Half-and-Half Books: From ‘wow’ to ‘meh’ and back again

By Rosie Wiggins


I recently finished a book called The End of the World Running Club, which I picked up because I convince myself to exercise by pretending I’m surviving an apocalypse and need to train. True story.

After a powerful and truly horrific opening chapter, in which the apocalypse hits in real time and in full devastation, I was ready for a story that would change my life, blow my mind, clear my skin and water my plants. What I got was… not that. But it wasn’t not not that, either.

This is how to handle ‘Half-and-Half’ books: books that leave you gripping the pages with tension in one chapter but falling asleep in another, and flit between the two extremes for their entire run.

Minor spoilers below. 

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Review: The One Who Wrote Destiny by Nikesh Shukla

By Michelle Nathan


Another lucky acquisition from NetGalley, The One Who Wrote Destiny by Nikesh Shukla is a book I have been excited to read for a while now. This book is wonderful in many ways, but I especially loved how it made me feel connected to my family and Asian heritage while also reminding me, and consolidating a belief I already hold strongly, that no one person’s experience is the same. As a group, first generation Asian immigrants and their children have certain shared experiences, of course, but all of us have lived very different and individual lives as well. Shukla does an amazing job of balancing these two ideas of shared and individual experiences pretty much perfectly in this book – which is something that I go into (alongside much more!) in my full review below.


Short n’ Sweet Summary

The One Who Wrote Destiny shares the tales, dreams and heartbreaks of three generations of one family, weaving through time and space. We start with Mukesh, who has just moved from Kenya to Keighley, England, a hopeless romantic who has fallen for the desi girl across the road. Neha, his daughter, is dying of the same cancer that stole her mother’s life, and is looking for a logical reason behind the ‘big questions’, both craving and rejecting human connection all at once. Her brother, Raks, is a stand-up comedian, grieving for his twin sister’s death and trying to make sense of it through his humour. Ba is the twins’ grandmother, a woman who left England to escape the ghosts of her beloved family members, lost too soon. She doesn’t know what to do with two children who don’t even share her mother tongue, but maybe a connection can be forged through sugar rotlis.


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With the UK release of the film adaptation of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ just around the corner, we thought it was about time we posted our Book Club round up of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s book. A sci-fi adventure that has stood the test of time, being first published in 1962, the buds actually had pretty similar views on this month’s choice; it had a lot of potential, with it’s whimsical characters, imaginative setting and intriguing set-up, but unfortunately never quite packed the punches that it promised to deliver. Read on for our full discussion!

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Review: ‘The Illumination of Ursula Flight’ by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

By Michelle Nathan


Hello lovely Book Buds! I was lucky to receive an ARC of  ‘The Illumination of Ursula Flight’ by Anna-Marie Crowhurst from NetGalley, and had many thoughts and feelings about it (as per usual…!) Read on for the full review, and hope you enjoy 🙂



‘The Illumination of Ursula Flight’ is a vividly told, humorous, honest tale of a young girl’s journey towards becoming a playwright, and the hardships she faces along the way. Stuck in 17th Century England, a time where all that was expected of a girl of her status was to become an obedient wife and doting mother, Ursula Flight meets an actress by chance and starts dreaming of a bigger, brighter future. A passion for writing is ignited and has her scribbling plays in the margins of her diary and yearning to see the stages of a London playhouse. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and Ursula has to face down pompous suitors, dashing rogues and tragic times before the stars align and she’s given the chance to live her life on her own terms.

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Galentine’s Reading Recommendations 💖

First thing first, Happy Galentine’s Day (and Happy Pancake Day – what a great combination)! You may remember that Mim picked out a few of her fave female friendship focused reads last year on this most blessed day of Galentine’s, so this year I thought I have a go too. Like Mim, I ended up finding this way more of a struggle than I thought it would be! Female friendship is really underrepresented in adult fiction, where female characters are more often surrounded by a cast of men, whether they’re romantic interests or not. Children’s and YA lit seem to be a little more populous with gal pals – probably because their characters are less occupied with romantic partners or their co-workers in a male dominated workplace – but as I’m not a wide reader of either I’m going to stick to what I know and the few gems I have found.

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Recommend to a Friend – Ms Marvel Volumes 1 – 5

Hello friends! Today we’re trying out a new format called ‘Recommend to a Friend,’ where one Bud recommends something that they think another Bud will enjoy, and we see if it’s a match made in heaven or a hellish experience they’d rather forget (hopefully the former!) I lent my collection of ‘Ms Marvel’ comics (Volumes 1 – 5) to Elen and Kate, so let’s see how they fared with them!

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It’s now been over a year of Book Buds and to commemorate this  momentous occasion I decided to take another look at our first ever book club entry Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. As the original post makes clear this was far from my favourite of the books we’ve reviewed, however my biggest problem with Miss Peregrine was that I wanted to like it and felt the book kept wasting its potential. So one year removed from my frustrated ranting I decided to give Miss Peregrine a second chance. Did it manage to redeem itself? Find out below!

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BOOK CLUB: Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth

For our extra spoopy Halloween Book Club special, we all read the first volume of  ‘Spell on Wheels,’ a new comic book series about three young witches living and practising magic in America. In this story arc, their house is broken into, and various magical and sentimental items stolen, leading to a cross-country road trip to reclaim what is rightfully theirs and take down the thief before the thief takes THEM down. Let’s get crack-a-lackin!

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Literary Listography 2 – My Favourite Science Fiction

Hello friends! So for my second ‘Literary Listography’ post I’ve decided to write about my favourite science-fiction novels. Please note that these are my current favourite sci-fi picks, and they will probably change in the (near!) future, as I love the genre. From the novels set in space, with weird and wonderful alien species and wayward voyagers discovering new worlds, to the books with a more dystopian spin, which look at how technological and scientific advances could shape and affect humanity. You never know what you’re going to get with sci-fi, and that’s what I love about it!

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BOOK CLUB: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Welcome to our latest book club so far! (We’re gonna work on it guys) For September we read a classic adventure story Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. We follow our intrepid protagonist Jim Hawkins on a treasure hunt to a desert island during which he encounters pirates, maroons and lots and lots of treasure. This high seas tale created many of the pirate tropes we all recognise today and is probably best remembered for its villain the legendary Long John Silver. But does this classic live up to our expectations? Let’s find out!

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