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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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24 March 2015






Newbooks is a magazine for book lovers and reading groups, published in the UK bi-monthly. 

Can I first say that I am in not affiliated to the magazine, but love not only reading books, but also read about books / authors / what's new / what are others reading etc. I'm a subscriber to this magazine. Apart from author interviews and book reviews, the magazine usually offers some of the books they reviewed for free to the readers (you will need to pay P&P though which is £3 per book).


Books which are reviewed in the magazine and which you can order for free (pay £3.50 P&P per book)
Every review always also features an extract from the book
(Please note: I have not read yet any of the books below and the synopsises and some other extracts have been in part taken from my copy of Newbooks magazine or Amazon.)


1. These are the Names by Tommy Wieringa


A border town on the steppe. A small group of emaciated and feral refugees appears out of nowhere, spreading fear and panic in the town. When police commissioner Pontus Beg orders their arrest, evidence of a murder is found in their luggage. As he begins to unravel the history of their hellish journey, it becomes increasingly intertwined with the search for his own origins that he has embarked upon. Now he becomes the group’s inquisitor … and, finally, something like their saviour.

Beg’s likeability as a character and his dry-eyed musings considering the nature of religion keep the reader pinned to the page from the start. At the same time, the apocalyptic atmosphere of the group’s exodus across the steppes becomes increasingly vivid and laden with meaning as the novel proceeds, in seeming synchronicity with the development of Beg’s character. 

With a rare blend of humour and wisdom, Tommy Wieringa links man’s dark nature with the question of who we are and whether redemption is possible.


2. The Humans by Matt Haig


THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
OR IS THERE?

After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog.

What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?


3. The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland


The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland, author of the hugely popular Company of Liars will thrill fans of CJ Sansom and Kate Mosse with its chilling recreation of the Peasants' Revolt. It offers an intelligent, beautifully researched glimpse of a more deadly, superstitious era ...
Lincoln, 1380. A raven-haired widow is newly arrived in John of Gaunt's city, with her two unnaturally beautiful children in tow. 
The widow Catlin seems kind, helping wool merchant Robert of Bassingham care for his ill wife. Surely it makes sense for Catlin and her family to move into Robert's home?
But when first Robert's wife - and then others - start dying unnatural deaths, the whispers turn to witchcraft. The reign of Richard II brings bloody revolution, but does it also give shelter to the black arts? 
And which is more deadly for the innocents of Lincoln?


4. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler



This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself. From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we also see played out our own hopes and fears, rivalries and tensions – the essential nature of family life.

5. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler


Through every family run memories which bind it together - despite everything. The Tulls of Baltimore are no exception. Abandoned by her salesman husband, Pearl is left to bring up her three children alone - Cody, a flawed devil, Ezra, a flawed saint, and Jenny, errant and passionate. Now as Pearl lies dying, stiffly encased in her pride and solitude, the past is unlocked and with it, secrets.

6. A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor


The author of the USA Today and New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home has once again created an unforgettable historical novel. Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.
In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.
Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.


7. A Place called Winter by Patrick Gale


To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.
A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.
Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.
In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.




Other books featured in the magazine (some with extracts)
  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  • Flight by Isabel Ashdown
Debuts:
  • What she Left by T.R. Richmond
  • The Well by Catherine Chanter
  • The Longest Fight by Emily Bullock
  • The Death's Head Chess Club by John Donoghue
  • Esperanza Street by Niyati Keni
  • Tregian's Ground by Anne Cuneo
  • Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert
  • Wasp Or, A Very Sweet Power by Ian Garbutt
  • Lie of the Land  by Michael F Russell
  • The Art of Waiting by Christopher Jory 


Other features 

  • Q&A with Belinda Bauer
  • The literary landmarks of Bristol
  • nb Book of the Year (my favourite book of the year Apple Tree Yard on place 10)
  • The big interview: Matt Haig
  • Tales from the world of self-publishing (very interesting if you are an aspiring author!)
  • The big interview: Tommy Wieringa
  • Publishing News
  • Feature on Rudyard Kipling
  • Best books about -... Scotland
  • Best Books of the 21st century (hmmm, not sure I agree, but make up your own mind)
  • Five Gender-bending novels (I read one of them: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters)
  • The Costa Awards 2015
  • The Wainwright Prize longlist
  • The Directory - selection of titles recently published or about to be published  and reviewed (Now that is one of my favourite parts of the mag )
And the regular features 

    • What we are reading
    • Where I write - Anne O'Brien
    • When I met ... 
    • Bookshops we like
    • They say, we say 
    • Blog Spot

    And much much more. I love this magazine - I think the only print magazine for readers in the UK (?) and a must really for any bibliophile.