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.

Title: The Hot Guy

Author: Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Australia/Echo Publishing

The Blurb

Adam, a serious cinema nerd, has no idea that he is the Hot Guy – a man so ridiculously attractive there’s a Facebook group dedicated to seducing him. Cate, a sports publicist who loves to crack a joke, is feeling down about her newly single status when her friends suggest the perfect pick-me-up: a night with the Hot Guy. But that one night leaves both Cate and Adam wanting… Is a genuine connection possible with a guy this phenomenally smokin’? Written by film critic duo Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris, and packed with movie-related humour, The Hot Guy is a funny, warm, savvy, and genuine romcom, with characters you won’t want to kick out of bed.

The Review

The Hot Guy is a story told from two perspectives. That of the eponymous “hot guy” – Adam – and that of Cate, a girl who has initially used him for his good looks but in turn has fallen for the person inside. The course of true love never runs smooth though and before long we see both fall into the perils and traps of any new relationship before imploding.

The Hot Guy was a nice read. It seemed to have the desire to be similar to When Harry Met Sally but didn’t quite have the execution. Some of the jokes fell a bit flat and became a bit repetitive. Also, when you strip back the main over all problem of the book – that a guy is offended because he is too good looking – it makes the premise seem just a tad weak.

The Hot Guy is what I would refer to as a beach read. One that you forget about quickly after turning the last page.

The Hot Guy by Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris is available now.

For more information regarding Mel Campbell (@incrediblemelk) please visit https://thehotguybook.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Anthony Morris (@morrbeat) please visit https://thehotguybook.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Publishing Australia (@bonnierau) please visit www.facebook.com/bonnierpublishingau.

Title: Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years – Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?

Author: Steve Katz

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

The Blurb

On paper Steve Katz’s career rivals anyone’s except the 1960s’ and ’70’s biggest stars: the Monterey Pop Festival with the legendary Blues Project, Woodstock with Blood, Sweat & Tears, and even producing rock’s most celebrated speed addict, Lou Reed. There were world tours, and his résumé screams “Hall of Fame” — it won’t be long before BS&T are on that ballot. He has three Grammies (ten nominations), three Downbeat Reader’s Poll Awards, three gold records, one platinum record, and one quadruple platinum platter (the second Blood, Sweat & Tears album), not to mention three gold singles with BS&T. All together, he’s sold close to 29 million records. He had affairs with famous female folk singers, made love to Jim Morrison’s girlfriend Pam when Jim was drunk and abusive, partied with Elizabeth Taylor and Groucho Marx, dined with Rudolf Nureyev, conversed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tennessee Williams, hung out with Andy Warhol, jammed with everyone from Mose Allison to Jimi Hendrix, and was told to get a haircut by both Mickey Spillane and Danny Thomas.

But his memoir is more Portnoy’s Complaint than the lurid party-with-your-pants-down memoir that has become the norm for rock ’n’ roll books. It’s an honest and personal account of a life at the edge of the spotlight—a privileged vantage point that earned him a bit more objectivity and earnest outrage than a lot of his colleagues, who were too far into the scene to lay any honest witness to it. Set during the Greenwich Village folk/rock scene, the Sixties’ most celebrated venues and concerts, and behind closed doors on international tours and grueling studio sessions, this is the unlikely story of a rock star as nerd, nerd as rock star, a nice Jewish boy who got to sit at the cool kid’s table and score the hot chicks.

Steve Katz was a founding member of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He became a record producer, working with rock renegade Lou Reed, among others. Now, Katz and his wife, Alison Palmer have a ceramics shop, Alison Palmer Studio, in South Kent, Connecticut.

The Review

I can’t lie to you and say I knew much about Steve Katz before reading his memoir. I had heard of Blood, Sweat and Tears but being born in the 80s BS&T were a bit before my time. It was nice to go into a book without any preconceptions about an artist. That is exactly what I got as I read Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years – Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?

What I was treated to was a biased version of events of what happened – oh, don’t argue, we all see things from our own biased perspective. This was actually a pleasant element to the book because it seemed to make Steve Katz appear more candid and he didn’t seem to care if people too offense to what he said about them.

Overall, Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years – Is Steve Katz a Rock Star? is a really intriguing rock memoir. It is filled with musical highlights that spanned several different years, roles and interpretations of events. I loved it.

And in my opinion, yes, Steve Katz is a rock star.

Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years – Is Steve Katz a Rock Star? By Steve Katz is available now.

For more information regarding Rowman & Littlefield (@RLPGBooks) please visit www.rowman.com.

Title: The Burning Chambers

Author: Kate Mosse

Pages: 608 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Mantle Books

The Blurb

Bringing sixteenth-century Languedoc vividly to life, Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers is a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets; of war and adventure, conspiracies and divided loyalties . . .

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE. But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever.

For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive. Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further. Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . .

The Review

I was genuinely scared to read The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse. I loved her Languedoc series but I hadn’t quite come to terms with Citadel yet – seriously, it was a bloodbath. So with trepidation I picked up The Burning Chambers and literally within paragraphs – not even pages or chapters but paragraphs – I was hooked.

What is so impressive with Kate Mosse’s storytelling is just how immersive it is. I felt like I was part of the Joubert family. I was dealing with the family secrets, I was battling in the war between the Catholics and the Heugenots, I was travelling the very roads between Carcassonne and Toulouse. I was there. Even though it took place a very long time ago and I was reading from the comfort of my modern day home.

The Burning Chambers was a pleasure to read, a book that I will be recommending to the all historical fiction buffs that I know.

There really is only one true master of historical fiction, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is Kate Mosse.

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse is available now.

For more information regarding Kate Mosse (@katemosse) please visit www.katemosse.co.uk.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

For more information regarding Mantle Books (@MantleBooks) please visit www.mantle.panmacmillan.com.

Title: The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist

Author: Michelle Morgan

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Perseus Books/Running Press

The Blurb

With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.

When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a “dumb blonde” in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.

Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:

Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller; Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane; Started her own production company; Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day. The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light.

The Review

Marilyn Monroe has always been an actress that I have been in awe of. Not necessarily for her acting skills – I can’t say that I have seen enough of her movies to make a fair judgement on that but as an icon I have always been overwhelmed by her power of longevity. It is nearly sixty years since her death and really there is only one Marilyn. You don’t even have to say her surname and people know who you are talking about.

Lately I have read a few books about her life and each one has compelled me to read more. What I have found with the other books I have read is a lack of warmth and a detachment to Marilyn Monroe as a person. In Michelle Morgan’s books you are given a very warm and sympathetic look at her life and that was really refreshing. Whilst Morgan doesn’t claim Marilyn was perfect she tries to understand the flaws and imperfections rather than making sweeping gestures.

Of all the Marilyn Monroe books I have read of late this happens to be the one I have enjoyed the most. It only looks at a relatively small (but important) period of Marilyn Monroe’s life but it shows just how much of an impact Marilyn Monroe made on the movie industry and helped paved the way for women working in that field that is felt even today.

The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan.

For more information regarding Michelle Morgan (@MMWriterGirl) please visit www.michellemorgan.co.uk.

For more information regarding Perseus Books (@PerseusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Running Press (@Running_Press) please visit www.runningpress.com.