Newbie highlights 2023

December 2023

Some recent additions to our collection with a summary in a nutshell from our Collections Team.

New Shelters edited by Anna Minguet

New Shelters : Sustainable Building Systems

Edited by Anna Minguet

Discover the art and practicalities of sustainable architecture and bioconstruction. Living near a green or natural area is a significant benefit to promoting good mental health. Green spaces are thought to lower stress levels, reduce depression and anxiety and improve general well-being. Throughout this book, you will understand how good architecture is considered to be that which blends in perfectly with the surrounding area. Nature can be integrated into architecture indirectly with environmentally friendly elements.

In a nutshell: inspiring, sustainable, beautiful modern architecture.

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 November 2023  
One of our ministers is missing by Alan Johnson  

One of our ministers is missing

By Allan Johnson

A government minister in the Foreign Office has vanished into thin air. On holiday in Crete, Lord Bellingham had been solo trekking in the White Mountains when he mysteriously disappeared. After a vast search and rescue operation, the local police have no leads, save for a mobile phone discarded on a cliff edge. Assistant Commissioner Louise Mangan of the Met Police is sent to assist in the investigation but soon discovers that there are more layers to this case than the local police realise. Lady Bellingham is less than forthcoming, the family nanny is hiding something, and a scandal is brewing back in London that could destroy the minister's reputation for good. Under pressure from the powers that be, can Louise find the missing minister, or will she discover something much more sinister at play?

In a nutshell: detective, missing persons, story set in Crete and London.

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The villa by Rachel Hawkins  

The villa

By Rachel Hawkins

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable, but their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend. Villa Aestas in Orvieto is breathtaking, but it has a dark past: in 1974 it was rented by a notorious rockstar, who was joined by up-and-coming musician Pierce Sheldon and his girlfriend, Mari. By the end of the holiday Pierce is dead, and Mari goes on to write one of the greatest horror novels of all time. As Emily digs into the villa's history, she begins to think that Pierce's murder wasn't just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock and roll gone wrong, but something more sinister - and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari left behind. Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge - and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends. An enthralling tale of gothic suspense that will keep you reading late into the night.

In a nutshell: murder mystery, dual timeline - 1970s and present day, rock stars.

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The frugal wizards handbook for surviving medieval England by Brandon Sanderson  

The frugal wizard's handbook for surviving medieval England

By Brandon Sanderson and Steve Argyle

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the "real world" should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive?

In a nutshell: fantasy, medieval England, time travel.

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Learned by heart by Emma Donoghue  

Learned by heart

By Emma Donoghue

Drawing on years of investigation and Anne Lister's five-million-word secret journal, Learned by Heart is the long-buried love story of Eliza Raine, an orphan heiress banished from India to England at age six, and Anne Lister, a brilliant, troublesome tomboy, who meet at the Manor School for young ladies in York in 1805 when they are both fourteen. Emotionally intense, psychologically compelling, and deeply researched, Learned by Heart is an extraordinary work of fiction by one of the world's greatest storytellers. Full of passion and heartbreak, the tangled lives of Anne Lister and Eliza Raine form a love story for the age.

In a nutshell: love, LGBTIQA+, historical fiction.

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October 2023

The villain edit by Alisha Aitken-Radburn  

The villain edit : a memoir of identity, reality TV and taking control of the narrative

By Alisha Aitken-Radburn

A memoir about identity and authenticity in the smoke-and-mirror worlds of politics, reality TV and social media, from Bachelor star Alisha Aitken-Radburn. When former government staffer Alisha Aitken-Radburn was given a 'villain edit' on her first season of The Bachelor, she wasn't entirely surprised-after all, there are only a handful of character tropes producers can manipulate into storylines. But the backlash on social media was unexpectedly intense, and Alisha found her sense of identity completely rocked by a single comment: 'You are a bad person'. Determined to shake the 'villain' label, she returned to reality TV screens, and this time, she got a different edit. She was met with praise and empathy, and her portrayal led to a third and final season, where she met the man she would marry. But along Alisha's rocky path in the reality TV spotlight, the line between truth and fiction blurred. She cared about other people's opinions more than her own, and her insatiable quest for external validation saw her outsourcing her decisions and her self-worth to everyone from anonymous forum-lurkers to journalists and politicians. The Villain Edit charts Alisha's journey through the smoke-and-mirrors worlds of politics, reality TV and social media. Navigating the secrets, lies and hard truths that are laced through even the most fairytale of endings, it reveals how the perceptions of others can rewrite the story of who we think we are, and how important it is to know when to go off-script and take control of the narrative.

In a nutshell: autobiography, social media perception, reality TV star

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Night side of the River by Jeanette Winterson  

Night side of the river : ghost stories

By Jeanette Winterson

Our lives are digital, exposed and always-on. We track our friends and family wherever they go. We have millennia of knowledge at our fingertips. We know everything about our world. But we know nothing about theirs. We have changed, but our ghosts have not. They've simply adapted and innovated, found new channels to reach us. They inhabit our apps and wander the metaverse just as they haunt our homes and our memories, always seeking new ways to connect. To live amongst us. To remind us. To tempt us. To take their revenge. These stories are not ours to tell. They are the stories of the dead -- of those we've lost, loved, forgotten ... and feared. Some are fiction. But some may not be.

In a nutshell: short stories, paranormal, ghost stories.

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I don't need therapy by Toni Lodge  

I don't need therapy : (and other lies I've told myself)

By Toni Lodge

Most of us tell little white lies all the time. Whether it's 'I'm five minutes away' or 'It must have gone to my spam folder', most of these innocent fibs are harmless. But what if you realised that you weren't just lying about the little things, but the big 'life' stuff too? When Toni Lodge sat down to write this memoir, she realised that the lies she was telling herself were hiding some pretty important home truths -- about her work, her identity and her mental health. Her dogged pursuit of these truths sent her on a brazen exploration of everything from gastro, fame and Twilight to funerals, the Dalai Lama and Brazilian waxes. In this book, Toni exposes the lies she has told herself about who she is and what she is capable of, inviting us on a riotous romp that will make you laugh, cringe, cry and utterly rethink the truth behind the stories we tell ourselves.

In a nutshell: autobiography, funny, relatable

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The disappearance of Astrid Bricard by Natasha Lester  

The disappearance of Astrid Bricard

By Natasha Lester

In November 1973, a fashion legend vanished, leaving behind only a white silk dress and the question: what really happened to Astrid Bricard? Paris, 1917: Parentless sixteen-year-old Mizza Bricard makes a vow: to be remembered on her own terms. This promise drives her and her designs through the most exclusive couture houses in France until, finally, a legend is created -- one that will endure for generations to come, but not the one she wanted. New York, 1970: Designer Astrid Bricard arrives in bohemian Chelsea ready to change the fashion world. And she does -- but cast in the role of muse to her lover, Hawk Jones. Just as Astrid's star is finally poised to ascend in its own right, she mysteriously disappears, leaving her family in tatters and perpetuating the infamous Bricard family myth. French Countryside, Present Day: Blythe Bricard is the daughter of fashion's most infamous 70s power couple, but she turned her back on that world, and her passion for it, years ago. Fate, however, has other plans, and in a chateau over a whirlwind couple of weeks, Blythe will discover there is more to her iconic mother and grandmother -- and herself -- than she ever knew. These three generations now have one chance to prove themselves. Can the women of the Bricard fashion dynasty finally rewrite their history?

In a nutshell: generational fiction, fashion, France

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All the little bird-hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow  

All the little bird-hearts

By Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards. Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly - her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home. Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday's book. Soon they are in and out of each others' homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo's polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.

In a nutshell: literary fiction, family relationships, neurodiversity.

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The boy in time by Stephen Orr  

The boy in time

By Stephen Orr

A plane in the distance, artillery, his father waiting, and the boy wonders what to do. As with every story in this collection, the child born into a world he can't comprehend, but stands waiting for answers, overcome with possibilities. The Boy in Time charts this child's progress from the Outer Hebrides to a Mongolian desert, from war to kidnapping, a Midwestern American nightmare, falling from the wheel-well of a Dreamliner. Stephen Orr's impressionistic take on the short story captures a child's bewilderment of what it's like to be alive.

In a nutshell: Australian fiction, short stories, impressionist.

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Love match by Clare Fletcher  

Love match

By Clare Fletcher

In a town like South Star, everyone knows Sarah Childs' name, face, entire history... and the fact she's just been dumped by Johnno West. Sarah would happily keep to herself on their property, Dunromin, for the rest of her days. But now her parents are refusing to put her in charge until she spends a year getting more involved in the local community and, yes, dating. Well. She'll show them community spirit. She'll be Miss bloody South Star if that's what it takes. How hard can it be? Sarah rekindles neglected friendships and throws herself in the dating deep end (recruiting the Bush Telegraph, Mabel Peters, to matchmake for her). She joins a new women's rugby team, and even the bristly new cop in town, Sergeant Smith, can't slow Sarah's race to keep up appearances as the perfect daughter, citizen and girlfriend. As Sarah moves in with Mabel to help catalogue her vast wardrobe -- bringing up memories of Mabel's beauty pageant past and long-lost friend Rose -- vintage fashion might not be all that comes out of the closet.

In a nutshell: Australian fiction, country life, romance.

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12 steps to a long and fulfilling death by Sarah Smith  

12 steps to a long and fulfilling death

By Sarah Smith

A dark comedy about how to live your best life, even when you're dead. Stacey was trying to live her best life, but now she's dead. But why hasn't she passed on? Could it be her fatal car accident is actually murder? Detectives Ed Beaufontaine and Rose Garafino have a long list of suspects, chief among them Stacey's fiance, Liam. His business dealings and new relationship with Emily Jackson are raising a few eyebrows. As the detectives dig deeper, so does Stacey. With nothing but time on her hands, she forensically examines her past relationships -- her pathological ex, unreliable father, controlling psychologist, and toxic girlfriends -- realising she might have been better off without them. She's hoping she can steer the detectives in the right direction before she's doomed to wander for eternity. Because in the city of angels and 12 step programs, even the dead need a little help from time to time.

In a nutshell: murder mystery, ghost story, who-dunnit.

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September 2023
White fire by Adam Hamby  

White fire

By Adam Hamby

An ex-MI6 agent determined to avenge a tragic death. A radical environmental group resolved to avert climate catastrophe. A lone outsider with the power to devastate the world. Scott Pearce has torn up the espionage rulebook to overcome those spreading division and hate, but radical environmental group White Fire is a new kind of enemy posing a new kind of threat. With everything on the line, Pearce discovers links to an old enemy thought long defeated. As the danger rises, he realises he and his team, Leila Nahum and Kyle Wollerton, have underestimated the fight ahead. As the conspiracy that links Black 13 and Red Wolves emerges from the shadows, the team has one chance to avert a global catastrophe that could disable the world permanently.

In a nutshell: Thriller, conspiracy, Scott Pearce series.

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the paper man by Billy O'Callaghan  

The paper man

By Billy O'Callaghan

1980s Cork. Jack Shine is sorting through his mother's belongings when he discovers a shoe box full of love letters and newspaper clippings. Jack's mother, Rebekah, was a young woman when the Second World War broke out, and she came to Cork alone as a Jewish refugee from Vienna. She died when Jack was young, and he never learned of his father's identity. So, who wrote these love letters to Rebekah and why did she keep newspaper clippings about a famous Austrian footballer player? Who was The Paper Man? As Jack begins to uncover the story of his mother's life, he is transported to 1930s Vienna, a bustling, cosmopolitan city on the brink of war. At the heart of the action is Matthias Sindelar, one of the most famous footballers in the world, known to all as 'The Paper Man' because of his effortless weave across the pitch. When Sindelar unexpectedly meets Rebekah, a young woman from a small town, both of their lives are changed forever. But as war looms, they must accept that their survival will tear them apart. Based on real people and true events, The Paper Man is the story of twentieth-century Europe, the Holocaust, the cost of fame, and love against the odds. It is a story that will take Jack far from Cork and all the way back to Vienna, and towards The Paper Man.

In a nutshell: historical fiction based on real people and events, holocaust, romance.

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The invisible hour by Alice Hoffman  

The invisible hour

By Alice Hoffman

One brilliant June day when Mia Jacob can no longer see a way to survive, the power of words saves her. The Scarlet Letter was written almost two hundred years earlier, but it seems to tell the story of Mia's mother, Ivy, and their life inside the Community -- an oppressive cult in western Massachusetts where contact with the outside world is forbidden, and books are considered evil. But how could this be? How could Nathaniel Hawthorne have so perfectly captured the pain and loss that Mia carries inside her? Through a journey of heartbreak, love, and time, Mia must abandon the rules she was raised with at the Community. As she does, she realises that reading can transport you to other worlds or bring them to you, and that readers and writers affect one another in mysterious ways. She learns that time is more fluid than she can imagine, and that love is stronger than any chains that bind you. As a girl Mia fell in love with a book. Now as a young woman she falls in love with a brilliant writer as she makes her way back in time. But what if Nathaniel Hawthorne never wrote The Scarlet Letter? And what if Mia Jacob never found it on the day she planned to die?

In a nutshell: time travel, cults, magical realism.

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Silo by Hugh Howey  


By Hugh Howey

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.

In a nutshell: Dystopian, TV series tie-in, wool series.

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