The six books you must read this festive season

It’s that time of year again. Time to cosy up with a good book; time to kick back and relax on the sofa; time to take your mind to another place and step into a different world.

Here are my top six books to read this holiday season:

Blow your mind: Call me Joe

This thriller, Call Me Joe by Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts talks about a world on the brink of disaster. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Given the current pandemic, there were so many times in this book where everything felt all too real.

In this book, the environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man who claims to be the son of God.

The book goes on to look at whether Joe can bring the world’s most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?

In this compelling novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our world and imagine a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world. It’s a very compelling read and certainly makes you think about your own reality.

This book can be purchased on Amazon here and retails at £8.99.

A gripping political fiction: No Precedent

No Precedent is the sequel to John Uttley’s 2015 debut novel Where’s Sailor Jack?

The northern grammar school pals Bob Swarbrick and Richard Shackleton are back, now facing the era of Brexit, Momentum, Coronavirus and Donald Trump. For the first time in their lives, Bob and Richard struggle to see the meaning of it all. The trials and renewals of Where’s Sailor Jack? behind them, they find themselves in a world whose faith and politics have moved beyond their sphere of influence and feel increasingly cut off from their roots.

Bob, now settled with Wendy, must reconcile old memories and new children while Richard must save his family from themselves. Along the way, they are adopted by the lascivious Lucy Fishwick and her predatory daughter Maddie, whose lives are as mad and chaotic as the radio play Lucy is trying to write and, indeed, the world itself. But despite the coming plague, it doesn’t look like Armageddon. There is to be an apocalypse, but one of personal dimensions. This is another great read and a real page turner from start to finish.

This book retails at £8.99 and you can get it here on Amazon.

A mystery series not to be missed: The Oxford Key Mysteries

The Oxford Key Mysteries is a four-book series of magical cosy mysteries set in my home town of Oxford. So far, books 1-3 are out right now, but the next book by Lynn Morrison (book 4) will be out in late January.

In this series, something is wrong with the magic of Oxford. Natalie Payne loved listening to her grandfather’s stories of a magical Oxford. Little did she know they were all true! When she takes over as Head of Ceremonies, she discovers she is one of Oxford’s magical prefects. With dead bodies showing up and priceless art missing, Nat and her friends must figure out who or what is causing the problems and put a stop to them.

If you like charming, magical mysteries where ghosts walk the halls, paintings come to life, wyverns play and magic seems within reach, you will love the Oxford Key Mysteries. These books are easy to read, and totally addictive. You’ll be on to book three before you know it!

You can purchase the first book for around £8 here.

Got first world problems? The Becket List

Henry Becket’s The Becket List: An A-Z of First World Problems,is a not entirely serious compendium of ‘First World Problems’ – the sort of stuff that drives us round the bend on a daily basis.

If you find the everyday frustrating, then this book is made for you. How is it that atonal music, bus stations, cling-film and coat-hangers can bugger us up so comprehensively? Or passport control people, modern poetry, or just about anything you’ll find in a typical hotel bedroom?

This comprehensive A to Z provides a signal service to humanity and provides readers with a real belly laugh at the same time. It’s a great one for long lockdown days to cheer you right up.

If you want a collection of entries about many of the things in life that, whilst essentially trivial, day after day contrive to b*gger you up, then this is totally the book for you. as the author says, “in the greater scheme of things they don’t matter a damn, but in the context of advanced civilisation they take on a huge significance.”

You can get this essential and rather hilarious A-Z here for £9.99.

A thrilling page turner: The Night Lawyer

Alex Churchill’s, The Night Lawyer is everything you could hope it to be and more if you like crime and legal reads.

Sophie Angel is the night lawyer. Once a week, she’s the one who decides what the papers can and can’t say. During the day, she’s a barrister. She struggles for justice in a system that’s close to collapse, where she confronts the most dangerous aspects of humanity. Her life changes when a wealthy Russian offers her the biggest case of her career, a rape trial with a seemingly innocent client. But is someone manipulating Sophie from the shadows or is the danger much closer to home?

With her marriage under strain and haunted by nightmares from the past, Sophie must find the answer to these questions before it’s too late. This is a story about betrayal, trust, guilt and innocence, played out from the courtrooms of London to the darkest corners of Soviet era Moscow.

This is a gripping read and certainly reveals an understanding of the criminal justice system that only a criminal barrister (like Alex Churchill) could.

You can purchase the book here for just over £8.00

Women’s fiction: The Legacy of Mr Jarvis 

This is a beautiful and well written book that fluctuates between the past and present and really makes you think.

It is 1966 and 12-year-old Mary Foster’s narrow, prescribed world is abruptly disturbed by a sudden move from suburban London to a neglected Victorian house on the south coast of England.

A new friendship provides Mary with some comfort in an unfamiliar world of seagull squawks, endless horizons and strange new lodgers. But an unexpected discovery of deceit and deception profoundly affects her life and Mary is left to carry on, bitter and resentful, but silent on the matter.

40 years later, Mary wants to know more. Another age, another era, another century; such secrecy and lies seem cowardly and irrelevant. Mary is anxious for the truth. Or at least she thinks she is – until the chance to uncover certain realities tests her resolve. This is a real page turner and one that’s hard to put down at bedtime.

You can get this book for £9.99 here on Amazon.

All these books were #gifted to me to read and report back on.. a job which I have enjoyed greatly during these long lockdown days and cosy nights in.

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