By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson
We see some newcomers muscling their way onto the shelves this week in a variety of genres!
This month sees some new names in Waterstones’ bestselling books chart. In the top twenty spots we have The Maidens by Alex Michaelides at number seven, Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead at number twelve, and Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi at number twenty. All three novels are picks for Waterstones’ June Books of the Month for their respective genres. Each has a blog article on the Waterstones website which goes into more detail of the stories. In addition, Free: Coming of Age at the End of History is part of Waterstones’ Perfect Paperbacks scheme which are discounted paperbacks that include bestsellers and award-winning titles, making popular books more affordable for readers.
Beth Moran has jumped into the charts with her novel Just The Way You Are at number twenty this month in Amazon’s most read chart. Moran’s novel is an uplifting romance novel with a focus on “friendship, romance and learning to love yourself” (Amazon). Bonnie Garmus is another author who has jumped several places this month to the second spot on the Amazon most sold list. Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry is her debut novel and is already a Sunday Times bestseller. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is another debut novel that is taking the charts by storm. Originally released in 1996, this particular edition of Neverwhere that has climbed the charts is a special illustrated one. The trailer for Gaiman’s The Sandman has recently dropped which is perhaps the reason for the resurgence of his previous work.
Topping the WH Smith charts is Santa Montefiore’s novel, The Distant Shores, which recounts the protagonist’s time in Ireland as she writes a biography about a family with a secretive past. To do this, she must speak to the current lord of the house, with whom she forms a close relationship and helps bring his broken family together again. At number three is The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths, a 1960s crime novel. A detective duo investigates the death of a celebrity after being hired by the wife accused of poisoning him; they find themselves in exponential danger. Author of To Be a Gay Man and musician, Will Young’s new release, Be Yourself and Happier: The A-Z of Wellbeing is at number four, with honest reflections on the writer’s own breakdown and his road to wellness.
Social media is giving a lot of attention to Sarah J Maas’s most recent addition to the A Court of Thrones and Roses series, A Court of Silver Flames, which has just been released in paperback. The highly anticipated instalment focuses of Feyre’s sister, Nesta, in the aftermath of the war. As the threat of another conflict looms, Nesta must be able to fight while she also searches for acceptance. Maas’s novels have always been a hit on Booktok and Bookstagram, and are perfect for anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre. Dolly Alderton’s well-known book, Everything I Know About Love, is also receiving renewed discussion due to the soon-to-be-released BBC series based on the relatable and hilarious memoir. Aside from detailing romantic relationships, Alderton’s book is about friendship, womanhood and comfort in being alone.
Our noteworthy book this month has a bittersweet story behind it. The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley is a “thrilling whodunnit” and takes the number one spot on the Sunday Times bestseller list this week and is climbing the charts worldwide (Amazon). Riley is no stranger to the book charts with her Seven Sisters series being hugely popular. Riley sadly passed before she was able to publish The Murders at Fleat House, but her legacy lives on through her son Harry Whittaker who finalised the novel on behalf of his mum. Whittaker took to Twitter to share his delight at the success of the novel “Congratulations, Mum! Pretty cool to have a brand new original novel top the charts a year after your death. Very you. Thank you for making it so very easy to work on, and to publish. It's a corker.” (@HarryTwittaker via Twitter).
During the pandemic, the world saw a rise in popularity of tabletop games including the classic Dungeons & Dragons. On that note, our author of the month is Nicholas Eames. Eames’ debuted in 2017 with Kings of the Wyld. Having been praised by fantasy legends such as John Gwynne, Kings of the Wyld has been compared to a D&D campaign and resonates with geek culture. Eames’ debut has won three awards: Winner David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut Novel, Reddit/Fantasy Award for Best Debut Novel, and Fantasy Faction’s ‘Best Book of the Year’ 2017. Eames is highly active on social media and both Kings of the Wyld and the sequel, Bloody Rose, have been making the rounds on Instagram. “Kings of the Wyld took me back to my Dungeons and Dragons days. It has well-crafted characters long past their best but still fighting, non-stop fantasy action and welcome touches of humor. Great reading!” (Ian Irvine)