Book Review: A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities – Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

We live in an incredibly diverse world, one that should be celebrated. That said, to celebrate it we must first understand the people in it. The LGBTQ+ community are, in my experience, wonderful people but often people don’t know or understand much past the L (Lesbian) and G (Gay) parts of the spectrum. That’s where this graphic novel comes in.

When searching through Netgalley, I came across this graphic novel and was curious as to how educational it would be. It covers such a wide spectrum to help people understand the way that people identify. Importantly, this also covers the difference between sexuality and gender – something many get confused.

I’ll admit, when I was younger I didn’t know much about Transgender people and the variations of gender before I was 18. It wasn’t something that myself or anyone close to me had gone through. Of course, I understood about identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual but beyond that, I had a lot to learn.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about complicated topics without being bogged down in history and politics. While those things are incredibly important, they can seem very overwhelming. This is a good place to start and is easy to digest for a beginner.

I gave this a huge 5 stars. This is a really accessible graphic novel that could educate a lot of people. The fact that this is a little different and has fantastic art style adds to the experience of reading. Being taught about gender and sexuality by snails? Why not. Honestly, why not? This would be a great gift for someone who wants to learn more but doesn’t know where to start.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies – Edited by Scarlett Curtis

What. A. Book. In this new collection of pieces by activists, celebrities, artists and more importantly, feminists we can celebrate the F word. Challenging stereotypes, as suggested in the title, giving insight into the lives of women and so much more, this is a book that will knock your socks off.

The great thing is that this is also in collaboration with Girl Up. They are a charity that supports girls and young women to improve their lives in various ways such as education, leadership programmes and more.

I was getting this book as soon as I heard about it, but something else made me want to read it even more. You may have seen the controversy with Topshop. In their Oxford Street store an amazing pop up was created, within 20 minutes it was taken down due to its sexist owner (full story here). Not only did I go and buy my copy – I also stopped shopping at Topshop.

This is a book full of personal accounts, thoughts and feelings. You see, we all have our own feminism, hopefully with the same goal – equality between the sexes. While some in the book are meant to be humorous such as Evanna Lynch’s Cat Women, others, such pieces on Female Genital Mutilation.

My favourite piece in this is by Kiera Knightly. You may have seen recently she spoke out about the fact she didn’t want her daughter watching certain Disney films because of what they promote (full story here). Her piece talks about how women have been deemed the ‘weaker sex’. It’s a love letter to her daughter talking about the strength of a woman, not shying away from the toll that childbirth takes on the body, challenging sexism. I absolutely fell in love with it. It really was a standout piece for me.

Is it any surprise that I gave this incredible book 5 stars? This is one of my best books of the year (full list to come soon). Not only does this look at every aspect of feminism, but it is also full of diversity and looks at varied experiences of being a woman. This is what we need. If you have a feminist in your life (and hopefully you have many) this will be perfect for Christmas!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth

After the sudden death of her parents Cameron Posts life is shaken to its very core. One thing she doesn’t expect to feel is relief, her parents will never find out that she kissed her best friend the very same night they died. Left with her elderly grandmother and religious aunt Cameron has to navigate her sexuality in secret in her small town.

This novel was promoted quite a lot at YALC in the summer, I didn’t know that it was about to become a film. So, of course, I put in a request on Netgalley to see what the fuss was all about. I’m glad that I did. It was an interesting read that I’m not sure I would have picked up otherwise.

There are some tough topics dealt with within the novel. Of course, there is the pressure of a small town in the mid-nineties that Cameron faces isn’t comfortable to read. More so, the fact that ‘conversion therapy’ plays a big part in the second half of the novel can be tough to get through. That said, while you would imagine this to be totally horrific Danforth managed to spread a message of hope throughout Cameron’s forced stay.

What I will say about this novel is that the number of girls that Cameron finds that are Lesbian or Bisexual seemed a little unrealistic to me. She seemed to get a fair amount of experience in what was meant to be a small, very religious town. It’s the only thing that didn’t quite sit right with me.

I gave this novel 4 stars, I think it took quite a while for the pace to pick up and feel a lot of people would possibly put it down. Don’t! There is a beauty and connection in the second half of the novel that truly makes it worth it. Would I recommend this read? Yes, I would. It’s definitely an intriguing novel – that said I won’t be watching the film.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Tour – Tales of Ramion by Frank Hinks

Ramion. A magical place full of creatures, colour and stories that will excite your imagination.

When I was contacted and asked if I’d like to read these books I jumped at the chance. Now, I might not be the target audience exactly. No, I am not a child and I don’t have any myself BUT that only amplifies the magic of these books. I’m a 24 year old woman that was completely and utterly drawn in.

For this tour, I was sent 2 of the 4 books in the series The Dream Thief and Creatures of the Forrest. am I going to have to go and buy the other two? You bet I will be!

Firstly I read The Dream Thief where three young boys, Julius, Alexander and Benjimin and their cast Snuggles (who is also a Dream Lord) go on a quest to save their mothers dream. For me, this was reminiscent of a mix between the types of stories I read growing  by Roald Dahl and the magic world of Alice in Wonderland.

The story itself had a good balance of adventure and heart, which I think we all need more of in modern times! What is more impressive is that author Frank Hinks, created these stories from tales he would tell his own three sons.

Next up was Creatures of the Forest this time encountering more of the creatures that inhabit Ramion such as Venomous Vampires, Scary Scots and Mystic Mummies! This time, however, they are accompanied by Scrooey-Looey the rabbit.

This was a little darker I think, but in a way that children would find cool rather than terrifying. The magic and mischief these boys get up to would be a fantastic story for children and adults alike!

I will be honest and say that, initially, the drawing style wasn’t to my taste, it felt a bit messy. That said, as I carried on reading it grew on me and seemed to match the style of the way the stories were told, a little different and a little wild!

I absolutely adored these books and cannot wait to read the next two! I loved them so much I plan on getting them for my Godchildren as they get a little older…mostly because I don’t want to lend out my copies!

Thank you to Frank Hinks, Perronet Press and Midas PR for this opportunity in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: New Erotica For Feminists – Caitlin Kunkel, Carrie Wittmer, Brooke Preston and Fiona Taylor

Well, things are about to get steamy in here!  New Erotica for Feminists takes our wildest fantasies from equal pay to a reimagining of some of our favourite films in a feminist way and makes them a reality. An excellent mix of humour and satire this is going to get you talking, one way or another.

Ok, ok, this isn’t exactly the next 50 Shades, but it should be a bestseller. This is a collection that takes the worn out tropes of erotica and porn and turns them on their heads. Born from a conversation between friends joking about a perfect feminist world – and so New Erotica was born.

‘Imagine a world where erotica was written by feminists: Their daydreams include equal pay, a gender-balanced Congress, and Tom Hardy arriving at their doorstep to deliver a fresh case of LaCroix every week.’

I read this in a flash and was laughing out loud the whole way through. So much so, I got a few odd looks from my partner and so I had to explain what I was reading – I’m pretty sure it confused him even more. That’s the perfect thing about the collection, it doesn’t try and take itself seriously, it doesn’t attack anyone or anything. This makes a point because it makes you laugh at the same time. It doesn’t take away from the issues – but makes them more relatable.

This doesn’t take away for what we’re fighting for, instead, it injects a little fun and silliness. I can imagine if you’ve had a day of patriarchy fuelled BS this is the perfect book to come home too. Is it a literary masterpiece that will change the tides of modern feminism? Probably not but I think it will give the lift that we need in the current climate.

Of course, I gave this 5 stars! I was completely hooked and even though as of writing, I have just finished – I want to pick it up and read all over again. This is going to make an excellent Christmas present after I’ve bought my own copy of course!

A huge thank you to the authors, publishers and Netgalley for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

What I Read in October

What I Read In October

October was a BUSY month (if you’re wondering why, check out my favourites here). With that in mind, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked! I did, however, read some absolute crackers, so let’s jump in.

I Hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip by Alicia Cook is a collection of poetry with heart and a love for music. I really enjoyed the collection because of the honesty through the writing – I gave this one 4 stars.

Next up is the new collection of poetry and prose by Nikita Gill, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul. A collection of Feminist inspired retellings and poetry with a beautiful cover? Umm yes please! One of my best friends fell in love with it and eagerly waited for me to finish. The idea of this and the execution was incredibly well done and I look forward to rereading this – 4 stars!

Following the excitement at YALC this year The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth was also on the TBR pile in October. I enjoyed this novel, there were some issues that I will cover in my review, but on the whole, I think it’s an important read dealing with sexuality, religion and family. I gave it 4 stars.

 

Next is my favourite book of the month, so much so that once you are done reading this blog you NEED to go buy it. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) is an incredible collection of essays from a variety of women on various topics to do with being a woman and a Feminist. My personal favourite was from Kiera Knightley. Full review to come but, of course, I gave this 5 stars.

Finally, we have a Manga, new territory for me! My Lesbian Experience of Loneliness by Kabi Nagata was a birthday gift and it was a brilliant story. Following a woman in her 20s as she tries to live with depression as well as figuring out her sexuality this was a great start – I can’t wait to read the second part when it comes out.  I gave this 4 stars.

And that’s it! That’s all the books I read in October – we’re creeping closer to the 100 book mark! What did you read in October? I’d love to know in the comments below!

 

Ask Me His Name – Elle Wright

The loss of a child is something no parent should have to go through but when they do – so many people are too scared to talk. How do you speak to someone who’s baby didn’t come home? Are you going to make it worse? Should you talk about the baby, use its name? After the loss of her own son, Teddy, Elle Wright wanted to do something.

Wow, this book. It’s hard to talk about because while it was a hard book, there were also times where I smiled. This is, ultimately, a message of hope, change and getting through something unimaginable. I actually first heard about the book in a news article and I felt I had to read it – partially because I know people who have lost babies. I wanted to try and see the world through their eyes.

Elle does not hold back throughout. She takes us deep into how she felt at the time. From her joy to be pregnant, her wishes for her baby all the way to Teddy’s struggles once born, holding her son as he passed and trying to make sense of her life after. She isn’t afraid of hiding her pain but also her frustration at being put in a box for grieving mothers.

Of course, this is a tough read. I needed to take quite a few breaks when reading it. While the book was beautifully written, of course, you do get very emotional. I felt my heart break for Teddy’s parents, his family. I wanted to cry because this is sad, but every time I was picked up by the fundraising they undertook, the hope they had and ultimately, love.

One of the best things about this book is that, at the end, we hear from the people who were around Elle – and also loved Teddy. We hear from Teddy’s Dad, Grandma, Aunt. We often think of how heartbreaking this is for the parents, but you can guarantee that there are more people than we know who are touched by baby loss.

To rate a book like this feels wrong, how can you rate someone’s pain? You can’t. That said, this was an incredible book, more than anything I want to thank Elle for sharing with us, for talking about Teddy. I can’t say that I understand just from reading this book, but now I have insight. This is written in such a beautiful way, while it is raw it also shows a real warmth. I can’t stop thinking about this book. Of course, it’s a 5-star read, I think everyone should read this.

Thank you to Elle, the publishers and Netgalley for my copy.