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13 Of January's best new books

BY Farhana Gani

1st Jan 2015 Book Reviews

13 Of January's best new books

What better than a riveting book to get you through the long winter nights? From fiction to food to biography and family drama, these are our favourite new books, out right now. And don't miss the opportunity to win them all!

Medusa’s Web

Tim Powers

Medusa's Web

A new novel from Tim Powers is always a cause for excitement.

One of his previous bestsellers, On Stranger Tides, was the inspiration behind the blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean.

Medusa’s Web is an altogether different tale about possession, time travel, family secrets and old Hollywood.

In the wake of their Aunt Amity's suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to the eerie, decaying mansion in which they were raised. But their reclusive and depraved cousins, wheelchair-bound Claimayne and his sister Ariel, are less than welcoming…



Beside Myself

Ann Morgan

Beside Myself

It’s not often we find a new book the whole office agrees on, but Ann Morgan has written that very thing.

Beside Myself is an unsettling story of twin sisters and the nature of identity.

Helen and Ellie are identical twins. Everyone tells them they’re like two peas in a pod, but this isn’t true. Helen is the leader.

One day, just for fun, they decide to swap places. But then Ellie refuses to swap back…

This novel is as gripping and powerful as Room, the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s book that’s been tipped for Oscar success.



Vanessa and Her Sister

Priya Parmar

Vanessa and her sister

This novel sparkles! It’s a witty and riveting fictional account of eight years in the lives of painter Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf.

In 1905 the girls, and their two brothers Thoby and Adrian, set up home in avant-garde Bloomsbury. They become the centre of the now legendary Bloomsbury Group, a brilliant circle of bohemian artists and writers.

Vanessa records their lives in minute detail, revealing the inseparable yet destructive bond between the sisters and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family.



American Housewife

Helen Ellis

American housewife

When a book of short stories (some as short as one page) opens with the line “Channelling Beyoncé, I stallion-walk to the toaster”, you know you’re in the company of an audacious, uproarious and witty writer.

Helen Ellis, an international poker star, is also the creator of the hilarious ‘American Housewife’ twitter account.

Some of my favourite stories stories in this collection include advice from cats, tips for Southern Ladies and a war-like-no-other between next-door neighbours.




Karen Blumenthal


What do we really know about US presidential hopeful Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton? Apart from the fact that she was once America’s First Lady and that she’s been linked to a few political scandals and financial shenanigans?

Karen Blumenthal’s accessible biography is an enthralling read and a moving story about the most powerful woman in America, and arguably the world.

Meet the real woman behind the name.



What a Way to Go

Julia Forster

What a Way to Go

What a joy to read! Harper Richardson's parents are divorced. Her mum won custody of the Mini, 500 tins of baked beans, and her.

Her dad got a decaying cottage in the Midlands wilderness and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents' club.

Set in the 1980s, against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, this is a wise and witty tale of a 12-year-old trying to grow up, while the adults around her try not to fall apart.

Julia Forster’s assured debut novel marks the start of a brilliant writing career.



River Cottage Gluten Free

Naomi Devlin

River Cottage Gluten Free

Just because you’re gluten intolerant doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious food. These River Cottage recipes prove it.

Nutrition expert Naomi Devlin gives clear advice for gluten-free eating—including detailed guidance on alternative flours and delicious baking ideas.

The book contains 120 mouth-watering recipes for breakfasts, bread, pastry, soups, salads, snacks, main meals and puddings, including courgette hummus, blackberry Bakewell tart and luscious lemon cake.

With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, welcome to the world of gluten freedom!



The Lives of Women

Christine Dwyer Hickey

The Lives of Women

A quietly powerful book about devastated lives is now out in paperback. Multi-award winning Irish writer Dwyer Hickey’s novel is a smart tale of sex and scandal in American suburbia.

50-year-old Elaine returns to her small-town family home, to care for her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian, and she ends up returning to her 16-year-old self.

This is a cleverly written and intriguing novel that wraps itself around you as you become immersed in the fascinating banality of Middle American lives.



Blood Relatives

Stevan Alcock

Blood relatives

This incredible debut novel is a coming-of-age tale of a cheerful gay teenager, set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders.

A body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields in Leeds. It’s 1975 and England is already in upheaval. Ricky, a Corona soft drinks delivery boy, is running late for his daily hook-up with Matterhorn Man.

In the years that follow until his capture, Peter Sutcliffe’s and Ricky’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences.



Hidden Bodies

Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies

A terrifyingly creepy account of chilling and unrelenting deceit, Hidden Bodies is a very dark, humorous, and sexy follow-up to her previous novel, You.

Joe Goldbert the book-loving psychopath is back. Having despatched his lover, amongst others, in the brilliant You, he’s now eyeing up a new target.

This is a perversely clever thriller and unlike anything I’ve read. I was distinctly alarmed to find myself rooting for a serial killer who proclaims “It’s the little things that make you want to kill someone.”



The Melody Lingers On

Mary Higgins Clark

The Melody Lingers On

The number 1 New York Times bestselling “Queen of Suspense” has penned another thrilling novel, this time about a headline-making financial scandal involving missing billions and a disgraced financier who appears to have vanished.

Lane Harmon works for a famous interior designer and finds herself looking after the redecoration for the family of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.

Lane is soon drawn into the scandal and the family’s desire to prove his innocence in this hair-raising tale of deception and betrayal



I Love You But I’m Not In Love with You

Andrew G. Marshall

I love you but I'm not in love with you Andrew G Marshall

How do you fall back in love?

This was the challenge put to relationship therapist Andrew Marshall by a growing number of couples who had been together for years and needed to reignite their passion for each other.

He decided to delve into the nature of long-term relationships and find out why companionship was no longer enough.

This manual, sub-titled Seven Steps to Saving Your Relationship, was first published 10 years ago and it remains an international bestseller. This new edition is updated with a new preface. 



Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge

Sure, Olive Kitteridge isn’t actually new, but it is new to me and I was so enchanted by it I have to share it.

My curiosity was sparked when Frances McDormand (of Fargo fame) won the Best Actress Emmy for her portrayal of Frances in the HBO adaptation and sought out the book.

Olive, a high-school maths teacher and the wife of a pharmacist, links 13 stories set in a quintessentially New England coastal town. Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for this wonderful ‘novel in stories’.

Her latest novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, which comes out next month, is going to be unmissable.


Prize Draw: Win a collection of 13 new books!

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