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Welcome to the Aura Book Corner! Each month a different book will be included as a recommendation from Aura Libraries.

To access our 24 hour online library catalogue, click here.

Aura Libraries’ October 2021 book of the month is: The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

Edinburgh,1888: a violinist is found brutally murdered in his home. Amongst the widespread Jack the Ripper panic, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate the brutal crime, masking his presence under the cover of a fake department which specialises in all things supernatural. Frey, along with Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray, finds black magic symbols at the scene of the crime, and the violinist’s maid is certain that she heard more than one musician playing alongside her master before the murder took place. Yet the room was locked, with no way in or out, making the mystery of his death even more puzzling.
A fantastic blend of horror and history, The Strings of Murder is a top pick for fans of Sherlock Holmes and a Halloween must read for lovers of crime fiction.

Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ September 2021 book of the month is: This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

The sun rises to signal a brand new day on the beautiful island of Popisho, and residents of the island busily go about their business. Each person on Popisho has a special little gift that is entirely theirs – something that sets them apart from others: a dose of magic. A wedding feast must be prepared, a wandering soul longs for the freedom to move on, and two star-crossed lovers are drawn back to each other: all within this one sky day.
Beautifully crafted from the first word until the last: This One Sky Day is a glorious adventure and a must read for summer 2021!
Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ August 2021 book of the month is: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Grappling with the grief of losing her husband, group therapist Mariana Andros is thrown into yet another tragedy when she receives a troubled call from her niece Zoe. A young woman, one of Zoe’s closest friends at Cambridge University, has been killed.
Mariana can’t help but question the involvement of their alluring and sickly charismatic professor, Edward Fosca, who appears, to Mariana’s frustration, to be untouchable. He is adored by staff and students alike, especially by his inner circle of female students who have created a secret society known as The Maidens. Mariana is determined to stop the killer, no matter the cost.
A sensational page turner with a twist that no one could see coming, The Maidens is a gripping read, perfect for fans of crime fiction and murder mysteries.
Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ July 2021 book of the month is: Madam by Phoebe Wynne

Caldonbrae Hall, a 150 year boarding school for girls, sits upon a rocky cliff top: an example to all of excellence and tradition. Rose Christie can’t believe her luck when she is employed to be the school’s new Classics teacher and head of department, not to mention the first hire for the school in over a decade. Her morals and beliefs are quickly challenged as she familiarises herself with the school’s traditional culture, finding solace in the stories of Greek and Roman heroines that she passes on to her students.
Before long, Rose becomes anxious to discover the truth behind the sudden dismissal of her predecessor who haunts her at every corner. As Rose strives to uncover the truth, she must examine her own role and the impact that her teaching and influence could have on her pupils, encouraging them to take control for themselves.
A modern yet hauntingly gothic tale, with a plethora of heroines to root for: Madam is an engrossing page turner, full of fright.
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ June 2021 book of the month is: This Lovely City by Louisa Hare

In 1950, Jazz musician Lawrie comes to London on the Empire Windrush from Jamaica where he meets Evie, a young mixed race woman born and brought up by her single white mother in London. Working as a postman by day and jazz musician by night, Lawrie tries desperately to make London home, yet the picture portrayed in the newspapers of a warm welcome to all newcomers couldn’t be further from his daily reality. One morning, Lawrie makes a heart breaking discovery. In a society fuelled by discrimination, Lawrie finds himself at the centre of a crime investigation.
Poignant and utterly compelling, this novel is a must read for any lovers of historical fiction.
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ May 2021 book of the month is: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara, an Artificial Friend, waits patiently in the store happily observing the world move around outside, anticipating the day that she will be chosen. Her extraordinary observational qualities allow her to see what other AF’s perhaps may not. Whilst positioned in the window, she notices the incredible ability of the sun to impact upon people’s lives and being solar powered herself, admires the Sun above all, and the nourishment his rays bring.
Through Klara’s eyes and outlook towards the people and world around her, we find ourselves questioning the true meaning of friendship and love. Klara and the Sun is a beautiful and touching novel: a ray of sunshine during these difficult times.
Aura Book Score 5/5

Aura Libraries’ April 2021 book of the month is: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Edward Adler, along with his parents and beloved older brother Jordan, were about to begin a new chapter of their lives in a new city. On board with 183 other passengers headed from Newark to Los Angeles, tragedy strikes when the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor, branded by the nation as the boy who lived. Struggling to find his way without his family, and with an unbearable burden of loss and trauma, Edward finds comfort in the friendship of his new next door neighbour, Shay.
One day, Edward and Shay discover some letters addressed to Edward from the family members of passengers who were on the plane with him. With each letter opened, Edward begins to piece together some of life’s most difficult and profound questions, and in particular, questions about learning to live again after loss.
This is a story of love and friendship that grows out of loss and trauma. Dear Edward is beautifully written and surprisingly uplifting – although we recommend having a box of tissues close at hand!
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ March 2021 book of the month is: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Amongst the rise in allegations against powerful men, Vanessa is not entirely shocked when she sees articles and social media posts which include the name of her high school English teacher Jacob Strane. Moving between her past and present, Vanessa examines and looks back at her 15 year old self confronting the possibility that the relationship with her 42 year old teacher may not have been the all-consuming love story she had read about in books: books he had handpicked for her to read. She is now faced with a choice: keep a secret, or reveal and confront the true events of her past.
A whirlwind of a novel shifting between past and present events, examining the complexities of trauma whilst raising crucial questions about consent and complicity. My Dark Vanessa has a haunting intensity that will stay with the reader longer after they reach the final page.
Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ February 2021 book of the month is: Live a Little by Howard Jacobson

Ninety-something year old Beryl Dusinbery is having some issues with her memories – not to mention some trouble remembering her own children and who their fathers are or were. Her two carers, Nastya and Euphoria, bear the brunt of her quick wit and honesty, listening to her stories of husbands and love affairs past.
Shimi Carmelli on the other hand, North London’s most eligible bachelor, remembers everything, even his own birth and in particular, a childhood shame that looms over his life, even now in his eighties.
The two are brought together and discover that it is never too late to heal old wounds and enjoy life to the full right until the very end.
Splattered with moments of joy and humour, Live a Little is a touching story of regret, love, and the way we look back on paths taken and untaken.

Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ January 2021 book of the month is: Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley

Friends Christine, Alexandr, Lydia and Zachary have known each other for years. Christine is married to Alex, and Lydia is married to Zach. On one ordinary summer’s evening whilst Alex and Christine are at home in London, they receive a phone call from Lydia to inform them of the sudden death of Zach. Struggling to apprehend the loss of their dear friend, Alex and Christine invite Lydia to move in with them, in the hope that they can support each other through their grief. Yet instead of the loss bringing them closer together, Christine, Lydia and Alex find themselves looking more towards the past than the future.

A brilliant novel about the changing dynamic of relationships and friendships. Beautifully written: Late in the Day is a remarkable insight into the complexity of human emotion.
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ December 2020 book of the month is: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Hugh ‘Shuggie’ Bain, a caring and lonely little boy, has to grow up quicker than most children. Set in Glasgow in the 1980s, Shuggie spends his childhood trying desperately to care for his Mum who he loves more than anyone else in the world, as she battles against abuse and addiction. Teased and bullied mercilessly in school for being different from the other boys, Shuggie wishes to be ‘normal’. As Shuggie’s siblings strive for a fresh start away from home, Shuggie finds himself even more isolated, trying even harder to support his mother: the one person who loves him for who he is, unapologetically.
Booker Prize winning Shuggie Bain is both harrowing and uplifting: a truly unforgettable story of love, addition and belonging. An absolute must read!

Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ November 2020 book of the month is: Nutshell by Ian McEwan!

Trudy has hatched an evil plan: she intends to murder her husband John with the help of his brother, Claude. In a London townhouse, Trudy and Claude cunningly come up with a murderous plan so that they can finally be together. The story is told from the perspective of an inquisitive and peculiar little resident who happens to reside in Trudy’s womb. Unbeknown to Trudy and Claude, the unusual narrator of this story overhears everything, and desperately wishes to stop the murder of his Father. Questioning the world and the morality of the people in it, the narrator isn’t quite sure if he wants to be born or not.
Nutshell is a devilish story of deceit and betrayal – one we know only too well that has been retold and re-imagined for hundreds of years. With all the wit and flare you’d expect from Ian McEwan, this little book keeps you hooked right up until the very last page.

Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ October 2020 book of the month is: Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell!

Warickshire in 1596. Judith, daughter of Agnes, sister to Susanna, and twin to Hamnet, lies ill in bed with a terrible fever. Her father is far away in London making a name for himself as a playwright. Grief and destruction is swiftly on its way to fracture the family, already pained by separation. A few years later, a play will be written: Hamlet.
Winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet is a stunning depiction of the timelessness of loss and grief and most certainly deserves the attention and admiration that it has so far received this year. The perfect autumnal fireside read: it’s full marks from Aura Libraries!
Aura book score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ September 2020 book of the month is: The Listeners by Anthony J. Quinn!

Detective Carla Herron is tasked with interviewing a patient at Deepwell psychiatric hospital who has confessed to the brutal murder of one of the hospital’s most acclaimed psychotherapists. But how could he have committed the crime when he was under 24-hour surveillance? Eager to prove herself, Carla is determined to solve what looks like an impossible crime. She is soon consumed with the case and trapped between the mysteries of Deepwell hospital and the bleak and misty forests of the alleged crime scene. Fighting against her superiors, and against the staff at Deepwell who are unwilling to divulge any information, Carla is relentless in her search for the truth.

Deeply suspenseful, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Listeners is certainly a chilling page turner for any lover of crime fiction!
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ August 2020 book of the month is: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite!

Sisters Korede and Ayoola could not be more different. Shy and serious Korede is not at all shocked to receive a panicked phone call from Ayoola who has just killed another man in an apparent act of self-defence, raising the death count to 3 murdered boyfriends. Korede helps Aooyla, once again, to not only clean the crime scene, but eliminate any suspicion pointing in her sister’s direction. Korede’s loyalty is tested when Ayoola visits her at the hospital where she works, and begins to date the doctor that Korede has admired for a long time. Forced to face the music, Korede must decide where her heart truly lies.
Darkly comical and wonderfully smart, My Sister, the Serial Killer is a crime story like no other. Aura Libraries recommend this book to any lovers of crime and thriller fiction!
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ July 2020 book of the month is: The Foundling by Stacey Halls!

This title is available to borrow via Borrowbox, click here to start browsing!

After leaving her newborn daughter Clara at the Foundling Hospital in London, Bess Bright makes a promise to herself that they will one day be reunited. 6 years later in 1754, Bess anxiously returns to the Foundling ready to start a new life with the daughter that she has spent every day missing, only to discover that Clara has already been claimed by someone – someone claiming to be the child’s birth mother. Desperate for answers, Bess must begin her search to find her stolen child.
This compelling tale of separation and hope is perfect for historical fiction fans, as well as lovers of fast paced thrillers and mysteries. An epic journey from the very first page: The Foundling is a whirlwind of emotion and an extremely gripping read.
Aura Book Score: 5/5

Aura Libraries’ June 2020 book of the month is: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This title is available in e-book and e-audiobook format via Borrowbox! Click here to access Borrowbox titles.

On a beautiful moonlit night, the Hardcastle family host a spectacular party that ends in tragedy as Evelyn Hardcastle is killed – but not just once. Aiden, a guest attending the party, finds himself trapped and confronted with secrets and betrayals at every turn. Only by reliving the day’s events over and over, and in different bodies, can Aiden complete the task he has been given: solving the mystery of Evelyn’s death. He is quick to learn that solving the mystery is no easy task, and certainly not pain free.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a bewildering and unsettling read: a fabulous adventure for any book lover of murder mysteries!
Aura Book Score 4/5

Aura’s May 2020 Books of the Month are: Hi Yw fy Ffrind by Bethan Gwanas and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Both of these titles were picked for discussion for the Welsh Libraries’ Online Book Club; they are both available in eBook and audiobook format via BorrowBox. Click here to find out more about joining the Online Book Club, and BorrowBox!

Hi Yw fy Ffrind by Bethan Gwanas

Non and Nia are the best of friends, and have been forever. Growing up in Merionethshire in the 1960s, they at times seem complete opposites – Nia loves the Bay City Rollers whilst Non loves Led Zeppelin – yet they move through life as “blood sisters” and share everything together because, after all, best friends keep each other’s secrets and tell each other everything.

Hi Yw Fy Ffrind is a charming and lively portrayal of childhood innocence, political frictions, and friendships born out of a mutual understanding of place and community. Non and Nia’s story will make you laugh out loud, and marvel at the universality of growing up: a truly heart-warming read to be enjoyed by all lovers of fiction.
Aura Book Score 5/5

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Set in Edinburgh in 1847 in amidst a time of ruthless medical experimentation, Will Raven – an aspiring medic working as an apprentice to the renowned Doctor Simpson – and Sarah Fisher – Doctor Simpson’s housemaid who desperately desires to learn more about chemistry and medicine – find themselves searching for answers when young women across the city are discovered dead: the cause of death unknown, yet horribly gruesome.
A wonderful blend of history and crime, as well as a commentary on inequality and injustice; The Way of All Flesh is atmospheric and full of twists and turns. This is certainly not a book (or audiobook!) for the faint-hearted!
Aura Book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ April 2020 book of the month is: Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson.

This novel is available as an audiobook; click here to view titles by Peter Swanson, and many others via RBDigital! Remember: Aura Library members can access hundreds of titles available through BorrowBox, RBDigtal and Pressreader; registration is required using your library membership card. 

FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey has a hunch: a string of unresolved murders all point in the direction of a mystery bookshop named Old Devils. When Mulvey follows her instinct and approaches the bookshop, she is met by Malcolm Kershaw, who uploaded a blog post to the shop’s website entitled: ‘My Eight Favourite Murders’. Each unresolved death bears an uncanny resemblance to the crimes portrayed in each of the mystery novels chosen by Malcolm, including famous titles such as Agatha Christie’s ‘The ABC Murders’. The killer is on a quest to complete eight perfect murders, but will they succeed, and is a perfect murder – no matter how planned out – ever really possible?

A homage to the crime fiction genre in more ways than you’d expect; it is the perfect read for any lover of classic crime novels. Layered with suspense and brilliantly clever, Rules for Perfect Murders will grip you from start to finish.

Aura book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries’ March 2020 book of the month is: Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen.

Louis and Louise are born on the same day – they are the same person. They have the same parents, same best friends, same everything, except the body in which they were born into. On the evening of their high school graduation, Louis and Louise both suffer a catastrophic trauma which will haunt them forever and force them to flee the town they grew up in, leaving behind everything. Returning after 13 years will not be easy – they must face the past in the hope of creating a brighter future.

Alternating between the narrative voices of Louis and Louise, this novel captures the pressures and prejudices of a small town, whilst emphasising the importance of belonging. A poignant story emotively written: Aura Libraries would definitely recommend curling up with this book and a panad!

Aura book Score: 4/5

Aura Libraries recommend The Dutch House by Ann Patchett as their February 2020 Book of the Month!

Purchasing the Dutch House – an architectural masterpiece in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia – was supposed to be a loving gesture from husband to wife. Cyril Conroy cannot believe his luck when he propels his family from rags to riches, moving them into the extravagantly lavish Dutch House. Yet, despite its beauty, the house sets the Conroys on a downward spiral, leaving Danny and Maeve – the Conroy children – penniless and exiled from their home.

Spanning over five decades, we are led by the narrative voice of Danny who is only truly at home when he is with his sister, Maeve. The two Conroy siblings are not so dissimilar from Hansel and Gretel, leaving invisible breadcrumbs that always, somehow, lead back to the Dutch House.

A contemporary fairy tale castle with a dark twist: The Dutch House is a vibrant novel about human nature, loss and the unbreakable bond of family: the perfect novel for book lovers of family sagas!

Aura Book Score: 5/5

Happy New Year from Aura Libraries!

Aura Libraries recommend Lock Every Door by Riley Sager as our January 2020 Book of the Month!

Desperate for a change of scenery and something to take her mind off her broken heart and non-existent bank balance, Jules Larson jumps at the chance to take up a paid residency at one of New York’s most prestigious apartment buildings: the Bartholomew.

It is only with the disappearance of Ingrid – a fellow apartment sitter – that Jules begins to question what truly lies behind the doors of the Bartholomew. Horrified, she discovers that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing. She must conjure up all the strength she has if she wishes to escape a similar fate and make sure her temporary residency does not become a permanent one.

A captivating story from start to finish: Lock Every Door is beautifully Gothic and full of suspense. It is definitely a thriller worth reading!  

Aura Book Score: 4/5

Merry Christmas from Aura Libraries!

The recommendation for December 2019 is: Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days

In this joyous collection of Christmas stories, musings, and recipes, Jeanette Winterson brings to life – quite literally – the spirit of Christmas. She accompanies each story with a festive recipe, complete with personal reflections, giving her readers an intimate insight into her own Christmas traditions. Whether devoured in one sitting or spread across the 12 days of Christmas, this collection is enjoyable in any capacity.  Littered with charming illustrations, Christmas Days is physically lovely to look at too – though you should never judge a book by its cover, of course!

Imaginative, witty and full of Christmas spirit: Jeanette Winterson’s collection of enchanting Christmas stories and festive feasts is a delightful read for this time of year.

Aura Book Score: 5/5

Take a look at our Top Christmas Reads, here!

The recommendation for November 2019 is: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

This long awaited sequel to the world famous The Handmaid’s Tale, and winner of the Booker Prize 2019, has been top of Aura Libraries’ adult fiction best seller list all the way through October, and is the perfect choice for this month’s recommendation.

After a 35 year wait, Atwood takes us back – or forward – to Gilead: a future nation which replaces the United States in this chilling dystopian novel. Set more than 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments brings together the testimonies of three women and their experiences with Gilead, intertwining to showcase their individual bravery and resilience. The opening voice in the novel occupies a pivotal role in the regime, whilst the two other voices provide an insight into life growing up in or within the shadow of Gilead. The result when the three voices are brought together has detrimental possibilities – if they are courageous enough to take a leap of faith.

Full of twists, turns and surprises, Atwood once again portrays the power of the written word when speaking out against injustice. Armed with hope and a determination for freedom, The Testaments is a powerful sequel: worth the 35 year wait.

Aura Book Score: 5/5

The recommendation for October 2019 is Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.

Arthur Kipps, the main character, begins his story by describing a happy family scene: his wife and stepchildren sitting around the fire at Christmas time. When the children begin to tell ghost stories, Arthur is overcome by memories of a painful past, forcing him to revisit hidden traumas that had long been suppressed. Thus begins the retelling of his own ghost story. At the centre is the title figure – the woman in black – who leaves her dark and haunting mark on Arthur’s life forever.

Full of suspense and beautifully written descriptions of the people and places involved in Arthur’s story, The Woman in Black is a fiercely emotive novel that stays with the reader long after the book is put down. Aura Libraries would recommend this novel as a must read for Halloween 2019: it is the perfect choice for an autumn night in spent next to the fire.

Aura Book Score: 5/5

Take a look at our book recommendations for Halloween 2019, here!