A completely delightful, charming and romantic debut novel from an author I know I’ll be following from now on. Tiffy is reeling from a particularly bad break-up and needs somewhere to live asap, the downside is, it needs to be cheap. So, when she finds an ad for a flatshare she jumps on it. She’ll have the apartment from 6pm through the night until 9am and weekends, and her flatmate, Leon, will have it from 9am through 6pm everyday, therefore never meeting. However, they get in the habit of leaving each other notes, and find it’s easier to really learn to know someone you’ve never seen, than either one of them could have predicted. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty
When teenage Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her deepest truth written on it, as well as her name and email address, little does she expect a reply, however she gets that and a lifelong best friend as well. We catch up with her many years later, when she suspects that she may be in love with her best friend, only to be asked by him to be his best woman in his wedding. Emmie Blue is devastated, but also wants to be the best, best woman she can be for her loyal, and supportive friend, how she pulls this off, and the next chapter in her own romantic story will have you turning pages long into the night. A stunning debut novel, and a heartwarming one. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty
Piranesi, though that’s not his name, lives in a house with no end, by himself, save for a few fish and birds, and a once-weekly visit from someone he calls “the Other”. The house, with vast white marble rooms, full of statues and columns, goes on for infinity through halls, corridors, and courtyards, and exists on three levels, the lower floors are home to an ocean with its unique tidal flow, the upper floors are in the clouds, and in the middle is Piranesi’s world. Piranesi is blissfully happy, and perfectly in balance with his world, a master of its internal seasons and its idiosyncrasies, until the day “the Oracle” unexpectedly arrives and then all he thinks he knows begins to unravel. A work of genius! ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty
The premise is in the title. This is a novel about a school where literally everything wants to kill you, and not only will you need to work hard to graduate, but also just stay alive. This is the first in a new series for Novik, and the world we’re stepping into is that of the Scholomance, a magical school for gifted teenagers. Our protagonist is El, a homeschooled rebel, who wants desperately to be good enough to get into one of the large city enclaves with the savvy city kids upon graduation and be able to enjoy the safety that being a member of that kind of society affords. But, of course, things don’t go exactly to plan, and not everything is as it seems.
A really fun, page turner, and I can’t wait to find out what comes next. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty
Part memoir, part nature journal. This is a lovely blend of personal narrative, research into the history of beekeeping, and dedicated observation. Jukes has just moved to Oxford and a new job, and there are many parallels and observations of community, through the coming together of a new hive, and those of the human experience. As she takes us through a year of her hive, we witness her growing confidence as a beekeeper, but also as a part of her new environment. It’s an excellent exploration of relationships, especially those between humans and the wild, and I loved it. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty