XX by Angela Chadwick

XX by Angela Chadwick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was really intrigued when I read the synopsis for this book. Imagine a world in which scientists can use two women’s eggs to produce a baby girl. It’s such a interesting concept and one which would completely change the world if it were true.

From the beginning I was drawn into Jules and Rosie’s relationship and I felt a part of their struggles. Sometimes books which feature science as their plot are too science-heavy, whereas XX very much focuses on the humans involved in the science- what’s it like for them, what are they experiencing and feeling and how they would cope with the events that unfurl.

I found this meant I gobbled up page after page eager to know what happened next, personally invested in whether Rosie and Jules would get their happy ending. It also avoided the author getting anything too scientific incorrect, which is important as it wouldn’t have worked to make up the science involved in this process.

I had real problems liking Jules as a person. I felt she consistantly made the wrong choices when she could so easily have made the right one. She was quite infuriating as a character but this did work within the plot of the book as Jules frequently makes reference to the fact she knows she’s less personable and easy to like than her partner Rosie.

I thought the exploration of what makes a child yours and the feelings Jules and Rosie had about the baby all the way through the book was really believable and honestly whilst I was reading I had no idea how it was all going to end.

I also really enjoyed the fact it was set in Petersfield and surrounding areas as that’s near where I’m from. It was nice to see familiar names and areas being referenced. I think only people who live near Leigh Park will properly understand the relevance of Jules’s father being raised there!

I really enjoyed this book.

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Sketchy Muma by Anna Lewis

Sketchy Muma: What it Means to be a Mother by Anna Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a massive fan of Anna Lewis’ sketches for a while now, so I was delighted to recieve this book for christmas.

Each beautiful sketch somehow manages to completely sum the wonder of motherhood. The struggles, the successes, the love, the tears and the other bodily fluids. Lewis’ drawing style is so simple but within those straightforward line drawings hides so much emotion. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear at nearly every single one.

Perhaps it’s because the journey from the positive pregnancy test to real life baby is still so fresh in my mind, but I found every drawing in this book relatable and it made my heart swell to have found someone who can so accurately put onto paper the overwhelming mix of emotions I’ve felt since my first positive pregnancy test, and in such a beautiful way.

Now I’ve just got to decide which of these illustrations I want to buy in print form for my walls!

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Baby Boom! by Helen Wallen

Baby Boom! by Helen Wallen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recieved an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

As the mother of an almost 14 month old toddler I am familiar with the mummy blogger tribes that fill instagram feeds with honest pictures, witty captions and links to hilarious blog posts. In fact, some of these bloggers helped me through some of the lonelier days of my year long maternity leave so when I saw that Helen Wallen of “Just a Normal Mummy” had turned her hand to fiction I couldn’t wait to get reading.

“Baby Boom!” is written in the same warm, inclusive, yet honest tone of the blog. It’s not a book interested in choosing sides when it comes to the best way of parenting, or even handling pregnancy and for that reason it was a refreshing read. Following three best friends in their late twenties/early thirties, two of whom become pregnant in very different situations, the book explores the highs and lows of pregnancy, relationships and motherhood.

For me, one of the nicest parts of this book was the friendship between Emily, Liz and Molly which was portrayed in the most natural and real way. Their Whatsapp conversations were hilarious to read and really made me feel as if I were a part of their friendship. Most strikingly though was the fact that at no point did the book become about them falling out. Before reading this book I didn’t realise how big a feature of women’s literature best friends having arguments is. Of course friends do argue, but in this instance it was just nice to have three women, in very different situations supporting each other in the best way they could above all else.

The only part of this book I didn’t love was the poetry at the beginning of each chapter which I find a bit twee. This type of poetry isn’t to my taste and I felt like they were a bit unneccesary to the book. However, I know a lot of “Just a Normal Mummy’s” followers enjoy her poetry within her blog so I understand why it has been included.

I wish I’d had this book to read on maternity leave, in that stretch of time before you have your first baby when you finish work and have nothing to do but wait for your baby to be born. That time when you only really want to be occupied by baby related things but also need to stop thinking about your impending labour before you go mad. It’s the perfect escapism and I will be buying a copy for any pregnant friends in future to enjoy.

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