Genre: YA Fiction

The Gist: The sequel to the novel Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

Small Review: Knife Edge focuses on Jude’s story directly after Noughts and Crosses and we see how the main characters have developed and changed. Jude’s aggression and desire for revenge has intensified in this explosive sequel.

Big Review: I really loved Noughts and Crosses. I read it recently as part of the classroom curriculum for year 9 and have shoved it into everybody’s hands since then because it was just brilliant. 

The sequel, Knife Edge, whilst not as impactful as Noughts and Crosses however it was fantastic to be reunited with the beloved characters again and seeing how they had developed since the first book. 

When we are reunited with Jude we see that he hasn’t learned from the consequences of his involvement with the LM (Liberation Militia) and is currently in hiding and away from his fellow resistance fighters. He is out for revenge and is determined to make everyone pay.

Meanwhile, Sephy has had to grow up and do it fast. She needs to start looking after herself and her family and she is doing that without the life of privilege that she is used to. She is still reeling from her experiences and she is suffering mentally. 

Where Noughts and Crosses had the shock value, Knife Edge is a lot more grown up. More real life dramas are being dealt with and we see new dimensions to the characters.

It is honestly such a good series and I think this book was needed to set up the rest of the series. I cannot wait to read the rest.

Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk. 

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

Genre: Humour

The Gist: A celebration of the kind of people that you find shopping in bookshops.

Small Review: Following the success of Diary of a Bookseller and Confessions of a Bookseller, Shaun Bythell’s third release is a closer look at the customers that he has encountered over the years and how they fall into idiosyncratic categories.

Long Review: In a world full of YouTube videos and handheld computers. one of the industries hit hardest by the advancement of technology was that of the bookshop and seller. However, Shaun Bythell’s bookshop – called The Bookshop – has provided him with both an income and a career as a writer. Shaun Bythell’s career as a book seller has been celebrated in his first two releases Diary of a Bookseller and Confessions of a Bookseller (both brilliant reads) and his latest offering looks at the colourful cast of shoppers who have allowed him to keep his shop open. 

The world of bookselling suffered a massive blow this year during the Pandemic and a lot of small independent businesses have sadly had to close. Strangely, during the pandemic reading increased however, with cheap paperbacks all the more readily available from supermarkets and online sellers again the independent shops have been hit the hardest. 

Shaun Bythell released his latest book Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops during the pandemic and it really is a celebration of the weird and the wonderful. Once again, his book is chock-full of stories and experiences from his time as a bookseller. He reminds us that the kind of service and community that a local bookshop can create can never be found in a supermarket or online. 

What is utterly charming is that all of these things haven’t seemed to change Bythell. Known for keeping people at arms length you actually feel that sensation when you read his book. It takes skill to invite someone into your world but to not allow them to get too close.

You really should buy this book for the book-lover in your life. Just do me a favour and buy locally. Your bookshops need you.

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell is available now.

For more information regarding Serpent’s Tail (@serpentstail) please visit www.serpentstail.com.

Genre: Autobiography

Gist: An autobiography of the prolific punk poet John Cooper Clarke

Small Review: John Cooper Clarke takes you on a guided tour of his life and the things, people and places that shaped him into one of the best loved poets of the punk generation.

Long Review: Poetry and I have a difficult relationship. I like learning about poetry, the nuances and the cleverly picked phrases. I love playing Where’s Wally with poems – find the metaphor, spot the simile detour relationship never really went beyond that which is strange because I love music and essentially lyrics are just poems to music. I digress. 

However, every so often I find a poem that I just love. For me, one of those poems was I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke. It made me curious, I started reading other poems by him and I kind of fell for his clever use of rhyme and unusual emphasis on syllables. Yep. I really liked it.

I was really excited when I found out that he was going to be releasing an autobiography. His crazy and random tales from his crazy and random life. I couldn’t wait. I listened to I Wanna Be Yours on Audiobook. I wanted to hear how John Cooper Clarke told his stories. Would they be like his poems? Would I be totally mesmerised and engaged. The answer to both of those questions is yes. His lyric style does not end at his poetic outputs. I genuinely feel that his lyricism and enunciation would be like having an every day conversation with John Cooper Clarke.

Some of the stories John Cooper Clarke tells are enough to make any punk fan toe-curlingly envious. I know I was as I read it. I wanted to have the experiences that he had. I wanted to be living that roguish lifestyle and see the things that he had seen, the performers that he got to see. I didn’t live through that time period but I did get to experience it somewhat vicariously through I Wanna Be Yours. This is definitely a book that needs a reread.

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke.

For more information regarding John Cooper Clarke (@official_jcc) please visit www.johncooperclarke.com.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Lolita

Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Pages: 331 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Humbert Humbert – scholar, aesthete and romantic – has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

Lolita is a story that is widely considered a classic. For me it was just really boring. We had a sycophantic peadophile in protagonist Humbert Humbert and this platform of a story was used in a way to normalise what he was doing whilst knowing it was wrong. 

I felt that the character of Lo was used as a cautionary tale and her ending wasn’t befitting her character.

I don’t know. I just really didn’t like this book.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is available now.

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

Genre: Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

The Gist: Following the death of a well known supermodel and 60s “It” girl the London Police force soon realise that they have a serial killer on their hands. It is a race against time to figure out who the murderer is. All they have to go one are the words left as clues in blue chalk.

Short Review: A run-of-the-mill whodunnit with a quirky main character and a villain whose motives seem insufficient. Easter delves into the criminal world with an 80s London backdrop using the era as an additional character.

Long Review: When Detective Inspector Anne Leeding turns up at crime scene she expects it to be a run-of-the-mill suicide. Yet clues begin to lead the inspector to consider different options. Could she have a serial killer on here hands?

Okay, as far as crime thrillers go Don’t You Want Me? is pretty good. The clues are dished out incrementally and you are generally playing guess who with who the killer could be. If I have to be honest, I did find the whole story a bit too long. I felt that certain parts could have been left out and the story would have flowed better. Furthermore, I did think that Easter really wanted the reader to know that the book was set in 1981. He overused references to the point of exhaustion. 

However, his smaller plot lines made the story much more full. The secrets waiting to be revealed allowed the characters to feel fully developed and much more interesting beside their lives within the police force. 

Overall, Don’t You Want Me? isn’t amazing but it is an interesting read that will keep you entertained for a few hundred pages. 

Don’t You Want Me? by Richard Easter is available now.