The Taking of Annie Thorne – C.J. Tudor

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for this eARC.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is the second novel from C.J. Tudor. Tudor’s first novel, The Chalk Man, garnered rave reviews from Stephen King, Lee Child and Ruth Ware (a personal favourite author of mine), so I had very high hopes for this book.

Joe Thorne’s little sister, Annie, went missing when she was a child. After 48 hours, she returned, but she was different, and Joe found himself scared of her. Something happened to Annie while she was missing, but she won’t say what. Joe has an inclination that he knows, but it really is too terrible to think about.

25 years later, Joe returns to the village he grew up in. He has made some bad choices, and needs a place to lay low. With a teaching job at his old school, he hears of children unexpectedly changing, and he fears that whatever happened to Annie is happening again.

I read a lot of psychological thrillers, which is the primary genre this book has been listed as, but I feel that this is definitely more of a horror-thriller in part. I have read a few Stephen King books, but only very occasionally dip into horror, and very rarely into books about the supernatural, so this was quite a different style of book for me to read.

I felt that it took quite a large portion of the book before we actually got to the matter of Annie’s disappearance, and some of the beginning chapters were a bit slow. However, I was interested in the other story threads, and was aware that this was all important in the overall plot, so it didn’t have a huge impact on my overall enjoyment. I quickly came to realise that nothing in Tudor’s writing is a throwaway line, and nothing is unimportant in pulling together the story as a whole, so pay attention even if you can’t see where you’re heading! The last few chapters of this book seem to pass in breakneck speed, with so many twists and turns that I’d barely recovered from one before the next was upon me. Towards the end, I really couldn’t put it down.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read, and one I will be recommending.

4 out of 5 stars

The Taking of Annie Thorne will be published on 21 February 2019.

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Gwenna The Welsh Confectioner – Vicky Adin

Tour BannerWelcome to my stop on the blog tour for Gwenna The Welsh Confectioner by Vicky Adin. Today, I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a print copy of the book, so be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

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Publication Date: 24 July 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Against overwhelming odds, can she save her legacy?

Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road Gwenna Price is troubled. For all her youth, she is now the master confectioner in the family business since her father died. She promised to fulfil her Pa’s dreams and open a shop, but with her domineering and incompetent stepbrother Elias in charge, the operation is on the brink of collapse.
In an era when women were expected to stay at home, Gwenna is a plucky young woman with uncommon ambition. She is determined to save her legacy. Despite the obstacles put in her way, and throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is irrepressible. She refuses to relinquish her dreams and lets nothing stand in her way. Blind to anything that distracts her, Gwenna risks losing the one person that matters most.

Inspired by a true story, Gwenna is a fascinating insight into life in Auckland at the turn of the 20th century.

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An absorbing read. This fast-paced novel once again demonstrates the author’s trademark flair for telling great historical stories.”

“Adin is a master of her craft. Gwenna, the confectioner; charming, irrepressible and utterly unforgettable. A must read for those who love historical fiction.”

Awarded a BGS Gold Quality Mark – “This is a wonderfully well written, constructed, and edited book. The story moves along at a good pace and the reader is pulled into the world and time in the first chapter.”

Excerpt

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Auckland New Zealand

1900

With a start, she leapt out of bed and, grabbing her dressing gown, hurried towards the hallway. Before she’d taken three paces her head started spinning and nausea rose from her stomach. She slumped to the floor by the door jamb, trying to take deep breaths and gather her senses.

“Johnno,” she called, then again louder, but received no response. She willed herself to be still and quiet her breathing, straining to hear any movement. Anything, but no sounds reached her ears. Her heart was beating so hard she could feel it pounding and echoing in her ears. She pulled herself to her feet and, holding onto the wall, made her way down the dark, wood-panelled hallway leading to the kitchen at the back.

The early morning sun seeped in through the grimy window; an errant thought she’d have to clean it drifted through her mind as her eyes searched for evidence she wasn’t alone. Any sign. Anything to quell the mounting terror, but she found nothing. No signs. No note. No fire in the range. She’d never been this alone before.

Shaking, and with the queasiness mounting, she opened the back door, ran down the steps and across the grass to the outhouse before she realised she was barefoot. The stench emptied her stomach in seconds.

Wiping her mouth on her sleeve, she tiptoed back across the grass, her feet now sensitive to every stone and foreign object in her path, and into the dimness of the house. Her teeth started to chatter, despite the warmth of the morning, as she stood by the door surveying the room. Clamping her jaw tight, she folded her arms across her body trying to calm her nerves while her mind listed what she should do next.

The square wooden table was as she’d left it last night, so the men hadn’t had any breakfast. The hamper she’d packed for them had gone, so they’d not go hungry. Although why she should worry about whether they’d eaten or not when there were more immediate things to worry about, she couldn’t explain.

Light the fire. At least then she could have a cup of tea. That might help calm her. As soon as she moved the dizziness came on her again; she reached for a chair and sat down, scared she would faint. And then what? How long would she lie there before someone found her? The quivering and shaking started again.

Sunlight shining into the room highlighted its dinginess. The sagging scrim-lined walls, yellowed with age and darkened with soot from the fire, closed in on her. Despite her meagre efforts, ingrained dirt still lay on every surface. Doorknobs wouldn’t turn, window catches wouldn’t shut, and the cracked and broken floorboards let the vermin in. She loathed the place, but she felt so weak and shaky at the moment she doubted she had the strength to do anything about it.

How she would tackle the outhouse on her own she had no idea, and the thought of carrying the water from the rainwater tank up the steps at the back seemed impossible. Johnno had done that for her. Tears fell as she contemplated her lot. They would have to get out of here before winter – before the baby was born. She couldn’t, just couldn’t live here any longer. Giving way to her unbearable gloom, she laid her head on her arms and sobbed.

She must have dozed off because when she next stirred pins and needles prickled her arm and her back ached. She stretched, easing her strained muscles, and this time she did light the fire. Johnno had left a pile of kindling, a basket of logs and a scuttle of coal for her.

Sipping on a cup of tea, she weighed up her options, her mind spinning with questions to which she had few answers.

Should she stay here, not knowing how long Johnno would be away? Could she introduce herself to the neighbour so she’d have someone to talk to? But her strength had deserted her in the last few days. She’d never felt so weak. She didn’t know if she could walk the good half-mile to the nearest house.

And where were the shops? Johnno had collected what she’d needed when he’d taken the wagon out last time. Could she walk to the village to get fresh food?

Should she go to Bethan? She was sure her stepmother would be more than pleased to take her in, but Gwenna couldn’t risk upsetting the precarious balance that existed between Bethan and Elias right now.

Should she go to Tillie? Her sister had enough to do, with her expanding girth and seeing to Charlie as well as caring for Tom who had his job. She was sure Tillie would welcome her in, but she couldn’t put her in such a difficult position.

So, she was back to staying here – alone.

Every fibre in her body screamed, ‘No!’

But stay she did.

Her father’s words kept echoing in her head. “Gwenna, bach. We can do anything we put our mind to.”

It was the argument he’d used when they’d moved to the Valleys to live with the Hughes family in the first place. He used the same argument after Owen was killed and he married Bethan and rose to be head of the household. He’d said the same thing over and over to push his argument about coming to New Zealand. Pa had had such hope.

At first, thoughts of her father deflated Gwenna’s spirits further. If he hadn’t died, life would be so different, but then her mood lightened. Pa said she could do anything. She just had to get on with it.

From somewhere in the centre of her being, she would find the strength. She had to. She placed her hands over her stomach. “I don’t know who you will be yet, but you are Pa’s grandchild and that means something. You are the future. For your sake, I will fulfill Pa’s dreams. I will.”

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About the Author

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Multi-award winning historical fiction author, Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words.

After decades of research Vicky has combined her skills to weave family stories and history together in a way that brings the past to life.

Fascinated by the 19th Century women who undertook hazardous journeys to find a better life, Vicky draws her characters from real life stories: characters such as Brigid, the Irish lacemaker and Gwenna, the Welsh confectioner, or Megan who discovers much about herself when she traces her family tree in The Cornish Knot.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and enjoys travelling. Her writing has been compared to that Catherine Cookson.

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I Love YA Mega Blitz

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If YA is your jam, then I have good news! Today, we are celebrating four amazing YA books, and the talented authors behind them. There will be exclusive excerpts and wonderful prizes to win, so be sure to read on!

As an added bonus, all four books will be available to book reviewers in exchange for honest reviews. Contact Shannon @ R&R Book Tours to find out how you can get your hands on a review copy.

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the gemini connection coverThe Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

Publication Date: 7th June 2018

Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Dystopian

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

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Excerpt

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Ugly. That was the first word that came to mind. Deadly was next.

The twisted creation was courtesy of a new client, a scientist. The nightmare had been tormenting him for the past couple of weeks.

The monster stood roughly fifteen feet tall, walked on two legs, and stretched two muscled arms in front of it, but its elongated head was a grotesque combination of goat and demon. Treacherous horns protruded from either side of its skull, torso, and upper thighs, making it difficult for anyone to get close to the beast. Not that we especially wanted to, but it was part of a Bender’s job requirement to eradicate nightmares. So, we took up battle positions—Syd to its right, me to its left—crouched in anticipation of this formidable creature’s attack.

“I’ll go high, you go low,” I called to Syd. Besides a hideous appearance, the goat thing screeched like a deranged bird, and we strained to hear each other, even with the com units.

“Got it, Evan.” She unsheathed a ten-inch dagger from her utility belt, the silver blade glinting in the eerie cast of yellow-green light in this nightmare-scape. Being somewhat vertically-challenged (she hated it when I said short), Syd might not look intimidating, but give the girl a knife and she was absolutely lethal. The creature’s leg tendons would be sliced to ribbons in seconds.

Syd dived to the creature’s right, spinning and coming up behind it, as she avoided an angry kick to her head. She carved into its left limb, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek.

I withdrew an iron mallet from my own belt and catapulted myself off the wall, soaring over the goat-demon and landing a blow to the left side of its skull. Its head jerked in my direction when I came down on its other side. The sharpened tip of the horn caught the left side of my rib cage, and a warm flow of blood seeped through my shirt. Wouldn’t be the first time I’d walked away from a nightmare with a permanent scar.

Syd scrambled around its legs, careful not to be trampled. Her dagger was a silver blur as she slashed the gray-haired appendages, the goat-demon staggering in its efforts to avoid her blade.

The ground was wet—possibly blood. But with dream or nightmare creations, you couldn’t be sure. Because this thing’s creator was a scientist, they tended to more detail-oriented. Odds leaned in the blood direction.

The light around us took on a red hue. Did the ambient illumination correlate to the creature’s anger level? If yellow-green meant annoyed, did red mean take no prisoners?

-The Gemini Connection

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About the Author

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Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

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dear janeDear Jane by Marina DelVecchio

Publication Date: 3rd January 2019

Genre: YA/ Coming of Age

Kit Kat is a fifteen-year-old adoptee who writes letters to her favorite literary character, Jane Eyre, as a means of surviving a violent childhood in Greece and a harrowing adoption in New York that requires her to silence her memories and her voice. In writing letters to Jane, Kit Kat discovers a connection to literature that saves her life. Dear Jane is about family, love, forgiveness, and the power of a good book.

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Excerpt

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For the next two weeks that I was in possession of your story, it was as if someone had seen me, claimed me. I had a sister, a mother, an aunt, a place in which I was loved and understood and cared for. I was connected to something solid and real, for even if the story wasn’t real, a real woman had written it, had understood the pain that comes with being rejected and lonely; the angst that comes with being a girl severed from her roots and family.

-Dear Jane

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About the Author

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Marina DelVecchio is a college professor of literature and women’s studies and lives in North Carolina with her family. Her work can be found online at Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Tishman Review, Her Circle Ezine, and The New Agenda.

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Version 3Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4) by Hannah R. Goodman

Publication Date: 5th July 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman has always coped with anxiety by immersing herself into the latest self-help book. Then her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, and she spirals so far downward that she almost risks losing everything she holds dear.

From applying to college to solving the mystery of why she detests jelly doughnuts to writing a novel for her senior project and reconnecting with an old flame (or two), the ever-mounting stress leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers what she needs in order to really live.

If your heart has ever hurt from beating widely, whether from anxiety or love, this book is the one to read.

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Excerpt

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“I need to be with Bubbie. I want to be there every day. When she is sick or tired. When she needs help.” I take breath. “I will stay and take care of Bubbie and go to school in January.”

“I don’t like this idea,” Mom says.

Dad sips his coffee instead of gulps. “I don’t know if the deferment is a good idea or not,” he says. “But staying in California for that long? I think it’s sweet to want to stay and care of Bubbie, but what else will you be doing?” He looks at my mom.

Then Mom explodes. “Stan, she is not deferring.” Finally, she looks at me. “You are not deferring. I’m calling Emerson tomorrow to straighten this out.”

This is so ridiculous. When are they going to get it? I stand up. “You know what? This is crazy. I’ve been losing sleep and getting all panicky again over this for the past few weeks and for what? For what reason? Fear of disappointing you? And now here I am full-blown disappointing you both and I did not fall apart or die. I am still here. And so are you guys.” I think of Susan’s opening lines to her speech. Welcome to the last day of childhood. “I’m an adult now, Mom. You guys have to let me make my decisions, without trying to guilt me into doing what you want.” And with that, I walk my adult self out of the living room, and they don’t follow.

-Till It Stops Beating

About the Author

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Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, those were all were self-published. This time around, publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating in July, 2018. Literary Titan’s review praised Till It Stops Beating for “tackling a difficult issue like anxiety and making a story that was funny and sweet without making light of the issue.” Hannah is a member of ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.

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a step away coverA Step Away by G. Randy Kasten

Publication Date: 7th February 2019

Genre: YA Thriller

Three friends, Brianna, Sean, and Robert, happen across a body buried in their neighborhood.

Because a police investigation might reveal that the trio is connected to a stolen motor, and that Sean’s mother was having a relationship with a neighbor, the three friends decide they must solve the apparent murder before contacting authorities.

In the process, they sneak into a house, befriend a vigilant neighbor with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and develop a friendship with a kind, older man.

Brianna becomes convinced that clues point to Sean’s father and realizes their detective work is doing more harm than good.

She makes tough choices that affect families and friendships.

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Right below the pipe, a human hand and wrist poked out from the dirt, its flesh partly rotted away. The fingers pointed at us.

I let out a panicked yell identical to Robert’s but stood frozen. A hot, prickly feeling crawled up my back as Sean as shouted to Robert. “You okay, Robber?” When Robert murmured a response, Sean scrambled down to the creek. “Cover it up!” he demanded as he went, pointing at me. “Cover it back up!”

“We can’t just…” I started.

“Cover it up!” Sean was bending over, one hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Just do it!”

I shoveled dirt and leaves at the void, breathing as little as possible and only glancing occasionally at the rotted appendage sticking out at me. Each scoop of crumbly soil slid back down, so finally I started stomping on it to get it to stay, right on top of the hand. I felt as if I was pressing down on something evil. Trying to keep it back. After a minute, Sean stood next to me working with Robert’s abandoned shovel. With his head turned away from the hole, he didn’t help much.

Robert sat where he was, letting out little wails every now and then. It wasn’t a sound like the pain of a sprained ankle or something. It was more like the desperate moans of someone who’d forgotten how to talk.

Once we managed to get the hand covered, we scrambled down the bank, grabbed Robert by his arms, then half carried him and the tools back to the workshop we’d taken over from Sean’s dad. After breathing the rotten stench of the creek, I barely noticed Robert’s smell and couldn’t get that image of the decaying hand out of my mind.

We set Robert down in one of the beaten-up old armchairs we’d dragged in there, then sank down ourselves, panting. The hot prickly feeling was still crawling all over me. Sean and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then away. Robert stared at the floor.

I’d never seen a real skeleton — or a dead body – before. The tuna sandwich I’d eaten an hour earlier seemed to be on a climb back up. I imagined the scene once we called the sheriff; Sean’s parents would arrive home to a flock of cop cars in the driveway. Maybe there’d be a coroner’s van. They’d love driving into that mess.

Then things went from bad to worse. Sean leaned forward and pointed one finger at me and one at Robert. “We can’t tell anyone about this.”

Robert peered out from under the layer of the coarse black hair fallen in front of his eyes. “But Sean, somebody buried a body.”

“We know that, Robert,” Sean snapped. His nasty scowl reminded me of his father. “But nobody else is going to know that.”

“Why not?” that high voice again. “That body where it is, it’s not by accident.”

Sean turned to me, “Brianna, you know why we can’t tell anyone.” Like he was pleading with me. “You know.”

-A Step Away

About the Author

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After some childhood acting and living in England for a year, I graduated from Reed College, then attended law school. As a litigator in California and Washington State for thirty years, I learned a great deal about what people really want, and also how humor helps in tough situations.

Writing remains my main interest. I am the author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in the World of Spin (Quest Books, 2011), a book about discerning truth from appearances. My young adult novel, A Step Away, will be published by Black Rose in 2019.

I have also written a couple of short plays, which were performed at a local theatre in Marin County, CA. The Ribbons Agency is a nearly completed satirical book about the arduous task of securing a literary agent. On a more serious note, I am working on a non fiction book that presents a unique, logical reason to believe that greater international peace is inevitable.

A resident of San Francisco’s east bay for most of my life, I have lived along Hood Canal (a fjord and part of Puget Sound) in Washington State for the past three years. I’m still adapting to the weather, though it keeps me inside and productive most of the year. When not writing, I’m enjoying the outdoors or playing improvisational piano.

G. Kasten

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Poppy’s Recipe for Life – Heidi Swain

Today I am thrilled to be able to share with you all the beautiful cover for Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain, which will be released on 30 May 2019 (available for pre-order now!).

Treat yourself to a glorious novel full of food, sunshine, friendship and love

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.

She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for.

The Last Mrs Parrish – Liv Constantine

Daphne has the perfect life. Married to the wealthy Jackson Parrish, she has everything she could possibly want: a beautiful house, staff to cater to her every whim, and a wardrobe full of designer clothes. When she meets Amber, she decides to take the younger girl under her wing, and Amber starts to become a substitute for the sister that Daphne lost.

But all is not quite as it seems to Daphne. In fact, she has been targeted by Amber, who believes she is more deserving of the luxury lifestyle. Can Amber infiltrate Daphne’s life enough to steal Jackson and his wealth from her? Or will Amber’s past catch up with her and ruin her plans?

This book is split into three sections; first from Amber’s viewpoint, then Daphne’s, with the third used to tie everything up. I enjoyed Amber’s section very much, as this laid the groundwork for everything that was to come. Once I got to Daphne’s section, I originally found that the story slowed down quite a lot, and it was hard for me to keep reading. A lot of this section was also quite repetitive. The final section did tie things up, but it all felt a bit thrown together.

There were a few inconsistencies throughout the story, and I wonder if this is a result of having two writers. A slightly better edit might have saved them here.

3 stars out of 5

The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters – Nadiya Hussain

Thanks to NetGalley and HQ Stories for the ARC of The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain.

Following on from The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters continues with the story of Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae. Fatima is struggling with a difficult pregnancy; Farah’s husband Mustafa has recovered from his accident but is suffering with mood swings, and the couple have been unable to conceive; Bubblee is finding herself increasingly unable to produce artwork that she is happy with; and Mae is heading off to start her new life at university. When their mum comes up with an idea for Farah to have a baby, the family must consider this breach of tradition. When tragedy strikes once more, can the sisters pull together to rise again?

I really enjoyed The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, so I had high hopes for this sequel. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me. What I liked most about the first book was the way it was told in the first person by each sister in turn; this book is totally different, being told in the third person. That immediately made it harder to connect with the characters. Where I really liked the characters in the first book, I found them very unlikeable for the most part this time around. The story centres on Farah and Bubblee, and I found these two to be the hardest to like, with sweet-natured Fatti and comedy-element Mae taking much more of a backseat. There were a couple of moments where the story came to life, but then we were whisked off to another time or place too quickly too really enjoy the effects. I did, though, enjoy the overall story, and it was a nice quick read.

Overall, this was a reasonable book, but had this been the first in the series, I wouldn’t have bothered with the sequel.

3 stars out of 5

The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters will be published on 24 January 2019.

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters – Nadiya Hussain

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters tells the story of Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae. All of the sisters assume the others are happy, but each of them is facing their own problems. Fatima has always felt that she doesn’t fit in; Farah is desperate to be a mother; Bubblee is trying to break away from family tradition and make it as an artist in London; and Mae is navigating social media stardom with a following of 11,000 subscribers on YouTube. When tragedy hits the family, the sisters have to pull together to get through, and they find out a lot about each other – and themselves – at the same time.

I really liked Nadiya Hussain on the Great British Bake Off, but I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book. When I saw that Ayisha Malik acted as a consultant, I knew I had to read it, as I loved her novel Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. I’m so glad I gave it a try, as I really enjoyed it. The story is told from the viewpoints of all four sisters, swapping between them chapter-by-chapter. Their narratives weren’t really distinct enough to be distinguishable without the prompt at the beginning of the chapter, but this didn’t matter much. All of the sisters had positives and negatives, and because the reader is looking either through their eyes, or the eyes of their siblings, it fosters a real familiarity.

This book had such warmth and humour that I can’t wait to revisit the Amir family and get stuck into the sequel, The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters.

5 stars out of 5