Title: The Art of French Kissing

Author: Brianna Shrum

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing/ Sky Pony Press

The Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they’re involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

The Review

As far as cute, light hearted teen romances go you cannot go far wrong with Brianna Shrum’s The Art of French Kissing.

Set in a cooking school, the heat is turned up when a handful of teenagers begin competing for a scholarship program. Things are made more fiery when our protagonist Carter Lane has a cheeky run in with one of her competitors, Reid. But as the old saying goes “if you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.”

The Art of French Kissing really is one of those books that you can read without feeling too committed to. It is enjoyable and it is fun. The palpable tension between Reid and Carter is enjoyable and knowing that they are as bad as each other makes the teasing easy enough to handle.

All in all, The Art of French Kissing is an enjoyable read.

The Art of French Kissing by Brianna Shrum is available now.

For more information regarding Brianna Shrum (@BriannaShrum) please visit www.briannashrum.com.

or more information regarding Skyhorse Publishing (@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

For more information regarding Sky Pony Press (@skyponypress) please visit skyhrse.com/2in7NrQ.


Title: Gloria Steinem – The Kindle Singles

Author: Salamishah Tillet

Pages: 36 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

In this conversation, Gloria Steinem — the 79-year-old activist, author and 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — reflects on her personal life growing up in Toledo, Ohio, and her political awakening during the most radical decade of the 20th century, while discussing the obstacles and opportunities that continue to shape the lives of American families today.

Steinem has spent her life working for racial justice and women’s rights. In this interview, she speaks humorously and insightfully on everything from politics to pop culture. She reveals that the backlash she received for supporting Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid was “one of the worst experiences of my life,” and criticizes a history of feminism that forgets the deep alliances between early civil rights and women’s rights activists. Whether she’s defending Kim Kardashian from public vitriol or calling out the antiquated sexual assault policies of the U.S. military, Gloria Steinem is always engaged, always fighting for what she believes in.

The interview was conducted by Salamishah Tillet, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Tillet blogs for The Nation, and is the author of Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination. She is also the co-founder of A Long Walk Home, a non-profit organization that uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to end violence against girls and women.


The Review

Having read Gloria Steinem’s biography and a few pieces that she had written for Ms Magazine I was pleasantly surprised with Salamishah Tillet’s interview with Gloria Steinem.

You see, you get the sense (and rightly so) that in the pieces produced by Steinem that whilst she has no qualms with honesty and baring her soul that she controls the narrative. It was interesting to see her exposed in such a way that wasn’t critical but was led by another party.

We get to see Steinem under the microscope and what makes her feel the way she does.

This was a very interesting read.

Gloria Steinem – The Kindle Singles by Salamishah Tillet is available now.

For more information regarding Gloria Steinem (@GloriaSteinem) please visit www.gloriasteinem.com.

Title: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

Pages: 69 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.


The Review

I must admit I didn’t really enjoy reading Animal Farm. I understand that it is an allegory for power and government and how people will always strive to overthrow governments to gain more power but as a piece of literature it just didn’t float my boat.

I think that if I had been reading Animal Farm as part of a study rather than reading it for pleasure I would have enjoyed it more but alas I read it because I felt like I needed to read it because as an English graduate you feel guilty when you haven’t read books that people presume you should have read. Ah well. Overall, Animal Farm was not as equal (or more equal) than some of the other books that I have read recently.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.


Title: Searching for Grace Kelly

Author: M. G. Callahan

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK

The Blurb

For a small-town girl with big dreams in 1955, there is no address more desirable than New York’s Barbizon Hotel – the place where Grace Kelly lived when she first came to the big city.

Laura is an aristocratic beauty from Connecticut who arrives with a magazine internship and dreams of becoming a writer

Dolly is a hopeless romantic working the secretarial pool and looking to be swept off her feet

Vivian is a red-headed British bombshell who yearns to make it as a singer while working nights as a cigarette girl

Perfect for fans of Mad Men, The Best of Everything and The Paris Wife, this is a novel filled to the brim with glamour, following the lives of three women as they are lured into the exhilarating, dazzling world of New York City and embark on a journey that will alter their lives for ever.

The Review

Set in the Summer of 1955, three very different girls descend on the Barbizan Hotel to try and achieve their dreams and escape the humdrum of their regular lives. These three girls, Dolly, Vivian and Laura are very different but for an unlikely friendship; a friendship that will change their lives forever over the course of one summer.

I love historical fiction, especially when it is historical fiction that I can visualise and really sink my teeth into and 1950s New York with all its fashion and glamour and promise really does manage to take my breath away.

M. G. Callahan creates a stunning version of the New York lifestyle; he mixes debutantes with society folk and with the beatnik movement in one fell swoop. He looks at the challenges that modern young women faced and how they coped in the face of difficult decisions and adversity. Searching for Grace Kelly is a stunning novel that hooks you from the first page. It is told in contrasting perspectives of the three girls and allows us to see that the grass isn’t always greener.

Searching for Grace Kelly by M. G. Callahan is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group UK (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

Title: Meddling Kids

Author: Edgar Cantero

Pages: 322 Pages

Publisher: Titan Books

The Blurb

With raucous humour and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.

The Review

Meddling Kids is a classic crime story that has author Edgar Cantero harking back to mysteries of the past. Part Stranger Things, Scooby Doo, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five Meddling Kids truly is a story to plunge yourself deep into and to let yourself go along for the ride because you really have no control in this book. None whatsoever.

With three of the four original members of the Blyton Summer Detective Club back together to solve one more mystery, we – the audience, are treated to a very clever plot development of what happened to our favourite childhood crime fighters when they got older. Cantero has cleverly looked at how life might turn out for them and take us on one last epic adventure.

Cantero doesn’t sugar coat things. He lets us know that our childhood heroes may have actually lived pretty insane lives and he recognises that the original audience has grown.

What I will say is that whilst I appreciate Cantero’s premise sometimes his delivery wasn’t as great as it could have been. We have laboured and even cheesy metaphors, aggravating alliteration and also the over use of authorial intrusion. In a book that seriously needs you to suspend your disbelief these things clashed together constantly reminding you that you were reading fiction rather than allowing you to immerse yourself in the story.

Meddling Kids was a great story in theory but sometimes the delivery let it down.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero is available now.

For more information regarding Edgar Cantero (@punkahoy) please visit www.punkahoy.blogspot.com.

For more information regarding Titan Books (@TitanBooks) please visit www.titanbooks.com.