I Won’t Be Silent – A Poem

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For a while there,

I lost my voice.

I let someone else’s laugh muffle by shouts

for rebellion.

 

But I am a woman,

hear me roar.

I’ve got no time for heels,

or a cat call.

 

Because I broke free,

from the good girl mentality

and now, here I stand

Just as good as any man.

 

I won’t be silent.

I won’t be contained.

Because I am a woman.

I don’t need to be saved.

Feminist Friday Returns!

Yes, you read that right I’m bringing back Feminist Friday.

I was really unsure for a while, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted, feeling generally deflated. Then I read a few books, got mad about sexism and started writing again. Really writing for a few weeks and, well, I decided that I wanted to bring this back.

I’m not sure it will be every week, I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to be writing about. There will be opinions and poetry and hopefully other women writing about things they are passionate about too.

Let’s start a revolution!

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

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: 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!

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.

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

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The Women’s March went global last year. After America chose to swear in a proud misogynist, women decided to take action, and so they did. This book details the marches and more importantly, why we marched. As soon as I saw this I wanted to speak to you all about it and seeing as it’s Women’s History Month, what better time is there to speak about it?

I’m really pleased to be working in collaboration with Harper 360 for this post after reaching out to them. As you know I’ve written about the London Women’s March in earlier blogs and why we needed it but what about over a year on? This collection makes it clear that we still need to stand and be counted when it comes to society.

The book is divided into four parts; Before, The March, After and Now What, each looking at the importance of these four periods not only in relation to the march itself but also within a wider context. What I find particularly interesting however is that each part is further broken down into the reason an individual woman marched, as well as some incredible photography of the day itself. We are also treated to insights from some well-known names such as; Rowan Blanchard, Senator Tammy Duckworth, America Ferrera, Roxane Gay, Ilana Glazer, Ashley Judd, Valarie Kaur, David Remnick, Yara Shahidi, Jill Soloway, Jia Tolentino, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Elaine Welteroth.

I think this is both an important and accessible book, giving insight into the thoughts, feelings and power that the March created. It’s also one that you don’t have to sit and read in one go, you can pick it up when you want to feel inspired or are struggling. I can’t wait to have this on my shelves and dip into it, although I’m definitely going to be tempted to dive in and read it cover to cover!

Are you planning on picking this up? Have you already? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Fantastic Feminist Authors

On the 8th March it’s International Women’s Day, so what better time to share some kick ass authors for you to get into. In a recent Twitter poll you guys said you wanted to see more bookish content on the blog which is fine with me, so let’s get started!

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Holly Bourne – YA Queen

From the first few pages of The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, I fell in love and knew that Holly was one to watch. Her novels speak to young adults in a way I haven’t seen before. She talks about Feminism, without making you feel like she’s preaching. A fantastic author and you can read my review of Am I Normal Yet here.

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Laura Bates – Conquering Everyday Sexism

Laura created the Everyday Sexism project, started to show that sexism is very real and giving a platform to share it. She has just released her third book Misogynation, after Everyday Sexism and Girl Up. She’s factual as well as standing up for women’s rights. A must-read author.

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Caitlin Moran – The Reason I’m a Feminist

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, How To Be A Woman changed my life and perspective and, ultimately, made me a feminist. Caitlin says what she wants and has no time for bullshit. I’ve read all her non-fiction works as well as her novel How To Build A Girl, which is also a cracker. Great for getting the information with a great laugh at the same time.

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Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – Taking on the Magazines

Holly and Lucy run their own blog of the same name but I found the book first. This is different to any I’ve read before, particularly as neither are that much older than me. This examines the way we take in magazines and the media industry. It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. Here’s my review to wet your appetite.

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Rupi Kaur – Bringing Poetry Back

She’s become amazingly popular and for good reason. I haven’t seen poetry get this popular, well, ever. Rupi talks about the female experience in her poetry and it’s absolutely beautiful as well as thought-provoking. You can read my review of her second collection The Sun and Her Flowers here.

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Louise O’Neill – Tackling Taboo

For incredible, thought-provoking fiction Lousie O’Neill is the one to go to. Her novel Only Ever Yours freaked me out but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and later novel Asking For It has been raved about since its release. She’s not afraid of writing about taboo subjects and feminism, what more do you want? Review of Only Ever Yours here.

 

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

 

My Doritos are too crunchy

My Doritos Are Too Crunchy!!!

So much happened on Superbowl Sunday and I’m not even talking about the sports. We had Kylie Jenner announce that she had given birth and kept secret her entire pregnancy (c’mon don’t pretend you hadn’t been wondering too), Justin Timberlake played the halftime show and announced he was coming to the UK on tour BUT the real news will change the lives of all ladies.

…Are you ready?

Doritos have answered our prayers and planned lady friendly snacks. They’ll get rid of that horrible crunch sound, fit into our handbags and we won’t need to suck our fingers like a man! Just how did they know what we were all hoping and praying for! *end of heavy sarcasm*

Yep, seriously. Although now they have said they’re backtracking it still raises the question. What the hell were they thinking? Do they really think that the big issue that women have is that they don’t like getting messy eating a bag of crips? I don’t think so. Now, if I was being cynical I would guess this is a big publicity stunt, a shock tactic to make people angry but still talk about their brand. Which kinda worked.

There is still this idea of gendered BS though, things that are made pretty and pink for women for no reason other than they have a vagina. Do you remember the Bic ‘for her’ pens, have you looked at women’s razors lately? Mine has a damn Daisy on it for no reason, I bought it because it was on offer not because it spoke to my feminine instinct.

In response, I’ll be grabbing the loudest crisps or ‘chips’ as Americans call them and doing this…

Comedy Central Eating GIF by Inside Amy Schumer - Find & Share on GIPHY

How about you? Do you think this goes too far or it’s just amusing? I’d love to hear from you all in the comments below!

My December Book Haul!

Hello fellow book lovers!

I know that normally I only post the books I received in my monthly wrap-ups BUT as it was Christmas and the sales I thought it would be worth my book haul getting its very own dedicated blog…because there are so many! So, let’s get stuck in!

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Harry Potter – A History of Magic

I asked for this for Christmas as I was visiting the exhibition at the end of the month. This really goes into another level of detail about the world of Potter and history of magic itself.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition – J.K Rowling 

The boyfriend did good on this one, these illustrated editions by Jim Kay are something else. These illustrations are so beautiful and you can tell they’ve been born from imagination rather than the films.

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Fantastic Beasts Illustrated Edition – J.K. Rowling 

This is illustrated by a different artist but is, again, so beautiful and unique. With the Fantastic Beast films coming out every few years this is a perfect companion and there is so much detail in these illustrations.

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A History of Britain in 21 Women – Jenni Murray 

Hearing about kick-ass women who made the country? Of course, I wanted this so on my Christmas list it went. My parents picked this up for me for Christmas, I can’t wait for even more inspiration from reading this.

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Hello, Goodbye, Hello – Craig Brown

I saw someone recommend this on Youtube and the premise of this is fascinating. This links 101 meetings between interesting figures in history and connects them all in a very satisfying circle.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King & Owen King 

Confession, I’ve never read a Stephen King book. This is because I am a wuss and cannot watch a horror film, but books are different. This really intrigued me, although it is absolutely huge. It considers what the world would be after women are infected with a virus, making them feral and violent, sign me up.

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The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin 

I loved the film of this as a teenager and thought it was only proper that I read the book too, I can’t wait to see how it compares.

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Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

I’d heard about this novel before and it was in the offer with the above, so it was worth picking up.

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Animal Farm -George Orwell

I read this when I was at school, I must have been about 13 (I’ve just realised that’s 10 years ago and I feel so old). I absolutely loved this novel and what it stood for but think it’s going to be fascinating to read it all these years later.

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Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell 

I’ve only ever read Animal Farm cover to cover, so why not read another of Orwell’s works?

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Night – Elie Weisel

I haven’t read this before and found it in a cheaper bookshop for only £3 and I know it’s a classic piece of Holocaust literature. It’s something, I believe, we need to read about and remember so that so many can be remembered.

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Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

I was offered a copy of this book for free, so of course, I said yes. This is set in Elizabethan times and focuses on William Shakespeare’s younger struggling actor brother.

Are any of these on your TBR for the year, or maybe you’ve read one? Let me know in the comments below!