Toppling the TBR Pile – Cornerstone Publishing 2016 titles

Today, the to read pile is wobbling precariously thanks to Cornerstone Publishing. Part of the Random House group, Cornerstone has imprints including Century, Arrow, Hutchinson, Windmill and William Heineman. They also happen to publish some of my favourite authors, whose work I always have to read, but I’ve not let that influence me in any way…

January opens with a treat for Helen Dunmore fans. Exposure is set in 1960 during the Cold War. Simon Callington is arrested when a highly sensitive file goes missing, accused of passing information to the Soviets. His wife Lily thinks his imprisonment is part of a cover-up and knows both she and her children are in danger. She doesn’t know the truth about Simon’s past however, and that he may be hiding a bigger crime that carries a greater penalty. (Hutchinson)

Grieving mother Charlie Cates has vivid dreams about children in Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline out this month. She thinks at first that she is hallucinating but comes to realise the dreams are messages that will help her and the children she sees. Her dreams take her from New York to Louisiana where she takes on the job of writing a true-crime book based on the kidnapping of Gabriel Deveau 30 years ago. As she investigates she uncovers secrets of love, money, murder and betrayal. (Arrow)

Grange Hill and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond’s novel Highbridge is published this month. Three years ago Janey Nolan was murdered in the centre of town. Her murder is still unsolved. Tired of waiting for the case to be solved and sick of the dealers hanging around the school gates, Janey’s brothers want to avenge her death. Sean opts for using political power whilst Joey chooses a more direct course of action on the streets. But can they find the killer without bring danger to the town? (Century)

The Passion of Mademoiselle S edited by Jean-Yves Berthault is a collection of letters from 1928 to 1930 written by a young woman believed to have been called Simone. Detailing her affair with a married man they paint a picture of a woman, sexually aware, with an obsessive and destructive love. Seen by some as a woman who challenges preconceptions of female sexuality during the 1920’s this is a portrait of a woman and her love affair which develops in shocking and unexpected ways. (William Heinemann)

The Witness by Stephen Kernick sees Jane Kinnear enter witness protection after she sees her lover, who was a MI5 informant, murdered. DI Ray Mason is in charge of preventing a terrorist attack, an attack that Jane’s lover had important information about. But can Mason be trusted? Jane thinks she is protected in the safe house. But she doesn’t know that the killer knows who she is and where she is hiding. (Century) (The paperback is released by Arrow in June)

The Aquarium by David Vann is also published in January. Nine year old Caitlin spends nearly every afternoon at the local aquarium whilst her mother works overtime. Caitlin’s whole world are her mum, her school, occasionally her mum’s boyfriends and the fish in the aquarium. She has no friends at schools except Shalini, and no other family. But Caitlin has made a friend at the aquarium. An old man who seems to know something about Caitlin, something she doesn’t even know about herself. (Windmill)

Also out this month is Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, (Century), Shame and Wonder, a collection of essays from David Searcy, (William Heinemann), Kingmaker: Broken Faith by Toby Clements, (Arrow), Sweet Memories of You by Ellie Dean, (Arrow), Star Wars: Lord of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp, (Arrow), Murder D.C. by Neely Tucker, (Windmill) and Trace Evidence by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs. (Young Arrow)

Onto February and two books I am particularly excited about. Katie Fforde’s A Summer at Sea tells the story of Emily, a happily single midwife who’s looking for a bit of a change. When her friend Rebecca asks her to spend the summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat off the Scottish coast she jumps at the chance. But it turns out Rebecca is heavily pregnant and expects Emily to do most of the work and the kitchen assistant is jealous and thinks she should be head-cook instead of Emily. Then there’s Alistair, the handsome local doctor Emily is trying not to notice. Because if she falls for him, as he appears to be falling for her, will she want her old life back? (Century) You can read my review of Katie’s previous novel A French Affair. Katie’s novel, A Vintage Affair, is also out in paperback this month. Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for a new beginning so they set up a business organising vintage weddings. Soon they are busy organising other people’s big days but none of them know that romance waits for them around the corner. (Arrow)

The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis is out this month. Jules Bright is surprised to open the door one day to a detective bringing news she had feared. Amelia Quentin is to be released from prison. As Jules’ friends and family gather to support her. They know that justice was never served and each one of them wants to make Amelia pay. But what will Jules do. And which of them – her or Amelia, have the most to fear? (Century)

Confessions of a Tinderella is the true recollections of Rosy Edwards. In her book, out in February, she talks about the dates she goes on after swiping through the dating app. Honest and funny, it is described as a story to show that the key to a successful love life could be just a swipe away. (Arrow)

Carys Bray’s collection of short stories, Sweet Home, is published this month. This collections together joy, heartache and love through seventeen stories each with different interpretations of home. (Windmill)

The Shore by Sarah Taylor has been sat on my to read pile for a while and I’ll make sure to read it before the paperback is published in February. The Shore is a collection small islands off the coast of Virginia. The book is the interconnecting stories of two families, showing the small miracles and mysteries of the community and the bonds of blood and fate that bind them all. (Windmill)

Also out this month is Armada by Ernest Cline, (Arrow), No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis, (Arrow) and This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison. (Windmill)

March and a new Harlan Coben novel to enjoy. In Fool Me Once a husband is murdered, his wife a witness. But what happens when she spots him on her nanny cam? She thought she trusted him but now she can’t even trust herself. (Century)

Siren by Annemarie Neary is out this month. Roisin Burns has spent twenty years building a life based on lies. Then a figure from her Belfast past appears on screen. Brian Lonergan has reinvented himself as a politician. But trouble is brewing in Ireland and Roisin knows the truth about Brian. Travelling from New York to Ireland, Roisin is on the hunt for Brian. But he is one step ahead and has someone waiting for her when she arrives. (Hutchinson)

The Accidental Agent by Andrew Rosenheim is also published in March. It is 1942 and James Nessheim is back at college, believing he has left his past as a spy behind him. However he is persuaded to help the FBI when a covert nuclear programme at the University of Chicago is infiltrated. At the same time an old flame returns. Is her appearance a coincidence? As Nessheim struggles to protect the biggest secret of the war he has to work out who he can trust. (Hutchinson)

Non- fiction and The Pursuit of Happiness: And Why It’s Making Us Anxious by Ruth Whippman is also out this month. Ruth finds that wherever she goes in California, people tell her they are looking to be happier. Could she be happier if she tried? She discovers that the more people look to be happier, the less likely they are to actually be happy and looks as to whether there are more effective, less self-involved ways of finding happiness. (Hutchinson)

Donna Leon is one of the authors whose novels I always eagerly await and have to read. Falling in Love is published in paperback this month. The 24th Guido Brunetti mystery sees the return of Flavia Petrelli, the opera singer Brunetti met in the first novel of the series, Death in La Fenice. Being a famous opera star Flavia is used to attention. But when one fan inundates her with yellow flowers, including in her locked apartment, it becomes clear that the fan has become stalker. Distraught she turns to Brunetti and when a young opera singer is attacked he believes her fears are founded. Brunetti must track down the stalker before anyone else comes to harm. (Arrow)

A non-fiction title and being from the region, I am keen to read is Common Ground by Rob Cowen. After moving to Yorkshire from Londo, Rob finds himself penned in, yearning for open space. So he sets out to find some one night and comes across a pylon-slung piece of land with a scrap of wood, meadow, field and river on the outskirts of town. Revisiting Rob documents the changes to the land through time and season. He unearths histories that echo events in his own life. A book about how a man came to know himself by unlocking a piece of nature and how nature isn’t just found in some remote mountain. (Windmill)

Also out in March is Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane, (Preface), A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber, (Arrow), The Glory by Katie Flynn writing as Judith Saxton, (Arrow), Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, (Arrow), The Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson, (Arrow), Springtime at Cherry Tree Farm by Cathy Woodman, (Arrow), Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, (Arrow) and The Sunshine Cruise Company by John Niven. (Windmill)

April and another novel I’m eager to read is published. In Emma Kavanagh’s The Missing Hours, Selena Cole vanishes from the playground. Twenty-four hours later she is found safe and well but without any memory of this time she was missing. What happened and is there a link to a murder discovered nearby? Click on the titles to read my reviews of Emma’s previous novels Falling and Hidden. (Century)

Also out in April is The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan. Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter it tells the story of a small community having to live through what many believe is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street, schools and health care are run by volunteers. Dylan, a refuge from London is newly arrived and grieving his mother and grandmother. Under the aurora borealis he meets Constance, her daughter Stella and Barnacle, who is so crippled he walks facing the earth. As the temperature drops life goes on… (William Heinemann)

Being a huge Donna Leon fan (see above) I’m eager for April to arrive so I can read The Waters of Eternal Youth. The 25th Brunetti novel finds the Commissario investigating a cold case at the request of a friend of his mother-in-law. Fifteen years ago the granddaughter of Contessa Lando-Continui was found drowning in a canal. Rescued before she died she suffered severe brain damage. Now 30, Manuela cannot remember the accident and lives trapped in an eternal youth. The Contessa, convinced this was no accident, asks Brunetti to find the culprit. Re-opening the case, to the annoyance of his boss, Brunetti finds a dark and murky history behind the incident. (William Heinemann)

The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker is out this month. Sri Ramakrishna is many things to many people. To the world he is godly avatar and guru, to Rani he is Brahmin fated to defy tradition. And to Hriday he is Uncle. Uncle who is prone to trances at inconvenient times, known for dangerous acts of self-effacement and who must be protected from jealous enemies and from the cauliflower. (William Heinemann)

Also out this month is The Heat of Betrayal by Douglas Kennedy, (Arrow), The Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas, (Arrow) and The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons. (Arrow)

We come to May and In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes is published. Your husband disappears. Months later you and your daughter are put in danger. Even if he was alive your husband couldn’t save you, he’s told too many lies for that. (Century)

The third book in the DC Max Wolfe series, The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons, is out this month. A gang of vigilante executioners are roaming the streets of London. The target: a gang member that groomed and abused dozens of girls, a drunk driver who ran over a child and a hate preacher calling for the murder of British troops. As the body count rises DC Wolfe has to hunt down the group many think of as heroes. And discovers the desire for revenge can start close to home. (Century)

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena De Blasi, is a true story of five Italian women who meet every Thursday, where they cook together, drink wine and talk. They tell their life stories, of love, aging, abandonment, tales of mafia grudges and family feuds and share recipes passed down the ages from ancestors. (Windmill)

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton is also out this month. Amaterasu Takahasi has spent her life grieving for her daughter and grandson who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Now a widow in the US she believes that one man is responsible for her loss, the doctor who caused a rift between her and her daughter. But then a man claiming to be her grandson turns up and she is forced to relive the past and realise that if she had loved her daughter differently then she would have been alive today. (Windmill)

Also published in May is When I was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson. Two girls with identical names meet and make friends in a ballet class in 1988, destined, they believe, to become professional dancers and friends for life. Years later one has entered a convent, the other is a minor celebrity. Are these the lives they were meant to live or after being reunited after twenty years, will they find any salvation? (Century)

The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner is also out in May. A crumbling house, said to have survived four earthquakes, sits on the island of Castellamare. Fascinated with the building, said to be cursed, local doctor Amedeo Esposito sets out to restore it. It was home to four generations of the Esposito’s, has seen feuds, friendships and love affairs. And is a place alive with legends, stories and miracles. (Hutchinson)

The Girls by Lisa Jewell is released in paperback this month. In a communal garden square people think that their children are safe to run free, that they can trust anyone. But then a girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the square. What really happened and who is responsible? (Arrow)

Also out this month is Fire by C.C. Humphreys, (Century), Undercover by John Carter, (Century), The Cartel by Don Winslow, (Arrow), A House Divided: An Easterleigh Hall Novel by Margaret Graham, (Arrow) and The Clasp by Sloane Crosley. (Windmill)

On to June and Arrowood by Laura McHugh is published. Arrowood is an ornate and beautiful historic house on the Mississippi river. It has its secrets, ten years ago two young girls were kidnapped from there and never seen again. Arden has inherited Arrowood and returns to her childhood home to discover what really happened to her sisters. The truth is more devastating than she can imagine. (Century)

New from Carys Bray is The Museum of You. Clover Quinn was an accident. She like to think she was the happy kind of accident but now she’s not too sure. She’d like to ask her dad but tries not to skate on the thin ice of his sad memories. He rarely mentions her mother but the spare bedroom contains all of her possessions. So while dad is work Clover will unpack her mothers belongings and curate an exhibition. This time it’s her turn to surprise him. (Hutchinson)

In Baby Doll by Hollie Overton, Lily has escaped her captor, having been held for eight years, suffering mental and physical abuse. This is the story of what happens next. About bringing her kidnapper to justice and the difficulty of re-connecting with her family. (Century)

Perhaps the most famous book to hit the shelves in recent years, Go Set a Watchman by the inimitable Harper Lee is released in paperback this month. Much has been said about this novel, incorrectly labelled as a sequel to the sublime To Kill A Mockingbird. I have to read the tale of a grown up Scout, returning home after twenty years to visit an elderly Atticus. I’ll leave it to you to create your own opinion of Go Set a Watchman. (Arrow)

Also out this month is Kingmaker 3: Unquiet Souls by Toby Clements, (Century), House of Bones by Annie Hauxwell, (Arrow) and Dictator by Robert Harris, (Arrow).

If you are a James Patterson fan there are a plethora of books from him and various collaborators throughout the first half of the year.

NYPD Red 4 with Marshall Karp – January (Century)

Private Sydney with Kathryn Fox – January (Arrow)

I Funny TV with Chris Grabenstein – January (Young Arrow)

First Love with Emily Raymond – January (Young Arrow)

15th Affair with Maxine Paetro – February (Century)

Truth or Dare with Howard Roughan – February (Arrow)

Miracle at Augusta with Peter De Jonge- March (Arrow)

Jacky Ha-Ha with Chris Grabenstein – April (Young Arrow)

Alert with Michael Ledwidge – April (Arrow)

Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck (Middle School 7) with Chris Tennetts – May (Young Arrow)

Daniel X: Lights Out (Daniel X 6) with Chris Grabenstein – May (Young Arrow)

Private Rio with Mark Sullivan – June (Century)

Murder House with David Ellis – June (Arrow)

So there we have them, a whole cornucopia of delights to appeal to any bookish tastes. I know what I have my eye on (and you may have an idea from from what I’ve said too) What catches your eye?

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