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.

Title: Three Women

Author: Lisa Taddeo

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

One of the most highly anticipated nonfiction debuts of the year

All Lina ever wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Consequences are handed out to some but not to others. Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions that tests the boundaries of non-fiction.

The Review

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is the fascinating set of stories chronicling three women and the sexual encounters that shaped them as women today. Lisa Taddeo has took the information from the three women and made a highly readable narrative non-fiction.

The stories centre around Lina, Maggie and Sloane – all of whom have been affected in some way by sex. I suppose it is one of those things that still seems a little taboo: women talking openly about sex. This just highlights the misogyny that the women faced in a patriarchal society.

I enjoyed reading Three Women but I do feel that it was a victim of its own hype. The way Taddeo writes is engaging and you do want to read more but Three Women was hyped up that much that I personally think I was expecting more.

That being said, Maggie’s story broke me a little. She was just a young vulnerable girl who was taken advantage of by someone in power who should have known better and when whole thing got out of control it was Maggie who was, once again, the victim.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Taddeo (@LisaTaddeo) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Toffee

Author: Sarah Crossan

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

I am not who I say I am,

and Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget.

She is a woman trying to remember.

Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.

But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself – where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

The Review

I absolutely adore Sarah Crossan’s novels. Whenever a new one comes out you can guarantee it is on my ‘want to read’ list. The same can be said about Toffee. It was one of those books that I didn’t want to know anything about I just wanted to dive in because I know that with a Sarah Crossan novel I will be presented with challenging topics in a moving way.

Toffee did not disappoint.

It is a book about relationships. Not the love kind, but more the familial or the platonic kind. The story follows Allison, a runaway who is desperate to seek solace in the one person who has ever shown her kindness, however, when she ends up alone and penniless in an unknown area Allison forms a friendship with Marla. The only problem is that Marla has dementia and doesn’t remember Allison from one day to the next.

Crossan deals with issues such as abuse, broken families, loneliness, and mental health in such a caring, non-judgemental way. She has a magical ability to make her characters likable even when we question what they are doing. She is meticulous in her characterisation and I absolutely adore her books, Toffee included.

Toffee by Sarah Crossan is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: All of This is True

Author: Lygia Day Penaflor

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

When four Long Island teens plot to meet Fatima Ro, the elusive author of their favourite novel, they’re stunned when she befriends them and invites them into her eccentric life. Suddenly their lives seem charmed, and as they grow closer to their idol, they find themselves revealing their darkest secrets to her.

But a year later, Miri, Soleil, Jonah and Penny are shocked to discover that Fatima’s newly released YA novel is based on those same secrets. The revelations are devastating, and they can’t escape the spotlight. The friends’ interview transcripts, emails and journal entries reveal how willing they were to sacrifice everything to win Fatima’s approval – and how those sacrifices led to a tragedy from which one of them will never recover.

The Review

One thing I really like in books is when I have a handful of narrators that all see the story a specific way. They are all unreliable because their truth is not the same as someone else’s. This is why I really enjoyed All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor.

It is a story set in high school so there is already a he-said-she-said element to the narrative. Add in a mystery, an author, and a character in hospital with life threatening injuries then you really do have the making of a good thriller.

What the author really manages to highlight is the fundamental need to be seen and acknowledged. She shows how this is a spectrum depending on the need of the character and how that can be manifested in both good and negative ways.

I really liked All of This is True. I loved the mixed media element of storytelling and how distinct the different character voices where. As far as YA Thrillers go then All of This is True is a brilliant poster book for the genre.

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor is available now.

For more information regarding Lygia Day Penaflor (@lygiaday) please visit www.lygiadaypenflor.com.

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