Title: When We Were Young

Author: Dawn Goodwin

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

The Blurb

Four best friends. One of them is dead. Are their secrets safe? 

Uni friends Stacey, Paula, Bev and Valentina used to be inseparable until one weekend before graduation when nothing was ever the same again.

Thirty years later, reunited at Valentina’s funeral, Stacey receives a letter written by her late friend asking for one last wish… that the three friends go back to where things fell apart and finally bury the hatchet.

As they revisit their old haunts of their uni days and follow a series of clues left by Valentina, their friend’s death begins to look suspicious and it is up to them to find out what happened – but they all have secrets to hide.

They say good friends are hard to come by, but when there is so much at stake and someone is lurking in the shadows, how do you know who is a friend and who is a foe?

The Review

One of my favourite things to read about is friendship. I love a story which looks at the nuances of friendship so imagine my excitement when I picked up When We Were Young and along with friendship I get the added element of a murder mystery.

When news of Valentina’s death comes the panic of Stacey, Paula and Bev rises. See, the four girls have a secret, one which one of them has taken to the grave…or has she.

When We Were Young looks back at toxic friendship and how one persons obsession can land others into a whole world of trouble.

This is a great book to read and allows you to remember the friendships of your youth and begin to wonder whether they were are innocent as you thought.

When We Were Young by Dawn Goodwin is available now.

For more information regarding Dawn Goodwin (@DGoodwinAuthor) please visit www.dawngoodwin.com.

For more information regarding Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Would I Lie To You?

Author: Aliya Ali-Afzal

Pages: 401 Pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

The Blurb

She could lose the perfect life… if she tells the truth. 

At the school gates in Wimbledon Village, Faiza fits in. It took a few years and a brand new wardrobe, but now the snobbish mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own.

But the perfect life costs money. When her husband Tom loses his job, Faiza realises she’ll have to reveal her biggest secret: she’s spent her family’s entire life savings.

Unless she doesn’t… 

It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has six weeks to find £75,000 or risk losing the family she has worked so hard to protect.

The Review

Aliya Ali-Afzal’s Would I Lie To You? is the kind of novel that needs a new genre definition – I don’t know if such things as domestic thrillers exist but if I had to categorise it as anything it would be this. On the surface, it is contemporary literary fiction but the topics that Ali-Afzal deals with genuinely led me to have some heart-stopping moments: mental health, sexual harassment, debt – you name it, this book has it.

Our protagonist Fazia is, at times, unlikeable. She wallows in situations of her own making and rather than dealing with the bigger picture she plots and schemes and becomes completely untrustworthy. You want to scream at her, grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. Yet, you also sympathise with her. No one wants to be in her situation and Ali-Afzal writes about it so succinctly that you feel the desperation and panic for her. I felt like I was being swallowed by all the pressures of her life. I felt like I was going through it with her. For me, this is a sign of quality writing.

Would I Lie To You? is a fantastic read.

Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Ali-Afzal is available now.

For more information regarding Aliya Ali-Afzal (@AAAiswriting) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books) please visit www.headofzeus.com.

Title: Queer – A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday

Author: Frank Wynne (ed.)

Pages: 620 Pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

The Blurb

LGBTQ writing from ancient times to yesterday selected by award-winning translator Frank Wynne.

Drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Arthur Rimbaud to Anne Lister and Armistead Maupin, translator Frank Wynne has collected eighty of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.

These pieces straddle the spectrum of queer experience, from Verlaine’s sonnet in praise of his lover’s anus and Emily Dickinson’s exhortation of a woman’s beauty, to Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of her coming out, Juno Dawson’s reflections on gender and Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis’.

With stories, poems, extracts and scenes from countries the world over, Queer is an unabashed and unapologetic anthology, which gives voice to those often silenced.

The Review

I read quite a lot of LGBTQ literature but to be honest it mainly comes from a need to educate. I tend to stick to YA books because I want my students to have an outlet that wasn’t necessarily there when I was a student. I picked up Queer because I wanted to make a more informed and mature choice when it came to my reading choices.

What is brilliant about Queer is that it gives you snippets of stories and then you have the option to follow it up with further reading. I did this and bought other books by the contributors. I especially liked the chronology of the book. It showed that LGBTQ isn’t new. Its not something that has only been around for a short amount of time. As long as there have been people there has been LGBTQ people. I think that will be a comfort to the readers of this book.

Queer is a fantastic collection and I hope that it is only the start and that further collections will be collated in the future

Queer – A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday by Frank Wynne is available now.

For more information regarding Frank Wynne (@Terribleman) please visit www.frankwynne.com.

For more information regarding Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books) please visit www.headofzeus.com.