Book Review: Dreadnought – April Daniels

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After witnessing a superhero fight between the ultimate hero, Dreadnought and a new unknown villain, Danny’s life is going to change forever. As Dreadnought dies he gives Danny a gift like no other, his powers and the body he’s always longed for. Daniel, becomes Danielle.

Yes everyone, we have a transgender superhero and about time too! I heard about this book from CeCe at Problemsofabooknerd over on Booktube and immediately went and put in a request to Netgalley,which I was lucky enough to be granted. I wanted to read this on holiday and did so in less than 24 hours. If that’s not enough to get you excited for this book, then I don’t know what is.

Daniels is a brilliant writer, she doesn’t make this a disney-type happy story. Danny has to deal with a lot through the novel and her transition. She deals with transphobia, an abusive parent and sexism after transitioning, all of that on top of getting some of the most powerful super powers ever known. Just what a 15-year old needs to deal with while going to High School.

One of the best things about this novel, which has been mentioned before, is that this sets out to show that superheroes aren’t instantly good and uncomplicated people. Within the novel Danny does struggle with the judgements of others because of their own prejudices because her transformation includes a transition of gender. This was really interesting as it challenges the idea that superheroes all being instantly accepting. On the other hand, Daniels also explores that not everyone with powers wants to be a well known super-hero, something that not many of us would have considered.

I have so much love for Danny and another character, Calamity, although I won’t spoil too much other than she’s an amazing character and persona, I could see her in my head so clearly. The relationship that evolves between them is just something that the novel needed. I cannot love it any more than I already do.

If you love superheroes, action and diversity then Dreadnought is one for you. I gave this wonderful novel five stars, a rare score but it truly deserves it. So much has been packed into this book to set up a series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next in the series, Sovereign which is released THIS MONTH. I honestly can’t contain my excitement to see what’s going to happen next to Danny after that ending.

As always thank you to the publisher and April Daniels for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Feminist Friday: Summer Reading List

It’s been a few year since I embarked on my own summer of Feminist books. That said, I wanted to share with you some great reads for the summer if you want to get started or just find some new reads.

 

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If you haven’t started reading Holly Bourne’s incredible Spinster Club trilogy this is where to start. Novels about friendship, love and feminism, there’s nothing better! Review here.

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Personally, I see this as a classic for modern feminists. Caitlin is funny, loud but gives a great view on feminism today. This was what I started with and I read it within 24 hours. Caitlin also has a range of other books about feminism too so you’re sure to find something you like. Review here.

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Have you ever felt pressured by magazines or the media? What about the whole ‘beach body’ thing? Then you’ve found the book for you. A fresh look at women, the media and how we react to it. Review here.

 

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You might have already read Laura’s first book Everday Sexism, this is her second and my favourite so far. There’s more intelligent thought and there’s also dancing vaginas, you’re welcome. Read my review here.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex – Hannah Witton

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If you haven’t come across British Youtuber Hannah Witton, you’ve been missing out! Hannah is a fabulous vlogger who primarily discusses sex and relationships in an open manner. From her incredible ‘The Hormone Diaries’ documenting her journey coming off the pill, her collaborative podcast ‘The Banging Bookclub’ and body positivity Hannah is like an older Youtube sister.

I’ve only been watching Hannah for a few months and just found her to be positive and enlightening before seeing her book EVERYWHERE so I thought why not, I love her channel so let’s give the book a go, and I’m glad I did. Now, before reading I would recommend watching a few of her videos to get a feel for Hannah’s voice and personality to really understand the book.

Divided into chapters such as Healthy Relationships, Masturbation, Virginity, LQBTQ, Consent and more. What’s worth noting, however, is that why this is Hannah’s book and primarily her perspective, she understands and acknowledges that there are situations that she cannot talk about her personal experiences, because they don’t apply. Instead of creating blanket statements, Hannah has chosen to include the perspectives of many different Youtubers on their own experiences. This was so refreshing to read from own voices.

As Hannah addresses on her channel this book is for a younger audience, mostly teenagers. That said as a 22 year old I still learnt from it. I think this is an invaluable tool for younger people. There is so much in here that won’t be discussed in school or with friends as a young person. We are becoming more open but we need books like this available to all young people as something to reference more than from cover to cover. There really is something in here for everyone.

I absolutely loved Hannah’s book and felt that it was a great and informative read. It’s got humour, but at the same time,  there is clear and relevant information in an easy to read manner. I mean there’s even a section on consent but it gets the information across without scare mongering. I gave this four stars because I see it as a really great way to start a conversation. As I said, I’d definitely check out Hannah’s channel before reading just to get a feel and really appreciate everything she is doing to promote healthy relationships and sexual experiences, click here to watch!

Book Review: Nutshell – Ian McEwan

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‘So here I am, upside down in a woman. Arm patiently crossed, waiting, waiting and wondering who I’m in, what I’m in for.’

This is honestly one of the strangest, yet intriguing books I’ve ever read. Told from the perspective of a foetus about to be born with the mind of a middle-aged man. If you want the weird and wonderful this is definitely the book for you. In the past I’ve only read McEwans On Chesil Beach for my AS Level, I thought that was incredibly strange until I read Nutshell. That said, I have no doubt that it’s one of the best written I have ever read.  What struck me was how utterly unlikeable all the characters outside the womb were. Truly awful people but that just made it event better to read. You don’t want these people to succeed, you want the foetus to have a better chance at life and keep the

What struck me was how utterly unlikeable all the characters outside the womb were. Truly awful people but that just made it event better to read. You don’t want these people to succeed, you want the foetus to have a better chance at life and keep the intelligence he seems to have. Of course, this is NOT a realistic novel there aren’t babies who can formulate thoughts like this but you’re so absorbed in the story you don’t care.

I’ve been told since reading that this was based on Hamlet, a play I haven’t read. Whether it was or not the way in which the novel is written is incredible. There is a rhythm to it that kind of makes it feel like you’re reading poetry which is never a bad thing. McEwan also makes you think about the world around you with the things that the ‘baby’ hears and considers. It’s hard to explain more than that.

I gave this novel 4 stars, only for the fact that sometimes it can be quite difficult to follow. That said, I couldn’t stop reading and had it out at every opportunity I could. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with a curious mind or who is up for something new to read. I’ll definitely be picking up more of his novels too!

Book Review: The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It How It Is – Rhyannon Styles

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Imagine feeling lost in your own body. Imagine spending years living a lie, denying what makes you ‘you’. This was Ryan’s reality. He had to choose: die as a man or live as a woman.

Rhyannon is brilliant, to put it simply. Throughout her life she has been a light in what sounds like quite a bland place to live for someone so fabulous. After being assigned male and named Ryan at birth, Rhyannon knew she was different. From her earliest memories she wanted to be a girl. At the age of 30 her dream finally came through, this is her story.

I’m a huge fan of reading about people’s journeys and how they have faced adversity. I listened as Rhyannon narrated her story, the highs and the lows and what it was like growing up in a small town and labelled ‘gay’ to living in the city and realising who she really was.

What makes this stand out for me is how Rhyannon adresses her family and their reaction to her transition. I appreciate the honesty that she has about how she and her family differed about her being Trans, how families can struggle and feel the need to grieve the person they thought they knew. I feel this could really help young people who go through a similar experience not feel so alone.

The only issue I had with this book is that it seems to be divided in two, but not in an obvious way. Rhyannon has decided that she would first tell her story in relation to happiness and light-heartedness but later reveal her ‘b-side’ as she calls it. With this there was a bit of a risk that people would give up before that point, I know I wondered if the story was sugar coated until I got to this point. It’s not a case of wanting misery, rather I wanted to know more about how Rhyannon felt prior to transition.

I gave this 4 stars. I found Rhyannon to be intelligent, insightful and show her feelings well throughout the book. There is also humour in the book as Rhyannon looks back and considers both the good and the bad in relation to her experience. I’d definitely recommend for an informative read.

Book Review: The Girl Who Beat ISIS – Farida Khalaf

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Frida was a normal young girl, a loving family, friends and getting a good education in Northern Iraq. When her father taught her how to use a gun, she never thought she’d need it. Little did she know ISIS were advancing and before long they would take her town as well as her and her friends.

Books are starting to come through of that it is like being held by ISIS and Farida’s story is both heartbreaking and an eye opener into what some of these young women go through. This is not an easy read at all, but it is an important one. There is so much that as a wider world we don’t know, see or understand. It was an honour to read her story.

The one thing that comes through, again and again, is the strength that Frida has throughout the horrors of being held by ISIS. She fights in every way that she can against the men that hold her physically, mentally and in her faith. It’s incredible how despite everything that she goes through she keeps true to her faith no matter what.

I’m not able to say that I enjoyed the book because that seemed wrong. I appreciated it. I felt glad to have to read Fatima’s story and I have to recommend it to everyone. I would have liked to have heard more about her life after she escaped and how she’s doing now, but I understand why she didn’t.

I gave this a well deserved 4 stars ****.

Thank you to the publisher for this ARC.

 

 

Easy ways to read more!

Each year I set myself a target of the number of books I’d like to read, normally it’s 100. That said since graduating last year things have changed in my life and trying to get through books has been a lot more to fit into my life, I’m obviously working 5 days a week (which really cuts into your reading time). A lot of people I speak to say they just don’t have the time to read more, so I thought I might help.

 

Always have a way to read with you 

Physcial book, Kindle, eBook, it doesn’t matter! You never know when you’ll have time to spare. You can also read on laptops, phones, iPods, tablets, you name it! Get reading!

Set time in your day to get a couple of pages in 

I like to try and read either at the beginning of my lunch break or before I go to bed at night. It doesn’t matter if you read one page or ten, giving yourself that little bit of time means you’re reading!

Audiobooks are your friend! 

I love audiobooks. I have a monthly subscription with Audible which allows me to get two audiobooks for £15. They’re great when you have a lot to do. I can listen at the gym, while driving, while cleaning. Personally, I like to listen to memoirs rather than fiction, but that’s my personal preference and there are SO MANY too!

Get a library card 

Anyone remember the tune from ‘Arthur’, our favourite Aardvark ‘Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card!’. If you don’t have much money to spare on books, your local library is a great place to start reading without the cost!

Attend a local book club or meetup

I’ve started going to a new local book club, meaning I can talk about books and get new reads. It also gives you a reason to read, a lot of the people in my book club are trying the group so that they have the motivation to read! Sounds good to me.

Enjoy what you read! 

If you don’t have a lot of time don’t feel bad about stopping a book you’re really not enjoying! Find something you enjoy and get stuck in!

What are your tips? Let me know in the comments below!