Title: The Day We Met

Author: Roxie Cooper

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Publishing

The Blurb

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything…

Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.

The Review

The Day We Met is a modern day love story in the same ilk as One Day. It tells the love story of Stephanie and Matt – an almost couple. They are two people drawn together but know they cannot be together. Why can’t they be together? Well, they both have partners. Instead, they choose to meet at the same venue every year and get to know each other better.

Ok. This is a difficult one because I really liked The Day We Met. The writing was easy to read; I liked the characterisation; I liked that the multi-perspective narrative really did feel like two separate characters. I also liked the fact that the book came with a playlist to match the moods of the chapters. That is always a big win for me. However, I dislike that I liked the book because of the whole element of extra-marital relations. Roxie Cooper is really clever in that she managed to get me to fall in love with the characters and the story whilst it goes against something I find morally reprehensible.

I really think you should read this book if you enjoy romantic stories. It is a wonderfully written book and one that will leave you questioning your own beliefs while rooting for the protagonists.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper is available now.

For more information regarding Roxie Cooper (@toodletinkbaby) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Diary of a Drag Queen

Author: Crystal Rasmussen

Pages: 365 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House/Ebury Publishing

The Blurb

Life’s a drag… Why not be a queen?

‘Stories like the one where you shagged a 79-year-old builder and knocked over his sister’s ashes while feeding him a Viagra. Or the time you crashed your car because you were giving a hand job in barely moving traffic and took your eye off the car in front. That’s the kind of dinner-party ice-breaker I’m talking about.’

Northern, working-class and shagging men three times her age, Crystal writes candidly about her search for ‘the one’; sleeping with a VIP in an attempt to become a world famous journalist; getting hired and fired by a well-known fashion magazine; being torn between losing weight and gorging on KFC; and her need for constant sexual satisfaction (and where that takes her).

Charting her day-to-day adventures over the course of a year, we encounter tucks, twists and sucks, heinous overspending and endless nights spent sprinting from problem to problem in a full face of make-up.

This is a place where the previously unspeakable becomes the commendable – a unique portrayal of the queer experience.

The Review

I have always wanted to be a drag queen. I know it sounds strange and inherently being a drag queen is mainly a male role but dammit drag queens get to have so much fun. They are so glamorous and it just seems like an amazing element of performance.

This is why I was drawn to the memoir Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen. Rasmussen is so very candid when explaining the life of a drag queen, about his life as a gay man – whether this be the difficult relationship with love, random hook-ups and how gay men are still victims of hatred.

It is hard not to like Diary of a Drag Queen. It is dry, funny, warm and endearing. My favourite thing was the little asides littered within the text – they were often hilarious.

Diary of a Drag Queen is a wonderful read and I fully recommend it.

Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen is available now.

For more information regarding Crystal Rasmussen (@TomGlitter) please visit clippings.me/tomrasmussen.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: How to Be Famous

Author: Caitlin Moran

Pages: 320 Pages

Publishers: Ebury Press

The Blurb

I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be nineteen, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly.

My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs HellTM – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name.

But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons. ‘He’s a vampire. He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick’ Suzanne warned me. But by that point, I’d already had sex with him. Bad sex.
Now I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy.
He needs to be stopped.

But how can one woman stop a bad, famous, powerful man?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

A few months ago I picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Girl off my bookshelf to read. It had been languishing there for about a year and a half and so I decided to give it a read. I was angry at myself afterwards because I bloody loved it. I can’t believe I had not read it yet. The only good thing about this was that I didn’t have to wait long for the sequel How to Be Famous to be published. Hurrah.

I pre-ordered How to Be Famous and waited patiently for my postman to deliver it and whilst I had promised myself that I could read it over the summer when I was off work I just couldn’t wait and I started it immediately.

And you know what?…I bloody loved this book too.

In the further adventures of Dolly Wilde we see a more grown up if not really more mature young lady now living in London. We watch as Dolly makes more mistakes on the path to finding herself. We also see her become more staunchly feminist and we watch as she sets about trying to change the music industry from inside out.

Dolly Wilde is still the loveable sometimes hapless protagonist that we have come to love but this time we see her become more independent. There were times when I had to close the book because sadly Dolly was doing things that I know once I had read about them I couldn’t unread. That is the power of Caitlin Moran. She made me care for Dolly Wilde as if she was a real person, as if she was my friend.

I cannot praise How to Be a Girl and How to Be Famous any higher than I have. They are both contenders for my favourite book of the year. I wish there were more books of this calibre available to young women today.

How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmmoran) please visit www.caitlinmoran.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Press (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/eburypublishing.

How to Build a GirlTitle: How to Build a Girl

Author: Caitlin Moran

Pages: 354 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Press

The Blurb

My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.

I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

My favourite genre of book or movie or, heck, even song, is one with a coming of age story at its heart. I love watching a character grow and develop and learn and just become who they are meant to be in this little fictional world. It makes my heart swell bigger than the Grinch’s. And this is exactly what I got from Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl.

Now I know I am a little late to the game on this one but to be fair I have a million books and there is, as of yet, not been a day added to the week allocated for just reading so you will have to forgive me. However, as I pressed pre-order on the sequel to How to Build A Girl (How to Be Famous – out in June) I decided to bump it to the top of the TBR pile and oh my wow I have fallen in love.

Besides being, as I have said, a coming of age story, How to Build a Girl is also a socio-economic study of class. In particular, working class status and what it means to be poor. Moran has made no secret about her unconventional upbringing and you can see how much of her heart and soul is infused in this story and how it actually takes someone who knows about class issues from a realistic vantage to be able to discuss them eruditely.

Moran uses the music of the times to forward the story along and completely immerses you in her world and I, for one, didn’t want to leave. Johanna Morrigan – our protagonist – really is a fictional heroine. One I wish I had to look up to when I was younger. And even though Caitlin Moran could write about the wing span of midgey flies and I would read it because I love her writing style I can honestly say that How to Build a Girl has taken the number one spot as my book of the year so far.

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) please visit www.caitlinmoran.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/ebury.

5 Stars

One Christmas Kiss in Notting HillTitle: One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill

Author: Mandy Baggot

Pages: 448 Pages

Publisher: Penguin/Ebury Publishing/Ebury Press

The Blurb

Curl up by the fire with the ultimate seasonal romance, from the bestselling author Mandy Baggot!

‘I absolutely love Mandy’s books’ Milly Johnson

Imagine the perfect Christmas Kiss…

His strong arms around her waist, her hands on his face, the snow slowly starts to fall…

It’s enough to make Isla Winters cringe! While her sister can’t get enough of this – increasingly common – sight on the streets of London, Isla’s too busy trying to stop Hannah’s wheelchair from slipping on the ice, and making sure she’s not too late to her dream job at Breekers International.

But everything changes with the arrival of Chase Bryan, fresh from the New York office. He’s eager to learn everything about Isla’s beloved Notting Hill, but as the nights get colder, will cosying up to him come at a price?

The Review

There is nothing better than a honest to goodness Christmas romance story and dammit that is what Mandy Baggot has delivered with her brilliant new novel One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill.

Isla works for a company that helps get buildings built. She does this with a good conscience as she tries to get hospitals built and whilst doing that trying to keep the unique fingerprint of London alive but when she gets the chance to work on a new project it seems that a conflict of interest is going to hinder her – and the projects –progress.

Throw into this a 20 year old sister who happens to be in a wheelchair and who desperately wants independence and a hot new boss who Isla is having inappropriate feelings for, she feels like her world is moving too fast and she cannot keep up.

Will this year be Isla’s worst Christmas ever?

I really enjoyed this story and what was brilliant about it is that the character arc came from the secondary protagonist. Isla stayed determinedly herself throughout. She is the heart of the novel and everyone is infected by her Britishness and her sense of history.

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill was a joy to read and was as much as a lovely romance novel as it was a love letter to a specific area of London.

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot is available now.

For more information regarding Mandy Baggot (@mandybaggot) please visit www.mandybaggot.com.

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

For more information regarding Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/ebury/.

4 Stars