#ThisGreen&PleasantLand

Everyone has a place they call home. But who gets to decide where you belong?

For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.

On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village. Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined. Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home. 

This is the story of Bilal, who mothers dying wish was for him to build a mosque. A once central and included member of the community, Bilal becomes ostrisized and the target or hate crimes by people he thought were his friends. Spurred on by his wife he becomes more determined to for-fill his mothers dream despite the negativity from the community.

This is a great story of a community that on the surface appears inclusive but actually only wants to be inclusive if it works out in the direction they have planned. This is a very clever story and once I wish didn’t ring true but after all I have seen this year I fear is truer than ever and it makes me so angry.

I did feel the first half was a little slow as it set the scene but Malik really knows how to write to get you emotionally invested so be prepared!

My favourite character was definitely Rukhsana, she warmed my heart throughout and I just wanted to give her a great big cuddle! I loved that the most unlikely of characters brought them all together.

Thank you to Compulsive Reads Blog Tours and Zaffre Books for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

Ayisha Malik is a writer and editor, living in South London. She holds a BA in English Literature and a First Class MA in Creative Writing. Her novels Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and The Other Half of Happiness, starring ‘the Muslim Bridget Jones’, were met with great critical acclaim, and Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was chosen as 2019’s Cityread book. Ayisha was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick, shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award and Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards. Ayisha is also the ghost writer for The Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain.

Are You Watching – Ralph Vincent

6th January 2020

A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.T

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.

She was the first of his victims but not the last.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

Review:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a brilliant young adult thriller which I devoured in a single sitting! I liked that the use of social media in the book was to try and do something proactive and not just another teenager addicted to likes and followers.

I really enjoyed Ralph’s comments on society, this quote,

“We put our lives out there in all sorts of ways – on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat – but it’s always edited. We hand pick the best bits and hope the world gives a shit.”

it just completely summed up the use of social media for me. Rarely do we post pictures and updates about the all the bad things that happen in our day.

Also, the premise of day five was really clever (you will have to read to find out what I mean)

I did not guess who the Magpie Man, which for me was a bonus as I have guessed the ending to a few of the big thrillers, such as the silent patient, this year but you can tell its a YA thriller as although it kept me guessing it didn’t give me goose bumps or that chill that an adult thriller does – or maybe its just because i’m too old!

Get Are You Watching? in ebook now for only 99p https://amzn.to/34J8Qsi

Thank you to Anne Carter and Penguin for my copy in exchange for review