Title: My Child and Other Mistakes

Author: Ellie Taylor

Pages: 243 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

My Child and Other Mistakes is the honest lowdown on Motherhood and all its grisly delights, asking the questions no one wants to admit to asking themselves – do I want a child? Do I have a favourite? Do I wish I hadn’t had one and spent the money on a kitchen island instead?

Stand-up comic, broadcaster and actress Ellie Taylor is relatable, clever and interested in how women can have it all. Her honest, hilarious and moving account of the whys and hows of having a baby makes perfect reading for expectant mothers and fathers everywhere, as well as those who’ve been there, done that, and wonder how on earth they did. 

In this very funny book she writes candidly about her own personal experience exploring the decision to have a baby when she doesn’t even like them, the importance of cheese during pregnancy, why she took hair straighteners to the labour ward, plus the apocalyptic newborn days, childcare, work and the inevitable impact on life and love and most importantly, her breasts.

The Review

I’m a fan of Ellie Taylor. When I watch her acting or her stand up I genuinely belly laugh at the things that she has to say so I was eager to read her memoir My Child and Other Mistakes because I knew that I would be entertained. Ellie Taylor did not let me down.

In My Child and Other Mistakes, Taylor chronicles her ascent into adulthood. I don’t mean the passing of the years that makes us a grown up but the decisions that we make that validate that in modern society such as getting engaged, getting married, having kids.

What Taylor does in her coming of age memoir is show you the reality of this in a funny way. She doesn’t sugarcoat the harder times or the times that make her look just a little unhinged. It all adds to the wonderful colour of this story. Her thoughts on motherhood are especially honest and she lays bare how hard it is but also how rewarding she has found it.

My Child and Other Mistakes is a wonderfully funny read.

My Child and Other Mistakes by Ellie Taylor is available now.

For more information regarding Ellie Taylor (@EllieJaneTaylor) please visit www.linktr.ee/Elliejanetaylor.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are

Author: Rachel Bloom

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

A collection of hilarious personal essays, poems and even amusement park maps on the subjects of insecurity, fame, anxiety, and much more from the charming and wickedly funny creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

“It’s nice to know someone as talented as Rachel is also pretty weird. If you’re like me and love Rachel Bloom, this hilarious, personal book will make you love her even more.” – Mindy Kaling

“Rachel is one of the funniest, bravest people of our generation and this book blew me away.” – Amy Schumer

Rachel Bloom has felt abnormal and out of place her whole life. In this exploration of what she thinks makes her ‘different’, she’s come to realise that a lot of people also feel this way; even people who she otherwise thought were ‘normal’.

In a collection of laugh-out-loud funny essays, all told in the unique voice (sometimes singing voice) that made her a star, Rachel writes about everything from her love of Disney, OCD and depression, weirdness, and female friendships to the story of how she didn’t poop in the toilet until she was four years old. It’s a hilarious, smart, and infinitely relatable collection (except for the pooping thing).

Readers love I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are.

The Review

Okay, I won’t lie to you. I don’t really know who Rachel Bloom is. I downloaded this book because the cover looked similar to the 90s Sweet Valley High series book covers so I assumed it would be a pastiche about the 80s/90s. It was interesting to find out that it was in fact a memoir. I could have DNF’d it at this point but I decided to stick it out and see if I enjoyed it. I did.

Rachel Bloom is funny in that self-deprecating geeky way that shows just how socially awkward she once was. I work in a school and the kids that tend to be my favourites (I know we shouldn’t have favourites but we do) are those that bang to the beat of their own drum. Rachel Bloom appears to be that kind of person. Unapologetically herself.

In I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are you travel with her through her awkward teen years. You cringe along with all the shockingly awful things she had to deal with and you marvel with just how cruel school kids can be. Bloom handled it so much better than I ever could.

I’m glad I read I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are. I know my reasons for doing so where a bit strange but it is one of those serendipitous moments where things turn out alright.

I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom is available now.

For more information regarding Rachel Bloom please visit her website www.racheldoesstuff.com.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: Pretending

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel.

Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.

The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her.

As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua.

Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

The Review

Holly Bourne is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. That is what I learned after reading her latest release – Pretending.

Pretending is the story of April. April is sick of the dating scene. She hates that she can’t live up to the expectations and standards that have been set for girls. More than that, she hates that men cannot live up to the exacting standards that she has set. There is a reason she has these standards and April is not willing to settle. So as a social experiment she invents Gretel. The perfect girl. She wants to see if Gretel is more successful than April. All of this goes well until she starts to fall for Joshua – the unwitting victim of her experiment. But who does he love – Gretel or April?

Pretending is a power house of a story. Bourne was asking questions that plagued my late twenties when it came to dating and men. Her questions and her characters anger are not unfounded. There are a lot of triggering moments in this story though so be prepared to wade through some topics that aren’t easy to read but it is with Bourne’s fearless style that as a reader you feel in safe hands.

Pretending by Holly Bourne is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: Holding

Author: Graham Norton

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad, Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

The Review

I’ve had Holding sitting on my Kindle for a while now. If I am honest with myself, I wanted to read it out of curiosity for what Graham Norton could produce rather than the story given on the blurb. There have been times when I have bought a book because of who the writer is and have been completely disappointed in the outcome. I wanted to read Holding but I didn’t want to lose my love for Graham Norton.

In this case, I really shouldn’t have worried. Holding is really funny.

It is set in a small podunk village in Ireland where nothing ever happens but when the remains of a body are found the whole town flails with uproar. While the whole town try to figure out ‘whodunnit’ more and more drama and mystery unravel among the residents.

Essentially, Holding is a murder mystery comedy. Norton perfectly encapsulates a gossipy town where everyone lives in the pockets of everyone else. It is a town in which no one can have any secrets. Indeed, Duneen becomes a character in its own right and even though it was the setting for a murder I found myself kind of wanting to go and visit.

Holding by Graham Norton is a very witty novel and I for one should have given him more credit for his writing ability.

Holding by Graham Norton is available now.

For more information regarding Graham Norton (@grahnort) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Vanished Bride

Author: Bella Ellis

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters—the Brontë sisters—learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

The Review

I have a firm belief that you are either an Emily girl or a Charlotte girl (sorry Anne). If you read work by the Bronte sisters you will fall into either camp and it usually depends on which you read first: Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I, myself, am a Charlotte girl. I love Jane Eyre and for me it is the book form of a comfort blanket. It is the book I return to every few years and still fall helplessly in love with the heroine.

I have always thought that the life of the Bronte sisters must have been incredibly limited. The era in which they lived offered few opportunities for women and from what I did know about them beyond their work was limited. Therefore, it is brilliant to read a book like The Vanished Bride that affords the Bronte girls the chance to have excitement and a life filled with intrigue and mystery. Bella Ellis has really opened my eyes to how interesting their lives may have actually been. Granted, it is a fictional retelling but the story does have elements of truth in it and also uses historical accounts to help develop these writers into fully formed women which I found myself ignorant of.

The story of The Vanished Bride is really well told. It shows how the sisters were unable to quell their curiosity and had an opinion on what was right and wrong. It has all the elements needed for a gothic story and is in fact just a jolly good romp of a mystery. It is definitely worth a read.

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis is available now.

For more information regarding Bella Ellis (@brontemysteries) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit the Twitter page.