Book Review and Giveaway: Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon!

Phew! This book took me two months to read and never have I had such a rollercoaster of a time! Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon* is controversial to the point of antagonistic and when it first was released it was- explosive. So I took a step back and read it when everything and everyone calmed down. I can definitely see why the uproar happened though.

Hot (adj.) : (Of a person) Attractive ‘a hot chick’
Fem-i-n-ist (n.) : A person who supports feminism, the movement that advocates equal rights for women

Polly Vernon, Grazia columnist, Times feature writer (hair-flicker, Brazilian-waxer, jeans obsessive, outrageous flirt) presents a brave new perspective on feminism.
Drawing on her dedicated, life-long pursuit of hotness – having dismissed many of the rules on ‘good’ feminism at some point in the early 90s – she’ll teach you everything you ever wanted to know about being a feminist when you care about how you look. When part of your brain is constantly monologuing on fashion. When you check out your own reflection in every reflective surface. When your depilation practices are pretty much out of control. When you just really want to be fancied.
Hot Feminist is based on a principle of non-judgment (because there’s enough already), honesty about how often we mess this up, and empowerment through looks. Part memoir, part road map, it’s a rolling, raucous rejection of all those things we’re convinced we shouldn’t think / wear/ feel/ say/ buy/ want – and a celebration of all the things we can.
It is modern feminism, with style, without judgment.
I loved the chapters where Vernon got into the nitty gritty of the wage gap and rape statistics. But it takes up a very small portion of the book. She talks about focusing on the ‘big stuff’ and I was nodding my head along with some of her ideas, but that message is slightly diluted when it gets to the chapters about fashion. I can appreciate that the girls in Pretty Little Liars are amazingly dressed but it doesn’t apply to my life. I spend 98% of my time in some sort of gym wear. So when I pick up a book about Feminism, I’m not expecting to be told to buy 4 pairs of jeans and to “smoke a little weed” instead of shopping while sad. 

There were definitely things I disagreed with, sure, the internet can be a bit witch-hunty, but I’d rather that then letting people get away with saying awful things just because nobody is calling them out anymore. And as for her opinion of selfies- anything that makes women embrace how attractive they are and feel confident enough to put it out there is a plus in my book. But the core of her message; you can dress, act, be how you want in a patriarchal world that doesn’t always fit the ‘classic feminist’ way, is spot on.
However, it’s also full of all those little nit-picky things that are less disagreeable and just wrong for me in non-fiction; Polly Vernon also makes the assumption that her readers are straight women (this is vaguely addressed in a footnote almost 300 pages in), she uses the term ‘OCD’ as a way of describing her dedication to hair removal, and that any woman involved in porn is ‘not entirely in control’ (something I feel people who choose to do it for a living would disagree with).

When she started talking about exercise I found myself wishing that, like the blurb promoted, Vernon could not judge things that she didn’t agree with. I wanted her to embrace the fact that she loves walking without putting down the alternatives. I love my trainer, she’s a gift from god, and I can’t walk for miles everyday. I wanted more positivity.

Polly Vernon has some really important things to say, and I’d love to have a sit down natter with her one day because I think we’d get on. But its a very waffle-y book and around half way through I started wondering where the editor was. I could see whole chunks- whole chapters near the end that could have been scored through with a red pen.
I was accidentally sent two copies so what better to do with the spare after a review like this, than to give you an opportunity to make your own decision on it! The giveaway is UK only (sorry!) and will run for a week.

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Have you read Hot Feminist? What did you think?
*I was sent this book to review. I am not obligated to talk about it and it hasn’t changed my opinion.
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Fiction Friday: Review: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I think this book is one of my favourite books. I’d put it in my top five books and it’s so re-readable, every time I read it, I get something different from it. Of course, it’s Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend.’

It has a few flashbacks but this book is mainly split into 3 times between 1976 and 1978. And I think what this book does better than anything is character, it focussed on one guy- Robert Neville. He’s dealing with alcoholism, depression and the end of the world and I feel that this gives you a real insight into what the end of the world and being alone for a long time can do to a person.

Although this book is technically about vampires, Matheson will always be the grandfather of the zombie genre in my eyes with this book. I think I love it so much because so much of it is surviving. You go through the motions with him of everyday survival, finding food and gasoline, researching into the science side of what is happening and this is something glossed over in a lot of these books, much to my annoyance. It’s not easy to live in the apocalypse, literally or psychologically- this book truly shows that like no other.

Unfortunately this is not the case of the film, but that is a completely different blog post!

 book. Now and forever.

You can buy it here! But to celebrate this extraordinary book I’m giving away a copy! While my copy is beaten within an inch of it’s life, your copy will be brand spanking new. So just fill out the Rafflecopter to be in with a chance!

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Fine Print: This giveaway is international so you can enter anywhere in the world. I bought the book myself with my own money. If you’re under 18 please ask a parent or guardian for permission to enter. No giveaway blogs or twitters will be accepted.

Have you ever read I am Legend? What did you think?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you buy anything from the links, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you. Pretty neat, huh?
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Fiction Friday: The Georgia Nicolson Series by Louise Rennison: Review and Giveaway!

Now I’ve done separate reviews of these books but I thought I’d do one big overview since they’re split up into many blog posts and my opinion on if you should start this series at all since 10 books can be quite an investment of time and money if you’re a completionist like me! I reviewed the first book here, the second and third here, the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth here, and the ninth and tenth here!

The Georgia Nicolson Series by Louise Rennison

Louise Rennison has said; “I wrote the book to make myself laugh. I always wrote what I remembered making me laugh when I was that age. I didn’t attempt to teach. I didn’t attempt to do anything except I wanted Georgia to be a decent person. I wanted her to be someone who is a bit stupid and self-obsessed and difficult and funny and rude, and a bit jealous and all those other things. But I wanted her to have a good heart.” 

And I think that is what she has done! They’re not Moby Dick but they’re funny, genuine books that remind me a lot of my school years too. As horrifying as those years were; I had to wear a uniform, I went to an all-girls school and while I may not have had to wear a beret, the introduction of the compulsory blazer in my tenth year was more highly debated than anything in debate club.

Do I think people should read them? Yeah, if you want a bit of nostalgia- especially if you were a teenage girl at some point- then these books are just what you need. They’re a guaranteed laugh.

So if you fancy them I have a giveaway! Of all ten! If you read my book haul then you know I bought these to re-read, then a couple days later while clearing out my storage unit- I found my old copies so. I have all ten to giveaway today to one lucky UK reader, just fill out the rafflecopter below!

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Did you read the Georgia Nicolson books when you were young?
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Fiction Friday: Book Review: The Three by Sarah Lotz

“They’re here. I’m … don’t let Snookie eat chocolate, it’s poison for dogs, she’ll beg you, the boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Bye Joanie I love the bag bye Joanie, Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­-“

Pam, whose husbands name was Jim (The Office, anyone?), gets in a plane crash and leaves that message. Around the world three other planes crash. Pam only survives long enough to leave that message but there are three other survivors, all children, all fine. Or are they? The Three* is a book that explores the reaction of the world after this happens.

On with the review! In short, The Three is one of the best books I’ve read this year/ ever. Sarah Lotz has managed to write something about plane crashes that is better than Lost, which is not something I say lightly. The story was insane, every twist was like a smack in the face and even though I had no idea what was going on, it didn’t annoy me like it normally would.

The characters all felt very convincing and real, and even though it was constantly moving from person to person it was easy to keep up and get to know them. I was rooting for people, had my heart broken as the narrative progressed and just wanted to climb into the story and try to sort things out. We see the British media frenzy- there’s even a reference to Princess Diana in there, the Bible Belt of America’s religious reaction, and Japans slightly better way of dealing with everything. Lotz manages to stay pretty accurate to what I think would probably happen if this freak tragedy happens, and it’s a scary story in itself.

I’ve seen people compare it to World War Z which is one of my favourite books ever and I can see slightly how that might seem but for me, World War Z is more historical whereas this is more a media spin on a story. I really enjoyed the way this book was set out with prose then a book within a book, then more prose. It was a little Hamlet, a play within a play. I used to love reading these true crime books when I was a kid and that choice of formatting really made this book ‘pop’. I don’t think it would’ve been as good if it was just straight storytelling.

I was totally hooked, unlike Bird Box, I could not put this book down. I stayed up late into the night hunched over this book when I got to the last 50 pages and immediately took to twitter to vent my pent up feelings.

And that ending- the ending. Oh. 

I had no hesitation when rating this. I don’t hand out five stars that easily but this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Hands down.

If you want to buy this book and you should it is on Amazon here! Luckily I’ve been given the opportunity to give a copy away and all you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below! Which ends Friday the 13th of June because I thought it was fitting!

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Do you think you’ll pick The Three up?

*I was sent this book to review by the publisher. This is completely my honest opinion. The book being given away is being provided by the publisher for one of my readers. I am not responsible for delivery. This giveaway is UK only. If you’re under 18 please ask a parent or guardian for permission to enter. 

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Book Review and Giveaway: Bird Box by Josh Malerman!

Warning: Do not read this book before bed if you’re a scaredy cat like me!

Before the review I just have to show you the trailer. Book trailers are a thing! And boy is it a hair raiser.

So! Let me start this by saying that I, a grownish woman, am actually avoiding looking out of the window as I type this. I am sat by a window, the birds are chirping and someone is mowing their lawn, but I am not looking and have found myself doing this for the past hour after reading this book.

Bird Box* is a stand-alone thriller and the first novel of Josh Malerman. We follow the story of Malorie and two children as they leave their house for the first time in years, completely blindfolded, in a world where people see ‘something’- go mad- and kill others then themselves. As they travel down the river, Malorie thinks back to how they got into such a terrifying and dangerous situation.

Let’s start with the positives; I was a huge fan of the protagonist, Malorie, a grippingly real character and I felt really close to her as the story went on. Her development and motherly instincts just had me rooting for her the whole way through. I wanted her to be okay, I wanted the kids to be okay, I cared what happened.
In general the story had me guessing throughout, I watch and read a lot of horror but this was impossible to guess where it was going. Every time I thought I was understanding how this dystopian type world was, Malerman threw in a curve ball.
Another thing this book did really well was the pacing, when stories do flashbacks it can be done really well (Lost/ Fringe) or really badly (True Blood) and this book did it engagingly well. The going back and forth felt like Malorie was reliving those memories, and best of all, it was a natural process.

However, I didn’t ‘feel’ the rare and elusive hook. I kept reading and it was interesting but I missed out on the pull. I did put it down a couple of times even though it was relatively short but it was easy to pick up again so I can’t fault it too much. I would definitely be interested in a sequel!

In conclusion, I really recommend this book for fans of the horror genre or if you liked Cell by Stephen King! If you want to be blindsided by a brilliant storyline, this is for you. If you were unlucky enough to watch The Happening, this will cleanse the taste from your mouth.

Bird Box was released today and can be bought on Amazon here! Or you can enter my giveaway to win a copy in the rafflecoper below. Good luck!

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Do you like scary books?  

*I was sent this book to review by the publisher. This is completely my honest opinion. The book being given away is being provided by the publisher for one of my readers. I am not responsible for delivery. This giveaway is UK only. If you’re under 18 please ask a parent or guardian for permission to enter. 

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A Sephora Haul and Giveaway!

While I was in Florence I, of course, had to pop by Sephora because I have no willpower. I picked up a few things while I was there from their own brand which I’ve had a lot of luck with in the past and I thought I would show you and do a little giveaway while I was at it.

Oh Sephora, just open a UK store already.

The first things I picked up were a new foundation and concealer because these both seem light enough for my pale skin and have really good coverage. I haven’t tried them out fully yet but if they’re any good I’ll put up a full review but so far- so good!

By the checkout was a stand for the Limited Edition ‘Agua de Rio’ bath and body products and I got suckered into getting the moisturising sorbet because the texture is really interesting! It’s like a whipped product but gel-like. Personally I think I’ll stick to creams but I can see this being used a lot in the summer when it’s just too hot to put anything thick on.

Since I liked the smell of the sorbet so much I picked up the box of ‘Agua de Rio’ products so I can smell like a fruity cocktail all the time. It helps that the colour of them goes with my bathroom too. It comes with a bubble bath, a hand soap, a bath bomb and a loofa.

While I was there I couldn’t help but pick up another one of the kits for one of my UK readers since we don’t have a Sephora store here! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter!

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Fine Print: This giveaway is UK only. I bought it myself with my own money. If you’re under 18 please ask a parent or guardian for permission to enter. The giveaway ends at noon on the 31st of May.

Do you like to buy makeup when you’re abroad?
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