Title: You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here

Author: Frances Macken

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

The Blurb

Katie, Maeve and Evelyn – friends forever, united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town of Glenbruff.  Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. That is, until the beautiful, bold Pamela Cooney arrives from Dublin and changes Glenbruff forever…

Told from Katie’s witty, quirky perspective, Frances Macken’s debut beautifully captures life in a small town and the power of yearning for something bigger. Filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here takes a keen-eyed look at the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the way that life can quietly erode our dreams unless we’re willing to fight for them.

The Review

You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is a wonderful coming of age story of friendship, community, and what it is like when the world you know suddenly doesn’t fit any more.

The story centres around Katie and her two friends Maeve and Evelyn. In this trio of friends Evelyn is the alpha and Katie follows behind desperate to keep her onside. Her whole world revolves around Evelyn – decisions are made by whether or not Evelyn will react well or cause drama. Even life decisions are made with Evelyn’s feelings at the forefront. When those feelings of loyalty aren’t returned Katie starts to outgrow the friendship. However, leaving your childhood friends behind is never that easy.

You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here is a wonderful reflection on how friendships, no matter how deep rooted, can become insidious and how sometimes growing up does mean growing apart.

You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here by Frances Macken is available now.

For more information regarding Frances Macken (@francesmacken) please visit www.francesmacken.com.

For more information regarding Oneworld Publications (@OneworldNews) please visit www.oneworld-publications.com.

Title: Charlotte

Author: Helen Moffett

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier

The Blurb

Everybody believes that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is unmarried, plain, poor and reaching a dangerous age. 

When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is appalled by her decision. 

Yet this the only way Charlotte knows how to provide for her future. Her married life will propel her into a new world: not only of duty and longed-for children, but secrets, grief, unexpected love and friendship, and a kind of freedom.

Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints on women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off in Pride and Prejudice, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. 

Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.

The Review

Do you ever read a book and wonder what happens to characters after you turn the final page? Me too. And so – it seems – does Helen Moffett. That is how the story of Charlotte was created. Charlotte Lucas – a character in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – is the star of her own story now. We see her life after the consequence of decisions that she makes. Her story and her growth as a character is lovely to read about.

Her tale is one of love, tragedy, and following the rules of Regency Britain…and breaking them.

In Charlotte, we get a protagonist that we are now allowed to fully connect with and it is lovely reading her story.

Charlotte by Helen Moffett is available now.

For more information regarding Helen Moffett (@Heckitty) please visit www.helenmoffett.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

Title: 1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded

Author: John Savage

Pages: 640 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

From the acclaimed author of the classic book on Punk, England’s Dreaming, comes a history of the pivotal moment in the 1960s that changed pop culture forever.

The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late ’50s reached boiling point. In the worlds of pop, pop art, fashion and radical politics, often fueled by perception-enhancing substances and literature, the ‘Sixties’, as we have come to know them, hit their Modernist peak. 

A unique chemistry of ideas, substances, freedom of expression and dialogue across pop cultural continents created a landscape of immense and eventually shattering creativity. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. The 7 inch single outsold the long-player for the final time. It was the year in which the ever lasting and transient pop moment would burst forth in its most articulate, instinctive and radical way.

Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century. Exploring canonical artists like The Beatles, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, The Who and The Kinks, 1966 also goes much deeper into the social and cultural heart of the decade through unique archival primary sources.

The Review

1966 is a comprehensive look at an impactful year in music and society in general. Savage takes you on a musical journey highlighting the important figures and events in music and politics that changed the face of the world as it had been known.

Artists such as The Beatles, Otis Redding, The Supremes among many others are celebrated and their stories are told, about how their actions altered things so much that we still feel the changes today.

Personally, I feel that 1966 is best served as an academic text. To read it for pleasure – which I was doing – felt a bit heavy. However, to read with purpose would make this book a lot more enjoyable. Regardless of this 1966 is a fascinating and thorough read.

1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage is available now.

For more information regarding Jon Savage (@JonSavage1966) please visit his Twitter page.

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

Title: Olive

Author: Emma Gannon

Pages: 410 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

OLIVE is many things.

Independent.

Adrift.

Anxious.

Loyal.

Kind.

Knows her own mind.

It’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

The Review

I have been there. I have been on the receiving end of the “Oh, you’ll change your mind one day.” conversation. Well I’m 38 and I have been feeling this way since I was about 6 and rejected playing with dolls for reading books. It’s not that I don’t like children. I am a boss aunty. I just don’t want one of my own. And it is this subject that is the topic of Emma Gannon’s debut novel Olive.

Olive and her three best friends do everything together however their friendship is challenged when their lives careen off in different ways. When the issues of motherhood come up it further drives a wedge in the friendship as both sides fail to fully understand how the other side is feeling.

What is genuinely lovely about this book – besides feeling like I have found my tribe in book form – is that these characters fight so hard for each other. Their lives are not the same as when they were young, foot loose and fancy free but their love for each other is something that they refuse to give up on.

I loved this book and at the moment Olive is my hero.

Olive by Emma Gannon is available now.

For more information regarding Emma Gannon (@emmagannon) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: The Strange Adventures of H

Author: Sarah Burton

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Legend Press

The Blurb

Orphaned young, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H’s life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out – friendless, pregnant and destitute – into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.

Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen. Weathering it all, can H charm, or scheme, her way to the life of freedom and independence that she longs for?

The Review

The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton is a fabulous story bringing life to plague ridden England. It is a story of determination, fortitude and the unwillingness to let societal expectations hold you back.

H, our protagonist is a young girl who has seen her fair share of bad times. After the death of her mother, the fall of her sister (quite the scandal) and then the subsequent death of her father H along with her sister are sent to live with their aunt however when the plague hits H’s life is once again in the hands of the gods. As an unwed woman during this period H does what she can to survive but it comes at a cost.

The Strange Adventures of H was a great story. It put me in mind of a modern day Moll Flanders. H is a fantastic representation of feminism before it was even a thing. She is feisty, courageous and tenacious and I loved going on this romp of a journey with her.

The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Burton (@AdveturesOfH1) please visit the Twitter page.