Monthly Archives: July 2022
About the Book
Sometimes you have to go back, to move forwards.
Tabitha is stuck. She still lives in the small town she grew up in . . . the town she’s barely ever left.
So, when her dad drops a bombshell over their weekly Sunday dinner, Tabitha takes a look at her own life. She lives firmly in her comfort zone and doesn’t know how to break out. Sometimes she wishes she should go back and start it all again.
When she meets Bea, a free spirit like no one else she’s ever known with an ‘interesting’ sense of style, Tabitha quickly befriends her, recognising in Bea the change she’s been craving. But soon it becomes clear that more has changed than her new friend. Somehow Tabitha has been transported back to the 1980s.
With the chance to reinvent herself in another time, will Tabitha finally manage to move forward?
About the Author
LOUISE PENTLAND is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Wilde novels trilogy and non-fiction book MumLife. She’s the number one parenting vlogger in the UK, with 9 million combined followers across her social platforms. Louise is the creator and host of the podcast Mothers’ Meeting, where she interviews fellow mums and discusses all things motherhood.
Louise featured on the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Influencers’ list and was crowned as the number one ‘mumfluencer’ by Mother & Baby. She is also a UN Global Ambassador for Gender Equality and an NSPCC Ambassador for Childhood. Louise has filmed with an array of people, from Kim Kardashian to the Pope at the Vatican. She is also involved in the support and encouragement of childhood literacy with charity Bookstart, alongside Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
What I Thought
This book perhaps wasn’t quite was I was expecting going into it but I still enjoyed it and OMG the flashbacks to C&A, coming in from a night out with smoky hair, and shell suits! All of which I do not miss – lol.
Main character Tabitha is 26 and is living a pretty comfortable life. In fact so comfortable that I felt that the character read older than she was. She’s a vintage shop manager with a side hustle as a vintage upcylcler on the gram. She has a boyfriend – David, and there is starting to be talk of babies and marriage.
There’s really two inciting incidents – the first involving a revelation by her dad and the second a time travelling ring.
The time travel aspect was intriguing but it did take a while to get going. There was even a bit where she suddenly went from thinking that what had happened when wearing it was a bit odd, to confessing to her friend she thinks she has magical powers. That actually came a bit out of the blue and had me checking to see if I’d managed to skip a chapter.
The time travel to 1989 is not a permanent thing and instead is something that Tabby can control at will and as such wasn’t used as much as I was anticipating. I also guessed partially why it was happening but the book did manage to add an extra little twist that I didn’t spot until pretty late.
The female relationships were what worked best for me in this book. We had Tabby reconnecting with her mother differently after her dad’s revelation, her best friend Vivi mostly having her back – although there’s tension between them linked to David. And back in the 80s there’s fun and adventurous Bea who I actually liked a lot (and would read more about for sure).
Both inciting incidents do lead Tabby to learn different things and she begins to step outside her comfort zone aided by the female characters around her. I think some reviewers have perhaps felt that Tabby was a little passive but I think that emphasises her character’s arc throughout the book. And who says women have to be entirely independent and oomphy to be valid anyway?
The male characters were also varied – with some of them deserving a slap for their antiquated views – and I’m not talking about the ones from the 80s.
The final 50 pages were pretty emotional as we start to realise how everything across the two time lines fit together.
I almost wish the epilogue hadn’t been included and instead that we would get a follow up following Tabby after the end of the story – and maybe more importantly a prequel focusing on Bea.
Actually randomly I’ve just thought of this comparison – if you like the Mamma Mia movies I think you’d enjoy this.
I received a gifted ARC copy for the purposes of an honest review thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers and the publishers. Do check out the rest of the blog tour posts to see what everyone else thought.
About the Book
‘Disease begins with a feeling, Miss Darke. It has been that way ever since the turn – when people’s feelings first started making them ill …’
Since the world fell sick with fantastical illnesses, sisters Payton and Ani have grown up in the hospital of King Jude’s.
Payton wants to be a methic like her father, working on a cure for her mother’s sleeping fever. Ani, however, thinks the remedy for all illness might be found in the green wilderness beyond the hospital walls.
When Ani stumbles upon an imprisoned boy who turns everything he touches to gold, her world is turned upside-down. The girls find themselves outside the hospital for the first time, a dark mystery unravelling …
• The new novel from Angharad Walker, author of critically-acclaimed The Ash House
• Angharad’s writing evokes the clever, unique world-building and philosophical themes of Pullman’s His Dark Materials while remaining startlingly original
• The story follows two sisters in a London-inspired city full of fantastical illness and sprawling, gothic hospitals where dark secrets linger beneath the surface
Published by Chicken House as a flapped paperback 7th July 2022 | £7.99 | Ages 11+
About the Author
Angharad Walker grew up on military bases in the UK, Germany and Cyprus, where stories were often being told about far-flung places, past conflicts, and friends and family. She studied English Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and the University of California Irvine. Her fiction has been published in Structo and A Mil- lion Ways, and her poetry has made it into Agenda broadsheets and Ink Sweat & Tears. She lives in South London. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications consultant for charities and not-for-profits. Follow her @angharadwalker on Twitter and Instagram.
What I Thought
It’s a heatwave in the U.K. today and what other than temperature rises in a heatwave. Emotions!
In Walker’s Lundain, feelings lead to fevers and sickness so people are taught to suppress their emotions, ever since the mysterious “Turn”.
Feelings are to be:
“Observed. Treated. Never Felt.”
The comparisons with His Dark Materials are well made with Jenipher Blake’s blood measure and blood purification the new evil in town. It also reminded me vibe wise a little of The Death House by Sarah Pinborough, What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang and even Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Sisters Ani and Payton haven’t always seen eye to eye but the one thing that they both want is to cure their mother of the water fever that keeps her comatose and away from them. Their father Neel Darke is a methic who they believe might not be trying as hard as they’d hoped to find a cure.
Payton believes in science and wants to be a methic too so when separated from Ani gets trapped in the shadow of the pedestal she’s placed Jenipher on. Payton has been keeping a secret about her ‘blood phobia’ too.
Ani is intrigued by the lost guild of Wilders – who focus on nature and in feeling what needs to be felt. There she meets a trio who begin to help her trust herself.
This book is very topical with pandemics and global warming very much in the here and now.
It says for 11+ and it does read a little more on the middle grade side but only because Ani and Payton are 11 and 13 respectively. I also got Anna and Elsa vibes from them. The themes included cross across age boundaries. In fact I looked back to the email which called it the perfect transitional read for 11+ year olds who aren’t quite ready for YA books.
I really enjoyed this book and devoured it quickly. The over medicalisation of emotions is a very interesting topic to me and I thought it was handed excellently. The only bad thing about the book is that I was left hoping it would be part of a series. It left me feeling that although it was concluded that there was more that could be said so if you like the sound of this please pick up a copy so we can get more.
Thanks to Laura and Chicken House for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone else thought too.
About the Book
Last week I turned 29. Along with the usual homemade Victoria sponge, helium balloon and Selfridges gift vouchers, my Mum’s birthday present to me was the threat that if I’m not engaged by my 30th birthday, she’s sending me off to the Motherland to find a fresh-from-the-Desh husband
When Zara’s Mum puts together the most archaic of arranged marriage resources (not exactly the romcom-worthy love story she had envisioned for herself), she is soon exhausted by her family’s failed attempts to set her up with every vaguely suitable Abdul, Ahmed and Farook that they can find. Zara decides to take matters into her own hands. How hard can it be to find a husband at twenty-nine?
With just a year to go, time is of the essence, so Zara joins a dating app and signs up for speed dating.
She meets Hamza, a kind British Egyptian who shares her values and would make a good husband. Zara knows that not all marriages are based on love (or lust) at first sight but struggles with the lack of spark. Particularly when she can’t stop thinking of someone else . . .
As her next birthday looms, and family pressure intensifies, Zara knows she must make a decision, but will she make the right one?
About the Author
Tasneem Abdul-Rashid is a British Bengali writer and podcaster born and raised in London. Having recently completed a Master’s degree in Creative Writing, Tasneem spends her days writing in coffee shops and her nights co-hosting the podcast Not Another Mum Pod. In between she’s busy trying (and often failing) to be super mum, super wife and super chef.
What I Thought
It great to see both a British based rom com and an own voices debut exploring Bengali Muslim culture.
The premise is a great one, a year to find a husband or an arranged marriage it is – and all the pressure that goes with that. External and internal pressures do make you empathise with main character Zara’s internal conflict.
Firstly, I will admit to being a little triggered by this book so that definitely affected my enjoyment slightly. As someone who is involuntarily childless all the talk of dried up eggs definitely cut deep but sadly it reflects the way that slightly older women on the dating scene can be seen by themselves or others – and that needs to start changing.
That is definitely not a reason to settle for anyone though and this is what this book explores. Is it a case of pitching Mr Perfect against Mr Perfectly Fine though – No. But when no one is Mr Perfect and you’ve been hurt before how do you know how much to compromise? Is safety and security enough, does attraction need to come into it at all?
I have to admit to feeling a bit sorry for the male characters at times – shocker and I do slightly wish she had had a little more agency in the eventful conclusion of the story.
However the writing and culture depicted was vibrant and its great to see some familiar locations featured for once. I think it would make a fun movie for sure.
Thanks to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and the publishers for a gifted copy of the book for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out everyone else’s blog posts which I’m sure are more than just fine.