Title: Ghost Wall

Author: Sarah Moss

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Granta

The Blurb

The light blinds you; there’s a lot you miss by gathering at the fireside.

In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.

For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs—particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.

The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?

A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.

The Review

I would love to say it is rare that I have a verbal outburst when reading a book but it really isn’t. I get so lost in them that I often tell the characters what I think they should do or what I think of them. However, it has been a long time since I repeatedly yelled at a character or cursed their very existence but that is exactly what Sarah Moss had me doing when I read Ghost Wall.

Ghost Wall is the story of Silvie. She is young, impressionable and kept naïve and held back by her father and his stern patriarchal beliefs – women should do the domestic stuff and men are hunters and gatherers. If you don’t like his rules, well you better keep it to yourself because there will be consequences.

It is on a trip across Britain’s countryside that Silvie realises that life shouldn’t be this way. But how is she supposed to break away from her father’s rules?

I didn’t think I would have such a strong reaction to Ghost Wall based on just the premise from the blurb and the cover but it is a book that – long after I have finished it – that I still think of it; think of the sinister relationship with her father and his relationship with history.

It is not for the fainthearted and there are some triggering subjects that feature within its pages but Ghost Wall is a book I would encourage everyone to read because it is powerful.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss is available now.

For more information regarding Granta Books (@GrantaBooks) please visit www.granta.com.

Title: Teachers – There Is No Such Thing as Hot Coffee and Other Teacher Truths

Author: Bored Teachers

Pages: 128 Pages

Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group

The Blurb

Is it Friday yet? Go behind the desk with this insider’s look at a year in the life of an everyday educator. Written for teachers by teachers, this hilarious snapshot into the lives of the overworked and underpaid will have you laughing so loud, you’ll worry it might get confiscated. Hear! The same question be asked over and over again. Feel! The strange allure of the laminator! See! Paper Mountain as it grows before your bloodshot eyes! Not only great for teachers, but people close to educators will also recognize many of the stories and stresses found here. Teachers is full of administrative frustration, madcap humour; and also heartfelt love for the most underappreciated profession of them all.

This hilarious romp through the weeds of the people that educate our children is the perfect gift for that special someone who manages (tries to manage) 30+ children 5 days a week.

The Review

I am not a teacher and I can honestly say I have never wanted to be one. However, I do work in a school and I see the daily workings of the staff – how hard teachers work, their daily grind and how often their hard work is overlooked by senior staff.

Teachers celebrates all the wonderful things that a teacher does; all the trials and tribulations of the job. Whilst this book focuses more on American schools, all of the things mentioned are relatable to those who work in education.

This is a brilliant stocking filler of a book for all those hard working, underpaid, and under-appreciated teachers that you have in your life.

Teachers – There Is No Such Thing as Hot Coffee and Other Teacher Truths by Bored Teachers is available now.

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Pages: 226 Pages

Publisher: Doubleday Books

The Blurb

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

The Review

Some books can completely grab you by the title alone. That was the way I felt about Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut My Sister, the Serial Killer.

It is a story that focuses on the sisterly relationship between Korede and Ayoola. Their relationship, like most relationships between sisters, is complex. Ayoola seems to have it all – the good looks, the seemingly easy existence, and any man that she wants. Korede’s life is almost the antithesis. She works hard, gets less respect from home and she is in love with a colleague. On the side of all of this she has to help her sister clean up the messes that she has made because Ayoola can’t seem to help herself from killing the men she dates.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is dark and macabre but so glib and witty that I read it in one sitting. I chuckled through it all and then, rather worryingly, found the story relatable. Not in the sense of murder but in the sense that my sister and I grew up with pacts like this. For example, if one of use found it hard to conceive a child the other would do it for them, so the closeness of the sisters in such dark and dramatic circumstances was acutely relevant for me and my sister.

I really enjoyed reading My Sister, the Serial Killer and it absolutely any and all of the praise that is showered upon it and its author, Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is available now.

For more information regarding Doubleday Books (@DoubledayUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Allegedly

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it. She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home” – no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted – and their unborn child – to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the gray areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, acknowledging the light and darkness alive in all of us.

The Review

Allegedly is one of those really intense books that messes with your mind. It focuses on Mary, a young girl who is trying to survive a group home for ex-convicts – girls – like her – who have been charged with committing serious crimes. Allegedly.

All throughout the story we are faced with this conundrum. How allegations may or may not be accurate. Whether or not the justice system is right or wrong and at what point does a person earn redemption or a second chance. It really is a lot of heavy subjects for a YA book. However, that is actually Allegedly’s strength. It doesn’t undermine young adults. It gives them a hard hitting and unique story to come to terms with and challenges the reader to have a voice, have an opinion.

Allegedly is one of the most powerful YA fiction books that I have read in a long time.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is available now.

For more information regarding Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) please visit www.writeinbk.com.

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

Title: Bibliophile – An Illustrated Miscellany

Author: Jane Mount

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books

The Blurb

Searching for perfect book lovers gifts? Rejoice! Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, is a love letter to all things bookish. Author Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. It’s a must-have for every book collection, and makes a wonderful literary gift for book lovers, writers, and more.

Readers of Jane Mount’s Bibliophile will delight in:

  • Touring the world’s most beautiful bookstores
  • Testing their knowledge of the written word with quizzes
  • Finding their next great read in lovingly curated stacks of books
  • Sampling the most famous fictional meals
  • Peeking inside the workspaces of their favorite authors

A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations: Bibliophile is pure bookish joy and sure to enchant book clubbers, English majors, poetry devotees, aspiring writers, and any and all who identify as book lovers.

If you have read or own: I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life; The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, and Civilization; or How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines; then you will want to read and own Jane Mount’s Bibliophile.


The Review

For my 35th birthday I bought myself a gift. I bought myself Bibliophile by Jane Mount. I saw it, I weighed up the pros and cons of spending a fair bit of money on a book and I decided that yes, I deserve the book, it’s my birthday and you cannot take the money with you. All of this was a fruitless action because the moment I saw Bibliophile I knew it would be mine.

Bibliophile is made up of gorgeous illustrations, lists, shops to visit, bookish history and the all powerful cover design. You get so much from this book – including another load to add to your TBR pile.

I have read a lot of books about books and Bibliophile has to be one of my favourites. It is so tactile and beautifully put together. It is an absolute treat.

Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it!

Bibliophile – An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount is available now.

For more information regarding Chronicle Books (@ChronicleBooks) please visit their Twitter page.