Book Reviews

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

9781760980085

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.

Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

When a person who has lived for 100 years on this earth offers you life advice, you should listen. When this same person has also not only witnessed but experienced first-hand one of the greatest atrocities this world has ever seen, you not only listen, but you prepare to have your outlook on life completely changed.

Eddie takes us through his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II, and his life after the war. Each chapter contains a sliver of wisdom that Eddie lives his life by, and by the end of the book you will find your perception of the world and your own life have been changed. The writing in this book is simple and to the point; there is no flowery language or grandiose metaphors here. This only serves to further emphasise Eddie’s message of respect, kindness and love. He is a man who, despite all the horrors he has experienced, has such a positive outlook on life and on humanity.

My new friend Eddie’s message of happiness, love and, above all, hope, is a timely one, and one that we should all be paying attention to.

Rating: 5/5

Australian Publication Date: 1st August 2020

Book Reviews

You Were Made For Me by Jenna Guillaume

9781760982591

The day I created a boy started out like any other.

Katie didn’t mean to create a boy. A boy like a long-lost Hemsworth brother: six-foot tall with floppy hair and eyes like the sky on a clear summer’s day; whose lips taste like cookie-dough and whose skin smells like springtime.

A boy who is completely devoted to Katie.

He was meant to be perfect.

But he was never meant to exist.

With this being her second novel, Jenna is fast becoming the rising star of the #LoveOzYA rom-com. While this is quite a different book to her debut What I Like About Me, it is just as enjoyable – I fell more in love with it the more I read.

Jenna’s writing is smart, funny, and accurately captures the contemporary teenage voice she is aiming for with her characters. With loads of pop-culture references, and a unique ‘Australian-ness’ to her setting, teens are sure to love this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Australian Publication Date: 1st August 2020

Book Reviews

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

9780356512884

A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling urban fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.

I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:
1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential – the cops can never make me talk.
3. I don’t work for humans.

It’s nothing personal – I’m human myself. But after what happened, Humans don’t need my help. Not like every other creature who had the magic ripped out of them when the Coda came…
I just want one real case. One chance to do something good.
Because it’s my fault the magic is never coming back.

This book is Arnold’s debut novel and the first book in a new contemporary/urban fantasy series.

I’m going to be honest; the first chapter did not grab me. In fact, it left me rather underwhelmed and it read like someone new to writing wrote it. It took me about two chapters to get my head around the world this novel is set in, and there is a lot of instances of information dumping, especially early on in the book.

However, the further into the book I got, the more I found myself swept up in the story and enjoying it immensely. I have hopes that as this series goes on, the books will reveal more of the larger story, and give us some great minor plot lines, and that the writing will continue to improve with experience. This first book is my no means perfect, but it shows a lot of promise for the series to get better and better.

Despite the info dumping, I actually really did reading about the back history to the world, and the creation stories of all the different magical creatures, but I’m a bit of a history nerd like that. This book has the feel of a cross between Rivers of London and a hard boiled detective/crime fiction novel. If you enjoy the work of Ben Aaronovitch, then this book is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 4/5

Australian Publication Date: 28th January 2020