Category Archives: Headline Review
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
The Last Word Review
This is beautifully crafted book. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking. A magical read
The one thing about this book is that it is different. It will divide opinion on whether people love it or not as much. I will state here that I was captivated by the story all the way through.
Miss Ona Vitkus is one hundred and four years-old she is wise and switched on and tells the story of the relationship between her and an eleven-year-old boy.
‘The boy’ who is never named in the story is rather obsessed by world records and he is also a boy scout. As part of a community project the boy comes to visit Ona to do odd jobs and the relationship blooms between the two. ‘The boy’ is totally obsessed with the Guinness World Records it is more than just a book. He even thinks Ona could qualify to be in the book itself. ‘The boy’ is different you could even say he is quirky, but Ona warms to him more than any of the other boy scouts that she rejected and the friendship is born and with that comes trust and she starts to open up to him. One thing that the reader may ask is why does ‘the boy’ have no name, but credit to Wood here it really works in a story like this.
Pretty quickly you get the feeling something is going to go wrong and when ‘the boy’ stops turning up Ona naturally believes he is just like other eleven-year-old boys with other things to do, sadly there is more to this story than this and when Quinn the boy’s father arrives to take his place Ona has other ideas and rejects the idea of being friends but they soon strike up a friendship and then naturally we start to realise that ‘the boy’ has died.
We meet Belle The boy’s mother and she is destroyed by the loss and grief she feels, but when both parents see how both Ona and the boy connected brings them hope as they come to terms with their own grief.
Death does play a major role in The One-in-a-Million Boy and how we deal with our own grief and it looks at opportunities that should have been taken.
The One-in-a-Million Boy is beautifully written and despite the theme is very much a joy to read and life-affirming. Monica Wood’s prose is a joy to behold and you will not want to leave the story. The characters we meet in the story are powerful in their own right and make this a magical read. One book that should not be missed.
Thank you to Caitlin Raynor and Headline for an advanced review copy.
The One-in-a-Million Boy written by Monica Wood is released by Headline on 5 April 2016.
The Letter by Kathryn Hughes
Review Date: 30 October 2015
Author: Kathryn Hughes
Release Date: 8 October 2015
Publishers: Headline Review
ISBN –10: 1472229959
ISBN – 13: 1472229953
Available in Paperback, Kindle and audio
The Last Word Review
Prepare to surrender a weekend to The Letter, a deeply moving love story that will linger long in the memory
The Letter was first released as an e-book and very quickly took the world by storm, and became the No1 Kindle bestseller. At last it has been released in Paperback and many more thousands can fall for the debut novel by Kathryn Hughes.
I must admit I fell for the charms of The Letter in all its glory this is a story packed full of heartbreak, and loss, primarily it is a love story with a message of hope. Quite simply it does not disappoint in anyway. A book that I did not want to end.
There are a number of leading characters that run through this novel, Tina Craig is the long suffering wife of Rick who repeatedly abuses his wife. Nothing she can do to please her husband and Rick is in complete denial of who and what he does. Quite simply a vile husband who you will quickly come to dislike immensely.
It is 1973 the day of the Grand National and Rick has stolen Tina’s savings from a jar at the back of the kitchen cupboard, yet he tries to convince Tina he won it on the horses. Red Rum is making his National debut and Rick has placed hundreds of pounds that was Tina’s on Red Rum. Tina has to place the bet on her way into work that Saturday morning but does she? Tina runs a charity shop next door to the bookies. While sorting through some clothes she finds a letter, this is no ordinary letter and clearly has not been posted. It is addressed to Chrissie and is dated September 1939.
The story picks up in that year and of the young lives of Billy and Chrissie and War is about to be declared. The story jumps beautifully between the early 1970’s and Tina and 1939 and the story of Chrissie and how Tina and Chrissie’s lives are now intertwined with each other.
The story that unfolds from here is incredibly heart-braking and could easily have been true for many in 1939. Tina despite now being pregnant wants to uncover the story of the letter and her quest and even her own journey have now begun but there is more heartbreak to come for Tina. Can she find the rightful owner of this incredible letter? What became of Chrissie? What about Billy did he survive the war? I loved the parts played by Tina and Chrissie as well as Billy it is impossible not to loathe Rick for who he was and what he did to his wife. The 1973 Grand National brought back memories for me that I would rather not recall around a father who was similar to Rick except my father backed the wrong horse and what we suffered after. So to read this early in The Letter brought tears of immense sadness to my eyes as those memories flooded back.
The Letter by Kathryn Hughes is both beautifully written and incredibly poignant. You cannot fail to fall for this story. There is so much emotion written into the story that it carries you along and you just want to see a happy ending. So is there a happy ending. You will discover for yourself in a book that I am delighted to highly recommend.
Thank you to both Headline and BookBridgr for a review copy.
Meet the Author
Kathryn Hughes lives near Manchester with her husband and two children. The Letter is her first novel.
Waiting for Doggo by Mark B. Mills
Review Date: 19 August 2015
Author: Mark B. Mills
Release Date: 13 August 2015
Publishers: Headline Review
ISBN –10: 1472218337
ISBN – 13: 978-1472218339
Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle and audio.
Authors Website: http://www.markmills.org.uk/
The Last Word Review
A story of a man and a dog, it’s witty and heart-warming. A feel good tale of love and friendship
Waiting for Doggo is one of the lovely Sunday afternoon reads that you can curl up with, with a relaxed style of writing. This is a book that you can easily read in one sitting.
The story opens with Daniel’s long term girlfriend Clara leaving him a ‘Dear John’ letter she has packed up and left to go and find herself. Thing is Dan is not being left on his own Clara has left him with ‘Doggo’ Clara found him at Battersea Dogs Home but Doggo is described in the book as ‘ugly’ and nearly bald to go with it. Daniel is really down on his luck and his life is just falling apart around him and the last thing he needs now is to be left with ‘Doggo’ Clara’s ugly dog.
So the next step for Daniel is to try and return Doggo to Battersea Dogs Home and even that goes wrong when they insist that Doggo must lose his ‘Manhood’ as part of the agreement on entry to the dogs home. So Daniel returns home with Doggo. The story begins for Daniel and Doggo and the pair are very soon inseparable. The story from here is quirky, funny and one you just find impossible not to like.
One quirking characteristic about Doggo he loves Jennifer Aniston as Daniel finds out one day when the pair are sat watching one of her films the bond between the two really grows and Doggo starts to play an increasing role in Daniel’s life, whether that be at home, in the workplace as part of Daniel’s new job yes he does take him to work every day or just the daily traumas that go through Daniel’s life Doggo is there. Regardless of where the story takes us you can be sure that it will all lead to Doggo.
This is a beautiful told story it is not long in just over 200 pages but a real feel good book that even guys will be happy to read even if they will not admit to it. Waiting for Doggo is a funny heart-warming tale of a man and his dog. I just have the feeling that we may not have heard the last of Daniel and Doggo.
Meet the Author
Mark B. Mills
Mark Mills graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. He has lived in both Italy and France, and has written for the screen. His first novel, ‘The Whaleboat House’, won the 2004 Crime Writer’s Association for Best Novel by a debut author. His second, ‘The Savage Garden’, was a Richard and Judy Summer Read and No 1 bestseller. He lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.