Title: Rouge

Author: Mona Awad

Pages: 383 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.

Snow White meets Eyes Wide Shut in this surreal descent into the dark side of beauty, envy, grief, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. With black humor and seductive horror, ROUGE explores the cult-like nature of the beauty industry—as well as the danger of internalizing its pitiless gaze. Brimming with California sunshine and blood-red rose petals, ROUGE holds up a warped mirror to our relationship with mortality, our collective fixation with the surface, and the wondrous, deep longing that might lie beneath.

The Review

Okay, I don’t really know what I have just read to be honest. Rouge is the story of Belle who is dealing with the loss of her mother. That is about as much as I got from this story.

It was just plain weird.

The magic realism elements were beyond my understanding, I know they are a metaphor but I just sat perplexed as I read it. The whole Tom Cruise thing. I don’t know what I was expecting but needless to say I don’t think I got what the point of the novel was.

I really don’t know what to say about this book.

It has an enticing cover.

Rouge by Mona Awad is available now.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

Title: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth

Author: Matson Taylor

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

July, 1962

Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?

The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine.

If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.

Moving, inventive and richly comic, The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is the most joyful debut novel of the year and the best thing to have come out of Yorkshire since Wensleydale cheese.   

The Review

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is the joyous period novel that centres around, family – the one you are related too and the one that you create with the people around you.

Evie Epworth is sixteen years old and ready to tackle the big wide world. Her father’s fiancé has other ideas about what Evie should be doing with her future and thus begins our Cinderella story that involves, injury, sexual liberation, cake and cows.

Evie’s greatest challenge is revealing to her father the terrible behaviour of her soon-to-be stepmum, Christine, and to somehow become a fabulous scenester in London. With the help of her community of friends and neighbours and a bit of modern day technology she tackles Christine head on regardless of the consequences which in Evie’s case consists of a full time job in a hairdressers.

I really enjoyed reading The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. It was a lovely distraction from life. It won’t be the story that changes your life but it will put a smile on your face. The perfect holiday read and I am so excited for the sequel.

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor is available now.

For more information regarding Matson Taylor (@matson_taylor) please visit www.matsontaylor.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

Title: The Trial

Author: Laura Bates

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Children’s

The Blurb

No matter how you try to hide it, the truth will always come out . . .

After a plane crash sees a group of seven teens washed up on a desert island, their first thought is survival. But a terrible secret from a party the night before has followed them ashore. Facing deadly threats and the fear of being stranded forever, they quickly discover that being the most popular kid in High School doesn’t help when you’re fighting to stay alive. As the island deals each of them a dangerous blow, it’s clear that someone is looking for justice. Now survival depends on facing the truth about that party: who was hurt that night, and who let it happen?

From multi-award-winning author and gender equality activist, Laura Bates, this thought-provoking drama will start an important conversation and keep you guessing to the end.

The Review

I absolutely loved Laura Bates’ book The Burning and was really eager to read her latest release The Trial. Best described as a feminist Lord of the Flies that discusses sexual assault, once again Bates has brought a contentious issue and placed it in the hands of young adults. I have said this of other writers such as Holly Bourne and like Bourne Bates’s strength lies in her ability to trust her reader and not patronise them. She gives them hard hitting topics and asks the reader to go on a journey with her.

With the added element of the drama of a plane crash, you begin to feel as untethered as the characters when strange things start happening on the island. It is only with each chapter that you read that you being to piece together this mystery of the island that runs parallel to the main drama.

Another top notch read by Laura Bates.

The Trial by Laura Bates is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Bates (@EverydaySexism) please visit www.everydaysexism.com.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster UK Childrens (@SimonBooks) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

Title: Space Hopper

Author: Helen Fisher

Pages: 351 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

This is a story about taking a leap of faith

And believing the unbelievable

They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.

I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.

And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.

Right now, you probably think I’m going mad.

Let me explain…

Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?

Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.

The Review

I am not a fan of time travel stories. I should say this from the start. I love Back to the Future but even that makes my head melt with time/space continuum issues and once I start thinking about it my head gets sore. You are probably wondering why I chose to read a book called Space Hopper which is about time travel and I can only say this: I like roller skates and they were on the cover.

However, once I started reading the story I actually found myself enjoying it. I think the reason for this is that besides the science fiction element the story has an awful lot of heart. Faye’s desire to spend time with her mum is palpable. Her yearning for a relationship with her aches off the page and the reader connects with this element.

Yes, if you look at Space Hopper from a realistic perspective you are left with some questions such as the butterfly effect but Fisher navigates this well. If you are going to read Space Hopper it is best to suspend your disbelief and read the story as a heartwarming tale of mother and daughter.

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher is available now.

For more information regarding Helen Fisher (@HFisherAuthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster (@SimonsSchusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Nightbird

Author: Alice Hoffman

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

The Blurb

Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig’s first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town’s famed apple orchards.

The Review

I am not a huge fan of fantasy books. The odd one I am okay with but it certainly isn’t my “go-to” genre. However, there is one author who always manages to seamlessly weave the fantasy element into her stories that you don’t even question any of the out of the ordinary moments. That author is Alice Hoffman. 

In her book Nightbird we meet Twig. Twig is lonely. She has never really had any friends. She has been told not to get close to people because her family have a dark secret. However, when her new next door neighbour persists in forming a friendship Twig realises that it may come at a cost. 

Nightbird is magical. I loved Twig. I loved the story. I loved the setting. I loved the element of magic and mystery. I just loved everything about it. Alice Hoffman has written a winner of a story.

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.