Books for February chosen by our independent booksellers.

Hello and welcome to the books chosen by independent booksellers as recommended new reads. Every month we will be highlighting fifteen books hand-picked for you, and why these booksellers think you should be reading them.

Just click on any of the titles to read more and purchase from Hive, where every sale benefits your local independent bookshop.


Knit Your Own Boyfriend by Carol Meldrum

“If only this book had been around when I was younger!! Choose great boyfriend material and mix and match to create your perfect knitted man – but will he do the washing up?”

Chosen by: Frances Hopkins – Urmston Bookshop

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

“I loved this book, from the opening pages to the final page. George, the central character, is an endearing sort of chap, but almost immediately the affinity you feel towards him is upstaged by the description of an eerie cry in the garden, at night – and you’re hooked. The writing is incredibly beautiful, and memories of it will stay with you, for a long time. The story line takes us along an interesting path, drawing us in to consider relationships, between families, and lovers – and reading groups around the country will have some fascinating discussions.”

Chosen by: Jill Pattle – Far From the Madding Crowd

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

“A debut historical novel that has the poet John Gower as a principal character. He has to track down a missing manuscript and the quest takes us from the backstreets of medieval London to the court of Richard II. If you like an historical mystery in the manner of Sansom and Zafon, this should find a place on your shelves and your bedside table.”

Chosen by: Richard Knowles – Rickaro Books

Ripper by Isabel Allende

“I have never read Allende until now and her beautiful writing style shines through in this, her first thriller. Her magical storytelling skills make this a gripping read and I am sure it will be the first of a series.”

Chosen by: Sheila O’Reilly – Dulwich Books

Where Memories Go by Sally Magnusson

“A deeply personal account by Sally of her mother’s last journey down the path of dementia. It raises disturbing questions about how we treat older people gripped by what is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century.”

Chosen by: Frances Hopkins – Urmston Bookshop


The Black Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

“There is no doubting that this is the authentic Philip Marlowe, older, perhaps wiser, but still the same hard edged philosopher and pragmatist choosing to be amongst the venial and mortal sinners of LA life. Nor is there any doubt that this is a new authorial voice, a voice of the 21st century with a command of the sensitivities of contemporary readers and a confident command of the English language and the crime genre. And oh yes – it is obvious he’s Irish.”

Chosen by: Sheila O’Reilly – Dulwich Books

Lost Antarctica by James McClintock

“James McClintock writes with first-hand knowledge of one of the most starkly beautiful places on the planet; it is also one of the least hospitable environments on Earth and the author details the difficulties facing the scientists who work there. There is also shocking evidence of the changes happening at the bottom of the world, told with warm humour and obviously from vast experience. It’s unlikely that very few of us will ever get the chance visit Antarctica and this well written book is a great window into one of the most remote and mysterious regions anywhere.”

Chosen by: Jill Pattle – Far From the Madding Crowd

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

“A welcome return of acclaimed storyteller Lynne Truss. This new novel is both eerie and a ghost story as a cat relates a story on a wild evening on the Norfolk coast. Truly a cat with nine lives and what lives they were! To be featured on Radio 4 so bound to attract attention and to be in demand.”

Chosen by: Richard Knowles – Rickaro Books

My War Diary 1914-1918 by Ethel M. Bilbrough

“An amazing and moving account of WW1 which will form part of the new permanent exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum. Ethel’s daily entries are interspersed with her watercolours and drawings, newspaper cuttings and cartoons giving a rare insight into home life during the First World War. She writes of her outrage at the shooting of Edith Cavell, the rising price of food, of bombings and air raids and the sightings of horses waiting at Waterloo to be transported to France.

Chosen by: Sue Kekewich – Atkinson Pryce Books

The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart

“Set in Massachusetts in 1842 this is a novel with a cast of extraordinary characters and Urquhart brings to life one of history’s most fabled and mysterious religious movements. It’s an enthralling debut novel from an experience writer of non fiction, one to watch as they say.”

Chosen by: Sheila O’Reilly – Dulwich Books


A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt

“A delightful little book all about the virtues of a real book, not those horrid electronic imposters. Beautifully illustrated by Sarah Wilkins and we so agree with all of the sentiments expressed. These include, “A book can never run out of power” so true in more ways than one!”

Chosen by: Richard Knowles – Rickaro Books

Toot Goes to Dinosaurland by Catherine Anholt

“A fine and fun addition from the great Anholt partnership, telling the story of Toot the bunny, who sets off in his little car, for an adventure with dinosaurs. This covers everything you can imagine, for a preschool audience, from colours, size, shape, and with dinosaurs thrown in! The language is expressive, and the illustrations lively and engaging, and is the perfect length for bedtime, or storytime in the nursery.

Chosen by: Jill Pattle – Far From the Madding Crowd

Boris Gets Spots by Carrie Weston & Tim Warnes

“A heart warming story about the woebegone bear, who develops chickenpox, and then shares it with all his friends too! Without being schmaltzy, this book covers themes of thinking about others, and being considerate, and has the added bonus of a recipe for honey cookies. We look forward to the next adventure for Boris and his friends.”

Chosen by: Jill Pattle – Far From the Madding Crowd

See Inside the Universe by Alex Frith

“Discover stars, planets, galaxies, in a fun and entertaining way, with great attention to detail, and packed with fascinating facts. The ‘science’ of gravity, the Big Bang, atoms – all presented with over 70 flaps to lift, this will be a great recommendation for the boffins of the future.”

Chosen by: Jill Pattle – Far From the Madding Crowd

That’s Not My Piglet by Fiona Watts

“A new title in the popular touchy-feely book series is always most welcome. Here we have a piglet whose tail is too smooth, through to its scratchy spots and at the other end smooth ears. Sure to be a great favourite in the children’s nursery.”

Chosen by: Richard Knowles – Rickaro Books

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