Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure

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Title – Mayhem

Author –  Estelle Laure

Publication – July 14th, 2020.

Publisher – Wednesday Book

Genre – Supernatural, Mystery & Young Adult Fiction

A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

“Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure. Its original, compelling, and a little bit rock-n-roll, and reading it will leave you feeling deliciously wicked.”

I have no idea what The Lost Boys is all about and I vaguely remember The Craft, and Wilder Girls is on my TBR, this means reading this book was meant to be entirely new for me, but it wasn’t so because it kept giving me Doctor Sleep, the 2019 movie vibes. I didn’t completely read the blurb but I was sold because I knew magic was involved: The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.

The story is told in a style that is letter-like, which made gave it a more personal and endearing touch. And as I have come to expect from books published by Wednesday Books, Mayhem comes with a storyline that is heavy…serial killer, suicide, murder, mental and physical abuse.

When Mayhem was a just kid, her mother fleed their home in Santa Maria to escape from all that was haunting her and thirteen years later, they’re ready to go back home and attempt to mend all that has been broken and taken from them.

Bring in her aunt Elle and her three foster kids, Jason, Kidd and Neve who she legally wants to adopt, right on Mayhem can tell there’s something not right about them as they’re cloaked in mystery, but as time passes it starts unravelling until she’s clued into her family history.

Mix in the serial killer in the background, the family drama between Mayhem and her mother Roxy, the drama between her and the foster kids and the terrible things seemingly normal men do to ladies behind closed doors this book was quite lax in the pacing which left me feeling disconnected after a while, which just made me want to finish the book only to see how the story was going to end.

Despite all these and the heavy subjects being highlighted in the book, it’s quite an easy read and a good way to pass through time with beautiful writing.

Lara Kareem

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Book Review: Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Title – Jane Anonymous

Author –  Laurie Faria Stolarz 

Publication – January 7th, 2020.

Publisher – Wednesday Book

Genre – Thriller, & Young Adult Fiction

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

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Book Review: Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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Title – Manchester Happened

Author – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Publication – May 23rd, 2019.

Publisher – One World Publications

Genre – Short Story Collection & Ugandan Fiction

An ambitious and assured collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed author of Kintu

If there’s one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi’s stories know, it’s how to field a question.

‘Let me buy you a cup of tea… what are you doing in England?’

‘Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?’

‘Did you know that man Idi Amin?’

But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: ‘You mean this is England?’

Told with empathy, humour and compassion, these vibrant, kaleidoscopic stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling, polyphonic collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong.

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole that is Bully Romance.

It started with a twitter thread about a high school bully romance The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich and I was intrigued because I love reading enemies-to-lovers stories…I didn’t know getting my hands on this book would set me on a dangerous path down the world of bully romance that can be alarmingly dark at times and I haven’t really reflected on what that says about me because I read them.

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