The Last Act of LoveTitle: The Last Act of Love – The Story of My Brother and His Sister

Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Picador

The Blurb

In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death.

This is the story of what happened to Cathy and her brother, and the unimaginable decision that she and her parents had to make eight years after the night that changed everything. It’s a story for anyone who has ever watched someone suffer or lost someone they loved or lived through a painful time that left them forever changed.

Told with boundless warmth and affection, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is a heartbreaking yet uplifting testament to a family’s survival and the price we pay for love.

The Review

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is a beautifully heartbreaking story of a life cut short and how to deal with death, and indeed, life and how to carry on.

Cathy Rentzenbrink was 17 when her younger brother was knocked down by a dangerous driver. Her brother, Matty, spent eight years in a permanent vegetative state. The Last Act of Love her story of how she and her family dealt with Matty’s condition and how eventually it became clear that it was crueller to keep him alive when he wasn’t living.

I have enormous respect for Cathy Rentzenbrink. Not only for the horrible decision that she had to make along with her family but that she had the courage to do it and then write about it. She has bled her feelings onto the page and she has done so with such dignity and grace.

The Last Act of Love is so cathartic and a deeply elegant story that is a beautiful read. I must for anyone who is dealing with loss.

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is available now.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com/picador.

35 Stars

The Other F WordTitle: The Other F Word

Author: Natasha Friend

Pages: 328 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

The Blurb

Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.

Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.

The Review

I can honestly say that The Other F-Word is the most unique and interesting YA novel that I have read in a long time.

The premise for this gem of a book is that children conceived through sperm donation come together to try and find the donor who brought them to life. The protagonists Milo and Hollis are joined by two other siblings and a friend for this journey.

It is a book about finding yourself. It is a classic coming of age story but with a twist and it has so much heart that it is impossible not to fall in love with this story.

The Other F Word by Natasha Friend is available now.

For more information regarding Nathasha Friend (@IAmMortified) please visit www.natashafriend.com.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

4 Stars

Bitter BetrayalTitle: Bitter Betrayal

Author: Amanda M Thrasher

Pages: 225 Pages

Publisher: IBPA

The Blurb

They say there are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle lies the truth. There’s no exception to this one. Impaired decisions, questionable actions, and consequences with irreversible damage destroy the lives of two young teens.

High school junior Payton Phillips is dating the boy she knows she’s going to spend the rest of her life with: Reece Townsend. An opportunity for the dating teens and their friends to have the night of their lives–an invite to Stacie Wiggin’s party–will go down in the books as epic. But when things escalate and emotions run high, the evening of their dreams turns into a nightmare of he said, she said. Who did exactly what that night? As teens tweet, Snap, and play their stories out online, social media threatens to ruin more than the teens’ reputations. Relationships, scholarships, and entire families are at stake. Whose side of the story will you choose to believe, his or hers?

The Review

Oh boy. Where do I begin.

Ok. Bitter Betrayal by Amanda M. Thrasher is a good story. It is well written and thought out and highlights some of the fears of parents and children about socialisation and growing up too fast. Whilst I will not complain about the writing because it is accomplished I have a lot of negative thoughts about how it was presented.

Personally, I found that the story was overly moralistic and at times pious. It was too consequence driven and made it seem that all the consequences would be bad ones. It didn’t give a positive message about first time sex and made, quite frankly, felt like scaremongering. Furthermore, the authorial interjections such as “as teens do” and “with teen love”* felt intrusive and condescending. Not what I have come to expect from YA fiction which has made leaps and bounds in treating its audience with maturity and respect in the recent years.

Bitter Betrayal is a good story but with a closer examination of a modern young adult audience it could have been a lot better.

  • Not direct quotes.

Bitter Betrayal by Amanda M Thrasher is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda M. Thrasher (@AmandaMThrasher) please visit www.amandamthrasher.com.

For more information regarding IBPA (@ibpa) please visit www.ibpa-online.org.

3 Stars

Brief Encounter at the Picture House by the SeaTitle: Brief Encounter at the Picture House by the Sea

Author: Holly Hepburn

Pages: 100 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

Part One in the brilliant new series from the bestselling author of The Star and Sixpence series. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley.

The picture house by the sea is the Palace at Polwhipple – a lovely art deco cinema, nestled in front of azure Cornish seas. But it is long past its heyday now, and its only saving grace is Ferrelli’s, the family run ice-cream concession in the foyer, which is famed for selling the best ice cream for miles.

When Ferdie, the owner of Ferrelli’s, falls ill, his granddaughter Gina drops everything to come and help out, leaving her boyfriend, Max, in London. But when she arrives she is dismayed by the state of the cinema, which she remembers fondly from summer holidays when she was a teenager.

Enchanted by Polwhipple’s golden beaches and friendly faces, Gina sets about restoring the Palace to its former glory with a themed Brief Encounter night, roping in her old friend Ben to help. But can one night alter the fortunes of this beautiful old picture house by the sea…?

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Oh I do love a good will they won’t they love story (they have to otherwise what is the point) and that is exactly what I got with the first part o the Picture House by the Sea series. When Gina returns to Cornwall to help her grandparents with their gelato business she is welcomed back to the fold by people that she knows and loves and is returned to a world that is completely comforting to her. However, she is leaving behind her real life in London and with that comes some big questions.

I really enjoyed Brief Encounter at the Picture House by the Sea. There is a bit of a trend at the moment for nostalgia in stories. Several series have seen people going to cafes or bookshops or – in this case – cinemas to try and regain a sense of comfort in the old rather than bask in the new and trendy. Brief Encounter at the Picture House by the Sea is definitely one that will warm your hear when you read it and after such a cracking opening I cannot wait to read part two.

Brief Encounter at the Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Hepburn (@HollyH_Author) please visit www.hollyhepburn.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

35 Stars

Dear IjeaweleTitle: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 81 Pages

Publishers: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The Blurb

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a childhood friend, a new mother who wanted to know how to raise her baby girl to be a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response: fifteen invaluable suggestions—direct, wryly funny, and perceptive—for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. Filled with compassionate guidance and advice, it gets right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century, and starts a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

The Review

You know what? I do love a good manifesto. I think it is a word that I need to use more in my daily life. I need a manifesto. With Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has created one for women. It is about the right to be a woman. A right to have equality not because someone says you can but because you say that you can.

It started out as a letter that she wrote for her friend’s daughter. A guide on how to be a strong woman but seriously the advice in this document is really something that we should all read and all aspire to live by.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is available now.

For more information regarding Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (@Chimamandabook) please visit www.harmonypublishing.com.ng.

For more information regarding Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (@doubledaybooks) please visit www.doubleday.com.

35 Stars