Title: The Hatmakers

Author: Tamzin Merchant

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

The Blurb

The first adventure in a spellbinding new magical world.

Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia’s world, Making – crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients – is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain.

When Cordelia’s father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war.

It’s up to Cordelia to find out who, and why…

The Review

What I really love about middle grade fiction is the scope that the writer has. Younger children are more accepting of the weird, wacky and wonderful and that is exactly what you get in the world of The Hatmakers. It is a story about a young girl called Cordelia who has grown up with the intention of following in the family footsteps of becoming a milliner. However, her life plans begin to unravel when her father goes missing. This is the start of her epic adventure of self discovery.

Alongside this you have the story of rival companies – the glovemakers, the shoemakers etc all who have had a mass falling out. It is up to Cordelia and her friends to try and bring them all back together to save their country and also, maybe, save her father too.

The Hatmakers is a cute story but you do have to suspend your disbelief because some of the elements are fantastical. It is lovely to get immersed into a world and know that it is the first in a series of adventures.

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant is available now.

For more information regarding Tamzin Merchant (@tamzinmerchant) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: The Moment of Lift

Author: Melinda Gates

Pages: 273 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

‘We need this message more than ever’ Malala Yousafzai

The right to:

Spend your own money. Go to school. Earn an income. Access contraceptives. Work outside the home. Walk outside the home. Choose whom to marry. Get a loan. Start a business. Own property. Divorce a husband. See a doctor. Drive a car.

All of these rights are denied to women in some parts of the world.

A Sunday Times bestselling debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment.

‘How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings – and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.’

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares the stories of the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world and the lessons she’s learned from them. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book – to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.”

Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention – from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world – and ourselves.

When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.

The Review

I won’t proclaim to know a lot about the Gates family. Besides knowing that Bill Gates owned Microsoft (I think) before reading this book I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much else except maybe the conspiracy theories surrounding the Covid jab but even then that was all conjecture. What I know now after reading The Moment of Lift is that the Gates family seem like pretty alright people.

Okay, so the book is hardly subjective being written by Melinda Gates and therefore being her perspective and highlighting the positives but if we look at the positives as a whole then the work that she does to help people seems pretty great. Educating girls about how to keep themselves safe, how to deliver babies safely in underpriviliged countries. Encouraging young women to get into STEM – on paper it all sounds wonderful.

Even if it turns out that all the conspiracy theories are true the things that you can take from this book is that it is well written and that it does elevate you to think differently about other people and how we all could do with helping others. That is a message that really resonates.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates is available now.

For more information regarding Melinda Gates (@melindagates) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Canongate

The Blurb

The touching, funny and heartwarming new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Stop Time and Reasons to Stay Alive.

Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.

The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.

Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

The Review

It would be fair to say that I have a complicated relationship with Matt Haig’s writing. I have read a few of his books and whilst I have loved his non-fiction – seriously his perspective on mental health is fascinating and so very helpful – I haven’t really managed to get along too well with his fiction. However, at the insistence of a close friend I gave The Midnight Library a go and I have to admit I really, really liked it.

It is the story of Nora Seed – a young girl whose life doesn’t seem to have lived up to the promises of what life should be and due to that she wants her life to be over. She ends up in a place called The Midnight Library which gives her to opportunity to see how her life would be if she had taken different paths.

Now you could say that this is a trope that has been examined before – most notably in It’s A Wonderful Life – however, Haig has a brilliant way of juxtaposing the weird and wonderful with the ordinary and humdrum and he shows Nora Seed seeing how everyone is impacted by her existence in different forms. What is also great is that The Midnight Library is not twee. It is thoughtful and introspective but inviting and engaging.

Reading The Midnight Library has certainly made me more interested in reading more fiction from Matt Haig.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@matthaig1) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Call Me, Maybe

Author: Stephie Chapman

Pages: 388 Pages

Publisher: Hera Books

The Blurb

What if you got a second chance with your first love? What happens when you meet your teenage heart-throb – when you’re both all grown up?

When Cassie was fifteen, all she wanted was to marry Jesse Franklin, the bassist from her favourite band, Franko. Now she’s single, in her late twenties and wondering what happened to that teenage dream. A chance encounter on Facebook soon leads to a transatlantic hook up, and soon, Jesse and Cassie are having a long-distance love affair spanning five thousand miles. Cassie is on cloud nine – until she hears something that makes her think that Jesse might not be all that he seems.

They say never meet your heroes – but what happens when you fall in love with them…? Are Cassie and Jesse star crossed lovers, destined to be together? Or should Cassie have left her crush in the box marked ‘teenage memories’?

Previously published as Getting Over Jesse Franklin, this brand new edition has had extensive editorial changes.

The Review

Okay, so Call Me, Maybe by Stephie Chapman is literally my 20-something dream of how I wanted my life to turn out…kind of.

Call Me, Maybe is the story of Cassie and how she loved a band so much when she was younger and how with the wonders of modern technology she was able to befriend the band member she loved years later and start a relationship with him. Okay. My summary actually sounds pretty creepy but Call Me, Maybe was not. It was a bit predictable at times but there was a comfort in that. Knowing that with any relationship there is going to be bumps in the road and dramas lurking around every corner.

I really, really enjoyed Call Me, Maybe. IT was easy, fun and lighthearted. I really wish that it had happened to me and Matt from Busted and I don’t care who knows it.

Call Me, Maybe by Stephie Chapman is available now.

For more information regarding Stephie Chapman (@StephieChapman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hera Books (@HeraBooks) please visit www.herabooks.com.

Title: Paris for One and Other Stories

Author: Jojo Moyes

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A collection of 11 unmissable short stories from the number 1 internationally bestselling author of Me Before You and After You.

Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away-to anywhere-before. Travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up, she has the chance to prove to everyone-including herself- that she can be independent and intrepid. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed . . .

In the ten other stories, Jojo Moyes introduces us to a cast of strong, relatable women in the midst of their everyday lives. In Honeymoon in Paris, featuring characters from her bestselling novel, The Girl You Left Behind, Liv and Sophie – though decades apart – both find that marriage is only the beginning of their love stories. In Crocodile Shoes, a businesswoman’s blossoming confidence emerges from a fateful changing-room mix-up. And in both Love in the Afternoon and A Bird in the Hand, two couples dance around the trickiness of long-time marriage.

In this irresistible collection, readers will be whisked from elegant perfume shops to taxis to five-star hotel rooms and more. Jojo Moyes always makes the ordinary moments in life extraordinary.

Funny, charming, and unmissable, Paris for One and Other Stories is Moyes at her best.

The Review

I haven’t read a Jojo Moyes story in a while and I must admit that my reading tastes have changed. However, picking up her work is like putting on a dressing gown that has been warming on a radiator after a cold day out. So very comforting.

What is great is that this collection of short stories reminded me of all the things that I love about her writing. The relatable characters, the lifelike settings and the sense of escapism. It was a book that I needed in between reading a few heavy texts.

What is lovely to know – and so very evident in the characters on display in Paris for One and Other Stories – is that when you pick up a Jojo Moyes book it feels like going home.

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes is available now.

For more information regarding Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes) please visit www.jojomoyes.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PEnguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk