REVIEW: Princesses Behaving Badly, Linda Rodríguez McRobbie

Friday, 29 June 2018

You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders—but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers minibiographies of all these princesses and dozens more. 

REVIEW: Of Women: In the 21st Century, Shami Chakrabarti

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Gender injustice is the greatest human rights abuse on the planet. It blights First and developing worlds; rich and poor women. Gender injustice impacts health, wealth, education, representation, opportunity and security everywhere. It is no exaggeration to describe the position of women as an apartheid, but it is not limited to one country or historical period. For this ancient and continuing wrong is millennial in duration and global in reach. Only radical solutions can even scratch its surface. However, the prize is a great one: the collateral benefits to peace, prosperity, sustainability and general human happiness are potentially enormous. All this because we are all interconnected and all men are of women too.

REVIEW: The Girlfriend, Sarah J. Naughton

Monday, 25 June 2018

After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her rebellious brother, Abe, is in a coma, and the police suspect he tried to take his own life. But Mags isn't so sure, and she begins to crack away at the life of the brother she once knew: the dark apartment building, the whispering tenants, and her brother's mysterious girlfriend, the only witness to the incident, who raises more questions than answers. As Mags picks up where the police left off, she begins to unearth the secrets her brother left behind—and awakens her own talent for revenge.

2018 A-Z Reading Challenge: Mid-Year Update

Saturday, 23 June 2018

How is this challenge going? Pretty much as I had expected. The first fifteen or so books I read this year ticked off letter after letter in quick succession... then the rate slowed. And now, with six months and seven letters remaining, my progress in reading books starting with all letters of the alphabet has ground to a complete halt.
Will I complete the challenge by the end of the year? With only seven left you would initially assume so, but when you look closer at which letters they actually are (and which books I have on my bookshelf that corresponds to them), that outcome seems like less of a given. 
All that I know is that frankly, I have had a lot of fun with this challenge (anything that rankles my competitive side is a win with me) and I hope that, by the time December comes, I can say that I have been successful.

REVIEW: The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'. Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyr's deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the truth, as Catherine Nixey reveals, is very different. Far from being meek and mild, they were violent, ruthless and fundamentally intolerant. Unlike the polytheistic world, in which the addition of one new religion made no fundamental difference to the old ones, this new ideology stated not only that it was the way, the truth and the light but that, by extension, every single other way was wrong and had to be destroyed. From the 1st century to the 6th, those who didn't fall into step with its beliefs were pursued in every possible way: social, legal, financial and physical. Their altars were upturned and their temples demolished, their statues hacked to pieces and their priests killed. It was an annihilation.

REVIEW: Know It All Fashion, Rebecca Arnold

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Most of us have some feeling for fashion and have a vague idea of what’s in and what’s out. Less familiar to most, however, is the way fashion works as a global business. Know-It-All Fashion looks beyond the surface of this billion-dollar industry. Each entry is summarized in under a minute–using nothing more than two pages, 300 words, and one picture. Leading fashion experts provide an engrossing crash course in how the style world works today, alongside an engaging look at the founding fathers (and mothers) of fashion who set it up that way. Every aspect of the modern fashion industry is explored, from haute couture to high street, from catwalk to street style, and from glossy magazine to online blog. Some of the recurring themes behind fashion design are also explored, such as the influence of art, music and sport. Know-It-All Fashion includes everything you need to get style savvy.

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sorry to be a cliché, but how is it mid-June already???? Like did we all go into a forced hibernation or something? Because time has just seemed to fly by in a way that frankly, is not even plausible. It seems like just days ago when, back in February, I was finally well enough to move back to Cardiff, and in just a week, I am moving back home. 
Please keep me in your thoughts during this difficult time. 
And so, because of the prospect of moving back to God's Own County has left me feeling rather down, I thought that I would cheer myself up my doing my first ever Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. So, here we go.

REVIEW: West, Carys Davis

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

When Cy Bellman, American settler and widowed father of Bess, reads in the newspaper that huge ancient bones have been discovered in a Kentucky swamp, he leaves his small Pennsylvania farm and young daughter to find out if the rumours are true: that the giant monsters are still alive, and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River. West is the story of Bellman's journey and of Bess, waiting at home for her father to return. 

REVIEW: Souvenir, Rolf Potts

Monday, 11 June 2018

For as long as people have traveled to distant lands, they have brought home objects to certify the journey. More than mere merchandise, these travel souvenirs take on a personal and cultural meaning that goes beyond the object itself. Drawing on several millennia of examples-from the relic-driven quests of early Christians, to the mass-produced tchotchkes that line the shelves of a Disney gift shop-travel writer Rolf Potts delves into a complicated history that explores issues of authenticity, cultural obligation, market forces, human suffering, and self-presentation. Souvenirs are shown for what they really are: not just objects, but personalized forms of folk storytelling that enable people to make sense of the world and their place in it.'

REVIEW: Love & Ruin, Paula McLain #BLOGTOUR

Thursday, 7 June 2018

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.

Happy Pride Month: 12 Books by LGBTQ+ Authors You Should Read This Month

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Before I begin, I must say that I know that this is not an exhaustive list. Not even close. If I could (if I had the time), I would include each and every openly queer author ever on this list, and send all of you out to revel in their glory. Because, aside from showing the world that love is love and that there is so much for us to be prideful about, I believe Pride Month is about paying respect to our community's achievements; standing back and thinking about how amazing we are, and about all the people who have come before us and made the path just that bit easier for us to walk on.
So, in the month of June (and all months actually, but in this one in particular) I will be buying more books, listening to more music, watching more movies, and donating to more charities that have been created by fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is a way of paying homage and championing our voices; showing support for a community who has been so supportive of me.
So, let's get started.

Most Anticipated Book Releases - June 2018

Sunday, 3 June 2018

I know, I know. This post will find you late. For me, the last few weeks have been ransacked by food poisoning and so, as you can probably tell, I am only just now getting around to getting my blog up to date. Which means that this post is late. Like, extremely, extremely late. On the downside, that means it is probably not going to have the same impact/buzz that it would have had if it was posted at the beginning of the month, but on the upside, it means that by now, most of these books have been released and you don't have to wait around for pre-orders. And that is always a good thing.