Title: Liccle Bit

Author: Alex Wheatle

Pages: 217 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

The Blurb

What’s worse than hiding a secret? Liccle Bit’s about to find out…

Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren’t much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better. A new phone would be a start… 

When Venetia starts paying Liccle Bit attention, he secretly hopes he’s on a fast track to a first date. Unfortunately, as a new gang war breaks out, he finds himself on a fast track to something much more sinister. South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in Liccle Bit. Before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself running errands. But when he hears about a killing on the estate, Liccle Bit is forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right?

The Review

If you want a realistic hard hitting drama for kids you really should look no further than Alex Wheatle. He manages to deal with real issues that happen in socially deprived areas and make them seem realistic – not overly dramatic but with enough clout to know that the consequences will be dire.

Liccle Bit focuses on Lemar and how he unwittingly ends up on the cusp of criminal activity. Torn between loyalty and a want to better his circumstances Lemar ends up getting involved in things that should not concern a young teenage lad.

Alex Wheatle uses his stories as moral tales to show that there are much better things that a person can be doing with their time than be getting themselves caught up in a life of crime. I didn’t mean for that to rhyme.

Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

Title: As I Descended

Author: Robin Talley

Pages: 370 Pages

Publisher: Harlequin

The Blurb

Amnesty Honour winner Robin Talley is back with a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford—and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.

Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.

The Review

As far as campus horror novels go, As I Descended is quite good. Students Maria and Lily have dappled in dark forces and have invoked the forces of the dead which begin to have massive consequences of their academic ecosystem.

What was interesting about As I Descended is the depths that people will go for power. However, the overarching belief of goodness makes As I Descended added depth.

As much as I enjoyed the story I didn’t feel that I fully connected with the characters and I felt that more could have been made of the campus setting.

As I Descended by Robin Talley is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Talley (@robin_talley) please visit www.robintalley.com.

For more information regarding Harlequin (@HarlequinBooks) please visit www.harlequin.com.

Title: Adultery

Author: Paulo Coelho

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

The thought-provoking new novel from the international bestselling author whose words change lives. 

Linda knows she’s lucky. 

Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.

Her friends recommend medication.

But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist – thought had disappeared.

Even she can’t predict what will happen next…

The Review

I won’t lie, I downloaded this book nearly ten years ago and I just managed to read it. It wasn’t the best book I have read.

Adultery is about 30-something Linda who has hit a state of ennui with her life. She has realised that this really is it and she is lost because the mundanity of the every day has set in. She then sets off on a self-destructive path looking for a dopamine kick.

Overall I thought it was a story that has been done before. Linda was unlikable and so I didn’t find any sympathy for her whatsoever.

I just wasn’t a fan.

Adultery by Paulo Coelho is available now.

For more information regarding Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) please visit www.santjordi-asociados.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Where We Go From Here

Author: Lucas Rocha

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Blurb

A touching, urgent #ownvoices LGBTQ+ debut novel from Brazilian author Lucas Rocha.

Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV. Victor, to his relief, has just tested negative. Henrique has been living with HIV for three years. 

Then, their worlds collide…

Where We Go From Here is an honest and compulsive novel which unveils the common misconceptions and prejudices surrounding HIV in the twenty-first century, showing how far we’ve come while shining a light on just how far we have to go. 

Heart-breaking, heart-warming and ultimately hopeful, it is a desperately needed and powerful piece of fiction.

The Review

It is going to sound strange and I admit I probably come off a little weird for this but I find that some of the stories that have made the biggest impact on me over the years are the ones that look at the AIDS epidemic.

Fiction or Non-Fiction, the heartbreaking stories of the late 70s to the 90s are so powerful and move me. Over the years, some writers have approached this topic in a positive way. Living with HIV. I think it is absolutely essential that these stories are told. About how HIV isn’t the equivalent of a death sentence like it was.

Where We Go From Here is the story of three friends who are all connected through HIV. Some have it and some do not. It is story about learning to love yourself and those around you without prejudice and being the found family that is often needed in times of crisis.

It was a lovely story with strong spiky characters. Part of me homes that Lucas Rocha writes a sequel in a few years time so we can catch up with Ian, Victor and Henrique.

Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha is available now.

For more information regarding Lucas Rocha (@lucasgsrocha) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding David Fickling Books (@DFB_storyhouse) please visit www.davidficklingbooks.com.

Title: You and Me on Vacation

Author: Emily Henry

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

TWO FRIENDS

TEN SUMMER TRIPS

THEIR LAST CHANCE TO FALL IN LOVE

12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again.

11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.

10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver. 

Poppy holds his hand the whole way.

7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.

2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.

THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

You and Me on Vacation is a love story for fans of When Harry Met Sally and One Day. Get ready to travel the world, snort with laughter and – most of all – lose your heart to Poppy and Alex.

The Review

Although this review won’t be live for a few weeks I am going to tell you about the weather. It is hot. Like hot hot. And I am ginger and I don’t do well in this heat. However, one thing that has kept me sane during this stupid heatwave is reading You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry. It was boss.

It is the story of Poppy and Alex – the epitome of the perfect will they won’t they couple – who are best friends but just cannot seem to take things to the next step where we all know that they belong. Set over many years, fast forwarding and rewinding, we see their love story play out and yes, you, dear reader, will be screaming at these characters to kiss her/him you fool.

Recently, I haven’t read a lot of romance books, they have fallen a little out of favour genre wise for me but dammit You and Me on Vacation was a brilliant step back into the romance story.

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry is available now.

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