We love reading... staff picks for August

The forgotten girls by Sara Blaedel ; translated by Signe Rød Golly
This is a disturbing, disturbing novel. Louise Rick starts her new job as the head of the Missing Persons Unit in Hvalso, her home town in Denmark. Her first case is to identify a middle aged woman found dead in the forest. She thinks this will be easy because of the shocking scar down one side of the woman's face. But Louise has no success until she releases a photo of the woman to the media and a former employee of state mental institution rings to say that she cared for Lismette many years ago.

Although nobody wants to talk and people keep putting obstacles in her way, Louise eventually discovers that Lismette is actually called Lise, and that she has a twin sister, Mette. They were taken into care after doctors convinced their father that he was incapable of looking after them. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was branded a ''forgotten girl.The doctor at the mental institution, long since dead, had signed death certificates when the girls were 17, reporting the cause of death as pneumonia. How is it then, that 30 years later Lise's barely cold body is found in the forest?  Where has she been all this time?  And where is Mette, who appears to still be alive?  And how will Louise explain all of this to the twins' traumatised father?

At the same time Louise is trying to solve this mystery, bodies of local women keep turning up and a suspicious white van is seen in the vicinity of the forest around the time of the attacks. Translated from the Danish, this is the first Scandinavian crime novel that really disturbed me. As the author races you towards the conclusion, Louise finds more secrets buried in the forest and the horrifying conclusion left me stunned.
~Deb H

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Love game of thrones?you will love this great fantasy story with the flawed and ever main character of Yarvi and his powerful and cruel family.Yarvi as the younger son  has studied to become a minister but when his father and older brother are murdered he must become the new king and  swears an oath to revenge them. When he is betrayed and becones a slave his clever mind must save hinself and his new band of misfits who help him fulfill his oath. A rollercoaster of a ride that will keep you reading.

Dietland by Sarai Walker
Alicia aka Plum is a fat woman but this is not just a book about being fat, weight obsession or dieting. This story is about social change, acceptance and second wave feminism with a disturbing portrayal of vigilante justice that rightly or wrongly may evoke a sympathetic response from some readers. The title might get you in but the content goes a whole lot further.
~ Angela

Deceived Wisdom : Why What You Thought was Right is Wrong by David Bradley
Did your mother warn you not to swim until 30 minutes after eating? Have you ever been informed that what you need to cool down is a nice cup of tea? And are you bored with being told that you have to let that red wine breathe first to improve its taste? If so, then 'Deceived Wisdom' is the book for you. This book looks at the facts we all think we know and examines why we don't know them at all. David Bradley's clear and witty writing examines the science behind the statements to reveal the truth behind many popular myths about our lives, our health and the world around us.

A Descant for Gossips by Thea Astley Released in 1960
Set in the '50s in a small Queensland town, this story will touch you deeply. 
Two schoolteachers are attracted to each other. Mr Moller's wife is seriously ill, while Helen has taken one of her pupils under her wing because she detects an intelligence and sensitivity in one of her essays. She takes the child, Vinny, to Brisbane for a cultural visit, which her mother has never been able to afford, and they are driven there by Mr Moller. Vinny, pale, gingery and quiet, has always been an outsider, and for her the trip is overwhelmingly wonderful. She develops a crush on Helen. The teachers are seen together by someone from the small town and gossip is rife. The plot gains momentum - the ending will shatter you, as the forlorn child is driven over the brink by taunting and an ultimate hurt. An unforgettable story. Be prepared to be very moved.......