Title: Half a Life

Author: Darin Strauss

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life.

In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad’s Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision resulted in her death.

With piercing insight and stark prose, Darin Strauss leads us on a deeply personal, immediate, and emotional journey–graduating high school, going away to college, starting his writing career, falling in love with his future wife, becoming a father. Along the way, he takes a hard look at loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and, at last, acceptance. The result is a staggering, uplifting tour de force.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Hmmm. Well. How do I write this review?

I found this to be a very self indulgent book. Granted, it is a memoir and that can often be the case. However, I think the reason I had such a problem with it was because I felt like the author was cashing in on an event that, yes, was life altering for him but was probably more life altering for other people.

I felt that the author presented himself as almost wrong footed by life and that people just didn’t understand him. I don’t know, it just came across as self serving and whiny.

I was not a fan of this book.

Half a Life by Darin Strauss is available now.

Title: The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Author: John Boyne

Pages: 736 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

Forced to flee the scandal brewing in her hometown, Catherine Goggin finds herself pregnant and alone, in search of a new life at just sixteen. She knows she has no choice but to believe that the nun she entrusts her child to will find him a better life.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or so his parents are constantly reminding him. Adopted as a baby, he’s never quite felt at home with the family that treats him more as a curious pet than a son. But it is all he has ever known.

And so begins one man’s desperate search to find his place in the world. Unspooling and unseeing, Cyril is a misguided, heart-breaking, heartbroken fool. Buffeted by the harsh winds of circumstance towards the one thing that might save him from himself, but when opportunity knocks, will he have the courage, finally, take it?

The Review

Every so often I come across a book that I find very difficult to review. Not because I didn’t like it, in fact it is quite the opposite. I love the book so damn much that I don’t think my words are adequate to do it justice. Try, I must.

John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies was a book I was finding difficult to ignore. Simon Savidge kept talking about it on his YouTube channel Savidge Reads and I knew sooner or later I would have to read it. I was scared to read it because it isn’t a short book by any means – 736 pages is a massive commitment – however, from the very first chapter I was hooked.

The story, told in seven year intervals, deals with so many issues – the Catholic church and how it deals with perceived ‘sin’, LGBT rights, the troubles in Ireland, the AIDS crisis among many other topics. I can genuinely say that I never once felt like I was reading for reading’s sake. I devoured this book and was bereft when it was over. It was one of those magical books that makes you want to read more to know what happens but equally you don’t want to read because you don’t want to finish it.

Needless to say but The Heart’s Invisible Furies has made it too my forever book shelf.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne is available now.

For more information regarding John Boyne (@john_boyne) please visit www.johnboyne.com.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: Daisy Jones and the Six

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 355 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

Drift down sun-bleached streets.

Lose yourself in the California sound.

Find beauty in a dirty bar.

Love like your life depends on it.

Carry on after the party stops.

Believe in what you’re fighting for.

Fall for Daisy Jones and the Six.

The Review

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid was my most anticipated book of the year. I will admit, at the point of discovering the book I had not read anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid (I have since read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and loved it) and that my desire for this book was based purely on the amazing cover.

Then I read the blurb and I was sold.

The story is about a band and the mythology that surrounds many bands, especially those at the height of rock music in the 70s. The premise is that the cast of characters are all talking about the same story but they all remember it differently. Instantly, we are presented with unreliable narrators but the story is so compelling because the truth lies somewhere within the distorted memories. It is this quality that makes Daisy Jones and the Six brilliant.

It is a mix of the mythology of Fleetwood Mac with a dash of Almost Famous that really appealed to me. It is also interesting that it goes against the world we live in today. There is no way that Daisy Jones and the Six could be set in modern day. The actual truth would have been captured on smart phones. It is the lack of truth that makes this novel so magical.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available now.

For more information regarding Taylor Jenkins Reid (@tjenkinsreid) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: Until You Find Me

Author: Amber Hart

Pages: 269 Pages

Publisher: Random House Publishing

The Blurb

In this steamy, electrifying novel, Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits as a young woman travels halfway across the globe—and discovers the place where her heart belongs.

Raven has no idea what to expect when she travels to Africa in search of answers about her family’s past. A twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, she’s never seen anything like the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon. But nothing takes her breath away like Jospin. As soon as Raven meets the charismatic and intense young hunter, she’s instantly hooked.

Clever, rugged, and fearless, Jospin makes his living from the perils of the jungle. But falling in love with Raven could be the most dangerous thing he’s ever done. The heir to a powerful poaching empire, he holds the key to unlocking the secrets of Raven’s legacy. If she asks the wrong questions, his answers could get them both killed. And yet each and every moment spent holding Raven in his arms is worth the risk.

Raven’s getting closer to the truth. Jospin’s at the point of no return. Their chemistry is out of control, and when they forge a bond that goes beyond blood, desire will take them into uncharted territory.

The Review

Until You Find Me is the story of Raven who has set off to a world completely different to her own to try and find out the truth behind her father’s death.

Raven has come to an animal sanctuary deep in the jungle. She isn’t particularly a fan of animals, in fact, she holds them responsible for the disappearance of her father from her life. Raven grew up in America whereas her dad left to work in the jungle. They kept regular contact but now that he is dead she holds the jungle and its inhabitants responsible.

In trying to uncover the truth, Raven stumbles upon the seedy underbelly of jungle life – the killing of endangered species for meat and fur. Once she knows the truth about this world will she ever be able to get out again.

Until You Find Me had the makings of being a great story. It had a good main thread of a story – the loss of a parent, it had romance, and it had an exotic location. Personally, I feel where the story became a bit muddied was with the emphasis on the secondary story of animal meat/fur trafficking. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very interesting storyline and one that I haven’t come across in fiction before but I feel that both storylines were competing to be the main one and as a reader I didn’t know which one to prioritise. I just feel that the book came across as confused.

It is a good story though and one that will compel you to keep turning to the next page.

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart is available now.

For more information regarding Amber Hart (@AmberHartBooks) please visit www.amberhartbooks.com.

For more information regarding Random House Publishing (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Dead Girl's SocietyTitle: Dead Girl’s Society

Author: Michelle Krys

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Random House Children’s/Delacorte Press

The Blurb

A slick thriller from the author of HEXED, perfect for fans of The CELLAR by Natasha Preston and PANIC by Lauren Oliver.

You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.

Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mum and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’sgloing to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she just might win some real money.

But the Society isn’t all that it seems…and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice – it’s a requirement.

The Review

Oh my wow. What a fantastic YA mystery. Dead Girl’s Society is spectacularly intense. I loved it.

The story centres around Hope. Hope is stuck in the house. She has cystic fibrosis and an over protective mother. She also has medication that costs an arm and a leg. She also has an invitation from a secret society that could solve all her financial woes but also could be very dangerous to a girl with her condition.

Dead Girl’s Society straddled the line of danger and adventure very carefully. There were genuine moments of fear when I read this book and in particular the dramatic climax had my heart racing.

For those who like mysteries but have yet to dip their toe into the YA genre pool then Dead Girl’s Society is for you.

Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys is available now.

For more information regarding Michelle Krys (@MichelleKrys) please visit www.michellekrys.com.

For more information regarding Random House Children’s (@RandomHouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

For more information regarding Delacorte Press (@DelacortePress) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars