February, despite it being the year's second month, feels more like the time for beginnings. The sky is starting to lighten, the snowdrops are making their way out into the world and, as ever, great books are being published! This month we look at fiction, children's books, and non-fiction that look at the world anew. We hope you enjoy reading!

Patrick Jamieson enjoys Martin MacInnes wrestling with issues global and intimate in his latest novel In Ascension.


In Ascension By Martin MacInnes Published by Atlantic


Beneath the dressings of form and style, most works of art are concerned with the same basic question: What makes us who we are? The ways of approaching this question are numerous. Modernists turned inward, Naturalists to our environments, while authors of some of the greatest science-fiction sought answers far beyond the reaches of everyday life. In this sense, In Ascension, the latest book by Inverness author Martin MacInnes, is not remarkable. What is remarkable is that it does not assume a single explanation of ‘I’ that is psychological, environmental, or evolutionary, but seeks the answer in all these places at once. This is science-fiction, but not as we know it. 

Typically, it all begins with a birth. As a child, Leigh Hasenboch grows up at the water’s edge in Rotterdam surrounded by violence. The violence of the city’s architecture – tower blocks built up following its destruction in World War Two – the violence of ‘growth itself’, and the volatile moods of her depressed father. Poorly protected by her mother and sister, for young Leigh the sea becomes a haven, a place of contact and connection, submerging herself in the ‘teeming immensity’ of the water near their home. Fascinated by the origins of life, she immerses herself in the world of microorganisms, and at first opportunity escapes her fractured family life to study marine biology at the local university....


Jenny Boyd was one of the faces of the 1960s, in the thick of Swinging London. A successful model, sister to Pattie Boyd, friend of the Beatles, muse to Donovan, and wife of Mick Fleetwood, she shares her experiences, her excitements and disappointments, in her star-studded memoir Jennifer Juniper. Here, she writes of her first catwalk experience in the US.


Jennifer Juniper By Jenny Boyd Published by Sandstone Press


Sally and Marion came into the office one day with exciting news. An American called Paul Young had seen their clothes and wanted a collection made to launch Youthquake, his company in the States. As well as Foale and Tuffin and Mary Quant, he had asked a few other up-and-coming designers who were also transforming British fashion in the 60s, including Mick’s sister, Sally Jesse, designer of soft leather handbags with clear Perspex handles, and a new shoe d...



The Book … According to Stuart MacBride click

The Book … According to Stuart MacBride

‘It wasn’t until I’d finished that I realised the entire book was about redemption. Nearly every character in it, good, bad, or misunderstood, is seeking it in their own way.’


Haarville click


‘Welcome to Haarville — if you’ve arrived, you’ve survived. Off the grid and not on the maps, it’s a place shrouded in fog and steeped in pungent pongs.’


A Spell of Good Things click

A Spell of Good Things

‘When he returned to school after the holidays, he listed retrenchment and reinstatement among the new words he had learnt during the Christmas break.’


Rivet Boy click

Rivet Boy

‘I have often walked past and wondered what a proper library may look like inside. The well-to-do gentlemen who step so confidently up the stone stairs to its imposing door belong to another world. Ho …


Avocado Anxiety click

Avocado Anxiety

‘I believe that by making the consumer aware we can drive those in power to take seriously the role of food in making our population healthier and our environment more resilient.’


David Robinson Reviews: Elixir by Kapka Kassabova click

David Robinson Reviews: Elixir by Kapka Kassabova

‘Somehow, in an alchemical process that involves stirring together vast knowledge of plants, history, spirituality, magic and local folklore, Kassabova has mastered the art of tying together the inner …


With or Without Angels click

With or Without Angels

‘The young gallery attendant was leaning over him, shaking him. There was something gentle in his voice, even tender.’


The Broken Dragon: A Q & A with Karen McCombie click

The Broken Dragon: A Q & A with Karen McCombie

‘Readers can expect a short and sweet tale of a dragon-obsessed ten-year-old, plus they’ll learn about Kintsugi – the Japanese art of mending things with gold!’


Scottish Poetry: 1730 – 1830 click

Scottish Poetry: 1730 – 1830

‘You’ll think but little of my Songs,  When you have read them o’er;  But say, “They’re well enough from her”–  And I expect no more.’


Corey’s Rock click

Corey’s Rock

‘My eyes are caught by a rolling wave. Am I still dreaming?’


The Darker the Night click

The Darker the Night

‘No matter how many times Fulton cast his mind back he could never find the truth. It was like a bleeding sore that he constantly picked at and that never healed. ‘


The Rymour Effect: Showcasing Glasgow Scots click

The Rymour Effect: Showcasing Glasgow Scots

‘There’s wan shinin light though, ma young grandson. Twinty years auld he is, a strappin big lad. Ma only grandchild an the only real faimily ah’ve goat left.’