, and the apple of his aunt's eye; Joseph takes an instant dislike to him. However, he couldn't possibly predict what a devastating effect Eric and his aunt will have on the rest of his life…
A brilliant and utterly gripping thriller, The Executor is the long-awaited new masterpiece by the author of the Richard and Judy bestseller The Brutal Art which was shortlisted for The Galaxy British Book Awards 2009.
'A most accomplished novel by a writer of great imagination and skill' – Sunday Telegraph
Five Ways to Kill a Man
by Alex Gray
An unpredictable killer is loose on the streets of Glasgow. Black hood pulled up, suddenly appearing out of the shadows, this dark figure is experimenting with murder, again and again. Beginning with brute force and relishing the power of snuffing out another human life, the murderer moves on to poison and drowning, greedy for new and better ways to kill.
As the serial killer comes closer to Lorimer himself and his own family, can the DCI unmask the volatile murderer before the next victim is found too close to home?
So gripping and surprising that it will keep you on the edge of your seat from the very first page, Five Ways to Kill a Man is compulsive page-turner featuring the most dynamic Scottish detective since Rebus.
'This is a golden age for Scottish crime writing and Gray more than holds her own against the likes of Rankin and McDermid' – Daily Express
The Noah's Ark Quest
by Boyd Morrison
Before he dies, the father of ambitious young architect Dilara Kenner leaves her tantalising clues about the location of the legendary historical artefact – Noah's Ark.
The most fabled relic of all time, the search for Noah's Ark has obsessed many over the years. And when Dilara starts her quest – aided by former army engineer Tyler Locke – she rapidly becomes transfixed by the thought of discovering it.
From a helicopter crash in the Atlantic, to a sinister sect in Arizona's Mojave Desert, to the remote slopes of Mount Ararat, this thrilling page-turner blends nonstop action with fascinating historical fact. It has been acclaimed as the most exciting, revelatory novel in the genre since The Da Vinci Code.
'A stunning thriller… Here is a novel that will leave you holding your breath until the last page is turned' – James Rollins
by Jeff Abbot
Sam Capra – brilliant CIA agent, loving husband, expectant father – loses everything that matters to him in a horrifying moment in London. An unknown enemy has set him up as a traitor, and Sam is thrown into a nightmare as his own kind turn against him and make him a man on the run.
Escaping from the CIA, Sam goes on a desperate hunt for the killer who stole his family, determined to save his kidnapped wife and child.
But the destruction of Sam's life was only step one in an extraordinary plot – and now Sam Capra must become a new kind of hero…
A scorching summer read, full of intrigue, danger and suspense, Adrenaline is the start of a thrilling new series.
Robin Ince's Bad Book Club
by Robin Ince
Robin Ince's Bad Book Club is a compilation and celebration of the world's worst, and inadvertently hilarious, books, all of which were purchased in second hand shops for less that three pounds or were donated by a fellow enthusiast.
His treasure trove of underappreciated classics includes: vengeful beast horrors such as Crabs on the Rampage, (where Wales is the unlikely setting of a sociopathic crustacean invasion), romance sub-genres from the equine Diamond Stud to the gynaecological Sign of the Speculum, a hinterland of celebrity autobiography such as Syd Little's Little Goes a Long Way and his later volume Little By Little, and the now obsolete, but much sought after, The Secrets of Picking up Sexy Girls.
The Haunting of James Hastings
by Christopher Ransom
James Hastings' wife Stacey is dead – killed in a horrific accident that leaves her husband shattered. Wracked with grief and guilt, James withdraws into his sprawling mansion, losing himself in liquor… and memories of Stacey.
Until the day two women enter his life. One is Annette, a gorgeous stranger with a dark past. The other is not a stranger, and her past is all too familiar.
First her voice echoes through the phone lines, and from behind the ballroom doors. Then her shoes reappear, streaked with mud and grime, as though unearthed from the grave. And soon Annette begins saying things only Stacey could know, enveloping James in a spiral of terror and violence that threatens to destroy his home, his sanity, and his soul. For death is only the beginning of his nightmare. And the haunting of James Hastings might just be the end of him.
Praise for The Birthing House: 'A super scary debut' – Daily Mirror
by Angus Donald
1190 AD: Richard the Lionheart has launched his epic crusade to seize Jerusalem from the cruel Saracens. Marching with the vast royal army is Britain's most famous, most feared, most ferocious warrior: the Outlaw of Nottingham, the Earl of Locksley – Robin Hood himself.
With his band of loyal men at his side, Robin cuts a bloody swathe on the brutal journey east. Daring and dangerous, he can outwit and outlast any foe – but the crimson battlefields of the Holy Land are the ultimate proving ground. And within Robin's camp lurks a traitor – a stealthy enemy determined to slay Christendom's greatest outlaw before the trumpets fade.
Blazingly paced and richly imagined, featuring a cast of unforgettable characters and packed with fast, furious action, Holy Warrior is adventure at its thrilling, white-knuckle best.
Praise for Outlaw: 'A lively and enjoyable book' – Daily Mail
The Great Escape – Science-Fiction and Fantasy writing
by Kelley Armstrong
After years of struggle, Elena Michaels – journalist, investigator, werewolf – has finally come to terms with her strange fate, and learned how to control her wild side.
At least, that's what she believes when she sets off to Alaska with her partner Clay. A series of gruesome maulings and murders outside Anchorage seem to implicate a rogue band of werewolves. But the truth is more complicated. Trapped in a frozen, unforgiving terrain, they are forced to confront a deadly secret, and their own, untamed nature…
Gripping, intense and deeply satisfying, Frostbitten is a brilliant novel of suspense with a supernatural twist – packaged in the stunning new Kelley Armstrong series style.
'A tasty confection of werewolves, sex and vendettas. Gory, sexy fun' – SFX
Tags for this Article: Alex Gray
, Angus Donald
, Anthony Capella
, Boyd Morrison
, Christopher Ransom
, Dorothy Koomson
, Duncan Falconer
, Farahad Zama
, Frederick Reiken
, Gabrielle Kimm
, Jeff Abbot
, Jesse Kellerman
, Josephine Hart
, Kelley Armstrong
, Louise Candlish
, Michael Robotham
, R.S. Meyers
, Robin Ince
, Ronnie Cooper
, Sharon Marshall
, tabloid journalism
, urban fantasy