Title: Maggie Does Meribel (Girls on Tour Book 3)

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 62 pages

Synopsis

They say that relationships are made or broken when you go on holiday together. This is the situation that Maggie finds herself in when she and boyfriend Leo go on a group skiing holiday to Meribel. Whilst Maggie knows her relationship with Leo isn’t perfect she does not expect to see how bad things have gotten.

Things go from bad to worse when Maggie embarks on an innocent flirtation with hunky ski instructor Sylvan. Can Maggie and Leo repair their relationship before it is too late?

Review

Maggie Does Meribel has been my favourite of the Girls on Tour series of books. What Nicola Doherty has managed to do (and do very well) is create a realistic story about the pitfalls of any relationship. The way she describes Maggie’s insecurity about rocking the boat when it is damn obvious that Leo is being horrible to her is such an honest account. Haven’t we all felt like that sometimes?

This was especially clever by being juxtaposed with the two other relationships within the story. They showed us, the reader, and Maggie exactly what she was missing.

I think Nicola Doherty has created such a wonderful series of books and each one has its own merits. With Maggie Does Meribel it is the anti-love story that makes it so special. Another massive well done to Nicola Doherty.

Maggie Does Meribel by Nicola Doherty is available now.

You can follow Nicola Doherty (@nicoladoherty_) on Twitter.

Maggie Does Meribel

Title: A New York Christmas

Author: Melissa Hill

Pages: 34 pages

Synopsis

Fleeing from a broken heart, Maddie leaves her hometown in Ireland and decides to spend Christmas with family in New York. Whilst trying to have a traditional New York Christmas she accidentally has herself a traditional holiday romance.

Review

This was a seriously short story. So much so that I worry that anything I write will be full of spoilers. I love Christmas and I love New York but I didn’t love A New York Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it; I just think I wanted more from it.

I think that Maddie is an interesting character with a story worthy of telling. I would love it if Melissa Hill wrote a flashback story or even one which included love interest Blake and her ex Don – a full feature length novel.

This is the only criticism I have for A New York Christmas is that it was just so short it was hard to actually fully immerse myself in it and enjoy it without feeling cheated when I came to the end.

Please write a novel featuring these characters again, I beg thee Melissa Hill.

A New York Christmas by Melissa Hill is available now.

You can follow Melissa Hill (@melissahillbks) on Twitter

 

Synopsis

The lives of three women become intrinsically linked through a set of circumstances beyond their control. The way they handle the changes, the chance encounters and the choices they make all impact their future and how they are seen by others.

Review

Strange Girls and Ordinary Woman is very much a book driven by its characters. It is very languorous in its pace and not very much actually happens. Although, on reflection, a lot actually does; the book is laden with affairs, the sultry and seedy nightlife of the world of stripping, religious integrity, travel yet it all seems very calm and composed – reflective, almost.

However, what is inarguable is the strength of its three leading ladies – Alice, Vic and Kaya. Alice discovers her own strength when the shackles of a loveless marriage make her take stand and account for herself as an individual. Vic learns to stop judging others by the standards that she sets for herself. And Kaya learns to allow herself to be loved – or at least that is the optimistic slant that I am placing on its ambiguous but hopeful ending.

Out of all the characters, it is the chameleon like Kaya who is the most interesting. She is misunderstood by so many of the other characters within the narrative that you genuinely want to protect her and see her get something good from life. It is almost heartbreaking that she seems to hit hurdle after hurdle, life constantly throwing bad things in her way.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women isn’t a light read but it is effortless in its lyrical style. You do become swallowed up whole by the story and I will admit that I lost myself for a few hours between the pages. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who like character driven novels.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy is available now.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women

Synopsis

The whole town of Halvertson, North Carolina is in mourning. Local hero and the towns’ favourite football star Jimmy Hawkins is missing. No one has seen him in days. Well almost no one. Keira Nolan has but she knows no one will believe her that she has been visited by Jimmy Hawkins – in ghost form.

Or worse – they will believe her and think she has something to do with his murder.

Review

As far as YA fiction goes This Is Your Afterlife deals with some pretty dark subject matters. Murder, obsession, psychotic episodes but it does so in a way that is not too intense. There are some genuinely warm and comedic moments in this book that make it quite an enjoyable read. If I had to liken it to anything I would say that this is like the film Ghost meets TV’s Ghost Whisperer but for a younger audience.

The clever and playful banter between Keira and Jimmy was entertaining; you didn’t get the impression that Jimmy was dead. They bickered like brother and sister and their constant jocular discourse helped the flow of the novel.

The relationship that Keira and Jimmy’s brother Dan had was also quite sweet. They had to learn to trust each other again and through uncomfortable circumstances. Barneveld managed to keep this believable considering that the overall theme of death could have potentially overshadowed any bourgeoning relationship; she was very sensitive to theme of loss and played down the relationship extremely well.

This Is Your Afterlife deal with emotions that we all feel after losing someone close to us; that intense desire to have one more moment with them. It is a comfort to see someone writing about the possibility of that in a believable way. Well done Vanessa Barneveld.

You can follow Vanessa Barneveld (@Vanessab73) on Twitter.

This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld is available now.

This is your Afterlife

Synopsis

Penny Porter is a quiet girl, she blends into the background and she likes things that way. She has no intention of being the lead in the school play or the most popular girl in school. She just wants to get by. Unfortunately for Penny, life gets in the way.

Penny becomes an internet sensation when a video is posted on Facebook of her falling over and flashing her comfortable but worn thin unicorn pants to the whole school. Penny is mortified and vents the only way she knows how to – through her secret identity as Girl Online, her anonymous online profile.

Rather than going back to school she is whisked away to help her parents organise a wedding in New York. The Big Apple – with the help of her new friend Noah – makes her see the big picture. However, will Penny’s life be the same after this adventure?

Review

Ok, it would be impossible to talk about Girl Online without mentioning the recent “ghost writer” scandal surrounding its publication. The use of Zoe Suggs online identity has assured that the book has sold a ridiculous amount since its release. Whilst I am one for supporting authors’ integrity I have to pose the following question – do we all really believe that Beyonce sits in a lab and creates her own brand of perfume? Or that ~David Beckham actually designs his own brand of sports shoes? No, didn’t think so. However, the brands of “Beyonce” and “David Beckham” do sell products. This is pretty much what has happened in this case. So Zoella had some help or a ghost writer, it is not like this hasn’t happened throughout history.

So with that now being aired onto my review of Girl Online – it is actually a pretty good, easy YA read. It is the kind of novel that deals with issues that teenagers go through i.e. losing friends, falling in love and the dangers of the internet. All of which are hot topics surrounding youths today.

You cannot help but like protagonist Penny. She is clumsy, insecure (but not in a needy way) but comfortable with who she is. She doesn’t want the lime light, she wants a nice comfortable easy life and when she has her several misadventures you cringe for her. When all of the embarrassing things happened to Penny I instantly had flashbacks to my awkward and mortifying teenage days; if I had read a book like this back then I probably would have handled them a lot better myself.

The grand storyline of falling in love with a celebrity seems implausible in our much media saturated society, however, I personally read books to suspend my disbelief so I can forgive that faux pas – plus, who of us hasn’t had the dream that we fall in love with a rock star?

Online Girl is an entertaining 300+ page distraction from life. It isn’t going to change your world like some of the contemporary teen fiction but it might just brighten up your day…whoever the author may be.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg is available now