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.

WWW Wednesdays! 7 Oct 2020 #wwwwednesdays

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

Hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three W’s are:
📖 What are currently reading?
📖 What have you finished reading?
📖 What will you read next?

I’m currently reading and REALLY enjoying Hag : Forgotten Folktales Retold. It’s a compilation of traditional folk tales by some cracking women writers like Daisy Johnson, Kirsty Logan and Irenosen Okijie. It’s part of my spooky season October reads.

Staying with spooky reads, I finished reading Famished by Anna Vaught. A dark collection of short stories with food and feasting as the main theme. It’s on my best of 2020 shelf on Goodreads and has pride of place next to my (slowly growing) Shirley Jackson collection. You can read my 5 star review HERE.

Next in line, is creepy horror collection Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium by a variety of horror authors including Sarah Budd, Morgan K Tanner and Tim Lebbon. It’s introduction is written by horror legend Ramsey Campbell and I can’t wait to get stuck in! All proceeds from the purchase of this ebook go to Covid-19 research here in the UK, so it was a no-brainer to buy this for Halloween!

So there we have it! As you can see, I’m very much into short story collections at the moment. I like how I can get the satisfaction of a whole story without committing too much time to each one.

💀 🎃 👻 🎃 💀 🎃 👻 🎃 💀 🎃 👻

Famished by Anna Vaught ~ A Recipe Blogpost Review

‘In this dark and toothsome collection, Anna Vaught enters a strange world of apocryphal feasts and disturbing banquets.’

INGREDIENTS

  • 25g of dried madness
  • 300ml of warmed passion, diced erratically
  • A generous cupful of foul thoughts (check the back of your pantry)
  • 400g of delicious words
  • 1 or 2 tsps of mixed emotions
  • 50g of old musty dictionary pages (‘W,T or F pages are probably most suitable)
  • For the glaze: A wash of quiet darkness

METHOD

Preparation is recommended on an empty stomach.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Do this in a careful manner, creating a revolting soup-like consistency that can easily travel through ones veins.

Next, gently combine the dry ingredients together into an old urn or suchlike. There’s bound to be one lurking on the mantelpiece somewhere. Stir with a gnarled and boney finger until it resembles an odd, dusty, cement-like mixture.

Mix both wet and dry ingredients together and divide into 17 unequal portions. You are now ready to create your worst food nightmares.

‘…the tripe blinked at her and writhed in its nasty pool of white sauce…’

HOW DOES IT TASTE?

Comparable to a Cindy Lauper album, Famished has got to be the most magical, colourful, intelligent, bonkers, grotesque mix of stories I’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure to read. For reasons unknown, it just reminded me of how fascinated I am by Cindy Lauper in that you can’t help but find it entertaining, albeit very weirdly so.

Anna Vaught is a novelist, poet, essayist, reviewer and editor. She is also a secondary English teacher, and that shows spectacularly throughout the entire book. I spent a great deal of time looking up so many words in the dictionary, I felt like I was back in school. (Would I get an A* Ms Vaught, if you’re reading this?!)

Famished was a learning curve, a strange experience, a delight.

‘Will you gently suck, or will you shovel up with the liquorice, drunk on the acid-carbonate reaction with your own saliva?’

Famished was also heartfelt, relatable and revolting. Did it whet my appetite? It certainly did. But it didn’t make me hungry. Did it ruin my dinner? No! Funnily enough, it took me back to dinner times at home with my parents in the 80’s. Tinned mandarin segments with condensed milk for pudding was supposed to be a treat!

I must have quite a strong stomach because out of all the darn right disgusting things in this book, there was only one thing that really turned me over.

These four words – ‘…sea-foam milky tea…’ 🤢

I’ve only really started reading short story collections in the last couple of years, so I’ve got quite a list to get through. Many classics and a few contemporary, but I don’t think I’ll come across anything quite like Famished again.

Although…and I’m saying this with great relish; there’s hints of SHIRLEY JACKSON in Vaughts writing. YES, that’s what I said. I’ve compared a modern author to JACKSON, the QUEEN OF MACABRE.

Famished is staying on my forever shelf, and Ms Vaughts’ vulgar little tales are living beside Shirley Jackson. They can be like ‘two sisters, secreted in the deeper recesses of darkness…’

Famished is going on my Best of 2020 Goodreads shelf

ONE STAR – A short story by The Behrg

Well, I’ve been DESPERATE for an excuse to have my say about the dreaded ‘One Star Reviews’ that get the online book communities knickers in a right old twist, and nows my chance!

I’ll start by saying, I do love it when my opinion of a book is unpopular. I also seem to get a lot of pleasure bashing out reviews for books I didn’t like, or thought were pretty crappy.

I’ve got to that age where I enjoy having a good moan, things annoy me more these days, (peri-menopausal 😬) and I’ll quite happily verbally fight my corner. (Don’t get me started on litter droppers, unruly children and bad parenting).

So, Behrgs’ book, what can I say? Firstly, I had to read it twice because it was one of those books. It was also very short, only 17 pages. But, OH MY DAYS, what a clever bloke you are Mr Behrg!

I’m not going to give anything away on the synopsis, you can get the lowdown over on Goodreads. What I will say though is this;

If you’re a book blogger, reviewer, dark horror fan who doesn’t get too triggered by stuff, ‘ave a gander at this one.

To say this is a unique story is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I’ve never read anything like it. It is the most relevant read a book blogger will ever come across. I’ll tell you that now. It was a clever, thought provoking head mash which I awarded four stars.

When I finished it, I had to have a very large gin. And then I had to have another very large gin after the first large gin. Honestly. Thank god for gin.

I’m now going to take this opportunity to share some of my reviews of books that I thought were pretty awful. I had a BLAST scribbling down at frenzied rate what I thought of them.

Two deserved two stars (at a push) and the other was, yep, a ONE STAR THIS BOOK IS CRUD I SHALL *USE IT PURELY TO PROP UP MY WONKY SIDE TABLE AND SNORT AT THE SATISFACTION I GOT WRITING THE REVIEW FOR THE LITTLE BASTARD. (*I didn’t actually do this with it because, for starters it was an ARC ebook, so in effect, I’d of have to of used my kindle. And I also do not have a wonky side table, soooo, yeah, anyway).

I do love a bit of feedback about my low star reviews on Goodreads. Some positive, and those joyous negative ones too. Those in particular do fill me with glee.

Click on the pictures to see my (scathing?!) blog posts.

Murder at the Mill by M B Shaw ⭐️⭐️

Goodreads comments:

-“This made me laugh out loud….”

-“I agree with you about this book. I will not read another one by this author.”

-“Hilarious.”

Doll House by John Hunt ⭐️⭐️

Goodreads comments:

-“Ouch!”

-“…I’m waiting to see what you write, maybe you can get it done better.” (Snarky remark, love it 😆)

Psycho Analysis by V R Stone ⭐️

No readers comments on this one, but maybe I’ll get some now I’ve highlighted how much I disliked this book.

So I’ve turned The Behrgs’ review into a post pretty much all about me and my reading preferences. This absolutely was supposed to happen and I’m not sorry in any way. Here’s a bit more about him, I know I’m intrigued by it all, aren’t you?!

This is how the author sees himself:

‘So who (or what) exactly is “The Behrg?”

While “Behrg” is a childhood nickname and the name by which my parents, siblings, and closest friends call me, it’s also my creative identity and the moniker through which my written works can be found. It’s a way for me to share an intimate part of who I am rather than just hiding behind a pen name.

So embrace the parts of you that are different and unique, that no one else can replicate, and share them with the world. Even if it means your first name becomes “The.”

Stay weird. Embrace the strange. And remember you can only find the light after wading through the dark.’

I’ll finish by saying that I’m excited to read more from this author. I’m a big fan of horror, not usually short stories, but I’ve subscribed to The Behrg and have received three more FREE shorts which I look forward to reading. He has an unusual voice in horror, and it’s definitely caught my attention.

*Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this short story.*

Find out more about The Behrg here:

https://www.thebehrg.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka

Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Environmentally Friendly is a fast paced short story that makes quite an impact considering how short it actually is.

The main protagonist is an army veteran suffering from PTSD. He is hell-bent on waging his own personal war against Mother Nature.

When I first started this, I was a little confused by what I was reading as I was thrown head-first into complete and utter mayhem! It took me a couple of pages to get to grips with what was going on. Once I grasped the concept of the story and characters, the full force of the story started to make sense.

The writing was descriptive and very action-driven. The author has the ability to capture the high speed nature of events, using expressive language and punchy dialogue. I felt that I hardly took a breath whilst reading it, to the point of when I’d finished, I let out a sigh of relief because I felt quite worn out!

This isn’t my usual choice of genre. Action adventure, dare I say, is possibly more popular with men, as testosterone-fuelled characters aren’t my favourite. Considering its overall length, the author certainly included everything that was required to lead to a satisfying conclusion. However, further detail and background of the characters would certainly enhance the experience, so I feel this could well be something to build upon with a part two, or even incorporate this into a far longer read.

Overall, I enjoyed this mainly because it was completely different to my normal choice. It’s nice to mix things up a bit sometimes. I would recommend this to readers who fancy a short, sharp read, who enjoy ballsy male characters where there’s lots of chaos and fury going on.

3.5 stars out of 5.

I’d like to thank the author Elias Zanbaka for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews