Book previews

Books I’m looking forward to in 2020

Happy New Year everyone. It’s the start of 2020, so after looking back at 2019, it’s time to look ahead to some of the books coming out this year that I’m excited about.  And as with last year’s list, it’s fairly weighted towards the start of the year – because that’s just how it always happens.  Will one of these be this year’s Daisy Jones and the Six for me? Who knows.

The Mirror and the Light – Hilary Mantel (March)

Cover of The Mirror and the Light

Lets start with the big name, potential blockbuster released.  The final part of Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy has been so long coming.  It’s about 7 years since I read Bringing up the Bodies – I know because it was pre-this blog, but after I started working at the BBC (I know because I read it during a run of nightshifts up behind the old BBC World studio, which means the latest it can have been is autumn 2012).  I mean it’s even been a few years since the TV adaptation of the first two parts. Whether it can live up to the hype and awards of its predecessors, who knows, but I’ll be reading it to find out.   I studied the Tudors back in the day, and one of the big achievements of this series is to make Thomas Cromwell likeable. I know how this story ends (hint: not well for him) but I can’t wait to see how she finishes it all off.

Miss Austen – Gill Hornby (January)

Cover of Miss Austen

Why did Cassandra Austen destroy a cache of letters written by her famous sister, more that 20 years after Jane’s death? My love of Austen-related books is well known, as it my love of mysteries and books about books and authors so I’m hoping this will be right up my alley.  It’s out at the end of January and I’ve got a copy from NetGalley waiting on the Kindle already, so if I do like it, chances are you’ll be hearing about it.

The 24-Hour Cafe – Libby Page (January)

Cover of The 24-hour Cafe

I really liked Page’s debut, The Lido, when I read it back in April 2018, and I’ve got high hopes for this. Set in a cafe, where two best friends work together, this is promising a story of friendship and community.  The 24-Hour Cafe is another January release that I have a copy of from NetGalley and I’m hoping this will be a nice uplifting book to carry me through the dark and cold of the post-Christmas, pre-birthday period.

The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle (April)

Cover of The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle

Per the blurb Benjamin & Edgar Bowen head off on a Grand Tour of Europe to meet People of Quality, but it turns out the People of Quality may not want to meet them. But then Benjamin meets Horace Lavelle and his education really begins.  I love a grand tour novel and this sounds like it might be right up my street.  I have a copy from NetGalley and so this is another one which you may hear more about sooner rather than later.

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman (September)

This is probably one of the more anticipated books for next year. The blurb for this promises a group of octogenarians, who meet up at their retirement village every week to investigate unsolved killings, investigating a real crime when a property developer ends up dead near by. Sounds right up my street already doesn’t it?  Add to that the fact that Richard Osman is the tall guy behind the desk on Pointless and back when I worked at TV Centre, one of my treats to myself during tea breaks was to go and stand in the viewing gallery and watch episodes of Pointless being filmed and you’ll see why I’m really quite excited about this one and have been since it was announced back in May. It feels like it’s been a long wait already.

So there you have it, five books that I’m looking forward to this year.  The list could have been longer – there are new books coming that I’m looking foward to from Lucy Parker, Gail Carriger, Deanna Raybourn and more, but I thought I’d try not to be too predictable!

Happy Reading!

Book previews, books

Autumn New Release Preview

Why hello there.  It’s September.  The schools are going back and the nice weather won’t last.  So to ease your pain, I thought I’d tell you about some upcoming books I’m looking forward to or have been fortunate enough to have already enjoyed.  But if that’s not your bag, here’s my books about schools post from two years ago if you feel the need to start the academic year with a boarding school book or two! So, in no particular order (well not by date anyway) here we go:

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (22 September)

Recognise the name?  Yes, it’s that Mara Wilson – who played Matilda and was in Mrs Doubtfire – now all grown up, she’s written a collection of essays and it’s getting a lot of buzz.  It’s hard to find out what it’s about – from what I can work out it’s part memoir, part life lessons – but I’ve seen lots of good buzz about it – and the early reviews on Goodreads are really positive.  Plus I’ve always wanted to know what she did after she left films.  I’m hoping this will answer some of my questions.  Pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Waterstones, Foyles.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (6 October)

Today Will Be Different follows a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, who knows she’s a mess but wants to tackle the little things to try and get back on track.  Unfortunately today is the day that life is going to get in the way.  I’m a little trepidatious (is that a real word or one that I got from Buffy/Clueless?) about this one.  Will this be Good Semple or Bad Semple?  I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but I detested This One Is Mine to the point that if I hadn’t enjoyed …Bernadette so much I would have DNF’d it.  I like the plot summary and several of the book podcasts I listen to are excited about it, so I’m hoping for the best and going to give it a go. Pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Waterstones, Foyles.

How to Party with an Infant by Kuai Hart Hemmings (8 September)

Single mum Mele is trying to get over her obsession with the father of her daughter by writing an entry for a cookbook writing contest.  Except she’s doing it a little differently and going into “elaborate and shocking detail”. This is a recent addition to the list (and coming out really soon) after I saw it on Book Riot’s What We Read In August list where the contributor said “This made me laugh the way Where’d You Go, Bernadette? did.” and then I had to have it.  Maybe I’ll save it until after I’ve read Today Will be Different in case that’s a disappointment and I need a pick me up! Pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Foyles.

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang (3 November)

Charles Wang has lost the fortune he made after he arrived in the US.  Now he’s taking his family on a cross country journey from their foreclosed Bel-Air mansion to New York to pick up his other daughter. But will the journey bring them all back together or will it split them even further apart.  And will they all even make it as far as the other coast, faced with temptations en route?  I just keep hearing about this book.  Everywhere.  So I want to read it.   Pre-order on AmazonWaterstones, Foyles.

Queen Bees by Siân Evans (8 September)

I’ve actually already read this – after lucking into a preview copy a month or so back.  This is a collective biography of six famous society hostesses in the UK between the wars. It is not the most massively in depth look at any of them – I wanted a little more detail on some of them – but you get a really good sense of the personalities of the women and the rivalries between them.  If you’ve read anything about society in this era (perhaps some of the Mrs Simpson saga, or some of the many timeslip novels set in the 1920s and 30s which feature real people as well fictional ones), you’ll have heard of some or all of these women – Lady Astor (first woman to take up her seat as an MP) and Emerald Cunard are probably the two most well known – but it’s also peppered with other people of the period – like the aforementioned Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII and then Winston Churchill, The Mitfords and the Mosleys.  This is a period I love reading about (and have read quite a lot about) and I enjoyed Queen Bees and felt I learnt stuff from it.  I’ve lent it out already – and will go and find a proper copy in the shop when it comes out so I can check out the bibliography and references – which were missing from my version – to get some more reading ideas.   Pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Waterstones, Foyles.

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (3 November)

This is the sixth book in the Rivers of London series and if you’ve been reading my book based ramblings for any length of time, you’ll know how I feel about PC Peter Grant (see here, here and here ) – and be unsurprised that I’m hopping around with excitement at the prospect of the next book.  I’m trying to take my time reading the latest comics so I’ll be bang up to date for this one, which apparently sees Peter, Nightingale and the crew from the Folly trying to solve a bloody, magical problem in mansions of the super-rich in Mayfair.  I can’t wait.  If you’re not already on this bandwagon, do yourself a favour at start at the beginning. Pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Waterstones.

And there you have it.  Five books I’m looking forward to reading and one I’ve already read as a bonus. It may have got a touch long, but I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Hopefully none of these will end up on the 50-pages and out pile and I can report back in positive terms in a couple of months time.  Please do recommend any more upcoming releases you think I might like in the comments – you know how much I love making the to-read pile bigger – and let me know if you’ve already read any of these and have Thoughts.

Happy Reading