This is Unicorn Joe. Unicorn Joe wants you to win a book.
(Unicorn Joe is not included as a prize.)
I’ve been sorting out my study recently, and discovered multiple copies of several novels, which I think were originally sent to me as competition prizes by PR people. However, my house has been falling down for the past few months and I’ve only just unpacked all my boxes, so now I am finally able to run the competition.
The books available to win are:
The Offering by Grace McCleen
Something happened on Madeline’s fourteenth birthday, something so traumatic that it triggered her mental breakdown. Many years later, she still can’t – or perhaps won’t – recall the events of that night.
A charismatic new psychiatrist, Dr. Lucas, believes he can unlock Madeline’s memory by taking her step by step through the preceding year, when her father moved the family to an island he was certain God had guided them to.
Money was short, her mother often unwell and her father a volatile presence. Yet Madeline loved their rural idyll, sensing God in every blade of grass; and when things started to go wrong, she thought she knew how to put them right. But as Dr. Lucas unearths the past, it becomes apparent that she was seriously misguided – and that he is treading on very dangerous ground.
“A deeply creepy and brilliantly suspenseful novel… [that] describes with a piercing accuracy the ways in which the human condition can be twisted into an experience of intense suffering, loss and ultimate sacrifice.” – Me. (read my full review here)
Mother Island by Bethan Roberts
How does it feel to come home from work one evening and find your two-year-old son gone?
How does it feel to steal another woman’s child? To take a boy from his mother, and try to make him yours, make things right?
This is the story of two women, Nula and Maggie, joined by old family history and love for the same little boy.
“An unsettling yet relatable tale of familial rifts and the things desperation can make you do, Mother Island is one of those rare books that creates feelings of sympathy for both the protagonist and the antagonist throughout the story.” – Me (read my full review here)
Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth
Laura and Tyler are best friends and drinking buddies. But things are set to change when Laura gets engaged to the man of Tyler’s nightmares. Can their friendship survive? Or will growing up mean growing apart?
“I wish I had written this book… Withnail with girls” – Caitlin Moran
“I thought it tried a bit too hard to be a “warts and all” story and found both girls tiresome. But I can see how if I’d read it whilst in my late teens, I might have loved their crazy lifestyle and thought it glamorous, or at least deliciously daring. As it was, boring adult that I am, it just left me feeling tired.” – Me (read my full review here)
Mobile Library by David Whitehouse
Missing his mother and fearing his father, twelve-year-old Bobby Nusku always thought that the kinds of things that happen in books couldn’t possibly happen to him. But then he befriends Val and her daughter Rosa, and finds solace in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner.
That summer, reading becomes Bobby’s escape. And when he, Val and Rosa find themselves in trouble, the mobile library seems to offer the only way out. Encountering a mysterious stranger on their journey across the country, they form an unlikely family and experience an adventure to rival those in the books that surround them…
“A book about outsiders, about being misunderstood, and about how libraries can save your life. It’s a story of friendship, outsidership and confusion; love, loss and hatred; and the ultimate importance of sometimes being willing to break the rules.” – Me (read my full review here). It was also one of my Books of the Year last year.
A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar
Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world – a world where a disgraced former dictator known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.
“It was interesting and I don’t regret having read it, but I wasn’t prepared for such a heavy, almost Kafka-esque level of disenfranchisement and starkness.” – Me (read my full review here)
Significance by Jo Mazelis
Lucy Swann is trying on a new life. She’s bought new clothes and cut and dyed her hair. But in a small town in northern France her flight is violently cut short. When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation into her murder, the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance. Lucy’s death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her, and the lives of her loved ones back home.
“Wry, occasionally sardonic, yet compassionate… not so much a murder mystery, as a fiction that asks how much we can know ourselves and the workings of the world.” – John Goodby
“I didn’t really click with it.” – Me (read my full review here)
The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies
In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-aged alderman opens his heart to Queen Victoria. A teenage daughter leaves home in search of adventure. High in the Cumbrian fells a woman seeks help from her father’s enemy.
“Carys Davies is a master of the subtle spooky twist. Poe for the modern age.” – Me
The Incarnations by Susan Barker
I dream… of Sorceress Wu splattering the walls with your blood. Of Genghis Khan and his Mongols, whipping us across the desert. Of Emperor Jiajing and our fellow tortured concubines. Of you kneeling before your captors in the Opium Wars. Of us as Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution, our banners held high. I dream of the times we were friends, lovers, enemies… You don’t know it yet, but soon I will make you dream of me.
“Reads as China’s Midnight’s Children. Utterly remarkable.” – The Independent
“It feels like a very long read, but it’s gripping enough to give you the impetus to keep going. And the ending’s really good.” – Me (read my full review here)
How to win
There are three ways to win:
- Sign up to my monthly newsletter here.
- Follow me on Twitter and RT a tweet about the competition.
- Follow me on Instagram and like the post about the competition.
If you want your entry to count for a specific book, add a comment either here, or via Twitter or Instagram.
Rules and information
- I’m afraid the competition is only open to people in the UK. Sorry. I’m not rich enough for international postage fees.
- You can enter once per way to win, so you can enter a total of three times if you sign up to the newsletter, follow me on Twitter and follow me on Instagram. Any additional entries will be discounted.
- The winners will probably be drawn at random, unless you make a really compelling case in your comment about why you NEED a specific book.
- The competition will run until next Wednesday, the 27th of January, at which point the winners will be announced on this blog. Books will be sent out the following Monday, the 1st of February.