Title: Twin Evils?

Author: Olga Nunez Miret

Pages: 54 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? And indeed they were right. Something did happen.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Twin Evils was a quirky little story about how one twin is good and one is bad. This is then usurped and the evil twin comes good in the end…sort of.

Ok, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I read it in so much that I took in the story but the story didn’t take me. I found myself picking over the grammar mistakes and strangeness rather than being swept away. I was, in truth, reading it to get to the end.

It wasn’t the best story I have ever read.

Twin Evils? by Olga Nunez Miret is available now.

Title: My Purple Scented Novel

Author: Ian McEwan

Pages: 48 Pages

Publisher: Vintage Digital

The Blurb

‘You will have heard of my friend the once celebrated novelist Jocelyn Tarbet, but I suspect his memory is beginning to fade…You’d never heard of me, the once obscure novelist Parker Sparrow, until my name was publicly connected with his. To a knowing few, our names remain rigidly attached, like the two ends of a seesaw. His rise coincided with, though did not cause, my decline… I don’t deny there was wrongdoing. I stole a life, and I don’t intend to give it back. You may treat these few pages as a confession.’

A jewel of a book: a brand new short story from the author of AtonementMy Purple Scented Novel follows the perfect crime of literary betrayal, scrupulously wrought yet unscrupulously executed, published to celebrate Ian McEwan’s 70th birthday.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I have never read anything by Ian McEwan before and I am awfully glad I started with the delightful short story My Purple Scented Novel.

It is a story that explores the themes of friendship, professional jealousy, and human nature when presented with a moral and ethical dilemma. It is the kind of story that has you shouting at your protagonist to not do the thing you know that they are going to do and is absolutely delicious in its drama.

If, like me, you have yet to read a full novel by Ian McEwan then My Purple Scented Novel is a great introduction.

My Purple Scented Novel by Ian McEwan is available now.

For more information regarding (@vintagebooks) please visit penguin.co.uk/vintage/

Title: Diversify

Author: June Sarpong

Pages: 401 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

The truth is, inclusion is better for everyone.

In this empowering call to arms, June Sarpong MBE proves why.

Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face.

With unshakeable case studies, brand-new research from Oxford University, and six revolutionary steps to help you overcome unconscious bias, this book will help you become part of a better society.

The old way isn’t working. This is a case for change.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Diversify by June Sarpong is the most important book that I have read this year. This is a pretty big claim. As a prolific reader, I have read lots of books but none of them resonated with me the way that Diversify has done.

Sarpong examines the diversity in culture and how we often see this as threatening rather than celebrating our differences. She offers practical advice to some of the biggest problems that actually seem so obvious that it is silly how none of it has been put into action already.

What is great is that you could argue the book is misleading. You may be forgiven in  thinking that Diversify is just another book that shows how white supremacy is bad and how everyone is still living under the rule of a white patriarchal society – yes, we are, but Diversify is not that book. Diversify looks at oppression from all different levels – race, gender, sexuality etc. It is fascinating, well researched, and entertaining.

So, yes, to reiterate my earlier point, Diversify by June Sarpong is the most important book that I have read this year. It should be placed in all school libraries, studied on the curriculum and be sent to every politician in the country. That is how much I believe in this book.

Diversify by June Sarpong is available now.

For more information regarding June Sarpong (@junesarpong) please visit www.junesarpong.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.instagram.com/hqstories.

Title: I Was Born for This

Author: Alice Oseman

Pages: 395 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

The Blurb

The third novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most talked about YA writers in recent years.

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.

But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something – especially yourself.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Having never read an Alice Oseman novel before and basing my first choice of book in a really trivial manner (I wanted to read a book with an orange cover) I was more than pleasantly surprised with just how amazing I Was Born for This is.

The dual-perspective novel is told from the points of view of Angel – a diehard fan of music group The Ark and The Arks frontman Jimmy. We see the daily workings of life in a famous band and just how the lack of ordinariness can impact on your mental health. Furthermore, we see it from the more common perspective of just what it is like to be a fan.

It is at this point that I really need to extend my gratitude to Alice Oseman. You see, I was that fan. There is a line in a movie called Almost Famous and a girl who happens to be known as a “band aid” someone who is in the music set but not a musician say something along the lines of “to love a silly little piece of music so much” – I have been there. My band weren’t seen as particularly cool and were often mocked for what others perceived as fake rock but by god – nearly 15 years on since that band broke up I can still remember those feelings. What Oseman didn’t do – even though she could easily have taken this route – is that she didn’t patronise the fan. Yes, it must be overwhelming and at times frightening for the famous person who cannot see what it is that makes them so special but for a fan it is the feeling of belonging. Belonging to a culture, a group of fans or just even belonging to the band. I thank Alice Oseman for not belittling feelings that I once had – and to some extent still have.

Besides all of this, there are layers of plot that are explored sensitively but have a verisimilitude such as LGBT issues, transgenderism, religion, parental relations.

Overall, I Was Born for This is a book about growing up. It is a coming of age story and those are my favourite kind. Couple this with the music element and I was one happy bunny.

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Oseman (@AliceOseman) please visit www.aliceoseman.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins Children’s Books (@HarperCollinsCh) please visit www.books.harpercollins.co.uk/children/

Title: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.

The Review

I am going to admit that I should have known better. You see, it tells me on the blurb that The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has a whole Groundhog Day quality to it. I hate the movie Groundhog Day. There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that is similar that gets me very stressed out when I watch it. I get worn out when I have dreams whereby I am doing the same thing over and over and over again. I should have known I wouldn’t love The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

That is not to say that it isn’t written very well. Stuart Turton has masterfully created a murder mystery that I will admit had me guessing to the very end. The way her controls the story and drips nuggets of information and clues with each character is mindboggling.

If you like murder mysteries and time travel then this novel is totally up your street. If you get stressed out by character changes then maybe give the decision to read The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a lot of thought beforehand.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is available now.

For more information regarding Stuart Turton (@stu_turton) please visit www.stuturton.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.