Weir, Alison (2013) Elizabeth of York; A Tudor Queen and her World. Ballantine Books. Elizabeth of York united the houses of York and Lancaster thus ending the War of the Roses. Beloved consort of Henry VII and precious mother of Henry VIII her life spanned a dramatic and dangerous time in England’s history. Weir’s meticulous research draws from a rich source of primary and secondary sources, navigating historical gossip, fact and fiction to achieve an unforgettable biography. Stunning. Rating: 9/10.
Dangerous Women (2013), edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois. TOR. A cross-genre anthology of 21 short stories which mingles tales from science fiction, fantasy, mystery and historical fiction with a theme of formidable women – femme fatales, bandits, rebels, survivors and wizards to name but a few. Every story is newly published by a pantheon of US authors from Cecelia Holland, Megan Lindholm, Diana Gabaldon, Joe Abercrombie to George RR Martin’s novella from his Song and Ice and Fire series. This collection introduces new genres and authors to readers. Rating: 8/10.
Roth, Veronica (2012) Divergent. Harper Collins. When Tris turns sixteen she is forced to choose her “faction”, which separates her from her family and leads her into a world of brutality and survival. In this new life Tris can trust no one, yet she is drawn to a boy who both threatens and seeks to protect her. The first book in the dystopian Divergent series that has become a global hit and about to become a major motion picture in 2014. For readers of The Hunger Games and Twilight. Action-packed. Rating: 8/10.
Muldrow, Diane (2013) Everything I need to know I learned from a Little Golden Book. Golden Books. A stroll down memory lane with pages from the Little Golden Books, selected by Diane Muldrow, longtime Golden Books editoral director. First published during World War II these little books were often the first and only books in the homes of the baby boomer generation. These comforting books gently entertained and taught us a thing or two. A piece of nostalgia. Rating: 8/10.
Rowell, Rainbow (2012) Eleanor & Park. Orion Books. Eleanor is a new girl with wild red hair, mismatched clothes, and an unhappy home life. Park is cool and careful. They meet when she takes a seat next to him on the bus and slowly a relationship is built via comics and mixed tapes, and they fall in love the way you do when you are sixteen. Set in Omaha in 1968 over the course of a single school year. A sad but poignant story of two brave star-crossed misfits. Rich and haunting. Rating: 9/10.
Laing, Sarah (2013) The Fall of Light. Vintage. Rudy is a 42 year old artistically frustrated but successful Auckland architect, with two daughters and an estranged wife. When he has a near death accident on his Vespa he is freed to recuperate at home, and as he simultaneously neglects and is neglected by his designed world his repressed creativity starts to come to the fore, alongside unsettling and vivid dreams. Edgy, with the imperfect Rudy centre-stage throughout the narrative. Luminous. Rating: 9/10.