Every week, the Sainsbury's Book Club team read and recommend their favourite eBooks, curating a selection of free samples, book trailers, author biographies and reading group discussion points to help you get the most out of your next eBook read.
We'd love you to contribute to the Book Club too, so if you like what you read, recommend it to others by reviewing the books on the list and the best five reviews each month will win a £10 eBook voucher. Sound good? Read on...
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by Val McDermid
This intriguing mystery gripped me from start to finish. The story starts with the discovery of a skeleton at the top of a disused building, and then unfolds from the points of view of different sets of characters, both likeable and dislikeable, trustworthy and untrustworthy. These perspectives begin to entwine very quickly; each chapter adds pieces to the puzzle until the shocking conclusion.
By telling the story from different points of view, McDermid allows us to get a fascinating insight into the characters’ inner thoughts and the way they see each other. The mystery gains added depth by moving between past and present, and I was kept guessing all the way through. This is the first book I’ve read by Val McDermid, but it certainly won’t be the last!
Covering forty years from 1499, this is the sixth book in The Cousins’ War series from Philippa Gregory. It focuses on Margaret Pole, the last York princess and a rival claimant to the Tudor throne. As the story begins she is married to a loyal Tudor supporter and guardian to Arthur, Prince of Wales and his bride Katherine of Aragon. Then, as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine, Margaret finds herself in the middle of a fatal political battle as King Henry VIII becomes frustrated with his wife’s inability to give him a male heir; court and country is divided over his decision to break with the Catholic Church.
I’m a huge fan of just about everything Philippa Gregory has written and with this instalment she’s offered us an alternative take on a much-covered subject and it’s well worth the read. Her characters jump off the page, her research into the subject is as impressive as ever and it’s a page-turner to boot. What more could you want?
Is she lying or telling the truth? Is she crazy or sane? This was the Hamletic dilemma that kept me awake until very late at night reading Tom Rob Smith’s bestselling thriller The Farm. It’s a family story, set partly in the pristine and idyllic Swedish countryside, partly in central London.
When Daniel receives a frantic call from his father in Sweden telling him his mother is not well and is “imagining things”, he is worried and decides to fly over there. But then his mother contacts him to say she is coming to London, convinced her husband is involved in an horrific crime.
The novel’s powerful start plunged me straight into the dramatic situation. There is a sense of uneasiness and danger running through the storyline: the beautiful Scandinavian landscape has a claustrophobic quality, while normal, daily events suddenly seem odd and ominous.
The story builds magnificently, but I felt the conclusion let it down a little: the novel ended with a bit of a whimper, rather than a bang. Overall, a very good read, especially for fans of Stieg Larsson and psychological thrillers that dwell on buried, disturbing family secrets.
I couldn't wait to get stuck into this book, I'd read all the reviews, heard all the hype and seen so many people reading it. I also loved the premise - who doesn't wonder at the lives of people living in houses that they see every day, morning and night - particularly if the houses in question are or have been familiar to them. On her daily commute Megan does just this - imagines the lives of households living on Blenheim Road. Or does she? Is there more to it and is everything really as it seems?
Intriguing from the off, this is a real page-turner. Comparable to Before I Go to Sleep, although as realisation dawned on me as to what was actually going on it didn't quite make my heart thump in the same way. I think the difference was partly down to the fact that I really didn't care about any of the characters in this book, which was a shame and could have made a very good book brilliant.
I'd read The Rosie Project last year and loved it so was very much looking forward to the sequel. Now married, Don and Rosie have moved from Australia to New York but the course of true love – and life generally – does not run smoothly for our hero. Once Rosie breaks the momentous news that she and Don are going to be parents, Don's ordered life soon spirals out of control.
I found myself laughing out loud (and sometimes cringing) as Don's unconventional outlook on life and love coupled with the often dangerous advice of his best friend Gene sends him spinning from one crisis to the next. Hilariously funny and charming, with a brilliantly imagined central character, this follow up to The Rosie Project does not disappoint.
by Andy Jones
The Two of Us is about Fisher and Ivy, sort of work colleagues who have been together for a little under three weeks. Three weeks getting to know each other – extremely well. Then suddenly, Ivy changes. The story is narrated through Fisher’s eyes. We see how he views their relationship and how they go through ups and downs together. Fisher is dealing with his best friend El who is dying of Huntingdon’s and Ivy with her brother’s marital issues.
I absolutely loved this book; it’s funny, heart warming, tender and heart-breaking. I felt like I could relate to the characters and their experiences, which are pretty much what every couple goes through when getting to know each other. It shows how relationships and loved ones should not be taken for granted. I’m also sure if this story was narrated through Ivy’s eyes it would be totally different, but none the less I liked Fisher’s point of view. The characters are so well developed that I began to feel like they were people I knew.
I‘d definitely recommend this title for all readers looking for a memorable read. (It would also be excellent as a movie!) Excellent story telling from Andy Jones, I’ll keep my eye out for his titles in the future.
by Tony Parsons
Tony Parsons is best known for his sweet-natured book Man and Boy, which sold millions of copies. His latest is a very different bag: a crime thriller. I’ll admit I wasn’t one of those millions of fans, and I haven’t even read many crime books either. Still, the big question is: how will he fare now he’s changed genre?
Well, he certainly knows how to keep readers turning the pages, and guessing whodunit? His hero DC Wolfe is also a likeable bloke. He’ll be familiar to anyone who has read Parsons before - he’s a single dad with a young kid. Parsons has said he wants to give crime writing some heart and Wolfe is definitely someone you can feel for. Amidst all the murder, their father-daughter relationship provides welcome relief.
The opening scene is really gory and I was a bit worried the whole book might be like that. Luckily, the rest of it isn’t so stomach turning. The story is sprinkled with interesting crime and policing facts, which also help create a more believable world. One reservation is that the victims are a tad one dimensional and hard to like. Overall though The Murder Bag is the perfect addition for any handbag, man bag, or even forensic scientist’s murder bag.
by Hannah Kent
Based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in 19th century Iceland you know from the outset that this isn't going to be a cheery read. Almost everything about it is bleak, from the inhospitable climate to the inevitable end, but it's compelling and beautiful in its bleakness if that's possible. The comparison to Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace was the hook for me and it's a good comparison - uplifting it's certainly not; it's a tragic tale of love and betrayal that will continue to haunt you long after the last page.