Title: The United States of Us

Author: Kate Sundara

Pages: 287 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

A heart-rending story of romance and self-discovery

This is a story about soulmates, not where it began, but where it needs to begin: twenty-two year-old Mia pressed against the forest floor by a man shielding her from the crazed bear bellowing in her ear. This is a story about love and the power of actions over words. A story of how one day can change everything.

Mia Hart’s childhood sweetheart, Robin, has been watching over her ever since his death. Haunted by the devastating incident that killed him, Mia spends three years travelling the world.

Discovering the island of Utopia, a retreat in the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, Mia meets Zak, a dashing American musician. After a whirlwind romance, Zak asks Mia to come and live with him in the faraway Midwest. Swept up by infatuation and desperate to be free from Robin’s ghost, she accepts.

Braving a move to River Valley, a small town in the American wilderness, Mia soon discovers the fairytale Zak promised her is anything but. Worried she’s made a rash decision, but too proud to leave, Mia must confront her past before she can find true happiness.

Vivid, beautiful, and packed with unforgettable characters, The United States of Us is a riveting and intense tale of love, loss and letting go.

The Review

I did not enjoy reading The United States of Us. This is probably a really blunt way to start a review but The United States of Us was not the book for me.

Firstly, the chapters were far too long. I read this book on my kindle and it gives you an approximate time for the chapter to end. Most chapters were over an hour and a half long. I felt that due to this the story meandered along rather than creating any rise and fall of tension.

Secondly, the protagonist Mia was just unlikable. She was whiny and nothing made her happy. I understand that she was made this way by the events of her past but there was just no reprieve from her sullen nature. Then she was just so desperate to please Zak. Grow a bloody backbone, Mia.

So yes, The United States of Us was really disappointing.

The United States of Us by Kate Sundara is available now.

For more information regarding Kate Sundara (@KateSundara) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: What if He’s the One?

Author: Kathy Jay

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Blurb

The one that got away – is now LA’s hottest property!

The last time fashion student Magenta Plumtree saw aspiring actor Alex Wells, she was wearing a sexy Santa outfit and killer heels, and he was kissing her senseless! But before she got to enjoy the full benefits of her very fit friend, he left the next morning for LA and stardom…

Now ten years later Maggie’s an in-demand fashionista and her latest job? To style the stars of hit TV show Mercy of the Vampires – none other than twin hotties Alex and Nick Wells! Though if Fate has given her one more chance with the gorgeous Alex, it’s got a sick sense of humour, as Maggie has refused to wait for Mr Right and plans to embark on single motherhood! But the inconveniently electric attraction is definitely still there, and with Alex by her side through the whirl of pregnancy tests and glittering premieres, has Maggie found the one man worth waiting for?

The Review

What if He’s the One? by Kathy Jay is a love story that transcends time and distance. Sometimes you are just destined to be with someone and no amount of time will change that. This is where we meet Maggie. She has been in love with her friend Alex for years. There was once a chance that they would get together but when an opportunity for him to star in the next big fantasy programme occurs he has to take it. The only problem being that it will leave Maggie in London while he is in America.

Fast-forward ten years later and the pair meet again. The sparks are still there but has life moved on too much for them to make it work?

Kathy Jay explores so much in What if He’s the One? Unrequited love, independence, and heartbreak to name but a few; she ultimately she makes you fall in love with her two main characters. Due to the dual narrative you spend half your time in complete anguish because you know that they both still love each other and the sexual tension bounces off the page. It is almost agony to read.

If you are a fan of love stories then Kathy Jay doesn’t disappoint with What if He’s the One?

What if He’s the One? by Kathy Jay is available now.

For more information regarding Kathy Jay (@akathyjay) please visit www.kathyjay.com.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

Title: Lola Offline

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Orion Children’s Books

The Blurb

On the internet, there are no take-backs… LOLA OFFLINE is a teen romantic comedy set in Paris, perfect for fans of Holly Bourne, Sophie Kinsella and Stephanie Perkins.

Delilah Hoover has gone dark. She’s quit social media, moved to Paris and changed her name to Lola Maxwell. Because she made a mistake – one she can’t take back. It was all over Twitter, and it’s still the first thing that comes up when you Google her.

Paris is a fresh start, in a new school with new friends including smooth student politician Tariq. With awkward dates, tipsy afternoons and a perfect kiss, Lola’s life as a normal teenager could be back on track … But can she ever tell people who she really is? And what happens if they find out first?

The Review

I’ve long been a fan of Nicola Doherty’s books and I requested Lola Offline from NetGalley ages ago and for some reason I didn’t get round to reading it until just recently. Like Doherty’s other books, I really enjoyed Lola Offline.

Lola Offline tells the story of Delilah who has fled her normal life to live in Paris under the moniker of Lola. Delilah is fleeing from a mistake that she has made that ended up making her internet famous for all the wrong reasons.

Rather than embracing her mistake and dealing with the fall out she opts to hide. But in a world saturated by social media you begin to wonder can a person really ever truly hide from their past?

Nicola Doherty’s story really hit a nerve with me for two reasons. The first being because I wrote a blog post once that ended up getting a ridiculous number of views within the space of 24 hours. Now don’t get me wrong, for someone who blogs that is generally a good thing, however, the post was not about books it was about a health condition I had and I was very unsettled by the amount of people that read it. I got over it but for a good week I felt really unnerved. The second reason is that I work in a high school and the amount of problems that we encounter on a daily basis because of Instagram or Facebook is ridiculous. The insidiousness of social media is becoming more and more prevalent and Doherty addresses this very matter. Personally, I think she is brave to do so. If just one member of her target audience of young adults reads this book and thinks about something before they post it on social media then Doherty has made a massive impact.

Lola Offline by Nicola Doherty is available now.

For more information regarding Nicola Doherty (@nicoladoherty_) please visit www.nicoladohertybooks.com.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) or Orion Children’s Books (@the_orionstar) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

Title: Vinyl Freak – Love Letters to a Dying Medium

Author: John Corbett

Pages: 264 Pages

Publisher: Duke University Press

The Blurb

From scouring flea markets and eBay to maxing-out their credit cards, record collectors will do just about anything to score a long-sought-after album. In Vinyl Freak, music writer, curator, and collector John Corbett burrows deep inside the record fiend’s mind, documenting and reflecting on his decades-long love affair with vinyl. Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is comprised in part of Corbett’s long-running Downbeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD. In other essays where he combines memoir and criticism, Corbett considers the current vinyl boom, explains why vinyl is his preferred medium, profiles collector subcultures, and recounts his adventures assembling the Alton Abraham Sun Ra Archive, an event so all-consuming that he claims it cured his record-collecting addiction. Perfect for vinyl newbies and veteran crate diggers alike, Vinyl Freak plumbs the motivations that drive Corbett and collectors everywhere.

The Review

I love my vinyl collection. Admittedly, not as much as John Corbett but it is something that I treasure and the moment anyone tries to convince me to put it in storage or – God forbid – sell it I become really defensive and protective. I totally understand John Corbett’s love for his music collection.

Vinyl Freak is – as the full title suggests – a love letter to Corbett’s record collection. I love the passion and the knowledge that oozes off each and every page in this book. I think for me, personally, as someone who isn’t very knowledgeable on Jazz music, I can see how this book could become quite slow and tedious but that is not due in any way, shape or form to do with John Corbett’s writing. It is because of my own ignorance of the genre. Those, like me, would find the book a difficult read. However, if you are a jazz enthusiast then I can quite imagine this book becoming some form of Holy Scripture.

Thoroughly researched and clear passion, Vinyl Freak is a must for the jazz lover in your life.

Vinyl Freak – Love Letters to a Dying Medium by John Corbett is available now.

For more information regarding Duke University Press (@DukePress) please visit www.dukepress.edu.

 

Title: Until You Find Me

Author: Amber Hart

Pages: 269 Pages

Publisher: Random House Publishing

The Blurb

In this steamy, electrifying novel, Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits as a young woman travels halfway across the globe—and discovers the place where her heart belongs.

Raven has no idea what to expect when she travels to Africa in search of answers about her family’s past. A twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, she’s never seen anything like the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon. But nothing takes her breath away like Jospin. As soon as Raven meets the charismatic and intense young hunter, she’s instantly hooked.

Clever, rugged, and fearless, Jospin makes his living from the perils of the jungle. But falling in love with Raven could be the most dangerous thing he’s ever done. The heir to a powerful poaching empire, he holds the key to unlocking the secrets of Raven’s legacy. If she asks the wrong questions, his answers could get them both killed. And yet each and every moment spent holding Raven in his arms is worth the risk.

Raven’s getting closer to the truth. Jospin’s at the point of no return. Their chemistry is out of control, and when they forge a bond that goes beyond blood, desire will take them into uncharted territory.

The Review

Until You Find Me is the story of Raven who has set off to a world completely different to her own to try and find out the truth behind her father’s death.

Raven has come to an animal sanctuary deep in the jungle. She isn’t particularly a fan of animals, in fact, she holds them responsible for the disappearance of her father from her life. Raven grew up in America whereas her dad left to work in the jungle. They kept regular contact but now that he is dead she holds the jungle and its inhabitants responsible.

In trying to uncover the truth, Raven stumbles upon the seedy underbelly of jungle life – the killing of endangered species for meat and fur. Once she knows the truth about this world will she ever be able to get out again.

Until You Find Me had the makings of being a great story. It had a good main thread of a story – the loss of a parent, it had romance, and it had an exotic location. Personally, I feel where the story became a bit muddied was with the emphasis on the secondary story of animal meat/fur trafficking. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very interesting storyline and one that I haven’t come across in fiction before but I feel that both storylines were competing to be the main one and as a reader I didn’t know which one to prioritise. I just feel that the book came across as confused.

It is a good story though and one that will compel you to keep turning to the next page.

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart is available now.

For more information regarding Amber Hart (@AmberHartBooks) please visit www.amberhartbooks.com.

For more information regarding Random House Publishing (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.