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

How to Build a GirlTitle: How to Build a Girl

Author: Caitlin Moran

Pages: 354 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Press

The Blurb

My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.

I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

My favourite genre of book or movie or, heck, even song, is one with a coming of age story at its heart. I love watching a character grow and develop and learn and just become who they are meant to be in this little fictional world. It makes my heart swell bigger than the Grinch’s. And this is exactly what I got from Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl.

Now I know I am a little late to the game on this one but to be fair I have a million books and there is, as of yet, not been a day added to the week allocated for just reading so you will have to forgive me. However, as I pressed pre-order on the sequel to How to Build A Girl (How to Be Famous – out in June) I decided to bump it to the top of the TBR pile and oh my wow I have fallen in love.

Besides being, as I have said, a coming of age story, How to Build a Girl is also a socio-economic study of class. In particular, working class status and what it means to be poor. Moran has made no secret about her unconventional upbringing and you can see how much of her heart and soul is infused in this story and how it actually takes someone who knows about class issues from a realistic vantage to be able to discuss them eruditely.

Moran uses the music of the times to forward the story along and completely immerses you in her world and I, for one, didn’t want to leave. Johanna Morrigan – our protagonist – really is a fictional heroine. One I wish I had to look up to when I was younger. And even though Caitlin Moran could write about the wing span of midgey flies and I would read it because I love her writing style I can honestly say that How to Build a Girl has taken the number one spot as my book of the year so far.

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) please visit www.caitlinmoran.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/ebury.

5 Stars

The Girl with More than One HeartTitle: The Girl with More than One Heart

Author: Laura Geringer Bass

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Abrams Kids

The Blurb

When Briana’s father dies of a heart attack, she feels a new heart grow inside her. Through this heart, her father’s voice guides her through her grief and helps her navigate her new, not-so-normal life at home.

When her mother’s own grief becomes overpowering, Briana feels like she’s responsible for her autistic little brother, Aaron. Spending much of her time and energy caring for Aaron, she wonders: Did his special needs hurt her father’s very fragile heart? The voice of Briana’s “new heart” helps her to cope with the messy uncertainties, as she balances her first feelings of romance, making new friends, and following her dream of writing for the school newspaper. And as Briana finds strength and knowledge in herself, she’s finally able to let go of her new heart and rely solely on her own.

The Review

So many YA books have been based on grief recently. There has been a trend of grief among peers; people who are sick losing friends who have helped them through their illness. Yet I haven’t come across one about the loss of a parent.

This is the subject of the The Girl with More than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass. Bass uses her own real life experiences of losing her dad, albeit as an adult, as she transfers that grief into an intense feeling shared by a child.

The story focuses on Briana who is dealing with the death of her father. She is a burgeoning teenager with a brother who is on the autistic spectrum and who, rightfully so, is quite demanding of time due to his needs. When she loses her father she also loses her mother too. Her mother is awash with grief and cannot come to terms with her husband’s death making Briana grow up faster than she should have to.

Laura Geringer Bass deals with the subject of loss so well it made a painful topic easier to read about. This is definitely a book you want to use to show understanding and empathy towards others.

A great MG-YA read.

The Girl with More than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Geringer Bass (@LauraGeringer) please visit www.laurageringerbass.com.

For more information regarding Abrams Kids (@abramskids) please visit www.abramsbooks.com/abramskids/.

4 Stars

Labyrinth 3Title: Labyrinth – Coronation #2

Author: Simon Spurrier, Daniel Bayliss and Fiona Staples

Pages: 25 Pages

Publisher: Archaia

The Blurb

The Goblin King’s mother enters the Labyrinth, discovering a strange and marvellous world unlike anything she could imagine and one much different than what Sarah will encounter years later.

The Review

In the second part of the epic adventure we see a story that reflects Sarah’s in the movie Labyrinth. It is filled with intrigue and mystery and we see some beloved characters as well as meeting new ones. It really is a great story that should have been explored long before now.

I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Labyrinth: Coronation #2 by Simon Spurrier is available now.

For more information regarding Simon Spurrier (@sispurrier) please visit www.simonspurrier.co.uk.

For more information regarding Daniel Bayliss (@danielbaylissb) please visit www.deathtotheillustraitor.blogspot.mx.

For more information regarding Fiona Staples (@fionastaples) please visit www.fionastaples.com.

For more information regarding Archaia (@Archaia) please visit www.archaia.com.

3 Stars

Labyrinth 2Author: Simon Spurrier, Daniel Bayliss and Fiona Staples

Pages: 23 Pages

Publisher: Archaia

The Blurb

Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Daniel Bayliss (Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons, Kennel Block Blues) present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued. This is the untold history of the Goblin King.

The Review

I love Labyrinth. When I was a child I had it on a LP video tape along with three other 80s classic films. I watched the tape so much that it is had to be held together by Selatape.

Strangely though, I have never questioned Jareth’s story. Why was he the Goblin King? There are plenty of other questions such as why is he not a goblin and man how did David Bowie get so hot but we will save those questions for another time. These questions came to light when I started reading the graphic novel of Labyrinth. See it isn’t actually the story seen in the film that we all know and love. It is actually an origins story and it is a damn interesting one too.

The opening graphic novel shows us just how much societal pressure was on Jareth’s father and how Jareth came to rule a kingdom of goblins. The graphics are amazing and the story is engaging. I am perplexed as to where it is going to head to but I cannot wait to find out.

Labyrinth: Coronation #1 by Simon Spurrier is available now.

For more information regarding Simon Spurrier (@sispurrier) please visit www.simonspurrier.co.uk.

For more information regarding Daniel Bayliss (@danielbaylissb) please visit www.deathtotheillustraitor.blogspot.mx.

For more information regarding Fiona Staples (@fionastaples) please visit www.fionastaples.com.

For more information regarding Archaia (@Archaia) please visit www.archaia.com.

3 Stars