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.

Title: Floored

Author: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift that morning, they were strangers. Sasha, who is at the UK’s biggest TV centre desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s by far the richest – and best-looking – guy in the lift; Velvet, who regrets wearing the world’s least comfortable shoes to work experience; Dawson, who isn’t the good-looking teen star he was and desperate not to be recognized; Kaitlyn, who’s slowly losing her sight but won’t admit it, and Joe, who shouldn’t be there at all, but who wants to be there the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year . . .

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I can honestly say that I have never read a book that has so many authors attached to it. The authors of Floored is made up of seven of the most noteworthy names in contemporary young adult fiction and whilst I cannot claim to have read other books by all of the authors I now know that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick them up because Floored is brilliant.

Six people from varying different backgrounds – socially, economically, sexually, etc – all meet whilst travelling in a lift. After a shocking incident occurs, the six lives become inextricably linked. Every year the motley crew meet and we watch as their lives unfold in front of us.

What I loved about Floored was thee diversity in the characters. They all had some trials and tribulations to get through, they all had something that was breaking them but they managed to deal with it. Each one was strong in their own way. The range in voices really added to the way the story unfolded. The multi-perspective multi-layering was so engaging.

I genuinely hope that this collection of authors collaborates again. They are like Captain Planet –  when their forces combine they become greater than their individual parts which were pretty great to begin with.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Bynre, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Barnard (@saramegan) please visit www.sarabarnardofficial.com.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Tanya Byrne (@tanyabyrne) please visit www.tanyabyrne.com.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Melinda Salisbury (@MESalisbury) please visit www.melindasalisbury.com.

For more information regarding Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) please visit www.lisawilliamsonauthro.com.

For more information regarding Eleanor Wood (@eleanor_wood) please visit www.eleanorwood.net.

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

Title: Deconstructing Dirty Dancing

Author: Stephen Lee Naish

Pages: 89 Pages

Publisher: Zero Books

The Blurb

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert said Dirty Dancing “might have been a decent movie if it had allowed itself to be about anything.” In this broadly researched and accessible text, Stephen Lee Naish sets out to deconstruct and unlock a film that has haunted him for decades, and argues that Dirty Dancing, the 1987 sleeper hit about a young middle-class girl who falls for a handsome working-class dance instructor, is actually about everything. The film is a union of history, politics, sixties and eighties culture, era-defining music, class, gender, and race, and of course features one of the best love stories set to film. Using scene-by-scene analyses, personal interpretation, and comparative study, it’s time to take Dirty Dancing out of the corner and place it under the microscope.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

My love for Dirty Dancing knows no bounds. It is my favourite film of all time and I will watch it whenever it is on television…albeit I will watch the DVD so as not to get cross that they have edited bits out and to alleviate the adverts but I still watch it every time it is on television. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had watched Dirty Dancing over 1000 times.

It is due to this that I am always dubious when someone writes about it. I worry that they are going to try and be disparaging about it. My fiancé is always trying to take it down but after I made him watch it with audio commentary (provided by myself) he realised that nothing was going to shake my love.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing is a really clever look at Dirty Dancing from an academic point of view and Stephen Lee Naish is not trying to belittle the movie at all. He studies it from a historical, social and political point of view. He takes you on a minute by minute journey and celebrates how much of a brave movie Dirty Dancing is and how it tackles some extreme issues of the time which are scarily still relevant today.

This is definitely one for film fans and Dirty Dancing buffs alike.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish is available now.

For more information regarding Stephen Lee Naish (@RiffsandMeaning) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Zero Books (@Zer0Books) please visit www.patreon.com/zerobooks.