Related to: 'The Handmade Mind'

December Book of the Month

Nikki and Damien continue in Take Me

I awake to an empty bed and the smell of frying bacon. I roll over to find my phone on the bedside table, then glance at the time. Not yet six. I groan and fall back among the pillows, but I don't really want to go back to sleep. What I want is Damien. I slide out of bed, then grab the tank top and yoga pants I'd left draped across a nearby armchair. I head barefoot out of the bedroom and move the short distance down the hall to the third-floor kitchen. We're standing in Damien's Malibu house, and the wall of windows that faces the ocean is wide open, the glass panels having been thrust aside to let in the breeze. The smell of the ocean mingles with the scent of breakfast and I breathe deep, realizing that I am content. Whatever demons had poked at me during the night, Damien effectively banished them. I glance toward the windows and out at the darkened Pacific. Waves glow white in the fading moonlight as they break upon the shore. There is beauty there, and part of me wants to walk to the balcony and stare out at the roiling, frothing water. But the siren call of the ocean is nothing compared to my desire to see Damien, and so I turn away from the windows and head straight to the kitchen. It is larger than the one in the condo I used to share with my best friend, Jamie, and it is not even the primary kitchen for this house. That is on the first floor, and could easily service a one-hundred-table restaurant. But this - the "small" kitchen - was installed as an adjunct to the open area that serves as a venue for entertaining, and since it is just down the hall from our bedroom, Damien and I have gotten into the habit of cooking our meals and eating in this cozier, more informal area. Usually we're joined by Lady Meow-Meow, the fluffy white cat I took custody over when Jamie moved out. I know Lady M misses Jamie, but she's also enjoying having the run of this huge house, and Gregory - the valet, butler, and all around house-running guy - spoils her rotten. Now I lean against the half wall that marks the break from hallway to kitchen. Damien is standing at the stove cooking an omelette as if he were nothing more than an ordinary guy. Except there is nothing ordinary about Damien Stark. He is grace and power, beauty and heat. He is exceptional, and he has captured me completely. At the moment, he is shirtless, and I cannot help the way my breath stutters as my eyes skim over the defined muscles of his back and his taut, strong arms. Damien's first fortune came not form business, but from his original career as a champion tennis player. Even now, years later, he has both the look and the power of an elite athlete. I let my gaze drift down appreciatively. He is wearing simple gray sweatpants that sit low on his narrow hips and cling to the curves of his perfectly toned ass. Like me, he is barefoot. He looks young and sexy and completely delicious. Yet despite his casual appearance, I can still see the executive. The powerful businessman who harnessed the world, who shifted it to his own liking and made a fortune in the process. He is strength and control. And I am humbled by the knowledge that I am what he values most of all, and that I will spend the rest of my life at his side. "You're staring," he says, his eyes still on the stove. I grin happily, like a child. "I enjoy looking at pretty things." He turns now, and his eyes rake over me, starting at my toes. "So do I," he says when his gaze reaches my face, and there is so much heat in his voice that my legs go weak and my body quivers with want. His mouth curves into a slow, sexy smile, and I am absolutely certain in that moment that I am going to melt. "You spoiled my surprise," he says, then nods toward the breakfast table where a tray sits with a glass bud vase displaying a single, red rose. "Breakfast in bed."

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The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar

Matt Simon
Authors:
Matt Simon

For fans of WHAT IF? and NEW SCIENTIST comes this brilliantly funny and informative look at the stranger side of evolution.Featuring:The Zombie ants mind-controlled by a fungusBeautiful salamanders that can regenerate any part of their bodies, including their brainsThe mantis shrimp, which fires its club-like appendage so fast that the surrounding water becomes as hot as the surface of the sunThe Antechinus, whose runaway testosterone levels cause them to have so much sex during their three-week mating season that they bleed internally, go blind, and drop dead...Featuring quirky illustrations and the signature blend of science smarts and humour that make Matt Simon's Wired column so entertaining, this is an ideal stocking-filler for every popular science aficionado...

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The Water Book

Alok Jha
Authors:
Alok Jha

Water is the most every day of substances. It pours from our taps and falls from the sky. We drink it, wash with it, and couldn't live without it. Yet, on closer examination it is also a very strange substance (it is one of only a very small number of molecules which expand when cooled). Look closer again and water reveals itself as a key to a scientific story on the biggest of canvases.Water is crucial to our survival - life depends on it - but it was also fundamental in the origins of life on Earth. The millions of gallons of water which make up our rivers, lakes and oceans, originated in outer space. How it arrived here and how those molecules of water were formed, is a story which takes us back to the beginning of the universe. Indeed, we know more about the depths of space than we do about the furthest reaches of the oceans.Water has also shaped the world we live in. Whether it is by gently carving the Grand Canyon over millennia, or in shaping how civilisations were built; we have settled our cities along rivers and coasts. Scientific studies show how we feel calmer and more relaxed when next to water. We holiday by the seas and lakes. Yet one day soon wars may be fought over access to water.The Water Book will change the way you look at water. After reading it you will be able to hold a glass of water up to the light and see within it a strange molecule that connects you to the origins of life, the birth (and death) of the universe, and to everyone who ever lived.

Headline

The Human Age

Diane Ackerman
Authors:
Diane Ackerman

'Our relationship with nature has changed . . . radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.'In The Human Age award-winning nature writer Diane Ackerman confronts the fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have 'subdued 75 per cent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness'. We now collect the DNA of vanishing species in a 'frozen ark', equip orang-utans with iPads, create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating - perhaps saving - the future.The Human Age is a surprising, optimistic engagement with the dramatic transformations that have shaped, and continue to alter, our world, our relationship with nature and our prospects for the future. Diane Ackerman is one of our most lyrical, insightful and compelling writers on the natural world and The Human Age is a landmark book.(P)2014 Headline Digital

Headline

Smashing Physics

Jon Butterworth
Authors:
Jon Butterworth

Headline Review

The Philosophy Gym

Stephen Law
Authors:
Stephen Law
Headline Review

The Universe Next Door

Marcus Chown
Authors:
Marcus Chown
Headline Review

The Long Afternoon

Giles Waterfield
Authors:
Giles Waterfield

In the 1930s, Henry and Helen Williamson arrive on the French Riviera looking for a house. Barely thirty, Henry has been forced to retire from the Indian civil service through ill-health. They fall in love with the dreamlike Lou Paradou and set about constructing a life of ease, and a ravishing garden. But as the political conflict gathers, so the atmosphere of their new home becomes increasingly unquiet and a tragic fate befalls them. THE LONG AFTERNOON enchants and involves the reader, just as the Williamsons' garden seduces its visitors.

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Cry of the Rain Bird

Patricia Shaw
Authors:
Patricia Shaw

Englishman Corby Morgan and his young wife Jessie set sail for the golden shores of Trinity Bay, dreaming of an easy life in paradise. But Providence, the sugar plantation that is to be their home, promises danger as well as prosperity. As obstinate Corby drives his Australian manager Mike Devlin to distraction learning to farm the sugar cane, Devlin becomes attracted to gentle Jessie. Jessie meanwhile becomes involved with running the plantation and befriends the Aborigines and labourers, while her coquettish sister Sylvia pursues her own selfish goals. Facing a shocking introduction to plantation life and battling racial conflict and political upheavals, the planters of Providence are unprepared when nature strikes a fearful blow...

Alok Jha

Alok Jha is a journalist and broadcaster based in London. He is science correspondent for ITN and, before that, was science correspondent at the Guardian. He has presented science programmes for BBC2 and BBC Radio 4. Alok received a science-writing award from the American Institute of Physics in 2014, was named European Science Writer of the year in 2008, and has been shortlisted for feature writer of the year at the annual Association of British Science Writers awards".

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman has been the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction in addition to many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the international bestsellers The Zookeeper's Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives with her husband Paul West in Ithaca, New York.

Jon Butterworth

Jon Butterworth is a leading physicist on the Large Hadron Collider, and Head of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. He writes the popular Life & Physics blog for the Guardian and has written articles for a range of publications including the Guardian and New Scientist. Jon often discusses physics in public, including talks at the Royal Institution and the Wellcome Trust and appearances on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, The Infinite Money Cage, BBC Newsnight, Horizon, Channel 4 News and Al Jazeera. He was awarded the Chadwick Medal of the Institute of Physics in 2013 for his pioneering work in high energy particle physics, especially in the understanding of hadronic jets. His book Smashing Physics was shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize.

Maggie Jackson

Maggie Jackson is the award-winning author of Distracted and What's Happening to Home? A former Boston Globe columnist known for her coverage of social issues, especially technology's impact on humanity, her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times and Business Week. Jackson is a vice president and senior fellow at the New York-based think tank The Center for Talent Innovation, a past affiliate of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, and a former journalism fellow at the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of Yale and the London School of Economics, and has strong connections with the UK and UK media

Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown is the Cosmology Consultant for New Scientist magazine. He has a first-class degree in physics from the University of London and an MSc in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology.

Matt Simon

Matt Simon is a journalist who writes Wired Science's 'Absurd Creature of the Week' column. He has also edited Wired's 'This Day in Tech blog', which was compiled into the book Mad Science, and writes a second column called 'Fantastically Wrong' that explores the strangest mistakes in folklore and science. He lives in San Francisco.

Stephen Law

Stephen Law is a lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and was formerly Research Fellow in Philosophy at Queen's College, Oxford. He received his doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Oxford.

TOUCH AND GO

The Sunday Times top ten bestseller Lisa Gardner's latest thriller, TOUCH AND GO, is out now in paperback. Here's an exclusive look at chapter one to whet your appetite...

Posted by Headline authors

Beat those January blues...

Emma Hannigan, author of THE SUMMMER GUEST and THE HEART OF WINTER : I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a very happy and healthy new year. As a nine times cancer survivor I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to embrace the next twelve months. I am so excited about my new book The Secrets We Share and I sincerely hope you will all enjoy it. May 2015 bring sunshine to your hearts and sparkles to your souls. Love and light, Emma Stephen Lloyd Jones, author of THE STRING DIARIES and WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD : Key challenges this year are to stop swearing so much and learn to play by ear Chopin's ‘Nocturne’ in E Flat Major (Op. 9, No. 2). Pretty tough, those two, especially in combination. Jill Mansell, author of THE UNPREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE and THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU: Jill Mansell's New Year's Resolution. (To become a hare...) I spend my life envying other people for all sorts of reasons: that they are tall and thin... that they genuinely love exercise and aren't afraid to do it... that they have elegance and style and can travel long distances without getting all flustered and panicky... But nothing - NOTHING - inspires more envy than when I hear fellow writers say casually on social media, 'There, have just written five thousand words in two hours. Now off to have lunch with friends, followed by an afternoon of shopping - time for some fun!' Because they are hares and I am the tortoise. While they're out, gaily raising their Champagne glasses to each other and celebrating another sparkling chapter of their novel effortlessly done and dusted, I'm left at home like Cinderella, plodding my way through the next five hundred words, which will take me all day to write. So this is my resolution for 2015: I am going to stop procrastinating and endlessly distracting myself and whingeing to other people on Twitter that my writing is going so slowly. Instead I'm going to sit down and concentrate, and just get on and do it until it's done. Jo Thomas, author of THE OYSTER CATCHER : To be honest, I find it very hard to give anything up. If someone tells me I can't have it, I want it more! So I plan to do more of certain things. Eat more fruit. Walk more, because it's such good thinking time when I’m writing. The characters just start chatting amongst themselves and it's a great way to set myself up for a day’s work. And reading, of course. I love reading and I seem to end up squeezing in a bit of reading time at the end of the day before falling asleep. So I'm giving myself permission in 2015 to read more and enjoy! Paul Fraser Collard, author of THE DEVIL'S ASSASSIN and JACK LARK: ROGUE : 1) Learn how to use a semicolon properly. Word tells me that I need to consider revising the ones I do use and who am I to ignore such wise advice. 2) Accept that I have more than a few rogue grey hairs. Just For Men is no longer a viable option. 3) On at least one occasion prove to my sixteen-year-old son that I do really know better than he does. 4) Stop trying to convince my family that Opal Fruits (yes, Opal Fruits, not Starburst) count as one of my five-a-day. 5) Stop checking my Amazon sales ranking. No more. Never again. Or at least, not more than once or twice a day. Sarah Hilary, author of SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN and NO OTHER DARKNESS : Every January, I arm myself with fresh Moleskine notebooks and pens, and with books and DVDs to stimulate my curiosity. As I get to work on book three, this year's arsenal includes Explore Everything by Bradley L. Garrett, Paranoia by Freeman and Freeman, and box-sets of True Detective, and The Mentalist. My chief resolutions (the same every year): to bury the past, and to live (and write) in the moment. Sierra Kincade, author of THE MASSEUSE and THE DISTRACTION : I resolve to live the kind of life that inspires me to write more books. Wait... I write naughty books. I mean, live a more adventurous life (in the bedroom). Wait. I mean, just get out of the house more. (Now that sounds even naughtier!) Sigh. I resolve to write more books. I resolve to eat more cake and feel less guilty. I also resolve to cry tears of pain at the gym following said cake. And I resolve to invest in a chocolate IV which will keep me blissfully caffeinated. And if that doesn't work, I resolve to just stay blissfully caffeinated. 2015 is going to be a great year. Barbara Nadel, author of BODY COUNT and LAND OF THE BLIND : In 2015 I've said I will say goodbye to some of my self-doubt – can't say goodbye to all of it or I won't be neurotic any more. But I will be asking for more. I want to have more fun with friends or chocolate or, preferably both. I'm only giving up celery. Professionally, I want to do a lot more publicity and public-speaking work and I want to write ever more challenging books. Apart from that, just world peace, more money for the NHS, and more public tolerance of eccentricity. If a woman wants to lie in her own bath in a wedding dress, that really is her business. And we should respect that. Nicola Doherty, author of IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME and the GIRLS ON TOUR series: Hello. My name is Nicola and I’m a New Year’s Resolution addict. I’ve made the same resolutions for probably the past five years. They tend to include running more, eating less sugar, lifting weights, doing more yoga, watching less TV and … flossing. This last one became so popular among my friends a few years ago that we joked about substituting flossing for drinks as a social engagement. (I also gave up alcohol for January once, but not any more: if there’s one month where you NEED a drink, it’s January). This year, I’m doing a slight variation on the usual. Inspired by this website, I looked at why my previous resolutions failed, and built in contingency plans. I’ve signed up for a half marathon on 22 March, so that I HAVE to run. I realised that the reason I never kept up my weights before is that it’s so boring. So I’ve started having a little flash disco at home every afternoon for ten minutes, just dancing with my weights aloft like Jane Fonda. Obviously I look nuts but I’m dancing on my own so it’s fine. And – most importantly – I’m marking every successful day in my calendar. Seven days in, it’s working – just seeing that tick on the calendar is enough to make me do it. It’s a pity I didn’t think of this five years ago, but there you go. People who love making resolutions don’t understand people who don’t. In my next book Girls on Tour, Maggie and Rachel get together for a ‘friendship date’ after first meeting on a skiing holiday. The date is very awkward and stilted initially – until the girls realise that they share a love of New Year’s resolutions and bond over their relentless drive for self-improvement. Maggie and Rachel both end up breaking most of their resolutions – except two: they’ve both resolved to make new friends and to travel more. And they do! Another thing I’ve learned: positive and fun resolutions are always easier to keep … Of course New Year’s Resolutions don’t always work. Otherwise we’d all be thin, fit, decluttered and fluent in Mandarin. But they still hold out a glittering promise – that one day we’ll overcome our limitations and become better, healthier, more productive versions of ourselves. I’m optimistic by nature, so I’ll continue to make my resolutions. And even if they just end up giving me a slightly healthier January, what’s wrong with that? Steven Dunne, author of THE UNQUIET GRAVE and A KILLING MOON : At my age the only important New Year's Resolution is to get healthier and stay that way. Less booze, less food and more exercise, the latter especially problematic for a writer. Career-wise it's simple. With A Killing Moon in 2015 I want to reach new readers and, in so doing, open up my previous novels for discovery to thriller lovers everywhere. Happy and healthy New Year to everyone.

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Blog: An Ebook extravaganza for Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time to relax, eat till you feel sick and work your way through a mountain of great books. You never know, come Christmas morning you may manage to avoid receiving a whole pile of things you don’t want or need and be lucky enough to find a swanky new e-reader in your stocking. If so, we have a great selection of titles which you can download straight to your device from the comfort of your sofa.