Title: The Light of Paris

Author: Eleanor Brown

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Madeleine is trapped—by her family’s expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.

In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.

Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.

Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.

The Review

The Light of Paris is a story told during two eras. We have modern day America and 1920s Paris as our two protagonists Madeleine and her grandmother Margie try to navigate adulthood with lives that seemingly parallel each other. Madeleine is stuck in a loveless marriage of convenience. Her whole life is dictated by her bully of a husband: her lack of job, lack of friends, lack of hobbies. Even her weight is controlled by him. Margie faced a similar fate when she was young and knew it was almost a guarantee if she didn’t break free of the confines of debutant life.

Both women have been given the opportunity to change their fate…and they take it.

The Light of Paris is a story of freedom.

I loved this story. I loved how quickly I became invested in the lives of these two women and how you feel desperate for Madeleine to learn from Margie’s mistakes/choices that made her life better. As a bit of a Francophile, I loved Eleanor Brown’s ability to capture the amazing setting of Paris.

The Light of Paris was a big winner for me.

The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown is available now.

For more information regarding Eleanor Brown (@eleanorwrites) please visit www.eleanor-brown.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Lie With Me

Author: Philippe Besson

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe, a famous writer, chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back to Philippe’s teenage years, to a winter morning in 1984, a small French high school, and a carefully timed encounter between two seventeen-year-olds. It’s the start of a secret, intensely passionate, world-altering love affair between Philippe and his classmate, Thomas.

Dazzlingly rendered by Molly Ringwald, the acclaimed actor and writer, in her first-ever translation, Besson’s exquisitely moving coming-of-age story captures the tenderness of first love – and the heart-breaking passage of time.

The Review

Lie With Me is the gorgeous story of Philippe and Thomas who fall in love but have to keep their relationship secret as the 1980s were not exactly kind to the LGBT community.

Years later Philippe bumps into someone who looks exactly like Thomas: his son.

When the past meets the present Thomas begins to confront all of his unanswered questions that have plagued his life and his career.

I really loved Lie With Me. I won’t lie, I initially wanted to read it because it had been translated by Molly Ringwald (and I love Molly Ringwald) but this became irrelevant when you feel the pulse and the heart of this writing ooze from every page.

It is beautiful.

Read it now.

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson is available now.

For more information regarding Molly Ringwald (@MollyRingwald) please visit www.iammollyringwald.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: If I Don’t Make It, I Love You – Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings

Author: Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman

Pages: 512 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

The Blurb

A harrowing collection of sixty narratives—covering over fifty years of shootings in America—written by those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

“If I Don’t Make It, I Love You,” a text sent from inside a war zone. A text meant for Stacy Crescitelli, whose 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, was hiding in a closet fearing for her life in Parkland, Florida, in February of 2018, while a gunman sprayed her school with bullets, killing her friends, teachers, and coaches. This scene has become too familiar. We see the images, the children with trauma on their faces leaving their school in ropes, connected to one another with hands on shoulders, shaking, crying, and screaming. We mourn the dead. We bury children. We demand change. But we are met with inaction. So, we move forward, sadder and more jaded. But what about those who cannot move on?

These are their stories.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You collects more than sixty narratives from school shooting survivors, family members, and community leaders covering fifty years of shootings in America, from the 1966 UT-Austin Tower shooting through May 2018’s Santa Fe shooting.

Through this collection, editors Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman offer a vital contribution to the surging national dialogue on gun reform by elevating the voices of those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

The Review

So the world is in a bit of a mess. In the year of 2019, Britain are still trying to figure out Brexit. We have a very dodgy prime minister who is known for having poor morals and scruples and basically being a blithering buffoon.

However, I am eternally grateful that I live in the UK. There are many reasons for this – one of them being the lack of gun crime. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen but in the UK you cannot got to a supermarket and pick up a gun.

In America, due to the second amendment – the right to bear arms – a rule that is outdated and in my opinion should be changed – the availability of guns and ammunition must have had a direct impact on the increase of mass shootings.

I read If I Don’t Make It, I Love You and was so saddened and disgusted that even after all the death of innocent school children that this rule hasn’t been changed. It is appalling.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You gives real life accounts from the more memorable school shootings. These accounts come from survivors, paramedics, parents and siblings of those who lost their lives. It shows how the after effects of events like this are still so pertinent and that whilst in some cases pain eases with time it is never truly gone.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You is a must read.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You – Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman is available now.

For more information regarding Amye Archer (@AmyeArcher) please visit www.amyearcher.com.

For more information regarding Loren Kleinman (@LorenKleinman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Skyhorse Publishing(@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

Title: Everything All at Once

Author: Steven Camden

Pages: 128 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

An achingly beautiful collection of poems about one week in a secondary school where everything happens all at once. Zooming in across our cast of characters, we share moments that span everything from hoping to make it to the end of the week, facing it, fitting in, finding friends and falling out, to loving lessons, losing it, and worrying, wearing it well and worshipping from afar.

In Everything All At Once, Steven Camden’s poems speak to the kaleidoscope of teen experience and life at secondary school.

All together. Same place.
Same walls. Same space.
Every emotion 
under the sun
Faith lost. Victories won.
It doesn’t stop. Until the bell. 
Now it’s heaven
Now it’s hell.
Who knows?
Not me
I just wrote what I can see
So what’s it about? Here’s my response
It’s about everything
All at once.’

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love stories told in verse. Everything All at Once is one such novella.

Steve Camden shows the experiences of being in high school. We see teenagers falling out and falling in love. We see the insecurities of students and inspirational teachers. It covers most aspects of high school and from various perspectives.

Everything All at Once really is a quick and enjoyable read. Pick it up and give it a try.

Everything All at Once by Steven Camden is available now.

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

Title: Pure

Author: Rose Cartwright

Pages: 288 Pages

Publishers: Unbound

The Blurb

Rose Cartwright has OCD, but not as you know it. Pure is the true story of her ten-year struggle with Pure O , a little-known form of the condition, which causes her to experience intrusive sexual thoughts of shocking intensity. It is a brave and frequently hilarious account of a woman who refused to give up, despite being undermined at every turn by her obsessions and enduring years of misdiagnosis and failed therapies.

Eventually, the love of family and friends, and Rose s own courage and sense of humour prevailed, inspiring this deeply felt and beautifully written memoir. At its core is a lesson for all of us: when it comes to being happy with who we are, there are no neat conclusions.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Pure is a fascinating narrative non-fiction about one girls struggle with OCD.

It is a truly eye-opening story that has Rose Cartwright exposing herself and her insecurities with the written word. You really get the feeling that Cartwright has bled out on the page as she relives her experiences.

If I had to sum up Pure in one word it would be brave. I cannot imagine what Rose Cartwright has been through but I am honoured that I got to experience it vicariously through Pure.

Pure by Rose Cartwright is available now.

For more information regarding Rose Cartwright (@RoseCartwright_) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Unbound (@Unbounders) please visit www.unbound.com/books.