Title: Ghosts

Author: Dolly Alderton

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

The Review

I’m just going to say it. I LOVED GHOSTS.

Now with that out of the way let me tell you why. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is a story of modern dating. The trials and tribulations, the changes that have taken place over the past few years, the advancement of online dating. But it is also much more than that. It is a story of changing relationships – how life can come between even the best friends. It is the developing and every changing story of family dynamics. But, again, it is much more than that. It is a story of independence.

It was so multilayered and all in 336 pages.

The novel went from happy to sad back to happy in warp speed. You are really taken on a journey with protagonist Nina Dean. For me, the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moments were the scenes with her father. The love and respect that she has for him seemed to be paralleled in the desire to find a partner who lived up to his standard.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton was such a joy to read. It is one of my favourite reads of 2020 and I cannot wait to see what Alderton produces next.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is available now.

For more information regarding Dolly Alderton (@dollyalderton) please visit linkt.ree/dollyalderton.

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

Title: Life in Pieces

Author: Dawn O’Porter

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

The Blurb

Dear 2020 – can we just start over?

Dawn O’Porter has been thinking about life. In lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard.

From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn’s daily diaries track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal.

LIFE IN PIECES is a book for anyone who’s been thrown into a life they didn’t plan, or who just wants to stick it to 2020. When it looks like everything’s falling apart, we’ll piece it back together.

Love Dawn x

The Review

One of the things that I wish I had done was to have made a record of all the weird things that happened during lockdown. Like when I lost my sense of taste and smell or how we had a mouse and it terrorised us so much that we were held hostage by it, or how we would watch the daily briefings with shock, despair and anger at our governments handling of the whole ordeal. Alas, I did not. But Dawn O’Porter did.

In her latest release, Life in Pieces, Dawn O’Porter tells us about her lockdown and how she handles things such as the isolation, Covid-19, home schooling etc. It was such a tonic reading it and knowing that you weren’t alone in the weird lockdown feelings. 

Some of the more poignant parts of Life in Pieces came when O’Porter talked about the death of her friend Caroline Flack. Her moments of stillness allowed you to take a moment yourself and realise that in times as strange as these have been to take note of the people around you that you love.

Another wonderful piece by O’Porter.

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter is available now.

For more information regarding Dawn O’Porter please visit her Instagram page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins UK (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Author: Michelle McNamara

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper

The Blurb

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

The Review

True crime fascinates me. Not to the extent that is fascinated Michelle McNamara. She became obsessed with the Golden State Killer and made it her mission to find out as much as she could. Sadly, she did not live long enough to see him incarcerated. 

The book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a thorough account of criminal activity that took place across America. The crimes were heinous and led to the infamy of the killer. After reading the book, you get the sense that Michelle McNamara missed her calling in life and that she should have been a police officer in charge of homicide. Her dogged determination would have been an asset to any police force.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a brilliant read if True Crime is your genre. 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara is available now.

For more information regarding Harper (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page. 

Title: Untamed

Author: Glennon Doyle

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Publishing

The Blurb

Who were you before the world told you who to be?

Part inspiration, part memoir, Untamed explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and instead dare to listen to and trust in the voice deep inside us. From the beloved New York Times bestselling author, speaker and activist Glennon Doyle.

*****

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There. She. Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high but soon she realised they had come to her from within. This was the voice she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions and social conditioning. Glennon decided to let go of the world’s expectations of her and reclaim her true untamed self.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanising wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is also the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honour our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. And, as Glennon insists, ‘The braver we are, the luckier we get.’

The Review

Okay. Full disclosure. I didn’t know that Adele had “bigged” up this book. I bought it a long while ago as an impulse buy when I was feeling a bit needs and book buying seems to curb that feeling. I started reading it not really knowing what to expect. I thought it was fiction. I bought it because I thought the cover was pretty. Kudos to the person that designed it.

I did not know that Untamed was a memoir. I did not know that it was a book about having a positive mental attitude. I think I came to Untamed a little bit unprepared. 

Untamed is a good read. Glennon Doyle is a great writer and manages to get her point across. I did feel much more positive after reading it. I don’t really think there is much more I can say about it than that. I am glad it has found an appreciative audience and I did like it but it wasn’t a book that changed my life the way it did Adele’s.

What I will say is that certain chapters – those on race and sexuality really did leave a lasting impact. For those chapters alone Untamed is worth reading. The rest of the book is just a bonus.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle is available now.

For more information regarding Glennon Doyle (@GlennonDoyle) please visit www.untamedbooks.com.

For more information regarding Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back

Author: Alicia Cook

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

The Blurb

Sorry I haven’t texted you back, I’ve been so anxious and depressed I haven’t had time to catch my breath, you know how life gets!

Returning to the form of Stuff I’ve Been Feeling LatelySorry I Haven’t Texted You Back is a poetic mixtape dedicated to those who struggle or have struggled with their mental health. Divided into two parts, “Side A” holds 92 poems, titled as “tracks,” and “Side B” holds the “remixes,” or blackout-poetry versions, of  those 92 poems. The book includes the evergreen themes of love, grief, and hope. Named after Cook’s viral Instagram poem, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back lands in the crossroads of self-help and poetry.

The Review

Sorry I Haven’t Text You Back is a powerful set of poems that has poet Alicia Cooks figuratively bleeding on the page. She gives her all in this collection and leaves you in no doubt as to how she is feeling. She takes the theme of mental health and uses poetry to help you understand. 

It is a shocking, powerful and moving collection of poems which needs to be digested slowly and allow yourself time to fully digest the meanings behind the poems. 

It also comes with a kick-ass soundtrack to accompany it.

Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back by Alicia Cook is available now.

For more information regarding Alicia Cook (@the_alicia_cook) please visit instagram.com/thealiciacook.

For more information regarding Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel) please visit www.andrewsmcmeel.com.