April is set up to be an incredible month for new releases so I thought I’d take a peek ahead at the novels that are going on my reading pile. Whether it’s horror, YA or feminist non-fiction that floats your literary boat, there’s something here for everyone.
Early reviews of Shtum have been impossible to ignore, the love that’s been shown for this novel is contagious, making it the next on my reading list!
Ben Jewell has hit breaking point.
His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.
As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths.
Jonah, blissful in his ignorance, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled.
Long Dark Dusk is the second in JP Smythe’s YA Australia trilogy. If you haven’t read the first in the series, Way Down Dark, then you are seriously missing out on some of the best fantasy YA out there.
The moment she learned the horrible truth about her life on Australia, the derelict ship overrun with violent gangs, Chan Aitch made it her mission to save everyone she could from their fate worse than death. But her efforts were in vain. Now, everyone she cares about is dead or in prison, and Chan is more alone than ever before.
As the only person to have escaped Australia’s terrible crash-landing back to Earth, Chan is now living in poverty on the fringes of a huge city. She believes Mae, the little girl she once rescued on the Australia, is still alive – but she has no idea where Mae is, or how to find her. Everything on Earth is strange and new, and Chan has never felt more lost.
But she’ll do whatever it takes to find Mae, even if it means going to prison herself. She’s broken out of prison before. How hard could it be to do it again?
Kate Tempest is a much loved British poet, rapper and spoken word artist that has the skills to turn any doubter into a mega fan in moments. This is her début novel and if it’s anything like her poetry it will leave me an emotional mess (in a good way!).
Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are leaving town in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. They are running from jealous boyfriends, dead-end jobs, violent maniacs and disgruntled drug dealers, in the hope of escaping the restless tedium of life in south-east London – the place they have always called home.
As the story moves back in time, to before they had to leave, we see them torn between confidence and self-loathing, between loneliness and desire, between desperate ambition and the terrifying prospect of getting nothing done.
I can sum up the reason I want to read Irvine Welsh’s The Blade Artist in just three words, words that any Trainspotting fan will appreciate…Begbie is back!
Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life – and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he’s a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary.
But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland, for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge. But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies – and, most alarmingly, his former self – Francis seems to have other ideas.
When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California, which indicates that her husband’s violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad, very quickly.
With a description reminiscent of Lord of the Flies and fans such as Ian Rankin and Joanna Cannon this promises to be a great read.
On a remote Scottish island, five children are the only ones left. Since the Last Adult died, sensible Elizabeth has been the group leader, testing for a radio signal, playing teacher and keeping an eye on Alex, the littlest, whose insulin can only last so long.
There is ‘shopping’ to do in the houses they haven’t yet searched and wrong smells to avoid. For eight-year-old Rona each day brings fresh hope that someone will come back for them, tempered by the reality of their dwindling supplies.
With no adults to rebel against, squabbles threaten the fragile family they have formed. And when brothers Calum Ian and Duncan attempt to thwart Elizabeth’s leadership, it prompts a chain of events that will endanger Alex’s life and test them all in unimaginable ways.
Chris Cleave is one of those authors I’m ashamed to say I haven’t gotten around to reading but Everyone Brave is Forgiven is going to change all that. An incredible title for a brilliant sounding novel.
When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.
Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.
Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.
And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.
Not Working promises to be a touching but humorous tale of modern-day pressures, searching for happiness and watching all your friends swim while you slowly sink. It’s already received rave reviews, placing it firmly on my ‘must read’ list.
Claire Flannery has quit her job in order to discover her true vocation – only to realize she has no idea how to go about finding it. Whilst everyone around her seems to have their lives entirely under control, Claire finds herself sinking under pressure and wondering where her own fell apart. ‘It’s fine,’ her grandmother says. ‘I remember what being your age was like – of course, I had four children under eight then, but modern life is different, you’ve got an awful lot on.’
Founder of the Everyday Sexism website and author of the accompanying book of the same name, Laura Bates returns with Girl Up.
They told you you need to be thin and beautiful.
They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels.
They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty.
They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place.
They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’.
They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it.
Well I’m here to tell you something different.
The ghost of a witch with her eyes and mouth stitched up haunting children? Sounds totally messed up, utterly creepy and I can’t wait to read it.
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.
The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.