Read an extract from Friends like These: the unmissable new psychological thriller

Read an extract from Friends like These: the unmissable new psychological thriller

Read an exclusive Friends like These extract: as addictive as Friend Request, as gripping as The Girl Before.

Friends Like These banner

Lizzie hasn’t thought much about Becca since the accident.

She remembers the blood though. She can see how you wouldn’t be the same again after something like that. No one was surprised when Becca didn’t come back to work.

And Lizzie’s different these days too. She used to be the one in the shadows, stalking Becca’s perfect life online, but a lot has changed since then.

So when Becca’s ex shows up on Tinder, Lizzie swipes right. Why not? Doesn’t she deserve a chance at happiness as well?

Becca will have moved on. There’s no way she’d even remember Lizzie, no way she could know anything about her life – is there?

She’s about to find out that with a friend like Becca, she doesn’t need enemies…

See what readers are saying about FRIENDS LIKE THESE

‘a rollercoaster ride of plot twists and turns that will leave you breathless.’ NetGalley Reviewer

‘a cleverly written and well plotted thriller’ Goodreads Reviewer

I struggled to put this book down and read it at every opportunity.’ NetGalley Reviewer

‘this is a readable thriller packed with characters many of us will undoubtedly relate to.’ Amazon Reviewer

‘an incredibly modern and accessible psychological thriller.’ NetGalley Reviewer

Read the extract here: Friends like These extract.

Learn more about Friends like These here.

Who's the hardest person to buy for?

Who's the hardest person to buy for?

When it comes to buying Christmas gifts there is always one person who you struggle to find the perfect present for. Find out who some of our fabulous Bookends authors struggle to buy for…

Elizabeth Gill, author of Snow Angels

We all are. I think we have everything, we are so lucky. We tend to buy one another tickets and outings. Last year my daughter bought me tickets to the opera and ballet in Budapest. I keep asking for Brad Pitt and a Ferarri but it never happens.

Kirstie Allsopp, author of Kirstie’s Real Kitchen

Ben, my other half. He’d rather I didn’t buy him a present at all!

Rosanna Ley, author of The Little Theatre By The Sea

My mother – there is nothing she wants. Really. Nothing.

Della Parker, author of The Reading Group

My stepson because we have a “present challenge” – which is to ask each other for the most awkward present possible.  One year I asked him for a second hand milk churn and he asked me for a nodding dog.

Emily Phillips, author of Trying

My little brother James. He’s much cooler than me and I never want to get it wrong. Which is why I always leave his gift until last to make it even more difficult for myself.

Helen Wallen, author of Baby Boom

 ME. I mostly tell people to get me vouchers or keep hold of the receipt…

Read more festive blog posts here…

Who’s the most difficult person to buy presents for? more Christmas questions answered by our fab Bookends authors

Your little bit of good news

Your little bit of good news

The nights are longer, it’s getting colder and let’s be honest – the news is all a little doom and gloom. So we’re here with our favourite bits of news from the past week to bring a little joy to your day.

Aimee

Whenever I’m down I turn to the best animal Instagram account – @this_girl_is_a_squirrel. Jill was rescued from a hurricane and now delights thousands every day with her antics. I can’t get enough of watching her running around corridors, or fighting with her play carrot. Watching Jill makes me (temporarily) forget that there are bad things in this world.

Hannah

So I was incredibly excited to discover that the tech company behind Pokemon Go are developing a Harry Potter augmented reality. What better way to escape the horrors of real life than to become a legitimate wizard?

Also I’ve been sucked into a black hole of ‘research’ on insta-famous hedgehogs, which is never a bad thing…

Alice

My favourite video of this week has to be James Corden’s “Thor Ragnarok in 4D”. Yes it’s desperately smug that he can get all the stars together; yes there’s nothing stars love better than proving what good sports they are…but you still find yourself laughing. Especially at Cate Blanchett, who is a goddess even with pipe cleaners sticking out of her head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8atgsWFfDOg&t=195s

Helena

Another James Corden video for you – Carpool Karaoke with Sam Smith. That moment where Fifth Harmony appear is honestly one of my favourite Carpool Karaoke moments (Apart from when Adele rapped – she’s Queen)

Vicky

Theatre that takes on the dating game …

As a woman in her 30s  – The Beginning by David Eldridge was a play that struck an awkward and very frightening chord. Two young professionals, the only singletons left at the party, get chatting at the end of the night (amongst the party debris of half drunk bottles of Prosecco, Scotch eggs and party streamers). One, a middle management tory-boy from Essex and the other, a high flying CEO at an advertising agency. Whilst nothing in common, we see them awkwardly  (and desperately) trying to find something to talk about, hoping it will lead to more. PAINFULLY awkward but PAINFULLY familiar. Even the set was familiar  – a Newgate clock hanging on the wall, some imitation Persian wall tiles behind the cooker, some 90s Fat Boy Slim and a fish finger sandwich to end the night – the scene of a middle class, middle of the road bourgeois house party in North London. We’ve all been there!

Quickfire Q&A with Rosanna Ley

Quickfire Q&A with Rosanna Ley

Today we welcome author Rosanna Ley who delights us with a quickfire Q&A!

Author of the bestselling novels The Villa and The Saffron Trail, Rosanna returns with a gorgeous summer read about love and starting over The Little Theatre by the Sea – set in West Dorset and beautiful Sardinia. It is available in hardback now and will be out in paperback 1st June 2017!

My dream holiday destination…

is always going to be Italy. The Cinque Terre, Lunighiana, Elba, Tellaro…

If I were to be stranded on a desert island, my one luxury item would be…

Never-ending paper with everlasting pen attached.

The last song I listened to… OR The first album I ever bought…

Hunky Dory by David Bowie – still one of my all-time favourite albums.

My guilty pleasure…

Very dark chocolate (apparently very good for the brain!)

The last time I went to the cinema…

Beauty and the Beast in Brighton with my daughter. It was magical. I loved it.

If I had to choose between saying everything I think or never speaking again…

Definitely saying everything I think – this would be much better fun!

If I had to choose between appearing on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor…

Absolutely Strictly – and I wouldn’t need much persuading…

When I was 5 years old I wanted to be…

A teacher.

If I could go back to any time in history…

I love the 1920s – I think I’d be a good flapper…

The best thing about being a writer…

is researching interesting subjects and places and then getting to travel there too!

Quickfire Q&A with Kathryn Flett

Quickfire Q&A with Kathryn Flett

We are delighted to have Books of the Month author Kathryn Flett give us a little insight into her life with this quickfire interview.

Kathryn’s second novel Outstanding is a witty and sharp-eyed modern morality tale about mothers and daughters and how we raise our children. It is out now and available to buy here!

 

If I had to go back in time and choose another career…

Interior Designer. In fact, I’m currently studying the subject at college part-time and loving it.

My most memorable meal…

Marco Pierre White cooking me sea bass in the ‘90s was a particularly memorable (and very long) lunch.

The last song I listened to…

A track on Michael Kiwanuka’s fabulous album, ‘Love & Hate’. I listen to most of my music in the car.

The book I’ve read the most times…

‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier — still as good as it gets.

My guilty pleasure…

‘Designated Survivor’, on Netflix: Keifer Sutherland as a reluctant, but nonetheless fabulous, POTUS and Natascha McElhone as First Lady. Addictive!

The item I have more of than anything else…

Books.

The last time I went to the cinema…

I took my sons to see Kong: Skull Island recently. Scary monsters for the kids + Tom Hiddleston for the mums = Result!

My favourite city in the world…

Sydney pretty much has it all going on, city-wise.  Shame it’s not a bit nearer.

The best invention ever…

The printing press.

The best thing about being a writer…

Typing The End!

 

If you liked this, why not catch up on Tracy Rees: Where I Write

Or

Find out what one thing Hilary Boyd would never, EVER give up ?

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees: reading group questions   

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees: reading group questions  

For anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of reading the Richard and Judy bestseller Amy Snow here are some useful readers notes to kick things off!

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees

Introduction

Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy’s only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia tragically dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life-changing discovery awaits . . . if only she can unlock the secret.

Topics & Questions for Discussion
  1. How do the mysterious circumstances surrounding Amy’s birth link her to the Vennaway family? Given Lady Celestina’s tragic history of miscarriages, why do she and her husband prefer to turn Amy over to an orphanage rather than rear her as their child?
     2. “What am I? Respectable young woman or guttersnipe? Servant, sister, or friend? My role in the tale of Aurelia Vennaway puzzles no one more than me. . . .” At the start of the novel, how is Amy’s identity inextricably tied to her relationship with Aurelia? How would you characterize the nature of their connection—is Amy more like a sister or a daughter of Aurelia’s?
     3. What aspects of Aurelia’s affluent upbringing does she accept and what does she reject? What does her rescue of Amy against the wishes of her parents indicate about her? How would you describe Aurelia’s relationship with her parents?
     4. Aurelia’s character is mostly revealed, through her letters to Amy, through Amy’s recollections of her, and through the details provided by the many friends and acquaintances Aurelia made during her time away from Hatville Court. How do these details add up and define Aurelia? How would you describe her temperament, personality, and preoccupations? In what respects does Amy seem like a good companion for Aurelia, and vice versa?
     5. As Amy grows up, she finds herself reared by some of the staff at Hatville Court,  including Cook; Robin, the undergardener; Benjamin, the groom; and Mr. Henley, the tutor. How well do they substitute for parents? How does Aurelia improve Amy’s quality of life?
     6. “[Aurelia] knew that if any one thing on earth could compel me onwards, it would be my sense of devotion to her. She could be dead a thousand years and I would still want to please her.” How does the theme of devotion recur in this novel? How does Amy symbolize devotion in all that she does to follow Aurelia’s posthumous instructions? How does her burgeoning independence threaten her devotion?
     7. Much is made in Amy Snow of the rise of Queen Victoria and the condition of women. Discuss some of the feminist themes and concerns that emerge in the book. Consider, for example, the feminist Mrs. Bolton, the decidedly antiman sentiments of Mrs. Riverthorpe, and the marriage predicament of Aurelia as the terminally ill only daughter of landed gentry.
     8. How does Amy’s arrival at the home of the Wisters in Twickenham mark her transition from nobody to somebody? What role does Aurelia play in that transformation? How does Amy’s transformation from ugly duckling to swan change how others see her? To what extent does it alter how she sees herself?
     9. How does the character of Quentin Garland illustrate the old idiom: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? How do Amy’s naive interactions with Mr. Garland serve as a romantic education of sorts?
     10. “Even if I could tell you in person, how would I choose my words? We are not given a language for it, in our chaste society.” How does Aurelia’s premarital relationship with the gardener Robin defy social expectations for a young woman of her standing? How do the mores of this era, with its emphasis on female chastity rather than sexual pleasure, affect men and women differently?
     11. How does Henry Mead’s presence in Bath change the quality of Amy’s stay at Hades House and her perception of life in general? What qualities does Henry have that mirror Amy’s personality? How is Henry more compelling than Quentin from Amy’s point of view?
     12. At separate balls in Twickenham and Bath, Mrs. Ellington and Mrs. Beverley confront Amy and condemn her publicly for flaunting herself before society and mingling amongst respectable people. How would you characterize the importance of class and social status in this era? How far does Amy’s newly inherited wealth go in securing her social status?
     13. Why does Amy resent Aurelia’s final imperative, “Go to York”? How does Amy’s love for Henry threaten to topple her commitment to concluding Aurelia’s treasure hunt? What do Amy’s irritation and frustration suggest about her emergence as a person in her own right? How does the interrupted nature of her departure from Bath hint at the different forces at work in her life?
     14. How does Amy’s journey to York alter her grief for Aurelia? What does the Louis Josslyn Capland represent to Amy ? How does her encounter with Louis and her implicit obligation to him, bring Amy’s relationship with Aurelia full circle?
     15. How does the epilogue of the book affect your understanding of Lady Celestina? Does it make you agree with Aurelia’s decision to conceal her child from her parents? How does the epilogue shed light on Amy?

With thanks to www.simonandschuster.com , where you can find even more reading guide material including a Q&A with Tracy

 

The Hourglass by Tracy Rees is out 4th May!

 

Rosanna Ley's Ode to Sardinia

Rosanna Ley's Ode to Sardinia

Books of the Month author Rosanna Ley writes about her favourite theatres and why she chose to set her book The Little Theatre by the Sea in sunny Sardinia.

I’ve always loved the atmosphere in theatres. One of my favourites is the Theatre Royal in Brighton which is over two hundred years old and was built for the then Prince Regent (later King George IV). I first visited the Theatre Royal as a child and it had a profound effect on me – which is why I gave Faye in Little Theatre by the Sea this same memory…

I‘d also like to visit the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, though I haven’t got there yet. Open-air theatre is wonderful because it takes on the atmosphere of the light and landscape too (unfortunately in the case of the UK it will take on the weather as well!).

I studied drama at college many moons ago but chose to write about a theatre this time because I wanted to explore ‘transformation’ and ‘unmasking’ and how people are not always what they pretend to be. In this case the theatre was symbolic of this concept for me.

But where should my theatre be located? I love Italy and have visited many times. And there are some very special theatres – such as the Colosseum in Rome. My favourite Italian theatre though is an ancient amphitheatre I visited in Sicily when researching for The Villa. It was a magical experience just standing there and imagining all that history – so I decided to make it special by having my character Tonino spontaneously sing an aria in it!

When I first went to Sardinia I fell in love with the landscape. It seemed relatively unspoilt – at least on the west coast – and has so much to offer. I liked the fact that you could literally discover ‘secret beaches’, which no one seemed to know about. It was the perfect setting for Little Theatre by the Sea – which is a novel about secrets. As for Sardinian theatres, there are plenty to choose from, including the Roman amphitheatre at Nora on the south coast of the island.

We travelled around Sardinia in our motorhome to explore and research and I discovered the charming town of Bosa, which became my town of Deriu in The Little Theatre by the Sea. It’s near a beach, it has a fascinating history – it was my kind of place. And it didn’t have a theatre… Which sounds contradictory, but it would have been tricky to write about an existing theatre – it had to be one which I had made up and therefore could own!

Rosanna Ley

Team Bookends' Mums

Team Bookends' Mums

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Team Bookends thought we’d share with you what we’d like to thank our mums for and what makes them so special!

 

Helena

It’s way too difficult to pin point just one reason that makes my mum special. Everyone will say they have the best mum in the world but I’m afraid my Mum wins hands down-sorry! She has a wonderful sense of humour, a heart of gold and always gives me a – sometimes more than gentle – nudge to do the right thing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Mum.

P.S. She also makes some of the best sausage rolls you could ever have.

 

Alice

It’s a cliché, but now that I have kids of my own I’m definitely closer to my mother and appreciate her so much more. There have been times, especially when my children were younger, when I couldn’t have managed without her help. I can’t do any better to express this than quote from Tina Fey’s brilliant “A prayer for my infant daughter” from her autobiography BossyPants:

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans faeces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

 

Dulcie

My mum is amazing simply because she managed to have five children and stay sane! However, what makes her most special is her sense of humour I think.

For instance, on a Mother’s Day many years ago, my sister and I were chosen to go to the front of the Church congregation with the other children, where each child was SUPPOSED to say words that remind us of our mothers, eventually spelling out the words M-O-T-H-E-R-I-N-G S-U-N-D-A-Y. I wasn’t quite listening, and, as an excited 6-year-old learning new words, when it came to me I shouted “Torture!”. My sister, following me, shouted “Horrendous!”. The congregation fell about laughing. So, I’d like to thank my mum for forgiving me and finding it equally as funny, even at the time!

 

We hope that you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Team Bookends' Pick of the Week

Team Bookends' Pick of the Week

We’ve got the perfect bundle of articles to keep you occupied this week. Catch up on the all important John Lewis advert (It involves a dog and a trampoline…incredible) learn how to not feel guilty about cancelling plans and find out more about America’s new First Lady, Melania Trump.

Jeska

She’s no Michelle Obama but I guess she’ll have to do.

http://www.stylist.co.uk/people/melania-trump-facts-background-donald-won-election#

Vicky

In a week which changed the face of the world as we currently know it, the arrival of the John Lewis Christmas advert is the perfect early festive tonic.

http://www.johnlewis.com/christmas-advert

Helena

We’ve all been there. You’ve got plans to go out for drinks but after a long day at work all you want to do is head home, throw your hair in a top knot and slouch around in pyjamas.  Luckily this article teaches us how to say no to plans without getting massive FOMO.

https://www.the-pool.com/life/advice/2016/42/alice-tate-on-how-to-say-no-to-social-plans-without-feeling-guilty

Aimee

Much of the focus of this week has been Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US Election, but what about the fact that 2016 was a historical year for the Senate? Next year will see 21 women in the US Senate – the most it has ever seen. And the number of women of colour has quadrupled. These are the bright spots in a difficult year.

https://www.upworthy.com/during-this-dismal-election-women-of-color-quietly-made-history-in-the-senate?c=hpstream

Alice

It’s hard to think of anything feel-good enough to counter the monumental news from across the pond. I’m in the “denial” stage of grief and have retreated to my comfort zone of the fictional presidency of Josiah Bartlett from The West Wing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T9vmN62wf8

 

Catch up on some of our latest pick of the week articles,

Team Bookends Pick of the Week

Or

Team Bookends Pick of the Week

 

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/p-791231/?no_redirect

Read an EXCLUSIVE extract of Daisy Goodwin's 'Victoria'

Read an EXCLUSIVE extract of Daisy Goodwin's 'Victoria'

If you’re as obsessed with the TV series ‘Victoria’ as we are, you’ll be thrilled to know that creator Daisy Goodwin has written the standalone novel, Victoria.

‘In June 1837, the eighteen-year-old Victoria wakes up to find that she is Queen of the most powerful nation in the world. But will she be queen in her own right, or a puppet controlled by her mother and the sinister Sir John Conroy? Can this tiny girl prevail against the men who believe that women are too hysterical to rule?

Everyone wants her to get married, but Victoria has no intention of entering into a marriage of convenience with her cousin Albert, a shy bookworm who didn’t know how to dance the last time she met him. She would much rather reign alone with a little help from her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. He may be old enough to be her father, but he is the only man who believes that she will be a great Queen, and he knows how to make her laugh. A husband would only get in the way…’

Lose yourself in the world of Queen Victoria with the book and fall in love with Vicbourne again…read an exclusive extract to the novel Victoria.

If you’re tempted by the extract you can pre order the paperback or buy the novel for just 99p here

 

If you liked this, why not try more historical fiction