Title: Nothing Can Hurt You

Author: Nicola Maye Goldberg

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

The Virgin Suicides meets Little Fires Everywhere: inspired by a true story, this haunting novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student’s death

On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, only to be acquitted following a plea of temporary insanity.

In the wake of this senseless act of violence, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. As the years pass, others search for retribution or explanation: including Sara’s half-sister who, stifled by her family’s bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison.

A propulsive, taut tale of voyeurism and obsession, Nothing Can Hurt You dares to examine gendered violence not as an anomaly, but as the very core of everyday life. Tracing the concentric circles of violence rippling out from Sara’s murder, Nicole Maye Goldberg masterfully conducts an unforgettable chorus of disparate voices.

The Review

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Male Goldberg is a circular story featuring several characters that are all connected through the death of Sara Morgan. They may be her friends, parents, family members etc but their stories are intrinsically linked with hers some way or another.

The telling of the story flip-flops through time from past to present day and it makes us look at the theme of murder with a new lens. Should we ever empathise with the murderer? How do we learn to forgive? 

Nothing Can Hurt You Is a twisting tale that spirals seamlessly and pulls you along with its narrative. It was a one sitting read because I could not put the damn book down. Nicola Male Goldberg draws you in straight away. I wish you luck trying to get away from this spiderweb of a book.

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Such a Fun Age

Author: Kiley Reid

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason?

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone ‘family’, the complicated reality of being a grown-up and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

The Review

It is always surprising to me to find a book that feels incredibly fresh and unique. As a prolific reader, it is hard not to compare books to each other. Some will have similar love interests, some with similar storylines, other ones with similar settings. Such a Fun Age has a lot of these elements but done in such refreshing way that I found myself totally immersed in this story.

It is the story of Emira and Alix: two women with two very different life trajectories. Alix is a successful social media star who is struggling with an incident in her past that has made her overly conscious in the present. Emira is a young woman who is a bit lost. Like a lot of 20-somethings, Emira doesn’t have a clue what she wants. Alix tries to help her whether Emira wants this help or not.

Overall, Such a Fun Age is a book about power and racism. I often felt that Emira, who was one of the two protagonists seemed like an extra in her own life. She passively reacted to things – this was the stylistic choice of Reid – but it often led me to feel frustrated with her. Equally, Alix was so controlling and superior that I felt smothered by her. Furthermore, the villain of the piece kept changing. As a reader, I was kept on my toes throughout and constantly changed my allegiance.

I really enjoyed reading Such a Fun Age. It was an interesting look at privileged society and the racism contained within that world.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is available now.

For more information regarding Kiley Reid (@kileyreid) please visit www.kileyreid.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: House of Trelawney

Author: Hannah Rothschild

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

The seat of the Trelawney family for over 700 years, Trelawney Castle was once the jewel of the Cornish coast. Each successive Earl spent with abandon, turning the house and grounds into a sprawling, extravagant palimpsest of wings, turrets and follies. But as the centuries passed the Earls of Trelawney, their ambition dulled by generations of pampered living, failed to develop other skills. Now in 2008 the house – its paintings and furniture sold off to pay death duties, its grounds diminished, the gardens choked with weeds – has begun to resemble its owners: faded, crumbling, and out-of-date.

Jane, the put-upon wife of the current Earl, Kitto, scraping a life for her children and in-laws in a few draughty rooms of the big house, is trapped by Trelawney Castle; while Blaze, Kitto’s sister, has made a killing in the City – and a complete turkey of her personal life. Long-estranged, the two women are brought back together when a letter arrives; and soon after it, an unwelcome young guest. Grudgingly reunited, Blaze and Jane must band together to take charge of their new charge – and save the house of Trelawney.

With formidable sharpness, delicious irreverence and a very wicked wit, House of Trelawney is a glorious send-up of recession Britain and its carnival of bastard bankers and down-at-heel toffs. An eccentric gem of a satire, and an unexpected romance, it asks how we are connected, what we owe to one another, and how to carry on existing in a world which has outgrown us.

The Review

The House of Trelawney has been in the family for 800 years but the current occupants have let it fall to wreck and ruin and now it looks like it is about to end the centuries long tradition. The house isn’t just made of bricks and mortar though. It is also built upon secrets and lies.

The House of Trelawney is a family saga that does have you guessing to the very end. The multi perspective narrative means that you are constantly kept on your toes. Strangely, the story is a bit of a slow burner. There isn’t a pressing need to turn the page but you do enjoy the steady stream of new information.  I enjoyed this story. I am not sure what I was expecting from it but I enjoyed the story none-the-less.

House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild is available now.

For more information regarding Hannah Rothschild (@Hannah71771890) please visit www.hannahrothschild.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Bowie’s Books – The Hundred Literary Heroes Who Changed His Life

Author: John O’Connell

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

‘What is your idea of perfect happiness?’

‘Reading.’

‘What is the quality you most like in a man?’
‘The ability to return books.’

Three years before he died, David Bowie made a list of the one hundred books that had transformed his life – a list that formed something akin to an autobiography. From Madame Bovary to A Clockwork Orange, the Iliad to the Beano, these were the publications that had fuelled his creativity and shaped who he was.

In Bowie’s Books, John O’Connell explores this list in the form of one hundred short essays, each offering a perspective on the man, performer and creator that is Bowie, his work as an artist and the era that he lived in. Bowie’s Books is much more than a list of books you should read in your lifetime: it is a unique insight into one of the greatest minds of our times, and an indispensable part of the legacy that Bowie left behind.

The Review

Of all the deaths in 2016 (and let’s face it, there was a lot) it was David Bowie’s death that probably upset me the most. I loved Bowie. He was a musician who was way before my time but he was one that I sourced myself, without parental influence. So, it is of some comfort that even nearly three years after his death that fans can still learn new things about the man or feel his influence in a new different way.

With Bowie’s Books we get an insight into the literature that shaped the man he became. We are given access to his favourite books and in turn a stepping point if we enjoy the book then what you should read next. Along the way, we get stories of David Bowie’s life and it is littered with facts and anecdotes.

It really is just a joy to read.

Plus if David Bowie thought it was cool to read then who the heck are we to argue.

Bowie’s Books – The Hundred Literary Heroes Who Changed His Life by John O’Connell is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Flirty Dancing

Author: Jenny McLachlan

Pages: 257 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

A warm, hilarious bestseller-to-be. Geek Girl meets Dirty Dancing meets Louise Rennison’s Tights, all rolled into an irresistible story of friendship, bullies and how to steal a heart on the dancefloor.

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It’s just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

The Review

Strictly season is upon us and I wanted to read something dance related so it seemed a natural choice to read Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan. Truth be told the last few books that I had read were kind of heavy reads and I needed something fun, light and that would leave me smiling. Boy did Flirty Dancing make it happen.

Flirty Dancing is the story of Bea ‘Jelly Bean’ Hogg, a young girl who doesn’t really fit in so instead she sticks to the shadows and just tries to survive high school. She spends her days trying to avoid confrontation with her one time best friend (and now school bully) Pearl Harris who seems to have made t her personal mission to make Bea’s life hell.

When a TV talent show starts looking for teenage dancers then Bea really comes into her own. She, by some twisted hand of fate, ends up dancing with the boy of he dreams…and also the object of her worst enemy’s affection.

Flirty Dancing is such a good book. You fly through it and you smile from the first page to the last. If you want a feel good read then you need to pick this one up.

For more information regarding Jenny McLachlan (@JennyMcLachlan1) please visit www.jennymclachlan.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.