Friday 25 February 2022

Blog Tour: Mark My Words by Muhammed Khan

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mark My Words by Muhammed Khan. This is a young adult story that puts important themes under its microscope. If you are looking for a short and thought-provoking read, I would look no further.


Fifteen-year-old Dua Iqbal has always had trouble minding her own business. With a silver-tongue and an inquisitive nature, a career in journalism seems fated. When her school merges with another to form an Academy, Dua seizes her chance and sets up a rival newspaper, exposing the controversial stories that teachers and the kids who rule the school would rather keep buried.

Dua's investigations are digging up things she shouldn't get involved with about family, friends and her community and as exams rattle towards her, she needs to make some hard decisions about when to leave things alone. But when she discovers that some kids at school are being blamed for selling drugs when the real perpetrator is right in front of their noses, she can't keep quiet any longer.

Mark My Words explores social inequality through the mixing of private school and state school teenagers. I was hooked early into the story by Dua, our main character, who fights to have her thoughts and opinions heard through her writing. This eventually leads her to start a school newspaper that aims to bring a voice to those who have not been given the opportunity to do so. Throughout the story, I enjoyed Dua's passion, relentless spirit, and courage to stand up for what she believes in. At points, I forgot that she was only fifteen years old! I would have loved my younger self to read this book and feel empowered by Dua's character and actions.

The writing style was rooted in pop culture references and slang. While at the beginning this took some getting used to, it did well setting the scene of a secondary school and the atmosphere of being back in the classroom.

This story feels very relevant to today's climate and tackles a wide range of themes including drug abuse, classism, racism, as well as family and friendship dynamics. They were used to flesh out the plot points as well as prompt character development. By the end, the story had shaped into something that felt very real and reflected the struggles a young person may indeed face in the world today. I would definitely read more by this author!

Links to find out more about this book can be found below.

Amazon UK
The Book Depository

Thank you Pan Macmillan for the invitation to be a part of the blog tour!

Thursday 17 February 2022

Blog Tour: The House of Sorrowing Stars by Beth Cartwright

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour celebrating the release of The House of Sorrowing Stars by Beth Cartwright. I had the absolute pleasure of reading this book before its release and once I picked it up, it was so very difficult to put down. If you are someone that likes stories written in a poetic style and feels like a fairytale, then read on for my review.


How do you heal a broken house?

First you unlock its secrets.

Alone on an island, surrounded by flowers that shine as dusk begins to fall, sits an old, faded house. Rooms cannot be rented here and visits are only for those haunted by the memory of loss.

When Liddy receives an invitation, she thinks there must be some mistake - she's never experienced loss. But with her curiosity stirred, and no other way to escape a life in which she feels trapped, she decides to accept.

Once there, she meets Vivienne, a beautiful, austere woman whose glare leaves Liddy unsettled; Ben, the reserved gardener; and Raphael, the enigmatic Keymaker. If Liddy is to discover her true purpose in the house, she must find the root of their sorrow - but the house won't give up its secrets so easily . . .

The House of Sorrowing Stars is a haunting yet mesmerising read that will stick with me for a long time. Through the poetic writing style coupled with magical realism elements, this book completely transports you into a world that feels historical with an edge of fantasy. The main setting is the House of Sorrowing Stars which is a place that helps those who have experienced loss in some way. Cartwright effortlessly brings this house to life to the point we believe it is a character in its own right. This story feels like a fairytale, which works beautifully for the story that it tells. We follow Liddy as she learns about the house, the real reason why she was invited there, and how she can help with the deep-rooted sorrow that lingers in its walls as well as its occupants. Reading this book felt like the most wonderful escape.

At its core, it explores themes of grief and loss, the different ways that can manifest in each of us, and how on a human level everyone deserves the chance to heal. It takes you on a journey of emotions as you learn more about those residing in the house in particular the owner of the house Vivien and her brother Raphael. While at times I felt deep heartache and despair for these characters, the story weaves in themes of forgiveness and love and leaves your heart feeling full. I cannot wait to reread this story to pick up on further details that I may have missed in my first read.

You can check out other stops on the blog tour to find out what others thought of this book!

Many thanks to Del Rey for gifting a proof copy for review.

Where to find The House of Sorrowing Stars by Beth Cartwright: