The Lark

By E. Nesbit Paperback £8.99 (reviewed by Octavia)

Best known for her beloved children’s classics: Five Children and It and of course The Railway Children; The Lark is one of her several novels for adults. This book is an absolute delight to read. Here we meet cousins Lucilla and Jane, who are the most amusing and charming pair and set about becoming self-sufficient in an English country garden. Having returned from boarding school to find their guardian has gambled away their entire fortune; they are left only the darling chocolate box Hope Cottage, where they must fend for themselves. The business they fall upon is that of growing and selling flowers. This amongst their many other adventures, leads a trail of petals for some dashing admirers and honourable new friends. The local gossip and intrigue, a mysterious stranger and a bit of Midsummer magic makes for an alluring air of romance and a lark of a book. A book that reminds us now more than ever, the relevance and beauty of a garden in Spring.

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens Paperback £8.99 (reviewed by Amelia)

Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most beautiful coming-of-age stories that I have ever read. It is all at once a murder mystery, stunning romance and powerful commentary on prejudice. This novel follows the life of the infamous ”marsh girl” Kya as she deals with the pain of being abandoned as a young girl in the desolate yet beautiful marshes, eventually becoming an intelligent young woman with a passion for nature and art. However, disaster strikes when Chase Andrews is found dead and everyone assumes that the odd and frightening marsh girl is to blame- How will Kya prove her innocence and return to her home in the marsh to continue living in peace? You will be on the edge of your seat as you read to find out!

Two Can Keep a Secret

By Karen M.McManus Paperback £7.99 for teenagers (reviewed by Amelia)

Two Can Keep a Secret is an incredible murder mystery book, every time you think you know what’s about to happen there’s another twist that’ll leave you reeling. The idea of moving from LA to a small town in the middle of nowhere may seem boring, however Echo Ridge is not just any small town- it’s the home to the infamous Murderland Halloween park, and also home to a serial killer who has remained at large for 20 years. Echo Ridge is the perfect town for aspiring detective/criminologist Ellery Corcoran, the niece of one of the missing victims, and she is determined to find the murderer who has killed two of the most popular girls in town before it’s too late.

Radio Silence

By Alice Oseman Paperback £7.99 for teenagers (reviewed by Elise)

“Radio Silence” is a book about friendship, trust and self-discovery. The reader is introduced to Frances, a top student who, at first glance, appears to have her entire life planned out – pass her exams, get into Cambridge, get a job. But it’s not until she meets Aled that she allows herself to consider what she actually wants. With Aled she is able to be herself and it is through their friendship that she feels able to understand herself better. Oseman’s witty narration paired with her understanding of the struggles many of her readers face regarding sexuality and identity, cause “Radio Silence” to be one of the most unforgettable books in the young adult genre.

Cilka’s Journey

By Heather Morris Hardback £14.99  (reviewed by Emma)

Cilka’s journey is a sequel to the bestseller ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ following one of the beloved characters Cilka. After she is pulled away from Lale at the end of The Tattooist of Auschwitz we are left wondering what Cilka goes through next. That exact question is revealed in Cilka’s journey. Cilka’s journey follows the continued hardship and journey of Cilka outside of Auschwitz. A heart wrenching story laced with bursts of action keeps you eager to keep reading and you will not put it down once you start. The true story gives insight to the hardships liberated prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps still had to face even after being “liberated” and would definitely recommend to anyone willing to go through a journey of emotions and learn about the power of human will.

Middlemarch

By George Eliot Paperback £6.99 (reviewed by Elyse)

George Eliot’s Middlemarch is a long but gloriously humble read. It is a rare classic where its provocation of philosophy, and its emotionally intellectual language, resonates still; even two centuries onwards from its provincial past. Embedded in 837 pages, there are love stories; men who go from rags to riches, deceit and betrayal, debates of the great questions of the Victorian period of empire and science, theology and philosophy wrapped up in pastoral life. Yet, in its intellectual heaviness, it is witty and sensational. If you love Jane Austen, Mary Elizabeth Braddon or Oscar Wilde, you will find Middlemarch worth the length. You will be friendly with the characters and before long, encouraging or criticising their life choices. Each of the stories of the families spin out into interconnected webs to build an omnipresent view of provincial life. Great for the sun lounger, or the armchair; as no matter the weather, it’s the nature of Victorian escapism that truly whisks you away.

The Guest List

By Lucy Foley Hardback £12.99  (reviewed by Remony)

The Guest List is a truly fantastic mystery. Set on a picturesque Irish island, the wedding of the year is to take place. With every aspect of the nuptials meticulously planned, it seems only the weather can fail the party and yet it’s the guests themselves who surprise. Written from the perspective of five different characters, the plot flows flawlessly. Similar to an Agatha Christie novel, there is drama, opulence and suspense. Left with only themselves, each guest begins to manifest their very sense of self and human nature takes hold. The Guest List poses as the most gripping and atmospheric ‘whodunnit’ I have read in a long time!

Old Bear Stories

By Jane Hissey Hardback £14.99  (1 – 6 years old) (reviewed by Anthony)

During lockdown I wanted to find a book that both my boys, who are 1 and 5, could enjoy so I read the classic “Old Bear Stories” with them. The beautiful, atmospheric illustrations by Jane Hissey kept my youngest interested and absorbed in the stories – he particularly liked pointing out Jolly the giraffe! The lovable characters, including Jolly, Old Bear and Bramwell Brown come to life in the touching stories about a group of cuddly toy friends and their adventures – my eldest son was able to read along with me and was sad when the stories ended! Very nostalgic for parents reading remembering the television programme of the series in the 1980’s!

Bear Grylls Adventures – The Safari Challenge

By Bear Gyrlls Paperback £5.99 (6-8 years old) (reviewed by Anthony)

During lockdown I have been home schooling my 5 year old. Reading is the most important key skill to be learning at his age, so we read a lot of books together and I encouraged my son to read the words himself where he was able to. As he loves the outdoors and loves reading about wild animals, I decided we would read some of the Bear Grylls adventure books together. The main character, Evie, suddenly finds herself on a sun-baked safari with Bear Grylls, where food and water are scarce and dangerous wild animals prowl the plains. To survive, Evie must overcome her fears and eat some disgusting things!! Full of fun (and disgusting) facts this book became a firm favourite of my sons and I enjoyed reading it with him! There are more in the series and for schools that are signed up to the “Accelerated Reader” scheme will be interested to know that most of the series are in the scheme. Ideally suited for 6 to 8 year olds but keen 5 year olds could read most of this with support.