Title: Almost Love

Author: Louise O’Neill

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Riverrun

The Blurb

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.

But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt.

Isn’t it?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill is one of the most uncomfortable books that I have read in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love Louise O’Neill’s writing style and I have felt the exact same way reading the other books she has released (Only Ever Yours and Asking For It). O’Neill has an uncompromising way of writing stories that put you in situations that you either have strong feelings about or that make you feel unsettled.

Further to this, I personally feel that O’Neill creates characters that aren’t necessarily likeable. I really didn’t like Sarah. She was condescending yet felt everyone was looking down their noses at her. She made silly decisions but then felt that she was the injured party. She just wasn’t a character to fall in love with.

But that is the power of Louise O’Neill’s writing. She doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels. She challenges you as a reader. If you read for escapism then Louise O’Neill’s books are not for you but if you like to be put in a situation that feels fraught with tension then pick up her books (all of them) today.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill is available now.

For more information regarding Louise O’Neill (@oneilllo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Riverrun (@riverrunbooks) please visit www.riverrunbooks.co.uk.

Title: It Was Acceptable in the 80s and a Smidge in the 90s

Author: RJ White

Pages: 88 Pages

Publisher: Sunderland in Pictures.

The Blurb

Take a journey down memory lane with this 52 page picture e-book which has photographs from the 80′s that’ll take you back down memory lane. The pictures inside the e-book cover the shops before the bridges, pubs, Crowtree Leisure Centre & more.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Ok, I admit, I didn’t read the blurb properly. I thought I was reading a book about the 80s. I was but it was the 80s specifically in Sunderland. I’ve never been to Sunderland. Therefore, this book really wasn’t for me. For those who lived in Sunderland during the 80s (and a smidge of the 90s) then they will probably find this book quite titillating. The lesson to be learned here is always read the blurb.

 It Was Acceptable in the 80s and a Smidge in the 90s by RJ White

Title: Maybe in Paris

Author: Rebecca Christiansen

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

The Blurb

Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother, Levi, and high hopes. Levi has just survived a suicide attempt and months in the psych ward—he’s ready for a dose of the wider world. Unlike their helicopter mom and the doctors who hover over Levi, Keira doesn’t think Levi’s certifiable. He’s just . . . quirky. Always has been.

Those quirks quickly begin to spoil the trip. Keira wants to traipse all over Europe; Levi barely wants to leave their grubby hotel room. She wants to dine on the world’s cuisine; he only wants fast food. Levi is one giant temper tantrum, and Keira’s ready to pull out her own hair.

She finally finds the adventure she craves in Gable, a hot Scottish bass player, but while Keira flirts in the Paris Catacombs, Levi’s mental health breaks. He disappears from their hotel room and Keira realizes, too late, that her brother is sicker than she was willing to believe. To bring him home safe, Keira must tear down the wall that Levi’s sickness and her own guilt have built between them.

The Review

Oh where do I begin with Maybe in Paris?

Ok, so my love of Paris and being a self confessed Francophile made me select this book. The thought of travelling to Paris and seeing the sights and falling in love with the city sounds like absolute heaven to me so understandably I liked the idea of this novel. And whilst I cannot say that Rebecca Christiansen writes in a bad way (because she doesn’t) I cannot say I enjoyed this book.

Pourquoi? I hear you scream.

Well it had such unlikable characters. Let’s start with Keira and Levi’s mum. Within the first few chapters she has basically called her daughter a slut. Makes out that she is some wanton harlot. Now if that was the case then why hasn’t the mother taken some parental responsibility and tried to speak to her daughter before basically writing her off and feeling that it was ok to speak to Keira like she was muck on her shoe.

Then we have Keira who, yes, is a little bit flighty which can be forgiven but she is also incredibly selfish and naive and really takes no responsibility in her actions. She thinks she is right all of the time and acts on instinct which nine times out of ten is wrong.

Then we have the younger brother, Levi. Levi quite clearly has mental issues alongside a potential diagnosis of autism. It feels that, at times, Christiansen uses his autism to justify some of his actions which are just plain arsey which is unfair to those who have autism.

Overall, I feel that the story would have been better if Christiansen had made her characters much more likeable.

Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Christiansen (@rchristiansenYA) please visit www.rebeccachristiansen.com.

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

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.