Title: City of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Pages: 470 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

The blazingly brilliant new novel from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international bestseller Eat Pray Love: a glittering coming-of-age epic stitched across the fabric of a lost New York.

The Review

This sumptuous tale is a lot more than the story of a debutante discovering herself. It is about the social changes in society; the development of a city; the change in time and attitudes. It is a love letter to the past and a recognition of just how magical life can be.

City of Girls is the first book in a very long time that has managed to provide the wow factor for me. The character of Vivian is shown with such unashamed honesty. We see every facet of her character – the good, the bad, and the ugly. She is an unforgettable heroine.

For me, City of Girls belongs to that rare breed of book. The one that you desperately do not want to end but cannot stop yourself from reading because you have to know what happens.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is available now.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Gilbert (@GilbertLiz) please visit www.ElizabethGilbert.com.

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

Title: Conversations with Friends

Author: Sally Rooney

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another. Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex ménage-à-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man. You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text. You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies. However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.

The Review

I have read Sally Rooney’s writing out of sync. I started with Normal People – which I enjoyed but thought was a bit of a victim of its own hype. I decided to read Conversations with Friends recently and now I think I get it.

Sally Rooney really does have a writing voice that exudes her talent with every single word. She manages to show the awkwardness of relationships – platonic, familial, and sexual. She frustrates you by the things that she doesn’t say and yet makes you feel compelled to read more.

The story of Frances and her relationships with the people around her are tumultuous and confusing. We watch her grow and develop but never quite being on the same level as her counterparts – whether this is due to age, experience, or social class is left for you to determine but you cannot but help root for her. You want things to end well or her even though you are distinctly aware that Conversations with Friends is not that kind of book.

My one issue with Conversations with Friends is the same issue that I had with Normal People. It is the stylistic choice to flout rules about speech marks. I prefer my books to have them. However, if that is the only complaint to find about a book then I guess that it is worthy of the highest praise.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney is available now.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

Title: In at the Deep End

Author: Kate Davies

Pages: 392 Pages

Publisher: Borough Press

The Blurb

Until recently, Julia hadn’t had sex in three years.

But now:
• a one-night stand is accusing her of breaking his penis;

  • a sexually confident lesbian is making eyes at her over confrontational modern art;
  • and she’s wondering whether trimming her pubes makes her a bad feminist.

Julia’s about to learn that she’s been looking for love – and satisfaction – in all the wrong places…

Frank, filthy and very, very funny, In at the Deep End is a brilliant debut from a major new talent.

#ImInAtTheDeepEnd

The Review

I love it when I pick up a book that I know nothing about and I am absolutely blown away by the story and indeed the story telling. That is exactly what happened when I read In at the Deep End by Kate Davies. It is unexpected, hilarious, and heartfelt.

The story focuses on Julia and her sexual awakening. She is nearly 30 and has always known she is bisexual but has yet to have a relationship with a woman. Once she does, her life changes forever.

In At the Deep End has been compared the Bridget Jones’s Diary which is a pretty fair assessment. Julia’s relationship escapades really do rival Bridget’s for their ridiculousness. However, Davies explores deeper issues too.

The story looks at manipulation, mental abuse, platonic relationships, and jealousy. This is a lot to be covered in its 392 pages.

I can honestly say that I didn’t want this book to end. I was so completely engrossed in Julia’s life that it became a pleasant distraction from my own.

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies is available now.

For more information regarding Kate Davies (@katyemdavies) please visit www.katedavieswriter.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Tainted Love

Author: T. S. Hunter

Pages: 114 Pages

Publisher: Red Dog Press

The Blurb

SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town where Joe and Chris grew up.

When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as just another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?
A noirish whodunnit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.

TAINTED LOVE IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SOHO NOIR SERIES OF COZY CRIME NOVELLAS.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I say it often but I will say it again. I am the perfect audience for crime, thriller, mystery, and ghost stories. I am jumpy and I never, ever guess who the killer/culprit is. That is one of the many reasons I really enjoyed reading T. S. Hunters crime novella Tainted Love.

Even though it is a very short novella, Hunter manages to pack an awful lot of mystery and intrigue in the pages. I was constantly guessing whodunit and I can honestly say that I didn’t guess  the outcome – this probably says a lot more about me and why I am not pursuing a career at Scotland Yard.

Amidst the crime element, Hunter uses London – in particular Soho as the setting which almost becomes a character in itself – especially when the next element is juxtaposed with it – that element, the growing LGBT community during the 80s. Furthermore, Hunter explores the prejudices that someone would in that community would face; not just by the everyday person but more worryingly within the emergency services, in particular – the police, who were meant to protect everyone.

So yes, Tainted Love is a crime noir novella but it is so much more than that.

Tainted Love by T. S. Hunter is available now.

For more information regarding T. S. Hunter (@TSHunter5) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Red Dog Press (@RedDogTweets) please visit www.reddogpress.co.uk

Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Dutton Books

The Blurb

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

The Review

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is a story that has many facets. It looks at grief, loss of identity, loss of family and what it means to fully accept yourself for who you are.

It is about Marin, a young girl who has led from her home in California for New York. She has ran away from a past that she barely knows the truth of, ran away from the only home she has ever known and ran away from the people who love her.

For Marin, it is safer to be alone.

This belief is not shared by her best friend Mabel who comes to New York to find her friend.

We Are Okay has a very subdued and quiet kind of story telling which lends to the subject matter of the book. You at once feel calm but overwhelmed by Marin’s story. Her grief is so hidden but equally it drips off the pages. LaCour has done a stunning job of making you feel for Marin.

This isn’t a massive, outrageous novel. It is a stoic read but one that packs a punch.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is available now.

For more information regarding Nina LaCour (@nina_lacour) please visit www.ninalacour.com.

For more information regarding Dutton Books (@DuttonBooks) please visit www.duttonbooks.tumblr.com.