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Shuffling of the Shelves – July 2023 Part One

By Melissa Tran, Lucy Shardlow and Sana Khalid

As we enter the peak of the heat wave, here is a look at the latest books that are heating up in the charts!


There are some fantastic reads over on the WHSmith Book Chart this week that are ready to transport you to a different world. At number five, we have Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson. Transporting you to the 1920s, Shrines of Gaiety is set in London while it recovers from the effects of the Great War. At the heart of the novel is Nellie Coker. Ruthless and ambitious, she is determined to make her empire a success. Kate Atkinson's novel comes with Dickensian flair, a glittering cast of characters and a mesmeric narrative that is able to capture a world where nothing is quite as it seems. At number six, we are transported into the world of fairytales with TJ Klune's queer retelling of Pinocchio: In The Lives of Puppets.

Klune invites readers deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on an extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts. Described by critics as a "whimsical and warm-hearted fantasy," In The Lives of Puppets is the perfect retelling of one of our most-loved fairytales.


Fantasy and romance are two genres that have grown immensely popular over the last few years and the Waterstones Bestseller lists are a reflection of this, with Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros and Ali Hazelwood's Love Theoretically coming in at first and sixth place. Yarros has taken the book world by storm with her new release revolving around a deadly boarding school for dragon riders. This new adult fantasy, having been compared to The Hunger Games and Divergent, has been all over BookTok and Bookstagram, with everyone gushing and imploring others to read it. Non-stop action, a badass female main character, well-executed enemies-to-lovers, shocking twists and turns and chronic illness representation is what one can find when they enter the world of Fourth Wing. Therefore, it's no surprise that it remains on top. Ali Hazelwood, the queen of stem romance, once again captures the hearts of everyone with her latest release. Love Theoretically focuses on a struggling theoretical physicist who offers her services as a fake girlfriend to make up for her meagre paycheck. Things go awry when she meets the brother of her favourite client, who just so happens to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor's career. This laugh-out-loud, slow-burn academic rivals-to-lovers is the perfect light, easy read to enjoy under this sweltering sun.


There are lots of thrillers in the Amazon chart this week as we head into summer. At number one is The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci, which follows the story of a war hero, Travis, who survived combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, but now takes the 6:20 a.m. train every day into New York for his job in finance, while struggling to leave the war behind him, as much as he might want to. Baldacci has been publishing books since 1996 and this new thriller is gripping. The 6:20 Man has been chosen as the Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Number four in the Amazon chart is Are You Awake? by Claire McGowan. This thriller follows Mary and Tim, a married couple with two young children who are struggling to balance their everyday lives, marriage and kids. When they witness a horrific event through a neighbour's window, will the pressure of the crime end their marriage? Or do they have more sinister problems to face? McGowan's latest novel will keep you up all night turning pages.

Social Media

Big news on book social media this week is the TikTok Book Awards UK and Ireland. Up for Author of the Year is TikTok star Ben Alderson, who writes queer fantasy novels. Alderson is currently writing his thirteenth book, with a new novel being released next month titled Heir to Thorn and Flame. Ben has over 150,000 followers on TikTok, with some of his most-viewed videos reaching over one million views. Heir to Thorn and Flame promises dragons, romance and pirates.

Noteworthy Author

Our Noteworthy Author for this month could only be campaigner and endurance athlete Ashley Cain after the release of his moving memoir Strong. Cain writes about how he has found the strength, resilience and positive mindset to carry on after his daughter's tragic death from leukaemia. After recently setting up The Azaylia Foundation and taking part in numerous challenges to raise both money and awareness for children fighting cancer, Strong becomes yet another moving tribute to his daughter. This is a book that encompasses how Cain ties his emotional and physical grief into his challenges, whilst also providing inspiration and comfort to those who may also be struggling with grief, loss and mental health issues. We can already predict that this will be one of the biggest memoirs of the year!


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