Review of Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay.

This is a very difficult read. No matter whether you’re a survivor of a sexual crime or not, this book will haunt you in ways you cannot conceive.

The anthology hits you right at the core of your emotions. Each story leaving you feeling the emotions that the survivors all went through.

This is a book that is very relevant right now. This is a book that allows people who haven’t been attacked to feel some of what goes through the head of someone who has had this sort of crime committed against them.

Be warned, there are plenty of triggers in this book. The book isn’t graphic, it’s just highly emotional.

Review of The Rumour by Lesley Kara.

This debut novel by Lesley Kara had me hooked from the start.

Someone has a secret, but it’s not who you think!

There’s a tense undercurrent right from the beginning of the book. As the story unfolds snippets of the secret come to the surface. I found myself second guessing every other character, thinking it was them with the secret.

The story starts off slowly, despite the tense undercurrent that was present right at the start of the book. The main character is introduced along with the secondary characters, many of them leaving their mark on the reader as the secret is revealed.

The secret is that a child killer is supposedly living alongside the residents of the seaside town of Flintstead. When Joanna, the main character, hears this she sets off on a quest to find out as much as she can about who the person is that harbours this awful secret; who is it that has been given a new identity and allowed to live among them?

Joanna becomes obsessed with the rumour that she helps to spread, as well as the story of the child killer who was given a new identity. Everywhere she goes in her daily life she wonders if the people she interacts with are the notorious child killer.

The book will have you hooked right from the start. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I thought I knew who the child killer was, then the story took a twist down a different path and I was sure it was another person. I had no idea it was the person who is revealed to be the killer until much later in the book.

The book is very cleverly written, the writer interjects the real killer’s thoughts every now and then but you really don’t get a sense of who this person is for quite some time.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The fast paced rhythm of the story kept me invested right until the end.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a brilliant debut novel.

Review of Bloody Brilliant Women.

When I saw this book was up for a review I jumped at the chance to read it.

History books are littered with heroic men who have shaped the world we live in today.

But what about the women?

The history books seem to have forgotten about the women. Of course we know about Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Stopes and a few others, but what do we know of engineer and motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose ingenious device for the Spitfires’ Rolls-Royce Merlin fixed an often-fatal flaw, allowing the RAF’s planes to beat the Germans in the Battle of Britain?

Or Dorothy Lawrence, the journalist who achieved her ambition to become a WW1 correspondent by pretending to be a man?

Or development biologist Anne McClaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation?

And then we have the women who paved the way for council housing in Britain, municipal swimming pools and humane laws relating to property ownership, child custody and divorce wouldn’t exist in quite the same way without these heroic women included in this book.

These trailblazing women, and many more, deserve the same recognition that their male counterparts were afforded. From the 1918 Representation of the People Act – which allowed some women the right to vote – through to the ousting of Margaret Thatcher from Downing Street, and beyond.

The book is a brilliant read, a humbling read, a read that will enrage you on behalf of these women for the way in which they were very often belittled. Bloody Brilliant Women was written using meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources. The author uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain. It’s a history for both women and men. A history for our times.

I hadn’t heard of half of these women and that made me both sad and mad at the same time. Why were these women overlooked? Very often what they achieved, created, defended, fought for and much, much more was more incredible than some of the men who have been included in the history books.

The book is very thought provoking. It’s very humbling. It’s a bloody brilliant read and I highly recommend it.