July 2019 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends


Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for July.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Selections are by Tim Bayley and are drawn from publisher submissions, The Bookseller magazine’s own monthly highlights, Buyer’s Guides and more.

NB. We believe in supporting bricks and mortar stores whether online or in person and a tiny snippet of any purchase comes our way to go towards site upkeep so any and all support very much appreciated! Hyperlinks lead on to Waterstone’s.

So relax and browse on and check out the great reads in print coming your way in July.


Tim Bayley

Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction



PAN’S LABYRINTH: THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN * Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke * 9781526609557 * HB * £16.99 * Bloomsbury

You shouldn’t come in here. You could get lost. It has happened before. In fairy tales, there are men and there are wolves, there are beasts and dead parents, there are girls and forests. Ofelia knows all this, like any young woman with a head full of stories. But nothing can prepare her for the fevered reality of the Capitán’s eerie house, in the midst of a dense forest which conceals many things: half-remembered stories of lost babies; renegade resistance fighters hiding from the army; a labyrinth; beasts and fairies. Inspired by the 2006 film. MORE / BUY

FALL OR, DODGE IN HELL * Neal Stephenson * 9780008168827 * HB * £20.00 * The Borough Press

Gaming billionaire ‘Dodge’ Forthrast’s will asks that his body be given to a cryonics company, owned by enigmatic tech entrepreneur Elmo Shepherd. But when Dodge wrote his will he didn’t anticipate that one day he’d be declared brain dead – or his brain being turned on again. Years later, an astounding achievement in technology will allow the human race to defy death itself, giving birth to the Bitworld, an eternal afterlife. But this imagined state of perfection is not all that it appears to be… MORE / BUY

EARLY RISER * Jasper Fforde * 9781444763607 * PB * £9.99 * Hodder

*** One of our top favourite authors – Jasper Fforde – is back! ***

Every Winter, the human population hibernates. Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams. When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling. When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity. But teasing truth from Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp collecting, ensure you aren’t eaten by Nightwalkers, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk… MORE / BUY

THE BIRD KING * G Willow Wilson * 9781611856361 * HB * £14.99 * Grove Press

*** From the stunning writer-creator of Marvels’ wonderful Ms Marvel ***

From award-winning author (and comic writer) G. Willow Wilson, whose debut novel Alif the Unseen established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. Fatima is a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret – he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realising that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule… The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate. MORE / BUY

SPACE OPERA * Catherynne M. Valente * 9781472115089 * PB * £8.99 * Corsair

A century ago, intelligent space-faring life was nearly destroyed. To bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity and understanding, the Metagalactic Grand Prix was created. This year, humankind has discovered that it must fight for its destiny not with diplomacy, gunships and stoic councils – but with glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. A washed-up glam-rock trio from London, Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes, has been chosen to represent humanity. The fate of Earth lies in their ability to ROCK. MORE / BUY

DAVID MOGO, GODHUNTER * Suyi Davies Okungbowa * 9781781086490 * PB * £8.99 * Rebellion / Abaddon

Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos. Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard. MORE / BUY

PRIEST OF LIES * Peter McLean * 9781787474260 * HB * £20.00 * Jo Fletcher * War for the Rose Throne * 2

When Tomas Piety and his Pious Men returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his crime empire and look after his people. But the sinister Queen’s Men had different ideas and whether he likes it or not, he’s now a spy as well. Now, half the city of Ellinburg lies in ashes and the webs of political intrigue are stretching out from the Queen’s capital to pull Tomas in. In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion… or just a priest of lies. MORE / BUY

LOST ACRE * Andrew Caldecott * 9781787473768 * HB * £16.99 * Jo Fletcher * Rotherweird * 3

‘Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn’ – Hilary Mantel. Geryon Wynter, the brilliant Elizabethan mystic, has achieved resurrection and returned to Rotherweird. But after the chaos of Election Day, how can a stranger from another time wrest control? And for what fell purpose is Wynter back? His dark conspiracy reaches its climax in this unique corner of England, where the study of history is forbidden and neither friend nor foe are quite what they seem. The stakes could not be higher, for at the endgame, not only Rotherweird is under threat. The future of mankind itself hangs in the balance. MORE / BUY

THE HOUSE OF SACRIFICE * Anna Smith-Spark * 9780008204129 * HB * £16.99 * HarperVoyager * Empires of Dust * 3

The thunderous conclusion to the Empires of Dust trilogy which began with The Court of Broken Knives. Marith Altrersyr cut a path of blood and vengeance and needless violence around the world and now he rules. The King of Death must now learn to live. But some things cannot be learnt. The spoils of war turn to ash in the mouths of the Amrath Army. As they march on Sorlost, Thalia’s thoughts turn to home and to the future: there is a life inside her – but it grows weak. Why must the sins of the father curse the child? A glorious conclusion that threads together a masterful tapestry of language and story, and holds up a piercing reflection on epic fantasy – and those who love it. MORE / BUY

THE HOUSE OF SUNDERING FLAMES * Aliette de Bodard * 9781473223400 * HB * £16.99 * Gollancz * Dominion of the Fallen * 3

The great magical Houses of Paris – headed by Fallen angels and magicians – were at peace… until House Harrier was levelled by a powerful explosion setting off a race in which each House hoards magic and resources to protect itself. Thuan of the divided House Hawthorn, is still consolidating his power. Aurore sees her moment to seek it in order to protect her family. And Emmanuelle finds herself alone in the middle of it all, driven to protect others, trying to piece together what has happened. None of them know what destroyed House Harrier – but when they do uncover that fiery, destructive magic divided Houses, old enemies and estranged friends will all have to make a decision: stand together, or burn alone… MORE / BUY

THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI * Joanne M Harris * 9781473202412 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz * The Rune Novels * 4

Asgard fell, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki who has lain forgotten as the world of humans moved on to new beliefs… But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods again and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality. But other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks… MORE / BUY


BROKEN PLACES & OUTER SPACES (TED 2) * Nnedi Okorafor * 9781471185359 * HB * £8.99 * Simon & Schuster

When Nnedi wakes from surgery to find she can’t move her legs, her entire sense of who she is begins to waver. Psychedelic bugs crawl her hospital walls; strange dreams visit her nightly. She begins to feel as if she’s turning into a cyborg. What Nnedi discovers during her confinement would prove to be the key to her life as a successful science fiction writer. Nnedi takes the reader on a journey from her hospital bed, from her painful first experiences with racism as a child in Chicago to her powerful visits to her parents’ hometown in Nigeria, where she got her first inkling that science fiction has roots beyond the West. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Shelly, she examines great artists and writers who have pushed through their limitations and reveals a universal truth: What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths – far greater than when we were unbroken. MORE / BUY

THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM: FACING THE NEW ANXIETIES * Paul Collier * 9780141987255 * PB * £9.99 * Penguin

From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it. Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. We have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit and the return of the far right in Germany. Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, Collier shows us how to save capitalism from itself – and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century. MORE / BUY

TRANS BRITAIN * Christine Burns * 9781783528448 * PB * £9.99 * Unbound

Over the last five years transgender people have suddenly become part of the zeitgeist; but this is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who struggled for equality before them, but were met with indifference and often outright hostility from mainstream society. Trans Britain chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a marginalised community grow into the visible phenomenon we recognise today: activists, film-makers, broadcasters, parents, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others. Here is everything you always wanted to know about the background of the trans community, but never knew how to ask. MORE / BUY

DOPEWORLD: ADVENTURES IN DRUG LANDS * Niko Vorobyov * 9781529378016 * HB * £18.99 * Hodder

Welcome to Dopeworld. Ecstasy in London, crack in Los Angeles, LSD in Tokyo, heroin in Sofia, cocaine in Medellin, bounty hunting in Manilla, opium in Tehran. Get ready for your next fix. Dopeworld is a bold and intoxicating journey into the world of drugs. From the cocaine farms in South America to the streets of Manila, we trace the emergence of psychoactive substances and our intimate relationship with them. With unparalleled access to drug lords, cartel leaders, street dealers and government officials, Niko Vorobyov attempts to shine a light on the dark underbelly drug world. With echoes of Gomorrah and Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas, Dopeworld is a brilliant and enlightening journey across the world, examining every angle of the drug war. MORE / BUY


A new history of counterculture in the UK. A Hero for High Times is the story of how Bob Rowberry ended up in living in a broken-down bus, of his times and the ideas that shaped him. It’s a story of why sex and drugs and rock’n’roll once mattered more than money, why dance music stopped the New-Age Travellers from travelling, and why you need to think twice before taking the brown acid. It’s the story of the hippies for those who weren’t there, who want to know how to build a bender, make poppy tea, and throw the I-Ching. And it’s a story of friendship between two men, one who did things, and one who thought about things, between theory and practice, between a hippie and a punk, between two gentlemen, no longer in the first flush of youth, who still believe in love. MORE / BUY

REVENGE OF THE SHE-PUNKS: POLY STYRENE TO PUSSY RIOT * Vivien Goldman * 9781913172022 * PB * £16.99 * Omnibus Press

The colourful Punk Professor, new-wave musician, and critic/filmmaker spins a dazzling survey of women in punk to explore what makes it such a liberating art form for women, blending interviews, history, and her personal experience. A discussion of the Patti Smith song ‘Free Money’ for example, opens with Goldman on a shopping spree with Smith. Tamar-Kali, whose name pays homage to a Hindu goddess, describes the influence of her Gullah ancestors on her music, while the late Poly Styrene’s daughter reflects on why her Somali-Scots-Irish mother wrote the 1978 punk anthem ‘Identity’ with the refrain ‘Identity is the crisis you can’t see.’ MORE / BUY

LIVE WIRES: A HISTORY OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC * Daniel Warner * 9781789141412 * PB * £9.99 * Reaktion Books

Electronic sounds and music have long permeated our sonic landscape. What began as the otherworldly sounds of the film score for the film Forbidden Planet and the rarefied, new timbres of Stockhausen’s Kontakte, is now a common soundscape. Live Wires explores how the five key technologies – the tape recorder, circuit, computer, microphone and turntable – revolutionized musical thought. Featuring the work of major figures from Schaeffer, Varese, Xenakis, Babbitt and Oliveros to Eno, Keith Emerson, Grandmaster Flash, Juan Atkins and Holly Herndon, Live Wires presents many of the powerful musical ideas that are being recycled, rethought and remixed by some of the most electrifying composers and musicians today. MORE / BUY

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL: MY LIFE IN SMALL FACES, FACES AND THE WHO * Kenney Jones * 9781911600664 * PB * £8.99 * Blink Publishing

As drummer with the Small Faces, Faces and later The Who, Kenney Jones’ unique sense of rhythm was the heartbeat that powered three of the most influential rock bands of all time. Beginning in London’s post-war East End, Kenney’s story takes us through the Mod revolution, the mind-bending days of the late-1960s and the raucous excesses of the ’70s and ’80s. He jointly created some of the world’s most-loved records, hung out with the Stones, Beatles, David Bowie, Keith Moon and Rod Stewart, and suffered the loss of close friends to rock ‘n’ roll excess and success. Now Kenney tells the full story of how a young Cockney Herbert played his part in the biggest social transformation in living memory. MORE / BUY

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG: THE BIOGRAPHY * Peter Doggett * 9781847925053 * HB * £25.00 * Bodley Head

At 3 a.m. on Monday, 18 August 1969, the final night of Woodstock, four men with acoustic guitars faced the gaping darkness of a vast open-air audience. An hour later, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had cemented their place in rock history, becoming the most successful, influential and politically potent rock band in America. They channelled all the radical anger, romantic idealism and generational angst of their era and few of their contemporaries could match the recklessness of their hedonistic lifestyles, as four stubborn, driven songwriters pursued chemical and sexual pleasure to life-threatening extremes. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is the first major biography of the band and Peter Doggett illuminates the pivotal years of 1960s counterculture through the story of four of its key protagonists. MORE / BUY

NEVER GROW UP * Jackie Chan with Zhu Mo * 9781471177255 * PB * £9.99 * Simon & Schuster

Everyone knows Jackie Chan. Now, in Never Grow Up, the global superstar reflects on his childhood years at the China Drama Academy (in which he was enrolled at the age of six), his big breaks (and setbacks) in Hong Kong and Hollywood, numerous brushes with death, and his life as a husband and father (which has been, admittedly and regrettably, imperfect). In Never Grow Up, Jackie applies the same spirit of openness to his life, proving time and time again why he’s beloved the world over: he’s honest, funny, kind, brave beyond reckoning and—after all this time—still young at heart. MORE / BUY

Children’s and Young Adult


DARK BLADE * Steve Feasey * 9781408873397 * PB * £7.99 * Bloomsbury YA * Whispers of the Gods * 1

A sweeping epic fantasy perfect for fans of the Summoner trilogy by Taran Matharu and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. WHEN GODS FAIL, WHO WILL KEEP THE DARKNESS OUT? Lann knows nothing of his mysterious past, but by his fifteenth birthday he will come face to face with destiny. For Lann must wield the Dreadblade, an ancient sword forged to defeat terrible monsters. Across the mountains a King has been murdered. His daughter, Astrid, is a warrior with no desire to bear the crown. Only she can uncover her father’s killer before her brother is framed for the crime. Evil is stirring. Together Lann and Astrid must face the greatest darkness their world has ever known. MORE / BUY

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE * Natasha Ngan * 9781473692206 * PB * £7.99 * Hodder

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. This time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest. Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. MORE / BUY

Graphic Novels


LIFE DRAWING * Jessica Martin * 9781783527588 * HB * £16.99 * Unbound

The lure of the spotlight can be intoxicating, and Jessica Martin was captured by it early on. The daughter of a bandleader, she came of age in the jazz clubs of London’s Soho before going on to forge a career as a West End regular, Spitting Image impressionist and Doctor Who actor. Now entering a new phase of her performing life, Jessica Martin looks back on the parts and people that contributed to her success in this honest and revealing autobiography, which shows the true grit beneath the greasepaint. MORE / BUY

SKIP * Molly Mendoza * 9781910620427 * PB * £16.99 * NoBrow

Become immersed in Molly Mendoza’s dazzling worlds filled with unique and endearing characters in this epic and profound tale of growth, companionship and compassion. When Bloom is thrown from their world and Gloopy is exiled from their home, each finds in the other a much-needed kindred spirit. But as they skip through dimensions among great weeping giants, enormous alligator islands and topsy-turvy 2D worlds, they find that their greatest challenges are in facing their own truths and fears which they have both been anxious to avoid. MORE / BUY

FEARSCAPE * Ryan O’Sullivan, Andrea Mutti * 9781939424440 * PB * £15.99 * Vault Comics

The Fearscape is a world beyond our own, populated by manifestations of our worst fears. Once per generation, The Muse travels to Earth, discovers our greatest Storyteller, and takes them with her to the Fearscape to battle these fear-creatures on our behalf. All has been well for eons, until The Muse encounters Henry Henry―a plagiarist with delusions of literary grandeur. Mistaking him for our greatest Storyteller, she ushers him into the Fearscape. Doom follows. MORE / BUY

BOOKS OF MAGIC VOLUME 1: MOVEABLE TYPE * Kat Howard, Tom Fowler, Jordan Boyd * 9781401291341 * PB * £12.99 * Vertigo / DC

*** Part of the Sandman Universe – see here for the first two series released in our June Highlights ***

From acclaimed author Kat Howard with art from Tom Fowler, Books of Magic picks up right where Neil Gaiman left off in 1991! While Tim’s trying to study and attract the cutest girl in his class, there are cultists who want to kill him, believing his magical powers will eventually corrupt him! Luckily, the new substitute teacher for his school wants to mentor him and educate him in the magical arts so that he can discover the secrets behind the Books of Magic. The Sandman Universe is a new series of books curated by Neil Gaiman for DC Vertigo. Collects Books of Magic #1-6 and Sandman Universe Special #1. MORE / BUY

HOUSE OF WHISPERS VOLUME 1 THE POWER DIVIDED * Nalo Hopkinson, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, John Rauch * 9781401291358 * PB * £12.99 * Vertigo / DC

*** Part of the Sandman Universe – see here for the first two series released in our June Highlights ***

From her bayou, Erzulie scries four human girls open a mysterious and magical journal filled with whispers and rumours that, has the power to release Sopona, the loa lord of infectious disease and cousin to Erzulie, who is currently banned from the human plane. Meanwhile, a mysterious infection doctors are calling Cotard’s Delusion spreads, trapping countless souls in the Dreaming and leaving their physical bodies yearning for death… By Nalo Hopkinson, award-winning author of Brown Girl in the Ring, and Dominike “Domo” Stanton, artist of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. The Sandman Universe is a new series of books curated by Neil Gaiman for DC Vertigo. Collects House of Whispers #1-6 and Sandman Universe Special #1. MORE / BUY


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