The Blurb

A hilarious and refreshingly honest foray into modern dating, Age, Sex, Location is Bridget Jones’s Diary for HBO’s Girls generation.

The last thing twenty-eight-year-old Lauren is looking for is love, so why do the men she’s dating assume she’s searching for The One?

With men running for the hills, Lauren takes drastic action and turns her love life into an experiment, vowing to follow the advice of a different dating guide every month.

From releasing her inner siren to swearing off sex completely, Lauren will follow The Rules and play The Game, all with the help of her disapproving best friend and her newly loved-up housemate.

But as she searches for the holy grail of no-strings sex minus the heartache, Lauren soon realises that dating is more complicated than just swiping right – and that the things you run from tend to always catch up with you…

The Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Francesca Pearce from Penguin for sending me a copy of Age, Sex, Location to review. I am truly grateful.

If I had to describe Age, Sex, Location in one word it would be refreshing. The reason for that is most books which are from the chick lit rom com oeuvre tend to be all about finding your perfect partner and yes, as readers, we are sucked in and actively encourage the writer to make sure that the heroine gets her knight in shining armour by the end. This is all well and good and I would never be one to knock that style of book but with Age, Sex, Location our heroine wasn’t looking for Mr Right, she was looking for Mr Right Now-for-a-quick-bit-of-how’s-your-father – an expression I have never quite understood. However, it was great for someone who has been in the evil world of dating to see just how fun it could have been.

The concept of using dating guides was extremely funny and the escapades that Lauren got up to and the situations that she found herself in were laugh out loud funny – to the extent that I got funny looks from those around me. We could say that using the dated dating guides that Lauren did was a fruitless task but who among us hasn’t sat and read a dating advice article and tried some the techniques suggested or watched Sex and the City and thought “yep, I’ve been there.” Just those two actions alone validate Lauren’s actions and in turn Pimentel’s inspiration for writing the book.

What I loved about this book is that it had a no holds barred sense of conviction about it. The purpose of our protagonist Lauren was clear and she did not care who knew it. She wanted to have sex without the drama. Even in today’s enlightened society it is still a taboo topic for a woman to be promiscuous without being labelled a hussy (I could have gone for harsher words but kept it clean for those of a delicate disposition). However, Pimentel has created a brilliant leading character in Lauren who you can’t help but like without judgement. It is definitely the skill of Pimentel for writing the character with such confidence and assurance in what her goal was. It makes the audience root for Lauren, you end up championing her along and willing her to have some great commitment free sex.

This book is really funny and a must read for anyone who has traversed the muggy waters of dating and survived….and also for those still lost in that mire. Read this book and gain some perspective.

Age, Sex, Location by Melissa Pimentel is available now.

You can follow Melissa Pimentel (@melispim) on Twitter.

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Synopsis

Delia Moss has made a decision. It is the 21st century and she wants the world to know how much she is in love with her boyfriend of ten years, Paul. She plans to propose to him. However, as with all best laid plans things start to go a bit awry. Especially only moments after accepting her proposal, Paul incorrectly texts Delia a message intended for his mistress.

Heartbroken, Delia flees to London – away from the life that she knew, a life she was comfortable with and a life that she really wanted. However, London has a few tricks up its patriotic sleeves to help Delia realise that she is better, stronger and wiser than her northern upbringing initially reveal.

Review

It is silly just how much I loved this book. Within the first few pages I was hooked. I was blindsided by just how much emotion I was feeling towards Delia’s situation. I mean, it could be argued that the protagonist wronged by her partner is a storyline done to death but Mhairi McFarlane had me wheezing with panic over the happenings of Delia’s love life. Suffice to say, the whole cheating scandal is probable every hopeless romantic’s worst nightmare and imagining myself in Delia’s situation was utterly heartbreaking even though it was through the vicarious activity of reading rather than facing it myself.

What McFarlane manages to do though is offer light at the end of this dark and melancholy tunnel. She shows us how strong a character can be, in fact how strong we can be in that self same situation. Furthermore, what is most noteworthy about this author is that she takes risks. She won’t go for the easy option or the one that her readers will agree with and plenty of times throughout this story I did yell at the book. However, it is an impressive thing when an author will monkey with your mind for the purpose of the better outcome. For this, I salute Mhairi McFarlane.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is a juggernaut of a chick-lit with so many emotions, so many adventures and so many possible outcomes it will keep you guessing until the very end. This should be on every readers Christmas Wish List…heck forget Christmas, buy it now and just hide for the weekend and read it all.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

You can follow Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter @MhairiMcF

It's Not Me It's You

Russian born Alena has decided to leave her country to come to the UK to find work. Like many migrants, Alena believes that the answer to hers and her family’s financial woes lies in the opportunity laden London. Having had her work placement set up by a family friend Alena travels to the UK full of optimism and dreams of a better life that includes financial stability, opportunity and designer clothes. What Alena isn’t prepared for is that her dream is a fallacy. Nor is she prepared for her dream to become a nightmare.

Someone well versed in the woes of everyday life in the UK is Dave. Dave is trying to get through each day under the radar; just do his job, get paid and go home. This is a rigmarole that suits the quiet life that he craves. He once had dreams of travel but all that has passed now. However, a chance encounter with Alena throws his world completely off kilter.

Can Dave’s peaceful nature quiet and calm the storm that is Alena’s life?

I won’t lie to you Thirst is a hard novel to read. Not because it is composed of difficult vernacular or in a different language but purely because Kerry Hudson gives the full nitty gritty on a dark and sinister topic; that topic being human trafficking and having immigrants being sold into the sex trade. At times I felt as if my heart was literally breaking for Alena. What made it worse is that she seemed to be unable to forgive herself for her situation; almost like she believed she deserved to be treated like a piece of meat on a market stall. It was truly harrowing.

But this is what makes Hudson such a good writer. She had my heart in my mouth with the desperation of Alena’s situation.

Dave’s story somewhat parallel’s Alena’s in the fact that they both get themselves into situations that they feel that they have no control over. Dave is trying to fulfil the wishes of his dying mother and gets himself trapped by a set of circumstances that were never part of his life plan. Both of the characters are trapped. Not only by what life puts in their way but how they both feel responsible for the way things are.

Their love story is lovely to follow. I think what makes it so enjoyable is the coy innocence of it all. You see them both giving the bare minimum of themselves away, slowly peeling away layers as their relationship grows. It was rather lovely to read.

Thirst is a quirky love story but be warned, if you read books for pure escapism then this book isn’t for you as it does deal with difficult subjects and has a very real insight into the sinister underbelly of the life that some immigrants face.

Thirst by Kerry Hudson is available now.

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