The Blurb

From Congressman Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe to the high school rapists of Steubenville, Ohio, to the furor at Vanderbilt, sexual violence has been so prominent in recent years that the feminist term “rape culture” has finally entered the mainstream. But what, exactly, is it? And how do we change it?

In Asking for It, Kate Harding answers those questions in the same blunt, bullshit-free voice that has made her a powerhouse feminist blogger. Combining in-depth research with practical knowledge, Asking for It makes the case that twenty-first-century America—where it’s estimated that out of every 100 rapes only 5 result in felony convictions—supports rapists more effectively than victims. Harding offers ideas and suggestions for how we, as a culture, can take rape much more seriously without compromising the rights of the accused.

The Review

I have many reasons to be thankful for this book. Firstly, it opened my eyes to a harrowing world that I have fortunately never been witness or victim to; secondly, it has been a damn good read and thirdly (and quite frankly, most importantly) it highlighted that I too am guilty of some of the negative responses to rape that feature in this book and it has therefore made me change my opinion.

Asking For It, or to give the book its full title Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It by Kate Harding is a study of the perceptions that we as society have about rape. Much to my shame, I have to admit that I have said on nights out that a girl wearing a short outfit or walking alone that she should have been more careful or maybe covered up a bit more. After reading this I am ashamed of my comments and beliefs. Just because someone wears an outfit that others would deem as provocative does not constitute her being “fair game” or “up for it.”

I do believe that we have to be careful and protect ourselves but the fact that I have to think like that is shocking. The statistics and figures that feature in this book make you realise what an epidemic (and believe me when I say epidemic) crimes of a sexual nature are.

This book is (and should be a harrowing read) however, Kate Harding does lighten the load by making a mockery of the presumed notions and consistent fallacies that are believed about rape which does make some of the more harrowing passages less difficult to read.

Everyone should read this book if only for a new perspective. I was extremely naïve and uneducated – I still am, one book hasn’t changed that fact – however, I do feel that I have more of an insight into this contentious subject matter now that I have read Asking For It.

Believe me when I say that this is an important book.

Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It by Kate Harding is available now.

Follow Kate Harding (@KateHarding) on Twitter.

Asking For It Kate Harding

The Blurb

From Leila Sales, the author of This Song Will Save Your Life, comes a compelling and relatable story about the hazards of falling for someone you haven’t met yet. Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose: it makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her – including her needy best friend and her absent mum. Arden stumbles upon a blog called ‘Tonight the Streets Are Ours’, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, and it feels like she’s finally found a kindred spirit. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him. During one crazy night in NYC filled with parties, dancing and music – the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does – Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was either.

The Review

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales was one of my favourite stories that I read last year so I was more than excited for her new novel Tonight the Streets Are Ours. And sure I can admit that the absolutely stunning book cover helped somewhat.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is really multi-faceted. There are so many layers that it is hard to break down to tell you about them but I shall try. It is about a girl called Arden who has a troublesome best friend called Lindsay; Arden lives at home with her father and her brother and just over four weeks earlier her mother abandoned them all; Arden has a boyfriend called Chris who she is growing ever the more unsure about and Arden has a secret obsession with a blog called Tonight the Streets Are Ours by a mysterious writer called Peter.

So I have managed to tell you about the book without revealing too much which is good. I guess if I had to describe the theme of the book I would say that consistently running through it is the theme of disappointment and having expectations that are too high. Arden likes to believe that people are inherently good and do good things for the people that they care about but when she realises she is giving more than she is receiving she becomes a bit jaded and angry.

If I am honest, I found Arden’s naivety somewhat annoying at times and she did put people either too high on a pedestal or equally too low. She never really concentrated on herself but in essence that is what also made her character and linked her to her mother whose life paralleled Arden’s.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a really good read and one that has more of an impact than you initially feel. This book is definitely worth a read.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales is available from 24th September 2015.

Follow Leila Sales (@LeilaSalesBooks) on Twitter.

Tonight The Streets Are Ours

SoppyTitle: Soppy A Love Story

Author: Philippa Rice

Pages: 108 Pages

The Blurb

“The next hot ticket could be British artist Philippa Rice, whose marvellously inventive blogs My Cardboard Life and Soppy have won her fans across the world.”
–Anna Baddeley, The Observer

The wildly popular web comic SOPPY–with more than half a million notes on Tumblr–is the illustrated love story of author Philippa Rice and her real-life boyfriend. True love isn’t always about the big romantic gestures. Sometimes it’s about sympathizing with someone whose tea has gone cold or reading together and sharing a quilt. When two people move in together, it soon becomes apparent that the little things mean an awful lot. The throwaway moments in life become meaningful when you spend them in the company of someone you love.

SOPPY is Philippa Rice’s collection of comics and illustrations based on real-life moments with her boyfriend. From grocery shopping to silly arguments and snuggling in front of the television, SOPPY captures the universal experience of sharing a life together, and celebrates the beauty of finding romance all around us.

The Review

I love a good love story and Soppy by Philippa Rice is a damn good love story. Rice has managed to capture in cartoon format the magic that is the banality of love. Stuff like washing the dishes, going to bed, reading books, watching TV, shopping etc, all of those things that we take for granted when we are in a relationship. The things that for those of us that are lonely would kill to have.

This book, short though it was, made my heart zing. It was simple and delicate and just plain lovely. I felt warm and fuzzy after reading it and I firmly believe that Soppy is going to become my “go-to” book for when I am feeling blue.

Thank you, Philippa Rice.

Soppy A Love Story by Philippa Rice is available now.

List of the LostTitle: Life of the Lost

Author: Morrissey

Pages: 128 Pages

The Blurb

‘Beware the novelist . . . intimate and indiscreet . . . pompous, prophetic airs . . . here is the fact of fiction . . . an American tale where, naturally, evil conquers good, and none live happily ever after, for the complicated pangs of the empty experiences of flesh-and-blood human figures are the reason why nothing can ever be enough. To read a book is to let a root sink down. List of the lost is the reality of what is true battling against what is permitted to be true.’ Morrissey.

Penguin Books is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of List of the Lost, Morrissey’s extraordinary novel, on 24 September.

The Review

Oh man.

I was really excited that Morrissey was releasing a book. I was excited for all the wrong reasons. I love The Smiths, I loved Morrissey’s autobiography, I love the myth of Morrissey. It hurts me to say this but Morrissey – the author of fiction – is awful. I don’t mean a little bit terrible, I mean this book – List of the Lost -brings awful to a whole new level.

I would love to be able to explain the plot of the story to you but unfortunately it got lost beneath the dirge of words used elsewhere. The narrative was so erratic I couldn’t find any understanding at all. The only parts that seemed to be clear happened to be when Morrissey broke free from character voice and inserted his own thoughts and opinions – believe me, it was blatant when this happened in the story. I think my issue with this is that as a performer and therefore (in a sense) a public figure, Morrissey has a platform to vent and rant to his heart’s content. He needn’t have interrupted his own story with his personal agenda.

Music wise, Morrissey is a lyrical god; as a novelist Morrissey leaves a lot to be desired.

List of the Lost by Morrissey is available now.

Dont Get Me WrongThe Blurb

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, David Nicholls, and Sophie Kinsella. Here is a Pride and Prejudice for the modern era: Londoners Kim and Harry can’t see eye to eye…until the life of the person they both love most hangs in the balance.

Kim and Harry are total opposites who happen to have the same favourite people in the world: Kim’s older sister Eva and her young son, Otis. Kim has never seen what her free-spirited big sister sees in a stuck-up stockbroker like Harry and has spent her childhood trying to keep him out (must he always drive the most ostentatious cars and insist on charming everyone he meets?), while Harry’s favourite occupation is provoking Kim.

Both Harry and Kim are too stuck in their prejudices to care about what’s really going on beneath the surface of each other’s lives. They’ll never understand each other—until the worst of all tragedy strikes. Faced with the possibilities of losing the person they both love most, long-buried secrets come to a head in ways that will change both Harry and Kim forever.

Marianne Kavanagh tackles the bonds of family, friendship, and love through sophisticated storytelling. Don’t Get Me Wrong is a witty and heart-warming book that will charm readers everywhere.

The Review

Oh boy.

This is a tough review to write because I have very mixed feelings.

Don’t Get Me Wrong wasn’t brilliant. In fact, I really struggled to finish it. The reason for this is very simple and clear to me. I absolutely detested the protagonist. Kim was whiney and petulant all the way throughout the story. Her attitude, hatred and demeanour did nothing to curry favour with the audience. I can honestly say that I have never disliked a main character more.

On the flip side of this, Don’t Get Me Wrong had some truly well written, emotional scenes; these scenes, had Kim been likeable, would have saved the story for me. In theory the plot is really good but in practice I really could not get into the story. I persevered but it did take me a week to finish which is unlike me.

Maybe it was just me but I couldn’t understand why a writer would make her protagonist so unlikeable and difficult to relate to; especially when the theme of death is one we can all identify with.

Don’t Get Me Wrong was definitely not my favourite book of the year.

Don’t Get Me Wrong is available now.