Title: The Truth about Keeping Secrets

Author: Savannah Brown

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A stunning coming-of-age tale from poet and writer Savannah Brown.

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around in their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Sydney believes the crash was anything but an accident. And when the threatening texts begin, and June Copeland – homecoming queen and golden child – appears at his funeral out of nowhere, she’s sure of it.

But through Sydney’s newfound relationship with June, she’s given a glimpse of a life without the darkness of an unresolved grief and the chance, just maybe, of a fresh start.

Until it’s clear that the secrets won’t go away, and the truth might bring everything crashing down…

Imperfect friendships, the shadow of grief and the sweet pain of romance – this is a poetic, thrilling ode to being human.

The Review

Imagine you are dealing with the grief of losing a parent. Now imagine that within that grief you believe it wasn’t an accident but that his death was pre-meditated. Imagine you believed your parent was murdered. This is the reality for Sydney and she is determined to find out the truth.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a great LGBTQIA+ crime mystery novel. It keeps you guessing to the very last page but also it has a lot of heart so you genuinely do feel for the characters. You really care about them and about their survival.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a must read for mystery lovers but it is also a quite cathartic read that looks at grief and the mental health implications of losing someone you love.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown is available now.

For more information regarding Savannah Brown (@savannahbrown) please visit www.savbrown.com.

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

Title: Taxi Tales from Paris

Author: Nicky Gentil

Pages: 112 Pages

Publisher: Matador

The Blurb

Taxi Tales From Paris is not your typical account of what happens when you move to another country. Nicky Gentil’s memoir offers the reader a truly original insight into life in the French capital because, as the title suggests, everything is seen through the prism of her most memorable taxi rides taken during the thirty years she has lived there.

Hugely entertaining, with some delightful comic touches, Gentil’s tales cover a wide variety of subjects such as her love of her adoptive country, the cultural differences she frequently encounters, the joys of parenthood, or indeed her ever-present passion for jazz, to quote but a few examples.

By the end of this book, as with any memoir set in the City of Light, you will immediately want to leap on board the next Eurostar going but, on this occasion, with one very specific aim in mind: to jump – upon arriving in Paris – into the very first taxi you see!

The Review

I don’t know what it is about Paris but it is a city that gets under your skin. You cannot fail to fall completely in love with it. I am a total Francophile and I love books set in Paris, even more so when it is a non-fictional account of this beautiful city. It is with this in mind that I have to tell you about this gorgeous book – Taxi Tales from Paris. It is a book made up of quirky encounters that author Nicky Gentil has had with taxi drivers in Paris.

The tales were delightful. They were funny, cute, endearing and all show how these journeys and encounters have helped shape Gentil’s many years in Paris. It is an adorable book which is over far too quickly. You should probably treasure and take your time with Taxi Tales from Paris but I couldn’t put it down.

Pick up Taxi Tales from Paris. You will be awfully glad you did.

Taxi Tales from Paris by Nicky Gentil is available now.

Title: Dinner with Edward

Author: Isabel Vincent

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Pushkin Press

The Blurb

A charming, tender and life-affirming memoir of a middle-aged woman’s unlikely bond with a 93-year-old widower.

With its delicious food, warm jazz, and stunning views of Manhattan, Edward’s home was a much-needed refuge for reporter Isabel Vincent. Her recently widowed ninety-something neighbour would prepare weekly meals for her, dinners Isabel would never cook for herself – fresh oysters, juicy steak, sugar-dusted apple galette. But over long, dark evenings where they both grieved for their very different lost marriages, Isabel realised she was being offered a gift greater than crisp martinis and perfect lamb chops.

As they progressed from meals à deux to full dinner parties with an eclectic New York crowd, she saw that Edward was showing her how to rediscover the joy of life. For even a shared bowl of chowder could transform loneliness and anxiety into friendship, freedom, and a pure, simple pleasure Isabel had not known she could find again.

The Review

What an absolutely gorgeous book. Dinner with Edward is a memoir of sorts. It is kind of the memoir of two people rather than one. Isabel Vincent met Edward when she was bequeathed the task of looking after him. Edward had recently lost his wife and didn’t see the point carrying on however, through his unusual friendship with Isabel and their shared love of good food they form an irrepressible bond that was just gorgeous to see unfold. All the while we see how Isabel Vincent’s life is unfolding parallel to Edward’s life winding down.

Dinner with Edward is an absolute joy of a book. It reminds us to value people not things, shared experiences, stories and that the bet things in life can often be shared over a decent meal. It reminds us to be kind and it reminds us to give a moment to pause and a second thought to those who are older and potentially lonely.

I honestly cannot recommend Dinner with Edward enough. The writing style is easy and approachable, you don’t get overwhelmed by the story you simply find yourself immersed in the friendship and wishing you were invited along for the meal.

Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent is available now.

For more information regarding Isabel Vincent (@isareport) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pushkin Press (@PushkinPress) please visit www.pushkinpress.com.

Title: Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire

Author: Akala

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Two Roads

The Blurb

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives speaks directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.

Natives is the searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

When dealing with the contentious discussion of race and racism there are few people I will turn to for answers. Being in the position as a white female I cannot begin to put myself in the position of a black person or POC because I haven’t lived there experiences. I can, however, try and learn as much as possible about racism through reading. I read as much as I can so I can try to understand a bit more. One of the people that I turn to for information is Akala. He is smart and articulate and has a way of delivering information that seems both relevant and accurate. His knowledge of the history of racism is exceptional and in his book Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire he not only offers his opinions but his thoughts are founded in historical fact.

I firmly believe that knowledge is power and you gain that knowledge through immersing yourself in reading. In Natives, Akala answered questions that I didn’t even know I had. I know much more about the Windrush generation, more about the disparity between black and white children in schools and the shocking difference in attainment – something I should have been aware of being that I work in a school, and I feel I know more about this through the lived experience of Akala and how he has dealt with systemic racism his whole life.

The overall thing that I took from reading Natives (and books of a similar ilk such as Born a Crime, Slay in Your Lane, Brit(ish), Diversify) is that we need to teach children about racism in schools. We are so quick to look at racism in America and celebrate key figures such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks but we need a much more realistic education in schools today that can have an impact on racism in the 21st century. Essentially, Natives needs to be studied on the curriculum

Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala is available now.

For more information regarding Akala (@akalamusic) please visit his Twitter page or YouTube channel.

For more information regarding Two Roads (@TwoRoadsBooks) please visit www.tworoadsbooks.com.

Title: Pizza Girl

Author: Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father, avoiding her loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickle-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness.

As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.

Bold, tender, and unexpected, Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.

The Review

Jane is young. She has just finished high school. She works in a pizza restaurant. She is pregnant. That is about as much as you can say about Jane on the surface. We don’t begin to understand her or her motivation in life until she gets a random pizza request from a lonely woman called Jenny. It is then that her world goes a little off kilter.

Pizza Girl, for me, was essentially the story of being a little bit lost. Jane seems lost on a strangely pre-determined path that Jane couldn’t seem to get off. Jane doesn’t seem to be comfortable with her pregnancy or her relationship with the baby’s father. Nor does she seem happy to believe that this is it, her life. When she meets Jenny it is almost like Jane finally finds someone to be a beacon of adulthood and what it is all about – not a perfect version of adulthood but with Jane being young and impressionable it seems better than what she has.

I will say that Pizza Girl is a very quirky and unique novel. It is not one that intends to make the reader feel comfortable. It skirts the edge of unusual indie read with no real resolution. However, it does leave you feeling strangely optimistic.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier is available from 06th September 2020.

For more information regarding Jean Kyoung Frazier (@gojeanfraziergo) please visit www.gojeanfraziergo.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.