Book Review: The Khan by Saima Mir @SaimaMir #TheKhan @PointBlankCrime #AD #GIFTED

Synopsis

A successful lawyer, Jia Khan’s London life is a long way from the Northern streets she knew as a child, where her father, Akbar Khan, was head of the Pakistani community and ran the local organised crime syndicate. His Jirga rule – the old way – was violent and bloody, but it was also justice of a kind.

When her father is murdered, Jia must return to his community. In the past, the police relied on Akbar Khan to maintain the fragile order of the streets. But a bloody power struggle has broken out among the various communities and now, nobody is safe.

Justice needs to be restored, and Jia is about to discover that justice always comes at a price. Against a backdrop of racial divides, misogyny and prejudice, THE KHAN is a thrilling crime debut, set in a world rarely explored in fiction.

My Review

The prologue to this book was very intriguing and pulled me into the book straight away.

Jai Khan is a criminal barrister who hasn’t seen her parents or her family for 15 years but she will now have to see them at her sister’s wedding. This is when she will come face to face with her father Akbar Khan a crime lord/criminal kingpin and leader of a criminal empire. Jia’s father made a decision many years ago that destroyed their relationship and ended in tragedy. When Jia’s father is found dead Jia it’s up to Jia to not only look after her family, her father’s business and the whole community that relied on her father in one form or another. With a turf war brewing Jia quickly has her hands full and ends up with more than she bargained for.

The concept of this book was very interesting with a father who is a criminal kingpin and his daughter a criminal barrister. This was a gripping and well constructed book, with a powerful and smart female protagonist. Jia as the main character is very complex, we see the professional side of her when she means business but we also see the other side of her when her guard is down. It was clear to see from the start that Jia had a very strong and close relationship with her father and how he raised and treated her more as a son than a daughter, clearly recognising her future potential. I particularly liked the scene when Jia meets with the Jirga after her father’s death. They mock her as they don’t think she is up to the job of taking her father’s place, especially as she is a woman. Jia is calm, collected and smart when dealing with them making it very clear that she is now in charge, is more than capable of this new job and that under her rule a new world awaits. As for that plot twist at the end I was utterly gobsmacked and didn’t see that coming. It was pure genius and just wow.

A criminal thriller full of action, gangsters and heart stopping moments all wrapped up in a modern day godfather story (or should I say godmother story) with an Asian twist. The Khan was everything I hoped it would be and more.

There’s a new Khan in town and she’s about to shake up the criminal world!

Author Bio

SAIMA MIR is a British Pakistani journalist who grew up in Bradford. She has written for The Times, the Guardian and Independent. Her essay for It’s Not About The Burqa (Picador) appeared in the Guardian and received over 250,000 hits online in two days. Saima has also contributed to the anthology The Best, Most Awful Job: Twenty Mothers Talk Honestly About Motherhood. Saima lives in London.

Spotlight: Ravenous Snakes (Chamelons Book 2) by Onyx Gold @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Synopsis

In the sequel to Chameleons, a pregnant Zia is determined to excommunicate her best friend, Jazmine, from her life. After the fallout from Baxter’s death, Zia has secluded herself to avoid public harassment. However, a stranger is able to wiggle through the cyber blockade, and send her a series of eerie emails that elude to Baxter’s ominous plan. One she’d thought had died with him.

Author Bio

Onyx Gold is a writer of all-things romantic suspense. The stories Onyx writes are primarily imitations of life with extreme twists. Onyx’s debut title, Chameleons, is the first in a tantalizing, unexpected trilogy.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ravenous-Snakes-Chamelons-Book-2-ebook/dp/B08T1JVVXC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ravenous+Snakes&qid=1615368133&s=books&sr=1-1

Book Review: The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson @Bethany_House @ChristinaSuzann #TheWayItShouldBe #ChristinaSuzannNelson #BHPFiction @lovebooksgroup #GIFTED

Synopsis

After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve’s troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she’d finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care for a niece and nephew whose existence she wasn’t even aware of.

Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance to start over this time with the help of Tiff Bradley, who’s dedicated to helping women everyone else has given up on after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family.

Over the course of one summer, all three women’s hearts and lives hang in the balance as Eve desperately works toward a new life. Can they redefine their expectations of how life should be to find the hope they—and those they love—so desperately need?

My Review

“The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration”

As soon as I read the first sentence I knew this was going to be a special book.

This is the story of three women: Zara, Eve and Tiff. Zara and Eve are twin sisters who are estranged and Zara always hoped that once Eve had sorted herself out she would reach out to her sister. Zara is happily married to Chad her college sweetheart, they’ve just purchased a new farm and are hoping to shortly embark on their journey into parenthood. Eve’s life is very different from Zara’s. Eve is a drug addict who also has two children; a daughter Charlotte aged 5 and a baby son Samuel. Tiff is someone who crosses paths with Eve and tries to help her. In Eve Tiff sees her own daughter Lindsey who was a heroin addict but who she was unable to save.

When Eve is found after being assaulted by her boyfriend, Tiff tries to help her. It is also the wake up call Eve needs as she is aware that if she can’t sort herself out and detox her children will be taken away from her and put into the care system. Not knowing what became of her sister or the fact that she has a niece and nephew Zara is contacted by the state to look after Eve’s children whilst she undergoes treatment and until she’s back on her feet.

So starts the story of Zara, Eve and Tiff. Although they are very different characters their lives are intertwined through not only their relationship but shared experiences. I would also say this is Charlotte’s story too because through her eyes we get to see the impact that having a mother who is an addict has had on her. At 5 years old Charlotte is wise beyond her years and has had to grow up very quickly. She takes responsibility of her baby brother making sure that he is taken care of whilst they are in their mother’s care and acts as the grown up when this should be played by her mother. But we also see glimpses into the fact that she is still a child when she is in Zara’s care i.e. naming a male goat Jane after a woman in their last building who had a beard like the goats. This had me in giggles of laughter as did many scenes involving Charlotte.

The book has three narrators: Zara, Eve and Tiff and the chapters alternate between their perspectives, what is happening to their character in the story and how they are feeling about the whole situation they are faced with. Zara finds herself in the parental seat for the first time in her life but to her sister’s children. For Eve’s character her narrative is explored through the diary entries that she writes whilst in rehab giving the reader an idea of how she is feeling, how she is coping being separated from her children and her determination to do what she can to improve. With Tiff’s character the more she interacts with Eve we see glimpses into her personal life and how the loss of her own daughter has affected not only her marriage but her family as a whole.

This was a heartbreaking book that deals with some hard hitting but very real themes such as addiction, drug use, domestic violence and how this affects not only the person directly involved but everyone on the periphery of their inner circle. It is also a book about healing as each character has some issue or event in their life that they are trying to come to terms with. What I liked about this book was that it showed the strength and determination of the human spirit when under pressure and this shines through in all three characters.

The saying everything happens for a reason is a very apt way of describing each character’s journey in this book. I was surprised at the ending but after reading the author’s note at the end I understand why the book ended the way it did. In fact it made the ending all the more real and more relatable to people who have gone through similar experiences in life.

Author Bio

CBA bestselling author Christina Suzann Nelson writes stories that focus on changing legacies from dysfunction to hope. Her novel More Than We Remember received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and her debut novel was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2017 and a Foreword INDIES 2017 Book of the Year. Christina is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW, where she has served as the northwest zone director. She lives in Oregon’s gorgeous Willamette Valley with her husband of 26 years and their children. Find her online at www.christinasuzannnelson.com

Book Review: Of Blood and Fire by Ryan Cahill @RCahillAuthor @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Synopsis

Born in fire. Tempered in blood.

Epheria is a land divided by war and mistrust. The High Lords of the south squabble and fight, only kept in check by the Dragonguard, traitors of a time long past, who serve the empire of the North.

In the remote villages of southern Epheria, still reeling from the tragic loss of his brother, Calen Bryer prepares for The Proving—a test of courage and skill that not all survive.

But when three strangers arrive in the village of Milltown, with a secret they are willing to die for, Calen’s world is ripped from under him and he is thrust headfirst into a war that has been raging for centuries.

There is no prophecy. His coming was not foretold.

He bleeds like any man, and bleed he will.

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08ZDCN3GQ

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZDCN3GQ

My Review

As soon as I saw this book it screamed epic fantasy at me and it didn’t disappoint.

This story is about multiple characters but the main character is Calen Bryer who works in his father’s forge. The story begins with Calen and his two friends Dann and Rist preparing to take part in The Proving where they must spend three nights in Ölm Forest with only a knife and bow. They must survive this time together and return with the head of a predator. The more dangerous the predator determines who will be the winner. Then Calen, Dann and Rist cross paths with 3 strangers: Aeson, Erik and Dahlen and their lives will never be the same again.

That is all the plot information I am going to give to avoid spoilers, but what an adventure reading this book has been.

This was an epic fantasy novel which is book 1 in The Bound and The Broken Series. The book is just over 500 pages long which at first I found a little intimidating, but as soon as I started reading it was hard to put down and 500 pages very quickly flew by. The storyline has been cleverly constructed and well written so that the reader is sucked into the land of Epheria from the first page. The author has done a fantastic job building a world that feels so lifelike that to me Epheria is and will remain a real place. The battle scenes were descriptive and impressive. We’re talking Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones style epic and the battle scene at the end of the book was truly amazing. But there were also some truly heart breaking scenes that left a lump in my throat one of which is when the inquisitor of the Empire visits Calen’s home and what Ella goes through. The story is told from several character perspectives who are all on their own journey and have their own storyline but their journey and lives are all interlinked to each other. The characters are so well written that as a reader I was invested in what happened to them and their journey. The relationship and bond between Calen, Dann and Rist is clear from the start, they are more like brothers than friends. I also really loved the character of Therin the Elf, especially when he was telling a story to all of the patrons of the Dragon Inn. I found Therin’s character particularly interesting and would happily read a spin off about his character so I am hoping there’s more about him in the next book.

The book ended at a good point (even though I didn’t want it to end) paving the way for book 2 which I am eager to read.

If you love fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones or books built around a world full of magic with elves, giants, dragons and warriors then this book is for you and you will not be disappointed. I still can’t believe that this is the author’s debut novel. The fantasy genre has found themselves a gem of an author and this is definitely an author to keep an eye out for. If someone can point me towards a portal or a Tardis so I can visit Epheria please let me know.

Would highly highly recommend this book to all readers especially if they love fantasy books.

Author Bio

Ryan Cahill was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was lucky enough to be born to parents that cherished books and adored stories. With every book they read, they brought it to life. A different voice for every character. A different setting for each world. A different facial expression for each sarcastic joke. It was because of this, Ryan fell in love with the craft of storytelling.

Growing up with authors such as J.K.Rowling, Terry Prachett and J.R.Tolkien—before discovering the worlds of Christopher Paolini, George R.R.Martin, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson—Ryan was always immersed in the art of worldbuilding. In the creation of a world that could transport you to a place in your mind where nothing else could ever reach you.

At the age of seven, Ryan even attempted to write his own book; to create his own world. It didn’t go to plan. Seven-year-olds don’t tend to have much follow through.

It’s a good thing he never gave up.

Book Review: A Book Of Secrets by Kate Morrison #ABookOfSecrets @KATEMORRISON @JACARANDABOOKS @RANDOMTTOURS

Synopsis

A Book of Secrets tells the story of a West African girl hunting for her lost brother through an Elizabethan
underworld of spies, plots and secret Catholic printing presses.

Susan Charlewood is taken from Ghana (then known as Guinea) as a baby. Brought to England, she grows up as maidservant in a wealthy Catholic household. Living under a Protestant Queen in late 16th Century England, the family risk imprisonment or death unless they keep their faith hidden.

When her mistress dies Susan is married off to a London printer who is deeply involved in the Catholic resistance. She finds herself embroiled in political and religious intrigue, all while trying to find her lost brother and discover the truth about her origins.

The book explores the perils of voicing dissent in a state that demands outward conformity, at a time when England is taking its first steps into the long shadow of transatlantic slavery and old certainties about the shape of the universe itself are crumbling.

A Book of Secrets gives a striking new perspective on the era and lets one of the thousands of lost Elizabethan voices, speak out loud.

My Review

This is the story of Nsowah, born in Ghana during the Elizabethan period, taken from her home country as a baby along with her mother and brother by Portuguese Slavers who are unaware that Nsowah’s mother is a Princess and Royalty in her own country. When the ship that they are in is attacked by the English, Nsowah and her mother are taken and transported to England, separated from her brother. Nsowah and her mother are given to a family as servants, converted to Christianity by their new owners and their names are changed so Nsowah is given the name Susan. At the age of 3 Susan’s mother dies and she is raised by Kate the housekeeper as well as by her Master and Mistress who treat her like their own daughter. She is raised alongside their own daughter Anne and is raised as a secret Catholic as they too are hiding their true beliefs. They ensure that she is educated alongside their daughter Anne, becoming an accomplished young woman and is treated more like a member of the family than a servant. But the Mistress’ opinion towards her changes after Anne dies and when the Master’s secret is discovered he wants to ensure that Susan is safe, arranging her marriage to John Charlewood a London Printer who is much older than her to ensure her safety. Once married Susan becomes the Mistress of a household in her own right. So begins Susan’s journey as a wife, mother, Mistress of a household and partner in her husband’s printing business, bringing with it its own challenges which Susan faces with calm and grace. When Susan is arrested for treason and tortured her true strength of character shines through.

I immensely enjoyed this book and you could tell from the care that had been put into it that the author had done in depth research into the time period that the book is based. One of the reasons I asked to take part in this blog tour was because it looked and sounded different to anything I’d read before in the historical genre. The first factor that drew me to this book was that the main character was a person of colour in Tudor times. I have often wondered what roles people of black heritage would have played during Tudor times (and not just as servants) as there are very little books that I have seen that dealt with this subject so this gave me a brilliant insight. Although this is a work of fiction at times I forgot that Susan was not based on a real character and her story I can imagine is a true reflection of what a woman of black heritage may have gone through during these times. Religion and belief play a big part of the story as it would have done at this time when following your true beliefs could have led to you being arrested and punished for treason.

Another thing I liked about this book was that it wasn’t heavy to read like some historical fiction books can be so it was easy to imagine Susan’s life and everything that she went through. I also love the cover of this book which is utterly stunning.

If you enjoy historical fiction filled with secrets, mystery and intrigue this is the book you’ll want to read.

Author Bio

Kate Morrison is a British debut novelist. She studied English Literature at New Hall College, Cambridge and worked as a journalist and a press officer. Morrison was mentored by Ros Barber, the award-winning author of The Marlowe Papers and Devotion. She was a visiting scholar with the Book, Text, and Place 1500-1700 Research Centre at Bath Spa University. Kate Morrison currently
lives in West Sussex with her family.

Book Review: The Watcher by K. R. Bowman @lovebooksgroup

Synopsis

Sloane lives with her unconventional mother, who doesn’t know how to cook and looks at life through her elementary teacher lens. Sloane’s best days are when her car’s air conditioner decides to work.

However, that changes on the night of her 18th birthday. At the stroke of midnight, she is transported to the Night Realm, where she discovers her family’s heritage is far more extensive than she could have ever imagined.

In the Night Realm, a world plagued in darkness and monsters, Sloane is thrown into the midst of an unending battle between the Realmers and Nightlins. Here, she may finally learn the truth behind her father’s disappearance and his key role in Earth’s possible conquest.

Will Sloane find her father? Will she master these strange new powers? Join Sloane as she embarks on the first of many adventures.

My Review

Sloane is unlike other teenagers. She’s been suffering from unexplained blackouts and strange dreams. As the clock strikes midnight on her 18th birthday Sloane is transported from her bedroom into another realm. She has no idea how she got there but meets a number of different characters that will play an important part of her life including Brand, Callum and Ashley, Harris and Raleigh who eventually become her friends and fellow trainees in the Night Realm.

On her return home she realises her mother has been keeping secrets from her. Sloane’s mother gives her a dagger and compass which was owned by her father who disappeared before she was born. Her mother tells her that she knows of the Night Realm from Sloane’s father as she heard him talk about Watchers, Protectors and Hunters.

When Sloane returns to the Night Realm her experience is different as the camp is being attacked by Nightlins. So starts Sloane’s journey to discovering her true destiny, her true heritage, what happened to her father and her true role in life. She embarks on a steep learning curve learning about the history of the Night Realm and the different type of Nightlins. She embarks on gruelling combat training so she can take up her role to guard portals to stop the Nightlins crossing over into the normal world, preventing them from feeding on death and fear which represent itself in the normal world as death and crime. The more Sloane develops she will receive marks which will determine whether she is a Watcher, Protector or Hunter but Sloane is developing at an advanced pace and her role is yet to be revealed. The fight between good and evil has begun!

I loved the storyline especially the concept of it and the fact that there is a whole good v evil battle going on behind the scenes that people from the normal world are oblivious too. The battle scene at the end was intense and well written. I adored Sloane’s character. She adapted to the Night Realm quickly especially only having 8 minutes of sunlight each day. Her personality and love of Lord of the Rings made Sloane quirky and how she compared everything she saw or experienced to it made me smile. As the book progresses Sloane grows as a character and the love triangle Sloane is involved in added that extra bit of teenage drama.

This was a fantastic YA fantasy novel which ended on a complete cliffhanger. So I can’t wait to read the next book. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy or YA novels or those who are thinking of delving into the fantasy genre for the first time.

Author Bio

K.R. Bowman has always enjoyed dreaming up stories since she was a child. After ten years of self-doubt, she finally decided to hit publish on ‘The Watcher.’

Most days you can find her going on adventures, drinking wine, cuddling animals, or eating sweets.

Majority of the time, she daydreams.

Book Review: All That We Carried by Erin Bartels

Synopsis

Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. Over the years, they grew apart, each coping with the loss in her own way. Olivia plunged herself into law school, work, and an atomistic view of the world—what you see is what you get, and that’s all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life-coaching business around her cafeteria-style spirituality—a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie’s insistence (and against Olivia’s better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they’ll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.

Michigan Notable Book Award winner Erin Bartels draws from personal experience hiking backcountry trails with her sister to bring you a story about the complexities of grief, faith, and sisterhood.

My Review

Olivia and Melanie are sisters who have not seen each other in 10 years. Then out of the blue Melanie contacts Olivia proposing that they go on a week long backpacking trip which Olivia agrees to. The sisters have been estranged since their parents died in a car accident. Each sister dealt with their grief in a different way. Olivia went straight to law school so she didn’t have to deal with her grief or her sisters and Melanie slipped into depression, channeling her grief into a journal, later creating a blog which turned into a YouTube Chanel.

The book follows the sisters hiking up the Porcupine Mountains, getting lost whist hiking and meeting a stranger and fellow hiker called Josh who forces them to face the difficult questions and issues they’ve been avoiding. But could another revelation destroy what is left of their sisterly bond?

Although they are sisters Olivia and Melanie are very different. Olivia is a lawyer and her way of thinking is very logical whereas Melanie a life coach is very spiritual. It is clear why Melanie chose hiking as she is very in tuned with nature.

Essentially this is a book about two sister trying to reconnect and rekindle their bond. They are forced to have those conversations about what happened, how this affected the, and how they drifted apart which they have been avoiding.

The chapters alternate between Olivia and Melanie’s perspective giving the reader an insight into each characters point of view. We are also given glimpses into the past when the sisters were younger and their relationship before their parents died. From the initial encounter in the book it is clear that there is still a bond there even though they are estranged and this for me was shown in that first hug.

I really enjoyed this book and once I’d reached the end I felt like I was with the sisters during their hike and part of their story. I love the descriptions of nature in this book which were rich and calming and the cover just screams nature. Definitely a book I’d recommend and read again.

This was a heartwarming read about two sisters’ journey of self discovery and sibling bonding.

Author Bio

Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book and a finalist for the 2019 Christy Award and the 2020 Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), and The Words between Us, a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from WFWA. Her short story, “This Elegant Ruin,” was a finalist in the Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest in 2014, and her poetry has been published by The Lyric. A publishing professional for 18 years, she is the director of WFWA’s annual writers retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son. Find her online at www.erinbartels.com.

Book Review: The Split by Laura Kay

Synopsis

Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat. 

After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again. 

In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism. 

Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?

My Review

After seven years together Emily breaks up with Ally, who didn’t see it coming. Heartbroken and distraught Ally goes to her dad’s in Sheffield taking Malcolm the cat with her. Whilst back in Sheffield she reconnects with her old school friend Jeremy, who is also in the same boat, he’s been dumped by his boyfriend, Ben and is now living with his mum. Ally seeks comfort in baking and Jeremy’s company, who’s a kindred spirit. Then Jeremy comes up with an idea, running a half marathon in the hope that this will get Ben back and ropes Ally in too as this could help Ally get Emily back. They both join a running group when Ally meets the organiser Jo and then the madness begins.

In between training for the half marathon, starting a new job and e-mailing Emily with regular updates trying to impress her, Ally hopes that Emily will realise she’s made a mistake. But as time passes Ally changes and so do her thoughts and feelings about what she really wants in life.

I loved the story and the characters, in particular Ally’s dad who was just lovely. The dynamic between Ally and Jeremy was perfect. They understood each other completely and their banter was perfect. As the story progressed their bond became stronger. This book was a fun book to read and had me giggling in parts. Especially the initial e-mails between Ally and Emily where Emily accuses Ally of catnapping Malcolm and holding him hostage.

I would highly recommend this book. It was well written and exactly what I needed during a reading slump. It was an easy read that I couldn’t put down and read within 24 hours.

Author Bio

Laura Kay is a writer and editor. She has an MA in American History from the University of Sheffield, and now lives in East London with her wife and cats. In 2018 Laura was selected as one of the ten PRH WriteNow mentees. The Split is her first novel.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of a New Mum by Cari Rosen

Synopsis

Whatever your age, becoming a mum for the first time brings excitement, anxiety and numerous challenges.

But how do you cope when you discover you’re old enough to be the mother of everyone in your NCT group? The story of one woman, one baby, a slipped disc and rather too many wrinkles, The Secret Diary of a New Mum (Aged 43 1/4) follows the tale of a midlife mum as she tries to make the transition from experienced TV producer to utterly inexperienced parent.

Whether deftly side-stepping questions about age and baby number two, or weeping as younger counterparts ping back into their size ten jeans within thirty seconds of giving birth, Cari approaches the shared experiences of an ever-increasing number of mothers with insight, humour and honesty.

My Review

This book is the author’s journey to becoming a mum for the first time in her 40s and what a journey.

This is an honest, open account which was very humorous at times but dealt with a very important subject. I found it interesting how the author faced stigma during her pregnancy because of her age and that many perceive that there is an ideal age to be pregnant and have children and being in your 40s is not that ideal. I found it interesting how the author was referred to as an older mum rather than just a mum which is what she was and that at every stage of her pregnancy she was defined by her age. But the journey doesn’t stop once the baby is born and when the baby arrives it’s a whole different situation and there is so much more to learn. Like trying to balance being a mother, returning to work and taking a trip abroad which each have their own complications.

There were some instances that had me in fits of laughter but at the same time opened my eyes to a completely different world ie fake bumps in changing rooms, bike locks to secure a pram hen visiting the baby clinic, the dilemma to find the right sized first pair of shoes. The term ‘vomit comet’ is one term that I will never forget

I particularly like the format of this book. It was a small book but packed full of information. I liked how the chapters were titled as the different stages of pregnancy and continued after the baby was born (how many months old the baby was) so it was easy to pinpoint where in the author’s journey she was and the different challenges and changes faced.

An eye opening read!

Author Bio

Cari Rosen worked as a journalist before moving into television production, working on entertainment programmes, sport and documentaries. These days Cari is a full-time editor and writer who lives in London but adheres firmly to the maxim ‘You can take a girl out of Manchester – but you’ll never take Manchester out of the girl.’ Find out more about the author here: http://www.carirosen.com

Book Review: How We Met by Huma Qureshi

Synopsis

You can’t choose who you fall in love with, they say.
If only it were that simple.

Growing up in Walsall in the 1990s, Huma straddled two worlds – school and teenage crushes in one, and the expectations and unwritten rules of her family’s south Asian social circle in the other. Reconciling the two was sometimes a tightrope act, but she managed it. Until it came to marriage.

Caught between her family’s concern to see her safely settled down with someone suitable, her own appetite for adventure and a hopeless devotion to romance honed from Georgette Heyer, she seeks temporary refuge in Paris and imagines a future full of possibility. And then her father has a stroke and everything changes.

As Huma learns to focus on herself she begins to realise that searching for a suitor has been masking everything that was wrong in her life: grief for her father, the weight of expectation, and her uncertainty about who she really is. Marriage – arranged or otherwise – can’t be the all-consuming purpose of her life. And then she meets someone. Neither Pakistani nor Muslim nor brown, and therefore technically not suitable at all. When your worlds collide, how do you measure one love against another?

My Review

How We Met is a memoir of how the author met her husband. I will say no more apart from buy the book and read it.

Huma’s story is a story of hope and highlights the difficulty in finding an ideal partner, especially when you are an Asian woman of a certain age and perfectly shows how that process can be both mentally and physically draining. The book is an honest and open account of the author’s own personal experience, which I think that every woman can relate to. Especially those of Asian heritage where marriage is a big thing in Asian culture and if you’re not married by a certain age its perceived that there’s something wrong with you when maybe it’s as simple as you’ve not met the right person or just don’t want to get married. The clash between culture and your own freedom to choose between who you marry, where you live or if you pursue a career were dominant themes throughout the book.

This memoir was written in an emotional and eloquent way which was at times heart breaking to read. It felt like you were with the author throughout her journey. It was clear from the outset that the author’s father had a big impact on her life and the scenes involving her father were emotional and pulled at my heart strings. Yes there were tears.

This is a beautifully written book which I have already spoken to fellow readers, friends and family about and a book that I will definitely read again before the year is out. One factor that captured my heart completely was the author’s three sons who are smart, witty and just adorable.

All I can say is by the time I’d finished this book my heart was full, I was in tears and then immediately discussed it with my mum.

A book I loved and would highly recommend.

Author Bio

Huma Qureshi is an award-winning writer and journalist, and contributor to The Best Most Awful Job: Twenty Writers Talk Honestly About Motherhood (2020). A former Guardian reporter, she has also written for The Times, Independent, Observer, Grazia, New Statesman and The Huffington Post. She is a regular contributor to BBC2’s Pause for Thought and has appeared as a contributor on BBC Woman’s Hour, BBC London, BBC Breakfast and the BBC Asian Network. She is the winner of the 2020 Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize.