Next Year For SureTitle: Next Year, For Sure

Author: Zoey Leigh Peterson

Pages: 244 Pages

Publisher: Scribner

The Blurb

In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, longtime romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love.

After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. But, as content as they are together, an enduring loneliness continues to haunt the dark corners of their relationship. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily evolves beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris are forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Offering a luminous portrait of a relationship from two perspectives, Zoey Leigh Paterson has written an empathic, beautiful, and tremendously honest novel about a great love pushed to the edge. Deeply poignant and hugely entertaining, Next Year, For Sure shows us what lies at the mysterious heart of relationships, and what true openness and transformation require.

The Review

I can honestly say that I have never read a novel that had an open relationship at the heart of it. Open relationships is the crux of Next Year, For Sure – a quirky tale of love gone stale. It follows the longevity of Kathryn and Chris’s relationship but along with longevity has come a stagnant, boring and safe union. When Chris starts having feelings for another girl the relationship between Chris and Kathryn (along with those around them) unfolds.

I don’t know how I feel about Next Year, For Sure. I enjoyed reading it and got through it in one sitting but I don’t know if the topic of the novel made me uncomfortable (I didn’t think so at the time of reading) but normally if I finish a book in one sitting it is because I am completely immersed in the book and usually I want to live in that world and be friends with the characters. I don’t think I felt that way about Next Year, For Sure.

I know that I enjoyed Next Year, For Sure but I cannot articulate why.

Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson is available now.

For more information regarding Zoey Leigh Peterson (@ZoeyLPeterson) please visit www.zoeyleighpeterson.com.

For more information regarding Scribner (@ScribnerBooks) please visit www.scribnerbooks.com.

35 Stars

Cocktails and DreamsTitle: Cocktails and Dreams

Author: AL Michael

Pages: 210 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk. 

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and she begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?

See inside for a delicious cocktail recipe and book club questions! 

The Review

Whenever I read a book by AL Michael I get cross. No, not with AL Michael but with myself. You see, every book I have read by AL Michael I have enjoyed. I don’t know why I leave it so long in between reading them.

This was the exact thought I had after I finished Cocktails and Dreams.

The story focuses on Savvy. Now Savvy does anything for an easy existence. She stayed with her boyfriend because it was easy. She worked temp jobs because it was easier than figuring out what or who she wanted to be. Add into the mix a flaky musician mum and you can’t help but sympathise with Savvy and her want for a simple kind of life.

However, her world turns upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend and everything that she thought she knew about herself starts to unravel. But is it for the best?

I genuinely loved Cocktails and Dreams. I couldn’t put it down and it is one of those books that feels like it is over too quickly because you haven’t been able to stop turning the pages. Savvy is a likable lead character and you really root for her throughout.

Another fine job, A.L. Michael. Well done!

Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael is available now.

For more information regarding A.L. Michael (@ALMichael_) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canelo (@canelo_co) please visit www.canelo.co.

4 Stars

Kisses on Paper AirplanesTitle: Kisses on Paper Airplanes

Author: Sarah Vance-Tompkins

Pages: 106 Pages

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing

The Blurb

Drama student Hannah Evans isn’t kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She’s determined to share the perfect first kiss — with the perfect boy — in the perfect place — or she’s not kissing at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he’s ‘The One.’

Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and his supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he’s worried she’s just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

If you love pure escapist pleasure in under 150 pages then Kisses on Paper Airplanes by Sarah Vance-Tompkins is for you.

I absolutely adored it.

Kisses on Paper Airplanes has everything that a romantic short should have. In fact, I think any of us who love reading romance can honestly say that we have had this fantasy. You know the one, girl meets boy, boy and girl flirt and fall for each other, girl doesn’t realise straight away that they boy is famous. I can honestly say I have had that fantasy so many times featuring Pete Wentz, Matt Willis, David Tennant. But I digress.

Kisses on Paper Airplanes is such a simple concept but that is why it works. Furthermore, Sarah Vance-Tompkins genuinely makes you care for her characters. Even though it is a short story we are not short changed on detail, exposition or drama. She gives it all and then some. My one negative is that I wanted more.

Well done Sarah Vance-Tomkins!

Kisses on Paper Airplanes by Sarah Vance-Thompkins is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Vance-Thompkins (@sarahvtompkins) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Inkspell Publishing (@InkSpellPublish) please visit www.inkspellpublishing.com.

4 Stars

Julia JonesTitle: Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart)

Author: Katrina Kahler

Pages: 87 Pages

Publisher: How to Help Children

The Blurb

The suspenseful and best-selling “Julia Jones’ Diary” series now continues on but is even more gripping and exciting than ever before. For die-hard Julia Jones’ fans as well as those who are new to the series, “Julia Jones – The Teenage Years” will not disappoint.

In Book 1, Falling Apart, Julia is now a typical teenage girl but has abruptly and unexpectedly been thrown into turmoil by the forced relocation of her family back to their old home in the city. She attempts to come to terms with her dilemma by reconnecting with her old friend, Millie Spencer and also the love of her life, Blake Jansen. However, on arrival at her old house, she soon learns that circumstances have changed dramatically during the time she was away and the days that follow seem to unravel in a series of escalating drama and events. Although Julia tries to maintain control, her life seems to snowball towards an all consuming disaster which she appears powerless to prevent.

Julia finds that her choices surrounding love, friends and rebellious teenage behaviour tend to result in dire consequences and repercussions of the worst kind. What is the cause of Julia’s misery and how does she deal with the challenges in her path?

This is a book filled with unexpected plot twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. Don’t miss out on the suspenseful journey of Julia Jones, complete with romance, drama, friendship issues and much, much more.

This fabulous book for teenage girls contains all the elements of an exciting story that girls of all ages will enjoy.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

With the above blurb I was genuinely looking forward to reading the Julia Jones series. After reading the 87 pages of Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart) I am actually kind of bummed out that I spent time on it.

Our main character, Julia is extremely unlikable. I would go so far as to say she is an insufferable brat. She explodes when things don’t go her way, causes drama, and throws herself on her bed in fits of rage. Then when situations happen around her she comes across as pious and morally righteous; she tries to distance herself from disasters of her own making. Overall, she is a narcissistic whiny little monster.

The problem I have with the series is that it could have been really good. It has all the makings of being like Mean Girls – a fun teenage romp if ever there was one – but it just fails every time a new challenge gets in the way. Unfortunately with such a two dimensional protagonist it was just not likely to happen. I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart) by Katrina Kahler is available now.

1 star

Halfway to ParadiseTitle: Halfway to Paradise – The Life of Billy Fury

Author: Caroline and David Stafford

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Omnibus Press

The Blurb

If he’d merely stood like a statue on stage, he would have flooded theatres with hormonal longings, but he was incapable of standing still. He pulsed. He writhed. He invalidated the manufacturer’s guarantee on microphone stands. He provoked shock and awe.

From Billy’s troubled childhood in Liverpool, via gold and silver lamé, to his later years as a farming ornithologist and a comeback cut short by his premature death, David and Caroline Stafford’s sparkling biography brings to life this captivating performer. Billy knew everybody, auditioned The Beatles to be his backing band, met and out-handsomed Elvis, partied with Keith Moon and hosted acid parties. Yet, throughout the mayhem, he always remained true to himself: diffident and amused.

Halfway to Paradise tells the full story with the compassion and affection due to an artist who, decades after his death, still commands admiration and adoration: the life, the times, the fans, the Fury.

The Review

Growing up in Liverpool there are certain local artists that you cannot be ignorant of. The obvious ones such as The Beatles and Cilla Black naturally sprint to mind however, there is one artist who is equally revered as one of the sons of Liverpool. That man is Billy Fury.

Caroline and David Stafford have released a well researched and impressive book about the Life of Billy Fury. From his start as an unwell child to a star in the making, Stafford and Stafford look at how his music life was turbulent due to lack of strong leadership and direction, and how he never really hit the heights that he musically deserved.

Halfway to Paradise – The Life of Billy Fury by Caroline and David Stafford is not only a brilliant account of Billy Fury’s life but also of the changing face of entertainment during his working years. It is a great read filled with anecdotal tales from those who knew him best.

Halfway to Paradise – The Life of Billy Fury by Caroline and David Stafford is available now.

For more information regarding Omnibus Press (@OmnibusPress) please visit www.omnibuspress.com.

4 Stars