Synopsis

Lena Dunham invites you into her world and delivers an account of some of the random events that have shaped her life and made her the person she is today.

Review

Pssst! Yes you, the one reading this. I have a slight confession. Before reading Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” I didn’t have a clue who Lena Dunham was. I’ve never watched HBO’s Girls nor had this tiny blonde lady from Manhattan made it anywhere near my radar (Lena Dunham – if you are reading this then I am very sorry). Instead, I was drawn to her book in that very way that us ‘high-brow’ book bloggers hate admitting to. I liked the pink and black writing on the cover. I hang my head in shame.

Having read Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” I do feel like I know who Lena Dunham is. Not just in a 21st century someone-who-is famous-and-therefore-known sort of way but on a more personal level.  This may seem like a crazy idea being that Dunham is only really showing us what she wants us to see; revealing only the parts of herself that she deems suitable for human literary consumption.

However, I get the sense that Dunham knows that the events of her life are funny and that by sharing them she really isn’t looking for judgement but looking to allow the reader to realise that life – anyone’s life – is full of humour, sadness, ambition and dark matter amongst a whole list of other things. She seems so conscious that in parts she comes across as a little unhinged but she bares her bones to us and good on her. There is a cathartic self-indulgence to this memoir in the sense that whilst I know the stories belong to someone else it has allowed me to reflect on my own life, the memories that have made up my story and it has given me the genus to laugh along with some of the things I used to take seriously.

So whilst I can’t honestly say that this book has inspired me to have a Girls marathon it has inspire me to take life as it comes and see the potential in each event I encounter. For that I thank you, Lena Dunham.

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham is available now.

You can follow Lena Dunham on Twitter @LenaDunham

 

Synopsis

Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to the family home Winterfold everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.

Review

The final part in the A Place for Us series is like a giant hug. Over the four instalments we have fallen in love with this family, been saddened by their downfalls, heartened by their love stories, in awe of the strength of the cast of characters and basically come to see them as our extended family.

For me, I felt like I was sharing in their story, that I wasn’t just a reader absorbing the words on the page in front of me, or a fly on the wall secretly observing what was going on. I felt like I was a Winter. That is a really rare talent when a writer can make me feel inclusive of a story and whilst I have no complaints about how this story ended or what happened in the narrative I will admit that I want more. I know this goes against my devotion as a book lover but I would love to see this made into a TV series; I genuinely think it would translate well on screen.

Well done Harriet Evans, once again you did not let me down.

A Place for Us Part Four by Harriet Evans is available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

A place for us part four

Synopsis

Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to the family home Winterfold everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.

Review

The third part of A Place for Us has by far been the quietest; the family secrets did not fall thick and fast in this part of the novel, instead it has been a book of reflection. The family are still reeling from the shock revelation of Daisy and her wayward lifestyle and the death of Southpaw and as the family assess and take in these dramatic changes in their lives we realise that nothing can really, truly ever be the same at Winterfold.

Evans choice to make this part of A Place for Us decidedly low key was impressive. The tension had been gradually building over the first two parts and some reprieve was needed. The reflective tales of David’s past and about the sacrifices that he had made throughout the years made you appreciate this family unit all the more. Martha’s sadness at his passing was truly heartbreaking – especially as we see the family look upon her to guide them, to continue the matriarchal role that she once held so proudly, so strongly.

It is also through the memories encased in the close-knit family that helps unify them once more. The Winter’s have survived worse and as we head into the winter of this narrative we see the power that a unified family can have.

A Place for Us Part Three by Harriet Evans is available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

a place for us part three

 

Hey bookish people,

Once again I have had a fantastic book week in that I managed to post a fair few reviews. I fear I may have a slower week this week which is a shame. One major bummer though is that even though I reviewed a lot of books I still didn’t manage to get my NetGalley percentage rate up because the fabulously generous publishers approved me for loads! I’m not complaining but sadly I am only at 27.6 which is only 0.2% higher than last week. I swear I managed to get it over 28% earlier in the week.

With this in mind I have made a rule that I am not allowed to buy anymore Kindle books until I have over 30% percentage rating. Ok, there is some wiggle room here. If a book is ridiculously cheap then it would be fiscally irresponsible for me to not buy it but that is the only exception.

Anywho, the reviews that were posted this week are as follows:

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

A Place for Us Part Three by Harriet Evans

The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Say it with Sequins: The Complete Collection by Georgia Hill

I also finished Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey; the review will be posted 22.11.14. I am still reading Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham and I have started A Place for Us Part Four by Harriet Evans.

This week I plan to read the following:

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson (222)

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually by Ali McNamara (449)

Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby (231)

Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills (224)

Let’s hope my go-slow isn’t too slow going.

Hope you all have a great book week

L x x

PS – I seem to be lacking physical book post lately so if any of you lovely folks want to send me some lovely books to make me smile then that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

The Rumba

For actress Julia Cooper, reviving her fledging acting career is the sole purpose that she took part in Britain’s second most popular dance program – Who Dares Dances. Well that and helping raise money for a good cause. Little does she expect to fall – and fall hard – for fellow contestant, children’s TV presenter, Harri Morgan. Yet when he spurns her advances she is confused; he acts like he likes her but then doesn’t make a move. Yet when they are paired to dance together in the celebrity challenge they are forced to dance the Rumba…the most sexual of all dances. With all this heat burning up the dance floor Julia is bound to find out once and for all if Harri has feelings for her.

The Waltz

For writer Lucy Everett, taking part in Who Dares Dances is a massive challenge. Not because of the difficult routines, although they are a worry but because until just a few years ago Lucy suffered with agoraphobia. It has taken years of therapy to get her out of the house but Lucy feels if she can do this then she can do anything. Well, that is until she starts to have feelings for one of her fellow contestants.

Olympic swimmer Max Parry has caught Lucy’s attention. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it) Max appears to be interested in Lucy’s dance partner Daniel. However, Lucy cannot shake these feelings that she has for him. Will it hinder her chances in the competition?

The Charleston

Life is difficult for struggling comedienne Meredith Denning. Her career is going nowhere and she is on a deadline that has been imposed by her parents. By the time she reaches 26 she has to give up her dreams of working the comedy circuit and get a “real job.” With the help of her aunt Venetia she gets drafted into the latest series of Who Dares Dances and is paired with professional dancer Daniel Cunningham.

However, the lecherous TV producer Bob Landry keeps making lascivious passes at Meredith and when she makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with him he sets out on a personal vendetta to sabotage her chances. Can Meredith keep her eyes on the prize? Or are they set to wander to her beautiful dance partner?

Review

It is that time of the year again when that magical feeling is in the air. Yes Christmas but also it is the time of the year when the best reality show is shown on television: Strictly Come Dancing. Personally, I cannot resist the glitz, the glamour and the glitterball.

So, for that reason alone, I was very excited to read a collection of stories that centred around the world of dance. The three short stories – all titled with dances that suited the theme of the book – were pleasant reads. Initially, I was put off by the love story featured. For me, it felt like the love blossomed far too quickly but then I had to re-align my thinking because essentially it is a collection of three short stories. Of course it is going to happen suddenly! Once I got over that I began to really enjoy the stories.

Each couple had stumbling blocks that they had to overcome but they were not obvious, grating or frivolous. It made the characters seem a lot more three-dimensional.

I liked the constant character threads that ran through each three stories. The self referential style was enjoyable and it was nice revisiting the previous characters stories. In particular how Daniel Cunningham was the quiet constant until he got his moment in the final book as the hero.

The dances provided a sexy background without being too oppressive and domineering to the storyline, so if you are a fan of chick-lit but not really of dancing then these stories won’t overwhelm you with confusing terminology and detail. I think I personally would have liked to have read more detail on the dances but I also understand how that would be hard (and probably tedious) to weave into the narrative.

Overall, these short stories are a fun read. They aren’t too taxing but Georgia Hill still manages to make you root for the characters, their flaws and essentially for their love stories

Say it with Sequins: The Complete Collection by Georgia Hill is available now.