Title: Barbara the Slut and Other People

Author: Lauren Holmes

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.

The Review

Barbara the Slut and Other People is a quirky collection of short stories from Lauren Holmes. Whilst I enjoyed reading the collection and it was a welcome distraction from some of the heavier novels I have been reading lately I must admit that I cannot recall many of the stories in the collection. Therefore, I would describe Barbara the Slut and Other People as a good collection but ultimately the stories do not play on your mind after you finish reading.

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes is available now.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollins) please visit www.hc.com.

Title: Bonjour Girl

Author: Isabelle Lafleche

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Dundurn

The Blurb

Dating, fashion, and drama: Clementine never has a dull day at the Parsons School of Design.

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and glitzy fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog, Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair quickly catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and public humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection.

The Review

The story of Bonjour Girl was quite enjoyable. I liked the idea of a young girl hiding in plain sight in one of the busiest cities in the world which is exactly what Clementine is doing at the famous fashion institute that she is attending. Along the way she meets people who can both help and hurt her and she gets lessons in life as well as in lapels (I probably shouldn’t try to pun about fashion).

If I am honest, I found the writing style of Bonjour Girl a little stilted. I felt that Clementine harped on far too much about how hard done to she was; all the things that had happened and how she was the innocent victim in it all. Furthermore, some of her actions seemed far too saccharine at times which made her a little less believable as a character.

Bonjour Girl is a cute story but it didn’t blow me away.

Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Lafleche is available now.

For more information regarding Isabelle Lafleche (@isalafleche) please visit www.isabellelfleche.net.

For more information regarding Dundurn (@dundurnpress) please visit www.dundurn.com.

Title: Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One)

Author: Dani Oden

Pages: 216 Pages

Publisher: Dani Oden

The Blurb

College freshman Jill Holloway takes one look at the stuck-up girls going through sorority rush and nearly returns her borrowed dress and heels. Against her best judgment, she ends up falling for the prestige and parties, and snagging a bid from a top house. After moving in, she quickly grows skeptical of her too-perfect sorority sisters. She tries to ask questions, but no one will take time from their busy social calendar to give her any real answers.

Jill wastes no time digging for everything she’s not supposed to find, and soon comes face-to-face with a big and bloody secret hidden in her sorority’s basement. She knows she’s in over her head, however taking off so soon would raise the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of her suspicious new sisters. She’s stuck until she can make a smooth exit.

The closer she gets to leaving, the more it becomes clear that it won’t be as simple as she hoped. A tempting fraternity guy, a best friend who needs her, and new details about what has really been happening in the basement have her questioning what her next move should be, and whether or not it’ll be worth the risks.

The Review

Handpicked is like a Scooby-Doo episode for a Y2K generation. It focuses on Jill, college freshman who is rushing a sorority but when spooky things start to happen she, along with friends Hannah and Lindy, begin to wonder if the sisterhood is really for them.

Handpicked is a really easy read. It is one of those books that you can get lost in but not feel overwhelmed by. You don’t feel guilty when you put it down to deal with real life stuff. Personally, I felt that it was a little anticlimactic but as it is the start of a series I am willing to forgive that. If you’re not into heavy literature and you just want a book to brighten your day then Dani Oden could be your next favourite author.

Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One) by Dani Oden is available now.

For more information regarding Dani Oden (@MsDaniOden) please visit her Twitter page.

Title: Nice Girls Endure

Author: Chris Struky-Bonn

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Capstone/Switch Press

The Blurb

Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She’s an avid musical lover, she’s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea’s weight. Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through. Don’t make waves. Don’t draw attention. That’s how life is for Chelsea—until a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea’s world.

As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life. But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve.

Readers will be captivated by Chelsea’s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think. A must-read for anyone who loves to explore the personal but powerful territory of everyday life.

The Review

Oh, what a truly lovely, but awful, but brilliant, but heartbreaking book.

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Stryuk-Bonn is the story of Chelsea, a young girl who is overweight. That isn’t all she is but it is the first thing that people see and the last thing that they seem to remember about her. They don’t know that she loves musicals, shoes, painting her toenails and spending time with her dad. Most people can’t (or won’t) look past her exterior.

When things start to change for Chelsea she learns that sometimes the good comes with some bad – now she has to learn that she doesn’t deserve (or need to accept) the bad.

I was genuinely taken aback by this young adult novel. At times, I felt broken by the cruelty that Chelsea faced. At times I had to put the book down because it was too much to take. I am so glad that I have read it and that I get to encourage others to read it to because in the age of Instagram and body shaming we need to start loving ourselves more and more importantly we need to start being kind to each other.

Nice Girls Endure is a truly spectacular piece of writing.

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn is available now.

For more information regarding Chris Struyk-Bonn (@ChrisStruykBonn) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Capstone (@CapstonePub) please visit www.capstonepub.com.

For more information regarding Switch Press (@SwitchPressPub) please visit www.switchpresspub.tumblr.com.

Title: Maybe in Paris

Author: Rebecca Christiansen

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

The Blurb

Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother, Levi, and high hopes. Levi has just survived a suicide attempt and months in the psych ward—he’s ready for a dose of the wider world. Unlike their helicopter mom and the doctors who hover over Levi, Keira doesn’t think Levi’s certifiable. He’s just . . . quirky. Always has been.

Those quirks quickly begin to spoil the trip. Keira wants to traipse all over Europe; Levi barely wants to leave their grubby hotel room. She wants to dine on the world’s cuisine; he only wants fast food. Levi is one giant temper tantrum, and Keira’s ready to pull out her own hair.

She finally finds the adventure she craves in Gable, a hot Scottish bass player, but while Keira flirts in the Paris Catacombs, Levi’s mental health breaks. He disappears from their hotel room and Keira realizes, too late, that her brother is sicker than she was willing to believe. To bring him home safe, Keira must tear down the wall that Levi’s sickness and her own guilt have built between them.

The Review

Oh where do I begin with Maybe in Paris?

Ok, so my love of Paris and being a self confessed Francophile made me select this book. The thought of travelling to Paris and seeing the sights and falling in love with the city sounds like absolute heaven to me so understandably I liked the idea of this novel. And whilst I cannot say that Rebecca Christiansen writes in a bad way (because she doesn’t) I cannot say I enjoyed this book.

Pourquoi? I hear you scream.

Well it had such unlikable characters. Let’s start with Keira and Levi’s mum. Within the first few chapters she has basically called her daughter a slut. Makes out that she is some wanton harlot. Now if that was the case then why hasn’t the mother taken some parental responsibility and tried to speak to her daughter before basically writing her off and feeling that it was ok to speak to Keira like she was muck on her shoe.

Then we have Keira who, yes, is a little bit flighty which can be forgiven but she is also incredibly selfish and naive and really takes no responsibility in her actions. She thinks she is right all of the time and acts on instinct which nine times out of ten is wrong.

Then we have the younger brother, Levi. Levi quite clearly has mental issues alongside a potential diagnosis of autism. It feels that, at times, Christiansen uses his autism to justify some of his actions which are just plain arsey which is unfair to those who have autism.

Overall, I feel that the story would have been better if Christiansen had made her characters much more likeable.

Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Christiansen (@rchristiansenYA) please visit www.rebeccachristiansen.com.

For more information regarding Skyhorse Publishing (@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.