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The F Word By Lily Pebbles

The F Word ‘The F Word’ is Lily Pebbles thoughts on female relationships.

If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women. In a culture that largely pits women against each other, I want to celebrate female friendships… all strings attached! If my 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional but they’re the mini love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In The F Word I’ve set out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

When it comes to female friendships, they are occasionally a bit of a minefield, they’re no longer as straightforward as when we were children, when we approached someone in the playground and asked if they wanted to be your friend.

Granted, now as an adult you could try that approach but it might result in some odd looks before backing away. As, we get older friendships become harder, we outgrow friends, as we might be travelling at different paces, we might have a difference of opinion or there just might be that one friend that doesn’t bring out the best in you.

‘The F Word’ is a great insight into the workings of the female mind and particularly the relationships between women. It might not provide any earth shattering information, but it provides informative and useful advice into dealing with different personalities at different times.

The book is written in a laid-back style that made for entertaining reading that I found myself relating to on many levels. My friendships vary, there’s work friends, social outgoings, school friends and there’s that one friend who’s always there, no matter what they are going through. That person, who means the world to you.

Lily writes frankly and honestly about her friendships through the years, how they’ve developed or faded away and she speaks frankly of moments of jealousy, that no-one ever wants to admit to.

There’s tips on how to handle all types of relationship dramas and there’s an useful inclusion of how to make new friends on social media and the do’s and don’t’s of interactions.

Although the cover of the book and the content of the book suggests it’s for an older market, I did think this book was more suited for the Young Adult audience, for those heading off to university and unsure how to make new friendships. Either way, ‘The F Word’ is a fun and fresh book with some warm humour and honesty dotted throughout.

You can buy The F Word: A personal exploration of modern female friendship from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Wrong Way Home By Isabelle Grey

Wrong Way Home‘Wrong Way Home’ is the latest book by Isabelle Grey.

The same night a local hero saved two people from the burning Marineland resort in Southend, a young woman was raped and murdered minutes from the scene of the fire, the culmination of a series of brutal rapes in the town. The killer was never found. Twenty-five years on, new DNA techniques have blown the cold case open. DI Grace Fisher relishes the prospect of finally catching the culprit, but when the evidence doesn’t point to one clear suspect, she must reconstruct the original investigation. Any suggestion that the Essex force was less than thorough at the time could alienate her colleagues and destroy her chances of reaching the truth. Grace finds her investigation shadowed by a young true-crime podcaster backed by veteran crime reporter Ivo Sweatman. As pressure mounts she cannot afford to be distracted. She knows that a cold-blooded killer is slowly being backed into a corner, and a cornered predator is often the most dangerous of all..

‘Wrong Way Home’ is the latest book in Isabelle Grey DI Grace Fisher series and like her previous novels, it’s dark and intense story where everyone is a suspect.

There are two parts to this story, the book investigation of the crime that was committed 25 years ago and the current crime and both crimes make for fascinating reading as Grace and colleagues try to connect the dots and piece together the culprit of the crimes. The story is cleverly written with many twists and turns and unsavoury characters, that I did find myself regularly suspecting people only to be disappointed when I was wrong, making ‘Wrong Way Home’ a far from predictable read.

There is also the inclusion of the narrative from the aspiring journalist called Freddie Craig and in keeping with current trends, has set up his own podcast about the 25 year old crime of a young woman’s brutal murder that he’s determined to solve as her death took place on his death and he feels a deep connection with the woman and the unsolved crime.

The story is a bleak one, unsolved crimes, a house fire and disappearance of young women, there’s nothing lighthearted in the story and with a strong female lead such as Grace, it made for compelling reading. I really liked Grace, in a predominantly male environment, she’s a strong woman who’s determined to bring the murderer of a young woman and will not let anything stand in her way.

The story is shrewdly written that really keeps the reader on their toes, filled with drama, lies and deceit, ‘Wrong Way Home’ is a dark and chilling story that makes for unsettling reading.

You can pre-order Wrong Way Home from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

The Year That Changed Everything By Cathy Kelly

The Year That Changed Everything‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster. Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother? Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .

Cathy Kelly is back with another tale of female friendships and complicated relationships that made for bittersweet reading.

In her latest book, we meet three very different women who all share one significant date in their lives. On the day before Ginger’s 30th birthday, she discovers that the people who she thought were her best friends, weren’t her friends at all. Hurt by the way she’s been treated, she sets herself a mission to make her life happier and too rid her life of all the toxicity in her life. Callie is a modest woman with small demands, she’s the opposite to her husband, Jason, who loves to flash his cash around, but it seems that flashing all that cash has gotten him into trouble leaving Callie and their teenage daughter Poppy to deal with the consequences. Meanwhile, after years of trying to have a baby, Sam and her husband Ted finally have a little girl to add to their family unit, but with having the least maternal mother in the world as a role model, Sam fears that she’s unable to be a proper mother.

I really enjoyed this story, it reminded me of a Maeve Binchy novel, a story of friendships and relationships and the issues that women face on a regular basis such as post-natal depression, deception as well self confidence and body issues and Cathy has written about them all in her book, in a frank and charming tale with an injection of Irish wit from the vibrant characters scattered throughout.

The book is filled many different roles from all walks of life. All three leading ladies are wonderful and with all them I felt an immediate connection with, particularly Ginger. She’s a kind, big hearted woman that people take for granted especially her friends and it makes for sad reading, when she’s confronted with how they really feel about her. But instead of wallowing in self pity, she takes on their criticism to use it to make a change to her life for the better and use it to achieve her goals and find love. Callie, has become used to being a kept woman but quickly adapts to change when she finds that the life she she has been living was based on a lie and does everything in her power to protect her moody teenage daughter. And for Sam, I felt a strong empathy for, as she struggled with being a new mother and adjusting to her life and constantly judging herself.

The book is written from the different perspectives of the women, but they flow seamlessly together as the women’s lives begin to interact and their bonds begin to grow. Wonderfully written, filled with compassion, charm and delicious characters, ‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is an inspirational story of life and change and truly goes to show what a difference a year makes. A charming tale!

You can buy The Year that Changed Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Child Finder By Rene Denefeld

The Child Finder‘The Child Finder’ is the latest book by Rene Denefeld.

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own experience, that allows her to succeed when others have failed. Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure. But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. As she relentlessly pursues the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce defences that have protected her for so long. If she finds this child, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

‘The Child Finder’ is an enchanting and eerie story that is reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s novel called ‘Room’, a story of a young child being held captive.

In this story, we meet Naomi Cottle, a woman who is called ‘The Child Finder’, after successfully finding 30 children, she has called in to help find Madison Culver who disappeared months ago whilst out with her parents, one day. Determined not to give up on their only child, the parents call in Naomi and seek her help to find their daughter.

Naomi is no ordinary woman, her past is riddled with uncertainty, as she too was taken away from her parents before being given to a kind, elderly woman called Mrs Cottle, who took her in as a foster child along with a little boy called Jerome. She never knew her mother or even her real name, so finds it to be her duty to help reunite these children with their parents. She is an attuned and well skilled woman, who notices things that others fail and this makes her a unwanted newcomer to the small snow-covered town, who have already given up on finding the little girl. Her story is often told through past and present sequences, the various cases that she has worked on, to make her the investigator that she has become.

Meanwhile, the story is also cleverly written through the eyes of Madison, as she lives with her captor and does everything that she can to survive. Her inclusion in the tale, gives a sweet and innocent tone to the story, as she begins to grow up and wonder where her life will take her, whether she will see her parents again or is this life she is led to lead. Often, she disappears into favourite stories calling herself ‘The Snow Child’, a brave story of survival.

This story is atmospheric and chilling from the very start, seen through the eyes of the hunter and the hunted, it gives both angles an interesting slant. Set against the backdrop of snowy mountains and woods, I found this story to be gripping with the dual narrative as well as the perspective of Madison’s captor. A story of innocence and survival, ‘The Child Finder’ is a quietly, disturbing story that was impossible to put down.

You can buy The Child Finder from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Almost Love By Louise O’Neill

Almost Love‘Almost Love’ is the latest book by Irish author, Louise O’Neill.

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job. But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew. And love is supposed to hurt. Isn’t it?

When it comes to books by Louise, you are guaranteed, an emotional rollercoaster of a story that will leave you exhausted at the end, so much so that I literally had to take a step back from the book and review my thoughts before typing them up

Her books delve into the dark worlds of toxic relationships, gas lighting and leading characters, that leave you feeling conflicted when you find yourself disliking them.

In ‘Almost Love’, we meet Sarah, a troubled young woman who has moved from one disastrous relationship to the next as she tries to put her life in order and sort out her head. The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen solely through the narrative of Sarah, as she reflects on her current relationship that is crumbling around her because of a previous relationship that she never got over.

Sarah meets Matthew, twenty years her senior she becomes infatuated with him and waits on his every beck and call. She craves for mere seconds of his attention and when he calls her, she drops everything for stolen moments in hotel rooms. She becomes obsessed with him, which causes trouble with friends and her father, who all want better for her. But for Sarah, Matthew is perfect for her, he introduces her to a world of arts and culture, a world that she longs to be part off. Now, in a new relationship with Oisin, a man her own age, she can’t seem to move on from Matthew and finds herself comparing the relationships and the men and takes all her inner turmoil out on Oisin.

This story is a dark and gritty read that really question relationships and where you stand in them. Sarah is a complex character and as much as I tried to, I couldn’t warm to her. She was horrible to all those close to her particularly her father, who she has a turbulent relationship with ever since the death of her mother. She’s quite self-absorbed and uses those around her, she belittles Oisin constantly and this can sometimes be unsettling reading as she battles her emotions around her.

This book is honest and that’s what makes it such an unique and compelling story, it doesn’t gloss on the fairy tale magic of relationships but focuses on the harsh reality of wanting to be loved and falling out of love, which also a sad and tender element to the tale. A frank and honest tale about love, self loathing, obsession and just how dark it can all become, ‘Almost Love’, is an agonisingly realistic story about the complexities of relationship and how sometimes in life, being you is never quite enough for someone to love you, this book is relatable to any person who has ever been in a relationship.

You can buy Almost Love from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.