Title: All My Mothers

Author: Joanna Glen

Pages: 473 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

MEET EVA MARTÍNEZ-GREEN, AN ONLY CHILD FULL OF QUESTIONS ABOUT HER BEGINNINGS.

Between her emotionally absent mother and her physically absent father, there is nobody to answer them. Eva is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why are there no baby pictures of her? Why do her parents avoid all questions about her early years?

When her parents’ relationship crumbles, Eva begins a journey to find these answers for herself. Her desire to discover where she belongs leads Eva on a journey spanning decades and continents – and, along the way, she meets women who challenge her idea of what a mother should be, and who will change her life forever…

The Review

My favourite tropes in books are, in no particular order: 1) coming of age stories; 2) road trip/travel stories; and 3) family mystery stories. I was rather fortunate then to read All My Mothers by Joanna Glen which uses each of these tropes.

All My Mothers is the absolutely gorgeous story of Eva Martinez-Green. Eva does not feel right. Things feel off in her life and she cannot quite figure out why. When she compares her family to others she sees that there is a disconnect. This makes her desire for a “normal” family all the more intense.

Throughout All My Mothers we see Eva searching for her identity and in doing so she uncovers information about herself and her family that leads her down a path of self discovery. The book follows her from a small child to adulthood and we see her development physically and emotionally.

I adored this book. Joanna Glen is so good at painting a picture that you want to live in yourself and she had me hooked from the very first page.

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen is available now.

For more information regarding Joanna Glen (@JoannaGlenBooks) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Freckles

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Burb

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.

But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long:  who are the people who made her the way she is?  And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.

Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

The Review

Due to the success of her first novels PS I Love You and Where Rainbows End I think I have come to expect certain things from Ahern but I must say that she has surprised me with Freckles – her latest release. It is a bit of a strange one. I think I was expecting a big love story but that wasn’t necessarily what I got.

Freckles focuses on Allegra Bird. She is a bit of a loner living in Dublin working as a traffic warden. She has left all she knows to find out who she is. Through a chance encounter Allegra sets out to figure out who she is through the five people most important to her. However once you have opened Pandora’s box you can never close it.

Cecelia Ahern has created an interesting coming-of-age story. Allegra is your classic flawed character. There are parts of her personality that are unlikable yet her vulnerability shines through which does make you root for her.

It is a bit of a conundrum because Freckles has not been my favourite Cecelia Ahern novel but it was an enjoyable read.

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern is available now.

For more information regarding Cecelia Ahern (@Cecelia_Ahern) please visit www.cecelia-ahern.com.

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

Title: The Queer Bible

Author: Jack Guinness

Publisher: Harper Collins/HQ

The Blurb

‘We stand on the shoulders of giants. Now we learn their names.’

Read by Jack Guinness, Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Munroe Bergdorf, Joseph Cassara, Juliet Jacques, Paris Lees, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Graham Norton, Matthew Todd & Russell Tovey. 

THE QUEER BIBLE is a collection of essays written by queer icons, about the queer trailblazers throughout history who inspired them.

From Elton John on Divine to Graham Norton on Armistead Maupin; Russell Tovey on David Robilliard to Lady Phyll on Moud Goba; Tan France on the Queer Eye cast to Mae Martin on Tim Curry, today’s queer heroes write about the icons that provided a creative inspiration to them. Other contributors include Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Courtney Act, Munroe Bergdorf, Mykki Blanco, Joseph Cassara, David Furnish, Paul Flynn, Paris Lees, Juliet Jacques, Gus Kenworthy, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hanne Gaby Odiele and Matthew Todd. Each essay is accompanied by exclusive, bespoke illustrations by queer or ally artists, to create a truly beautiful celebration of queer culture.

Based on the popular website QueerBible.com, founded by model and activist Jack Guinness, this timely collection, edited by him, continues his mission – to create a space dedicated to the celebration of queer history.

The Queer Bible is a love letter to the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.

The Review

I have read a lot of Queer literature this year, I love LGBTQIA fiction but I have to say that it has been the non-fiction that has stuck with me. I decided to listen to the audiobook of The Queer Bible and I con honestly say that I think it was the best decision for me. I got something from the audiobook that I don’t think would have had the same impact had I read it on a page. I heard the passion behind each of these essays. Whilst not all of them were read by their author you still got the feeling of importance. It was joyful.

The audiobook opened on an essay about George Michael and straight away I was sold. The rest of the book highlights queer icons. What is fantastic is that you are hearing/reading queer icons talk about their own queer icons and the impact that they had. It is both educational and entertaining and by far one of the most positive books I have listened to in a long time.

The Queer Bible by Jack Guinness is available now.

For more information regarding Jack Guinness (@JackGuinness) please visit his Twitter page.

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

For more information regarding HQ (@HQ Stories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: How to Kill Your Family

Author: Bella Mackie

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit.

When I think about what I actually did, I feel somewhat sad that nobody will ever know about the complex operation that I undertook. Getting away with it is highly preferable, of course, but perhaps when I’m long gone, someone will open an old safe and find this confession. The public would reel. After all, almost nobody else in the world can possibly understand how someone, by the tender age of 28, can have calmly killed six members of her family. And then happily got on with the rest of her life, never to regret a thing.

A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.

Outrageously funny, compulsive and subversive, perfect for fans of Killing Eve and My Sister, the Serial Killer.

The Review

It is fair to say that How to Kill Your Family is not an ironic title for this book. In Bella Mackie’s story we meet Grace Bernard who sets out on a pilgrimage to kill the members of her family. All very Ronseal so far. It does what it says on the tin…or the book cover in this case.

Through the story we learn about Bella’s past. About the struggles of her mother and the absentee father and we see where she gets he homicidal motivation.

How to Kill Your Family reminded me of the Sweetpea by CJ Skuse. Yet what made the Sweetpea series so interesting is that the protagonist didn’t necessarily always justify her motivations which for me made the book more enjoyable and whilst I did really like How to Kill Your Family, Grace lacked the lackisdaisical and glib nature to make her a memorable serial killer.

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is available now.

For more information regarding Bella Mackie (@bellamackie) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Ramble Book

Author: Adam Buxton

Pages: 376 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Ramble

/ˈramb(ə)l/

Verb

1. walk for pleasure in the countryside.

‘Dr Buckles and Rosie the dog love rambling in the countryside.’

2. talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.

‘Adam rambles on about lots of consequential, compelling and personal matters in his tender, insightful, hilarious and totally unconfused memoir, Ramble Book.’

Ramble Book is about parenthood, boarding school trauma, arguing with your partner, bad parties, confrontations on trains, friendship, wanting to fit in, growing up in the 80s, dead dads, teenage sexual anxiety, failed artistic endeavours, being a David Bowie fan; and how everything you read, watch and listen to as a child forms a part of the adult you become. 

It’s also a book about the joys of going off topic and letting your mind wander.

And it’s about a short, hairy, frequently confused man called Adam Buxton.

The Review

I didn’t know much about Adam Buxton before reading Ramble Book – I know, where have I been? In my defense, the only programs I watch on TV are Bake Off, Gogglebox, Line of Duty and Richard Osman’s House of Games. The rest of my time I spend reading. Anyway, I gave his book a go because from the paperback cover we seemed to have a few mutual loves – David Bowie being one of them.

The more and more I read his book the more I felt that me and Adam Buxton were meant to be together but only if we had a time machine and there wasn’t the 20ish year age gap.

Then he ruined it. He was mean about Labyrinth. Now I think we should just be acquaintences.

In all seriousness, Ramble Book is a wonderful coming of age story with such visceral growing pains that you can’t help but feel for Buxton. Especially in the passages about his father. Whilst he is a grown up middle-aged (sorry) man you are still your parents’ children and when the child essentially becomes the parent or the care giver there is a part of childhood that dies. It is with this that your heart breaks for Buxton.

Ramble Book is a great read for anyone who was a child of the 80s or a lover of that era.

Ramble Book by Adam Buxton is available now.

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