crime · romance · Short Stories

Nottingham Hill Carnival: A West Side Story – Candice Carty-Williams ★★★★

Blurb; Sapphire is the hot-headed leader of the Red Roses in an area where gang loyalty is all that matters. But after a tragic event, Sapphire vows to leave her old life, friends and her gang behind. Life without the Red Roses and the violence that always followed them is certainly quieter.

When she meets a boy called Apollo on her way to Notting Hill Carnival, she forms an instant bond with him. She thinks he could be the one. Until she discovers he’s a member of rival gang, the Gold Teeth. Will she ever escape her past with the Red Roses, and how many lives will be ruined until she does?

Funny, emotional and raw, with the Notting Hill Carnival acting as the backdrop of this retelling of West Side Story, by the Sunday Times bestselling author of Queenie.

My Review; From the bestselling author of Queenie comes this little beauty at just over 100 pages. Now I don’t know what I was expecting here but what I read wasn’t it. From the cover I was expecting chick-lit, fun & romance. I was wrong. But what a brilliant story this was. One that taught me not to judge a book by its cover.

It’s all about two gangs coming head to head. War. Fights. But surely there becomes a point when we are all too old for that? Well in this story there is a point that stops it all and not a very good one. A scary one that happens multiple of times everyday even now. But it’s also a part love story when two members of the opposite gangs fall in love. Oooh. A brilliant heart warming ending which left me wanting more.

A story which proves love wins. Bullies lose. Amazing story. Eye opening. Life lesson learnt. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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Bestsellers · chick-lit · Comedy

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams ★★★★

Blurb; Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

My Review; I’ve seen this book around a lot especially with all the riots currently going on. A wonderful, eye-opening, hilarious and inspiring story that I would suggest we all read in these times. The story focuses on queenie and how she gets treated as a ‘black’ girl within the UK (her words not mine). It’s powerful. Emotional. Heart breaking at times. I loved this book! Devoured it in a day. I don’t really know what to say… It’s about Queenies life. Fictional but probably based on someones real life.

Queenies on a break from her boyfriend and soon finds herself living back at her grandparents at 26. With a investigation making her take leave of work too she decides to reach out for help and turn her life around with the help of her family and friends.

A must read. Powerful. Brutally honest. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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