Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Canongate

The Blurb

The touching, funny and heartwarming new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Stop Time and Reasons to Stay Alive.

Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.

The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.

Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

The Review

It would be fair to say that I have a complicated relationship with Matt Haig’s writing. I have read a few of his books and whilst I have loved his non-fiction – seriously his perspective on mental health is fascinating and so very helpful – I haven’t really managed to get along too well with his fiction. However, at the insistence of a close friend I gave The Midnight Library a go and I have to admit I really, really liked it.

It is the story of Nora Seed – a young girl whose life doesn’t seem to have lived up to the promises of what life should be and due to that she wants her life to be over. She ends up in a place called The Midnight Library which gives her to opportunity to see how her life would be if she had taken different paths.

Now you could say that this is a trope that has been examined before – most notably in It’s A Wonderful Life – however, Haig has a brilliant way of juxtaposing the weird and wonderful with the ordinary and humdrum and he shows Nora Seed seeing how everyone is impacted by her existence in different forms. What is also great is that The Midnight Library is not twee. It is thoughtful and introspective but inviting and engaging.

Reading The Midnight Library has certainly made me more interested in reading more fiction from Matt Haig.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@matthaig1) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Call Me, Maybe

Author: Stephie Chapman

Pages: 388 Pages

Publisher: Hera Books

The Blurb

What if you got a second chance with your first love? What happens when you meet your teenage heart-throb – when you’re both all grown up?

When Cassie was fifteen, all she wanted was to marry Jesse Franklin, the bassist from her favourite band, Franko. Now she’s single, in her late twenties and wondering what happened to that teenage dream. A chance encounter on Facebook soon leads to a transatlantic hook up, and soon, Jesse and Cassie are having a long-distance love affair spanning five thousand miles. Cassie is on cloud nine – until she hears something that makes her think that Jesse might not be all that he seems.

They say never meet your heroes – but what happens when you fall in love with them…? Are Cassie and Jesse star crossed lovers, destined to be together? Or should Cassie have left her crush in the box marked ‘teenage memories’?

Previously published as Getting Over Jesse Franklin, this brand new edition has had extensive editorial changes.

The Review

Okay, so Call Me, Maybe by Stephie Chapman is literally my 20-something dream of how I wanted my life to turn out…kind of.

Call Me, Maybe is the story of Cassie and how she loved a band so much when she was younger and how with the wonders of modern technology she was able to befriend the band member she loved years later and start a relationship with him. Okay. My summary actually sounds pretty creepy but Call Me, Maybe was not. It was a bit predictable at times but there was a comfort in that. Knowing that with any relationship there is going to be bumps in the road and dramas lurking around every corner.

I really, really enjoyed Call Me, Maybe. IT was easy, fun and lighthearted. I really wish that it had happened to me and Matt from Busted and I don’t care who knows it.

Call Me, Maybe by Stephie Chapman is available now.

For more information regarding Stephie Chapman (@StephieChapman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hera Books (@HeraBooks) please visit www.herabooks.com.

Title: Paris for One and Other Stories

Author: Jojo Moyes

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A collection of 11 unmissable short stories from the number 1 internationally bestselling author of Me Before You and After You.

Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away-to anywhere-before. Travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up, she has the chance to prove to everyone-including herself- that she can be independent and intrepid. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed . . .

In the ten other stories, Jojo Moyes introduces us to a cast of strong, relatable women in the midst of their everyday lives. In Honeymoon in Paris, featuring characters from her bestselling novel, The Girl You Left Behind, Liv and Sophie – though decades apart – both find that marriage is only the beginning of their love stories. In Crocodile Shoes, a businesswoman’s blossoming confidence emerges from a fateful changing-room mix-up. And in both Love in the Afternoon and A Bird in the Hand, two couples dance around the trickiness of long-time marriage.

In this irresistible collection, readers will be whisked from elegant perfume shops to taxis to five-star hotel rooms and more. Jojo Moyes always makes the ordinary moments in life extraordinary.

Funny, charming, and unmissable, Paris for One and Other Stories is Moyes at her best.

The Review

I haven’t read a Jojo Moyes story in a while and I must admit that my reading tastes have changed. However, picking up her work is like putting on a dressing gown that has been warming on a radiator after a cold day out. So very comforting.

What is great is that this collection of short stories reminded me of all the things that I love about her writing. The relatable characters, the lifelike settings and the sense of escapism. It was a book that I needed in between reading a few heavy texts.

What is lovely to know – and so very evident in the characters on display in Paris for One and Other Stories – is that when you pick up a Jojo Moyes book it feels like going home.

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes is available now.

For more information regarding Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes) please visit www.jojomoyes.com.

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

Title: How to Be a Husband

Author: Tim Dowling

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A riotously funny book about how to be a good husband (not like he would know) by Tim Dowling, star columnist for The Guardian. Think Nick Hornby meets Dave Barry—with a hint of Modern Family.

This is not a self-help book. Tim Dowling doesn’t have any solid advice for you on how to be a man—he tried hard to become one for a while, but in the end he just got older. This is simply the story of how, in the course of ten bewilderingly short years, Dowling went from a bachelor’s life in New York City to becoming an ex-pat in London, solidly married and the father of three young boys. It’s also an examination of what it means to be a husband in the twenty-first century—and what is and isn’t required to hold that office these days.

Tim Dowling has been exploiting his family in his writing for years, ever since it became clear that readers of his weekly column at The Guardian couldn’t get enough stories about his acerbically witty spouse and their rambunctious offspring. Dowling writes brilliantly about his wife and marriage, from the first days of their whirlwind courtship to the matter-of-fact way in which they decided to tie the knot, and keeping the “magic” alive after ten years together. Being a husband and father in the era of “The End of Men” isn’t easy, and Dowling continues to struggle to find ways to remain relevant to his family (hint: proficiency at DIY never hurts).

How to Be a Husband is a joyous and poignant read—a personal memoir about falling in love, moving to another country, having children, and staying together through money troubles and times of grief—that also just so happens to be devastatingly funny.

The Review

How to Be a Husband was a real eye opener to the way some men think. I don’t know how to be a wife yet as I am unmarried but what I got from this collection is that marriage and love span a lifetime if you are lucky and the travails that go with it will shape and mould the relationship. Who you are as people, as a couple, will be very different to who you started out as being and more than anything it will be an interesting journey.

How to Be a Husband by Tim Dowling is available now.

For more information regarding Tim Dowling (@IAmTimDowling) please visit his Twitter page.

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

Title: The Memory Book

Author: Lara Avery

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

“They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.”

Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she’s going to win the national debating championship, then she’s going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she’d planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won’t wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned. 

A life-affirming, heart-breaking and dazzling novel for fans of All the Bright Places and The Fault in Our Stars.

The Review

There has been a trend over the past few years that has seen YA fiction focus on life-limiting illnesses. We have had The Fault in Our Stars and Five Feet Apart among many others. Whilst these books were great I think I was a little bit unsettled by the thought that teens were being exposed to such sadness but then I had a word with myself and remembered that this is how people learn and how people are exposed in a healthy way to things that they may know nothing about and how empathy is created.

The Memory Book is about early dementia – a disease often associated with the elderly but in rare cases it can affect teenagers. Samantha McCoy has this rare condition and she is doing everything she can to fight it. The feeling you get from Samantha is that she feels that it is just so unfair. Your heart breaks for her as you see her disintegrate in the novel. It is the kind of novel that will remind you how lucky you are.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery is available now.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachetechildrens.co.uk.