Title: How Do You Like Me Now?

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. She’s inspired millions of women to stick two fingers up at convention with her bestselling memoir, and she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Everyone around her is getting married and having babies, but her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about getting engaged. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practise what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

The Review

Life is hard. That’s it. No amount of being told that it is hard and that it is unfair prepares you for that fact. In fact, when I grew up I had a plan that I was going to finish high school, go to college and university and I would be married by the time I was 21. My friend Ana and I had a plan. If we weren’t married by 21 we would join the army. Needless to say, neither of these plans came to fruition. Call it naivety or just plain ignorance but I wasn’t prepared for life. A book like Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now? may have given me a little preparation for this crazy little thing called life.

How Do You Like Me Now? is the story of Tori Bailey; she is a life guru of sorts, followed by thousands, a best-selling author. She is the girl other girls aspire to be. She has her shit together. Except, she really doesn’t. She is watching her friends all make big life choices: getting engaged, married or with child. Tori feels a little left behind. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that she is actually in a very toxic relationship and she is being held back by the man-child she is living with.

I really, really, really loved How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne. Yes, Tori could be a pain in the arse and so very unlikable at times but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t relate to some of the things that she is going through.

It is a strange little love story but one about loving yourself and I think that is the bravest thing about How Do You Like Me Now? This is the book that I wish was on a mandatory to be read list for every 25+ woman. Believe me, they all need to read it!

How Do You Like Me Now? 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.

The NoteTitle: The Note

Author: Zoe Folbigg

Pages: 293 Pages

Publisher: Aria Fiction

The Blurb

The note changed everything…

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London, and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably, that he is The One.

But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though, inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen?

And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness where you least expect it.

Based on the author’s true story, The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change everything…

The Review

Oh I needed to read a sweet romance and boy did I get one with Zoe Folbigg’s semi-autobiographical debut, The Note.

Maya is in love with Train Man. She sees him every morning. She knew from the first time she saw him that he was the one. But of course the love – much like the London tube system during peak hour – never runs smoothly.

With twists and turns a plenty, The Note really is a heart-warming love story. There were at times that I felt that Folbigg over told the description of thing but I think coming from her background as freelancer in fashion that is something to be expected. Overall though, I was enchanted by this story of will they won’t they.

Even if you just pick it up to read on your commute then you won’t be disappointed. I cannot guarantee that you won’t miss your stop.

The Note by Zoe Folbigg is available now.

For more information regarding Zoe Folbigg (@zolington) please visit www.zoefolbigg.com.

For more information regarding Aria Fiction (@Aria_Fiction) please visit www.ariafiction.com.

35 Stars

 

cropped-Cartoon-Lisa-1.jpgTitle: Freshers

Author: Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Chicken House

The Blurb

Phoebe has been waiting all summer for uni to start and her life to finally begin. And knowing Luke Taylor is going to be there too makes the whole thing even more exciting….

But Luke’s relationship is secretly falling apart and campus life isn’t proving to be the escape he thought it would be.

When the two collide in the madness of Freshers’ Week, everything changes – and they both get sucked into each other’s worlds in the most messy, intense and hilarious ways imaginable…

The Review

I’ve been in a reading lull this summer. The books that I have read were good but none of them had me engaged or really rooting for the characters. I was reading for reading’s sake and was not really blown away by any of the books I read.

Then came Freshers.

Freshers is the latest release from Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. One of their earlier releases, Lobsters, was my favourite book that I read last year and so I was eagerly awaiting Freshers and it did not disappoint.

Freshers is set in York University and centres around our two protagonists Luke and Phoebe. Luke and Phoebe knew each other in high school/sixth form and whilst Luke knew Phoebe as someone who was just there, Phoebe has been butt-monkey in love with Luke since year 9.

Inevitably, their first year of uni sees them intertwine with friendship groups, courses and nights out. But can their bourgeoning friendship last the length of their course?

Now, I loved Freshers. I didn’t have the traditional university experience. I was classed as a mature student even though I was only 22 when I started university. I didn’t move into the halls so I didn’t get that experience and I didn’t do one Freshers’ event at all. I know, my university experience sounds so lame. It wasn’t. I just had a different set of friends who I spent time with and I only went out with my uni friends twice in three years. That night was pretty epic which ended with a hot guy who looked like Jesus getting my details on a napkin but sadly not falling madly in love with me.

What I felt that I got from Freshers by Ivison and Ellen was the university experience that I probably should have had. It is, honestly, one of the funniest books that I have read this year.

Long live the writing partnership of Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison.

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison is available now.

For more information regarding Lucy Ivison please visit her Twitter page @lucivision.

For more information regarding Chicken House (@chickenhsebooks) please visit www.chickenhousebooks.com.

5 Stars

The Blurb

Never date your best friend.

Always be original.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be clichés so they even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow; But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green.

It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover they’ve actually been missing out on high school.

And maybe even on love.

The Review

Having read (and loved) Let’s Get Lost in 2014, I was eager to get my hands on a copy of Adi Alsaid’s new novel Never Always Sometimes. Now obviously, Alsaid had a lot to live up to; Let’s Get Lost was a brilliant road trip book and an adventure I would gladly take again. Thankfully, Never Always Sometimes did not show any signs of second album syndrome. In fact, I think it outshines Let’s Get Lost.

The story is of an unbreakable friendship between Dave and Julia. Friends for five years they have always been loners together. However, in the final weeks of high school they try to cram in as many clichéd high school experiences before they graduate. It is through this experience that feelings are felt for the first time, feelings are hurt and relationships become broken.

Never Always Sometimes is wonderful. Our two protagonists, Julia and Dave are presented so well that you feel like you are watching your own friends going through this treacherous high school experience. You frequently want to bang their head together and tell them what you think. What I think is very clever but very subtle is the way that Alsaid uses their familial back story to shape the people that they have become but without using it as a justification tool. Smooth move Alsaid!

The story is about acting out teenage clichés but that is one thing that Never Always Sometimes definitely is not. The story is fresh; it pops off the page and urges you to read on. Personally, I wish I had friends like Dave and Julia when I was in school. It would have made it a lot more of an enjoyable experience.

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid is available now.

Follow Adi Alsaid (@AdiAlsaid) on Twitter.

Never Always Sometimes