21 books that we can't wait to curl up with this January
Because there's nothing quite as enjoyable in winter.
Now that the nights are getting darker quicker and it's gotten much, much colder, it's hard to resist the temptation of curling up on the couch with a good book - especially when it goes perfectly with a cup of hot chocolate.
From mysteries to fantasy and everything in between, there's been a number of incredible books hitting the shelves this season - and there's even more to come.
Here are some of the ones we can't wait to curl up with this January.
One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
It's been a year since the events of One Of Us Is Lying. But nothing has settled for the residents of Bayview. Not now someone has started playing a sinister game of Truth or Dare.
Choose truth? You must reveal your darkest secret.
Choose dare? Well, that could be even more dangerous. Even deadly.
When the game takes an even darker turn, suddenly no one at Bayview High knows who to trust.
But they need to find out who is behind the game, before it's too late.
The Helpline by Katherine Collette
Germaine Johnson likes Sudoku, biscuits and maths. She is great with numbers and not so great with people. But after an incident at work leaves her jobless, she's forced to accept a position she's entirely wrong for: answering the phones of the Senior Citizen's Helpline.
However, it turns out that the role involves a more interesting secret project: to shut down the local community centre and stop the elderly 'troublemakers' in their tracks. Germaine initially believes she is the no-nonsense woman for the job - until she gets to know the very people she's trying to evict.
As the rebelling senior citiziens begin to open Germaine's eyes to a life outside boxes and numbers, she realises that she may be the only one capable of pulling their feuding community together . . .
Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
When a man is found on a Norfolk beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him; to international medical experts who are baffled by him; to the national press who call him Mr Nobody; everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?
Neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same small town in Norfolk fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.
But now something – or someone – is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes.
Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin
Jade Khanjara and her three best friends rule their glittering LA circle. They control everything. Until one night.
The night four boys spike Jade's drink, lock her in a room and attack her. When they try to ruin her. But they chose the wrong girl.
Jade is made of claws and fangs and cruel sharp edges. Jade will have them clutching at their throats and choking on blood.
She wants revenge. She has no mercy. And now she won't rest until she gets satisfaction.
The Boatman and other Stories by Billy O'Callaghan
Spanning a century and two continents – from the muddy fields of Ireland to a hotel room in Paris, a dingy bar in Segovia to an aeroplane bound for Taipei – The Boatman follows an unforgettable cast of characters.
Three gunshots on the Irish border define the course of a young man’s life; a writer clings fast to a star-crossed affair with a woman who has never been fully in his reach; a fisherman accustomed to hard labour rolls up his sleeves to dig a grave for his child; a pair of newly-weds embark on their first adventure, living wild on the deserted Beginish Island.
Pine by Francine Toon
Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.
In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.
Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows, thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job).
When a boy at school goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from episodes of Police Patrol to find him. With Pari and Faiz by his side, Jai ventures into some of the most dangerous parts of the sprawling Indian city; the bazaar at night, and even the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But kids continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth.
The Dilemma by B.A Paris
It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.
Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.
The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?
A Good Man by Ani Katz
Thomas Martin is everything a man is supposed to be. He has a beautiful wife and a loving daughter, a good house on Long Island, a flourishing career at a prestigious Manhattan advertising firm. He’s a good son and brother, taking it upon himself to support his ailing mother and adult sisters. He knows it’s his God-given duty to shield them, his girls, from the everyday horrors of the world.
But he has failed, and unspeakable tragedy has befallen his family.
Now, Thomas struggles to come to terms with what has become of his life. If only he can tell the story as he saw it, he believes he might find out how and why things unravelled so horribly; how he failed so disastrously.
Because Thomas Martin is a good man.
The Hungry Road by Marita Conlon-McKenna
Ireland’s hopes for freedom are dashed with the arrival of a deadly potato blight that strikes terror in the heart of its people.
1845. Seamstress Mary Sullivan's dreams of a better future are shattered as she looks out over their ruined crop. Refusing to give in to despair, she must use every ounce of courage and strength to protect her family as they fight to survive.
Dr Dan Donovan is Medical Officer to the Skibbereen Union. The arrival of 'The Hunger' soon brings starving men, women and children crowding into the town and the workhouse, desperate for assistance.
Fr John Fitzpatrick's faith is tested by the suffering that surrounds him as his pleas for help fall on deaf ears.
Miss Austen by Gill Hornby
Twenty three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury, and the home of her family’s friends, the Fowles.
She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache of family letters which hold secrets she is desperate should not be revealed.
As Cassandra recalls her youth and her relationship with her brilliant yet complex sister, she pieces together buried truths about Jane’s history, and her own. And she faces a stark choice: should she act to protect Jane’s reputation? Or leave the contents of the letters to go unguarded into posterity …
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Mickey Fitzpatrick has been patrolling the 24th District for years. She knows most of the working women by name. She knows what desperation looks like and what people will do when they need a fix. She’s become used to finding overdose victims: their numbers are growing every year. But every time she sees someone sprawled out, slumped over, cold to the touch, she has to pray it’s not her sister, Kacey.
When the bodies of murdered sex workers start turning up on the Ave, the Chief of Police is keen to bury the news. They’re not the kind of victims that generate a whole lot of press anyway. But Mickey is obsessed, dangerously so, with finding the perpetrator - before Kacey becomes the next victim.
Such a Fun Age by Kiely Reid
When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for 'kidnapping' the white child she's actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix's desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know - about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.
Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain
It's June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.
Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam's reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.
And, as tension builds, it's apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago.
Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah
Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora Braid for twelve years.
But she can't resist. She parks outside Flora's house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except...there's something terribly wrong.
Flora looks the same, only older - just as Beth would have expected. It's the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt - Beth hears Flora call them by their names - but they haven't changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven't they grown?
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world.
Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.
For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg.
For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train.
For him, she will find the strength to keep running.
Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson
Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape. But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; after all, she’d been the one to run. Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.
For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her skin-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind. And so begins a new mix tape.
Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything… Because what if ‘what could have been’ is yet to come?
The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page
Day and night, Stella's Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It's a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella's - the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella's Café, where one day might just be enough to change your life . . .
Highfire by Eoin Colfer
Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way - like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him . . .
An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke's unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy's reputation.
Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou - and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp . . .
An Ocean Between Us by Ann O'Loughlin
When Cora Gartland learns that her long-term partner, Jack, has been killed in a car crash in Ireland her world falls apart. But then she is told that there was a woman in the car with him, a woman identified as his wife Amelia.
Devastated, she flies to Dublin to try to make sense of Jack's secret life. As she grieves, she must learn to survive, and to do that she must find the truth. What else has he been keeping from her and how will she survive this betrayal...?
It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell
The trouble with secrets is that you can't guess what the consequences will be . . .
Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she's living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired - if far-from-retiring - actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It's definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.
At least Lainey isn't looking for love. It's time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor's grandson, really is rather attractive. There's growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn't been honest with him?
Lainey's not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything's about to start unravelling . . .