No wait, No fuss – April’s collection

Do you love eBooks or eAudiobooks, but find you have to wait for a copy to become available? Well, you will love this collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks then!
Each month a collection of titles, some in both formats, become available to download. There’s an almost unlimited number of copies of each title, meaning there’s no wait, no fuss or reserving; just download and enjoy right away.

This month we have 10 eBooks and 16 eAudiobook titles available to download without any wait; have a look at the titles available, and find them on the BorrowBox app.
We’ll start with the children’s ones, so keep scrolling if you would like to see the adult titles.
These titles will be available from 1 April.

eBooks and eAudiobooks for children

Hotel Flamingo: Holiday Heatwave
by Alex Milway

The temperature is rising, which can only mean one thing: it’s summer! Bookings are up at Hotel Flamingo and the hotel is getting busy. Anna is excited to receive word from King Penguin royalty asking to holiday in their Royal Suite. But there’s a lot to get done, and it’s not easy to manage the needs of the penguins when there’s a heatwave on and a huge ice shortage. Help!

When Mr Ruffian of the rival Glitz hotel finds out that the penguins have chosen to stay at Hotel Flamingo he is furious. It’s not long before Anna starts to suspect that there is a spy and saboteur at the hotel; how else to explain why everyone is going so wrong for the visit of the Royal Penguins? Can Anna return Hotel Flamingo to its usual shining self and have happy guests all round?

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Sarah Ovens
Suitable for ages 5+

Tom Gates; Absolutely Fantastic
by Liz Pichon

Exciting News! Mr Fullerman announces that class 5F are going on an ‘Activity Break’! Which should be fun. As long as I don’t get stuck in a group with anyone who snores or worse still with … Marcus Meldrew. Delia is already threatening to paint my room funny colours while I’m away. Which is annoying. I just hope the only surprise I have when I get home is the new pet that I hear Mum and Dad talking about. Because I’ve always wanted a pet!

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Rupert Grint
Suitable for ages 7+

The Surface Breaks
by Louise O’Neill

The days of my childhood kept turning over, dissolving like sea foam on the crest of the waves. I have been counting them, the days and the nights, the weeks, the months, the years. I have been waiting for this day.

Deep beneath the cold, stormy sea, Gaia is a mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. Gaia longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice?

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Amy Shiels
Suitable for ages 15+

eBooks and eAudiobooks for adults

The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalised readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Ann Dowd, Tantoo Cardinal, Margaret Atwood, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi and Bryce Dallas Howard

The Widow
by Fiona Barton

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen …

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Clare Corbett

The Shape of Water
by Andrea Camilleri

The goats of Vigàta once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavour. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner’s verdict is death from natural causes – refreshingly unusual for Sicily.
But Inspector Salvo Montalbano, as honest as he is streetwise and as scathing to fools and villains as he is compassionate to their victims, is not ready to close the case – even though he’s being pressured by Vigàta’s police chief, judge, and bishop.
Picking his way through a labyrinth of high-comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues, Montalbano can be relied on, whatever the cost, to get to the heart of the matter.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Mark Meadows

The Hitler’s Secret
by Rory Clements

Autumn 1941. The war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If Hitler is to be stopped, a new weapon is desperately needed.

In Cambridge, professor Tom Wilde is approached by an American intelligence officer who claims to know of such a weapon – one so secret even Hitler himself isn’t aware of its existence. If Wilde can smuggle the package out of Germany, the Third Reich will surely fall.

But it is only when he is deep behind enemy lines that Wilde discovers why the Nazis are so desperate to prevent the ‘package’ falling into Allied hands. And as ruthless killers hunt him through Europe, a treacherous question hangs over the mission: if Hitler’s secret will win them the war, why is Wilde convinced it must remain hidden?

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Adam Sims

The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates

Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: if you want to lift a society up, invest in women.

Candid and inspiring, in The Moment of Lift, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to ‘turbo-charge’ change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference.

Convinced that all women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates took her first step onto the global stage to make a stand for family planning. That step launched her into further efforts: to ensure women everywhere have access to every kind of job; to encourage men around the globe to share equally in the burdens of household work; to advocate for paid family leave for everyone; to eliminate gender bias in all its forms.

Throughout, Gates introduces us to her heroes in the movement towards equality, offers startling data, shares moving conversations she’s had with women from all over the world – and shows how we can all get involved.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Melinda Gates

Need you Dead
by Peter James

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.
Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.
When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Daniel Weyman

Big Blue Sky
by Anna McPartlin

How does a family pick up the pieces, when the one person who held them all together has gone?

When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.

Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?

Meanwhile, Rabbit’s sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit’s best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.

But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.

Below the Big Blue Sky will make you laugh, cry and shout with joy for the colourful, unruly Hayes family as they battle with the loss of their beloved Rabbit, the daughter, mother, sister and friend, who in her own crazy way taught each of them how to live, and goes on showing them how to love from beyond the grave.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Simone Kirby

by Lara Maiklem

Mudlark (/’mAdla;k/) noun A person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour

Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for over fifteen years, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. These objects tell her about London and its lost ways of life.

Moving from the river’s tidal origins in the west of the city to the point where it meets the sea in the east, Mudlarking is a search for urban solitude and history on the River Thames, which Lara calls the longest archaeological site in England.

As she has discovered, it is often the tiniest objects that tell the greatest stories.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Lara Maiklem

The Green and Pleasant Land
by Ayisha Malik

For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.

On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village.

Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined.

Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Rita Sharma

The High Mountains of Portugal
by Yann Martel

From the author of the international publishing sensation Life of Pi comes the story of a quest for a lost relic. The journey takes us from Africa in the 1600s through Portugal at the turn of the last century to contemporary North America.

Showcasing Martel’s trademark delight in the fundamental stories that unite us, The High Mountains of Portugal unfolds with a dazzling lightness of touch. With its intricately woven layers of meaning and all the pleasures and surprises of a good yarn, it is also a beautiful, tender, clear-eyed and heartfelt exploration of love, suffering, faith and evolution.

By turns funny, tragic and sublime, The High Mountains of Portugal reminds us that it is our ability to weave remarkable stories out of our spiritual and philosophical concerns that makes us – and keeps us – human.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Mark Bramhall

Stories of Hope
by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of the bestselling books of the 21st Century. Now, in this essential companion, Heather Morris presents an inspiring manual for life, with a series of tales of the remarkable people she has met, the incredible stories they have shared with her, and the lessons they hold for us all.

In Stories of Hope, Heather will explore her extraordinary talents as a listener – a skill she employed when she first met Lale Sokolov, the tattooist at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the inspiration for her bestselling novel. It was this ability that led Lale to entrust Heather with his story, which she told in her novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz and the bestselling follow up, Cilka’s Journey.

Now Heather shares the story behind her inspirational writing journey and the defining experiences of her life, including her profound friendship with Lale, and explores how she learned to really listen to the stories people told her – skills she believes we can all learn.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by  Nicolette McKenzie and Heather Morris

The Flower Girls
by Alice Clark Platts

Three children went out to play. Only two came back.

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, 19 years later, another child has gone missing.

And the Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again …

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Emelia Fox

City of Friends
by Joanna Trollope

She glanced at her phone again. There were appeals from the girls, from her colleagues, a text from Steve reading with uncharacteristic imperiousness, ‘Call me.’ She couldn’t. She couldn’t call anyone . . . She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the bench, and stared at the ground. God, she thought, am I losing my mind? Is this what happens when you lose your job?

The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she’d ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London?

As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new – one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home – she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between.
But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits . . .

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Adjoa Andoh

Download the BorrowBox app and log in with your Hampshire Library card to enjoy these titles, and thousands of others!

Read, Talk, Share; tackling loneliness and supporting mental health through the proven power of reading.

The Reading Agency have selected us as a partner to help deliver Read, Talk, Share, an initiative to combat loneliness and promote wellbeing through the proven power of reading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enabled by a £3.5 million award by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Read, Talk, Share will expand The Reading Agency’s ‘Reading Well’ and ‘Reading Friends’ programmes by tackling loneliness and supporting mental health and wellbeing.

As a partner we will be offering the Reading Friends reading befriending programme which starts conversations and connects people who are lonely and isolated to people who live, work or study in Hampshire.

Part of this programme will provide funding to expand our Home Library Service to enable volunteers to make calls to those customers who are members of the service. Our local libraries will also be reaching out to their communities, with trained facilitators running sessions on zoom to initiate conversations about books and reading.

The Digital Friends Facebook book group is now offering members a monthly facilitated call to discuss the book as part of the Read, Talk, Share scheme. In February members discussed City of Spies and were joined by the author Mara Timon. The book choice for March is 29 Seconds by T. M. Logan and he will be attending the zoom call on Wednesday 31 March. To join the group and participate in the discussions, please visit the Hampshire Libraries Facebook page.

We will also have a full set of books from The Reading Agency’s Reading Well booklist available to borrow from your library or download via BorrowBox. You can request books from the Reading Well booklist by reserving a specific book, or making a request through our Ready Reads, We Select, You Collect service.

If you would like to take part in one of the led zoom calls please contact us for more information about Read, Talk, Share and letting us know which is your closest library.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) remains one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century. Alongside her novels, Woolf was a prolific creator of essays, diaries, letters and biographies, capturing the changing world around her in her focus on the themes of transformation in gender roles, sexuality and class.

Woolf was outspoken in her writing on the position of women in society, most notably in A Room of One’s Own (1929), the Three Guineas (1938) and Orlando (1928), a fictionalised account of the life of her friend Vita Sackville-West as a ‘man-woman’, born in the Renaissance but surviving till the present day.

A prominent member of the avant-garde, intellectual, Bloomsbury Circle, she is best known for her novels, which represent the peak of British modernist “stream-of-consciousness” style, characterized by the representation of characters’ inner thoughts, a focus on everyday action, and the pervasive instability or unreliability of narration.

Woolf’s literary breakthrough came in 1922 with the publication of Jacob’s Room, which displays the beginnings of her characteristic stream-of-consciousness style, which she refined and mastered in Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927).

The publication of Orlando brought Woolf financial success and the ‘room’ to experiment further in her subsequent novels: The Waves (1931), Flush: A Biography (1933), The Years (a 1937 international best-seller), and Between the Acts (1941), all of which address the challenges of human connection. Her last novel, Between the Acts, covers her mounting concern at the threat of a Second World War, but ultimately the strain of the editing this novel, the destruction and disruption of the Blitz, the loss of several close friends, and the threatened onset of mental illness led Woolf to drown herself in the Ouse River on 28 March 1941. By that time, she was a well-known public figure, a best-selling and widely translated author, and was much mourned around the world.

Besides her writing, Woolf had a considerable impact on the cultural life around her. The publishing house she ran with her husband Leonard Woolf, the Hogarth Press, whose publications included books by writers such as T S Eliot, Sigmund Freud, Katherine Mansfield, E M Forster, and the Woolf’s themselves.

All available as eBook, eAudiobook or physical copies.

World Book Day 2021

This week 30 million children will receive a token to spend on a special book as part of World Book Day. 

World Book Day changes lives through a love of books and shared reading. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. Almost 15% of children do not own their own book before they are gifted a £1 World Book Day book. (Source: OECD) 

Spending just ten minutes a day reading with a child can help them discover the joy of reading for pleasure. Each child, who receives a token in the UK and Ireland, can choose to spend their token on one of these brilliant books for free or get £1 off another book (with £2.99 or more). 2021s-1-books ( 

Hampshire Libraries will be placing World Book Day tokens in children’s Ready Reads and offering them to children who come to collect reservations from their local library this week.  

We’ll also be supporting the time-honoured tradition of dressing up as your favourite book character – so see who you can recognise as our teams share their photos on our social media accounts this week!  

World Book Day also marks the start of the 200 Million Minute Reading Challenge. The challenge, which runs until Children’s Book Day on 31 March, calls on everyone to log their reading time to reach the target of 200 million minutes read in the month of March.  

Why not use World Book Day and the 200 Million Minute Reading Challenge to develop a habit of reading at home. We have an extensive digital library of children’s books and magazines Digital library | Hampshire County Council ( that can be borrowed for free and read on a mobile device. Whilst libraries are shut you can also use our Ready Reads, we select you collect, service to request loans of children’s books. Ready Reads is included in your library membership and you can sign-up here. Ready Reads: we select, you collect | Hampshire County Council ( 

We have also produced some videos (available on YouTube) to give you some guidance on our Ready Reads service (96) Ready Reads: We Select, You Collect – YouTube and offer advice on sharing a book with a child. (96) Sharing a Book – YouTube