Friday, 31 October 2014

Borderline by Liza Marklund

Paperback:  In the midst of a Swedish winter, a young mother is found murdered behind her son's nursery.  Halfway across the world, in the sweltering Kenyan heat, a government official is kidnapped.

As a journalist, Annika Bengtzon is often on the frontline, witness to the darkness humans are capable of.  But this time it's different.  It's personal.

The official held to ransom is her husband and she must meet the extreme demands of his kidnappers if she is to bring him home.  And what of the Swedish mother slain in the snow?  Until her killer is found, no one is safe.

Borderline (2014) is the ninth book featuring crime reporter Annika Bengtzon series set in Sweden.  It has been translated from Swedish into the English by Neil Smith.  Marklund's tenth book in the series, Without A Trace, will be out on 18 June 2015.

About the author:  Liza Marklund is an author, publisher, journalist, columnist, and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.  Her crime novels featuring the relentless reporter Annika Bengtzon instantly became an international hit, and Marklund's books have sold over 15 million copies in 30 languages to date.  She has achieved the unique feat of being a number one bestseller in all five Nordic countries, as well as the USA.

She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the inaugural Petrona award for best Scandinavian crime novel of the year 2013 for Last Will (the sixth book in the Annika Bengtzon series), as well as a nomination for the Glass Key for best Scandinavian crime novel.

About the translator:  Neil Smith studied Scandinavian Studies at University College London, and lived in Stockholm for several years.  He now lives in Norfolk.

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Shop Girls: A True Story of Hard Work, Friendship and Fashion in an Exclusive Department Store by Ellee Seymour

Foreword:  This is a story that begins a hundred years ago.  Or perhaps even before then, going back several generations to a family whose roots are found in the the thriving cotton industry of Edwardian Lancashire.  Although his forefathers may have made their living at the loom, George Heyworth - born towards the end of the nineteenth century - had greater ambitions.  It is his story, and the story of the women who worked for him, that fills the pages of this book.

Paperback:  For Eve, Irene, Betty and Rosemary, working at the exclusive Heyworth's department store in Cambridge is a dream come true.

Once the girls step inside the elegant building - surrounded by luxurious dresses and beautiful accessories - the hardships of their own lives are temporarily forgotten.

Serving a variety of curious customers, from glamorous gypsy queens to genuine royalty and stuffy academics to the city's fashionable elite, the store is a place where these bright young women can forge successful careers under the ever-watchful eye of flamboyant owner Mr Heyworth.

Set during the closing years of the Second World War, and moving into the 1950s and swinging sixties, The Shop Girls (2014) perfectly recreates the camaraderie and friendship of these fascinating young women, and brings to life the thrilling hustle and bustle of a fashionable department store.

The Shop Girls is dedicated to Eve, Irene, Betty and Rosemary for generously sharing their stories about working in an elegant ladies department store during a bygone era when courtesy and first-rate customer service was expected from all shop girls - especially at Heyworth's Fashions, Cambridge.  It is also in memory of two extraordinary men, George and Herbert Heyworth, who elegantly attired so many women in Cambridge and beyond.

About the author:  The reader can find out more about Ellee Seymour here.

The Gift of Intuition

Monday, 27 October 2014

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Calamitous Chinese Killing by Shamini Flint

Paperback:  Inspector Singh is on a mission to China, against his better judgment.  The son of a bigwig at the Singapore Embassy has been bludgeoned to death in a back alley in Beijing.

Chinese security insist that he was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but the young man's mother demands that Singapore's finest (in his own opinion) rides to the rescue.

But solving a murder in a country that practices socialism 'with Chinese characteristics' is a dangerous business.  And it soon becomes apparent that getting to the bottom of this calamitous killing will be Singh's toughest case yet.

A Calamitous Chinese Killing (2013) is Flint's sixth book of the Inspector Singh's series, where he journeys throughout Asia busting crimes!

About the author:  Shamini Flint lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. She began her career in law in Malaysia and also worked at an international law firm in Singapore. She travelled extensively around Asia for her work, before resigning to be a stay-at-home mum, writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist.  Shamini also writes children's books with cultural and environmental themes including Ten (2008) and The Seeds of Time (2008) as well as the Sasha series of children's books.  Visit Shamini online at or at

Rating:  3/5

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Drinking & Tweeting and other Brandi Blunders by Brandi Glanville with Leslie Bruce

Paperback:  "Before you judge the girl with the broken ankle, walk a mile in her stiletto."

It's impossible not to love Brandi Glanville, the unapologetically filter-free breath of fresh air on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

She spills all her secrets in this sassy, raunchy, and compulsively readable #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, dishing about everything from her DUI and her cheating ex to her one-night stands and the secret plastic surgery that made her "seventeen" again.

"But this isn't just a breakup book...  As a middle-aged divorcée who is trying to #KeepItSexy, I'm offering this single's guide to getting your life back together for anyone who is in need of a well-deserved pick-me-up and perhaps a little direction."

Clear your schedule, grab a comfy seat, your favourite cocktail...and maybe a Xanax.  #BestAfternoonEver.

About Brandi:  Brandi Glanville officially joined the cast of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in season three and quickly became the show's most outrageous breakout star.  She lives with her two sons, Mason and Jake.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford

Paperback:  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has captivated the American public for more than five decades.  From her introduction to the world as "debutante of the year" in 1947 to her untimely death in 1994, she has truly remained America's answer to royalty.

The definitive biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, America's Queen (2000), is a fascinating account of an extraordinary life.  Jackie Bouvier's privileged upbringing instilled rigid self-control, while her expedient marriage into the Kennedy clan consolidated her determination.

Jackie Kennedy was a twentieth-century icon of glamour, elegance and grace.  As the beautiful young wife of President John F Kennedy, she was adored, her style imitated across the world.

Using remarkable new sources - including in-depth interviews with Jackie's sister, Lee Radziwell - Sarah Bradford has written a timely celebration of a life that was more private than commonly supposed.

Revealing new testimony from many of the couple's closest friends show the profound complexities both of this very public relationship, including the affairs that threatened it, and of her controversial marriage to Aristotle Onassis.

Here is the private Jackie - neglected wife, vigilant mother, obsessive shopper and working widow - whose fascinating nature is illuminated by all that Bradford has discovered.

About the author:  Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer.  Her previous books include Cesare Borgia (1976), Disraeli (1982), winner of the New York Times Book of the Year, Princess Grace (1984), George VI (1989), Sacheverell Sitwell (1993) and Elizabeth:  A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen (1996).  She lives in London and is married to the 8th Viscount Bangor.