Book Review: The Other Mother – Jen Brister

When Jen falls in love with Chloe they have a great life and eventually decide that having a small person was something they wanted to do. As her wife goes through the process of IVF and pregnancy Jen finds herself as ‘The Other Mother’. There’s also the small matter that Chloe became pregnant with twins, it’s a lot for anyone to handle.

I have to say, I’m not a parent to an actual human child, I currently only have fur babies in my life so I can’t be the judge on how realistic this is but I found it to be a book that shares a lot. Jen is completely honest about her experiences, about how tough she found it at times and how boring looking after kids can be.

I found myself laughing so much while reading this book and now I’m desperate to see Jen perform as a comedian. It just feels incredibly real but also she’s not afraid to laugh at herself, her thoughts and her actions. This isn’t a book telling you how to raise a child or being the perfect parent.

Jen is also respectful of the privacy of her children. Her sons are referred to throughout the book as Twin 1 and Twin 2 and while she shares stories about her life with Chloe raising them, we don’t know their names. It’s clear that Jen wants to protect the identity of her boys and who can blame her? This book is about her experience of being ‘The Other Mother’ it’s not a biography of her children. I respect that.

Also, I can highly recommend the audiobook which is how I absorbed it and I really couldn’t stop listening. Although a note to anyone who does get the audiobook, be ready to laugh out loud at various points and look a bit nuts.

I gave this book 5 stars and have been recommending it to a lot of people recently. It’s funny but also gives a real look at what it’s like to be a non-biological parent in 2019.

Travels With Sushi Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love a good giveaway? The lovely people at Midas PR popped me an email about a super interesting book called Travels With Sushi In The Land Of The Mind by Eduard Shyfrin. Take a look at the blurb below to see why I got so excited.

While on holiday, sharing an evening meal with their family in their favourite Japanese restaurant, Aaron and Stella doze off and awaken to find themselves in the mysterious Land of the Mind. A world in turmoil, the Land of the Mind is being pulled apart by warring factions who have it teetering on edge of complete destruction. Chosen by an invisible Supreme Ruler, it is up to Aaron and Stella to bring order back to this world by recovering the ancient Book of Understanding.

Travelling through strange lands, meeting fantastic characters and pursued by the minions of the Black Queen, the forces of evil are closing in, determined to stop the children from restoring peace to this place. Aaron and Stella realise that they are the key to the Book of Understanding’s return and that time is running out. But how can two children manage to defeat all the forces against them?

Sound good? You can win a copy of Travels With Sushi In The Land Of The Mind! Head over to my Twitter here so that you can win, this is a UK only giveaway.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was gifted my copy and cake pops from Midas PR to collaborate on this giveaway.

Heading To The Aisle – None Of My Friends Are Bridesmaids?!

Picking your bridesmaids for your wedding is important. These are people closest to you who you want to be in your bridal party. I have been a bridesmaid twice in my life, the first for my aunt when I was a kid and the second when I was a teenager for my uncle. So I’ve thought about who I’d have for mine for a long time. I got engaged and decided that none of my friends were going to be my bridesmaids.

Now, it’s not because I don’t love my friends or that I think they’re up to the task. To put it simply, I didn’t want any politics. I think when picking which friends will be bridesmaids you can alienate people or hurt them. I’m going to be 26 when I get married, that’s 26 years worth of friendships I need to choose from and, I didn’t want to choose.

How could I ever compare my best friend since I was 8 years old who lives in Australia to my bestie who’s kids are my godchildren? Could I really not choose the friend who was there the day we bought my ring over the ones I choose to go drinking with? And then what about the guys in my life? Leaving out some of my ultimate closest friends because they aren’t female? I hated the thought.

So, I made a decision early on. The only people who were going to be my bridesmaids were related to me or Ali with one exception. My sister was always going to be my bridesmaid, no ifs or buts. I’m fortunate that we’re really close too, which is a bonus. I asked my little cousin, she’s 12 years younger than me and I adore her. She’s my little sass queen but also the kindest soul I’ve ever met.

I also decided to ask Ali’s sister because we’re going to be family and I think it’s important that both of our sisters are a part of the day. And my last bridesmaid, but probably one of the most important guests (at least that’s what I’ve told her) is my Goddaughter. She is the only person who isn’t related by blood to us but this little girl means so much to me and this is like a dream for her. She’s already desperate to get her dress and pretty shoes. So damn cute.

And that’s that. Weddings are about the people who are getting married and for me (I don’t think Ali cares all that much who my bridesmaids are) this was a great solution to something that was taking up waaaaay too much brain space. My friends will all be there to celebrate with me, they know how much I adore each and every one of them and I feel more relaxed about not having to choose favourites.

Who did you have or are you planning to have as your bridesmaids? Let me know below!

Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy works in a publishing job she loves but it doesn’t pay much, combine that with needing to move out of her ex-boyfriends flat she’ll tak anything, including a slightly unusual agreement. Leon is a hospice nurse who’s in need to money to support his brother and a flat share sounds like a perfect plan.

I need to start by saying that this is one of the cutest books. I’ve been more interested in contemporary romances recently, books I know will have love and humor and The Flatshare ticked both of those boxes. I had seen this all over the internet with great reviews so I picked up the audiobook narrated by one of my favourite theatre actresses and youtubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher. I also now love the voice of Kwaku Fortune!

While a lot of people think this is a fluffy friends to lovers story, there are some excellent and complex themes within the novel and I was so impressed. O’Leary considers toxic relationships, emotional abuse and wrongful imprisonment. She has a talent for weaving in these topics into a novel which ultimately made you feel both happy and more knowledgeable once finishing.

These characters felt very real, I cared about them and what was going on in their lives. There were points where I shouted out loud while reading because I was so invested in what was happening and where the different threads were going to go. For me, the audiobook was absolutely perfect it really added to the experience so I’d really recommend it.

I was wracking my brain while writing this for anything I would change and truly I don’t think I would change it. It’s a perfect mix of humour, romance and topics that make you think. Also I adored some of the side characters too, they really added to the novel and let us get to know Tiffy and Leon a lot better than just their impressions of each other.

It’s really no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary writes next. She’s got a real talent and it can only get better!

My September 2019 Book Haul!

Hello, hello, hello

After YALC back in July you might have thought my book buying/acquisition might have slowed down, you would be wrong. With the combination of my birthday and new releases I picked up a LOT of books in September and I wanted to share them with you all. Get ready it’s going to be a long one.

First up are books I won in a Twitter giveaway that arrived at the beginning on the month. The lovely Sara Barnard gave away all of the books she has written, they’re all signed an dedicated too which is super sweet. So I now have Goodbye Perfect, Fierce Fragile Hearts, Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder. These are all based around friendship which is super exciting and a few I’ve had on my list for a while.

I was also sent Sara’s collaborative book Floored along with other great YA authors. Next up are two buy one get one free buys, Heartstream a YA thriller that I bought alongside this months book club read Once Upon a River I’m not sure what to say about this one it’s kind of an adult mystery?

I also had my copy of The Only Plane In The Sky – The Oral History of 9/11 delivered, this book is full of accounts of 9/11 and I think it’s an important and interesting way to preserve what happened and the changes that the event caused.

I received 4 books for my birthday. The first up A Large Expanse of Sea from my parents which I’ve been meaning to pick up forever. I also received 2 books from my friend Charissa (along with a doughnut because, goals) The Confessions of Frannie Langton an adult mystery and Two Can Keep A Secret which I needed to read after McManus’s debut. I also received Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, I’ve heard great things about this online so I’m excited!

Ok, I’ll fess up I made two drunken purchases – I actually snuck off from a night out to buy books (maximum nerd points), which were It Never Rains and Life of the Party I just picked these up after reading the blurb, I have no idea if they’re going to be good but I’m hoping so.

My preorder of The Deathless Girls, a novel I’ve been keeping an eye out for about the brides of Dracula, perfect for Autumn. My next few books are from a trip to Foyles with my birthday money, because what else was I going to spend it on? I knew nothing about The Liar’s Daughter it’s about the aftermath of a young woman who grew up in a cult. I find these super interesting.

Can we take a second to appreciate the stunning cover of Ziggy, Stardust & Me a LGBTQ YA novel set in the 70s. I also finally picked up With The Fire On High which I’ve heard nothing but good things about. Also, Monday’s Not Coming is another I’ve heard a lot of good things about on BookTube. I was also given a copy of Archie 1941 for my birthday and I love it – I can’t wait to see others in this series.

P.S, I Love you is one of my favourite books so of course I ordered the sequel Postscript and I am so excited to see what Holly is up to now. I also love the film but for very different reasons. I also received a Waterstones gift card and picked up the graphic novel of Speak which has stunning artwork, even though I haven’t read the original book. I also bought City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab because she’s amazing.

And now I need to find a home for all of them, the floorboards definitely hate me right now!

Have you read any of these? What would you recommend? Let me know below.

What I Read In September 2019

It’s back to getting dark early and curling up with blankets which means my super charged reading months are coming! September, however, wasn’t my best reading month. I was crazy busy with work and birthday celebrations throughout September so audiobooks were my lifeline! I only finished 1 physical book in September which shows just how crazy busy things were! But let’s get into what I actually read.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Ah, Birdsong. What can I say about this book? It really wasn’t my cup of tea but it was my book club read so I had a bit of a struggle to get through.

I can appreciate why people do like this book but I didn’t like it. I felt it was too long and it could have been half the length and still made the point. I gave it 2.5 stars.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed By Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

This was an Audible deal that I purchased with the intent to listen to then I saw it on Lauren Wade’s YouTube channel and listened to it a bit sooner.

I thought this was an excellent read focusing on the women who were murdered by Jack The Ripper. This gave so much information on each woman, where they came from, how they grew up, changes in circumstances and a lot of myth busting. A 5 star read for me.

The Other Mother by Jen Brister

Audiobook number 2! The Other Mother was excellent and super funny. This followers Jen Brister’s experience being the ‘other mother’ in a same sex relationship and chronicles parenthood for her. A great laugh and really interesting read another 5 star read.

Sex, Power, Money by Sara Pascoe

Aaaand another audiobook (thank god for being able to buy extra credits on Audible). I really liked Sara’s first book Animal and so picked this up too. As well as being an excellent comedian Sara is also a great writer. This is really in depth and I learnt a lot from it. It was a 4.5 star read for me.

Archie 1941 – Mark Wade

I really enjoyed this one I got for my birthday. I like Archie comics and they’re putting Archie and the gang in different decades, this one did have a lot of heart behind it and I wish it had been longer! 4.5 stars from me.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artwork by Emily Carroll

I’ve heard a lot about Speak as a novel and it’s been one I wanted to get to and then I saw an early copy of the graphic novel at YALC this year and knew I wanted to read it in this format first. I didn’t regret it the words and illustration worked beautifully together and I still want to read the novel of Speak. A 5 star read for me.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With MeMariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

My friend got me this for my birthday. I’d heard a little bit about this being a graphic novel with great LGBT rep and added it to another list (I know, there are a lot of lists). This was a great read and surprised me in places. Seeing as there is a big 1 on the side I’m hoping this is the start of a series, another 5 star!

What did you read in September? Let me know in the comments below! 👇

Book Review: Her Royal Highness – Rachel Hawkins

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

I’ve been on a bit of a royalty kick this year with my reads starting with Rachel Hawkins first novel in this series Royals (now known as Prince Charming) and one of my favourites of the year Red White and Royal Blue. So I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was coming out and get ready to fall in love with this royal family all over again.

A female female hate to love romance about a princess and a boarding school, umm where have you been! I was just a little bit hyped up about reading this one and it definitely lived up to it.

While we first met Flora in Prince Charming as the spoilt sister of the future King of Scotland this is where we really get to know her but she’s not our main girl. Millie is an american in Scotland learning the ropes and trying to deal with the Princess, who does not want to be there.

This is absolutely adorable and it was good to see more depth to characters from the previous book, although you will understand this novel if you haven’t read Prince Charming. Hawkins has a talent for making her characters very real and complex.

Also it’s great to see some more bisexuality rep where the plot is not coming out as bisexual – more of this please! I’m hoping this is something we start seeing more in all fiction, not just YA.

Also, no spoilers but the ending – THE ENDING. My heart couldn’t cope.

I adored this book and gave it 5 stars – this is a binge read and I cannot recommend it enough. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Rachel Hawkins and checking out some of her other books.