Title: The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2)

Author: Katie Kirby

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

In this wickedly funny follow up to Hurrah for Gin, one opinionated toddler gives his no-holds-barred account of family life.

Life is hard for Archie. It often seems like the world is out to get him. People are always telling him what to do… “Eat your snack, Archie!, “Don’t lick the bus stop, Archie,” “Stop putting Mommy’s phone in the garbage, Archie!”

And then one day his heart is shattered when he learns his parents are to replace him with a younger sibling–the utter bastards!

The only comforts he finds are in his best friend Amelie, who teaches him all the good swear words, and the sweet relief he gets from sinking his teeth into other people’s limbs.

From naked protests to dealing with other people looking at YOUR THINGS!, this is a no-holds-barred account of life told through the eyes of Archie–a creatively stifled, modern day toddler.

Sunday Times bestseller Hurrah for Gin has delighted fans with its honest, emotional and laugh-out-loud accounts of parenting. Brilliantly illustrated with Katie Kirby’s unique stick-figure drawings and told in the same outrageously funny way, The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams, Aged 2 1/4 once again takes on the highs and lows of family life, this time with one opinionated toddler having his say. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Katie Kirby is back with the laugh out loud tales of Archie Adams. Once again, Kirby explores the difficulties of adulthood by looking through the eyes of a toddler. 

Again, Kirby’s writing is funny because it is relatable. I don’t have a child but I saw many of the same qualities in Archie that my niece had – contrariness about plate colour being one of them.

With her really funny illustrations to accompany the story The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams is a tonic.

The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2) by Katie Kirby is available now.

For more information regarding Katie Kirby (@hurrahforgin) please visit www.hurrahforgin.com.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: True Story

Author: Kate Reed Petty

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: riverrun/Quercus

The Blurb

After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.

That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.

Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.

The Review

True Story is a very cleverly woven together tale. It focuses on an alleged rape of a young school girl by her peers however it is unclear if events took place the way some believe.

Kate Reed Petty has adopted a multi-perspective narrative with True Story which helps create the sense of unease and challenges the reader not to just accept what they are being told. Each of our narrators come across as unreliable so from the first page to the last you are constantly second guessing yourself as to what actually transpired and how much of it was hearsay or the overt blustering of toxic masculinity. Either way, both options are unsettling.

Reed Petty’s style is really engaging. Interspersed with the narrative is movie script style and these interludes punctuated the narrative and parallel the story being told. Along with the clever title we really have to work at figuring out what the ‘true story’ actually is.

Overall, this isn’t a book that you will find easy, you are made to work for your answers and you will be constantly questioning what you believe but the payoff is worth it

True Story by Kate Reed Petty is available now.

For more information regarding riverrun (@riverrunbooks) please visit www.riverrunbooks.co.uk.

Title: After the Silence

Author: Louise O’Neill

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

The Review

So, I have read the past three releases from Louise O’Neill and I have enjoyed them all – actually enjoyed seems like a weird word to use because the subject matters of her books are never easy. However, I have read them and got what I needed as a reader from them. Her latest book After the Silence is on another level to her first three. It is, by far, her best yet.

It centres on the murder of a beautiful young girl on a small island off Ireland. Those who live in Inisrun know the small town mentality. Everyone knows everyone’s business. And when Tessa Crowley is murdered the islanders all know who is to blame.

It is with the appearance of a documentary film team that the old murder case gets brought back into the minds of the islanders – though it has never really left their consciousness – but it leaves people uneasy. In particular, Keelin Kinsella whose husband is was the prime suspect.

After the Silence is a brilliant psychological mystery. The interplay between interviews, different voices and flashbacks to the past let the reader try and piece together what happened. At each point your mind changes over who is responsible and you flip-flop mercilessly as O’Neill leads you along the story. It is one of the best mystery stories that I have read in a long time and it was one that I didn’t feel frustrated with because it gave me enough clues that I could figure things out but without the answers being too obvious but equally still left me needing to turn the page because I knew that there was much more to discover.

Furthermore, in O’Neill’s typical style, she uses her writing to look at more difficult issues. In this case – domestic violence. So even without the mystery element you have a novel that packs a massive punch.

I am so genuinely impressed by After the Silence. Louise O’Neill is going from strength to strength.

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill is available from 03rd September 2020.

For more information regarding Louise O’Neill (@oneilllo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

 

Title: Unfollow – A Journey from Hatred to Hope, Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church

Author: Megan Phelps-Roper

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Quercus Books

The Blurb

It was an upbringing in many ways normal. A loving home, shared with squabbling siblings, overseen by devoted parents. Yet in other ways it was the precise opposite: a revolving door of TV camera crews and documentary makers, a world of extreme discipline, of siblings vanishing in the night.

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church – the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, rejoiceful for AIDS and natural disasters, and notorious for its picketing the funerals of American soldiers. From her first public protest, aged five, to her instrumental role in spreading the church’s invective via social media, her formative years brought their difficulties. But being reviled was not one of them. She was preaching God’s truth. She was, in her words, ‘all in’.

In November 2012, at the age of twenty-six, she left the church, her family, and her life behind.

Unfollow is a story about the rarest thing of all: a person changing their mind. It is a fascinating insight into a closed world of extreme belief, a biography of a complex family, and a hope-inspiring memoir of a young woman finding the courage to find compassion for others, as well as herself.

The Review

I didn’t know much about Megan Phelps-Roper before I picked up Unfollow to read. I hadn’t seen the Louis Theroux documentary and I hadn’t watched the television series so I really was going into this memoir blind. My only clue was that sometimes the ideologies of a church – any church – can often be at odds with the modern world. Wow, that was putting it mildly.

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up within the Baptist community where every member of her family played some role within the religious group. She was fed the ideology on a daily basis and believed everything that was told to her. She believed that people of the LGBT community deserved to die and that soldiers who died in service were killed because of God’s divine retribution and the parents of the soldier must have sinned for this to have happened.

It all seems completely mad. However, I spent the majority of the memoir feeling sorry for Megan Phelps-Roper. She is a product of what she has been taught. Just like the old adage that people aren’t born racist. People aren’t born with these views. It is learned behaviour. What you find with Phelps-Roper is that she is genuinely sorry for thinking the way she did but is still so torn with loving her family who for all intents and purposes gave her a stable and loving upbringing yet she fundamentally disagrees with their point of view.

Unfollow is a fascinating read to see how people can change and how being indoctrinated into one way of life does not mean that it is your permanent destination. You have the ability to change and see the world from a different angle.

Unfollow – A Journey from Hatred to Hope, Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper is available now.

For more information regarding Megan Phelps Roper (@meganphelps) please visit www.meganphelpsroper.com.

For more information regarding Quercus Books (@QuercusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Perfect Wife

Author: JP Delaney

Pages: 413 Pages

Publisher: Quercus Books

The Blurb

THE ENTHRALLING NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GIRL BEFORE

“There’s something I have to explain, my love,” he says, taking your hand in his. “That wasn’t a dream. It was an upload.”

Abbie wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. The man by her side explains that he’s her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative startups. He tells Abbie she’s a gifted artist, a doting mother to their young son, and the perfect wife.

Five years ago, she suffered a terrible accident. Her return from the abyss is a miracle of science, a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that has taken him half a decade to achieve.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives – and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together for ever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

The Review

Stories of artificial intelligence are not my go-to reads. I don’t really do science fiction however The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney is really more of a drama with a science fiction element and so I didn’t feel lost within a world. In fact, I just felt fear for how the world’s actual future could end up unfolding.

It is the story of a young woman who died but was brought back as an AI robot. A robot with the physical features and memories of the original owner of the memories…but made to be perfect.

To say that I was freaked out by this story would be an understatement. If this technology was real then life as we know it would be changed completely.

The irony of The Perfect Wife is that you feel empathy for Abbie – the robot. You empathise with an inanimate object which then has you questioning yourself.

Overall, The Perfect Wife leaves you questioning the advances in science and whether they are good or bad. If it doesn’t make you do that then you will just enjoy it for being a good psychological thriller.

The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney is available now.

For more information regarding Quercus Books (@QuercusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.