From the moment we prepared to launch Tea Leaves & Reads as an online bookshop, we knew that we wanted it to be a book club too, and be accessible to as many people as possible. August 2020 saw the very first book club title land on people’s doorsteps as we started with the queen of domestic fiction, Amanda Prowse. Every single book club choice was signed by the Author, or on two occasions a signed book-plate was arranged as the Author was overseas. So if you’ve been here from the very start then you’ll have an amazing collection of signed books with more to come as we head into 2023. From Summer 2022, thanks to Vikki Patis’s encouragement, we’ve hosted an online zoom interview and chat with every book club Author too.
August – Will You Remember Me by Amanda Prowse
Amanda has always managed to take a difficult subject and present it in a beautiful story with incredible attention to detail and stunning characterisation. This book was no exception. I fell in love with the main characters from the start, they made me laugh and cry in equal measures!
September – The Sister in Law by Sue Watson
It wasn’t predictable and Sue Watson always weaves a brilliant Psychological Thriller! I think it’s particularly clever how we are often lulled into a sense of normality with the mundane family life and then a shocker is sprung upon us seemingly out of the blue.
October – The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper – signed copies available!
When I could, I read this book, constantly. I needed to know what happens at the end but at the same time I didn’t want it to end. This book will have you smiling, wailing and begging for it all to go right for the main characters.
November – A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah
Justine thought that she knew who she was until an anonymous caller changed all of that… Sophie Hannah blends domestic fragility with sinister psychological instability in this mysterious, intriguing read with twists and turns at every corner.
December – Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas fair by Heidi Swain
Christmas Fiction at its strongest! Heidi Swain is the Queen of a cosy festive read and I absolutely adored this book. It was a slow start for me but after a few chapters once the characters had become established I couldn’t stop reading and desperately wanted to unravel the secrets that were hinted at.
January – Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood
This book is hilarious and heart breaking in equal measures. Not one to read in public unless you’re happy to either burst out laughing or burst into tears! This book follows the friendship of Olive and Birdie and honestly, if you don’t fall in love with these two characters then what’s wrong with you!
February – Grace after Henry by Eithne Shortall
Nobody has a blueprint for grief. However, Eithne Shortall writes a clever mixture of sadness and humour perfectly summarising how many of us are just stumbling through.
March – Together by Julie Cohen
The backwards re-telling throughout the book was refreshingly different from anything I have read before. The story unravels from the present day, 2016, all the way back to the 1960s when Emily and Robbie’s story begins. I love that there was so much to uncover, from the first pages to the very last.
April – The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan – signed bookplate copies available!
There are some great twists, larger than life characters and genuine emotion captured in easy chapters. The cover is quite deceptive. It gives the impression of a romantic beach read but when you start to read the book you’ll realise that it’s a solo journey for the most part, of Juno finding herself following the revelation of shocking secrets.
May – My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay
The plot is very intricate and carefully planned out as the storyline tells us what’s happening through three narratives. Lizze, Emma & Stella. It’s easy to become confused but very quickly things start to make sense. The two timelines and the three perspectives unravel with twists, turns and things that you couldn’t predict happening.
June – The Second Child by Caroline Bond
Caroline’s portrayal of disability and her understanding of communication, quirks and personality was absolutely brilliant. She handles difficult often neglected topics with ease and care. Everything about life in general is included within this book – the arguing, the grime, the challenges… nothing is avoided.
July – The Forever Home by Sue Watson
Read in a day and absolutely gripping! This pretty much sums up Sue Watson’s books. Each and everyone is a gripping thriller that will have you hooked from start to finish. Sue creates characters that are realistic and human.
August – Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell – signed copies available!
This book is the perfect blend of light, fluffy, heart-warming moments coupled with devastating ones that come out of nowhere. Jill knows just how to give a light touch of drama and intrigue to a book – as well as the funny, uplifting moments.
September – The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney – signed copy available!
Ground-breaking technology forms the basis of this story but it’s very quickly driven into a different narrative with domestic drama and chilling undertones. Throughout, there is an element of something very sinister going on – and it’s very unpredictable too.
October – Ragdoll by Daniel Cole – signed copies available!
The best bit? That there are two more publications in this Trilogy to read afterwards too! The tagline of One Body… Six Victims… was enough in itself to lure me in to find out exactly how that was possible and what was going on in this book.
November – Christmas for Beginners by Carole Matthews
A strong contemporary read exploring lots of topical issues in an extremely well written way. Not particularly festive in delivery but definitely a storyline to have you thinking and discussing as part of book club!
December – Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft
The characters had flaws – which is something to celebrate! Flawed characters! Thank you Sue! It’s great to have a realistic set of characters in a book, and imperfect Christmas traditions that make it all the more better.
January – Love Will Tear us Apart by Holly Seddon – signed copies available!
This book prompted a plethora of emotions for me, there was nostalgia from the start with the throwbacks to Paul and Kate’s childhoods. I loved the references to the past and this really prompted some memories and emotions.
February – Fall by West Camel – signed copies available!
This is a book with so many meanings, not least that title… Fall. Yet the book itself moves along without hurry. It’s a gentle read. The pace was beautiful. My reading, however, was not. I stole chapters whenever I could because I couldn’t tear myself away.
March – The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson– signed copies available!
The most beautiful literary characters are within the pages of this book. I felt the emotionally raw situation of both Bethan and Lockie’s situations – the authenticity of their characters and the characteristics that make them both very unique.
April – Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox – signed copies available!
This was my first EVER science fiction read and what an entry into a fantastic genre! I loved the blurb and the cover when I saw this in a bookshop and it turned into my Valentine’s Day present. It’s a beautiful story brought to life by a fantastic author – and it was only his first book as well!
May – Mimic by Daniel Cole
Mimic is a balance of theatrics, making this a very cinematic read, with humour and underlying tension. It was great to revisit a lesser known character from the Ragdoll series too, but this was very much a standalone that doesn’t require you needing to have read other books by Daniel.
June – The Stranding by Kate Sawyer – signed copies available!
This is such an original, beautiful story and it captivated my heart from the very first pages. It’s hard to describe exactly how this book made me felt but it was almost… reassured. It’s a dystopian debut novel and explores the depths of loss, love and life against what can only be described as a bleak and desolate post-apocalyptic world.
July – Return to Blackwater House by Vikki Patis
This book had such a complex storyline that I was gripped from start to finish, wondering what the next twist or reveal would be! This book was really hard to tear myself away from, it’s a storyline that you can easily become immersed. Characters, setting and storyline are all really compelling.
August – Nothing Else by Louise Beech – signed copies available!
This is such a beautiful book – incredibly tender, it’s like an extended piece of the most beautiful classical music you ever heard, played on the piano. Throughout I was torn between wanting to read on and wanting to sit down at my piano and play beautiful sounds.
September – The Resort by Sue Watson
Sue Watson is the Queen of atmospheric reads. I’ve said it before and firmly stand by it again. This book was compelling, not least because of the irritating characters (characters you love to hate really make a book!), but also because of the setting.
October – It Was Always You by Emma Cooper – signed copies available!
Emma creates characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Meet Ella, Will and Cole. The three main characters within this book that you can’t help but like, flaws and all. Emma Cooper has an incredible talent for weaving ordinary characters into storylines that will grip you from start to finish.
November – The Lighthouse Bookshop by Sharon Gosling
My goodness someone needs to hand me the keys to the Lighthouse Bookshop pronto! The cover and the title completely drew me in, and that added with lots of social media buzz around this book made me decide that it needed to be a book club title this year. I was not disappointed.
December – A White Christmas on Winter St. by Sue Moorcroft – signed copies available!
Sue Moorcroft always writes with that perfect balance of just enough romance, a sprinkling of Christmas, and a whole host of reality. She writes about topical issues with ease, and her books span several genres to deliver a story that is just right for the season.
January – The Perfect Neighborhood by Liz Alterman – signed copies available!
This book had so many loveable aspects – unusual for a domestic thriller! The twists, turns and secrets were brilliant but what really made the book was the characterisation. Characters you suspect, love and hate, all rolled into one. Was it them? No it couldn’t have been. But was it? Surely not.
February – Reputation by Sarah Vaughan – signed copies available!
Sarah Vaughan is the Author of Anatomy of a Scandal, a popular Netflix series, and the Author notes for Reputation highlight how the courtroom scenes were penned whilst she gave notes on the series in development. This book has benefit enormously from both that, the insights that Sarah was given (some which she can’t disclose) and her incredible talent for writing a breathless, twisty novel.
March – All My Love by Miranda Dickinson
This is a gentle romance, a nod to traditional love letters and the beauty of the written word, and woven within the pages is the complexity of family relationships, romantic relationships, and the importance of just loving and understanding yourself too.
April – I’ll Never Tell by Philippa East
This is everything you want in a thriller – it’s gripping, the characters are flawed and full of suspense, there are secrets, lies, plenty of things to uncover. One of the best things is that I couldn’t guess, but was constantly guessing. The ending really came out of nowhere but as the twists and lies unravelled it all started to make sense.
May – Afterwards by Charlotte Leonard
The prose throughout this novel, is absolutely stunning. It’s a story about loss, but also so much more. And Charlotte tells the story through wit, sarcasm, humour and emotion. There are hilarious bits, and then there are the short sharp chapters that can absolutely floor you.
June – So Pretty by Ronnie Turner – signed copies available!
The best bit? Like with most gothic novels, the idea is to address the badness, the dark side of human nature. Ronnie Turner does this without seemingly batting an eyelid. She’s no afraid to point out the very darkest depths that people go to, and there’s absolutely no sugar-coating in any of the gritty chapters in this book.
July – An Italian Island Summer by Sue Moorcroft – signed copies available!
Sue puts her characters in difficult settings, and the slow burn to romance and success is what makes her books warm, captivating and feel good. We’ve all been knocked down, we can all relate to one or more of the characters situations at some stages in our lives, and we love to see them rise and get back up again.
August – The Sunrise Sisterhood by Cathy Bramley – signed copies available!
Cathy Bramley is the Queen of writing about complicated families and friendships, beautiful settings to repair and mend, and characters that make you feel like you’ve known them forever. The Sunrise Sisterhood is her 2023 publication and delivers to us exactly what we wanted to read in Summer.
September – Tiny Pieces of Enid by Tim Ewins
As a book club choice this was a brave one but a firm decision. Books about Alzheimers, about aging, about trauma, abuse, about the love stories that are woven around getting older and changing, are hard to read. But Tim Ewins does the almost impossible. He gently takes us through the chapters of Enid and Olivia’s stories with love, honesty and humour. It could almost have been written in the first person, from personal experience.
October – The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish
What a ROLLERCOASTER! There were moments, whilst I was reading this book, where I had to quickly re-read something because I thought I’d misunderstood. But no, it really WAS that twisted. Louise Candlish is the absolute queen of the hook – not only does she metaphorically stick the knife in, so you can’t put the book down until you’ve finished, but she twists it. Again, and again, and again.
November – Witch You Weren’t Here by Emma Jackson
Witches, Road Trips and Romance. What more could you need? It’s a book full of beautiful magical moments, frustrations and the odd steamy chapter or two.
December – A Winter in New York by Josie Silver
Josie Silver’s storylines always feel realistic, down-to-earth and completely possible. Her characters are true to life and unpredictable. The romance was natural and the descriptions absolutely perfect. There was a whole host of loveable characters and a real sense of family.