Women in the City: Living the Dream by Lauren Berry and Hot Mess by Lucy Vine (Plus a GIVEAWAY!)*

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* I received an eARC of Living the Dream for review from Little, Brown and Hot Mess from Orion, thank you! Little, Brown will also be providing a copy of Living the Dream to give away to one of my readers so stay tuned for details on how to take part! *

Hot town, summer in the city...

I've had a real craving at the moment to read books about twenty-something women forging (or failing to forge) their careers in the city, normally writing or publishing or something media-related. I don't know, maybe it's to make me feel better about myself and having no idea what I'm doing with my career, maybe it's a little bit of escapism. Lucky for me, there's been a mini-surge these past handful of years of books about just this sort of thing. Not Working by Lisa Owens immediately springs to mind, which I haven't read, but remember fondly when it first came out. I feel like this genre of 'chick lit' (a phrase I viscerally hate) is the millennial version of Sex and the City and anything by Meg Cabot that isn't The Princess Diaries. With less of a focus on relationships (but obviously a lot of chat about bad dates and Tinder), we hear more about careers, job interviews, mouldy flatshares, cold takeaways, and female friendships. Think Girls, but a lot less dramatic.

First up we have Living the Dream* by Lauren Berry, which I loved immediately just reading that deliciously ironic title. We follow a trio of girlfriends: a blogger and assistant at an advertising agency (Emma), a budding scriptwriter (Clem), and the mysterious third friend (Yas) who doesn't talk about her career but can afford shiny things. Not a lot happens in terms of  plot for this book, but I think that's why it works so well. That's sort of what life is like when you're not sure what you're doing: not a lot happens. Their thirties are looming, along with all of the pressures life piles on top of you, from job satisfaction, through student debt, to making PowerPoint presentations as the biggest part of your day job. This book is bloody hilarious and such a speedy read, with praise already coming through from Stylist magazine, Emma Gannon, and Ayisha Malik. If you want a book where every two lines you'll nod aggressively to yourself about balancing a job that pays the bills and your biggest risky dream, pick up Lauren Berry's book.

Next on the agenda we have Hot Mess* from columnist and writer Lucy Vine. Ellie is an artist (or at least, she wants to be), struggling with love, navigating grown-up friendships, and living in a flatshare with a girl she never sees and a guy with a revolving door of women. Having gone through a break-up with her long term partner and the recent death of her mother (as well as having to deal with her lonely father and distant sister living across the pond), this book, however funny and easy-to-read, does deal with some serious topics. It presents a realistic picture of what life in early adulthood is like, as you start to realise you don't really get any more control over your life like you thought you would when you were a teenager. Things are still grossly unfair and you just have to get on with it. I really, really enjoyed this book. I liked the focus on one single character rather than a selection, and Ellie's sense of humour made the book deliciously readable. Her character seemed real, like someone I would know in my day-to-day life, and I think that's hugely what the appeal of this genre of books is. There's a sense of comfort in knowing you're not the only one feeling a tad disappointed by adulthood.

Only slightly off-topic, the podcast Movie Maintenance (one of my favourites) recently did an episode that rewrites the first Sex and the City movie, crossing it over with Girls, and making it overall a lot less shiny, and a lot more funny. You should really listen if you're a fan of either, because the host gets it absolutely spot-on!

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NOW HERE'S THE EXCITING PART.
The lovely people at Little, Brown have provided me with a gorgeous hardcover copy of Living the Dream* to give away to one of you lucky lovelies. The giveaway will be open for a week, from 10th-17th July (midnight), and is open to UK residents only. All you need to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with the chance. The more tasks you complete, the more entries you get into the competition. It's that simple! P.S. If you enter using a spam account or an account you've created solely for giveaways and competitions, you will automatically be discounted from the results and another winner will be chosen. This is a giveaway for people who love to read and read my blog because without them, I wouldn't still be writing.


Hot Mess will be published on the 13th July by Orion (paperback, £7.99) and Living the Dream was be published by Virago on the 6th July (hardcover, £14.99).

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