Title: The Manhattan Girls

Author: Gill Paul

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books

The Blurb

NEW YORK CITY, 1921

An impossible dream.

The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.

A broken woman.

She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?

A fight for survival.

When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…

A new novel from the internationally bestselling author, Sex and the City meets the 1920s in this sweeping tale of love, loss and the everlasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis, Dinah Jefferies and Chanel Cleeton.

The Review

One of my all time favourite tropes in novels in when the writer takes a real life person or situation and moulds the story around them or it. Gill Paul is masterful at writing historical fiction. I loved her book The Paris Wife and I felt no less love for The Manhattan Girls.

The Manhattan Girls focuses on the lives of four women who had a modicum of fame in 1920s New York – a time of great social change but also a time where morals ruled the streets and those who flouted the rules visited the seedy underbelly. It was a time of prohibition – where bathtub gin was the norm. A time when women were able to find their feet and stand their ground…but this didn’t come easy.

I absolutely adored this tale of Dorothy Parker and her friends. I didn’t know a lot about them before going in to the novel but afterwards I felt like I had been present to a slice of history. Gill Paul is brilliant at transporting you to a time or place, you feel like you are a fly on the wall.

An absolutely stunning historical drama steeped in the power of friendship.

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul is available now.

For more information regarding Gill Paul (@GillPaulAUTHOR) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Avon Books (@AvonBooksUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Very Nearly Normal

Author: Hannah Sutherland

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Avon

The Blurb

From a dazzling new talent in women’s fiction, comes a swimmingly beautiful love story with a little twist in the tail.

Effie’s not perfect. Neither is Theo. But together, they’re pretty close.

Matilda ‘Effie’ Heaton has always felt like she’s swimming against the tide. Everyone around her has life sorted, but Effie’s living with her parents and crying into a wine bottle at night. The only thing she loves is her job at a bookshop, where she can lose herself in other people’s stories.

But then she meets Theo, who knows only too well that life isn’t something to take for granted.

Because Theo has a life-changing secret, and as Effie starts to realise that she’s falling in love instead of falling apart, fate steps in and deals her a new hand. And this time, the stakes are high.

A gorgeous, heart-breaking read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Gail Honeyman.

The Review

I do love a good romantic story, however, as I have gotten older I have found that I need more. I need my romances to have a lot more substance. Enter Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sutherland – the quirky love story of Effie and Theo.

Effie is, for want of a better phrase, a hot mess. She is the wrong side of her 20s, living at home with her parents, lacks any ambition, has had a handful of previous failures – romantic and career wise – and when we meet her she is on a disastrous Tinder date. She is the antithesis of the person you would want to be.

Enter Theo: A young dude who witnesses the aforementioned date and then starts to ardently pursue Effie. A love story for the ages.

Everything here seems so (very nearly) normal for a romantic comedy check list however Sutherland does make you work for your protagonist and her potential for a happy ending. For the most part, Effie has some really unlikable qualities. She is petulant and whiny, she talks to her mum like she is a piece of dog much that she has stepped in – in fact she is kind of like the living embodiment of the Harry Enfield Kevin character. She is a bit of an arse at times.

However, fall in love with Effie we do. We do this alongside Theo. He breaks through her tough shell and we begin to see the softer side of Effie.

But love is never simple and its course is never smooth. Very Nearly Normal is a bit of a bumpy ride.

I found Very Nearly Normal to be every bit the page turner that you want a novel to be. I fell completely for Effie and Theo and wished all good things for them. They are the kind of characters that you think about long after you have turned the final page and you wonder what happened to them next.

Very Nearly Normal is a brilliant romantic comedy…with a big dollop of substance.

Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sutherland is available now.

For more information regarding Avon (@AvonBooksUK) please visit www.avonbooks.co.uk.

Title: Sleep

Author: CL Taylor

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books

The Blurb

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

The Review

Crime fiction is not necessarily my genre of choice; however, I am the perfect audience for crime writers. I never see the ending coming.

Sleep by CL Taylor is one of the few crime/thriller books that I will probably read this year but if any story was going to get me reading more then this would be the one.

The majority of the story is set in a secluded hotel (already it had me creeped out) on an island that is difficult to get to or get off for that matter. It has a cast of characters that all seem to have secrets. One of them is the killer and we need to figure out who before it is too late.

I honestly loved Sleep. I would have read it in one sitting but everyone in my house was going to bed and I was that freaked out I couldn’t read the rest. I know I am no expert in this genre but CL Taylor seems to have mastered the craft.

If you like crime dramas then Sleep is the perfect book for you.

Sleep by CL Taylor is available now.

For more information regarding CL Taylor (@callytaylor) please visit www.cltaylorauthor.com.

For more information regarding (@AvonBooksUK) please visit www.avonbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Stained Glass Heart: A Love…Maybe Valentine eShort

Author: Kat French

Pages: 39 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books/Harper Collins

The Blurb

The Enchanting One: Part of the Love…Maybe ebook short story collection. Xanthe, Alice and Sarah, three ageing ghostly beauties who haunt number seventeen Delaney Street. None of them has ever known true love, and forbid any resident to know it either. Will the new owner, Helen, fall prey to their magic, or can she break the spell once and for all?

The Review

I really, really enjoyed this short story.

The Stained Glass Heart by Kat French mixes the supernatural with the realistic. It focuses on a house of heartbreak. Anyone who lives in this house suffers heartbreak or death. So when new resident Helen moves in you think she will be subjected to the same fate.

However, with a dramatic twist The Stained Glass Heart really pulls the rug from under your feet.

My one complaint is that this is a short story. I WANT MORE! I really feel that these charming characters could be shown in a full novel or a series of books. The concept of the living and the living dead co-existing and not in a terrifying zombie way seems pretty interesting.

Also Xanthe’s story could be a stand-alone noel. Her story of heartbreak hinted at an interesting past and would be brilliant to read.

Get on it, Kat French!

The Stained Glass Heart by Kat French is available now.

For more information regarding Kat French (@KFrenchBooks) please visit www.kittyfrench.com.

For more information regarding Avon Books (@AvonBooksUK) please visit www.facebook.com/AvonBooksUK.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

4 Stars

Title: Single, Forty and Fabulous! A Love…Maybe Valentine eShort

Author: Claudia Carroll

Pages: 38 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books/Harper Collins

The Blurb

The Feel Good One: Part of the Love…Maybe ebook short story collection.

It’s Valentine’s Day and, for single girl Kate, the only thing that could make that worse would be having to go to her own fortieth birthday party as well! Every year it’s the same: people asking if she has got herself a man yet. And every year she has to say no.

Once upon a time the idea of a fabulous, successful career seemed more important than ‘settling down’ but now she’s beginning to wish she hadn’t bid her teenage crush goodbye to take a job in London…if only, thinks Kate, she and her best mates could turn back time and be 21 again.

But Kate should be careful what she wishes for…

The Review

Well this was a cute little story. It plays on the whole ‘what if’ premise. What if we could have out time again? And it leaves the message that you should be grateful for what you have in life.

Single, Forty and Fabulous is a mixture of 13 Going on 30 meets Big. It is only with a reflection of the past that we can appreciate the future and vice versa.

Do I think the story could have been developed more? Yes, I think it would have made a good novella rather than a short story and I also think in the modern correct time period that more could have been made of the character James but overall it was a sweet little read.

Single, Forty and Fabulous by Claudia Carroll is available now.

For more information regarding Claudia Carroll (@CarrollClaudia) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Avon Books (@AvonBooksUK) please visit www.facebook.com/AvonBooksUK.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

3 Stars