Your recipe for a Valentine’s Day feast!

Your recipe for a Valentine’s Day feast!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and here at Bookends HQ we’ve been busy playing Cupid…

Whether you’re planning to celebrate with a romantic date night with that special someone, or a Galentine’s evening in with your best friends, we’ve pulled together all the ingredients you need for a Valentine’s Day feast!

For a wonderfully light starter, why not try Saliha Mahmood Ahmed’s Qubooli Rice Salad from her gorgeously vibrant cookbook Khazana. This dish is fresh, punchy, and packed full of Indo-Persian flavours!

Next up, we love Gino D’Acampo’s Farfalle with Clams, Mussels and Purple-Sprouting Broccoli from his latest cookbook, Gino’s Italian Adriatic Escape. The perfect dish to impress that special someone, or equally lovely as a tasty dinner for friends.

And if you’re after a vegetarian alternative that’s still packed full of flavours and Adriatic charm, Gino’s Aubergine and Caciocavallo Cheese Bake is a wonderfully simple dish that’s nonetheless sure to impress.

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day menu without a serious serving of chocolately goodness, and The Brownie from Great British Bake Off contestant Liam CharlesLiam Charles Cheeky Treats delivers in a big way. The ultimate snack for a Valentine’s girls’ night in, or a sumptuous dessert to top off your romantic dinner, these brownies are sure to be a winner!

Read an exclusive extract from When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Read an exclusive extract from When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Read an extract from When You Read This
– the sparkling and heartfelt debut from Mary Adkins, out on the 7th of February.

Iris Massey is gone.
But she’s left something behind.

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands.

But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three.

Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’s big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Funny and moving in equal measures, When You Read This is a sparkling debut about love, life, and all the emails you really wish you’d never sent.

Read an extract here.

When You Read This is out on the 7th February. Pre-order it now:

Read an extract from our Book of the Month, When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

Read an extract from our Book of the Month, When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

Read an extract from our Book of the Month, Anne Griffin’s poignant and heartwarming debut When All Is Said.

Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

‘I’m here to remember – all that I have been and all that I will never be again.’

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual – though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.

Read an exclusive extract from this emotional and masterfully written debut.

And find out what our lovely reviewer panel, Friends of Bookends, had to say about the extraordinary tale of Maurice Hannigan.

When All Is Said is available to buy now:

Read an extract from The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley

Read an extract from The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley

Read an extract from Clare Pooley’s bravely honest and brilliantly comic account of how one mother gave up drinking and started living.

Clare Pooley is a Cambridge graduate and was a Managing Partner at one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, and yet eighteen months ago she’d become an overweight, depressed, middle-aged mother of three who was drinking more than a bottle of wine a day, and spending her evenings Googling ‘Am I an alcoholic?’

In a desperate bid to turn her life around, she quit drinking and started a blog. She called it Mummy Was a Secret Drinker.

This book is the story of a year in Clare’s life: a year that started with her quitting booze having been drinking more than a bottle of wine every day. It sees her starting a hugely successful blog, then getting and beating breast cancer. By the end of the year she is booze free and cancer free, two stone lighter and with a life that is so much richer, healthier and more rewarding than ever before. Sober Diaries is an upbeat, funny and positive look at how to live life to the full.

Interwoven within Clare’s own very personal and frank story is research and advice, and answers to questions like:

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?
How will I cope at parties?
What do I say to friends and family?
How do I cope with cravings?
Will I lose weight?
What if my partner still drinks?

Read an extract here.

Buy The Sober Diaries in paperback now:

Real reader reviews:

‘This book has saved me.’ *****
‘It has been like a bible to me since giving up
alcohol.’ *****
‘It started a sober revolution for me.’ *****
‘Beautifully written, unsentimental, unflinching.’ *****
‘Clare has inspired me to radically rethink my
drinking.’ *****

Our January eBook deals!

Our January eBook deals!

Christmas might be well and truly over, but here at Bookends HQ we’ve tracked down a brilliant selection of 99p eBook deals – so you can treat yourself to a much-needed January pick-up!

Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller to keep you gripped, or something more uplifting to chase away those January blues… we’ve got the eBook bargain for you!

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

‘Think a mix of Killing Eve and . . . one of those thrillers that keeps you up till 2am when you’ve a 6am alarm and you’re close to the mark’ Stylist

As the party of the year gets underway, celebrities and patrons pour into the Rocque Museum to see Kim Lord – L.A.’s artist of the moment – stabbed, strangled, shot, and beaten. It’s the opening night of Still Lives, Kim’s new collection of shockingly graphic self-portraits, in which she impersonates the victims of America’s most famous homicides, from Nicole Brown Simpson to the Black Dahlia.

The crowd eagerly await Kim’s arrival, but she fails to appear at the gala. Among those gathered is Maggie Richter, a museum editor whose ex, Greg Shaw Ferguson, is in a relationship with Kim. When Kim is declared officially missing, and Greg is arrested on suspicion of murder, Maggie is drawn into an investigation of her own, haunted by the thought that Kim has suffered the same terrible fate as the women in her paintings.

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Meet the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’…

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfill his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

‘The first book I read in 2017and if another as good comes along in the next 12 months, I’ll eat my special gold reviewing spectacles’ Daily Mail

The Key by Kathryn Hughes

From the #1 bestselling author of The Letter, Kathryn Hughes, comes The Key, an unforgettable story of a heartbreaking secret that will stay with you for ever.


It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…


Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

Playing Away by Adele Parks

She’s playing with fire . . .

Connie Green’s life should be perfect. She’s married to gentle, loving Luke, has a good job and really fabulous friends. She thinks she can’t be happier.

But she’s just met John Harding.

Spectacularly unsuitable and overwhelmingly sexy, he’s about to destroy her peace of mind and her happily ever after, yet she just can’t seem to resist.

And to have any chance of clearing her head, Connie needs to get out of John’s bed…

The unforgettable debut novel from Adele Parks, author of the No. 1 eBook bestseller, The Stranger In My Home.
Playing Away is irresistible, unputdownable and the nearest thing you’ll get to an affair without actually having one…

The House At Chorlton by Prue Leith

The first installment of an epic multi-generational family saga by award-winning restaurateur Prue Leith.

A proud family. Snubbed by aristocratic neighbour Lord Frampton at a coming-of-age ball, Donald Oliver dreams of the day he’ll have his vengeance.

A wild daughter. Laura Oliver, beautiful and tempestuous, falls in love with Giovanni, an Italian ex-prisoner-of-war, now a humble cook. Disdaining her father’s snobbishness – and his wrath – the couple flee to London.

A desperate hope. Giovanni and Laura arrive to a city that has not yet re-awoken after the traumas of war. Facing destitution, only their love for one another and their dream of opening a restaurant business keeps them going.

From Cotswolds farmland to London fish markets, society ballrooms to icy gutters, this is a tale of prejudice and ambition, power and passion, and one couple’s struggle to overcome all obstacles and carve out a life of their own.

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin | Friends of Bookends Reviews

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin | Friends of Bookends Reviews

Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual – though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

We shared Anne Griffin’s poignant and heartwarming debut When All Is Said with our new reviewer panel, and were blown away by their responses to this very special book.

Keep reading to find out what the Friends of Bookends had to say about the extraordinary tale of Maurice Hannigan…


I loved everything about When All Is Said. I loved the poetic quality of the writing. I loved the iterative appearance of the gold coin. I loved the raw emotion that resonates behind every perfectly selected word. But most of all I loved the portrayal of Maurice. I didn’t so much read a book in When All Is Said as find myself seated with a much loved friend, Maurice, and listening, mesmerised, to his life story.’

‘Anne Griffin has such an immaculate turn of phrase that her writing is just gorgeous … her style was as rich as the Middleton Whiskey Maurice drinks.’

When All Is Said is a poignant, emotional and utterly brilliant tour de force and I can’t recommend it highly enough.’


‘Wow, I was blown awayWhen All Is Said is a really beautiful and intimate portrait of one person’s life. Someone who perhaps seems fairly uninteresting on the outside but who has lived an incredible life, defying all odds to achieve great things.’

‘Anne Griffin has created an incredibly captivating story, and by recounting Maurice’s life in the format she has – five memories centering on the five most important people he crossed paths with – a very unique one too. It was engrossing, beautiful and heartbreaking, and I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.’


I loved this book … The concept of the story is brilliant, everyone can identify with looking back on their lives, the regrets, the good times.’

‘Anne Griffin paints a vivid portrait … The language is poetic, exquisite.’

‘An astonishingly good book whose characters will remain in my memory for a long time. A standout debut.’

Angela N

Anne Griffin has produced an extraordinary tale

With characters who leap at you from the first page, grabbing your heart and refusing to let go, this book deserves to be a big success. Well done, Anne Griffin, you have created something truly special.’


‘On the surface it seems to be about five toasts to five people evoking five memories of all. It is so much more… a hymn and prayer to important well loved people with whom the subject of the novel has lived and lost in one way or the other and a valedictory speech as he decides what to do at the end of his life.’

It is the sort of novel which leaves this reader contemplating her own feelings and being glad to have read the book.’


‘Through stories of love and death we lived the lives of Maurice and his extended family. Beautifully and elegantly written’

Anne Griffin’s extraordinary debut When All Is Said is published on the 24th of January, and available to pre-order now!

5 Resolutions for 2019 from Sophie Hannah, author of How to Hold a Grudge

5 Resolutions for 2019 from Sophie Hannah, author of How to Hold a Grudge

I love resolutions when they’re proper and meaningful and heartfelt. All of my five below are, but in previous years, I’ve cast about desperately for things to resolve to do, and it’s all been very much for form’s sake. One year, for example, my resolution was to take better care of my nails and wear nail varnish more often! I didn’t stick to this resolution because it didn’t really matter to me. I’m all in favour of meaningful resolutions, though and not only on New Year’s Eve. In fact, my sixth resolution would be to make resolutions from now on at any time of year, whenever I want to and feel the need to. Also, if I don’t stick to any of my resolutions, I’m not going to beat myself up about it at all. Life is emotionally draining and sometimes you need to  for example eat too much cheese and spend a day reading Twitter judgmentally. If I slip up, I’ll just try to get back on my resolution wagon the next day, without blaming myself for the lapse.

  1. I will sort out the way I work and live. For about the last five years, maybe longer, I’ve been insufficiently organised during the day time, and procrastinated too much or been too easily distracted, and this has meant that, in order to get all my work done on time, I’ve had to stay up till 2 am nearly every night. So, in 2019, I’m going to plan and use my time better, avoid distraction and procrastination, enforce my boundaries better (which means saying ‘no’ a lot more), and schedule more time for relaxing/sleeping/looking after myself. I will add to my schedule plenty of time for the things I love: seeing friends, swimming, deep-tissue aromatherapy massages, reading, watching musicals at the theatre, going on long walks with my dog, Brewster. I won’t allow myself to be swamped by work so that there’s no time left over for the things I most love doing.
  2. I will ruthlessly cull, sort and tidy every single inch of my house in Cambridge so that, by the end of the process, there is nothing in the house that I do not actively want or need. This is my project for January. By 1 Feb, my entire house will be a model of order and minimalism.
  3. I will eat and drink in the way that I have decided is The Best Way. (In case anyone is interested, this Way is the one invented by Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School – I strongly recommended her books, articles and podcasts about eating and how to approach it/think about it.
  4. I will make a five-year plan of what I want to write/create between now and 2023. I have all the books I’d like to write and all the projects I’d like to create at some point rattling around in my head, but I haven’t yet had time to focus single-mindedly on them, or to choose which to do first, so I’m going to sit down, organise and prioritise.
  5. I’m going to continue, passionately and actively, to share the wisdom of The Grudge-Fold Path. ‘What is that?’ I hear you ask. Well, in 2018 I published my first self-help book, How to Hold a Grudge. I also launched a podcast with the same name. In both, I advance the theory that our grudges contain a power that, used correctly, can transform your life for the better and make the world a more just and compassionate place. Grudges can be great motivators and a powerful source of inspiration, as long as you manage them in the right way. Every single dictionary definition of the word ‘grudge’ is wrong, and I can prove it. Thanks to these incorrect definitions that we’ve had drummed into us, we’ve all bought into the belief that holding a grudge is an obstacle to forgiving someone and moving on, unburdened by past pain. In fact, the opposite is true: holding grudges in the right way allows us to forgive and move on faster and more easily. How often have you read a self-help book and thought, ‘Yes, that’s a great theory about how to be all Zen and enlightened no matter what, but I just know that here in the real world, I’m still going to lose my temper the next time someone treats me really appallingly’? I’ve thought that hundreds of times — which is what led me to create my own self-help program: The Grudge-Fold Path. Grudges can act like charms on a charm bracelet, protecting you and keeping you safe. They can act as a series of stepping stones, pointing you in the right life direction and reinforcing your highest values. So many people have not yet had a chance to learn how The Grudge-Fold Path can enhance their lives, and my mission for 2019 is to spread the word as much as I can!

Sophie’s latest book How to Hold a Grudge is out now!

Graham Norton, Jill Mansell, Holly Bourne and Beth Good tell us which of their characters deserve a special Christmas gift!

Graham Norton, Jill Mansell, Holly Bourne and Beth Good tell us which of their characters deserve a special Christmas gift!

Christmas is just around the corner now, and we couldn’t be more excited for mulled wine, pigs in blankets, and lots of presents under the tree! 

To get us in the mood ahead of the big day, we’ve asked four more of our fantastic authors to tell us which of their characters deserve an extra-special Christmas gift this year, and what they would choose to give them…

A Keeper Graham Norton

Graham Norton, author of A Keeper

When Elizabeth was a little girl, I wish her mother Patricia had bought her a puppy, so that she would have felt less alone.

Jill Mansell, author of This Could Change Everything

Definitely Zillah, everyone’s favourite character from This Could Change Everything (and named after my own glamorous grandmother.) She’s eighty three, incredibly stylish and glamorous, and I’d love to buy her something wonderful. I’d get her a stunning violet hat with a wide brim and a swooping green and purple peacock feather at the side. And a Chanel lipstick in fuschia pink with velvet gloves to match.

How do you like me now cover

Holly Bourne, author of How Do You Like Me Now?

I’d get Dee one of those dummies which makes your baby look like it has a moustache. I’ve been waiting my whole life to see a baby have one of those moustache dummies. If I ever have a baby myself, that will be one of the major reasons I choose to have one. 

Winter Without You

Beth Good, author of Winter Without You

Lizzie from Winter Without You, one of my heroine’s besties, who’s a complete darling. She loves to dance about, but hardly has a penny to her name,so I would get her an iPod and load it with great pop songs!

Joanna Nell, Karen Cole, Daniela Sacerdoti and Joanna Bolouri tell us which books they’re wishing for this Christmas!

Joanna Nell, Karen Cole, Daniela Sacerdoti and Joanna Bolouri tell us which books they’re wishing for this Christmas!

Over at Bookends HQ, we’re starting to get SERIOUSLY excited about Christmas: mince pies, trashy TV, and hopefully lots of new additions to our TBR piles! 

From feel-good romance to classic horror, four more of our wonderful authors share which books they’re hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year…

Daniela Sacerdoti, author of I Will Find You

I’m particularly book-hungry this year (for a change!), and very much in the mood for light, happy, Christmas stories. I’d love a selection of feel-good, romantic authors like Mandy Baggot, Trisha Ashley, Alicia Kingsley – anything with snow and glitter on the cover and a happy ending! I’ve gone through a bit of a witchy phase with some fantastic supernatural, dark books, so now I’m in the mood for some romance!

Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

I’m putting The Cactus by Sarah Haywood at the top of my (shamefully long) Christmas book wish list this year. I’m a big fan of the “never too late”message and this book sounds like my perfect summer holiday read for January.

Karen Cole, author of Deliver Me

I want to read Wonder, by R J Palacio, about a boy with severe facial deformities, which has been recommended to me by a friend. I also think The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn, looks interesting.

Relight my fire

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

Non-fiction would have to be You Are The Placebo by Dr Joe Dispenza. Fiction wise, Elevation by Stephen King.

Who’s the trickiest person to buy for on your Christmas list? Graham Norton, Joanna Bolouri, Jo Thomas and Joanna Nell fill us in!

Who’s the trickiest person to buy for on your Christmas list? Graham Norton, Joanna Bolouri, Jo Thomas and Joanna Nell fill us in!

From difficult dads, to best friends who already have everything – we all have someone on our Christmas present list who is impossible to buy for.

Luckily, some of our fabulous authors are here to share the trickiest names on their lists… and offer up some much-needed Christmas gifting inspiration!


Graham Norton, author of A Keeper

Some people are truly gifted when it comes to shopping for presents. I am not. My solution is to throw money at the problem so that while the gift may be unsuitable and disliked, it will at least be expensive so I can’t be accused of being ungenerous. My mother is always a challenge because whatever good ideas I might have had were all used up years ago.

Jo Thomas, author of A Winter Beneath the Stars

Hmmm, I think maybe my Mum. She always says she doesn’t want anything! And I always want to get her something she’d really enjoy. Usually I buy her books which I know she’ll enjoy, especially armchair travel ones.

Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

My husband is always tricky to buy for, especially since he stopped wearing ties to work and shaved off his beard (who knew fancy beard products were a thing?). It’s the one time of the year when I wish he wasn’t such a “low maintenance man”. When I ask for ideas (we’re fairly pragmatic in our family), he reminds me that he already has more books on famous explorers than he has time to read, owns a shirt for every day of the week and the less said about that kite-surfing lesson I bought him one Christmas the better. This year I’ve decided to give my husband a voucher for dinner for two at our favourite restaurant. That way, hopefully I get to enjoy it too.

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

My dad, definitely.  He doesn’t like anything ‘specific’ so inevitably he gets something sensible from Marks and Spencer.

And for a gift that’s sure to be a winner, here are some brilliant new reads courtesy of our lovely authors!

 A Keeper Graham Norton Relight my fire