kids-of-appetiteTitle: Kids of Appetite

Author: David Arnold

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold is a tragicomedy of first love and devastating loss for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven.

In the Hackensack Police Department, Vic Benucci and his friend Mad are explaining how they found themselves wrapped up in a grisly murder. But in order to tell that story, they have to go way back…

It all started when Vic’s dad died. Vic’s dad was his best friend, and even now, two years later, he can’t bring himself to touch the Untouchable Urn of Oblivion that sits in his front hall. But one cold December day, Vic falls in with an alluring band of kids that wander his New Jersey neighbourhood, including Mad, the girl who changes everything. Along with his newfound friendships comes the courage to open his father’s urn, the discovery of the message inside, and the epic journey it sparks.

The Review

As I am wont to do, I was drawn to Kids of Appetite because of its cover. It looked intriguing. Ergo, I requested said book from Bookbridgr and NetGalley (believing I would only receive one – sorry). If I am honest, it took me a long while to get into the story.

I am, however, glad that I stuck with it. Initially, I was perplexed by the many different characters who I felt that I couldn’t keep up with. Then I was fascinated by one of the main characters, Vic, and his medical condition – Moebius Syndrome – something I knew nothing about. I loved the idea of a group of young people all coming together with different backgrounds but forming a family and I loved the relationship between the two main characters. What I loved most is that Kids of Appetite is a great pay-off novel.

Whilst you may find that, like me, you struggle to find your rhythm with this novel, please stick with it. It is really good. It is different from anything I have read before and it really is a great story.

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold is available now.

For more information regarding David Arnold (@roofbeam) please visit www.davidarnoldbooks.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@HeadlinePG) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

35-stars

on-bowieTitle: On Bowie

Author: Rob Sheffield

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

On Bowie is a thoughtful and loving meditation on the life of the late David Bowie that explores his creative legacy and the enduring and mutual connection he enjoyed with his fans

Innovative. Pioneering. Brave. Until his death in January 2016, David Bowie created art that not only pushed boundaries, but helped fans understand themselves and view the world from fantastic new perspectives.

When the shocking news of his death on January 10, 2016 broke, the outpouring of grief and adulation was immediate and ongoing. Fans around the world and across generations paid homage to this brilliant, innovate, ever-evolving artist who both shaped and embodied our times

In this concise and penetrating book, highly-regarded Rolling Stone critic, bestselling author, and lifelong Bowie fan Rob Sheffield shares his own feelings about the passing of this icon and explains why Bowie’s death has elicited such an unprecedented emotional outpouring from so many.

The Review

Let’s face it folks, 2016 has not been kind to out celebrities. Out of all of the celebrity deaths that have happened so far David Bowie was one of the harshest for me. I loved Bowie. I couldn’t tell you exactly when I discovered my love for David Bowie but being a child of the 80s my introduction to him must have come from the movie Labyrinth. From then on my love grew.

My love and indeed obsession with music came (like most) in my teen years and it was then that I discovered Bowie the musician not Jareth the Goblin King. Bowie wasn’t and still isn’t someone that you can listen to passively. His music dictates that you give him your full attention. Likewise this is what I gave to Rob Sheffield when I read his book On Bowie. The book was written in light of Bowie’s death in January and released a few months after and what I loved about it is that the biography (I feel weird calling it this) mixes moments from David Bowie’s life and shows the resonance that Bowie had on his audience. How what he did and how he did it impacted people. That is what, in my humble opinion, makes Rob Sheffield’s writing really exciting. You see it in his previous books and you definitely see it in On Bowie. It is the book that makes you shout “Yes! You get it. That is exactly how I feel.”

If you love Bowie then read On Bowie. If you love music then read On Bowie. And if you love it when an author just gets it then read On Bowie.

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield is available now.

For more information regarding Rob Sheffield (@robsheff) please visit www.robsheffield.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

4-stars

ViewTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 532 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

The View from the Cheap Seats draws together myriad non-fiction writing by international phenomenon and Sunday Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. From Make Good Art, the speech that went viral, to pieces on artists and legends including Terry Pratchett and Lou Reed, the collection offers a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’

Welcome to the conversation. Neil Gaiman fled the land of journalism to find truths through storytelling and sanctuary in not needing to get all the facts right. Of course, the real world continued to make up its own stories around him, and he has responded over the years with a wealth of ideas and introductions, dreams and speeches. Here ‘we can meet the writer full on’ (Stephen Fry) as he opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and makes room for us to join the conversation too.

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I love Neil Gaiman. I have said that I would love to tickle his brain and hopefully some of that magic and talent could be captured by my fingers. Sadly, I don’t think that I am going to get the opportunity to tickle his brain so instead I will settle for reading his books.

I wanted to read The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction because I wanted to find out more about the man behind the writer. What was it that made Neil Gaiman so talented as a writer. It was the wrong thing for me to do. Neil Gaiman the man and Neil Gaiman the writer are one and the same. There is no line of distinction. What I did take from The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a deeper love for Neil Gaiman.

Truthfully, some of the essays in this selection did not have a massive impact on me. However, there were plenty that left me stunned. Personal highlights were:

On Stephen King, for the Sunday Times

2004 Harvey Awards Speech

Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allen Poe

Waiting for the Man: Lou Reed

The Dresden Dolls: Hallowe’en 2010

Eight Views of Mount Fuji: Beloved Demons and Anthony Martignetti

A Slip of the Keyboard: Terry Pratchett

All of these were fantastic reads. However, there were two essays that stood out for me. The first was Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming: The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013. I am a big advocate of libraries and the need for them in a community and so I sat reading this essay agreeing with every paragraph. Anyone who questions the need for libraries needs to read this essay.

The second essay that really had an impact on me was So Many Ways to Die in Syria Now: May 2014. It is heartbreaking. Truly.

Needless to say, my love for Neil Gaiman hasn’t wavered. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a beautiful collection of essays and I fully recommend it.

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

4 Stars

Every Exquisite ThingThe Blurb

From Matthew Quick, bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, comes a heartfelt, unconventional and moving novel for readers who love John Green and Annabel Pitcher.

Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper – the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic – the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.

The Review

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick has kind of left me speechless – and using the passive voice, apparently.

I guess I should give writing about it a try.

It is a wonderfully quirky story of a young girl, Nanette O’Hare whose life is changed when she reads a cult classic. She goes from socially accepted school girl on the football team to social pariah within days. She starts to make decisions about her life that are beyond the cookie-cutter print of expectation.

In breaking the mould Nanette has to pick up the pieces but will it be at a cost to who she is meant to be?

I thought Every Exquisite Thing was brilliant. It perfectly summed up the confusion of teenage life. It reminds us, as adult readers, how scary and how much pressure being a teenager can be. We too often look back at it through rose tinted glasses – the lack of bills and responsibilities – but remember that this is a time when we are expected to know what we want for the future, be planning for it and be so sure of ourselves whilst being a walking, talking hormone. I’m thirty-two and I still don’t know the answer to all of these things but like hell could you pay me to go back to being a teenager.

I think that is what this book does. It allows the older reader be reminded that teenage life isn’t that easy and the young adult reader to feel comforted in knowing that self same thing: life isn’t easy.

Every Exquisite Thing is a must read for fans of Matthew Quick. I would go so far as to say that this is his best work to date.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick is available from 31st May 2016.

Follow Matthew Quick (@MatthewQuick21) on Twitter.

4 Stars

The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee

The Blurb

Scot ‘Scat’ Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him.

Introducing Florence Love, Private Investigator.

Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-Lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule:

One kiss, with tongues, five seconds – case closed.

A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target.

That is very bad form indeed.

The Last Honeytrap marks the energetic launch of a brilliant new series. Once you’ve met Florence Love, you’ll see the world in glorious technicolour at last.

The Review

Florence Love is a private detective who specialises in entrapment cases. When she is hired to entrap hunky superstar Scott ‘Scat’ Delany she plans to make sure she gets the scoop. She is a professional gumshoe after all what she doesn’t bank on is her falling in love with her latest target.

Amidst all this someone from Florence’s past is trying to get in touch and tell her something. Can she keep her professional head on as she tries to solve a deeply personal case? Only time will tell.

I had heard that The Last Honeytrap was a feel good, funny novel; a bit like chicklit but with more sass. To be fair it was good. It was entertaining and in a very basic way, it is a damn good detective story that kept me guessing from the beginning right to the very end. I personally did not see any of the twists and turns coming. I would make a woeful detective.

However, I found it hard to like our protagonist Florence Love. Sure, she had been scorned and had decided to become a private detective because of being scorned by a man (ok, her mum influenced her as well). She just wasn’t very likeable. Louise Lee tried to give her back story some extra elements to make us empathise with her but her actions made her come across as selfish, demanding and a little unhinged.

To be fair to Louise Lee, The Last Honeytrap is extremely well written and it will make a fantastic series. And to a large extent I did enjoy the story but when I am reading a book I have to like my leading lady. Heck, I have to want to be her but with Florence Love I just didn’t.

The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee is available now.

The Last Honeytrap