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Skin Deep By Liz Nugent

Skin Deep‘Skin Deep’ is the latest book by Irish author, Liz Nugent and has recently been awarded the award for The Cancel All Plans Award for the Book You Can’t Put Down at the Dead Good Book Awards and I wholeheartedly agree that it was totally worth the award.

The book is set in rural Ireland and is seen through the narrative of Cordelia. As a child she was idolised by her father, the prettiest girl on the island, she believes that she is special and deserves to have everything her way, but life tragically changes for her when her family are killed in a fire. Now an orphan, she finds herself moved from pillar to post and determined to get things her own way, no matter the way. The story then flows from the past tense to present tense when Cordelia finds a body in her room.

I found Cordelia to be an absolutely fascinating and hateful character that shocked me so much throughout the story. From a young age, she was led to believe that she was the prettiest woman alive and deserved to be treated like a queen, but Cordelia was a horrible, emotionless person that left a trail of heartbreak behind her without a hint of remorse. She was cold towards everyone and didn’t care how she jeopardised other lives.

The story travels around Europe and gives a hint of exotic to the claustrophobic Irish story. There were some folklore stories that made for unsettling reading as well as perspectives from people who had interacted with Cordelia and this gives an insight into her behaviour and the drama that she leaves behind her.

Atmospheric from the first page, this book is cleverly written with an outstanding lead, ‘Skin Deep’ is a brilliantly brutal and dark story, filled with drama and deceit, this book is a must read for all.

You can buy ‘Skin Deep’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Normal People By Sally Rooney

Normal People‘Normal People’ is Sally Rooney’s second book and it won a whole host of awards including, Costa Novel of the Year 2018, An Post Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards International Author of the Year and was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years

Marianne, is the quiet, recluse in the small town, she lives with her mother and bullying older brother and Connell is the popular and studious young man who many admire from afar. His mother is also the cleaner of Marianne’s house. Whilst picking up his mother from work, Marianne and Connell begin to get to know each other and begin a secret relationship that stops when Connell doesn’t bring Marianne to their prom.

The story then flows over a number of years and is seen from their perspectives as they reconnect, never truly admitting their feelings but are there for each other during the difficult times. Both embark on other relationships and friendships, but they always come back to each other.

This book is an interesting story, it’s raw and honest and deals with issues of abuse, confidence and self-worth. Marianne is a complex character, she feels not worthy of love and ends up abusive relationships and each time Connell saves her, we hope that this might be the time that they get their happy ever afters but life gets in the way. Connell is the unlikely hero in the story, he’s there for Marianne to help her through the tough times, but always fails to make commitments which is frustrating at times. They are opposites, one coming from money and the other without and it’s interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship change over the years.

Sally doesn’t bother with punctuation in her stories, a similar style to Cormac McCarthy and at times this can make the reading difficult to understand but after a while I got used to it. I was curious about this book and after seeing it win so many awards, I understood the hype. The characters are damaged and troubled and so is their relationship, but they are constantly drawn to each other and their interaction with each does make for tender and insightful reading at times.

‘Normal People’ is a very well written story with some witty and poignant dialogue, having said that I didn’t enjoy it as much as ‘Conversations With Friends’, but still thought it was an engaging book.

You can buy ‘Normal People’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Cecelia Ahern Reveals New Book – Postscript

Cecilia AhernlWonderful news for fans of Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling novel, ‘PS I Love You’, as Cecelia has revealed that she has written a sequel to the book called ‘Postscript’.

What the back cover says –

When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by hearing about her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone.

Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…

With the news only being announced today, there is already so much excitement over the book and with a cover yet to be revealed, there’s something else to look forward to!

You can pre-order ‘Postscript’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th September 2019.

Sinead Moriarty Reveals New Book – Seven Letters

Seven Letters‘Sinead Moriarty has revealed her new book for 2019 called ‘Seven Letters’.

What the back cover says –

I Will Always Love You, Sweet Pea A mother’s promise to her little girl that when the new baby arrives, life will not change, only get better. The mother – Sarah – pours her heart into seven letters, one for every word. Five months into her pregnancy Sarah collapses and the beautiful life she dreamt of turns into a nightmare. With Sarah’s future, and the future of her pregnancy, in their hands, her husband and sister fiercely disagree about what the doctors should do. And the crisis reveals devastating fault-lines in the lives of the entire family. All the time the clock is ticking. The medics need a decision. Can her family get beyond the fog of grief and anger to figure out what’s for the best? And can it ever heal?

Sounds like another touching and heartbreaking story from one of Ireland’s favourite authors.

You can pre-order ‘Seven Letters’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 2nd May 2019.

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.