Title: How to Be Famous

Author: Caitlin Moran

Pages: 320 Pages

Publishers: Ebury Press

The Blurb

I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be nineteen, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly.

My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs HellTM – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name.

But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons. ‘He’s a vampire. He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick’ Suzanne warned me. But by that point, I’d already had sex with him. Bad sex.
Now I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy.
He needs to be stopped.

But how can one woman stop a bad, famous, powerful man?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

A few months ago I picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Girl off my bookshelf to read. It had been languishing there for about a year and a half and so I decided to give it a read. I was angry at myself afterwards because I bloody loved it. I can’t believe I had not read it yet. The only good thing about this was that I didn’t have to wait long for the sequel How to Be Famous to be published. Hurrah.

I pre-ordered How to Be Famous and waited patiently for my postman to deliver it and whilst I had promised myself that I could read it over the summer when I was off work I just couldn’t wait and I started it immediately.

And you know what?…I bloody loved this book too.

In the further adventures of Dolly Wilde we see a more grown up if not really more mature young lady now living in London. We watch as Dolly makes more mistakes on the path to finding herself. We also see her become more staunchly feminist and we watch as she sets about trying to change the music industry from inside out.

Dolly Wilde is still the loveable sometimes hapless protagonist that we have come to love but this time we see her become more independent. There were times when I had to close the book because sadly Dolly was doing things that I know once I had read about them I couldn’t unread. That is the power of Caitlin Moran. She made me care for Dolly Wilde as if she was a real person, as if she was my friend.

I cannot praise How to Be a Girl and How to Be Famous any higher than I have. They are both contenders for my favourite book of the year. I wish there were more books of this calibre available to young women today.

How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmmoran) please visit www.caitlinmoran.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Press (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/eburypublishing.

Title: Far From the Tree

Author: Robin Benway

Pages: 389 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster’s Children’s

The Blurb

‘Sometimes, family hurts each other. But after that’s done you bandage each other up, and you move on. Together. So you can go and think that you’re some lone wolf, but you’re not. You’ve got us now, like it or not, and we’ve got you.’

When 16 year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides that the time has come to find out more about her own biological mother. Although her biological mum proves elusive, her search leads her to two half-siblings she never knew existed.

Maya, 15, has been adopted by wealthy parents and seems to have the picture-perfect family – that is, if you look past her alcoholic mother and the fact that Maya stands out like a sore thumb.

Older brother Joaquin hasn’t been so lucky. At 18, he’s shuffled between foster home after foster home, always careful never to get attached to anyone or anything, because it always gets taken away. 

When these three siblings come together, they find in themselves the place they can belong, while the secrets they guard threaten to explode…

For fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Nicola Yoon, Far From the Tree is a raw, compelling, and ultimately uplifting story of what it means to be family. 

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Sometimes a book comes along that sweeps you away. It is the sort of book that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page and it will be the book that you shove into the hands of others because you know that they have to read it. For me, this book is Far From the Tree.

Far From the Tree is the story of three siblings who have all been adopted or fostered to different families and who didn’t know the others existed until recently. Along with finding siblings they never knew they also set on a journey of finding themselves.

I honestly loved Far From the Tree. I was hooked from the very first page and it is a book that I have now read with my teenage reading group. It deals with issues such as slut shaming, adoption, the foster system and finding a sense of belonging. Far From the Tree tore my heart out but it also repaired it.

I constantly say it and I am probably boring others with my repetition but YA fiction is the genre that is the most prevalent at the moment. With books like Far From the Tree in its midst you can see why it is a flourishing genre.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Benway (@RobinBenway) please visit www.robinbenway.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster Children’s (@simonkids_UK) please visit www.kids.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Do Ants Have Arseholes?…and other bloody ridiculous questions

Author: Jon Butler and Bruno Vincent

Pages: 183 Pages

Publisher: Sphere

The Blurb

How easy is it to fall off a log? Where is the middle of nowhere? Do we really have no bananas?

The readers of OLD GIT magazine are a batty, befuddled, potty-mouthed bunch, who seem to spend a significant chunk of their spare time corresponding with the publication’s popular letters page. DO ANTS HAVE ARSEHOLES? is a very funny, very silly collection of questions and answers taken from this column, none of which has any basis whatsoever in fact.

A must for all those who relish a heady mixture of shaggy-dog stories, toilet humour and utter lack of insight.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

When I saw the title of this book – Do Ants Have Arseholes? – I genuinely found myself curious to know the answer. Do they? Surely they do. And that was the reason why I picked up this copy at my local charity shop.

What kept me reading Do Ants Have Arseholes? was the fact that the book is chock full of whimsy and silliness and I do love the silliness. As you get further and further into the book the questions become sillier and the answers to the silly questions become all the more ludicrous. It is very entertaining.

For anyone who likes a dollop of daftness to their day then I fully recommend Do Ants Have Arseholes? It is guaranteed to make you smile.

Do Ants Have Arseholes?…and other bloody ridiculous questions by Jon Butler and Bruno Vincent is available now.

 

Title: Happier Thinking

Author: Lana Grace Riva

Pages: 48 Pages

Publisher: Independently Published

The Blurb

Changing how you think is possible. I wasn’t always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don’t have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It’s sort of a gym for my mind. I’d love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it’s not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it’s absolutely well worth the rewards.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I am generally a positive person. If things get me down, I will pull a proverbial Taylor Swift and I will shake things off. I will always try to find the positive in a bad situation. I know this can be annoying for some people and I can see how I would crack their corn but what can I say? This is me.

I was excited to get the chance to read Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva because it seemed to be the kind of book that I would see as a mirror to how I think about things. I was right. In this rather short book you find a treasure trove of helpful advice. Lana Grace Riva isn’t patronising or disregarding the negative thoughts that a person has but she is challenging you to rethink how you approach a negative situation.

In a similar ilk to The Power and The Secret, Lana Grace Riva’s book makes you think about what you put out in the world. However, the thing that makes Happier Thinking much more palatable is that the length of the book dictates that the same information or ethos isn’t repeated too much throughout.

Happier Thinking is definitely worth a read. If you don’t believe me then why don’t you go and have a rethink about that.

Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva is available now.

For more information regarding Lana Grace Riva (@LanaGraceRiva) please visit www.lanagraceriva.com.

Title: Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

Author: AW Jantha

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Freeform

The Blurb

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I absolutely adore the movie Hocus Pocus. I was ten when it was released in cinemas and it as the first time that me and my older sister were allowed to go to the cinema by ourselves. It has always been a firm favourite of mine, one that I re-watch every Halloween. Now, I have my niece watching it (although she did make me watch it three times in the space of 24 hours).

So you can imagine my joy when I saw that the movie has been made into a book AND that there was a sequel included also. Joy of joys.

Firstly, let’s talk about Hocus Pocus. It doesn’t deviate from the film and for that I am thankful. The film is perfect. You should never monkey around with Bette Milder – whose hands are perfect in that film might I just add.

The sequel, however, was surprising. It follows on from the adventures that Max, Dani and Alex had 25 years ago and the story centres around Poppy, Max and Allison’s daughter (it is nice to know that they stayed together). The reason why the story is surprising is the LGBTQIA element to the story. Essentially, Hocus Pocus is a Disney classic and whilst strides have been made recently to make Disney more inclusive (just this week it was announced that there will be an openly gay Disney character in one of their next up and coming movies) it is still a major step for the wholesome Disney family oriented image. I, for one, salute this move and hope that it brings about more.

Ok, so the sequel wasn’t (and probably – in my eyes – never could be) as good as the original. However, a modern audience may appreciate it more than me. I did enjoy the story though and I loved revisiting much loved characters. I kind of hope that they make it into a movie – that would be amazing.

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by AW Jantha is available now.