Title: Sh!t Bag

Author: Xena Knox

Pages: 362 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

‘Come along with me on this sh!tty ride or bail out now. It’s your choice . . .’

When Freya collapses and wakes up with a temporary ileostomy bag on her stomach, her dreams of the perfect summer go down the toilet. Instead of partying in the Algarve, she’s packed off to ‘Poo Camp’ – a place for kids with bowel disease to ‘bond’.

And things can only get worse. Someone has started calling her ‘Sh!t Bag’ . . . and it’s catching on.

Freya decides to live up to the nickname, raging at her friends, her ex and the world. Only her campmate Chris seems to see past her new attitude . . .

Can Freya get her sh!t together or will she end up with just her bag by her side?

A fresh, fierce and funny story about what happens when life literally goes to sh!t.

The Review

Representation matters.

Sh!t Bag is the story of a teenage girl who due to complications with ulcerative colitis had to get an ileostomy. Me. I’m that girl.

Okay, I’m not the protagonist of this story but like 1 in 300 people in the UK I have a stoma. However, in my lifetime I have only read 4 books where the character has a stoma and if I am honest 2 of them weren’t positive. Therefore, it is great to read a book that shows the positive impact having a stoma can have on a person’s quality of life.

Sh!t Bag focuses on Freya, a teenage girl who feels like her world has been turned upside down when she has to have emergency surgery to remove her diseased intestine. Every negative thought a person can have about having a stoma – she has x10. However, through the story Freya learns that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and she begins to see how empowering having a stoma can be and the positive impact on her lifestyle.

Honestly, Sh!t Bag was the book that I didn’t know I needed. Even though I am absolutely happy and content with my stoma (which by the way is called Paloma) it was amazing to read such a positive story and one that was so accurate in detail (loperamide, anyone?).

I am grateful to Xena Knox for writing this story.

Sh!t Bag by Xena Knox is available now.

For more information regarding Xena Knox (@XenaKnox) please visit he Instagram page.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

Title: Rocks

Author: Joe Perry

Pages: 432 Pages

Publishers: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

Before the platinum records or the Super Bowl half-time show or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Joe Perry was a boy growing up in small-town Massachusetts. He idolized Jacques Cousteau and built his own diving rig that he used to explore a local lake. He dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. But Perry’s neighbors had teenage sons, and those sons had electric guitars, and the noise he heard when they started playing would change his life. 

The guitar became his passion, an object of lust, an outlet for his restlessness and his rebellious soul. That passion quickly blossomed into an obsession, and he got a band together. One night after a performance he met a brash young musician named Steven Tyler; before long, Aerosmith was born. What happened over the next forty-five years has become the stuff of legend: the knockdown, drag-out, band-splintering fights; the drugs, the booze, the rehab; the packed arenas and timeless hits; the reconciliations and the comebacks. 

Rocks is an unusually searching memoir of a life that spans from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel—several times. It is a study of endurance and brotherhood, with Perry providing remarkable candor about Tyler, as well as new insights into their powerful but troubled relationship. It is an insider’s portrait of the rock and roll family, featuring everyone from Jimmy Page to Alice Cooper, Bette Midler to Chuck Berry, John Belushi to Al Hirschfeld. It takes us behind the scenes at unbelievable moments such as Joe and Steven’s appearance in the movie of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (they act out the murders of Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees). 

Full of humor, insight, and brutal honesty about life in and out of one of the biggest bands in the world, Rocks is the ultimate rock-and-roll epic. In Perry’s own words, it tells the whole story: “the loner’s story, the band’s story, the recovery story, the cult story, the love story, the success story, the failure story, the rebirth story, the re-destruction story, and the post-destructive rebirth story.”

The Review

Rocks is the extremely interesting musical memoir of Joe Perry from Aerosmith. I won’t claim to be the biggest Aerosmith fan – although I can name enough of their songs to not feel like a total fraud – but I found their musical journey completely fascinating.

Perry discusses the influences on his music, the impact of his family and also the choices that helped and hindered the band at certain pivotal points in time.

One of the most fascinating elements of the memoir is the relationship between Joe Perry and Steve Tyler – where musical direction and ego often clashed. Rocks really is a must read for anyone interested in the rock music history.

Rocks by Joe Perry is available now.

For more information regarding Joe Perry (@JoePerry) please visit www.JoePerry.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Author: Josie Silver

Pages: 369 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Two love stories. One Impossible Choice. 

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible. 

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

But then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

A heart-breaking, uplifting story for fans of PS I Love You and Me Before You, this gorgeously romantic novel will make you laugh, cry and remind you of what a wonderful gift it is to love and to be loved.

The Review

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird asks the question if you could change the past, would you?

Meet Lydia, she has just lost the love of her life, Freddie, in a cruel accident. When dealing with her grief she finds that she can still see, speak to, live with Freddie but it may come at a cost.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird made me smile so much. It was such a sad story but one that really made me think about what I would do in that situation. It reminded me of the Alan Rickman movie Truly Madly Deeply. It hold a bright light up to just how wonderful and indeed excruciating love can be.

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a must read.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver is available now.

For more information regarding Josie Silver (@JosieSilver_) please visit www.josiesilver.com.

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

Title: If This Gets Out

Author: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Pages: 404 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

One of the world’s biggest boy bands. A secret love. What happens if the world finds out? A queer YA boy band romance from Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich, perfect for fans of Only Mostly Devastated and What If It’s Us.

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

The Review

It is a story that we know all to well. A band get extremely popular and before long an implosion happens. Usually due to management trying to control certain aspects of what can and cannot be revealed to the fan base. In If This Gets Out that aspect is sexuality. I’ve seen it several times in my lifetime – Boyzone, Westlife, Steps – it seems a bit insane that the world of entertainment – the fabulous and flagrant world of entertainment – should expect audiences to not understand that some people are gay.

I suppose the premise of If This Gets Out is this very theme. A person’s sexuality doesn’t dictate their worth, nor is it indicative of their talent. The story exposes the motive behind the mindset – money.

As for the love story between Ruban and Zach, yeah it was cute but if I am perfectly honest, it took me a while to care for the characters. Strangely, it was secondary character Jon who I felt was most intriguing and his story needed exploring more.

Overall, If This Gets Out was a pleasant enough read but I didn’t care for the characters in the way I wanted to which I felt was a disservice to the story.

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Gonzales (@sgonzalesauthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Cale Dietrich (@caledietrich) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visitwww.hachettekids.co.uk.

Title: Last Night

Author: Mhairi McFarlane

Pages: 16 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Two best friends. One missed chance. And a night that changes everything.

Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed.

Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too.

Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets…

The Review

There has not been a Mhairi McFarlane book that I have read that I did not like. Last Night is no exception.

On the surface you could read it as a love story which in essence it is but I think it is a love story to friends rather than lovers. It focuses on Eve and her best friend Susie and how certain actions can often do damage that might be unfixable. It is about how when things go wrong those bonds of friendship can often be harder to forgive than the ones in a romantic relationship.

I loved the character of Eve. She was unashamedly herself. Kooky, offbeat, and had a mouth that didn’t always work in conjunction with her brain. She was a fun character to read.

Last Night is not a book that will change your life but it will make your day brighter.

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

For more information regarding Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF) please visit her Twitter page.

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