Title: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.

The Review

I am going to admit that I should have known better. You see, it tells me on the blurb that The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has a whole Groundhog Day quality to it. I hate the movie Groundhog Day. There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that is similar that gets me very stressed out when I watch it. I get worn out when I have dreams whereby I am doing the same thing over and over and over again. I should have known I wouldn’t love The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

That is not to say that it isn’t written very well. Stuart Turton has masterfully created a murder mystery that I will admit had me guessing to the very end. The way her controls the story and drips nuggets of information and clues with each character is mindboggling.

If you like murder mysteries and time travel then this novel is totally up your street. If you get stressed out by character changes then maybe give the decision to read The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a lot of thought beforehand.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is available now.

For more information regarding Stuart Turton (@stu_turton) please visit www.stuturton.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.

Title: Derby Shorts

Author: Jane Bradley (Ed.)

Pages: 159 Pages

Publisher: Group Of

The Blurb

Presented by For Books’ Sake in collaboration with the London Rollergirls, Derby Shorts is a bold and brilliant anthology of the best new fiction from the roller derby track.

The ground-breaking collection is the first of its kind, and within its pages, you’ll find short stories of inter-team love, lust, rivalry and rebellion, rollerblading assassins in punk-apocalyptic London, brats and ballerinas turned derby superstars, and much much more.

Featuring emerging and established authors from across the UK, Europe, America and beyond (including roller derby players, referees and fanatics from all over the world), the stories in Derby Shorts rand from the bittersweet and beautiful to the brutal and bizarre, but keep one thing in common; their obsession with a sport and subculture far too fierce, fearless and exciting to stay underground.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

As a child, every Saturday my mum took me and my big sister to a sports centre that hosted a roller disco. It lasted about an hour and a half and played 80s tracks that were in heavy rotation – if memory serves, my favourite one to skate to was Cocoon by Timerider most famous for being the theme tune to Hit Man and Her. Skating reminds me of freedom, of the feeling that I could fly and since then I have wanted to be a member of a Roller Derby team. Alas, I bruise like a peach so I don’t think it is the sport for me but if I was going to be a member of any sporting team it would be, without a shadow of a doubt, a Roller Girl.

It is probably this weird fascination with a sport I cannot play that led me to buying Derby Shorts. It is a quirky collection of stories that all have one thing in common. At the core of each story is a celebration of roller skating.

I read a lot of books of short stories and you usually get a small handful of ones you enjoy next to a bunch of fillers. I genuinely didn’t feel that way about this collection. Every story is enjoyable. The genres range from historical fiction to crime to sci-fi. No one has interpreted the spirit of the sport in the same way. It truly is wonderful.

Derby Shorts by Jane Bradley is available now.

For more information regarding For Books Sake (@forbookssake) please visit www.forbookssake.net.

Title: Shockaholic

Author: Carrie Fisher

Pages: 176 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

By the time Carrie Fisher wrote Shockaholic, it had been a roller coaster of a few years since her Tony- and Emmy-nominated, one-woman Broadway show and New York Times bestselling book Wishful Drinking

The electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been undergoing is threatening to wipe out (what’s left of) her memory. She lost her beloved father, Eddie Fisher, but also her once-upon-a-very-brief-time stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as over forty pounds of unwanted flesh, all the while staying sober and sane-ish.

Yes, of course, Shockaholic is laugh-out-loud funny, acerbic, and witty as hell. But it also reveals a new side of Carrie Fisher that may even bring a pleasant shock your way: it is contemplative, vulnerable, and ultimately quite tender. From the woman who took us to space and back, we bring you Carrie Fisher: the woman, mother, daughter and of course, Princess.

Carrie Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, became an icon when she starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Her star-studded career included roles in numerous films such as The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally. She was the author of four bestselling novels, Surrender in the PinkDelusions of GrandmaThe Best Awful and Postcards from the Edge, which was made into a hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Her first work of non-fiction was the cult hit Wishful Drinking. Carrie’s experience with addiction and mental illness – and her willingness to talk honestly about them – made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate. She was truly one of the most magical people to walk among us.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Earlier this year I read Carrie Fisher’s book Wishful Drinking. I admitted at the time to know little to nothing about the late actress besides a few roles that she had played but I enjoyed her writing style very much. Therefore, it was with pleasure I read another of Carrie Fisher’s books – Shockaholic.

With her continuing acerbic wit and enthusiastic candour about her mental health struggles I found Shockaholic to be an equally delightful read. She is amusingly self-deprecating whilst also being hyper aware of the unreality of her reality.

Both of the books I have read by Carrie Fisher – Shockaholic and Wishful Drinking celebrate the family nucleus that she herself found so normal in the completely bonkers setting of Hollywood post its golden age.

A very entertaining read for anyone who is a fan of tales of Hollywood.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher is available now.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Thirteen

Author: Steven Cavanagh

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Orion Books

The Blurb

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I would make a terrible detective and a terrible lawyer and a terrible FBI agent for that matter. For I am Lisa Bentley, the person who never quite cottons on to clues given in crime thriller novels. In essence, I am the perfect audience for crime fiction.

This brings me to the review of Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. Holy moly, this is a great novel. Let’s forget that I didn’t solve the crime, yada yada yada, but instead look at the way Steve Cavanagh builds tension and suspense in his novel. The chapters are palatably sized, you are always kept wanting more, to read more. His dual narrative makes you think you know what is going on and what is going to happen next (you really don’t) and the added inserts about jury members keeps you on your toes and invariably keeps you guessing over who the bad guy is. All in all, Steve Cavanagh did good.

Thirteen is actually the fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series. I haven’t read the earlier books because as I have said, crime fiction is not really my genre of choice. If I was asked to recommend a book – which I very often am – and they want a crime/mystery/thriller, then Steve Cavanagh will be at the top of that list.

Read Thirteen. It will either make you feel really smart if you guess whodunit or like me it will make you marvel at someone else’s genius and not your lack of mad detective skills.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is available now.

For more information regarding Steven Cavanagh (@SSCav) please visit www.stevecavanagh.com.

For more information regarding Orion Books (@orionbooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: Queens of Geek

Author: Jen Wilde

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Group/Swoon Reads

The Blurb

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

The Review

Queens of Geek is the perfect book for that person who never quite fits in. Sounds a bit dramatic but it is genuinely the vibe that you get from Jen Wilde’s book.

It is the story of three friends who have travelled across the globe to attend a comic book convention. There is romance, hi-jinx and costume competitions. Wilde has kept her cast of characters diverse and helps dispel the myth of what is “normal” in society – and what better setting than a comic book convention? Wilde’s characters are dealing with failed romance and blossoming new romance, celebrity fandom, autism, LGBT, and social anxiety. It really is a lot to read about in a relatively small novel. Throw in a dollop of movie quotes and you have something pretty special.

It is a wonderful story though, one of personal triumph, self discovery and essentially growing up. If it doesn’t help your inner geek rise to the surface then it is questionable if you even have one. It is a story that I will be recommending to many of the young adults that I work with.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is available now.

For more information regarding Jen Wilde (@jenmariewilde) please visit www.jenmariewilde.com.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Group (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

For more information regarding Swoon Reads (@SwoonReads) please visit www.swoonreads.com.