Title: Searching for Grace Kelly

Author: M. G. Callahan

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK

The Blurb

For a small-town girl with big dreams in 1955, there is no address more desirable than New York’s Barbizon Hotel – the place where Grace Kelly lived when she first came to the big city.

Laura is an aristocratic beauty from Connecticut who arrives with a magazine internship and dreams of becoming a writer

Dolly is a hopeless romantic working the secretarial pool and looking to be swept off her feet

Vivian is a red-headed British bombshell who yearns to make it as a singer while working nights as a cigarette girl

Perfect for fans of Mad Men, The Best of Everything and The Paris Wife, this is a novel filled to the brim with glamour, following the lives of three women as they are lured into the exhilarating, dazzling world of New York City and embark on a journey that will alter their lives for ever.

The Review

Set in the Summer of 1955, three very different girls descend on the Barbizan Hotel to try and achieve their dreams and escape the humdrum of their regular lives. These three girls, Dolly, Vivian and Laura are very different but for an unlikely friendship; a friendship that will change their lives forever over the course of one summer.

I love historical fiction, especially when it is historical fiction that I can visualise and really sink my teeth into and 1950s New York with all its fashion and glamour and promise really does manage to take my breath away.

M. G. Callahan creates a stunning version of the New York lifestyle; he mixes debutantes with society folk and with the beatnik movement in one fell swoop. He looks at the challenges that modern young women faced and how they coped in the face of difficult decisions and adversity. Searching for Grace Kelly is a stunning novel that hooks you from the first page. It is told in contrasting perspectives of the three girls and allows us to see that the grass isn’t always greener.

Searching for Grace Kelly by M. G. Callahan is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group UK (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

Title: Cover Up (#6 KateO’Donnell)

Author: Patricia Hall

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Severn House Publishers

The Blurb

Kate O’Donnell and her police sergeant partner, Harry Barnard enter dangerous waters when they uncover evidence of a top-level conspiracy. 

On a busy Friday night in 1964, a woman’s partially clothed body is discovered in London’s Soho Square. She has been raped and strangled. With no one reported missing, her identity remains a mystery. Assuming the victim to be a prostitute, DCI Jackson is inclined to dismiss the case. Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard disagrees.

Harry’s partner Kate meanwhile has been despatched to her native Liverpool to work on a magazine feature about the city’s remarkable regeneration, timed to coincide with the release of the Beatles’ movie, A Hard Day’s Night.

As Harry’s investigations point to evidence of a cover-up at the highest level, Kate’s assignment leads her to uncover a darker side to 1960s’ Liverpool – and a possible link to the Soho murder victim. Are she and Harry getting into something too deep and dangerous for them to handle?

The Review

Crime books are not usually my forte. If I am honest I am the person who never sees the big final twist and usually the red herrings fly completely over my head. I’m ok with all this because it is rare that I will read the crime genre. However, I decided to give Cover Up by Patricia Hall a read. Mainly, I did this because the book was set in Liverpool during the 60s. As a girl who was born and raised in Liverpool I find books based in my city oddly titillating.

Sadly, the bit that I thought that I would like about Cover Up was actually the bit that I found the most jarring. The use of what is deemed Liverpool lexicon such as “la” and “whack” made me feel uncomfortable as I felt that they were bad clichés.

I don’t think that it helped that I came to the series six books in. The mystery of crooked police, vice and the dark side of the Catholic Church was very well described and as a mystery I cannot say that it wasn’t good because clearly Patricia Hall is clearly a good writer but I don’t think the rest of the series is for me.

Cover Up by Patricia Hall is available now.

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.

Title: The Paris Effect

Author: K. S. R. Burns

Pages: 264 Pages

Publisher: Velvet Morning Press

The Blurb

Friendship, loss and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised #1 Amazon Best Seller!

Amy and Kat had planned a secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat to cancer, she knows the plan is gone forever. Or is it?

Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and almost kidnapped. Worse, she finds that all her problems have come right along with her.

Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.

Fans of Ella Carey’s Paris Time Capsule and Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life will enjoy this touching and thoughtful story of self-discovery and second chances.

The Review

I went through a mixture of emotions when reading The Paris Effect by K. S. R. Burns. At first I thought, yes, this is the book for me. A Francophile like myself is just going to drop sticks and go and have a Parisian adventure – something I would love to do. I thought I was going to be able to live vicariously through Amy.

However, as I was reading the book I realised that I didn’t much like Amy as a character. Sure, I sympathised with her over the loss of her best friend but she was a little whiney for my taste.

It was hard to decide whether she was naïve or just really self-centred. It got to the point where I actively began to dislike her rather than just passively so.

However, I did enjoy the story and I think that if Amy had been a bit of a nicer person I would have been able to get on board with some of the things she was doing. I suppose a positive is that I would like to read the sequel and if I really hadn’t liked The Paris Effect then I wouldn’t even contemplate picking that up.

The Paris Effect by K. S. R. Burns is available now.

For more information regarding K. S. R. Burns (@WorkingGirl) please visit www.ksrburns.com.

For more information regarding Velvet Morning Press (@V_Mpress) please visit www.velvetmorningpress.com.

 

Title: After Me Comes the Flood

Author: Sarah Perry

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

The Blurb

One hot summer’s day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind.

He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house.

Its residents welcome him with open arms – but there’s more to this strange community than meets the eye. They all know him by name, they’ve prepared a room for him, and claim to have been waiting for him all along.

As nights and days pass John finds himself drawn into a baffling menagerie. There is Hester, their matriarchal, controlling host; Alex and Claire, siblings full of child-like wonder and delusions; the mercurial Eve; Elijah – a faithless former preacher haunted by the Bible; and chain-smoking Walker, wreathed in smoke and hostility. Who are these people? And what do they intend for John?

Elegant, gently sinister and psychologically complex, After Me Comes The Flood is a haunting and hypnotic debut novel by a brilliant new voice.

The Review

I cannot tell you what After Me Comes the Flood is about. I genuinely have no idea. The story made no sense to me and it got to the point where I was just reading the words and not even taking them in. I’m sure that there was a bigger message, an allegory or extended metaphor but I could not see it.

After Me Comes the Flood was not the best book I have read.

After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry is available now.

For more information regarding Serpent’s Tail (@serpentstail) please visit www.bit.ly/signupST.