The Bazaar of Bad Dreams – Stephen King

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams - Stephen KingThe Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Stephen King

A generous collection of thrilling stories – some brand new, some published in magazines, all entirely brilliant and assembled in one book for the first time – with a wonderful bonus: in addition to his introduction to the whole collection, King gives readers a fascinating introduction to each story with autobiographical comments on their origins and motivation…

The No. 1 bestselling writer has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of novellas and short story fiction since his first collection Night Shift was published. He describes the nature of the form in his introduction to the book: ‘There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like…a beautiful curio for sale laid out on a cheap blanket at a street bazaar.’

In The Bazaar of Bad Dreams there is a curio for every reader – a man who keeps reliving the same life, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, a columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries, a poignant tale about the end of the human race and a firework competition between neighbours which reaches an explosive climax. There are also intriguing connections between the stories; themes of morality, guilt, the afterlife and what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past.

Effervescent yet poignant, juxtaposing the everyday against the unexpected, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader as well as to those fascinated by the autobiographical insights in his celebrated non-fiction title On Writing.

‘I made them especially for you’, says King. ‘Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.’

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Seeing Other People – Mike Gayle

Seeing Other People - Mike GayleSeeing Other People
Mike Gayle

From My Legendary Girlfriend to Turning Forty, Mike Gayle’s bestselling novels have taken his millions of readers through many key times for the modern man – friendship, courtship, stag weekends, marriage, work, holidays, significant birthdays – but Seeing Other People is perhaps his most heart-warming, heart-stopping, heartbreaking novel yet.

Joe Clarke is about 78% sure he’s just had an affair. Well, that is the beautiful office intern in bed next to him…

But, if Joe really has just cheated, why can’t he remember anything about it?

Confused but mortified Joe vows to be a better husband and father. Until his wife Penny puts two and two together and leaves him.

Devastated, Joe will do anything to win his family back. But when he realises that the key to saving his marriage lies in the hands of the mean-spirited ghost of his least favourite ex-girlfriend, Joe knows he’s in real trouble.

Seeing Other People is a hilarious and bittersweet novel about love, parenthood and fidelity and how easy it is to get lost on the way to your own happy ending.

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Behind Closed Doors – B A Paris

Behind Closed Doors - B A ParisBehind Closed Doors
B A Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

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Pretty Is – Maggie Mitchell

Pretty Is - Maggie MitchellPretty Is
Maggie Mitchell

Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted, driven across the country, and imprisoned in a remote, isolated hunting lodge for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken…

Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves. Lois, a professor of literature, is shaken when an obsessive student reminds her of the man who kidnapped her, a man she saw shoot himself on the porch twenty years before.

Out in LA, Carly-May is drinking too much and watching her beauty-queen looks fade, clinging to the last remnants of a once-promising career as an actress. When she reads a shockingly familiar screenplay, she warily she takes a role she knows is based on events from her own life.

Increasingly haunted by the devastating experience that shaped both their lives, Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again in a world that both echoes and falsifies their beautiful, terrible story.

An enthralling portrait of two haunted young women, this remarkable debut novel explores the very nature of survival.

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Books of the Year 2015

Books of the Year 2015

You may have noticed that it’s been a fairly quiet year here at Judging Covers. I had a baby in February, and so 2015 has passed by in a blur of nappies and sleepless nights – leaving very little time for reading, reviewing or blog maintenance. Those tiny humans take up so much time, don’t they?

I admit that I have wondered whether to just let this blog go; it would be one less thing to think about. But I love Judging Covers and I know a lot of you do too. So I’ve had a chat to the reviewing team, and we aim to come back better than ever in 2016. Watch this space for lots of fantastic new book reviews! Thank you so much for sticking with us. The fact you continue to visit even when there have been no new reviews proves that this site works as the resource it was always intended to be – your first stop when deciding what to read next.

With that said, we’d love to expand our team and take on some new reviewers. If you’re a bookworm and want to see your reviews published here at Judging Covers, we can’t wait to hear from you! Just send an email to mail@judgingcovers.co.uk telling us a little bit about yourself and the books you’d like to read, along with an example of your writing – this can just be a link to your blog if you have one.

So, it’s New Year’s Eve and it’s time for our Books of the Year round-up…

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His Other Life – Beth Thomas

His Other Life - Beth ThomasHis Other Life
Beth Thomas

The story of a couple with seemingly perfect lives… and the secrets they hide behind closed doors.

He was hiding a terrible secret…

Grace’s new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming – almost too good to be true…

So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace’s life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions.

As she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies – and starts to learn that Adam wasn’t so perfect after all.

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be…

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The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers - Louise CandlishThe Sudden Departure of the Frasers
Louise Candlish

My name is Amber Fraser. I’ve just moved in at Number 40, Lime Park Road. You’ll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.

This is a lie.

When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to Number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers, had renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.

As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house’s previous occupants – and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart…

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The Day We Disappeared – Lucy Robinson

The Day We Disappeared - Lucy RobinsonThe Day We Disappeared
Lucy Robinson

Annie has a secret. But if she’s not going to tell, we won’t either. It’s a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn’t have – yet Annie isn’t broken, not quite yet. Especially now there’s someone out there who seems determined to fix her.

Kate has run away. But she’s not going to tell us why – that would defeat the point of running, wouldn’t it? It’s proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.

Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren’t entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .

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