Paris SecretTitle: The Paris Secret

Author: Karen Swan

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Down a cobbled street in Paris, there is an apartment full of priceless artworks.

No one has stepped inside it for more than 60 years.

But you’re about to…

With stunning locations an page-turning tension, The Paris Secret is an intense and gripping tale from bestselling author Karen Swan.

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades. High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long. Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren’t all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family’s affairs – but just what is he hiding?

The Review

One of the most fascinating real life stories I have ever heard (or read) was of the apartment found in Paris that had been perfectly preserved since World War II; the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of the apartment owner baffles my brain with how magical, romantic and tragic it is.

It is this very same apartment that is the basis for the fantastic novel by Karen Swan. The Paris Apartment sees art agent Flora lead the charge in getting the pieces of art catalogued and sold in auction. However, when war time Nazi art theft threatens the investigation and subsequent selling, Flora discovers more than she bargained for.

I have read other books based on this same subject and each has fascinated me in different ways. Karen Swan has created the perfect balance between historical mystery and romance in this epic family saga. This is the first book that I have read by Karen Swan and I will definitely be reading more.

The Paris Secret by Karen Swan is available now.

For more information regarding Karen Swan please visit her Twitter page (@KarenSwan1).

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

35-stars

Thinking about ItTitle: Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse – And Other Lessons From Modern Life

Author: David Mitchell

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

The Blurb

From the much-loved comedian, star of Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb and Ambassadors comes a collection of his funniest and most brilliant writing.

What’s wrong with calling a burglar brave? Why are people so f***ing hung up about swearing? Why do the asterisks in that sentence make it ok? Why do so many people want to stop other people doing things, and how can they be stopped from stopping them? Why is every film and TV programme a sequel or a remake? Why are we so reliant on perpetual diversion that someone has created chocolate toothpaste? Is there anything to be done about the Internet?

These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell as he delights us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life – from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, nuclear weapons to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense. Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious nation.

David Mitchell is a comedian, actor, writer and the polysyllabic member of Mitchell and Webb. He won a BAFTA for Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look, and has also starred in Jam and Jerusalem, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff and Ambassadors. He writes for the Observer, chairs The Unbelievable Truth, is Team Captain on Would I Lie to You? and has been in two films, neither of which made a profit.

The Review

I love David Mitchell. I think he is witty, clever and sometimes acerbic but most of all I like his silliness. How he takes the ridiculous and makes it even more so. David Mitchell definitely produces the kind of comedy that I enjoy. Therefore I was really happy when I had the opportunity to read his collection of articles in the book Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life. I don’t buy newspapers (because I spend all my time reading books) so to have a compendium (yes, I went there) of his writing titillated me greatly.

What is fantastic about this collection is that it is dip-in-able. You don’t have to sit there for hours on end reading masses of articles. If you have a short commute then one or two articles should be enough. It is that sort of text, really.

I will warn you though, you will not be able to read the articles without hearing them in Mitchell’s nasal drawl.

Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life by David Mitchell is available now.

For more information regarding David Mitchell please visit his Twitter page (@RealDMitchell).

For more information regarding Faber and Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

3-stars

A to ZTitle: The A to Z of Everything

Author: Debbie Johnson

Pages: 420 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

P is for Paris where it all began.

J is for Jealousy where it all came undone.

But the most important letter is F.

F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

The Review

Ok, so let me start by saying that I have read nearly all of Debbie Johnson’s novels and I have loved each and every one of them. I am at that stage of book love where I actively look for the next release and get giddy when I know one is coming.

I was very giddy about The A to Z of Everything but I was less giddy about having to wait until April to have to read it but huzzah the great gods of bookish fortune bestowed a magical copy to me.

I realise I am fangirling a bit here but what are you gonna do?

The A to Z of Everything is brilliant. It is best described as a warm hug of a book. There is no way that you can read about the lives of Andrea and her daughters Poppy and Rose without feeling moved. It is a story of dying but not necessarily through death. It is about not living, it is about forgiveness and it is about having no regrets. It is a multifaceted story that touches you on so many levels and it has the kind of writing that makes it difficult to put the book down. It is an honest-to-god page turner.

Overall, I feel it is a cathartic novel. Johnson has managed to put feelings that I have had into the perfect combination to accurately express my own feelings. It is rare when that happens but when it does it is purely magic. Yes, what I am saying is that you all need to read this book.

The A to Z of Everything is Debbie Johnson’s best work yet.

The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson is available from 20th April 2017.

For more information regarding Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) please visit www.Facebook.com/debbiejohnsonauthor.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollins) please visit www.harpercollins.com.

5-stars

Goog GirlfriendTitle: The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even

Author: Anna Bell

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre Books

The Blurb

When Lexi’s sport-mad boyfriend Will skips her friend’s wedding to watch football – after pretending to have food poisoning – it might just be the final whistle for their relationship. But fed up of just getting mad, Lexi decides to even the score. And, when a couple of lost tickets and an ‘accidentally’ broken television lead them to spending extra time together, she’s delighted to realise that revenge might be the best thing that’s happened to their relationship.

And if her clever acts of sabotage prove to be a popular subject for her blog what harm can that do? It’s not as if he’ll ever find out…

The Review

I read Anna Bell’s The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart last year (you can read the review here) and loved it so I jumped at the chance of reading her latest book The Good Girlfriends Guide to Getting Even and you know what I think I love this one more.

I loved the premise that Lexi, being a sport widow, decides to get even. With every punishment she doles out the tension builds and whilst you love what Lexi has done you can’t help but panic a bit as well. You know that the revenge is going to come and bite her on the bottom but that is part of the fun.

Anna Bell has created a fabulous story with characters that are so relatable it almost hurts. The Good Girlfriends Guide to Getting Even is funny, sharp and just plain good fun. I absolutely loved it and you will too!

The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell is available now.

For more information regarding Anna Bell (@AnnaBell_writes) please visit www.annabellwrites.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books please visit their twitter page (@BonnierZaffre).

4-stars

ayoade on ayoadeTitle: Ayoade on Ayoade

Author: Richard Ayoade

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

The Blurb

From the director of Submarine and the star of The IT Crowd, the world of film as you’ve never read it before.

Would t be too much to say that my somewhat-wry prose has changed the way the film community thinks about itself (and indeed how it thinks about the concept of community)? No. It wouldn’t. In fact, it’s actually pretty insulting that this so-called ‘Community’ hasn’t done more to acknowledge (or even begin to repay) its undoubted debt to me.

Richard Ayoade is many things – film director (of Submarine and The Double), comedy actor (The IT Crowd), comedian and TV presenter (Gadget Man), Ayoade on Ayoade captures the director in his own words: pompous, vain, angry and very, very funny.

The Review

Well done Richard Ayoade. Your book, Ayoade on Ayoade, might just be the strangest book I have ever read. If not the strangest, then it is definitely in the top ten.

Essentially, Ayoade on Ayoade is Richard Ayoade interviewing himself in some postmodern expression of self. It is, at times, very entertaining. I laughed a lot but overall the charm of Ayoade on Ayoade came in its sheer randomness.

I think my favourite aspect were the footnotes…which is kind of like Ayoade on Ayoade on Ayoade. I like Ayoade and getting Ayoade to the power of three is always going to be a winner.

If you like your books to be weird then this is definitely the text for you.

Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade is available now.

For more information regarding Richard Ayoade please visit is Twitter page (@RichardAyoade).

For more information regarding Faber and Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

3-stars