Friday, 1 November 2019

 

10 Cosy New Books to Read This Autumn


As the days grow darker and colder, I bring out my staples for cosy nights in and weekends at home: festively-scented candles, my trusty checkered and wool-lined fleece blanket, warm-coloured fairy lights, and my towering to-read pile that has been building up over the summer months. Yes, it's the best time of the year for reading while snuggled up with a cup of tea! And today I'm delighted to share with you book releases from the past few months that are perfect to curl up with this autumn. Whether you love a good ol' Christmas tale, harrowing historical fiction, Sherlock Holmesque crime, magical middle grade, laugh-out-loud women's fiction, gripping YA thriller, or thought provoking non-fiction essays, this list of recent favs has something to delight readers of all tastes.


Last Christmas curated by Greg Wise and Emma Thompson
(Quercus Publishing, £14.99)

Everyone knows the iconic Wham! festive classic song and this year a movie inspired by the music will grace the silver screen. Co-written by husband and wife duo Greg Wise and Emma Thompson, the two famous Brits have also curated a book of essays about the festive season. The book does not only feature stories from celebrities reminiscing about Christmases of days gone past, but also a host of other people who have thought-provoking stories to tell. Some heart-breaking, others hilarious – and everything in between. Part of the proceeds for the book are going to Crisis and The Refugee Council and there are many essays in the book from people who've been homeless or refugees, and the selfless charity workers who have given up so much of their time to help others in need. Truly inspiring.

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend
(Hachette Children's Group, £12.99)

Technically the second installment in the wondrous Nevermoor series was published in 2018, but I read it this year, so it totally counts for this list. Also, this is one of my absolute favourite series ever, so any chance I get to talk about it I'll take. The world of Nevermoor is imaginative and fantastical, evoking the same feeling of wonder and excitement as Harry Potter did back in the day, but not in a wizarding way. Morrigan Crow has finished her trials and is now an official member of the Wundrous Society, which she hoped would mean everything she ever wanted; family, friends, and a place to belong. But things aren't as clear-cut as that. There are still cliques and horrible people, and when she discovers she has a special power that makes everyone think she's evil, she becomes more isolated than ever before. Not only that, but the villainous Wundersmith Ezra Squall is making an appearance yet again, and this time around his story becomes far more convincing, making it harder and harder for Morrigan to decide who to trust...


The Last by Hanna Jameson
(Penguin, £6.99)

This is the ultimate page-turner. Opening with worldwide nuclear attacks and focusing on the apocalyptic devastation and the collapse of civilisation, the pages are already shrouded in mystery as everything about the situation of a group of survivors in a remote hotel in the Swiss mountains is unknown. And on top of that Hanna Jameson's edge-of-your-seat thriller also has a murder mystery element, adding even more twists and turns to the story to keep the reader hooked from start to finish. If Agatha Christie and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) ever had a chance to collaborate, they probably would've come up with something very similar to this gripping read. (Full review)

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz
(Cornerstone, £6.99)

I am not normally a huge fan of crime books, but Anthony Horowitz' contemporary interpretation of Sherlock Holmes meets Agatha Christie – in which he breaks the metaphorical fourth wall by placing himself at the heart of the murder mystery as a Watson-type character alongside the ingenious fictional detective Hawthorne – is nothing short of brilliant. This book is a sequel to The Word is Murder (which, coincidentally, made my cosy autumn reading list two years ago), and picks up almost straight after with a new murder for Hawthorne and a reluctant Horowitz to investigate. Despite guessing 'whodunnit' quite early on in the story, this was one of those gripping reads I *had* to finish in just two sittings as I was so intrigued by the unfolding storyline. While this is the second Hawthorne story, we still know very little about our unlikely protagonist, which at this stage is a bigger mystery than the cases the duo try to crack.


Nordic Tales illustrated by Ulla Thynell
(Chronicle Books, £16.99)

I have always loved myths, legends, and fairy tales, and this stunning collection of folklore from the chilling north is a perfect addition to my collection. Filled with thrilling tales of trolls, elves, and dragons in woodlands and kingdoms, the book details sixteen traditional stories ranging from wonderful to horrifying (as a good fairy tale does). While the tales are a delight on their own, what truly makes this book special are the stunning illustrations throughout by Ulla Thynell. They're beautiful and atmospheric, and make this a fantastic collection to admire throughout – and the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season.

The Foundling by Stacey Halls
(Bonnier Zaffre, to be published 4 February 2020, £12.99)

This book is not published yet, it'll be released next February (on my birthday to be exact!), but it's such a suitable addition to this collection that I *had* to include it. Stacey Halls is a brilliant new voice in historical fiction. After the thought-provoking and beautifully written The Familiars, detailing the story of a few women implicated in the witch trials in the UK in the 1600s, her upcoming novel is set a century later and focuses on a not very well-known part of medieval London: The Foundling Hospital. Women who couldn't take care of their children would leave their newborns at the Hospital to be taken care off (it was a much better alternative than oprhanges or work houses). They'd leave a token, often something seemingly insignificant such as a bit of fabric from their clothes, for the foundling to keep so when tides would turn they had a marker to find their child again. The Foundling shares the story of one woman desperate enough to leave her child at the Hospital, and her journey to trying to find her way back to her little girl.


One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
(Michael Joseph, £7.99)

Genie lost her adoptive mother almost a year ago and it broke her. She hasn't gone to work, instead she's hiding out at home, unable to face the world now it has changed forever. And then her adoptive father throws another bombshell on her: he knows who Genie's birth mother is. Not wanting to replace the mother figure in her life, but curious about her roots, the normally unadventurous Genie travels halfway across the world to New Zealand to find her. Having travelled across New Zealand myself, many of the places Genie discovers on her journey felt familiar, and author Isabelle Broom has done a wonderful job representing the beauty of the country in her novel. Her books feel like part fiction and part travel guide, and I absolutely love they breathe the places they're set in. You cannot read One Winter Morning without immediately wanting to board a plane to New Zealand, trust me.

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk
(HarperCollins, £5.99)

While I love all things cold and cosy, and autumn is may favourite season, I know many people who dread the darker and wetter days, and wish they were spending their time in far sunnier settings. If you cannot afford the plane ticket overseas, then escaping with a sizzlin' summer read is the best alternative. I Heart Hawaii combines characters and settings from Lindsey Kelk's brilliant I Heart and About a Girl series into one laugh-out-loud emotional roller-coaster that is the perfect companion for those desperately clinging to the last rays of sunshine. While hilarious throughout, as it's filled with Lindsey's tell-tale witty commentary and puts the characters in ridiculous situations, it's also the very last book in the I Heart series so there will be tears. You are warned.


The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt
(Pan Macmillan, £7.99)

New fantasy novels have a tough job nowadays as they're always immediately compared to Harry Potter (if aimed at children) or one of the many young adult novels that have been hyped through the years. The Nightjar though, has such a unique story, that it's impossible to compare it to anything else – and I absolutely loved its originality. Alice has been afraid of birds her whole live as she saw some strange things as a child she's been trying to suppress ever since. However, in a magical alternative London adjacent to her own, something terrible is about to happen. And the mysterious Crowley pulls Alice from the comfort of her office job into a world where people have special abilities related to the elements. And some, very few and very powerful, people can see Nightjars; a bird that every person has – magical or not – that shows their emotions and soul. Alice just happens to have this rare talent and only she can help save the world...

Dead Popular by Sue Wallman
(Scholastic, £7.99)

While this book may seem to start off as any regular contemporary young adult novel – setting up the characters and their rankings on the popularity scale at the boarding school while talking about teenage crushes and midnight parties – the story quickly turns far darker and will hook you in with its mystery. I love how the thriller aspect always lingers along the edges of Sue Wallman's novels, subtle yet tense, until it burst through in full force and all hell breaks lose. Whether you love a contemporary YA, unpredictable mystery, or twisty thriller, Dead Popular will satisfy your reading needs on all fronts and then some. It may lure you in with a fun boarding school setting, but the clever build-up and compelling writing will have you engrossed until you turn that final page. (Full review.)


🍂 What new book releases do you want to cosy up with this autumn? Leave your recommendations in the comments below! 🍂


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