Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an e-ARC of this manuscript via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books set in bookshops always get put straight to the top of my to-be-read list, so when I heard about “Bookshop Girl” I couldn’t wait to read it.

When the regional manager of Bennett’s bookshop comes for a meeting the staff are devastated to learn that their branch of the store will be closed. Sold to them as a fait accompli, they resign themselves to the idea- all except Paige Turner (don’t worry, the obvious jokes are addressed and it isn’t as cheesy as it seems!) and her best friend Holly who decide to become activists to prevent their only haven in their hometown from being closed.

I’ve never worked in a bookshop myself, but I have experienced the soul crushing sadness of seeing yet another beloved bookshop disappear from the high street until the only place left to buy books is an hour away or online.

I loved the friendship between Chloe and Holly and how silly they were together whilst also being supportive of each other. Their antics whilst attending their still life course were hilarious, and exactly how two sixteen year old girls would behave in such an awkward setting.

There was some romance in this book, but it really took a back seat to the main plot which I think was really positive. The girls had their crushes but the bookshop and their friendship was far more important. Paige and Holly’s efforts to save the bookshop are so earnest and determined and their love for books is infectious. By the time I finished reading I was desperate to visit my nearest bookshop!

Bookshop Girl is a really fun, light, easy to read contemporary. The main characters are strong female leads and the whole message of the book is really positive. I’m looking forward to reading more in the series and continuing to get to know Paige and Holly.
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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but never really got around to. After seeing the trailer for the film adaptation at the cinema I decided it was time to pick the book up. Not least because if I didn’t read the book I couldn’t allow myself to see the film and it looks really good.

‘Simon vs…’ is everything you want a contempory romance to be. It’s full of cute, romantic moments that make your heart explode and just enough drama to keep you flipping the pages. Simon and Blue’s email relationship developed beautifully, it was like a YA gay version of You’ve Got Mail and I have all the time in the world for that.

The friendship dynamics in this book were fantasically portrayed, the arguments they had, the way they all started pairing off into couples and had crushes on each other and the way they looked out for each other was all so typical of 16 and 17 year olds and how intense friendships can be at that age when you’re all just trying to make it out of adolescence alive.

I binge-read most of this book in one night and stayed up far later than I should have but it was such a readable, hilarious and adorable book I was having too much fun to put it down. I didn’t even try to guess the identity of Blue because I wanted to be surprised but I think it’s fair to say that there are enough clues in the book that if you really tried hard you could guess who it was. I’m glad I didn’t solve the mystery though because the reveal was so worth the wait.
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Baby Boom! by Helen Wallen

Baby Boom! by Helen Wallen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recieved an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

As the mother of an almost 14 month old toddler I am familiar with the mummy blogger tribes that fill instagram feeds with honest pictures, witty captions and links to hilarious blog posts. In fact, some of these bloggers helped me through some of the lonelier days of my year long maternity leave so when I saw that Helen Wallen of “Just a Normal Mummy” had turned her hand to fiction I couldn’t wait to get reading.

“Baby Boom!” is written in the same warm, inclusive, yet honest tone of the blog. It’s not a book interested in choosing sides when it comes to the best way of parenting, or even handling pregnancy and for that reason it was a refreshing read. Following three best friends in their late twenties/early thirties, two of whom become pregnant in very different situations, the book explores the highs and lows of pregnancy, relationships and motherhood.

For me, one of the nicest parts of this book was the friendship between Emily, Liz and Molly which was portrayed in the most natural and real way. Their Whatsapp conversations were hilarious to read and really made me feel as if I were a part of their friendship. Most strikingly though was the fact that at no point did the book become about them falling out. Before reading this book I didn’t realise how big a feature of women’s literature best friends having arguments is. Of course friends do argue, but in this instance it was just nice to have three women, in very different situations supporting each other in the best way they could above all else.

The only part of this book I didn’t love was the poetry at the beginning of each chapter which I find a bit twee. This type of poetry isn’t to my taste and I felt like they were a bit unneccesary to the book. However, I know a lot of “Just a Normal Mummy’s” followers enjoy her poetry within her blog so I understand why it has been included.

I wish I’d had this book to read on maternity leave, in that stretch of time before you have your first baby when you finish work and have nothing to do but wait for your baby to be born. That time when you only really want to be occupied by baby related things but also need to stop thinking about your impending labour before you go mad. It’s the perfect escapism and I will be buying a copy for any pregnant friends in future to enjoy.

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