#bookreview The Gender Games by @junodawson

Format: E-book (Kindle)
Published: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 368 Pages

The Blurb
Why we are all being messed up by gender, and what we can do about it.

‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world where what’s in your head is more important than what’s between your legs.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

Well, ain’t this book a big ‘f##k you’ to all those gender stereotypes.

I thought The Gender Games would primarily be about Juno’s transition and although it largely is, it’s also a story that shows you the trials and tribulations of gender as a whole.

Have you ever been treated differently based on your gender? I know I have! The amount of times in my professional life where I’ve not been listened to because I’m a woman is scary. I’d say one thing and it would be “no, no”, yet a male colleague would say the same and their response is usually ‘oh yes, here have some praise’. It loosely happens now in all areas of my life, not just work and it’s bloody annoying. If I’m wrong or don’t know something I admit to this fact, I’m not one to make stuff up so you can imagine it’s frustrating!

Can’t you tell I’m passionate about this subject? Anyway, let’s take it back to Juno. You learn about her life pre-transition and her journey from male to female. It’s an honest and true account of her life with all the funny moments thrown in too. It’s lovely to read. To me, Juno is a strong, beautiful woman who deserves all the happiness.

I’m a firm believer in the whole, who cares who you are, who you love or what you do as long as you’re happy. If (a massive if) I have children all I’d ever want for them is to be happy. I’d support them and love them. People are very quick to judge and put others down and sadly, the amount of comments I’ve seen about transgender is shocking. What gives them the right to be so mean? Nothing! If you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say it!

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#bookreview: Rivers of London by @Ben_Aaronovitch ‏

Format: E-book (Kindle)
Published: 10th January 2011
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 392 Pages
Series: Peter Grant #1

The Blurb
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny.

Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

As always, I’m late on the bandwagon when it comes to reading certain popular book series. Friends and family had recommended the PC Peter Grant series previously, due to its fantasy and magical elements, so I thought I’d give it ago. Everyone loves something that’s different from the ordinary, don’t they? I know I do. Let’s just say I’ve been reading quite a lot of romance and chick-lit lately, so needed something new.

Peter Grant is not your typical London Police Officer. He’s a newbie on the beat but has some qualities that senior Mr Nightingale needs in his division. Armed with his silver-topped cane and experience and knowledge, Nightingale takes PC Grant under his wing for a life of crime-solving.

I know I say this quite often, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed Rivers of London an awful lot. It incorporated things that I want from a book: London history (I’m a big fan), magic and fantasy, plus, crime elements too.

The main case that Peter and Mr Nightingale have to investigate is that of Henry Pyke. Henry is out to seek destruction doesn’t care who he manipulates. The Punch and Judy puppet show is how Henry goes about causing a distraction. Punch and Judy is a traditional British play that children usually watch when they visit the seaside. Personally, I’m not sure why this is, but it’s very popular! Even though the play is for children, it’s not the nicest story. (insert Punch and Judy story here).

I found the writing incredibly clever because the story easily combined real-life policing with acts of fantasy. It sounds really silly when I say this, but sometimes when authors write fantasy it doesn’t sound plausible (I know it’s not real) and then I don’t end up enjoying the story. However, Rivers of London worked well. You believed that the things happening in modern-day London could actually happen and that was what made it a good book for me!

So, it’s safe to say that I need to start reading the next. Give me more!

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#bookreview: Dating You / Hating You by @ChristinaLauren

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Piatkus Books

Published: 18th January 2018
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance; Chick Lit.

The Blurb
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

When I added Dating You / Hating You onto Goodreads, I noticed that Christina Lauren the author was listed as two different people. Given that I’ve just spent quite a lot of time reading the book, not once did I realise that it was written by two authors. I mean they may not have written separately, but either way, I did not notice.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t like the whole ‘hate one minute and love the next’ “thing” they had going on. Surely if you don’t like someone, you wouldn’t contemplate having sexual relations with them? Plus, at the beginning, they were getting on ok whilst dressed as Harry Potter characters!

Anyway, enough of that! Dating You / Hating You was steamy, fun and a book that I would highly recommend if you want to feel hot under the collar.

Evie and Carter have a relationship that we all probably want in our lives: powerful, exciting and a little bit of playing games.

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A Book and Tea’s (belated) 2018 goals

Notepad on Desk

Well, aren’t I late on the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ posting? It’s now on the 11th January and I’m only just posting my goals for 2018. It’s better late than never, I suppose!

Reflecting on 2017…

Let’s just say that 2017 started off absolutely terrible. It’s no secret that I had to take anti-depressants and go to counselling. But, do you know what? It helped me immensely and I feel stronger for having reached rock bottom. The second-half was a different story, though. I married my best friend (cue your sick buckets), got fitter (ran a 10k) and ditched the bad things in my life (new job, etc).

Now, I honestly feel better placed to jump into 2018 and grab it by the metaphorical balls. Admittedly, I still have bad days, but don’t we all? If you ever need to talk to someone, I’m always here. Pop over an email and we can have a chat if you need it! 🙂

My goals for 2018 seem incredibly easy to achieve and that’s just what I wanted. There’s no unnecessary pressure on myself and I can continue to enjoy my favourite hobby, reading and lots of it.

Goals for 2018

1. Read 50 books
Last year, I read 40 books in the 2017 reading challenge. Naturally, I was a little disappointed with this, yet the 40 books I did read were bloody amazing, so I’m certainly not going to complain. My favourite books were (click image for review):

East of Hounslow Book Cover Sweetpea Book Cover The Breakdown Book Cover

I’ve provisionally suggested a goal of 50 books to read this year. How many have you set for yourself?

2. Devour my TBR
Let’s be honest here, we’re all a slave to the TBR list, aren’t we? Usually, we don’t even get to look at it and it just secretly grows in our spare bedrooms.

At the moment, I very rarely read books that I’ve purchased myself or been given as gifts and I’d like to change this. I am so grateful to authors and publishers for sending me review copies, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all and just want to read things that I fancy. So, that’s what I’m going to do! There’s not even going to be a process behind it, I’m gonna twirl near my bookcases and randomly choose from my selection.

3. Blog more often
Who is the worst book blogger, ever? *Raises hand*. Ok, so maybe ‘worst’ and ‘ever’ are a bit harsh. However, I definitely need to post more often and more importantly, different things! I’m a Digital Marketer by day, so I should know better. I love writing book reviews, but I also love writing new pieces of content that strike peoples attention. I’ve got a two week trip to America, so I’ll use this time to become friends with a notebook, a pen and a mind full of ideas. Watch this space!

4. Cook more
If you follow me on Twitter, you may notice that I often post tweets about food. I do usually cook most meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, but I definitely need to cook more. I’ve decided to try one new recipe a week to keep things fresh. Expect to see lots of pictures on Twitter.

What goals have you given yourself for 2018?

#bookreview: The Arrangement by Sonya Lalli (@saskinthecity)

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Orion Books
Published: 10th August 2017
Pages: 352 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance; Chick Lit.

The Blurb
You can’t choose who you fall for…but it helps if there’s a list

Raina, twenty-nine, is still unmarried much to the dismay of her family who thinks that by now she should have been married in a dream Indian wedding. The pressure to settle down reaches new heights when her grandmother, Nani, decides to play matchmaker in order to find her the perfect man.

Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns – ex-boyfriend Dev – she’s forced to confront her true feelings and decide what she really wants.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

Raina is twenty-nine and “unlucky” in love (or so her grandmother, Nani, suggests). Raina is fine the way she is and is comfortable being a career girl. However, she’s handed a list of potential suitors to date and Raina feels obliged to give it a go for her Nani’s sake.

You’re taken on a (short) journey through Raina’s dating scene with other life situations thrown in there for good measure. Her best friend Shay is getting married, she isn’t sure her job is right for her anymore and she also tells a white lie that might just ruffle a few feathers.

Her collection of supportive family and friends definitely made The Arrangement a fun and emotional read. However, I didn’t enjoy the inclusion of the ex-boyfriend, Dev. Her besotted attitude towards him was a little annoying and I often wanted to punch him in the face.

It was refreshing to read about a female character, of a similar age to myself, that is comfortable (well to a degree) with being single and happy. Yes, I know I’m married, but it took me a long time to get here. Women shouldn’t be judged based on their marital status and more so when they’re forced to go on dates just to keep people sweet. It’s fine to want a career and do what you want when you want. Girl Power!

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#bookreview: Happy Days of the Grump by Tuomas Kyrö

About the Book

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Manilla
Published: 21st September 2017
Pages: 252 Pages
Genres: Humour, Translated, Contemporary.

The Blurb

Everybody recognises the Grump, everybody knows a grump. And maybe there’s a little grump in every one of us…

The Grump, at eighty years old, is more focused on death than life; building his own coffin and keen to write his will in ink – who can trust technology, after all? – he knows that everything was much better in the old days.

But when the Grump finds himself in hospital in a semi-conscious state after falling down his basement steps, his life passes before his eyes. Thinking of the people closest to him and reflecting on the changes society has brought about, he realises he must come to terms with the cards life has dealt him.

With wry humour and sharp observations on family and relationships, The Happy Days of the Grump is a black comedy, sure to bring a smile to the face of even the grumpiest among us.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depositry

The Review

I read Happy Days of the Grump whilst travelling to and from London, during November. The fact I read it so quickly proves just how great this book was!

Meet ‘the Grump’ an 80-year-old gentleman who wants to tell you his story. You learn about all the things he isn’t happy about, possibly the reason why he’s called the ‘grump’. The main aspect of the story is that he wants to build his own coffin and is only going to write his will using traditional ink pen and paper.

Take a moment to imagine a family relative whom talks about ‘the good old days’ a lot and likes to compare the things you do now with the things they did in the past. I can sense you rolling your eyes at the realisation of what I mean. However, as much as you want to scream ’embrace the change’, I do think he had a point – in some places, anyway. Don’t be put off by this, the grump’s comical ways and blunt nature add texture and make you feel warmth towards him.

In one chapter, he mentions how he believes people are so used to taking photos of everything that they don’t step back and take in the situation with their own eyes. That got me thinking. Let’s just say I’m guilty of taking pictures of my food and posting it on Instagram (I know!). I wouldn’t say I’m a Selfie Queen, but I could probably leave my phone in my pocket a few times and take in my surroundings.

The grump brings you a scenario: you’re only allowed to take six photos for the rest of your life, what six things would you choose to take a photo of? I can think of four. For me, they would be a family portrait during a holiday in Florida, my Graduation, a picture of my friends and I, and my Wedding Day. Just two left! What photos would you take?

If you’re after a quick-read filled with nostalgia this is the book for you!

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