Book Review: Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

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In the not too distant future abortion is illegal. IVF has been banned and the clock is ticking for any women who wants to have a child past a certain age or a child on her own. This is America. In one city, four women deal with their own lives in relation to these changes. This is their story. A pregnant teenager, a healer trying to help, a frustrated mother and a woman wanting to be a mother more than anything.

I knew I wanted to read this as soon as it was released so as soon as I could I requested it and was graciously given a copy to review and devoured it. The scariest thing about this novel, it could be a reality in the US from recent news, which is exactly why you need to read it.

One of the best parts of this novel is that women come through for women but not in a cheesy way. Becuase of the situation they are in there is a vibe where women pass on vital knowledge to other women to help each other but not in a cheesy way. Also, this novel isn’t about hating men. Are there some terrible guys in this? Yes, but most importantly they are not the focus, not a plot point they just exist. This is a novel for an about women.

The one criticism that I have is that I felt the character of Susan, a frustrated mother didn’t add that much to the story. I understood why she was included but I just felt a little irritated with her and her perspective on things. You don’t need to like every character in a book and out of the four main women she was the one I felt the least connected with in any way.

I gave this 4 stars. I was thinking about this constantly for about a week after reading it. I had so many thoughts, questions and a little bit of anxiety. That said, it is a really important novel and a stunning debut. I can’t wait to see what Zumas comes up with next.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my review copy

What I Read in April!

Another month, another stack of books I’ve devoured. This month I wanted things I could get through because I was struggling to concentrate but I still managed 8 books and almost all of them were incredible.

First up was Red Clocks which I have been waiting to read forever and it was so worth it. This is set in a future USA, abortion is banned, IVF is banned and so is single parenthood. We follow four women as their lives are impacted by these laws. It was a 4.5 star read and review to come soon. #MeToo is a collection of poetry that just felt so real to me, these were incredible poems and got 4 stars from me. And another collection of poetry the second from Amanda Lovelace, the witch doesn’t burn in this one. This is the second in a serious about the magic of women, a 4 star read, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first but it’s still a brilliant read.

 

Next up I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell this was a strange but brilliant non-fiction book look at the 17 brushes with death, it’s absolutely fascinating and got a well earned 4 stars. The next one I’d seen spoken about on Youtube and it had such a huge impact on me, Everywoman is about feminism, UK politics and is a rallying cry which means it got 5 stars from me. I also read my advance copy of Holly Bourne’s new adult novel How Do You Like Me Now which, in total honesty disappointed me and only got 3 stars.

 

 

And finally, Saga. I could have picked this up years ago and I’m kicking myself. This series is amazing we have some brilliant characters and interesting plot and beautiful art. So far, so amazing and 5 stars for volume 1 and volume 2.

What were you reading in April? Let me know in the comments below!

Re-embracing my Feminism with Paola Diana – Blog Tour

Reclaiming my Feminism

There are times when a book falls into your lap at the right time. I’d been struggling with my own feminism. It felt like a constant fight whenever I mentioned it, multiple times people used it as a reason to argue with me about something completely unrelated, so I’d kept my mouth shut. Then I got an email offering me the chance to read Paola Diana’s book Saving The World, Women: The Twenty-First Century’s Factor for Change as part of a blog tour and I thought why not?

Earlier in the month, I’d picked up Jess Phillip’s Every Woman which made me proud of feminism again. Paola’s book was a perfect follow up to keep the fire burning. Looking at politics, religion, economy and society Paola doesn’t shy away from addressing the how powerful women really are and will be in this century.

This is not an opinion based book, followed up by facts and her very own activism it got me excited. If there is a time for equality it is now. In no other period in history have women been so educated, aware and able to voice their opinions. Although, of course, we still have a long way to go around the world. Now we just have to make it happen. The combination of intelligent research, looking at the wider picture and optimism is a welcome addition to my bookcase.

Feminism itself is complex. The basic premise of wanting equality of the sexes can be forgotten at times. I know I’ve felt overwhelmed trying to defend my reasons for being so open as a feminist. I’ve felt that there is so much fighting over what feminism is and should be. So I took a step back, I still carried on with my life but I was quiet about it which I hated. This isn’t me. I guess sometimes life does beat you down but, personally, I’m back and ready to reclaim my feminism and continue to educate others with this book by my side.

Sound good? I’m also running a giveaway on my Twitter so head over here, follow and retweet for your chance to win! UK only.

Thank you so much to Midas PR for sending me this book, Paola and the publishers for this opportunity!

Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Allbertalli

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‘Dear Blue’

Sixteen-year-old Simon is gay, but the only person who knows is his online boyfriend, Blue. Neither of them uses their real names or know each other’s real identity but that’s about to end. After Simon is outed after being blackmailed the world is going to know.

Of course, this novel is everywhere at the moment the release of the film Love, Simon. It had been on my TBR pile for a while so I really wanted to read it before seeing the film. I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. I don’t know if it’s because of all the hype but it just dragged for the first half. Don’t get me wrong the emails were adorable. The relationship with Blue was adorable but I felt like I needed more from Simon.

There were some important points such as the fact that people need to come out at all, how odd the concept is. I also loved the way that Simon had people who loved him and a supportive family after he was outed and that it showed the reality of what school could be like for someone who has come out. On that note, I think that it was important to show homophobia, because, in a small town that would happen, it wouldn’t just be ok, unfortunately. I also have to point out that I thought the relationship between Simon and Blue was absolutely adorable and I wish we’d seen more of it.

I thought long and hard about writing this review because I know it’s so loved, but it just fell a little flat for me. It’s because of this I gave it 3 stars, it was a good read but not standout and that’s just my opinion. I think in a lot of ways we could have had more development and a better idea of his friends, particularly Leah. So, overall I understand why people like it but it just didn’t live up to the hype for me.

 

Book Review: Stacey Dooley on the frontline with the women who fight back – Stacey Dooley

Stacey Dooley Book Review

This year it has been 10 years since Stacey Dooley first appeared on our screens with her trademark Luton accent, fiery hair and entirely different way of reporting. In her first book, Stacey looks back on some of her most challenging documentaries and the ones that made her.

I’ve been a fan of Stacey for years now because of how human she is when she’s interviewing. You can tell she cares about the people and the topics, there’s not stiff upper lip that we’re used to seeing on TV and thank goodness! So, when I heard she was releasing a book I added it to my wish list. I actually ended up listening to the audiobook which I fully recommend.

You don’t have to have watched all of Stacey’s documentaries to enjoy the book, there were some I hadn’t watched (I’ve since gone back and found them) and I still found Stacey’s input fascinating. This adds a whole other level to what we have watched. Of course, Stacey has to be professional but she still has heart and reading the internal struggles she faced made it hit home even harder. She see’s these women as human, which they deserve to be.

From women who escaped ISIS to the horrific violence faced by women in Honduras, Stacey captures the stories of women worldwide. We’re also let into Stacey’s reservations about travelling to various parts of the world, the threats she faces and her reasons for going to such dangerous places. What made it so real to me was Stacey not telling her Mum some of the real places she’d travelled to until she got back.

I gave this 4.5 stars and can highly recommend listening to Stacey read the book herself if you can. If you loved Stacey’s documentaries and want to know more about the conditions that women around the world live in then this is an excellent place to start. I warn you though, you’ll want to go and watch her documentaries again after reading!

monthly favourites lifestyle blogger

March Favourites!

So a third of the year is done. No biggie, it’s cool, I’m not terrified. That said it’s been a pretty quiet month so I wondered if I should do a monthly favourites post but my lovely Twitter followers said they wanted to see it, so why not. Here are my slightly short monthly favourites.

Books

I read a total of 12 books last month which I was super proud of any. It’s definitely a result of some amazing books I got through. There was a good mix of Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I find some good ones this month too! You can read about them all in my wrap up here.

Music 

It’s been a while since I’ve had a music favourite, simply because I’ve been listening to the same few playlists in the car with one exception. My boyfriend introduced me to the amazing band Against the Current. I’ve had them on repeat, especially the above song which is a great driving tune!

 

Snowmageddon 2018

Snow! 

I don’t know if the snow itself is a favourite but the walk I got to take with Ali was and when I didn’t have to go outside it looked very pretty. That said I’m fine with us not having loads of snow next year, my car was not happy. Either way, I wrote a post all about Snowmageddon in the South!

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Food 

Can we all take a little time to appreciate how tasty Creame Eggs are? I only had 2 McFlurries and an undisclosed amount of actual eggs. I know some people might not count them as food but, c’mon it’s chocolate…and I’ve been running on sugar this month.

Fashion

A few fashion favourites are my new Stitch t-shirt from Primark which is SO adorable and cost about £6 I think? I also picked up some new Vans in their outlet store in Portsmouth for £33 and they are the comfiest shoes I own.

Blog Posts

5 Things You Should Know About Living With Chronic Pain 

Fantastic Feminist Authors

Why Do You Blog?

Top 10 Books I Read in Winter

Did my GCSE Choices Matter? 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

Book Review My Lovely Wife Mark Lukach

Mark and Giulia have a wonderful life, a strong relationship and a future to look forward to. What they didn’t know was that their lives and relationships were going to be tested by Giulia developing a severe mental illness. This lead to her being hospitalised, suicidal and unable to trust anyone around her. Later, after the birth of their son, Giulia is again hospitalised but how does Mark care for his child and support his wife.

For anyone who has been in the grips of mental illness or knows someone who has been affected this is a challenging read because it is so real. Mark talks about the lack of movement from medical professionals, the lack of beds and the lack of information. I know that for me, personally, this was a tough read because it’s one of the things that scares me most about mental ill health.

That said, what I celebrated most about this book is that Mark does not shy away from how hard it is to cope with a partner with a mental health condition because it’s true. He shares his pain, bewilderment and anger at the situation and his feeling of wanting to run and escape, not because he doesn’t love his wife, but because it’s hard.

This isn’t all doom and gloom, there is a lot of love in this book and most importantly hope. This chronicles finding a new way to love and a new way to move forward in a relationship when the unexpected is thrown at you, which happens more than people would like to admit. They have still found a way to laugh and love, which is important.

I’ve never read a book like this before and while I was nervous going in, I now recommend it to everyone. This is what long-term love is. This is fighting through together and doing what needs to be done for the other person, even if they may not thank you in the moment. I gave this five stars. Not only was it brilliantly written it meant a lot to me to see the other side. I’d love to read more from Mark about his life with Giulia and their future.

I Bought a Lot of Books Last Month…

Hello, hello, hello you lovely lot!

I have a confession, I bought a lot of books last month and I mean a lot. There was a combination of books I bought in store, online and a few from subscription boxes. I’ve been quite good at being restrained recently but this month that went completely out of the window, oops. So here’s a haul for you guys and evidence of my lack of self-control when it comes to books.

Far From the Tree – Robin Benway 

I’ve heard good things about this novel which centres around three adopted siblings and how they all deal with this in their individual lives. Grace has just given up her own baby leading to her to think about her own biological parents. Maya isn’t sure exactly where she fits anymore. While oldest sibling Joaquin isn’t interested in his biological mother after growing up in the foster system. Buy it here.

Witchborn – Nicholas Bowling 

While I was in my local bookshop I was wondering if I could find something including witches while I wait for the next book in The Graces series. Then I saw Witchborn, which has witches, questions of madness and more and I’m so excited. Buy it here.

Your Life in My Hands -Rachel Clarke 

There’s so much we don’t know about what happens in the NHS and what it’s like for our doctors. I found this for £3 so I had no excuse really… Buy it here.

Bygone Badass Broads – Mackenzie Lee 

A collection of women that probably weren’t in the history books, ok there weren’t that many kick-ass women in my history books. Mackenzie Lee wanted to show women we might not have heard of and I’m so there for that! Buy it here.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 – Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo 

I LOVED the first book about amazing ladies (review here) so of course I went and bought the second one straight away. Spoiler alert, it’s awesome. Buy it here.

Together We Rise – The Organisers of The Women’s March 

Released on the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, this has some impressive contributors and looks at the before, during and what next for the movement. I wrote a whole post on it in a collaboration with Harper360 which you can read here. Buy it here.

The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green 

I got this in my most recent Illumicrate box and they’ve been really upping the fantasy recently. This has four main protagonists living very different lives and are all impacted by the coming war.

Blood and Sand – C.V Wyk 

The second book I received in Illumicrate. I’m not 100% sure because it’s something that I’d pick up myself. It’s about Ancient Rome and rebellion. I’ll give it a go.

The Red Clocks – Leni Zumas 

This has been on my list for a long time so I have high hopes for this a dystopian novel set in a time when IVF and abortions are banned looks at the lives of a group of women. I hope this is good. Buy it here.

A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

I fell in love with Chimamanda’s way of thinking when I watched her Ted Talk. So, when I found this I thought it would be great to pick it up because she’s a brilliant writer. This is only 65 pages, so absolutely tiny but I’m looking forward to what she’s going to say. Buy it here.

 

If you want to see how I get on with these books don’t forget I’m on Goodreads! You can become my Goodreads friend here.

 

Please note, I am an Amazon affiliate.

March-Book-Wrap-Up

I Read 12 Books in March?!

It has been a GOOD reading month, which I think is partly due to the fact I had some time off this month and could curl up with a few more books. It’s also due to the fact I’ve spent a lot of evenings on my own, no one to talk to means you’re not ignoring anyone! Anyway on to my 12 March reads!

Ok so technically This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was read in February but not in time for my last wrap up. I loved this memoir and think it’s an incredibly important read in modern Britain. I also read Lydie and Limited Edition, both graphic novels. Lydie was sweet but strange about a girl who believes her baby is still alive and the town who humors her. Limited Edition is about a woman in her 30s looking for love, it wasn’t my favourite but it was ok. Also I got an early release of The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R Pan, which wasn’t for me you can see why here.

Next up I finished the incredible Mysogynation by Laura Bates, once again Laura wrote a book that I wanted to shout ‘hell yeah’ at, not an easy task. Following this I read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven which, no big deal, is currently my favourite read of the year you can read my review here. I also picked up the long awaited Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, even more kick ass ladies and beautiful illustrations. Then I finally got around to reading The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin after I loved the film but, honestly, I was really let down by the ending.

After seeing Tony Walsh’s reading of This is The Place after the Manchester attack I needed to read his poetry. I picked up Sex & Love & Rock&Roll, it was a breath of fresh air for contemporary poetry. Next up Bygone Badass Broads by Mckenzie Lee a collection of stories about real women you might not know. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favourite. Following this I picked up A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggests by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a very short read but an important one I feel. I also finished Nobody Told Me which chronicles Hollie McNish’s life as a mother in poetry and diary entries from finding out she’s pregnant to her child at three.

Finally, I picked up Stacey Dooley’s On the Frontline with Women Who Fight Back which I fell in love with, review to come soon! Another poetry collection as well thanks to Netgalley of Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward which was an interesting collection. I also FINALLY got around to Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Allbertalli which I didn’t love as much as everyone said I would…sorry! And finally, I finished and fell in love with How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, amazing just amazing.

What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to keep up with what I’m reading you can connect with me on Goodreads!

 

Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

Izzy is many things, an Orphan, an aspiring comic and slut extraordinaire, that’s what it says online at least. But can you believe everything you read?

Wow, wow, wow. This is currently a contender for my book of the year and I’ve already been nagging my friends to read it. I initially liked the look of this novel from the blurb and super eye-catching cover. That said, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. This is a fantastic look at societies views of girls who like sex.

After Izzy enjoys herself at a party she doesn’t think much of it. That is until posts about her being a slut are posted online, then pictures of her having sex, then some of her naked…and then a national scandal involving the son of a senator erupts. Which, as you can imagine isn’t as easy to ignore.

I LOVED our protagonist, Izzy. She was funny and sarcastic but also you could tell she had a good heart. A really good heart. The novel is written in Izzy’s voice and was like you were reading a friend’s blog rather than a fictional character. I felt that there was a great deal of balance between the face that Izzy shows to the world and her own feelings. She just felt real.

There is so much covered by this novel, slut shaming, the double standards between guys and girls as well as what it’s like to grow up with little money. In short, this is a novel that needed to be written. This is something that happens to a lot of girls and through the lens of a small town. You can feel the disgust that Izzy feels as she can see even the adult males mentally undressing her after seeing the images. You feel anger as she is treated terribly by those in authority even though she is a victim.

I gave this 5 stars and have been recommending it to absolutely everyone. We need more novels like this. Izzy isn’t defined as a victim here. She’s upset and angry but she’s still herself. She still has dreams and hopes for the future, she still loves her family (huge shout out to Izzy’s gran who is amazing) and thinks about others. I highly recommend this and can’t wait to see what Laura Steven does next.