Title: How Do You Like Me Now?

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. She’s inspired millions of women to stick two fingers up at convention with her bestselling memoir, and she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Everyone around her is getting married and having babies, but her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about getting engaged. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practise what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

The Review

Life is hard. That’s it. No amount of being told that it is hard and that it is unfair prepares you for that fact. In fact, when I grew up I had a plan that I was going to finish high school, go to college and university and I would be married by the time I was 21. My friend Ana and I had a plan. If we weren’t married by 21 we would join the army. Needless to say, neither of these plans came to fruition. Call it naivety or just plain ignorance but I wasn’t prepared for life. A book like Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now? may have given me a little preparation for this crazy little thing called life.

How Do You Like Me Now? is the story of Tori Bailey; she is a life guru of sorts, followed by thousands, a best-selling author. She is the girl other girls aspire to be. She has her shit together. Except, she really doesn’t. She is watching her friends all make big life choices: getting engaged, married or with child. Tori feels a little left behind. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that she is actually in a very toxic relationship and she is being held back by the man-child she is living with.

I really, really, really loved How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne. Yes, Tori could be a pain in the arse and so very unlikable at times but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t relate to some of the things that she is going through.

It is a strange little love story but one about loving yourself and I think that is the bravest thing about How Do You Like Me Now? This is the book that I wish was on a mandatory to be read list for every 25+ woman. Believe me, they all need to read it!

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

The End of LonelinessTitle: The End of Loneliness

Author: Benedict Wells

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/Sceptre

The Blurb

I’ve known Death a long time but now Death knows me.

When their idyllic childhood is shattered by the sudden death of their parents, siblings Marty, Liz and Jules are sent to a bleak state boarding school. Once there, the orphans’ lives change tracks: Marty throws himself into academic life; Liz is drawn to dark forms of escapism; and Jules transforms from a vivacious child to a withdrawn teenager.

I began to be afraid of the dark, afraid of death, afraid of eternity. I was alone. And then I met Alva.

The only one who can bring him out of his shell is his mysterious classmate Alva, who hides a dark past of her own, but despite their obvious love for one another, the two leave school on separate paths.

Our last meeting suddenly felt like yesterday again, except that yesterday was many years ago.

Years later, just as it seems that they can make amends for time wasted, the past catches up with them, and fate – or chance – will once again alter the course of a life.

Told through the fractured lives of the siblings, The End of Loneliness is a heartfelt, enriching novel about loss and loneliness, family and love.

The Review

Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

I almost have no words for how gorgeous The End of Loneliness is.

The novel, by Benedict Wells, is a nostalgic love story which spans the decades. It has so many elements: loss, love, death, family drama. It just covered all bases but not in an obnoxious “need to tick all boxes” kind of way but in a purely sentimental without being soppy way.

It was genuinely a pleasure to read. The protagonist, Jules, was easy to champion and fall in love with. You feel like you travel along with him on his journey through life. You feel immersed in the novel and not an outsider turning pages.

Benedict Wells has created a novel that you can sink into and one that you do not want to leave.

The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells is available now.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.couk.

For more information regarding Sceptre (@SceptreBooks) please visit www.sceptrebooks.co.uk.

5 Stars

The Wicked ComethTitle: The Wicked Cometh

Author: Laura Carlin

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort because WE are the bad sort . . .’

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

A compelling page-turner from a gifted new voice in historical fiction, The Wicked Cometh is the perfect read for fans of The Witchfinder’s SisterFingersmith and The Essex Serpent.

The Review

Ok. I will admit, once again, that I am a sucker for a beautiful cover. So when I saw the stunning print version of The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin I knew I wanted to read it. I hadn’t read the blurb nor did I know anything about the story. I was lucky in that the story is set in Victorian London which is a time period and place that I love reading about.

I couldn’t say that I loved The Wicked Cometh but it did keep me entertained. For me, the pacing was a bit slow but what cannot be argued is Carlin’s ability to paint a picture of the dirty, grimy underbelly of London’s streets. Her descriptions of the London ghettos is flawless.

The Wicked Cometh is a really good story that is long, languorous and atmospheric in its telling. If you are a fan of Victorian mysteries then you need to add it to your book list.

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin is available now.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

3 Stars

Parsnips ButteredTitle: Parsnips, Buttered: How to Win at Modern Life, One Email at a Time

Author: Joe Lycett

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Dear Reader,

Life is hard. We are a bombarded generation: Facebook, billboards, Twitter, Instagram, taxes, newspapers, watches monitoring our sleep, apps that read our pulse, terrorism. There’s such an onslaught to the senses these days it’s a marvel any of us manage to get out of bed. I love bed.

While we are overwhelmed and confused by the miasmic cloud of information, there are those that seek to take advantage: there are parking fines, hate Tweets, Nigerian email scams and Christmas newsletters from old school friends about their ugly kids. And just as we’re getting round to doing something about it, we’re distracted again.

I, Joe Lycett, comedian, wordsmith, and professional complainer, am here to help. During my short life of doing largely nothing I’ve discovered solutions to many of life’s problems, which I impart to you, dear Reader. Containing a centurion of complaint letters to unsuspecting celebrities, companies and anyone brave enough to clog up my phone, as well as illustrations, one-liners , jokes and life hacks, this little gem offers you a collection of tips and advice* for all manner of modern woe. By the time you have finished reading this book you will have learnt how to:

– Reverse a parking fine
– Manipulate the tabloid press
– Navigate social media
– Respond to hate mail
– Out-weird internet trolls
– Contest a so-called ripe avocado
– Send the perfect Christmas newsletter
– Defeat ISIS
– Take down multi-national companies
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Joe Lycett x

* If you are looking for guidance with taxes, quitting smoking, moving house, love, divorce, education, healthcare or anything actually important may I recommend speaking to friends or family members and not consulting a book by a comedian who eats halloumi at least twice a day.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I really, really wanted to say something mean about this book. Not because I didn’t like it or because I hate Joe Lycett. Au contraire, mon frère(s) (et souers). I just really wanted to write something mean with the crazy hope that Joe Lycett may reply with one of his really funny retorts. Alas, I realised that I was probably just dreaming that it would happen and decided to stick with the truth.

I loved Parsnips, Buttered: How to Win at Modern Life, One Email at a Time by Joe Lycett. Like, bloody loved it. I was so grateful that I read it at home and not out in public because I am pretty sure people would have actively avoided me because I snorted when reading it.

So, yes, there it is, I loved it….unless Joe Lycett does read this and is debating whether or not to send a reply – snarky or not – then I am going to add fuel to his fire by saying it is sh*t (but it is really not).

Parsnips, Buttered: How to Win at Modern Life, One Email at a Time by Joe Lycett is available now.

For more information regarding Joe Lycett (@joelycett) please visit www.joelycett.com.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

4 Stars

The Most Dangerous Place on EarthTitle: The Most Dangerous Place of Earth

Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty – the American high school – in this captivating novel.

The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumour, every feeling is potentially postable, shareable, viral.

Abigail Cress is ticking off boxes towards the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screw-up. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.

Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students – without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.

Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion and humanity.

The Review

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth was a very uncomfortable read. It is, for want of a better description. The OC minus the glamour.

Author, Lindsey Lee Johnson looks at the seedy underbelly of what the lifestyles of the rich is really like and how that life of privilege can do more harm than good.

What is especially clever about The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is that the characters feel intangible. They always feel separate and you don’t form a connection with the characters. You dance a limbo in between feeling sorry for them and also a little like they deserve everything they get.

As I say, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is not the most comfortable read but it is a great book to read if you are looking at modern day affluent youth culture.

The Most Dangerous Place of Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Lindsey Lee Johnson (@lindseyleej) please visit www.lindseyleejohnson.com.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

35 Stars