The Blurb

1912 and London is in turmoil…

The suffragette movement is reaching fever pitch but for broke Fleet Street tomboy Frankie George, just getting by in the cut-throat world of newspapers is hard enough. Sent to interview trapeze artist Ebony Diamond, Frankie finds herself fascinated by the tightly laced acrobat and follows her across London to a Mayfair corset shop that hides more than one dark secret.

Then Ebony Diamond mysteriously disappears in the middle of a performance, and Frankie is drawn into a world of tricks, society columnists, corset fetishists, suffragettes and circus freaks. How did Ebony Diamond vanish, who was she afraid of, and what goes on behind the doors of the mysterious Hourglass Factory?

From the newsrooms of Fleet Street to the drawing rooms of high society, the missing Ebony Diamond leads Frankie to the trail of a murderous villain with a plot more deadly than anyone could have imagined…

The Review

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I think that is what drew me to The Hourglass Factory to begin with. What I didn’t expect was to be fully immersed into a post-Victorian London and wanting to fight alongside the suffragettes; to become an investigative journalist and even an acrobat.

Ribchester’s story is engaging, powerful and intriguing. She leaves you with the “just one more chapter” feeling and this story will have you hooked long after you know you should have put the book down and got on with real life.

Ribchester’s protagonist, Frankie George, is both compelling and sassy along with being frustrating at times as she is determined to be independent. Her secondary characters are well thought out and plotted succinctly. Ribchester leaves you with no gaps or questions. Equally the mystery that she has her characters solving is meticulous and does leave you feeling shocked. What more could you want from a story?

One thing is for certain, this is historical fiction at its very best.

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester is available now.

You can follow Lucy Ribchester (@lucyribchester) on Twitter.

The Hourglass Factory

Title: Language Lessons

Author: Jay Bell

Pages: 47 Pages

The Blurb

Love doesn’t come easy. For Joey, he didn’t care if it ever came at all. He was much too busy adding notches to his bedpost and preparing for life as an adult. But when a causal fling waxes nostalgic about the one that got away, Joey starts to wonder if he isn’t missing something after all–if there really is something to be learned from the language of love.

Language Lessons is a new short story by Jay Bell, author of Something Like Summer.

The Review

Language Lessons is a lovely coming of age story which focuses on young lothario Joey who spends his days screwing around and as many hot guys as he can. However, when he sees the burgeoning relationship between two of his friends he comes to question his own actions. Then he meets Phillip and all bets are off.

I’m a fan of LGBT fiction and I am supportive of it as a growing genre. For young adults, revealing your sexuality can be a heartbreaking experience yet fiction like Language Lessons allows readers to become more comfortable with their sexuality or if you are heterosexual to become more comfortable with those around you who are LGBT.

It is for that reason that I think stories such as Language Lessons are important. Besides this fact the story is well written. It is sharp, on point and manages to make the reader swoon with the romantic elements.

Well done, Jay Bell.

Language Lessons by Jay Bell is available now.

You can follow Jay Bell (@JayBellBooks) on Twitter.

The Blurb

If you loved One Day and The Rosie Project, you will fall head-over-heels for The Two of Us.

Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next…

Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story.

The Two of Us is a charming, honest and heart-breaking novel about life, love, and the importance of taking neither one for granted.

The Review

Relationships aren’t like what they used to be. This sounds simple to say but equally it is very true. Long gone are the days of courting and asking for a hand in marriage and doing things in what is – believed by some – the correct order. Modern day relationships are hard. They are hard to maintain, hard to control and hard to navigate through this miasma of feelings and emotions.

This is the topic of Andy Jones’ brilliant book The Two of Us. Through Fisher and Ivy we see how the modern pitfalls of relationships can stymie the most committed and, more so, the most inexperienced when it comes to love. Yet there is no doubt throughout the book that Fisher and Ivy love each other, however, a major one of contention (from this reader’s perspective) is that they both find it hard to compromise. Fisher is more willing to concede in this than Ivy is which sometimes makes you become very frustrated with her. Equally, when you get the sense that Fisher is going to do something to screw things up you get angry at the book and start talking to the characters, offering them advice (just me?).

The Two of Us by Andy Jones is a damn fine book and has already barged its way into my top ten of the year so far. I know it is early days but I don’t foresee it budging. Well done, Andy Jones.

The Two of Us by Andy Jones is available now.

You can follow Andy Jones (@andyjonesauthor) on Twitter.

The Two of Us

The Blurb

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books.

We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.

And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over two hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

The Review

There is a saying that seeing someone reading a book that you like is almost like a book recommending a person. Something similar can be said about this book. Reading the words of someone who seems to love books and indeed bookshops as much as Jen Campbell seems to is like the book recommending her to me as an author and fellow bibliophile.

It has been an awfully long time since I have read a book that has filled me with such a feeling of nostalgia. This is pretty strange because I have yet to frequent any of the bookshops mentioned in The Bookshop Book…although several of them have now made it to my bucket list.

The Bookshop Book celebrates the longevity and lasting love of bookshops and how they not only encourage but also nurture future readers whilst also being a safe haven for people – whether they be first time mums, pensioners, students etc.

I suppose what is special about this book is that it reminds us of our own bookshop/reading stories. I was fortunate to come from a home where I was read to every night by my mother and that instilled a love of reading in me that has carried on into my thirties.

Reading is a tangible, loving experience which we often take for granted and in a society which has extremely low literacy rates and that has libraries being closed down constantly The Bookshop Book reminds us to treasure our local booksellers.

The Bookshop Book is a gorgeous read filled with historical detail and heart-warming tales from booksellers. It is a must for any book lover.

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell is available now.

the bookshop book

The Blurb

Meet Tigerlily James: romance cynic, North Londoner and die-hard margarita fan.

Tigerlily James has been a member of the Young and Bitter Club ever since she was dumped on Valentine’s day. By her fiancé.

Surviving on a diet of cynicism and margarita-fuelled ‘Misery Dinners’ with her best friends, she’s become a romance free zone…and that’s the way she likes it. Until an invitation for The Ex’s wedding arrives. Suddenly in need of a plus one, Tig has little choice but to bin the takeaways, ditch the greying underwear collection…and start pretending to view the opposite sex as something other than target practise.

Then, she meets Ollie – ie. the perfect solution. No sex. No strings. Fake boyfriend. The only catch is that she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for three whole months.

Dating without the heartbreak: the best idea Tig’s ever had, right? Wrong!

The Review

I went through a phase of refusing to read romantic comedy books. I admit, I was embittered by being cruelly dumped that my bitter and twisted response was to cut off reading about the girl who gets the guy when at that time of my life was the complete opposite to my situation. You may be wondering why I am sharing this part of my past but I swear to you that I have a point. Basically, I became Tig. I had gone through something similar (nowhere near as bad as what Tig went through but enough to leave me cold and angry and in need of the feel good factor) and this, dear reader, is what is great about this book. Any girl that has had their heart cruelly broken will find this a great read.

Besides a storyline that is easy to empathise with the characters are truly loveable. You want Tig to come back to life and you want her and Ollie to make it. Apart from that, you also want someone to come into your life and sweep you off your feet with a series of romantic dates.

In a storyline that could very easily become cheesy AL Michael has managed to avoid that plot pitfall and created lively three dimensional characters with real world lives and real world problems…you know in a fictional format. What I am trying to say is that this book will fill you with the warm and fuzzies and you should add it to your ‘to be read’ pile straight away.

My So-Called (Love) Life has surpassed all of my previous reads of 2015 and has quickly taken the top spot. It is going to be a hard book to beat for my personal favourite therefore I bid all future reads good luck.

My So-Called (Love) Life by AL Michael is available now.

You can follow AL Michael (@ALMichael_) on Twitter.My So Called Love Life