windfallTitle: Windfall

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Alice doesn’t believe in luck. Alice believes in love. Mostly that she’s been in love with her best friend, Teddy, for the last three years. When she buys him a lottery ticket for his birthday and he wins 32 million dollars, they are thrown together with the world at their feet. Teddy decides that he will spend his money committing random acts of kindness and who better to go on that adventure with him than Alice? In the process they get to know themselves and each other better than they have before, but money can’t buy you love…

The Review

I love Jennifer E. Smith books. I have not yet read one of her books that I haven’t fallen in love with and Windfall is no different.

Windfall imparts the message that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. When Teddy wins millions on the ticket that Alice bought him, he thought it was the answer to all of his prayers but he soon realises that his fortune carries a responsibility. That responsibility is to be true to who you are and not allow money to change that.

Whilst Windfall is about responsibility it is also an insight into how fortune and wealth can change relationships; Teddy and Alice’s, Alice and her dead parent’s, and Teddy and his father’s.

Jennifer E. Smith weaves a brilliant story together that is full of heart. It is warm and engaging with memorable characters and problems.

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith is available now.

For more information regarding Jennifer E Smith (@JenESmith) please visit www.jenniferesmith.com.

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

4 Stars

147 ThingsTitle: 147 Things: My User’s Guide to the Universe, from Black Holes to Belly Buttons by Jim Chapman

Author: Jim Chapman

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Sidgwick & Jackson

The Blurb

LIFE IS WEIRD.

Nothing gives you a sense of perspective like finding out just how weird. I’m an extremely curious chap and with this book I wanted to share the content of my noggin, because I think these are the 147 things that have helped me through this thing we call life. Sometimes because it shows how lucky we are to be here at all, but often because I’m a moron and learned whatever lesson it taught me the hard way, and I’d like to save you the pain of making the same mistakes (I refer here to the waxing of my pubic hair).

Ever wondered if first times are over-rated (hint: they are), whether you’ll ever find the one (hint: there are 7 billion of us) or pondered the sheer unlikelihood of the you who is you being in the world right now? If so, then YouTube superstar and fact-obsessed, over-sharer Jim Chapman is here to explain it all – whether it’s why your heart actually aches after a break-up, what’s happening when you get hangry, or why people are just so plain RUDE online.

Along the way, we’ll find out how much fun he has when Tanya’s sleep-talking and why he looked like a gangly T-rex with wonky teeth when he was a teenager. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits, as Jim lifts the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learnt along the way (trust us, the thing about kangaroos will really freak you out).

The Review

I love stuff. I love facts. I love knowing things. It is this reason why 147 Things: My User’s Guide to the Universe, from Black Holes to Belly Buttons by Jim Chapman is the perfect book for me.

It is a culmination of a curious mind in book form. Jim Chapman has posed very serious life questions and answered them in a serious (and seriously hilarious) way.

I will admit that whilst I was enjoying 147 Things: My User’s Guide to the Universe, from Black Holes to Belly Buttons it wasn’t until I got to the 123 thing that I was really blown away. Jim Chapman voiced a thought that has plagued me all my life and I realise that we should have some deep and meaningful conversations about life. I don’t think it is going to happen but man we could shoot the poop something wicked. I’m not going to tell you where Jim Chapman and my train of thoughts meet. You are going to have to buy and read his book for that.

147 Things: My User’s Guide to the Universe, from Black Holes to Belly Buttons by Jim Chapman is available now.

For more information regarding Jim Chapman (@JimChapman) please visit www.jimchapman.co.uk.

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

4 Stars

Theres Someone InSide Your HouseTitle: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She’s made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget.

And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders.

Makani doesn’t know who’s next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins will have you swooning with fear and romance, and is the perfect page-turner for fans of Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The Review

There’s Someone Inside Your House, the latest release by Stephanie Perkins, is much like Ronseal paint. It does what it says on the tin. It is a creepy thriller about a psychopath coming into certain people’s houses and killing them off one by one.

The story focuses on Makani, a relatively new girl to Nebraska. She has managed to make a small pocket of friends and is just trying to keep her head down, graduate high school before she leaves for pastures new. But when she becomes the latest victim of these heinous attacks Makani’s life gets turned upside down.

Having read previous releases by Stephanie Perkins, I can honestly say There’s Someone Inside Your House is very different from the French Kiss series. I liked it but if you are expecting something similar you will be disappointed.

For intensity, surprising twists and breathtaking pacing you really need to read There’s Someone Inside Your House.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is available now.

For more information regarding Stephanie Perkins (@naturallysteph) please visit www.stephanieperkins.com.

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

3 Stars

Beautiful Broken ThingsTitle: Beautiful Broken Things

Author: Sara Barnard

Pages: 337 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Here’s my theory on Significant Life Events: everyone has them, but some have more than others, and how many you have affects how interesting you are, how many stories you have to tell, that kind of thing.

I was still waiting for my first one.

After yet another typical summer where nothing of any significance happens, Caddy vows that now she’s sixteen this year will be different; she’ll get a boyfriend (a real one), lose her virginity and experience a Significant Life Event. If only Caddy knew what was just around the corner – a whirlwind of wild spirit and fury with a dazzling smile and sad eyes by the name of Suzanne – and a significant life event that no one could have predicted.

Caddy and Rosie have been BFF’s since they were little girls, but when enigmatic and beautiful new girl Suzanne starts at Rosie’s school, Caddy allows her insecurities to threaten her friendship with Rosie. Caddy wishes she were more like Rosie and Suzanne – confident, funny and interesting – but beneath the make-up and bravado lies a secret side to Suzanne that intrigues Caddy. Despite their differences very soon the three girls are inseparable, and things get a whole lot more complicated.

Under Suzanne’s influence, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But climbing out of bedroom windows for forbidden midnight walks on the beach begins to lose its shimmer as Suzanne’s troubled past is revealed and her present begins to unravel. The course of friendship and recovery is rougher than any of the girls could have imagined, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Beautiful Broken Things is a heart-stoppingly beautiful debut novel from emerging UKYA talent Sara Barnard. It’s a love story without romance, about what it means to be a friend when your whole life is falling apart. For all the arguments, misunderstandings, fallouts and tears, there’s no love quite like that shared between teenage girls. A beautiful tribute to the friendships that bind when you’re a teenage girl and still learning about life, and about yourself.

The Review

Ooh, three way friendships are tricky little things, aren’t they? It is the friendship between Caddy, Rosie and new girl Suzanne, this is the basis of Sara Barnard’s Beautiful Broken Things. When Rosie and Suzanne become friends, Caddy – Rosie’s best friend – becomes unbearably jealous. However, as the girls all get to know one another the dynamics of the group shift and the girls all form roles within their cohort.

We have all been there, haven’t we? All had that tricky friendship group and have fallen out with your best friend. It feels like the end of the world (when, it happens at the age of 29 it is much worse, trust me) so you really feel that Barnard is portraying a universal story. The emotions that come along with friendship are harsh, they are real and they go deeper than anyone would ever imagine.

You can’t help but feel for our young protagonist, Caddy; equally you find yourself screaming at the book when you know she is making bad decisions. Rather cleverly, Barnard has managed to portray ‘bad influence’ Suzanne in a heart warming way. Your heart breaks for her the same way that Caddy’s does. Yes, she keeps doing messed up things but she is so self destructive that you can’t help but want to fix her.

Beautiful Broken Things is one of the best books that I have read about the dynamics of friendship and the real life dramas that take place among teenagers that should never be taken lightly.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Barnard (@saramegan) please visit www.sarabarnardofficial.com.

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

35 Stars

The RemindersTitle: The Reminders

Author: Val Emmich

Pages: 321 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Overcome with the loss of his boyfriend Sydney, Gavin Winters has set fire to every reminder in their home. A neighbour has captured the blaze on video, turning this little-known TV actor into a household name. Gavin flees LA for New Jersey, where he hopes that ten-year-old Joan, the daughter of a close friend, can reconnect him with the memories of Sydney he is now in danger of losing for ever. Joan was born with a rare ability to recall every single day of her life in perfect detail, and in return for sharing her memories of Sydney, Gavin will help her write a song for a local competition. For Joan has had enough of being the girl who can’t forget – she wants to be the girl who will never be forgotten . . .

Charming, beautifully observed, poignant and funny, The Reminders by actor and musician Val Emmich is an irresistible story of the unlikely friendship between a grief-stricken man who can’t remember and a ten-year-old girl who can’t forget.

The Review

The Reminders by Val Emmich is one of the quirkiest books that I have read in a long time. It centres on the unusual friendship of Gavin and Joan. Gavin is an actor who has recently lost his boyfriend and he isn’t coping with the loss. Joan is a ten year old girl who has HSAM – a condition which means that she remembers everything that happens to her. Gavin and Joan form an unlikely alliance; Gavin has Joan tell him stories about Sydney and Joan has Gavin help her write a song for a competition that she is desperate to enter because Joan wants to be remembered the way she remembers everything.

The Reminders is a wonderful story of loss and grief and, in a sense, a coming of age tale. Emmich has managed to create a very realistic and believable situation with his two protagonists and maintains clear narrative voice for them both. There is a massive heart at the centre of The Reminders which makes it a likeable one-sitting read.

The Reminders by Val Emmich is available now.

For more information regarding Val Emmich (@ValEmmich) please visit www.valemmich.com.

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

4 Stars