The Lesser BohemiansTitle: The Lesser Bohemians

Author: Eimear McBride

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Crown Publishing/Hogarth

The Blurb

The captivating, daring new novel from Eimear McBride, whose astonishing debut novel, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, was an international literary phenomenon and earned the author multiple awards and recognition.

Upon arrival in London, an eighteen-year-old Irish girl begins anew as a drama student, with all the hopes of any young actress searching for the fame she’s always dreamed of. She struggles to fit in — she’s young and unexotic; a naive new girl — but soon she forges friendships and finds a place for herself in the big city.

Then she meets an attractive older man. He’s an established actor twenty years her senior, and the inevitable, clamorous relationship that ensues is one that will change her forever.

A redemptive, captivating story of passion and innocence set across the bedsits of mid-nineties London, McBride holds new love under her fierce gaze, giving us all a chance to remember what it’s like to fall hard for another.

The Review

When I first started reading The Lesser Bohemians I didn’t like it. Even as an avid reader, I have never come across this writing style before and I won’t lie to you it got me cross. There were unfinished sentences and thoughts and I will admit I just thought that Eimear McBride was writing in this style to be artsy and different. I found it to be a pretentious style of writing. However, my mama didn’t raise no quitter so I persevered and I am awfully glad that I did.

The overall story is really good. The relationship between the two main characters is developed nicely over time and you can feel the struggles of this bourgeoning relationship because of the age different and life experiences.

Therefore, I liked the story as a whole but the writing style is just not my cup of tea.

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride is available now.

For more information regarding Eimear McBride please visit www.eimearmcbride.com.

For more information regarding Crown Publishing (@CrownPublishing) please visit www.CrownPublishing.com.

For more information regarding Hogarth Books (@HogarthBooks_UK) please visit www.vintage-books.co.uk.

3 Stars

How to Save a LifeTitle: How to Save a Life

Author: Kristin Harmel

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Gallery

The Blurb

Groundhog Day meets Grey’s Anatomy in this heartfelt novella with a hint of magic from the internationally bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and The Life Intended, in which a woman with only a short time to live discovers she can repeat the same day over and over until her life feels complete.

When a pediatric oncology nurse receives a devastating prognosis—she has just weeks left to live—she finds unexpected comfort from a patient. Her young friend shares a life- and death-changing secret: it is possible to live the same day over and over again until she’s experienced a truly full life. Thus begins a heartbreaking and joyful journey of love, friendship, and self-discovery, as the brave nurse only truly learns how to live in the face of death.

Kristin Harmel, whose work has been called “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), “absorbing…well-paced and warmhearted” (Kirkus Reviews), and “absolutely enthralling” (Fresh Fiction), infuses her poignant, uplifting novella with a dash of magic and a hefty dose of heart.

The Review

My review of How to Save a Life, the latest novella by Kristin Harmel, should have been cut and dried. I should have hated it. I should have.

Hear me out.

The one thing that really stresses me out beyond belief is the thought of doing something over and over and over again. It is for this reason that I cannot watch Groundhog Day and why for one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Life Serial – Season 6 Episode 5) I get extremely stressed out. I don’t know why this phenomenon has such a negative effect on me but it does. Therefore, I was fully intending to dislike How to Save a Life on that principle alone.

Ooh, but that Kristin Harmel is a good egg. I’ve yet to read something by her that I have disliked and How to Save a Life is no different. It is a lovely story. The premise being that a terminally ill nurse have to try and correct the regrets in her life before she dies and with the help of some other terminally ill patients she is able to reconcile the aspects of her life with which she is unhappy.

How to Save a Life is a sweet, heart warming story that makes you question the negativity that you may be holding on to and like all good books helps us develop empathy because we all have limited time on this earth so we may as well make the most of it whilst we can.

How to Save a Life by Kristin Harmel is available now.

For more information regarding Kristin Harmel (@kristinharmel) please visit www.KristinHarmel.com.

For more information regarding Gallery (@GalleryBooks) please visit instagram.com/gallerybooks

3 Stars

The Reader on the 627Title: The Reader on the 6:27

Author: Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Pages: 194 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

An international bestseller, The Reader on the 6.27 is ready to take you on a journey . . .

Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. Working at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, he has but one pleasure in life . . . Sitting on the 6.27 train each day, Guylain recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of his monstrous pulping machine. But it is when he discovers the diary of a lonely young woman, Julie – a woman who feels as lost in the world as he does – that his journey will truly begin . . .

The Reader on the 6.27 is a tale bursting with larger-than-life characters, each of whom touches Guylain’s life for the better.

For fans of Amelie and Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, this captivating novel is a warm, funny fable about literature’s power to uplift even the most downtrodden of lives.

The Review

What can I say about The Reader on the 6:27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent? Well, I didn’t love it. I liked it and I appreciate the concept of the story but there were some things about the story that I had problems with.

The story is about Guylain Vignolles, a factory worker who spends his commute to work reading random pages from stories to the other passengers. By chance, Guylain comes across a memory stick and discovers the diary of a young girl. He starts reading her journal entries, instead of pages from books, to the passengers and sets out to find her.

It is in the latter half of The Reader on the 6:27 that the story starts to get interesting. For the first half, I was confused as to what the heck was going on. For me, the exposition was far too lengthy and only offered me information that was irrelevant. It is the introduction of Julie that makes The Reader on the 6:27 interesting. Sadly, this part of the story was too short.

Overall, The Reader on the 6:27 is quirky and interesting but unfortunately, it was a little too weird for my liking.

The Reader on the 6:27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent is available now.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

2 Stars

In Twenty YearsTitle: In Twenty Years

Author: Allison Winn Scotch

Pages: 322 Pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

The Blurb

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.

Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

The Review

In Twenty Years is the first book that I have read by Allison Winn Scotch but it certainly won’t be my last. I loved this story.

It is about how our expectations of the future versus the reality often careen down very different paths. In Twenty Years focuses on five friends (Colin, Owen, Catherine, Annie and Lindy) who all turn up at their old university digs at the behest of Bea, their friend who died seventeen years ago. When they are there they start to reveal their true selves and not the picture perfect portrait in which they have previously presented their lives.

It is at their Alma Mata that they start confronting old grievances, present dramas and try to remember the hopeful, optimistic people that they once were.

In short, In Twenty Years is a wonderful book. It is a great read for those who are maybe a little dissatisfied with how their life has turned out; it is a reminder that life is what you make of it and that you have to make it count every day.

I really loved In Twenty Years. It was such a satisfying book. You loved all the characters but equally recognised their flaws. I think what impressed me most about Allison Winn Scotch’s reunion story is that she made the narrative unambiguously ambiguous. You had the closure you needed from the main story thread but the fact that not everything was tied up in a neat little bow made it all the more realistic; the cast of characters who made up In Twenty Years still had issues that they needed to resolve. This made it all the more realistic and as a reader I really appreciated this.

If I was going to describe this book to someone I would say it is a more readable and less macabre version of The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Much more readable, accessible and honestly it is just a much better story.

In Twenty Years deserves a place on your summer reading list.

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch is available now.

For more information regarding Allison Winn Scotch (@aswinn) please visit www.allisonwinn.com.

4 Stars

Modern LoversTitle: Modern Lovers

Author: Emma Straub

Pages: 358 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

From the “New York Times” bestselling author of “The Vacationers,” a smart, highly entertaining novel about a tight-knit group of friends from college their own kids now going to college and what it means to finally grow up well after adulthood has set in.

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them can never be reclaimed.

Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions be they food, or friendship, or music never go away, they just evolve and grow along with us.”

The Review

Emma Straub’s latest book is about people. Seems simple enough to say but once you get into Modern Lovers you realise that there is nothing more complex or more fragile in this world than the lives of humans.

Modern Lovers centres on a group of ‘incestuous’ friends and their children and the lives that they lead in modern day New York. Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe were all once in a band, however, having grown up and settled down their lives become seemingly humdrum and work-a-day. It is only with the prospect of a film being made about their band that they begin to understand just how much life has changed for them.

I didn’t love Modern Lovers, in fact to begin with I really struggled to get into it. However, I persevered and realised that it is actually quite fascinating and that Emma Straub has woven a complex web of characters whose lives entangle (and strangle?) them. They run the risk of existing and not living. Straub manages to make the mundane come to life.

An element that I really loved about this book was the innocent nature of first love. Straub’s portrayal of this between Harry and Ruby was sweet but realistic. It was everything first love should be. Emma Straub got this right.

If you pick Modern Lovers up to read then please make sure you stick with it. It seems a bit slow at first but the tension and drama does pick up to the point that you cannot put it down.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub is available from June 30th 2016.

Follow Emma Straub (@emmastraub) on Twitter and for more information please visit her official website www.emmastraub.net.

For further titles from Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

3 Stars