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15 March 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).

I've had issue #80 March/April 2014 for a couple of weeks now and read it whilst sitting in Starbucks when my family went shopping. Perfect.

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 and the synopsises and some other extracts have been in part taken from my copy of Newbooks magazine.)

1. I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes


A spy thriller featuring an ex-intelligence agent who is hiding from the people he used to work with. He starts to help one of his friend, an NYCD cop, to investigate a seemingly perfect murder and the investigation leads them to discover a plot of mass terrorism. 

2. The Girl from Station X by Elisa Segrave

Tagline: My mother's unknown life. Non-fiction.
The author outlines her difficult relationship with her mother until her death from alcoholism and Alzheimers. However, after her death, Elisa discovers her mother's diaries and discovers part of her mother's life she never knew anything about. As a young woman, she had been a young and wealthy socialite and than during WW2 she started to work with Bomber Command and tan at Bletchley Park. 

3. Sweet Dreams, Little One by Massimo Gramellini

'Early in the morning of New Year's Eve, nine-year old Massimo wakes up to the sound of his father crying out and discovers that his mother has gone. Life will never the the same. He grows up without love, but longing for it.'
A story of loss and bereavement and trying to overcome the death of his mother.  

4. That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

'When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. As their letters criss-cross the ocean that lies between them, friendship and than romance blossoms. An escapist read about food, friendship and falling in love from afar.'
I always love stories involving writers :)

5. The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

An interesting spin here on the Grimm's fairy stories.
No, not another one who takes a fairy tale and puts it in modern days, but this one tells the story of Dortchen Wild who was a neighbour of Wilhem Grimm and was indeed one of the people who told Wilhelm many of the stories which the brothers wrote down and collected. Apparently, Hansel and Gretel, The Frog King, Rumpelstiltskin and The Elves and The Shoemaker are all Dortchen's  stories. And, like a true romance story (and true!), Wilhelm and Dortchen fall in love and get married. Well, I never knew that!

6. The Son-in-Law by Charity Norman

'This story starts with the death of Zoe Scott. We know immediately how she died, if not why. What happens next is seen through the eyes of her mother, her young daughter and the husband who killed her. '
That certainly sound like a powerful story and one to mark for myself. 

7. After the Fall by Charity Norman

'The story about a family who emigrate to New Zealand only to meet disaster. How did a five-year old boy come to fall off a balcony? Martha knowns exactly what happened that night but she isn't telling us. She is a dishonest narrator, or at least a cagey one.'
There was lots of buzz about this book but I haven't read it yet. Time to put it on my TBR pile!

8. Road Ends by Mary Lawson

The story of a family, set in Canada in Northern Ontario. The story is told with there POV's - Tom, an aeronautical engineer who witnesses the suicide of his friend a, Edward who is Tom's father and Megan, his sister. The family is dysfunctional and all have their own problems and issues to deal with.

9. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Another story by Mary Lawson which again, is set in Canada in Northern Ontario. The narrator of this story is 26 year old Kate who grew up in a small, time-forgotten town. She loses her parents aged 7 in a motorbike accident which leaves her and her siblings orphaned. the story of her childhood is intertwined with her life now and slowly more is revealed about the incident 20 years ago in that incident when the siblings lost their parents. 

10. A Mother's Shame by Rosie Goodwin

The story of 2 woman - Maria and Isabella. In 1957, Maria is working in a local mental asylum where she will meet Isabelle who is the daughter of an rich family. But Isabelle is not insane. She has been put in the asylum by her family as an unmarried woman who has to hide away in shame.   

11. Home Front Girls by Rosie Goodwin

This book is set during World War 2 and it's aftermath. The story of 3 girls during the war and the men they loved, hardship, love and hope. 

Other features 

  • Interview with Irma Kurtz, agony aunt
  • Q&A with Joanne Harris
  • reading group discussions on The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander
  • World Book Night
  • Bonzo's War by Clare Campbell (a book about animals/pets during war time)
  • My favourite writing spot
  • chat with Hilary Bonner and Robert Lautner
  • The Directory - selection of titles recently published or about to be published (Now that is one of my favourite parts of the mag obviously)

Other books featured in the magazine

  • The French Promise bye Fiona McIntos
  • Bonzo's War by Clare Campbell (a book about animals/pets during war time)
  • Transcendence by Rene Denfeld (about a prisoner on death row)