Plomin, Robert (2018) Blue print: How DNA makes us who we are. Allen Lane. All aspects of our personality are profoundly shaped by our inherited DNA. Plomin launches a rethink from a psychological perspective on who we are, arguing from the stance that nurture, whether at home, school or in our broader environment, is not as influential as our genes – but genes are not our destiny! An authoritative, but often challenging, book on the new world of personal genomics and future applications and implications. Rating: 8.5/10.
Alger, Cristina (2018) The Banker’s Wife. Putnam. Annabel is the wife of offshore private banking executive Matthew Lerner, who mysteriously dies in a Geneva-bound plane crash. Annabel is left to uncover what happened to her husband but she is up against some powerful enemies. Meanwhile society journalist Marina, after the death of her mentor, agrees to dig into the corrupt world of the super-rich and the clandestine financial world that supports them. Both women are determined to expose the truth even if it comes at great personal cost. Glamorous fast-moving high-stakes thriller. Rating: 8/10.
Ivar, Katja (2019) Evil Things. Bitter Lemon Press. In 1952 Finland is seeking to keep its independence from its powerful neighbour. Hella Mauzer, a newly minted Helsinki female homicide detective is reassigned, after an ’emotional’ incident, to Lapland where she is drawn into a disappearance case in a remote village on the Soviet border. A body is found. However as she investigates Hella uncovers corruption and a far more evil crime. Hella is a complex feminist hero – the star of a new Nordic noir series. Great setting and pace. Looking forward to her next outing. Rating: 8.5/10.
Kamal, Soniah (2019) Unmarriageable. Ballantine Books. A retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern day Pakistan. When an invitation comes for the biggest wedding of the year Mrs Binat sees it as an opportunity to find eligible husbands for her five daughters. English teacher Alys Binat has sworn never to marry, that is until she meets Mr Darsee …. Colourful, yet familiar, story of class, marriage and family, with a Pakistani cultural twist. Few surprises. For devoted Austenites. Rating; 7/10.
Drysdale, Pip (2018) The Sunday Girl. Simon & Schuster. Angus dumps Taylor in ignominious circumstances. Taylor humiliated, hurt and angry seeks to destroy Angus by consulting The Art of War, but Angus turns the tables on her once again. Then everything spins out of control. A tale of love gone horribly wrong. A book to be read in one sitting. Rating: 8/10.
Harris, Anstey (2018) Goodbye, Paris. Touchstone. After a traumatic event ends her promising music career Grace has chosen to live a quite life in a small English Village, repairing musical instruments, with interludes in Paris with her lover David. Grace is heartbroken when David’s shocking secret life is revealed, shattering her dreams. It takes a clever old man and a smart-arse teenager to restart the music and open her world to happiness. A delightful and heartwarming musical tale. Rating 8/10.
Rees, Martin (2018) On the Future: Prospects for Humanity. Princeton UP. The future of humanity is bound up with science and technology to address our existential risks over the next century. We need to think rationally, globally, and optimistically as we develop a vision for our future – on earth and in space. There is no “Plan B” for Earth as it “hurtle through the void”. A compelling forecast and broad summary from a cosmological perspective. A clarion call. Popular science guidebook. Rating: 8.5/10.
Adeyemi, Tomi (2018) Children of Blood and Stone. Macmillan. Everything changed in Orïsha the night the magic died. Under the orders of ruthless King Saran, the maji were slaughtered. As he consolidates his power a 17 year old maji descendant, named Zélie, becomes the catalyst for revolution. Aided by a magical scroll, Amani – Saran’s daughter, and her brother Tzain, Zelie’s quest to restore her magical birthright begins. This violent fantasy, infused with West African mythological traditions, explores injustice, colour, class, and gender. Book one in the Orïsha Legacy trilogy for young adults. Intense. Rating: 8/10.