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: 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.

The Best Minds of My GenerationTitle: The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats

Author: Allen Ginsberg

Pages: 496 Pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic/Grove Press

The Blurb

In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem “Howl,” and Jack Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through the creation of this course, which he ended up teaching five times, first at the Naropa Institute and later at Brooklyn College, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present the history of Beat Literature in his own inimitable way. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, complete with notes, and paints a portrait of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries.

Ginsberg was seminal to the creation of a public perception of Beat writers and knew all of the major figures personally, making him uniquely qualified to be the historian of the movement. In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg shares anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other writers for the first time, explains his own poetics, elucidates the importance of music to Beat writing, discusses visual influences and the cut-up method, and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. For Beat aficionados and neophytes alike, The Best Minds of My Generation is a personal yet critical look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.

The Review

I was really eager to read The Best Minds of My Generation but had been put off by an experience of reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. This will probably shock a lot of people but I just didn’t rate it. I read it because I felt like I was supposed to have read it. But, to be perfectly honest, I just wasn’t that impressed.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it and just immerse myself in the world of the Beat Writers.

I kind of wish I had chosen another book to read. That probably sounds really harsh but it is because this book, The Best Minds of My Generation, is clearly for hardcore Beat enthusiasts. It is not for someone who is tentatively dipping their toes into this genre.

My recommendation would be that anyone wanting to learn about the history of this period then look elsewhere. If you already love this genre of writing then knock yourself out.

The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats by Allen Ginsberg is available now.

For more information regarding Grove Atlantic (@groveatlantic) please visit www.groveatlantic.com.

2 Stars

Kiss Me in New YorkTitle: Kiss Me in New York

Author: Catherine Rider

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Kids Can Press

The Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC. Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd. Charlotte’s flight is cancelled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex.

For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together. Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other. Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Part Before Sunrise, part Sleepless in Seattle, this delightful story will appeal to anyone who sees the romance in a swirl of snowflakes at the top of the Empire State Building, or anyone who’s wondered if true love was waiting at the other end of the airport ticket counter.

The Review

Can someone please take me to New York and kiss me…like now!

Oh be still my heart, Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is like one gorgeously long meet cute. Charlotte and Anthony meet in inauspicious circumstances but being in one of the most magical and romantic cities in the world (and at Christmas time no less) works its power.

Charlotte and Anthony’s epic adventure sees them traipsing the city on Christmas Eve following a self-help book’s advice. It really is a charming story that I was unique, fresh and seriously entertaining.

If this is the type of YA novel that we can come to expect from Catherine Rider then I am very excited to see what else she has in store.

Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is available now.

For more information regarding Catherine Rider (@CRiderYA) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Kids Can Press (@KidsCanPress) please visit www.kidscanpress.com.

4 Stars

A Very Merry Manhattan ChristmasTitle: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas

Author: Darcie Boleyn

Pages: 201 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

The Review

Oh I do love a good romance. Oh and I love Christmas. Oh and I do love New York. Combine these three things and you have the fabulous romantic read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn. Winner winner.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is the wonderfully festive tale of two friends who are meant to be together finding love and discovering something that had been there all along. Lucie and Dale have been friends for forever and even though everyone around them can see that they are meant to be together they are really tentative when it comes to actually making that leap.

What was lovely about A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is that the love between the characters bounced off the page. When it was compared to less successful relationships in the story you can see how well suited Dale and Lucie are.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas isn’t a long story, at only 201 pages it could easily be read in one sitting. It is the perfect book to get you in the festive mood.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn is available now.

For more information regarding Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) please visit www.darcieboleyn.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Canelo (@canelo_co) please visit www.canelo.co.

3 Stars