Title: Because of You

Author: Dawn French

Pages: 382 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.

The old millennium turns into the new.

In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.

Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.

Anna leaves with empty arms.

Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.

The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.

Perhaps beyond . . .

Because of You is the remarkably poignant story perfect for every Dawn French fan, told with her signature humour, warmth and so much love.

The Review

Hope and her baby girl Minnie live a contented life. It is jus the two of them, mum and daughter and life has been brilliant. However, when Minnie becomes pregnant at 17 her whole world begins to unravel and the only person who can answer her questions is Hope.

Because of You is the 6th book by Dawn French and I have to say her writing just keeps getting better and better. Because of You hooked me in from the first page. The premise blew me away and the choices that she had her characters make opened a can of worms in my head. It makes you question your own decisions. What would you do in the same situation? Would you do the same? Dawn French has been so very clever in making us empathise with a character that has essentially done something wrong and you accept the decisions that she has made.

Her characters are well thought out and develop well over the chapters. In particular, Anna grows so much and as she comes into her own you cannot help but admire her.

Because of You is a really enjoyable read that deals with some hard issues. It is a must read and it is not surprising that it has recognised by different book clubs and awarding bodies.

Because of You by Dawn French is available now.

For more information regarding Dawn French (@Dawn_French) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: How to Be a Husband

Author: Tim Dowling

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A riotously funny book about how to be a good husband (not like he would know) by Tim Dowling, star columnist for The Guardian. Think Nick Hornby meets Dave Barry—with a hint of Modern Family.

This is not a self-help book. Tim Dowling doesn’t have any solid advice for you on how to be a man—he tried hard to become one for a while, but in the end he just got older. This is simply the story of how, in the course of ten bewilderingly short years, Dowling went from a bachelor’s life in New York City to becoming an ex-pat in London, solidly married and the father of three young boys. It’s also an examination of what it means to be a husband in the twenty-first century—and what is and isn’t required to hold that office these days.

Tim Dowling has been exploiting his family in his writing for years, ever since it became clear that readers of his weekly column at The Guardian couldn’t get enough stories about his acerbically witty spouse and their rambunctious offspring. Dowling writes brilliantly about his wife and marriage, from the first days of their whirlwind courtship to the matter-of-fact way in which they decided to tie the knot, and keeping the “magic” alive after ten years together. Being a husband and father in the era of “The End of Men” isn’t easy, and Dowling continues to struggle to find ways to remain relevant to his family (hint: proficiency at DIY never hurts).

How to Be a Husband is a joyous and poignant read—a personal memoir about falling in love, moving to another country, having children, and staying together through money troubles and times of grief—that also just so happens to be devastatingly funny.

The Review

How to Be a Husband was a real eye opener to the way some men think. I don’t know how to be a wife yet as I am unmarried but what I got from this collection is that marriage and love span a lifetime if you are lucky and the travails that go with it will shape and mould the relationship. Who you are as people, as a couple, will be very different to who you started out as being and more than anything it will be an interesting journey.

How to Be a Husband by Tim Dowling is available now.

For more information regarding Tim Dowling (@IAmTimDowling) please visit his Twitter page.

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

Genre: YA Fiction

The Gist: The sequel to the novel Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

Small Review: Knife Edge focuses on Jude’s story directly after Noughts and Crosses and we see how the main characters have developed and changed. Jude’s aggression and desire for revenge has intensified in this explosive sequel.

Big Review: I really loved Noughts and Crosses. I read it recently as part of the classroom curriculum for year 9 and have shoved it into everybody’s hands since then because it was just brilliant. 

The sequel, Knife Edge, whilst not as impactful as Noughts and Crosses however it was fantastic to be reunited with the beloved characters again and seeing how they had developed since the first book. 

When we are reunited with Jude we see that he hasn’t learned from the consequences of his involvement with the LM (Liberation Militia) and is currently in hiding and away from his fellow resistance fighters. He is out for revenge and is determined to make everyone pay.

Meanwhile, Sephy has had to grow up and do it fast. She needs to start looking after herself and her family and she is doing that without the life of privilege that she is used to. She is still reeling from her experiences and she is suffering mentally. 

Where Noughts and Crosses had the shock value, Knife Edge is a lot more grown up. More real life dramas are being dealt with and we see new dimensions to the characters.

It is honestly such a good series and I think this book was needed to set up the rest of the series. I cannot wait to read the rest.

Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk. 

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

Title: Lolita

Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Pages: 331 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Humbert Humbert – scholar, aesthete and romantic – has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

Lolita is a story that is widely considered a classic. For me it was just really boring. We had a sycophantic peadophile in protagonist Humbert Humbert and this platform of a story was used in a way to normalise what he was doing whilst knowing it was wrong. 

I felt that the character of Lo was used as a cautionary tale and her ending wasn’t befitting her character.

I don’t know. I just really didn’t like this book.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is available now.

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

Title: Ghosts

Author: Dolly Alderton

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

The Review

I’m just going to say it. I LOVED GHOSTS.

Now with that out of the way let me tell you why. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is a story of modern dating. The trials and tribulations, the changes that have taken place over the past few years, the advancement of online dating. But it is also much more than that. It is a story of changing relationships – how life can come between even the best friends. It is the developing and every changing story of family dynamics. But, again, it is much more than that. It is a story of independence.

It was so multilayered and all in 336 pages.

The novel went from happy to sad back to happy in warp speed. You are really taken on a journey with protagonist Nina Dean. For me, the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moments were the scenes with her father. The love and respect that she has for him seemed to be paralleled in the desire to find a partner who lived up to his standard.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton was such a joy to read. It is one of my favourite reads of 2020 and I cannot wait to see what Alderton produces next.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is available now.

For more information regarding Dolly Alderton (@dollyalderton) please visit linkt.ree/dollyalderton.

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