March Book Haul

Saturday, 31 March 2018

I know, I know, I am starting to sound like a stuck record, but March was a great month when it came to book purchases. I am beyond excited to start so many of these books and it is getting to the point where, choosing my next book is becoming a rather impossible task. I mean, these are days where I wish I was like Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds and had the ability to read 20,000 words per minute. Because, oh my god, that sounds like heaven.

REVIEW: Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Thursday, 29 March 2018

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

REVIEW: The Witch Doesn't Burn In This One, Amanda Lovelace

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Books I'll (Probably) Never Read Tag

Sunday, 25 March 2018

I saw this tag on Ariel Bissett's Youtube channel and was like, 'hey I have nothing to post today, why don't I have a go at that?'. I love tag posts because it is really interesting to see how widely people's opinions differ and in the Books I'll (Probably) Never Read tag, you're likely to come across someone including your favourite book or genre. Some people hate that, some people feel really offended, but I don't - we live in a world with seven billion people, if we all had the same favourite book, I would be majorly concerned.

REVIEW: Steal Away Home, Billy Coffey

Friday, 23 March 2018

Owen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of those loves ruined him. Now he's counting on the other to save him. Baseball always came easy for Owen Cross. His innate talents were honed beneath the stiff hand of a father who wanted nothing more than for his son to succeed where he had failed. The girl was a little more complicated. Owen loved Micky Dullahan from the first time they met, on a lonely hill overlooking the depressed area where her troubled family had always lived. But she was from the wrong side of the tracks, and so that spot became their haven, the one place they could be together without worry of class or reputation. Owen's career progresses just as everyone expects: college, the minors, even a few stints in the big leagues. But it is on a major league field that he has the epiphany that he has always given everything to baseball—and yet it cannot love him back. Micky's advice comes back to haunt him. "You've got a second chance to love what will always love you back." And so he returns home to that hill, to the last place he ever saw her, finally ready to stop running away.

REVIEW: As Good as True, Cheryl Reid

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

August 1956. After a night of rage and terror, Anna Nassad wakes to find her abusive husband dead and instinctively hides her bruises and her relief. As the daughter of Syrian immigrants living in segregated Alabama, Anna has never belonged, and now her world is about to erupt. Days before, Anna set in motion an explosive chain of events by allowing the first black postman to deliver the mail to her house. But it’s her impulsive act of inviting him inside for a glass of water that raises doubts about Anna’s role in her husband’s death. As threats and suspicions arise in the angry community, Anna must confront her secrets in the face of devastating turmoil and reconcile her anguished relationship with her daughter. Will she discover the strength to fight for those she loves most, even if it means losing all she’s ever known?

REVIEW: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble

Monday, 19 March 2018

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms. Run a Google search for "black girls"--what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance- - operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond - understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance.

Women's Prize for Fiction - Longlist (& Plan of Action!)

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Following on from my recent Women's Prize for Fiction Predictions post, it only made sense to continue the little series I have got going on here with one unpacking my reaction to the long-list, now that it has been officially announced. Of the 10 books I threw my hat in the ring and had a guess about, 4 made it onto the list and I am quite happy with that number.
Honestly, I am surprised that I correctly guessed any.
Maybe that has validated me. Maybe it has proved that I can do this literary criticism/pitting books against one another-thing and that I should give it another go. So for the next month or so, my plan is read as many of the sixteen books on the long-list as is humanly possible and report back my thoughts and feeling as to where they rank to you guys. And, to make this more interesting, I thought I would fill this post with my initial thoughts before going into the books, so we can all look back and see how my opinions change with me actually reading them.
Are you ready? Then, let's get started.

REVIEW: F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism, Lauren McKeon

Thursday, 15 March 2018

From pop icons to working mothers, women are abandoning feminism in unprecedented numbers. Even scarier, they are also leading the charge to send it to its grave. Across North America, women head anti-feminist PR campaigns; they support anti-feminist politicians; they're behind lawsuits to silence the victims of campus rape; they participated in Gamergate, the violent, vitriolic anti-women-in-technology movement; and they're on the frontlines of the fight to end abortion rights. Everywhere we turn there's evidence an anti-feminist bomb has exploded, sometimes detonated by the unlikeliest suspects. Between women who say they don't need feminism and women who can't agree on what feminism should be, the challenges of fighting for gender equality have never been greater.

REVIEW: Swansong, Kerry Andrew

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex – finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations – floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods – she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret?

REVIEW: Makeup Revolution Reloaded "Iconic Division" Eyeshadow Palettte

Sunday, 11 March 2018

So let us flashback to late-July 2017: the beauty community, after eagerly awaiting the launch of the newest eyeshadow palette from the Anastasia Beverly Hills empire for the past god-knows-how-many months, have finally received the newest additions to their make-up collections and they're not happy.
Like, at all.

REVIEW: Folk, Zoe Gilbert

Friday, 9 March 2018

Every year they gather, while the girls shoot their arrows and the boys hunt them out. The air is riddled with spiteful shadows – the wounds and fears and furies of a village year. The remote island village of Neverness is a world far from our time and place. The air hangs rich with the coconut-scent of gorse and the salty bite of the sea. Harsh winds scour the rocky coastline. The villagers' lives are inseparable from nature and its enchantments. Verlyn Webbe, born with a wing for an arm, unfurls his feathers in defiance of past shame; Plum is snatched by a water bull and dragged to his lair; little Crab Skerry takes his first run through the gorse-maze; Madden sleepwalks through violent storms, haunted by horses and her father's wishes. 

REVIEW: The Toymakers, Robert Dinsdale

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Do you remember when you believed in magic? The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium. For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical...

REVIEW: Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren

Monday, 5 March 2018

Freddy wants desperately to not be noticed. She doesn't want to be seen as different or unusual, but her step-brother Roland gets attention because he's deaf, and her little sister Mel thinks she's a private detective. All Freddy wants to do is navigate high school with as little trouble as possible. Then someone moves into the house on Grosvenor Street. Two extremely odd someones. Cuerva Lachance and Josiah aren't... normal. When they move in next door, the house begins to exhibit some decidedly strange tendencies, like not obeying the laws of physics or reality. Just as Freddy thinks she's had enough of Josiah following her around, she's plunged into an adventure millennia in the making and discovers the truth about the new neighbors.

Women's Prize for Fiction - Longlist Predictions

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Nothing (and I mean, nothing) qualifies me to do this. Let's get that straight.
Which means that I am most likely going to be wrong about each and every single one of these.
But I decided that, in honour of International Women's Day 2018 on the 8th March, which is the day this long-list will be announced, I thought that I would give it a go and blindly try and pick which books are going to make the cut. The problem is, that so many amazing women have published unbelievable works of fiction over the past twelve months and it would be oh-so-easy to be like, fuck it, they all deserve it.
But unfortunately, prizes don't work like that so I have forced myself to cut down my you-and-you-and-you-ing, to include just ten. Ten! The long-list will of course be longer - although by how much I am not too sure - and honestly, I can't wait to find out what books will be included, so that I can delve into new worlds of fiction.
So here are my picks, however left-field they may be.

Happy St. David's Day!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

I need to confess something: despite being born and raised just outside of Leeds for 19 of my 22 years, I have no bloody clue when St. George's Day is.