Street Cat Bob by James Bowen (Hodder)
A charming and inspirational story of a man and his cat. James Bowen was living in sheltered housing and earning money as a busker when he found an injured streetcat in his hall. Taking him in and looking after him, Bob became a friend and comfort to Bowen as he negotiated trying to earn money as well as continuing his road to recovery from his heroin addiction. This is a moving story told by Bowen about the importance of having something to live for.
For fans of animal stories, non-fiction and inspirational stories of overcoming the odds.
Pictures or It Didn't Happen by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)
When Chloe and her daughter Freya are rescued from a minor domestic drama by the mysterious Tom, Chloe thinks she's found her knight in shining armour. But a warning from a woman who works with Tom and her best friend's suspicions about his motives mean Chloe is unsure if Tom is really what he seems. Hannah brings her customary twists and turns to the story and you'll be as nervous as Chloe is to find out the truth about Tom.
For fans of psychological thrillers and characters who aren't quite what they seem.
Out of the Dark by Adele Geras (Quercus)
Rob Stone returns from the First World War with a mask covering what used to be a handsome face. His sweetheart doesn't want to see him anymore and he struggles to deal with people's reactions to his ruined face. He is also haunted by a promise he's made to himself to track down the family of his captain to return a precious photograph to them. Geras creates a hugely sympathetic character in Rob, without it ever getting to maudlin and the book builds to a moving, satisfying conclusion.
For fans of war stories, historical fiction and novels about lives being rebuilt.
Paris for One by Jojo Moyes (Penguin)
When Nell's boyfriend leaves her in the lurch before their planned romantic weekend in Paris, Nell tries to make the most of it. With only schoolgirl French and not much money things don't go very smoothly but when she meets writer Fabien things take a turn for the better as Nell realises she may be more adventurous than she thought. Moyes is a expert at writing witty, charming stories like these and just because this one is shorter than her usual books, doesn't mean it lacks any of her customary charm and talent.
For fans of apealing characters who are never cliched, romance and Paris of course.
Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Jonathan Cape)
Booker-winner Doyle creates an unnerving story of friendship, funerals and what happens next. Pat hasn't spoken to his best friend Joe since the day they had the big fight and now it's Joe's funeral. But something weird happens when Pat arrives at Joe's house for the wake and the lines between life and death seemed to be a bit blurry. Doyle writes with pace and wit, as usual, in this slightly spooky story.
For fans of unusual ghost stories, tales of friendship and good twists.
Red for Revenge by Fanny Blake (Orion)
Maggie and Carla meet by chance in a beauty salon and realise that they have more in common than they'd like - in the form of Phil, Maggie's husband and Carla's boyfriend. After the initial shock, they both decide that perhaps they should direct their ire at Phil not each other and so hatch a plan to teach him a lesson. Blake's story nips along, managing to avoid a lot of the potential cliches of spurned wife and the other woman as you come to root for both Maggie and Carla.
For fans of stories about strong female characters and revenge that's fun rather than upsetting.
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