Book Review: The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth About Our Periods – Hannah Witton

If you haven’t noticed, I think Hannah Witton is a great YouTuber and also seems like a lovely person. I’ve watched her channel for a few years now and loved her first book, Doing It so when she announced a book tied to her series The Hormone Diaries, I was in.

The book is a great mix of informative and funny with some great notes from Hannah around the edges. While this is definitely aimed at an older audience (hooray!) I still learnt so much, and this is from someone who’s been having periods for about 12 years at this point. There was so much I didn’t know!

Covering letters from Hannah’s followers around the world they addressed to things you might not expect like, ‘Dear my period’, ‘Dear my pill’ and ‘Dear menstrual cup’ . While it is amusing it’s also great to see so many experiences of hormones, contraception and the like. I found myself laughing, sympathising and nodding along the whole way through this book.

What I didn’t expect to feel when reading was powerful. I wanted to get up and shout I AM A MENSTRATOR because, if you think about it, we’re pretty badass. And although, in my opinion, periods are shit, most contraception is a nightmare and the thought of giving birth makes my vagina scream in protest – our bodies are bloody marvelous.

This is probably the most inviting book I’ve read in a long time in regards to the gender spectrum. Hannah doesn’t just assume that everyone who has a period identifies as a woman. She has used inclusive language throughout which is definitely the way forward. While I’m a cis female I can understand how this can be a big thing for others. Go Hannah!

It’s worth pointing out that thanks to Hannah and her book I’m now part of a wonderful group on Facebook where we all talk about hormones and periods. It’s fantastic and I’m so glad so much conversation has come out of this book – and will continue to!

Is it any surprise that I gave this 5 stars. A great book and, once again, Hannah has pulled it out of the bag. I highly recommend this to anyone who gets a period or has to battle with estrogen on a regular basis.

Book Review: The Sun Does Shine – Anthony Ray Hinton

As a poor black man in the deep south, Anthony Ray Hinton, didn’t stand a chance when the police accused him of multiple murders. Despite the fact he had a solid alabi, the gun they claimed he had used hasn’t been fired in decades and didn’t match the bullets used. Despite his innocence he spent decades on death row inching closer to death before finally being declared a free man.

Throughout the pages I found myself getting angry, frustrated and upset with the lack of care that the justice system had towards this man. The fact that they would not acknowledge the racist actions of the people within their institution is, frankly, disgusting. But that in itself is the power of this memoir.

It was important that Ray showed that he does have his own flaws. It would have been easy to portray himself as squeaky clean, instead he owns up to the dodgy checks or the stolen car in his youth. Should he have done them? No. But he did and he admits it. Those actions, however, do not make him a murderer, simply an easy target for injustice.

There were times that I felt conflicted Ray spoke with kindness about the men around him, despite the fact that some were rapists and murderers but, he reminded the reader, not all were guilty. Some of them yes, but not all. At the end of the book there is a list of all of the people on death row, I read every single one of them and broke down in tears. There will be people in that list who are innocent – who may die.

I gave this memoir, 5 stars, I felt so emotional while reading it as well as angry. The fact that it took so long for Ray to be freed, how much of his life he missed is disgusting. That said, this is an incredibly important read because these are stories that need to be heard. I urge you to read this to really learn about the injustices.

What I Read June 2019

What I Read in June 2019

Hello, hello, hello!

June turned out to be a fantastic month for new releases, out of the 8 books I got through, half of them were new and I loved all 4! So, let’s crack on with what I read in June.

First up, Saved as Draft by N.D. Chan this was send to me by the publisher via Netgalley and is a mix of poetry and prose on their own relationships. I gave this 3 stars, while there were parts I enjoyed it wasn’t that memorable for me.

Next was a book I knew I needed as soon as I read, Royals – now renamed Prince Charming, the first in the series earlier this year. All I will say is enemies to lovers with a bisexual protagonist. It’s really sweet and I read it in a matter of hours – 5 stars.

It’s been a really long time since I read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and I used to read it every summer growing up, I was feeling a bit down so I thought going back to one of my favourite books of all time was a good idea. I fell back into the world and of course it’s a 5 star read. Duh!

I also picked up some new poetry in June, now I will admit this was a cover buy. It is such a beautiful cover, I couldn’t say no. This Is The Journey was great introduction to Alison Malee, I’ll be trying her other works to see how I get on, I gave this 3 stars.

I listened to Phoebe Robinsons second book Everything’s Trash But It’s Ok after loving her first last year. Phoebe is absolutely hilarious but also has some great points about burnout, body image and recent politics. I’d highly recommend the audiobook because Phoebe is hilarious, 4.5 stars.

Also this month (a great one for new releases) was the amazing Hannah Wittons latest book The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods. This was an excellent look at hormones, periods and sex and once again Hannah has done a great job, 5 stars and a review coming soon!

My final two books I didn’t think would make it by the end of the month that drove me INSANE because they are two of my most anticipated reads. Red, White and Royal Blue is one of the best, sweetest and most wonderful books. It’s up there as one of my favourites. The fictional First Son of the United States falls in love with the Prince of Wales. If that doesn’t pull you in I don’t know what will.

And finally some of my faves, The Try Guys , released their first book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up which went right in as a New York Times Number 1! This book is all about trying, failing and everything in between. I love their Youtube channel and they have done so well in the first year of a new business, a tour, a book. They are on FIIIIIIIRE! 5 stars, it really made me think about what I was doing with myself and how important failing is.

A good month for reading I think! What did you read? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Told through interviews with the band and those closest to them, the history of Daisy Jones & The Six is laid bare, although some accounts vary. Each band member takes us through the late 60s and early 70s telling a story of what those years meant to them and ultimately what destroyed them.

I’d heard people say they fell in love with this book but I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with this book. Within a single novel I knew that Taylor Jenkins Reid was going to be one of my favourite authors – I immediately downloaded a few of her books in audiobook format after finishing Daisy Jones.

The fact that Jenkins Reid has been able to write an entire book in interviews and not leave out anything or feel like the reader is missing out was incredible. I also felt like we could really get to know each individual character, understand them and their motives and it really rounded out the plot.

It may come as a surprise to some, but my favourite character was Camilla. She was absolutely incredible, a strong woman who knew her own heart and did what was best for her and her relationships. She was a voice of reason and I just loved her so, so much. To be fair this is a novel full of incredible women, so there’s a lot of love all around.

This novel lived in my head for weeks after reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I made my own 70s playlist and wondered about what would have happened after. It is the sign of a truly great novel and great writer for that to happen. The band felt so real, personally, I’d love for the songs written in the book to be performed by recording artists for us to enjoy.

Is it any surprise that I gave this novel 5 stars? This was probably my favourite book of the year so far (in close competition with The Seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, another novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid). I truly felt like this was real, I wanted to go and listen to music by The Six, hear Daisy’s soul in her voice. Absolutely incredible and I’ve been trying to make everyone read it.

Book Review: Voices Of Powerful Women by Zoe Sallis

Voices of Powerful Women is a very unique book. A range of questions are asked to powerful women, some of them you will know, others you might not. For me, there were quite a few I didn’t know but I still got a lot out of their responses. Featuring politicians, environmentalists, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, actors, world leaders and Nobel Peace Prize winners there is a real variety.

When I requested this on Netgalley, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really want to know too much. Reading the opinions of successful women? Of course, I would want to read it. While it took me a little to get into the format when I did I flew through it, although I did take some breaks to look up the women in more detail.

I will say there are some voices in the book that didn’t seem to add much, Yoko Ono being one of them. I felt her answers didn’t really add anything to a wider conversation, it was usually only a sentence or two. Whereas other women seemed to give really thoughtful and insightful.

This would make a great resource for anyone who is doing a little bit of soul searching. I know it made me really question the world around me as well as the answers I would have given to these questions if they were asked to me.

To give you an idea of the kinds of opinions and the women you will read from when reading this book, the following women contributed; Isabel Allende, Christiane Amanpour, Maya Angelou, Hanan Ashrawi, Joan Baez, Benazir Bhutto, Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, Emma Bonino, Shami Chakrabarti, Jung Chang, Kate Clinton, Marie Colvin, Marion Cotillard, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Carla Del Ponte, Judi Dench, Shirin Ebadi, Tracey Emin, Jane Fonda, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dagmar Havlová, Swanee Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Nataša Kandić, Kathy Kelly, Martha Lane Fox, Dame Ann Leslie, Professor Wangari Maathai, Mairead Maguire, Mary McAleese, Soledad O’Brien, Sinéad O’Connor, Yoko Ono, Mariane Pearl, Kim Phuc, Paloma Picasso, Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, Paula Rego, Louise Ridley, Mary Robinson, Jody Williams.

Overall, I gave this 4 stars. This was a really intriguing read and when I finished I felt empowered by the words I had read as well as the women whose voices I was reading. A really excellent collection would recommend.

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

Book Review - Five Feet Apart

Book Review: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Do you want to cry some big ugly tears and feel all the feels? Then this is the book for you. A novel following two Cystic Fibrosis patients, both with a very different view of life and their illness. While Stella likes to be in control, Will is fed up with regimens and trials. When the two meet the unthinkable happens – they begin to fall for each other but how can you fall in love when you have to be five feet apart at all times?

So, Five Feet Apart has been everywhere in the last few months because of the film that came out (as of writing this I still haven’t seen it) and I decided to read it because of the hype. To put it simply, I’m really glad I did.

I will admit that when I first started reading I did find it quite slow, I could put it down and walk away but something kept me coming back to it. I wouldn’t say it’s a book that you devour quickly, it’s more of a slow burn but once you’re in, you’re in. I fell in love with these characters and I was rooting so hard for them, as well as having a soft spot for side characters too.

Now, I can’t say how accurate it is from a CF perspective BUT I have watched a few YouTube videos to see what people who do have it think. They really thought it was a good representation, which gives me hope. Also, it’s worth mentioning the two co-authors on this book both have CF which I think is a bloody excellent idea and something we should see more of in books.

I gave this a 4.5 stars. A really emotional read and one I, personally, learnt a lot from. Have you read the book and seen the film? How do they compare? Let me know in the comments below!

Hard Pushed – Leah Hazard

Saying that midwives are incredible is an understatement. These women (and sometimes men) are the bringers of life, people that labouring mothers can love more than their partners at some points. But who are they behind the scrubs and the smiles? What do they see every day? Leah Hazard has spent years working as an NHS midwife and this is her story.

I absolutely adored this book, because it was so interesting. Through Leah’s eyes, we see snippets of different women as they make their way through labour. From women who are awaiting their first bundles of joy, to teenagers going through it alone, there are a number of stories that made me want to reach through the pages and hug them. Each experience seems to different but so similar at the same time and while this is, as Leah puts it herself, a ‘love letter’ to the women she has helped and her fellow midwives.

While this does have wonderful moments, what stands out is that Leah is not afraid to share the pressure midwives are under. Understaffed, underfunded and often running on empty.  Many midwives have walked away, not because they don’t love their jobs but because they are burnt out. Missed breaks, hospitals fit to burst and often not enough beds. It is one of many memoirs from medical professionals I have read in the past few years that I feel should be required reading for those making cuts to NHS services.

I gave this book 5 stars and devoured it in 24 hours, and that includes a nights sleep in-between. Leah Hazard clearly not only has a talent for writing but also a kindness that exudes from the pages of this book. Like many other medical memoirs, I am in awe of those who care for us in our hours of need. This is incredibly well written and I urge you to pick it up.

A copy of this book was given to me to review via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.