That Night by Gillian McAllister
Review by Emma Ferguson
Gillian McAllister explores just how far people will go to protect their family. When Joe and Cathy Plant get a call from their sister Frannie in the middle of the night on their holiday, they both rush to help her without a moment’s thought. What they find is far worse than they could have imagined, Frannie crying over a dead, bloodied body. She has run a man over and was too scared of going to prison to ring an ambulance, having already had an altercation with the police earlier in their trip. She begs them to cover for her and they agree to the ultimate sacrifice, they bury the body and hide the evidence. But as time goes on and the police get closer to uncovering the crime, cracks begin to show and truths are revealed, pushing their relationships to the edge.
The book is divided into ‘then’ and ‘now,' but the now chapters do not reveal much other than that the cover-up is unsuccessful. By doing this, McAllister keeps the tension high throughout her story and it took me a few guesses to predict what exactly was going to happen in the ‘now.' She explores the deeper complexities of family loyalty and exposes the vulnerabilities of sibling and parental relationships. It is a slower read with a long build up, but worth the final reveal.
Nala’s World by Dean Nicholson
Review by Natalie Joyce
Dean Nicholson left his homeland of Scotland in September 2018 and headed on a trip to cycle around the world and experience adventure like he never had before. What he didn't expect was to find a feline companion who would change his life forever.
Dean was three months into his trip, travelling around Bosnia when he encountered a meowing "scrappy wee thing" on the road, smaller than the palm of his hand with piercing green eyes. Fearing that she could be killed by a car or animal, he could not leave her to suffer and tucked the kitten into the pouch on his bike, then went forth to seek veterinary care in Montenegro.
Since that day in December 2018, Dean and Nala have been inseparable, travelling around the world together facing obstacles, rescuing animals and encountering friendly strangers. Dean set up an Instagram and YouTube page, 1bike1world, and after an article on The Dodo went viral, he had 800,000 followers across both platforms. With the power of social media, people were touched by Dean and Nala's remarkable relationship.
Apart from rescuing Nala and also helping other abandoned animals on his travels, Dean began raising money for animal welfare charities. Over £90,000 was raised for thirty charities from the sale of a calendar featuring Nala, an extraordinary amount for such an important cause. Aside from her charitable deeds, Dean credits Nala for helping him grow: "I was a wiser, calmer, more mature person than the slightly wild character who left Dunbar more than a year and a half earlier."
Nala's World is not just the heart-warming story of an unconditional love between a man and his cat – it is a story of hope and optimism for humanity.
Glittering a Turd by Kris Hallenga
Review by Cassie Waters
Glittering a Turd by Kris Hallenga burst onto the Sunday Times Bestseller list in an explosion of pink and glitter, landing at number six in its first week of publication. Billed as being “more than just another cancer memoir,” Glittering a Turd is both a unique story of someone living an extraordinary life with cancer and a handbook that will inspire you to live life to the fullest and be your own biggest advocate.
At just twenty-three years old Kris was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer after a late diagnosis. At the time, Kris was living a very normal life, she didn’t know what she wanted to do or who she wanted to be. That all changed when with her diagnosis. Kris realised that she had a mission in life and that it was to campaign for a future where no one dies from breast cancer. Together with her twin sister Maren, Kris founded CoppaFeel, the UK's first breast cancer awareness charity for young people.
Kris’ passion for life is palpable and she writes about her situation with warmth and positivity, highlighting that living is about much more than surviving. However, this book is about much more than just positivity. In one powerful chapter, Kris shares her experience of letting out her grief around her diagnosis with a Marie Curie doctor. She wonderfully balances honesty and positivity throughout the book.
Glittering a Turd is as life-affirming a book as it gets. When you’ve finished it, it will make you appreciate everything you have, even your own personal turd. It might even give you the kick you need to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. But most importantly, it will make you want to check your boobs and keep on checking every month.