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 Illness Lesson

Author: Clare Beams

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

It is 1871. At the farm of Samuel Hood and his daughter, Caroline, a mysterious flock of red birds has descended. Samuel, whose fame as a philosopher is waning, takes the birds’ appearance as an omen that the time is ripe for his newest venture. He will start a school for young women, guiding their intellectual development as he has so carefully guided his daughter’s. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Samuel’s vision – revolutionary, as always; noble, as always; full of holes, as always – takes shape.

It’s not long before the students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms: rashes, seizures, verbal tics, night wanderings. In desperate, the school turns to the ministering of a sinister physician – just as Caroline’s body, too, begins its betrayal. As the girls’ condition worsens, Caroline must confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities of her world, the ones who insist the voices of the sufferers are unreliable.

Written in intensely vivid prose and brimming with insight, The Illness Lesson is a powerful exploration of women’s bodies, women’s minds and the time-honoured tradition of doubting both.

The Review

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams seemed like my type of book. It was historical fiction at its base but also dealt with other issues. It looked at the sheltered life of women and how they had to conform to man’s whim, it looked at parental control, and it had a mystery element to it.

And it was a good story. I enjoyed it. It did take a while for me to get into the story but once I was in it I really enjoyed it but more for the feminist elements.

The Illness Lesson is a good read and for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams is available now.

For more information regarding Clare Beams (@clarebeams) please visit www.clarebeams.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

 

Title: Adults

Author: Emma Jane Unsworth

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Jenny is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and whilst her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent.

Adults is what you want it to be. A misadventure of maturity, a satire on our age of self-promotion, a tender look at the impossibility of womanhood, a love story, a riot. And Emma Jane Unsworth is the only voice to hear it from. Adults is excruciating, a gut punch of hilarity and a book laden with truth that you will read again and again.

The Review

Adults is a fanastic look at how we value life in the age of Instagram. Emma Jane Unsworth has almost created a sociological study of how we see someone living a good life by the amount of likes that they get on various social platforms but shown through a fictional account.

In this story we meet Jenny. Jenny has aspirations. She follows people who present their “best” lives and wishes hers could be the same. Whilst doing this she is also dealing with a break up and measuring her life against the expectations of what it means to be 30-something, single, unmarried without children: all of the things that are expected goals to have reached by that time. Jenny is failing miserably and is falling into a pit of despair.

Unsworth brilliantly captures the sense of desperation some people can be made to feel at certain points in their life whilst also highlighting the hypocrisy of a life “online”. Rarely people post the bad times, they show their highlights real which in turn makes others feel bad. Adults calls BS on this.

Adults is a really good book. It is funny – not the laugh out loud kind of funny but the self chuckling kind when you recognise yourself and your bad points amongst the characters. I really enjoyed reading it.

Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth is available now.

For more information regarding Emma Jane Unsworth (@emjaneunsworth) please visit her Twitter page.

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

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: Mix Tape

Author: Jane Sanderson

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.

But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.

For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.

And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Because what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

The Review

Okay, so I am conflicted by Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson. Firstly, I do love a good love story especially when the story involves first love that has broken down for whatever reason and then rekindled as adults. I love that those people who once knew one another then have to rediscover each other as adults. I love that.

However, when that comes at the cost of other established relationships I find it hard to feel empathy with the characters. Yes, people are flawed and yes this can happen in real life. I think for me, probably because where I am in my life I know I would feel devastated if my partner rekindled a romance with his first love.

It is a well written book and Jane Sanderson should be proud of what she has produced. Personally, I think I need to know what happened with tertiary characters to be able to fully commit to the romance of Dan and Ali.

Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson is available now.

For more information regarding Jane Sanderson (@SandersonJane) please visit www.jane-sanderson.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.