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Relight My Fire By Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire‘Relight My Fire’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

When Phoebe and Oliver had their happy ending, they thought the hard part was over. And now, with a five year old daughter, they are far from the blissful hedonistic lifestyle of when they first started dating. Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it. But with distractions aplenty, will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

I spent the weekend with my head in this funny and fresh tale. A frank and honest reflection on relationships, with hilarious situations and witty one-liners.

This is the third book that I’ve read by Joanna and this book sees the welcome return of Phoebe Henderson who appeared in one of her earlier books called ‘The List’. In this book, Phoebe is hurtling towards her 39th birthday and feels that her relationship with her boyfriend called Oliver is growing stale, so with the advice of her best friends, Lucy and Hazel, she enlists the help of a therapist called Pam, who helps them ignite their fires.

As they progress with their therapy, Phoebe and Oliver begin to discover things about themselves as well as their relationship.

Joanna is a fantastic writer, she writes wittily and from the heart. With a strong relatable leading woman who makes for delightful reading. Phoebe is my new best friend, she’s frank and straight to the point and with her best friends, they’d be perfect for a night out.

Fun from the very start, ‘Relight My Fire’ is a deliciously, naughty book, a story that had me snorting throughout, a must read for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane.

You can buy Relight My Fire 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.

What Lies Within By Annabelle Thorpe

What Lies Within‘What Lies Within’ is the latest book by Annabelle Thorpe.

Freya, Paul and Hamad. Three friends from two different worlds; a seemingly unshakeable bond, suddenly under threat.
A move that would change all their lives. The trio have stayed close since university despite Freya and Paul’s marriage and Hamad’s wealthy lifestyle – so different from their own. Then an incredible job offer from Hamad sees Paul and Freya move to Morocco. A city where nothing is as it seems Marrakech soon proves a perplexing place to live. Instead of reinvigorating their marriage, Freya finds the move is driving them apart. Revelations about their shared past force her to acknowledge that neither Paul nor Hamad is quite the man she thought. When a shocking crime is committed, Freya finds herself cast adrift in the dark corners of a bewildering city, unsure who to trust or to believe.

Set against the exotic location of Marrakech, this story is seen from the perspective of married couple Freya and Paul and their best friend Hamad, the couple have recently moved to the city, after receiving a mysterious invite from their best friend Hamad, which results in both getting new jobs in the bustling city. Freya is hoping that that the new city, will help their troubled marriage but it seems to driving the couple further apart.

As Freya throws herself into her new job, writing the memoirs for Hamad’s glamourous grandmother’s Edith, a woman who’s on the cusp of dementia but wants to share the memories and dramas of life before it’s too late. But as Freya delves into the Edith’s life, she begins to unravel secrets and lies that were buried deep long ago.

Meanwhile, Paul is working on a new project of redesigning three houses, but it seems that something sinister and supernatural at work preventing him, with a guilty conscience and a heavy workload, Paul is strugglng.

A complex and claustrophobic story about the dark side of expat life and the loniness of settling in, ‘What Lies Within’ is a cleverly written tale about love and deceit. Beautifully descriptive in parts, that made me want to jump on a plane this exotic tale was impossible to put down.

You can buy What Lies Within from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead By Barbara Bourland

I'll Eat When I'm Dead‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’ is Barbara Bourland’s debut novel.

Everyone thinks Hillary starved to death – but Cat knows her friend’s dieting wasn’t a capital P problem. If beauty kills, it’d take more than that. Hot-headed and fiercely feminist, Cat’s sure she can match the investigating skills of Detective Mark Hutton, solve the case, and achieve sartorial fulfillment.But going undercover, Cat’s in over her head, and soon becomes snared in a very stylish web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that will change her look – and outlook – forever.

This book has been described as ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ meets ‘American Psycho’ and that would be a statement that I agree with. It is based in the busy and competitive environment of Rage book, a popular lifestyle and culture magazine where there is constant pressure to succeed.

When Hilary, a leading member of staff is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Cat, a staff member and friend of Hilary, is still unconvinced about her friends death. On this journey with the help of the handsome detective Matt Hutton, Cat discovers the dark world of journalism and fashion and how it’s not all just about flashing lights and glamour.

With sass and reeking of attitude, this book delivers a clever plot line with a investigative twists. As Cat and Matt delve further in Hilary’s death, they uncover a world hidden away from the public eye.

Filled with glamour and wit, this book highlights the pressure of this high paced job and sometimes it’s not as rewarding as public are lead to believe.

Barbara’s writing is fast paced delivered with a funny quips along the way that made for enjoyable reading. The wide range of characters are vibrant and engaging that made for gripping reading.

With an eye catching title and gripping plot line, ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’ is an honest but humorous story about the pressure of journalism, that was fun to read from start to finish.

You can buy I’ll Eat When I’m Dead from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Special Girls By Isabelle Grey

The Special Girls‘The Special Girls’ is the third book in the D.I. Grace Fisher series.

A doctor is found beaten to death in woods close to a summer camp for young women with eating disorders. The camp is run by the charismatic Professor Chesham. DI Grace Fisher is called in, but is quickly pulled from the investigation – to head up a cold case inquiry involving Chesham himself. Some years earlier, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her. As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to the special girls – and the danger they are still in. D.I. Grace Fisher is back with another thrilling and unique case to investigate where everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted.

In this gripping tale, Grace has been called in to investigate a murder case when a psychotherapist is found mysteriously dead in the woods whilst out on an expedition with his patients. Whilst investigating this case, Grace ends up delving into an unsolved case of sexual abuse from over twenty years ago where allegations where made but where not followed up.

The story follows from the perspective of DI Grace Fisher, her journalist friend Ivo and a man called Clive, who suspects that is teenage daughter was the victim of sexual assault. As Grace Fisher investigates the murder, she finds out that all the girls who were at expedition, are all sufferers of eating disorders and this adventure is way of helping them deal with it. The adventure is organised by Professor Ned’s Chesham’s, a highly respected academic who has helped many girls with eating disorders and is just about to receive a knighthood for all his hard work, but it seems that Ned isn’t quite the hero that he’s made out to be when allegations of sexual abuse are made against him.

I really enjoyed this story, Isabelle has written a cleverly weaved and gripping tale that really engages the audiences attention and the different perspectives make for insightful reading. There’s the police perspective as Grace looks into the current and old cases piecing together clues and information that were overlooked many years ago, there’s also the human interest angle as she tackles the sensitive nature of child abuse, whilst Ivo is Grace’s useful source of information, helping to uncover stories and find people that may not want to be found. Finally, there’s Clive, a heartbroken father, who’s at his wits end as he fears that his troubled daughter was the victim of sexual abuse and that’s why she is so angry. It’s quite heartbreaking to read Clive’s parts in the story, as he feels that he failed his daughter and was unable to protect her.

A dark and troubled tale that deals with many issues that makes for chilling reading, ‘The Special Girls’ is an uncomfortably realistic and compassionate story that was impossible to put down.

You can buy The Special Girls from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.