Title: Conversations on Love

Author: Natasha Lunn

Pages: 297 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and evolve over a lifetime. She turned to authors and experts to learn about their experiences, as well as drawing on her own, asking: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it? 

In Conversations on Love she began to find the answers:

Philippa Perry on falling in love slowly 

Dolly Alderton on vulnerability

Stephen Grosz on accepting change

Candice Carty-Williams on friendship

Lisa Taddeo on the loneliness of loss

Diana Evans on parenthood

Emily Nagoski on the science of sex

Alain de Botton on the psychology of being alone

Esther Perel on unrealistic expectations

Roxane Gay on redefining romance 

and many more… 

The Review

Besides the obvious, I didn’t know what to expect when I read Natasha Lunn’s Conversations on Love. I hadn’t read her columns before and I think I was expecting a love story of sorts. In a way I got that. Natasha Lunn hasn’t tried to trick you. This book really is a book about love with conversations with many people from other writers, to artists, to therapists. It is how love – such a universal feeling – feels different for everybody and that there is no one true way to define it.

What you do get is a broad understanding of how people feel on a daily basis, whether it be the love to a partner, parent or child, Lunn has explored it. Parallel to her conversations is the story of Lunn and the miscarriage that she and her partner suffered. In this aspect, kudos has to be given to Lunn as she has bled her feelings on the page with such purity that her pain feels visceral.

If you are looking for a book that will make you be introspective on the feelings and practicalities of love then Conversations on Love is the book for you.

Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn is available now.

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

Title: My Child and Other Mistakes

Author: Ellie Taylor

Pages: 243 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

My Child and Other Mistakes is the honest lowdown on Motherhood and all its grisly delights, asking the questions no one wants to admit to asking themselves – do I want a child? Do I have a favourite? Do I wish I hadn’t had one and spent the money on a kitchen island instead?

Stand-up comic, broadcaster and actress Ellie Taylor is relatable, clever and interested in how women can have it all. Her honest, hilarious and moving account of the whys and hows of having a baby makes perfect reading for expectant mothers and fathers everywhere, as well as those who’ve been there, done that, and wonder how on earth they did. 

In this very funny book she writes candidly about her own personal experience exploring the decision to have a baby when she doesn’t even like them, the importance of cheese during pregnancy, why she took hair straighteners to the labour ward, plus the apocalyptic newborn days, childcare, work and the inevitable impact on life and love and most importantly, her breasts.

The Review

I’m a fan of Ellie Taylor. When I watch her acting or her stand up I genuinely belly laugh at the things that she has to say so I was eager to read her memoir My Child and Other Mistakes because I knew that I would be entertained. Ellie Taylor did not let me down.

In My Child and Other Mistakes, Taylor chronicles her ascent into adulthood. I don’t mean the passing of the years that makes us a grown up but the decisions that we make that validate that in modern society such as getting engaged, getting married, having kids.

What Taylor does in her coming of age memoir is show you the reality of this in a funny way. She doesn’t sugarcoat the harder times or the times that make her look just a little unhinged. It all adds to the wonderful colour of this story. Her thoughts on motherhood are especially honest and she lays bare how hard it is but also how rewarding she has found it.

My Child and Other Mistakes is a wonderfully funny read.

My Child and Other Mistakes by Ellie Taylor is available now.

For more information regarding Ellie Taylor (@EllieJaneTaylor) please visit www.linktr.ee/Elliejanetaylor.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: Mayflies

Author: Andrew O’Hagan

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.

In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.

Mayflies is a memorial to youth’s euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.

The Review

What can I say about Andrew O’Hagan’s Mayflies that will do it justice; to accurately describe how perfect this book is? I can’t come up with anything except that this is the book I have been waiting to read for a long time.

It is essentially a book about the family you choose for yourself and how those friends become the most important people in your life. They are the ones that know you best. The ones who have seen you at your worst and not only love you for it but mercilessly mock you because they are the only ones who can get away with it.

What is brilliant but brutal about Mayflies is the highs and lows. When you think something bad is going to happen or a character won’t amount to much he pulls the rug from under you, defying your expectations and ultimately keeping you on your toes.

Mayflies will definitely be appearing in my top ten of the year list.

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan is available now.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

Title: Out of Heart

Author: Irfan Master

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books

The Blurb

Donating your heart is the most precious gift of all.

LONGLISTED for the 2018 CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL

Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. His dad has left them although lives close by. His sister no longer speaks and his mum works two jobs. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders.

Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift – his heart. 

William is the recipient of Adam’s grandfather’s heart. He has no family and feels rootless and alone. In fact, he feels no particular reason to live. And then he meets Adam’s family. 

William has received much, but it appears that he has much to offer Adam and his family too.

A powerful tale of love and strength in adversity.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Out of Heart is a powerful story about the enduring ability of love and how death cannot weaken those feelings.

Adam is a bit of a loner kid. He doesn’t let anyone in. His family live hand-to-mouth, his dad isn’t in the picture anymore, his sister doesn’t speak and then his grandfather dies. This isn’t a spoiler. It happens in the first chapters. However, when the recipient of Adam’s grandfather’s heart appears on their doorstop Adam’s world is rocked.

I honestly loved Out of Heart. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It deals with uncomfortable matters with kindness and shows you the value of friendship and love.

Out of Heart by Irfan Master is available now.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (@HotKeyBooksYA) and (@HotKeyBooksTeen) please visit www.hotkeybooks.carrd.co.

Title: The Girl at the Window

Author: Rowan Coleman

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Press

The Blurb

A house full of history is bound to have secrets…

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.

While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…

A hauntingly beautiful story of love and hope, from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

The Review

The Girl at the Window is the story of Trudy who has moved back home with her young son to the place she grew up. Going home is a big deal and besides dealing with the emotional deons of her past she is also dealing with actual haunting spectres.

Okay, if I am 100% honest I am not sure if I loved this book. I feel like the story was two separate things almost willfully fused together. I am not saying the story wasn’t good it was just that I didn’t really feel the connect between the two of them. The historical and mythical element seemed like it could have bee the main story which is weird because it played second fiddle to the modern day tale of Trudy losing her husband. I think I wanted more of the past than the present.

I know people will love this story. Coleman never writes anything that is bad and The Girl at the Window is a good book. It is a good story. Personally, I just wanted more of the second story.

The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman is available now.

For more information regarding Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Ebury Press (@EburyPublishing) please visit their Twitter page.