Title: The Dilemma

Author: B A Paris

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: HQ Stories

The Blurb

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, B A Paris

The Review

Ooh this was a book with a difference. The Dilemma by BA Paris is a fascinating look at the responsibility of secrets and the duty that we have to those around us. It focuses on one family. Mum, Livia is about to turn 40; daughter, Marnie, is living abroad but is returning to surprise her mum; dad, Adam, is in cahoots with Marnie but is also finding his relationship with his son difficult. Alongside these characters lies the extended family who are also impacted by the secrets and lies.

In a weird sense nothing really happens in this book but equally lots of things happen. I think with the mix of one day of real time events with the series of flashbacks we get a fuller picture but nothing big or explosive happens throughout the majority of it which given that it is a thriller is something that we are expecting. It is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat but it is not a thriller in the sense of high speed and guns. However, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Dilemma by BA Paris is available now.

For more information regarding BA Paris (@BAParisAuthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ Stories (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

Author: Alyson Rudd

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found…

Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.

The Review

I tried to describe the story of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died to my fiancé the other day and I made a right pig’s ear of it so I apologise if this fails to make sense. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is the story of a girl who lives many strands of the same life. She is a young teenager in one, an adult in another and in another she is dead. Yes. The story seems to apply itself to the belief of parallel lives but with differences. See already I am veering off into the grey area where I begin to get confused.

With that confusion in mind The First Time Lauren Pailing Died did confuse me. That is nothing to do with the writing. Alyson Rudd managed to keep me engaged in spite of my confusion because her writing is very good. Personally, I have issues with Groundhog Day-esque storylines because my little brain cannot keep up. However, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is very good and I implore you to give it a try.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd is available now.

For more information regarding Alyson Rudd (@allyrudd_times) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQDigitalUK) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: Diversify

Author: June Sarpong

Pages: 401 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

The truth is, inclusion is better for everyone.

In this empowering call to arms, June Sarpong MBE proves why.

Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face.

With unshakeable case studies, brand-new research from Oxford University, and six revolutionary steps to help you overcome unconscious bias, this book will help you become part of a better society.

The old way isn’t working. This is a case for change.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Diversify by June Sarpong is the most important book that I have read this year. This is a pretty big claim. As a prolific reader, I have read lots of books but none of them resonated with me the way that Diversify has done.

Sarpong examines the diversity in culture and how we often see this as threatening rather than celebrating our differences. She offers practical advice to some of the biggest problems that actually seem so obvious that it is silly how none of it has been put into action already.

What is great is that you could argue the book is misleading. You may be forgiven in  thinking that Diversify is just another book that shows how white supremacy is bad and how everyone is still living under the rule of a white patriarchal society – yes, we are, but Diversify is not that book. Diversify looks at oppression from all different levels – race, gender, sexuality etc. It is fascinating, well researched, and entertaining.

So, yes, to reiterate my earlier point, Diversify by June Sarpong is the most important book that I have read this year. It should be placed in all school libraries, studied on the curriculum and be sent to every politician in the country. That is how much I believe in this book.

Diversify by June Sarpong is available now.

For more information regarding June Sarpong (@junesarpong) please visit www.junesarpong.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.instagram.com/hqstories.

The Light We LostTitle: The Light We Lost

Author: Jill Santopolo

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Two people. One choice. What if?

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet at Columbia University on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. And as the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

And as Lucy is faced with a decision she thought she’d never have to make, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny, or chance. What if they should have been living a different life all along?

Me Before You meets One Day in this passionate debut novel, The Light We Lost, an epic love story about the heartrending decision that one woman must make…

The Review

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo was touted as the next One Day or Me Before You which over the past ten years have been two of my favourite books. Without meaning to start as a Debbie Downer, The Light We Lost didn’t quite hit that spot for me. I can understand why the comparisons were made but it just didn’t tug on my emotional heartstrings as much as the others.

It is not to say that it isn’t a good story. It really is. You do feel the frustration as you beg for Gabe and Lucy just to get their lives together and stop messing around but they just can’t seem to do it.

Then you get yourself all twisted up in the argument over passionate love versus sensible love. It is an argument that has plenty of positives and negatives for each side. Overall though you do feel that Lucy is her own worst enemy and that she never fully allows herself to move forward.

The Light We Lost is a really good read and one that you can finish in one sitting.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo is available now

For more information regarding Jill Santopolo (@JillSantopolo) please visit www.jillsantopolo.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

35 Stars

Title: Sweet Pea

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I don’t know what this says about me but I really enjoyed Sweet Pea.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is the story of Rhiannon, a girl on a crusade to right wrongs, to help the helpless and hurt the haters. So she is a bit of a serial killer….we all have flaws, right?

In all seriousness, Sweet Pea was a really entertaining read. What made it so entertaining was the sheer frivolity with which Rhiannon committed her crimes. She acted in a glib detached manner and she was really sold by SJ Ckuse as being a character so at ease with murder it was almost disturbing.

I don’t want to worry you but you will laugh at this story…at least I hope you will. Maybe it was just me that laughed. Oh dear.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CJSkuse) please visit www.cjskusebooks.wixsite.com/cjskuse.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

4 Stars