Bitter BetrayalTitle: Bitter Betrayal

Author: Amanda M Thrasher

Pages: 225 Pages

Publisher: IBPA

The Blurb

They say there are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle lies the truth. There’s no exception to this one. Impaired decisions, questionable actions, and consequences with irreversible damage destroy the lives of two young teens.

High school junior Payton Phillips is dating the boy she knows she’s going to spend the rest of her life with: Reece Townsend. An opportunity for the dating teens and their friends to have the night of their lives–an invite to Stacie Wiggin’s party–will go down in the books as epic. But when things escalate and emotions run high, the evening of their dreams turns into a nightmare of he said, she said. Who did exactly what that night? As teens tweet, Snap, and play their stories out online, social media threatens to ruin more than the teens’ reputations. Relationships, scholarships, and entire families are at stake. Whose side of the story will you choose to believe, his or hers?

The Review

Oh boy. Where do I begin.

Ok. Bitter Betrayal by Amanda M. Thrasher is a good story. It is well written and thought out and highlights some of the fears of parents and children about socialisation and growing up too fast. Whilst I will not complain about the writing because it is accomplished I have a lot of negative thoughts about how it was presented.

Personally, I found that the story was overly moralistic and at times pious. It was too consequence driven and made it seem that all the consequences would be bad ones. It didn’t give a positive message about first time sex and made, quite frankly, felt like scaremongering. Furthermore, the authorial interjections such as “as teens do” and “with teen love”* felt intrusive and condescending. Not what I have come to expect from YA fiction which has made leaps and bounds in treating its audience with maturity and respect in the recent years.

Bitter Betrayal is a good story but with a closer examination of a modern young adult audience it could have been a lot better.

  • Not direct quotes.

Bitter Betrayal by Amanda M Thrasher is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda M. Thrasher (@AmandaMThrasher) please visit www.amandamthrasher.com.

For more information regarding IBPA (@ibpa) please visit www.ibpa-online.org.

3 Stars

CleanTitle: Clean

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Quercus Children’s Group

The Blurb

A razor-sharp, adrenaline rush of a novel from award-winning author Juno Dawson, Clean is Gossip Girl meets Girl, Interrupted.

‘I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.’

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

Addiction and redemption, love and despair. Clean will have you hooked from the first page.

The Review

Juno Dawson is one of those names that is synonymous with hard hitting YA genre and whilst I have a copy of every book that she has written they are all languishing away on my never ending TBR pile. Why? Because I am a hopeless bibliophile but that is beside the point. The actual point is that I recently read Clean, the latest book from Dawson which has her tackling the issue of drugs.

In what can be described as Junk for a Kardashian era, Dawson setting of an offshore rehab facility is the perfect place to have the drama of Lexi’s life unfold. Lexi is an upcoming IT girl. However, her privileged upbringing has landed her in trouble. She is, for want of a better word, an addict. Forced into rehab by her brother we watch as Lexi struggles to accept that she has a problem.

Dawson’s delivery in Clean is really clever. She manages to make the reader feel very detached from Lexi at the beginning of the book. You don’t go into the story rooting for her but gradually as Lexi comes to accept herself more, so does the reader. What is also fascinating is the way that Dawson doesn’t sugar coat the withdrawal process. Although Clean is a YA novel, she makes sure that you understand the horrific pain addicts go to when they are on the come down. It is reminiscent of A Million Little Pieces by James Frey but infinitely more – ironically – addictive to read.

I will be bumping up the other Juno Dawson books to a higher position on my TBR pile.

Clean by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

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

For more information regarding Quercus Children’s Group (@QuercusKids) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars

Stealing Marilyn MonroeTitle: Stealing Marilyn Monroe

Author: Sophie Warren

Pages: 214 Pages

Publisher: Alloy Entertainment

The Blurb

Juliet Chadwick has it all—a job at a New York art gallery, a great boyfriend, and a long-term career in the family business: theft. But unlike her father, Juliet plays it safe, sticking to small-time art heists and always covering her tracks. Until one day when her father’s creditors show up, demanding that she pay off his debts—or else.

And so Juliet comes up with a desperate plan, the greatest con she’s ever attempted: She’s going to steal Andy Warhol’s famous portrait of Marilyn Monroe from bachelor billionaire Edward Aster. All she’ll have to do is pose as the Aster family’s new nanny until she can get her hands on the painting. How hard can it be?

But all too quickly, Juliet finds herself falling in love with Edward’s children, and maybe even with Edward himself. Can she bring herself to pull off the ultimate theft—if it means stealing from a man who’s stolen her heart?

The Review

Well, how much fun is Stealing Marilyn Monroe? Let me tell you. A lot of fun.

Stealing Marilyn Monroe is a caper-filled adventure filled with intrigue, romance and art heist romps to boot.

The story is about Juliet Chadwick – art thief and mistress of disguise who steals high end canvases from the art world. Unlike her criminal counterparts she doesn’t sell them but steals them because her love of art and she wants to build up her own collection.

However, when her imprisoned father is beaten up by a bunch of heavy handed criminals, Juliet needs to steal for purpose; that purpose, to clear her father’s debt.

It is through this escapade that Juliet inevitably falls in love with billionaire and art collector Edward Aster. But will her love for him keep her grounded or just give her new opportunities for her stick fingers?

Stealing Marilyn Monroe is just a jolly good fun read. It is a speedy well paced read with plenty of mystery and intrigue. A great book to escape into.

Stealing Marilyn Monroe by Sophie Warren is available now.

For more information regarding Alloy Entertainment (@alloyent) please visit www.alloyentertainment.com.

3 Stars

Cocktails and DreamsTitle: Cocktails and Dreams

Author: AL Michael

Pages: 210 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk. 

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and she begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?

See inside for a delicious cocktail recipe and book club questions! 

The Review

Whenever I read a book by AL Michael I get cross. No, not with AL Michael but with myself. You see, every book I have read by AL Michael I have enjoyed. I don’t know why I leave it so long in between reading them.

This was the exact thought I had after I finished Cocktails and Dreams.

The story focuses on Savvy. Now Savvy does anything for an easy existence. She stayed with her boyfriend because it was easy. She worked temp jobs because it was easier than figuring out what or who she wanted to be. Add into the mix a flaky musician mum and you can’t help but sympathise with Savvy and her want for a simple kind of life.

However, her world turns upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend and everything that she thought she knew about herself starts to unravel. But is it for the best?

I genuinely loved Cocktails and Dreams. I couldn’t put it down and it is one of those books that feels like it is over too quickly because you haven’t been able to stop turning the pages. Savvy is a likable lead character and you really root for her throughout.

Another fine job, A.L. Michael. Well done!

Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael is available now.

For more information regarding A.L. Michael (@ALMichael_) please visit her Twitter page.

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

4 Stars

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