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Peggy Farooqi is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

2 February 2014
Newbooks is a magazine for book lovers and reading groups, published in the UK bi-monthly. 

Can I first say that I am in no way 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).

The latest issue 79 January/Februar 2014 dropped trough my letter box last weekend and this is what you will find in the magazine:

Interview with Val McDermaid

The Best-selling UK crime author talks about her career, her books, her characters
Some things I picked out which I found particularly interesting:
Look out for: 
  • ·      She talks about Agatha Christie and how one particular story was found in scattered in several of Christie’s notebooks which she carried with her (made me smile, because I almost always carry several notebooks with me J
  • ·      Violence in Crime Fiction which she calls ‘pornography of violence’
  • ·      Her contacts in the police / forensics who assist her

Books which are reviewed in the magazine and which you can order for free (pay £3 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)

           1.    Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas  

Tsolkias is the Greek/Australia author who came to fame with his story ‘The Slap’ published in 2008. This is the new offering of this author. It tells the story of Daniel Kelly, a talented young swimmer who struggles to cope with the pressures of the sport.

          2.    Longbourn by Jo Baker 

This book takes a spin on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (and Downtown Abbey), cleverly telling the story of the servants / maids in the Bennett’s household. I’m usually not a fan of period drama, but the writing sound really good and the extract had me hooked already with the story of housemaid Polly musing about the Bennett’s dirty laundry (literally) and the powerful descriptions of their hard work.

          3.    When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan  

A YA novel about a sixteen year old boy with Tourette’s syndrome, has been compared to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime . The author himself has Tourette’s so I think this will be really authentic.

    4.    Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver 

A novel about climate change, possible environmental diseaster, ‘exploring escape versus reason, catastrophe versus denial.’ I love this kind of stories, and a large amount of research must have gone into it.

          5.    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd 

Here the author took the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, the American abolitionist, writer and suffragist who lived in the 1800’s and told the (imagined) story of her house-slave, Hetty. Slavery, racism, America’s deep South. From the extract, I loved the way that Hetty’s language is brought across: “I was shrewd like mauma.” Well worth putting on the TBR pile.

          6.    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd 

Again, the author goes back to her memories of Georgia in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the racism, Rosa Park’s, Ku Klux Klan, Martin Luther King.

   7.    Labor Day by Joyce Maynard 

I read about this somewhere else (can’t remember now where), and it is a soon-to-be-a-movie novel. The story unfolds on a Labour Day weekend what Adele, a divorcee, takes her son to a supermarket where they come across a man in blood soaked clothing who asks them to help him and he is a murder. And astonishingly, Adele does take him home. The story is told from the point of the 13 year old son if I understand the feature right. Sound like a book I would enjoy me says!

Other books featured in the magazine:

·      Unfaithfully Yours by Nigel Williams 

A woman writes a letter to a private detective, asking for her husband to be investigated. Stories of marriages unravelling, told through a series of letters


Hearts of Darkness by Paul Lawrence 

London in the 1700’s, the plague. Harry Lytle works for the intelligence service to return a traitor. Interesting mix – London, the plague and intelligence service.


The Buy Side by Turney Duff 

Non-fiction. Wall Street Trader exposes the after-hours of sex and drugs. Very current with the recent Leonardo De Caprio movie Wall Street in the cinemas at the moment covering the same sort of topic and I think people will be interested in it. I did watch the movie tbw and thought it was very good. (well, it helps that I do love De Caprio)

Debut novels who are being introduced

·       Writers Block  by Judith Flanders
·       The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander
·       The Amber Fury by Nathalie Haynes
·       The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
·       The Boy that Never Was by Karen Perry
·       The Lie of You by Jane Lythell
·       Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson
·       The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C Kasasian

And finally, there are other features to discover, i.e an interview with musician Mike Rutherford (of Genesis) and the section I always read religiously is The Directory  which features a selection of titles recently published or about to the published in the next 6 weeks or so.