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  LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, Celeste Ng’s new novel, builds on the extraordinary success of her debut Everything I Never Told You. It opens with a momentous event: a house fire in the seemingly idyllic Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights where everything runs to order. The house in question belongs to Mr and Mrs Richardson, model … Continue readings

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  PIER OF THE YEAR AND NOW the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Award 2017 – the accolades just keep coming for Hastings Pier. A community-led project, designed and restored by London-based architects dRMM (Alex de Rijke, Philip Marsh and Sadie Morgan), the pier is, in RIBA president Ben Derbyshire’s words, a … Continue readings

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  SET IN THE WILDS OF WESTERN MONTANA, COME SUNDOWN, like many of the best novels by Nora Roberts, focuses on family – blood or otherwise – spiced up with just enough murder, madness and, of course, romance to sustain our interest. At the heart of the story lies the relationship between protagonists Bodine Longbow, … Continue readings

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  It’s a pressure cooker round here, mate. Little things become big things faster than you expect. You’d know that though. –Scott Whitlam to Aaron Falk, The Dry   JANE HARPER’S STYLISH DEBUT, THE DRY, is one of the best crime novels we’ve read in a very long time. Set in Kiewarra, a small town … Continue readings

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  WHAT IS IT ABOUT GILMORE GIRLS THAT SO CAPTURES OUR IMAGINATION? Why do we love it so much? Is it the location, the magical town of Stars Hollow? The weird and wonderful characters, such as Luke and Lane, who inhabit it? The family and friendship dramas that are so very, very familiar? The phenomenal … Continue readings

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  ALL OF US HAVE A FIRST FORBIDDEN BOOK – the one that we never forget, the one that sat so enticingly on the top shelf far out of the reach of small hands. In my case, it was Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, a big fat white elephant of a book that called … Continue readings

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  STEPHEN KING ONCE WROTE that an opening line should scream: ‘Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.’ ‘[I]t is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar.’ Well, Chris Whitaker in his first novel, Tall Oaks, certainly does all that: we’re gripped right from the start. From the very … Continue readings

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  THERE’S A SCENE IN RELATIVITY, Antonia Hayes’ poignant novel, in which 12-year-old Ethan spies a tattoo – E=mc2 – on the arm of Mark, his newly discovered father. ‘What’s that?’ he asks. ‘What does it stand for?’ And after further probing, Mark reluctantly admits that he’d had it tattooed when Ethan was born. ‘It’s … Continue readings

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  WE, WHO ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH to live in democracies, accept freedom of speech and the civil liberties that we enjoy as our natural and inherent rights. But we are lucky: these rights are, in fact, privileges. Raif Badawi: The Voice of Freedom, Ensaf Haidar’s moving love letter to her activist husband, brings this point … Continue readings

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  I LIKE LISA KLEYPAS. She’s become a favourite author in the last few years since I was first introduced to her historicals by The Literary Cat, who, to get my attention, purposefully knocked a copy of Seduce Me At Sunrise (Hathaways #2) on to my keyboard from the bookshelf above my desk. It’s thus … Continue readings

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  There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. –Ernest Hemingway   MOST WRITERS WOULD AGREE WITH HEMINGWAY. Although many of us use laptops these days. Writing is job like any other and to be good at it you have to be committed and put the time … Continue readings

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  ROSAMUND LUPTON’S NEW NOVEL, THE QUALITY OF SILENCE, opens in Fairbanks Airport, Alaska, where 10-and-a-half-year-old Ruby and her mother, Yasmin, have just landed, expecting to be met by Matt, Ruby’s wildlife filmmaker father. Instead, they find the police waiting and Yasmin is told the devastating news that Matt has been killed in a ‘catastrophic … Continue readings