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books to read

This time of year can be extremely dark and troubling for so many people. The post-Christmas comedown can take a major knock on your mental health and leave you feeling extremely low. The lack of daylight, financial woes and quieter social calendars don’t help either.

One thing that has helped me get through dark moments in my life is reading.

There are dozens of books available in both your local library and bookshops that offer helpful advice and fill you with hope during these hard times.

I decided to put together a list of the top books that will hopefully help you beat the January blues. 

As always, we encourage anyone who is suffering with their mental health to reach out to a loved one or a professional. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123.

  1. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Matt Haig has been praised for how incredibly honest he is about his mental health struggles. The author has encouraged so many people to feel that little bit more comfortable when talking about their personal troubles. In Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt discusses modern life and the impact it has on our mental health.

  1. Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s words have been a huge source of comfort to many women around the world. Her book Eat, Pray, Love is one of the most beloved tales that helped so many of us realise that your own company is the most valuable of all. Big Magic is full of Gilbert’s words of wisdom about love, hate and finding the “strange jewels” hidden inside of us.

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  1. It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

This collection of essays curated by Scarlett Curtis has got to be one of the warmest (and biggest) books I’ve ever owned. It is full of words of advice, tales of loss, stories about struggle and most importantly, hope. Emma Thompson, Ben Platt, Elizabeth Day, Scarlett Moffatt, Fearne Cotton and more pen essays for this raw and touching book.

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  1. How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day has taught me that you can learn from your failures. The journalist’s podcast of the same name has been a massive comfort to me when I feel like I’m not doing good enough. Elizabeth speaks to her guests, all successful in their fields, about three failures in their lives. The book is genuinely one of the most uplifting and refreshing reads. I couldn’t recommend it more.

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  1. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Another book by the fantastic Matt Haig because nobody writes about mental health like he does. This book genuinely saved my life, and I’m not the only one. Matt opens up about the darkest time in his life when he was suicidal and suffering from the most crippling anxiety. The chapters are eye-opening, reassuring and will fill you with so much hope for the future.

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The Christmas holidays are almost here and I am more than ready to unwind and switch off for a couple of days.

One thing I cannot wait to do is catch up on the giant mountain of books on my bedside locker. I’ve got dozens of reads calling my name,  so I decided to share a list of my top Christmas tales that are bound to warm your heart on a cold December day.

  1. It Won’t Be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles (One More Chapter)

From the author of The Kissing Booth, this festive tale follows two sisters, Eloise and Cara, who have grown apart since workaholic Cara moved to London. Will she make it home for Christmas or will Eloise be left heartbroken when her twin sister is absent for the holidays?

This is a short and easy read that will show you that Christmas is all about who you spend it with.

  1. One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom (Penguin)

Evangeline isn't feeling festive this December as it marks the one year anniversary of her adoptive mum’s death. However, could things look up when she travels to New Zealand to find her birth mother or will it be another lonely Christmas?

  1. Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (Harper Collins)

A tense and touching tale set during the First World War. This book is told through personal letters, making it easy to read and all the more touching. Watching Thomas and Evie’s love develop through their words was so intimate and stunning. 

I was left in floods of tears as I read the last word on the final page. Beyond remarkable.

  1. Rewrite the Stars by Emma Heatherington (Harper Collins)

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite some time so I cannot wait to read it this Christmas. From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…

Will they risk it all and say those three little words? Or will they be left wondering ‘what if?’ forever?

  1. One Day In December by Josie Silver (Broadway Books)

I read this sublime book last Christmas but must read it again this December. It has got to be one of the most thrilling and tense love stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. 

Laurie is convinced love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees Jack, who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

 

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Once in a while we are blessed with a book that transforms your life for the better and this year that book is Everyday Ubuntu by Desmond Tutu’s granddaughter, Mungi Ngomane.

This book will capture readers interested in ancient wisdom and personal development. It shares a warm, inspirational message of togetherness for a divided and fragmented world.

Ubuntu is an ancient South African philosophy that says, ‘I am only because you are.’ It is the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others. By embracing Ubuntu it’s possible to overcome division in a world where the wise build bridges, not walls.

Exploring ideas of kindness and forgiveness, tolerance and the power of listening, Everyday Ubuntu shows how we can all benefit from embracing others. Including practical applications and mindful exercises, it is an inspirational guide to a more fulfilling life as part of the large family to which we all belong.

In Everyday Ubuntu you’ll discover 14 simple and engaging lessons with clear takeaways and reflections that will help us all to live better, together.

Read an extract of Everyday Ubuntu below:

1. Accept the situation. This is the way you’re feeling, so honour it – cry and release your emotions. Ubuntu tells us that we need to take care of ourselves and be honest about our feelings. This helps to identify why you’re feeling hopeless. Is it because of a recent upset? Or is it a long-term struggle? Whatever it is, naming the reasons for your feelings will help you to release them. 

2. Take action. Some call it ‘wallowing’ but hopelessness can easily feel like a spiral into which you’re sucked and out of which it is impossible to pull yourself. You feel lethargic, unmotivated and in despair. Listen to your internal dialogue. It might contain phrases such as, ‘but I can’t’, ‘there’s no point’ or ‘I’ve already tried’. The first step is turning those words around and changing every negative into a positive. Say these new phrases out loud – ‘I can’, ‘I won’t give up’ and ‘I’ll try again’ all send a powerful message to our subconscious. 

3. Live in the present moment. Do something to make yourself feel better physically, even if you’re struggling mentally – the two are linked. A long brisk walk, calling a positive friend, eating wholesome food. These are all small things we can do to help change our immediate concerns. Worrying is wishing for what you don’t want to happen, so don’t agonize over the future. Focus on the present. Do anything that takes you out of yourself, even if it’s just for a few moments. 

4. Write a gratitude list. Ubuntu shows us that we all have something for which to be grateful, so now is the time to examine the good stuff in detail. You might be thankful for your physical health, your family, caring friends, the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking. Name the things you feel good about right now. It’s an exercise that will shift your mood, energetically and quickly. 

5. Set goals. If you’ve reached a place of desperate hopelessness, you need to put in work each day to overcome the feeling. Get going by setting yourself new goals, and begin with very small ones – incremental and easy-to-achieve steps. 

If you’ve lost your job, start by reaching out to trusted contacts for advice, then build up to looking at job adverts before applying for positions. If you’ve been ditched by a partner, give yourself time to grieve and talk things through with a counsellor or friend. Allow yourself space to heal before even thinking about dating again. If you’re in despair because you’ve gained weight, find a simple exercise app to inspire you, build up the amount of exercise you do every day, find a workout buddy, then look at food plans to help you make a bigger transformation. Small steps help hope to gather momentum. 

6. Find your faith. This could be a long-term goal that evolves over time. It doesn’t have to be a religious faith, but having faith in something you can trust is something everyone needs. It could be faith in your abilities or your choices. You could put your faith in going for a daily run to improve your mental health or in eating nutritious food so that you have energy for the day. 

Build some of these hopeful ideas into a new daily routine. They’ll bolster you and give you an inner strength and hope on which to rely when things become difficult.

Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane is published by Penguin. You can order your copy here.

 

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It’s Electric Picnic weekend and instead of prancing around a field to The 1975, I will be staying at home and sulking like a toddler because I left it too late to get a ticket.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom as I’ve got a reading list the length of my arm to get through. I’ve picked five of my top reads for those of you who are going to be stuck at home whilst half the country descends upon Stradbally.

Why not avoid the never-ending EP posts on Instagram by reading one of these books?

1. Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory (Bloomsbury)

You’re never too old for a glorious coming-of-age story. I Hold Your Heart follows the love story of Gemma and Aaron, but when does love become possession? 

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about. But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

2. Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard (Harper Collins)

Nobody writes a crime story quite like Catherine Ryan Howard. Her latest release Rewind is bound to grip your attention from the very first page.

Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages witnesses the murder of his only guest via a hidden camera in her room, but when the killer destroys the camera, Andrew questions how he will live with himself. And can’t help but question who is the killer?

Rewind is a tense tale about a murder caught on camera, but you’ve already missed the start. To discover the murderer you must rewind the tape and watch it until the very end, no matter how terrifying the footage.

3. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Penguin)

I recently watched the movie adaption of this book and it is nothing compared to Nicola Yoon’s phenomenal story. It's safe to say The Sun Is Also a Star is by far one of the greatest YA books of our time.

The Sun Is Also a Star follows Natasha as she fights to stop her family being deported from New York to Jamaica. Natasha doesn’t believe in destiny, fate or love at first sight, but then she meets Daniel, a budding poet who is living the life his parents want him to lead. Daniel believes he can make Natasha fall in love with him in a few hours, but can he change the mind of the girl who believes in science,not fate?

4. Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (Harper Collins)

Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb are the most delightful duo in the literary world. Their book Last Christmas in Paris will forever hold a special place in my heart so I was unbelievably excited to hear about the release of Meet Me In Monaco.

Their latest tale whisks the reader away to 1950s Cannes for the iconic film festival. The mesmerising tale features not one but two love stories, including one of the iconic Grace Kelly who married Prince Rainier III. The other love story follows that of struggling perfumer Sophie Duval and British photographer James Henderson. The two couples may live incredibly different lives, but they are all asking the same question- What are they prepared to give up for love?

5. For Ava by Vera Twomey (Mercier)

To what lengths would you go to give your sick child the chance of a better life?

When Very Twomey’s daughter, Ava, is diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes frequent and often life-threatening seizures, the family’s life is thrown into chaos.

As prescribed drug after prescribed drug fails, and the medical system all but gives up on her daughter, a potential new treatment comes to light: medical cannabis. Illegal in Ireland, Vera vows to do whatever it takes to ensure that her daughter gets access to this potentially life-saving treatment. Whether it’s protesting and campaigning across the country, walking hundreds of miles to the country’s seat of power, breaking the law, or even confronting a government minister face to face- Vera Twomey will do it all for Ava.

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August is here and we’re ready for a month full of reading. There are so many titles to choose from but we’ve managed to whittle our August reading list down to six books. There’s something for everyone so we’re sure you’ll find a tale that tickles your fancy on our list.

All The Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Penguin)

On Deena’s seventeenth birthday, the day she finally comes out to her family, her wild and mysterious sister Mandy is seen leaping from a cliff. The family is heartbroken but not surprised. The women of the Rys family have always been troubled- ‘bad apples’, their father calls them- and Mandy is the baddest of them all.

But then Deena starts to receive letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is a curse, handed down through generations of Rys women. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must begin a desperate cross-country hunt for her sister, guided only by the notes that mysteriously appear in each new place. What Deena finds will heal their family’s rotten past- or rip it apart forever.

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The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton (Penguin)

Neena’s always been a good girl. But when her brother disappears without a trace, her family becomes fractured beyond repair- and Neena finds herself spiralling out of control as she tries to find out what happened to Akash.

Surrounded by broken friendships, a broken heart and an increasingly broken grip on her sanity, Neena’s never felt more hopeless. But, as she’s about to discover, sometimes it’s in our darkest moments that we find our true strength.

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The To-Do List and Other Debacles by Amy Jones (Penguin)

How not to be good? Let me list the ways…

Are you a woman? Do you make to-do lists to stop you losing your mind? Have you ever cried in the toilets at work, had a meltdown in the supermarket, or gone off the rails at a hen party?

And have you ever been saved from any of the above by your truly brilliant friends?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this is the book for you. A moving, funny and brutally honest memoir of one woman’s millennial misadventures, The To-Do List and Other Debacles follows Amy Jones on her journeys through friendship, marriage and mental health disasters in a story that’s as relatable as it is riotous.

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I Confess by Alex Barclay (Harper Collins)

A group of childhood friends are reunited at a luxury inn on a remote west coast peninsula in Ireland. But as a storm builds outside, the dark events that marred their childhoods threaten to resurface.

And when a body is discovered, the group faces a shocking realisation: a killer is among them, and not everyone will escape with their lives.

Published on August 22.

Crossfire by Malorie Blackman (Penguin)

Thirty-four years have passed since Sephy Hadley- a Cross- first met Callum McGregor- a Nought. Their love was forbidden, powerful- and deadly.

Life is seemingly very different now for Noughts and Crosses- including for Sephy and Callum’s families. But old wounds from the past are hard to heal, and when you’re playing a game as dangerous as they are, it won’t be long before someone gets caught in the crossfire.

Published on August 8.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls (Hodder)

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope. But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling: The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.

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I’ll put my hands up and admit that I’ve always been hesitant about YouTubers releasing books. There was a stage when Alfie Deyes, Zoella and co. were taking over the shelves at local bookstores. It was a little disheartening to see because I couldn’t help but ask was this just another way for them to make money?

This view has now changed since reading She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox and interviewing the endearing Savannah Brown earlier this year.

And now following in their footsteps is Irish author Melanie Murphy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The YouTuber has just released her first novel If Only and readers are going to adore each and every page.

If Only follows the story of soon-to-be thirty-year-old Erin, who is extremely unhappy with how her life has panned out thus far. She’s miserable in work, she just called off her wedding and she can’t help but yearn for the ‘perfect’ life her flatmate has.

She decides to return to Ireland for her momentous birthday and to visit her dear grandmother. Everything changes forever when Erin is given a secret family heirloom that may hold the key to the happy life she has always longed for.

We spoke to Melanie on the day of If Only’s release about her inspirations, fears and nerves as she enters the literary world as a first-time fiction author.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Melanie hopes If Only will do is re-introduce her followers to the joy of reading that has been lost in this digital age.

“I hope that some of my YouTube and Instagram followers (ones who've found themselves with mild to severe cases of Internet addiction) will pick up If Only and discover, or re-discover, a joy of reading. I’d also really love for people to come away from the novel with some optimism, with a deeper understanding of what truly matters (to them) in life and with a sense that they've been properly entertained. “

Writing a book is certainly no easy task, especially when you’re managing your own business, creating content and dealing with your personal life like Melanie. The author struggled with avoiding self-insertion during the writing process, but luckily she found a way to move past this hurdle.

“It was more difficult than I anticipated. The thing is, I'm not like most authors who experience the luxury of writing for people who may not even know what they look like. Many people who'll read If Only know a lot about my life from my vlogs and my years of YouTube content, and so the idea of writing a fictional character who appeared as an idealised version of me scared me senseless.

“I didn't want reviews about how Melanie wrote a self indulgent fanfic about herself, I wanted reviews about the story, the plot structure, the character development or lack thereof, the voice, the ending. Constructive feedback is to a writer what water is to a plant, and I knew that a self-insert would dominate reviews. I ended up deciding to add bits of myself into ALL of the characters and for everyone populating the story to be made up of a combination of me, friends, family members, acquaintances and characters I love myself.”

If Only is a truly magical tale so it came as no surprise to hear Melanie turned to the stunning romantic-drama About Time and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for inspiration. Talk about the dream duo.

“The story was inspired by my tendency to wonder how life might look if I'd done things differently and by the slow burn romance between myself and my fella. I felt most inspired to write while listening to movie soundtracks and eighties music, which dominates the pages of the story.”

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There’s no doubt Melanie has poured her heart and soul into this book, sharing glimpses of the writing process with fans along the way, but the fear of being judged as a ‘YouTube writer’ hung over her, despite the mass praise and excitement from her adoring followers.

“I've been chewing the insides of my cheeks from the second the book was sent out for advance reviews on NetGalley! There are always going to be plenty of people who accuse me of having a ghostwriter, or who think I'm good for nothing but filming and editing videos in my bedroom, and that's okay. Because at the end of the day I'm doing something I love, and I'm hoping to do it for the rest of my life. My work will speak for itself and it'll improve as the years roll out. So I'm doing my best to swallow the nerves,” Melanie shared.

If Only has been swiftly swept up off bookshelves across the country. Melanie’s debut novel will warm your heart, reassure your mind and help you see the true magic of life.

You can pick up a copy of If Only here.

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The Hunger Games books were a massive part of my childhood so it’s safe to say my heart skipped a beat when I found out that author Suzanne Collins has penned a prequel to the bestselling series.

The name of the book has yet to be released and it is currently referred to as Untitled Panem Novel.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The untitled prequel will be set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games. The tale will take place in Panem on the morning of the reaping of the tenth Hunger Games.

Suzanne Collins opened up about the fourth installment in the beloved series that had readers gripped in the early noughties.

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“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days—as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet—provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

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We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy of The Hunger Games prequel.

The book is set to be published on May 19, 2020.

Feature Image: Favim

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There’s no place like home. Why not make yours into the happiest it can be?

Have you ever walked into a space that just feels inviting, with high energy and makes you want to stay? That space is calling to you because it has wonderful Feng Shui which equals balance.

Yes, Feng Shui is a real thing. In fact, many Fortune 500 companies and celebrities use it to create balanced and harmonious spaces.

In her eye-opening book, The Happy Home: Your Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life, Feng Shui expert Patricia Lohan not only explains the ancient Chinese art form, but reveals how she uses the 4,000-year-old practice to change peoples lives in ways they never thought possible.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Happy Home is an invitation to look at your home with new eyes — not just as the place you live, but as the gateway to your happiness, health and wealth.

You will learn how your home possesses its own unique energy. When everything is as it should be, this energy works like a magnet, attracting in the right things at the right time. This could mean more money, better clients, happier relationships, improved health — there’s no area of your life that your home’s energy won't touch.

From The Happy Home, you’ll also come away knowing:

  • A deep understanding of what Feng Shui is and how you can use it to turn any living space into a happy one
  • How to clear the blocks in your home that are getting in the way of success, happiness, abundance and love
  • What to keep and what to throw out in order to open up your space and invite in more of what you want and less of what you don’t
  • How you can identify your unique house type so you can set up your home environment to attract more abundance and better relationships
  • Easy switches you can make to any room to balance its energy and allow for more flow
  • How to find your home’s “prosperity corner” and pump up what you are receiving
  • Remedies that will supercharge all nine areas of your house and your life to match

Lohan speaks what she knows. She has countless happy Feng Shui stories of her own. She used the power of this ancient modality to manifest her amazing husband, Ken, to grow and expand her business and move across the globe from Ireland to the tropical island paradise of Bali.

Lohan originally from Galway, says, “what really lights me up is seeing people transform their entire lives when they start using the principles of Feng Shui in their everyday environments. From unexpected cheques arriving in the mail to TV appearances across the US, business doubling in revenues from careers taking off to vision boards coming true, from marriages getting closer to hearts healing, I’ve seen it all!”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Lohan points out how it all begins with your home. It’s where you kick off your shoes and settle in after a long day.

It’s where you give and receive goodnight kisses from the most important people in your life.

It’s the foundation for literally everything, which is why when your home’s energy is out of whack, the rest of your life is too.

The Happy Home: Your Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life, by Patricia Lohan is available in all good bookshops and can also be purchased by going to https://patricialohan.com/happyhomebook/

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Joseph O’Connor is a favourite of ours, so I read Shadowplay with obvious bias – his books have long been the doyenne of our book clubs and his first new book in five years does not disappoint.

Set in 1878, Shadowplay is a stunning account of the part of Bram Stoker’s life that led to the creation of his masterpiece Dracula. The book is set in London’s Lyceum theatre, where he worked as general manager. Stoker was heavily influenced by key people and events during his time here.

Having abandoned his boring office job in Dublin, Stoker heads to London with his young wife Florence at his side. In the Big Smoke he discovers the theatre is in a state of decay and disrepair.  

The character of Henry Irving plays a key role in shaping Stoker’s time in London. Irving is a demanding actor who owns the theatre with little interest in its day-to-day beyond plying his trade on stage seeking critical acclaim each night.

Ellen Terry, the third in the holy trinity on which the story is based, an alluring actor that both Stoker and Irving adore. She joins the regular cast at the Lyceum which is a turning point for Stoker’s marriage to disintegrate.  

Throughout the book there is an undercurrent of sexual desire – not least amongst the holy trinity but it’s also the time in London where the Ripper's crimes have led to a fevered atmosphere of terror and depravity.  There is an obvious connection between the blood lust on the streets and how it influenced the horror found in Dracula.

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Stoker struggled with his literary endeavours during his life – O’Connor depicts his struggles beautifully whilst also including echoes of Stoker’s Dracula throughout.  Please don’t let the mention of Dracula put you off if it wasn’t your cup of tea – this is not a horror story. It’s a beautifully written masterpiece. He weaves in magical mentions of Stoker’s peers at the time such as Oscar Wilde which further fuel the undercurrent of sexual frustration at the time.

The opportunity for discussion around this book is vast not least to explore the complexities of love that stand dangerously outside the social conventions of the time.  

This beautifully written novel firmly gets our thumbs up for your next book club read or as a different but enchanting companion to your beach reads.

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We have gathered up our current favourite reads that you must add to your to-be-read list.

There's something for everyone whether you’re a fan of fiction or a lifestyle lover.

1: Essential Oils You Can’t Do Without by Daniele Festy (Eddison Books Ltd)

Fragrant essential oils work gently but surely. For a long time, they were the exclusive province of perfumers and played a somewhat anonymous role in the manufacture of cosmetics. More recently, they’ve come out of the wings to take centre stage, reminding us how to look after ourselves safely and effectively.

There are six key oils that will cover all your needs and Daniele Festy is here to tell you all about them and their benefits. Her book presents the six you can’t do without- tea tree, lemon, lavender,  peppermint, rosemary cineole and damask rose.

 

2: Dancing the Charleston by Jacqueline Wilson (Penguin)

Mona and her aunt live in a little cottage on the edge of the Somerset estate where her aunt sews dresses for the lady of the house. When Lady Somerset dies and a new member of the Somerset family inherits the house, things begin to change for Mona. She has never really fitted in anywhere, but the new atmosphere at the house offers opportunities for her to shine- and to find new friends. Dancing at fancy costume balls and trips to decadent 1920s London are wonderfully exciting- but new experiences sometimes bring revelations. Are there secrets in Mona’s past that she can’t dance away from?

Take a walk down memory lane and give this Jacqueline Wilson book a read. 

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3: Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch (Penguin)

The first book from Instagram sensation Mrs Hinch. Sophie Hinchcliffe, who is known to her- now over two million- followers as ‘Mrs Hinch’, has taken the nation by storm with her infectiously addictive charm and passionate belief that cleaning has the power to change your life.

She will turn your house into a home. Whether you’re a daily duster or looking for a monthly makeover, Hinch Yourself Happy offers the reader clever cleaning tips and shows you how to create not only a cleaner house but a calmer you- offering an antidote to the disorder and anxieties of daily life.

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4: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Penguin)

This is no doubt one of the most talked about books of the year.

This book tells the tale of Daisy Jones and The Six, their rise to fame, their struggles and the reason they went their separate ways at the height of their fame.

Taylor Jenkins Reid shares their story through a series of interviews with the band members, their colleagues and families.

Trust me when I say you won’t be able to put this gripping and exciting book down once you start reading it. It is so perfectly written that you'll forget Daisy Jones and The Six are, in fact, a fictional band and you'll be hopelessly  looking them up on Spotify.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5: Constellations: Reflections from Life by Sinead Gleeson (Pan Macmillan)

We have been eager to read Sinead Gleeson’s collection of essays since it was published earlier this month.

The writer tells the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood. She sheds a light on the reality of being a woman in Ireland in this daring collection of essays.

She writes about life in all it’s different, delightful and difficult stages, from birth to first love, pregnancy to motherhood, terrifying sickness, old age and loss to death itself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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6: Things In Jars by Jess Kidd (Canongate)

Set in London in 1863, Things In Jars follows the journey of female detective Bridie Devine as she tackles her toughest case to date.

Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist. As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment.

The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it’s time to find the perfect gift for mother dearest. One of the best things to receive is a good book, whether you like fiction, self-help or gardening books, being gifted an endearing tale is such a treat.

We’ve put together a list of the best reads to buy your mum (or yourself) this Mother’s Day. They’ll certainly make the book lover in your life very happy.

1: The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)

Taking up where book one left off, Aisling is now 29 and she’s still a complete Aisling. After a tough year, things seem to be going well with Aisling and boyfriend John, and life with her flatmates Sadhbh and Elaine in their notiony Dublin apartment is more craic than ever.

However, readers can expect big changes for Aisling in book two when a shock change sees her moving back Down Home. Can she give up the sophistication of brunch and unlimited Pinot Greej? Will she and Mammy kill each other living back under the same roof? And where does that leave her and John? The storyline includes a hilarious girls’ trip to Vegas which gives Aisling some unexpected confidence that sees her going on to grab Ballygobbard by the horns with a new venture.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2: The Positive Habit by Fiona Brennan (Gill Books)

This ultimate manual for the mind will help you train your brain to embrace negative thoughts and transform them into positive emotions.

The Positive Habit is a transformative book that helps readers embrace their negative thoughts and cultivate a positive mindset, through six practical steps, which are grounded in the science of habit, mindfulness, positive psychology and neuroscience. Learn how to self-generate six core positive emotions that guide you from negativity to positivity, from anxiety to calm and from fear to love.

Accompanied by an audio-hypnotherapy meditation plan that takes just a few minutes a day, split between morning and evening, The Positive Habit will transform your mental health as you doze off peacefully to the sleep-time audio and wake up happy as you listen to the 7-minute morning ritual. The relaxing morning- and sleep-time audios will programme your brain effortlessly and help you develop the ability to take control of your emotional health, as you build your ladder to happiness and develop The Positive Habit!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3: Happily Imperfect by Stacey Solomon (Harper Collins)

In Happily Imperfect, be moved to tears and laughter by joining Stacey in her journey so far, as she reveals how to stay positive despite the everyday pressure to be and look perfect. Told through hilarious, sometimes moving, and always charming anecdotes, discover how to get the best out of life by being positive, not following the crowd and trusting your gut instincts.

Covering how to navigate motherhood, deal with anxiety and prejudice, as well as the experience of getting older, Stacey has plenty of words of wisdom to share. With tips and tricks on how to apply a positive mindset within your own day-to-day life, become emotionally freer and happier with Stacey by your side.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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4: Lost in Motherhood by Grace Timothy (Harper Collins)

Best described as The Wrong Knickers for mums, in this wry, resonant and darkly funny memoir, journalist Grace Timothy explores motherhood as an issue of identity.

The hilarious book follows Grace’s journey from a young married woman at the top of her editorial game in London, to a thirty-something mum, confused as to how she can love someone as much as her daughter and yet feel lost as a person.

Compulsively readable, irresistibly written and incredibly well-observed, Grace’s searingly-honest account of motherhood is essential reading for every mum trying to find their way after the mother of all identity crises.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5: Organised by Sarah Reynolds (Gill Books)

Wouldn’t life run more smoothly if your home was organised? Enter Sarah Reynolds, Ireland’s leading professional organiser and her new book Organised: Simple Ways to declutter your house, your schedule and your mind.

Whether you live in a chaotic family home or a small apartment, this book will show you how to organise your self, schedule and space so that getting and staying organised is easy; declutter with confidence; set up your wardrobe so you wear the clothes you have; entertain friends in a relaxing, clean space; tame your inbox!

Step-by-step, room-by-room, you'll soon find that you hardly ever lose things, massive clear outs become a thing of the past and you never spend more than 10 minutes a day tidying up.

If you are stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to get organised but not having enough time to do so, then Organised is what you’ve been waiting for. This book will help you fall in love with your home again and keep it that way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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6: The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook by Aileen Cox Blundell (Gill Books)

With a 16-year-old, an 11-year-old vegetarian and a lively 4-year-old, Aileen Cox Blundell has a breadth of experience with catering to all appetites and demands. 

In her new cookbook, The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook, Aileen is back with over 150 wholesome recipes that suit the entire family. From winning breakfasts like MacMammy Egg Muffins and Sweet Potato Orange Pancakes, to lunchbox wonders like Veggie-Loaded Mini Quiches and Italian Quinoa Bites.

Every recipe has been developed with health and nutrition in mind and will appeal to the whole family, making mealtimes a pleasure rather than a chore. As well as the recipes, Aileen includes practical advice including how to cook for a vegetarian, safety tips around baby-led feeding, and the ultimate guide to fussy eating.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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7: The Newborn Identity by Maria Boyle (Penguin)

Meeting a baby is like meeting someone from the internet: you got used to calling them by a weird nickname and now you need to call them by their real name; they look nothing like their photo; it is hard to believe they’re real until they are actually there…

The hilarious and poignant cartoons of illustrator Twisteddoodles bring a smile to the faces of parents every single day. Her drawings brilliantly capture the unique experience of motherhood and the huge range of emotions that it brings.

In this warm and witty book, Maria writes candidly about what becoming a mother has meant for her. Interspersing her words with brilliant cartoons, she delivers a marvellously entertaining snapshot of life as a modern-day parent. Her sharp observations cover everything from the sleep-deprived early days of having newborn twins to the reality of being a working mum; from just getting out of the house to slowly get your social life back. Upbeat and humorous, this is a wonderful book for parents and parents-to-be.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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8: The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan (Hachette Ireland)

The final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.

Kingfisher Road- a leafy, peaceful in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10? Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have a perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems… In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Eason are delighted to launch ‘Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads’ for the second year running with an exciting selection of titles chosen by author Sinéad Moriarty and broadcaster Rick O’Shea for Spring.

Throughout the year Sinéad and Rick will choose and review eight Must Read titles for the coming season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), featuring an eclectic mix of Irish and international writers.

Books lovers Sinéad and Rick are back with a bang for 2019 and have picked some sure-to-be bestsellers as their Must Reads for Spring. The duo read, critique and review their chosen titles and give customers an authentic and honest insight into a range of exciting new Irish and international novels and non-fiction books.

Rick O’Shea, said; “The Sinead and Rick’s Must Reads series gives me a great excuse to choose and read a selection of books that I love and want other people to love too. We saw so many great books in the 2018 selection and the first instalment for 2019 includes some real surprises that I think Eason customers will love”.

Sinéad Moriarty added: “The books we’ve chosen for our first selection of Must Reads for 2019 range from the hilarious to the heart-rending and are perfect reads for this time of year. We’ve chosen books that suit everyone, from those who read to relax to those who read to learn more about the modern world. This selection really has something for everyone.”

 

This spring, ‘Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads’ features eight exciting, inspirational and moving titles including:

Professor Chandra follows his Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

A book that is as quirky and charming as its title. Professor Chandra is obsessed with winning the Nobel Prize for economics that he feels he richly deserves. But when he finds out that once again, he has not won, he starts to fall apart. This is a tender, at times hilarious, look at life which is at once both funny and moving. If you loved The Rosie Project, then this book is definitely for you!

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

96 year old Doris knows she has not much time left and wants to make sure her grand-niece knows all about her colourful and difficult life before it’s too late. Using her address book where she has detailed all the names of the people who have meant the most to her, Doris relates the story of her life. A captivating portrayal of how the elderly have rich and fascinating histories and lives that we can and should learn from.

When All is Said by Anne Griffin

Maurice Hannigan is sitting at a hotel bar in his hometown. As the night wears on he raises a toast to each of five characters who have played important roles and helped shape him and his life. This is a beautiful, tender, heart-wrenching book about loss, grief and regret – a stunning read.

The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop

Inspired by true events, this is the tale of Willie, an eighteen-year-old black man who is awaiting the death penalty for having raped a white girl. But as the book progresses, we begin to question whether he is actually guilty, or, if he was set up? Told from nine different points of view, the reader is drawn in from the very first page as each of the characters share their stories, and we gradually piece together the real truth.

The Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

Orpen has been raised by two women, her mother and her partner Maeve, on a remote island off the West coast. When Maeve is bitten by one of the ravenous beasts who now roam the country, Orpen has to set off with her, their dog, and a wheelbarrow to find civilisation before it’s too late. A cracking post-apocalyptic thriller, with elements of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’.

How To Lose Your Country by Ece Temelkuran

Ece is a Turkish journalist, political commentator and author who lives in exile – here, she walks you through the seven steps of how a populist movement can take control of a country, starting with her home country and Hungary and then moving closer to home and looking at Brexit and Trump. An important, current and very readable book about the populist playbook and how it threatens to engulf us all.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Audrey has two grown up daughters, both with children of their own, but both sides are estranged ever since a split in the family which happened years earlier causes deep and irreconcilable differences. As the plot unravels, and we get acquainted with each of the main characters, we begin to realise the terrible situations they’re all in as the stakes for each of them rapidly increase. A beautifully written and very impressive novel.

Daisy Jones And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Billy and his band The Six are getting noticed in the late 60s and are starting to hit the big time. Daisy is an “It” girl who wants to sing her own songs. This is the story of their band’s meteoric rise to fame from the points of view of everyone who was there – and the reader has to decide who (or what!) they want to believe. An incredibly entertaining read – the movie rights have already been snapped up by Reese Witherspoon – well worth reading before it before it hits the big screen.

 To check out full reviews of ‘Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads’ for spring, please go to www.easons.com/sineadandrick.

 

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