Take up a new craft this summer

paperLearn a new hobby from a master of the art:

Renowned papercutter, Jessica Palmer introduces the story of papercutting, then shows the reader how to ‘see the world’ as a papercutter. Sharing her art from inspiration to conclusion, she shows how to separate the visual world into positive and negative shapes and design gorgeous images, creating pattern, texture and striking images from paper. Her art is essentially ‘drawing with a knife’ and she shows step by step how to achieve this safely and effectively. A practical section explains the materials needed and techniques used, including how to work from photographs. Then Jessica shares her art in paper, which includes silhouettes, wearable art, portraits, landscapes, fashion images, book covers and illustrations, life drawing, works in 3D and more.

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love, NinaWhat a lovely book! If you’re looking for a funny and fascinating read for the summer, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Nina came to London in the 1980s and was employed as a nanny in a literary North London family. She can’t cook and her employer doesn’t object to her interesting approach to looking after the two boys, which means that Nina’s letters home to her sister make for very amusing, and sometimes laugh-out-loud reading.

Nothing exciting or outrageous happens, but the everyday events of family life are reported in these chatty letters to Vic which include recipe tips and reports of conversations over the dinner table with famous neighbours who call round for meals.

In the second part of the book, the literary influences begin to have an effect on Nina and she struggles through an A level in English Literature, in order to get into higher education.

I loved the light touch that she gives to the unfolding story, and am delighted that she’s gone on to have her first novel published – once the waiting list for it dwindles, I’ll definitely be borrowing it!


Reserve Love, Nina

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

WonderI had read a few reviews about this book and seen the front cover in many shops and on websites so I felt quite drawn to it. I still like to share a book with my 12 year old son and he too had seen this book around at school, but had not read it, so it was the perfect choice for us.

Auggie has a severe facial deformity, the book tells the story of his first year at high school. I liked the way that each chapter told the story of Auggie’s year from the view of each of the central characters. It raised issues around bullying, acceptance and true friendship.

The plot is down to earth which gives the book a huge sense of credibility. It tackles the fears that parents have around their child feeling accepted and the bravery needed to send them out into what can be a very cruel world.

Whilst the book is a great awareness raiser around the subject of facial deformity it is also a genuinely good read for teens and adults.


Reserve Wonder

A brand new novel from Louis de Bernières, now out in hardback!

bernIn the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood. For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges. Torn between her love for two young men – one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace – she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?

Louis de Bernieres’ magnificent and moving new novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world. Reserve your copy from the library.

More than this by Patrick Ness

more than thisUnusual and thoughtful, this is aimed at young adults but older readers will find plenty to enjoy. Hard to pigeonhole, this book is ultimately philosophical and concerned with what we make of our lives. One character is gay and his relationships (as with all the relationships portrayed in this story) are beautifully well-written, still a rarity in mainstream fiction.


A boy called Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. How is that possible? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighbourhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust and completely abandoned. What’s going on?

Reserve a copy here.

A modern way to cook by Anna Jones

cookFrom the author of the brilliant A Modern Way to Eat, a new collection of delicious, healthy, inspiring vegetarian recipes – that are so quick to make they’re achievable on any night of the week. Many more of us are interested in eating healthier food on a regular basis but sometimes, when we’re home late, tired after work, and don’t have time to buy lots of ingredients, it can just seem too complicated. In this brilliant new collection of recipes, Anna Jones makes clean, nourishing, vegetable-centred food realistic on any night of the week. Chapters will be broken down by time (recipes for under 15, 20, 30 or 40 minutes) and also by planning a little ahead (quick healthy breakfasts, dishes you can make and re-use throughout the week). Anna’s new book will be a truly practical and inspiring collection for anyone who wants to put dinner on the table quickly, without fuss, trips to specialist shops or too much washing up, but still eat food that tastes incredible and is doing you good.

Reserve a copy and get cooking!

The truth about the Harry Quebert affair by Joel Dicker

harr qI have to preface this review by saying that this book has sold millions of copies all around the world, been translated into several languages; and the ebook version I read opened with nearly 10 pages of enthusiastic praise from literary critics from many countries.

That said, I hated it. I found it to be confusing, boring and morally questionable. I expected a more nuanced, philosophical book, but this was a straight cold-case crime investigation.

I kept reading it hoping it would improve, but 400 pages later I could only conclude it did not. If I could somehow claim back from the author the time spent reading it, I would.

Reserve a copy here (and come to your own conclusions!)


New true crime: One of the family : 40 years with the Krays by Maureen Flanagan.

krays‘One of the Family’ is the untold, intimate history of the twins and the woman who raised them. Told with humour and insight, it looks back across the decades at the life of this close knit, notorious East End family. Maureen Flanagan, a then 20 year old hairdresser started visiting the Kray family home in Vallance Road each week to give the twins’ mother, Violet, her weekly shampoo and set. Over the cups of tea and the rollers and hairpins, Violet began to confide in ‘Flan’ about her life, her incredible pride in her twins, the celebrities who visited her at their humble East End home – and her troubled relationship with her husband.

Reserve a copy from the library.

Wake up happy every day by Stephen May.

wake upA really enjoyable and entertaining read from the author of the Costa-nominated ‘Life! Death! Prizes!’.

I really cared about the characters and found myself snorting with laughter several times… I read it in a day because I couldn’t quite seem to put it down.

Reserve your copy here.

Nicky has always known Russell was rich, but he has no idea how astronomically rich Russell is until his friend drops dead, on his 50th birthday, in his San Francisco mansion, with Nicky as the only witness. For forty years the two men have kept up their friendship, with Russell’s birthday offering him an annual opportunity to remind Nicky of how much more successful Russell is, and how much further he has come since their English suburban childhood. And now Nicky has come up with an uncharacteristically daring plan. If Nicky were to become Russell and leave his old life lying dead on the bathroom floor, then he, his wife Sarah and their daughter Scarlett could start again.

New into libraries: The living and the dead in Winsford by Hakan Nesser.

nesserFrom the bestselling, award-winning Swedish author, a gripping and deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set on Exmoor. One for fans of Gone Girl!

A woman arrives in the village of Winsford on Exmoor. She has travelled a long way and chosen her secluded cottage carefully. Maria’s sole intention is to outlive her beloved dog Castor. And to survive the torrent of memories that threaten to overwhelm her.

Weeks before, Maria and her husband Martin fled Stockholm under a cloud. The couple were bound for Morocco, where Martin planned to write an explosive novel; one that would reveal the truth behind dark events within his commune of writers decades before.

But the couple never made it to their destination.As Maria settles into her lonely new life, walking the wild, desolate moors, it becomes clear that Winsford isn’t quite the sanctuary she thought it would be. While the long, dark evenings close in and the weather worsens, strange things begin to happen around her. But what terrible secrets is Maria guarding? And who is trying to find her?

A haunting, masterly unravelling of a dreadful crime, in The Living and the Dead in Winsford Hakan Nesser, the bestselling, award-winning author of the Van Veeteren series, tightens the tension like a noose . . .

Reserve a copy.


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