Our top reads to bulk up your summer reading list before the end of August!

With the last few days of summer starting to come to a close, we're slightly panicking at how little reading we got done this year. Usually this is the time of year that we like to chill with the latest bestseller paperback in a deckchair in the back garden, but this summer we just didn't seem to get to do as much of that as we thought we would.

It's probably because the world is reopening again, and after a long, hard winter and spring locked down, we wanted to make the most of nights out, travel and friends while the weather was good and things were open.

But right now, we're pretty ired after a summer of shenanigans. We're craving a chilled few days, stretched out and lost ina really good book. And we have just the recommendations for you to totally lose yourself between the pages of a great book!

Make Up Break Up’ by Lily Menon (Hodder & Stoughton)

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. But now, Hudson’s moving into the office right next to hers.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again, Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson’s fast-paced, utterly shallow world…could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

‘The Lost Storyteller’ by Amanda Block (Hodder & Stoughton)

Rebecca can hardly remember her father Leo Sampson. All she knows is that he disappeared when she was just six years old.

When Ellis, a journalist, turns up at Rebecca's office asking for information about Leo, she begins to wonder if there is more to the story of her father's disappearance than her family have led her to believe.

The, Rebecca is given a book of seven fairy tales, written by Leo, dedicated to his daughter. Rebecca has the chance to get one step closer to the lost storyteller, her father, to discover who he was and what he went through - and even where he might be now . . .

‘Painting Time’ by Maylis de Kerangal (Quercus)

Burgeoning young artist Paula Karst is enrolled at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels. Paula strives to understand the specifics of what she's painting--replicating a wood's essence or a marble's wear requires method, technique, and talent. She resolutely chooses the painstaking demands of craft over the abstraction of high art.

Paula continues to practice her art in Paris, in Moscow, then in Italy on the sets of great films, all as if rehearsing for a grand finale: at a job working on Lascaux IV, a facsimile reproduction of the world's most famous paleolithic cave art and the apotheosis of human cultural expression.

An enchanted, atmospheric, and highly aesthetic coming-of-age novel, Painting Time is an intimate and unsparing exploration of craft, inspiration, and the contours of the contemporary art world...

‘Widowland’ by C. J. Carey (Quercus)

London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalized. George VI and his family have been murdered and Edward VIII rules as King. Britain is the perfect petri dish for the ideal society, and the role and status of women is in the occupiers’ particular interest. Women are divided into a number of castes according to age, heritage, reproductive status and physical characteristics. Rose belongs to the elite caste of Gelis. She works at the Ministry of Culture rewriting literature to correct the views of the past.

But outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country. Graffiti has been daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from famous works, subversive lines from the voices of women. And suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run down slums inhabited by childless women over fifty, the lowest…

‘The Rose Code’ by Kate Quinn (Harper Collins)

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women – socialite Osla, determined Mab and shy Beth - answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter--the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum.

A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger--and their true enemy--closer...

‘Madam’ by Phoebe Wynne (Quercus)

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s first hire for the school in over a decade. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs.

Rose begins to uncover the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it…

‘Still Life’ by Sarah Winman (HarperCollins)

It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan Hills, to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a sweeping, mischievous, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.