YA MUM by Ben Tallon

YA MUM and other stories from the backstreets of Britain

A strange little yellow book full of strange scenarios that every single one of us can relate to in some way.

Ya Mum is short vignette style stories that give a sense of art and deeper thought to everyday occurrences that are always seen but often ignored. 

From dumped shopping trolleys to a lonesome shoe. Social distancing in Morrisons to an unpleasant discovery in a pub toilet. 

Armed with the perils of hangovers and dubiously stained mattresses, author Ben Tallon sees our world a little differently. He sees beyond the basics, he turns the arse-end of British life into something story-worthy. 

I see this book as a ‘loo book’ or stocking filler. A book that you find yourself reading out of morbid curiosity, nodding in agreement and surprise at just how relevant it is. 

It’s a strange little yellow book, and I recommend it for shits and giggles. It offers a perspective of this crappy world with its crappy people that’s nothing quite like yours.

About the author:

Ben Tallon is a writer, illustrator and host of Arrest All Mimics podcast. He grew up laughing at farts in Keighley, West Yorkshire and is fascinated by the dirty underbelly of British culture.

Thank you to author Ben Tallon for sending me a signed copy.

Bunny by Mona Awad

‘We call them Bunnies because that is what they call each other. Seriously. Bunny.’

I’m a bit all over the place with this book. I’d call it a ‘yo-yo read’. It’s sickly sweet, ugly pretty, cutely foul and oddly addictive. I was up and down throughout, with awkward ‘do I even like this’ moments. On numerous occasions I was indeed loving it in all its twisted hilarity.

Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at Warren University. In fact, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort – a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other ‘Bunny’.

But then the Bunnies issue her with an invitation and Samantha finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door, across the threshold, and down their rabbit hole.

Bunny was an unusual choice for me as it’s got Young Adult/Fantasy genre written all over it – not my usual choice. But this book feels like it not only blends genres, but bends them too. Into very uncomfortable positions.

⤴️You can treat yourself to this Bunny Zone sign for your wall/garden/bedroom/dustbin area by clicking on the sign!

It’s as funny as hell in places and has a fair few horrific scenes. On Goodreads someone described it as ‘one of the most demented books I’ve ever read’. I dig a bit of weirdness in my books, so my FOMO got the better of me!

I’m a member of The Ladies of Horror Fiction Group on Goodreads and there was a choice of books for September to vote for. Bunny won, so I thought, oh why not, let’s do it! I’m glad I did, but I’m still not sure I even liked it much!

I’m in the UK and the story is American, so I found certain things that I didn’t connect with. The education system in the USA is something I know nothing about. Also certain pop culture went over my head, so perhaps things were a bit lost on me.

The quirky characters were cracking, the humour was dark and dry, it was shockingly funny on countless occasions. It was written in such a way that is felt ‘chatty’ and flowed from page to brain* very easily.

*whilst mashing it up repeatedly.

The Sunday Independent quotes it as ‘Mean Girls with added menace’ and I completely agree.

At three quarters through I felt it was just playing with me. My feelings went from ‘this is weird’ to this is ‘REALLY effing weird’. Then ‘it’s so hilarious but still weird.’ Then ‘uh-oh, I’m getting a bit bored of the repetitive bits in the middle here.’ And the final part was just ‘whaaat??? – I’m not sure I even ‘get it!’

Talk about rollercoaster! It’s like nothing I’ve read before ever. But I think I liked it.

Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? I would, yes. But it’s definitely not for everyone. Maybe it would sit better with an American reader, and certainly would be more appreciated by someone twenty years younger than myself.

Apparently the rights are sold to AMC for a possible TV-film adaptation. I think it would be better on screen, I’d watch it, but only because I’ve read it.

It comes across as a weird, fantastical teen/YA story, with elements of horror that is cleverly put together. I enjoyed the characters and their strange behaviours, the writing was extremely good but overall I’d say it is an above average ‘Bunny Tail’ deserving of 3/5 bunnies.

I’ll leave you with a couple of lines which made me pull a right dodgy face;

‘A pause so pregnant it delivers, consumes its own spawn, then grows big with child again.’

‘She looks at us all in her probing, intensely gynaecological way.’

Urgh! That’s just ‘orrible!!

Here is the news…

A Two Ronnies-esque play on book titles Blogpost. Here’s some of my favourite Indie Publishers combined with some books that are on my shelves in a special bookish ‘News Flash’. With a final shout out to a fabulous online book shop.

Good morning/afternoon/evening. Here is the news 🤓 🤓

Photo courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper. Obviously.

Today’s top stories:

News just in! There’s been a report from a couple of local ladies about a sighting of something unusual in their back garden.

Our reporter has just informed us that they said they’ve spotted what appears to be a BLUE MOOSE wandering around, eating their carrots. They said ‘WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE and usually it’s a BUNNY that steals our produce. We don’t know what to think during these strange times anymore.’

Our next story is focusing on the ridiculous amount of books that Lisa from OwlBeSatReading has accumulated over the last few months.

When interviewed she said ‘I don’t know how it gets like this. There seems to be an INFLUX of great authors at the moment, I end up in some kind of book LABYRINTH, struggling to find a way out! I often blame OTHERS but I know for certain I just get the HORNS for new books.’

Next an exclusive story, perhaps to take with a pinch of SALT. The theory behind ‘second breakfasts’.

Although small in stature, we spoke to a group of men (?) about their lives and how it evolves around mealtimes.

One, who wishes to remain anonymous said, ‘you can simply call me Mr HOBBIT, as I don’t want to bring unnecessary attention to us all as we’re on a secret journey at the moment. But I will say there’s never a time when we’re not FAMISHED. You could say we’re bounders really, but we’re certainly not UNBOUND!’

When questioned further, he said ‘we’re going there and back again, that’s all I’m willing to disclose at this stage’.

More on that story later.

Our next bulletin has had a few locals very perplexed. A new housing estate has recently been built and some have experienced a lot of ‘strange goings on’. Here’s EMMA, who lives opposite WUTHERING HEIGHTS to tell our reporter more.

‘I was pegging out my washing early one morning when I caught something in the corner of my eye. I’m no fan of ancient religions, big or SMALL GODS for that matter, but I am convinced I saw A MODERN FAMILY getting into their car and one of their kids was wearing A HEAD OF ZEUS!’

Our reporter asked to look from where she saw this bizarre occurrence and pointed over to her SANDSTONE patio, saying ‘my washing line is strung between those TWO TOWERS, so it’s a good viewpoint. I’ve set up CCTV because I think I’m going mad’.

We’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.

And finally, as we bring today’s report to a close, bringing you a MYRIAD of bookish oddities, I’d like to end with this lovely story.

Our final article is a heartwarming story about a pile of books found by a chap who’s had an unlikely escape from who knows where. He goes by the name Uriah. URIAH HEEP.

He was in the park walking his dog last Tuesday when he stumbled across a stack of books all wrapped up in a lovely red bow! Uriah tells us more.

‘I remember seeing a postcard in the local post office from a bloke called Bert who’d sadly mislaid some books and he’d be keen on getting them back. Apparently they were for his friend Rose. They may of been for ROSEMARY’S BABY as she’d recently had a wee nipper. Anyway, I’m so happy I could be the bearer of good tidings, I took great pleasure in returning BERTS BOOKS’.

So that brings us to the end of today’s news. Thank you for joining us.

It’s a goodnight from me and a goodnight from him. GOODNIGHT.

Acronyms #2 – Or, translation to English of my previous post.

So I’ve been getting so many questions asking me what on earth I was waffling on about on yesterday’s post Acronyms – Or WTF does that stand for?

(I haven’t at all, in fact one person has shown a bit of intrigue, mainly trying to fathom out what I had for dinner. You know who you are. EVA, from Novel Deelights!! 😂)

So, just to milk it within an inch of its life, here’s the translation you’ve all been desperately waiting for.

I’ve read LORD OF THE RINGS, WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE DA VINCI CODE, ANGELS AND DEMONS and THE LOST SYMBOL by DAN BROWN. But I’ve not got around to reading ORIGIN yet, his latest one.

I haven’t read, and I don’t think I would read A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES or TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. They’re not really my genre choice, which would explain why I didn’t have the foggiest!

I listen to ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE, ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, GUNS AND ROSES, IRON MAIDEN, and FLEETWOOD MAC, but wasn’t overly keen on NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK back in the day.

For dinner tonight I’m making PORK CHOPS and HAGGIS with POTATOES and MIXED VEGETABLES. And don’t forget the all important PEPPER SAUCE. My mans Scottish, so HAGGIS is a regular meal staple in my house.

Whilst creating my culinary masterpiece I shall be sipping a VODKA AND DIET COKE, (I actually had 4. Oops 😬) but I’m also a bit partial to the odd GIN AND TONIC. My all time favourite tipple has got to be RED WINE though.

TO ALL THE WINE I’VE DRUNK BEFORE,

This GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT is for you.

As a teenager I fell in love and sent letters to my hearts desire SEALED WITH A LOVING KISS 💋💋✉️💋💋

Intrigued, interested or just darn right annoyed by my acronyms and would like to know WHAT THE FUCK I’m on about?

Comment below and I’ll let you know what things stand for. Or don’t bother. DO I LOOK LIKE I GIVE A FUCK?

Until next time,

TALK TO YOU LATER

HAPPY ACRONYM-FREE WEEKEND EVERYONE!!

Acronyms – Or, WTF does that stand for?

Firstly, I’d like to thank these three lovely ladies for the inspiration to create this blog post. Had it not been for our Twitter conversation yesterday regarding a certain ‘must read’ list that’s been doing the rounds, I would never of thought of this!

Kelly, @kellyvandamme who blogs over at frombelgiumwithbooklove.com

Eva, @noveldeelights who blogs over at noveldeelights.com

Emma, @damppebbles who blogs over at damppebbles.com

Check them out on Twitter and maybe give their blogs a follow, they’re great bookish fun!!

OK, so the conversation we were having started because none of us had read hardly any of the ‘must read books‘ on said list. In fact, we’d read none of them. Nowt. Zilch. Zero.

So this list that you may or may not be aware of gets sent by DM on Twitter and the recipients answers look a bit like this:

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

DNF’ed

No

No

Only book 1

Etc,etc….in fact there’s 23 answers in total.

And if you want to know what’s on the list, you comment with an emoji and it gets DM’ed to you. And so it continues.

Anyway, a couple of these ‘must read’ books have well known acronyms apparently. Just because the titles are a bit on the long side. However, me being me, as in, I’m old and so not with it, had no idea what they stood for.

I guess we’re all guilty of cutting corners, for the sake of saving a little bit of time and acronyms for book titles really are nothing new.

After all, I’ve read LOTR, WHALITC, THOHH, PBFH, and LTROI.

I thoroughly enjoyed TDVC, AAD and TLS by DB. But I’ve not got around to reading O yet, his latest one.

I haven’t read, and I don’t think I would read ACOTAR or TATBILB. They’re not really my genre choice, which would explain why I didn’t have the foggiest!

I listen to AFKAP, ELO, GNR, IM, FM but wasn’t overly keen on NKOTB back in the day.

For dinner tonight I’m making PC and H with P and MV. And don’t forget the all important PS. My mans Scottish, so H is a regular meal staple in my house.

Whilst creating my culinary masterpiece I shall be sipping a V&DC. But I’m also a bit partial to the odd G&T. My all time favourite tipple has got to be RW though.

TATWIDB. This GIF is for you.

As a teenager I fell in love and sent letters to my hearts desire SWALK.

Intrigued, interested or just darn right annoyed by my acronyms and would like to know WTF I’m on about? Comment below and I’ll let you know what things stand for. Or don’t bother. DILLIGAF.

Until next time,