A Constellation of Books

A Constellation of Books

It’s been a busy January so far, what with a traditional post-Christmas cold to go along with marking deadlines, PhD deadlines and the start of the Spring teaching term. I did, however, manage to fit in some much-needed reading time. And realised that a certain theme was emerging…

First up is this beauty, which will be published on March 5th. A YA novel set in Wythenshawe in Manchester, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly tells the story of Al and Nate and Megan, and what happens when Al kills himself after a campaign of vicious bullying at his school. That’s not a spoiler, by the way. This isn’t about the moment of Al’s death, but about his life, and his relationships. It’s about what happens when something makes a life go so badly wrong that there seems to be no way out. I went through a period of being bullied at school, and I can only imagine how much worse that would have been with social media. And The Stars paints a dark vision of life today as faced by a young person. At times there’s a touch of Lord of the Flies about it. But there’s hope as well, and love. A difficult read, but who said books should be easy?




When Stars Will Shine is a short story anthology based around the theme of Christmas. With contributions from authors who write across a range of genres, you’ll find crime and romance and some very strange events along the way. And, as a book which has been created to raise money for the charity Help For Heroes, there are, of course, one or two war stories. Available in digital and paperback formats, and included in Kindle Unlimited, this is a book that’s definitely not just for Christmas. All money made from sales will go to the charity.




Last but not least, Call Me Star Girl, Louise Beech’s dark psychological thriller. It’s Stella McKeevor’s last late night radio show, and she wants to sign off with a bang. So she asks her listeners to call in with secrets – if you tell her yours, she’ll share some of hers. The claustrophobic setting of a woman alone in a studio in the dead of night makes for a super-creepy atmosphere, and the secrets that pile up are all from Stella’s past. Just don’t read if you have any dark alleys to pass on your way home…


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