Friday, 29 March 2019

The Princess and The Fangirl: A Geekerella Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Jamie and Qurik for sending me a copy of The Princess and The FanGirl: A Geekerella Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston for free in exchange for an honest review.
Publish date: April 2nd 2019

Today we have another fairy tale retelling and as you all know I love a good retelling (now up to 10 reviews) this time we have we have a genderbent The Prince and Pauper. This is the second book by Ashley I have reviewed this week the first was Geekerella and this was just as warm and fuzzy. I was honestly so excited when the email came through for this book, I think it’s the quickest I’ve replied back because I loved Geekerella and couldn’t wait to see what Ashely did next.

There are spoilers in this review so Stop here if you don’t want anything ruined!! Final warning!!

Keep in mind this is a loose retelling of The Prince and the Pauper and follows the basic underlining  story when two people who look alike swap places and both characters learn a lot from there experience.  Jessica Stone is the actress playing Princess Amara in the reboot of popular sci-fi franchise Starfield and currently under attack by a big part of the fandom, which she wants nothing to do with anymore (Honestly I don’t blame her). Imogene is a huge fan of the franchise and she wants nothing more than to save her favourite character from getting killed (Princess Amara) and she just so happens to be Jess’s doppelganger. The book is crammed full of witty references to all the biggest fandoms, and the characters in my opinion represent nerd-culture at its finest. I love it and I miss YALC!!!

A case of mistaken identity means that Imogene finds herself pulled onstage for a panel and she quickly rises to the part and says that her character Amara shouldn't have died and the fans are left feeling like Jess Stone is more relatable than ever. After the panel, Jessica confronts her imposter. However, parts of the script for Starfield 2 are leaked online and Jessica is the main suspect. Jessica quickly realises that she needs Imogene and convinces her to become “Jessica” so she can do some investigating. Jessica and Imogene both have distinctive voices, personalities and flaws. I thought they contrasted yet complimented each other beautifully. It was wonderful to watch them develop throughout the book.

Two aspects I really loved was the two different perspectives that we get and it was interesting to see the perspective of an actress at a con and the contrast of a frequent con-goer. In addition to all the fun, there's some great commentary on internet behaviour, online and fandom culture, including how devastating it can be to be targeted by trolls. Off the top of my head writing this in the real world think back to when a female Doctor Who (Jodie you’re amazing) was announced, Star Trek Discovery "changing" the timeline and The Marvel vs DC debate.  But, on a lighter note, there's a little fairy-tale magic in the air and some familiar faces from Geekerella make an appearance; Elle, Darien, Sage and even The Magic Pumpkin! and we get to experience Starfield and ExcelsiCon again which was great.

Let’s quickly talk about the representation in this book we get an f/f romance with a black female, we get an Asian male love interest, we get gay side characters and remarkable range of diversity is held within this book. The characters don’t mention any labels or specifics about attraction and it’s wonderful. There are also some feminist undertones just sprinkled on top.

I loved both Geekerella and The Princess and The Fangirl both left me feeling warm and fuzzy and they both gave me major conblues.

L x

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Hello Readers,
There is a story behind me getting Geekerella after talking to Jamie at the Quirk stall my second year at YALC I picked up My Best Friends Exorcism by Grady Hendrix and my cousin picked up Geekerella. The original plan was to swap over well it turns out we turned into dragons guarding our treasure and couldn't share so we ended up getting our own copies.  Also, if you’ve followed my blog for a while you know I love a good retelling (I just checked I’ve reviewed 9) and this was no different there’s just something about them that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Book two The Princess and The Fangirl is out April 2nd. Also Spoilers 

This book is a Cinderella retelling set in current day Charleston, South Carolina, where Danielle (Elle) Wittimer is part of the  “Starfield” fandom. A fandom that she shared with her late father. “Starfield” reminds me of Star Trek but not as serious and has been on re-runs for years. The plot follows the key aspects of the original Cinderella story Elle goes to the ball in a ‘coach’, there's a fairy godmother, she has to leave the ball before curfew and the slipper on the steps. Elle lives with her stepmother and her stepsisters who bully her daily. I loved the ways Ashley incorporated these details into her version of the tale.

Elle writes a blog about Starfield, and she is extremely critical when Darien Freeman, gets the movie role of Carmindor, the Federation Prince (and the stories Prince). To promote the movie of Starfield, Darien is signed up to appear at the annual convention for Starfield fans called ExcelsiCon. The con also hosts a cosplay competition and a masquerade ball with the first prize being two tickets to the premiere of the movie and a cash prixe. Elle assumes Darien is just a shallow, spoiled movie star, and therefore an insult to fans who love the stories She also feels like her fandom has been violated because Darien comes along with an entire fandom of teenage girls who are in love with him and his looks but not the Starfield fandom. Ashley perfectly depicts the anger and sadness hard-core fans experience when their beloved, quirky shows hit the mainstream in my opinion.

However, Darien, can’t seem to catch a break from the press. He also has a bit of a tragic backstory, his mother had no interest in him, and his father, Mark, seems to care for Darien only as a commodity. Darien watched the show religiously to help fill the gap in his life. Back to Elle, she is relatable, a complete nerd with a tragic backstory she charmed me and you can’t help but sympathise with her. When she’s not being tormented by her stepmother and her twin daughters, Chloe and Calliope, she has to do chores and cleaning. She also works on a food truck called The Magic Pumpkin (I LOVE IT!).

This book has all the feels this is a warning Elle's connection to her late father through the show Starfield is bittersweet, and Darien's desire to have his dad be a dad rather than a pushy manager is heart-breaking.

The chapters alternate narration between Elle and Darien and I love this approach and it works well because it gives the readers good insight into the lives of each character. I found Danielle and Darien’s relationship to be adorable. They’re both quite awkward in real life, but their true feelings are shared with one another through text messaging with complete honesty. Before the ball, Elle and Darien inadvertently “meet” through texts and fall for each other. But neither knows the identity of the other; they only refer to each other as Carmindor and Princess Amara.

Geekerella is wonderfully sweet and fluffy but I’m sorry I can’t say this is my favourite Cinderella retelling that title will always belong to the Everafter film but this is a close second. 
Here's a link for book two Princess and The Fangirl 

Monday, 25 March 2019

Let’s talk about... Women’s Rugby

Hello Readers,
Red Roses VS Canada Nov 17
Photo credit: Lauren Reads
This post is an expansion on a post I did for Women's History Week. Anyone who knows me personally or has seen my social feeds knows I love rugby. I don’t want to sound all feministy right away but I prefer watching The Red Roses games because they are a lot quicker, cleaner and all-around better game experience. I know some of the big rugby clubs have female teams but I will mainly be focusing on The Red Roses. The men messed up their chance at coming second sorry guys (true story) then The Roses played and Won The Six Nations 80 - 0 but also Grand Slammed! Send her Victorious! 

The men still have a slight advantage in the game than the women and that is that a majority of women rugby players still have a day job. In September last year the RFU announced that it would introduce women’s full-time contracts in 2019 underlining its commitment to the growth of women’s rugby. 

The England women's national rugby union team first played in 1982. In 1994 the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) was formed in England with each of the Home Nations governing their own countries. Many of the top men’s clubs have had women’s teams including Wasps, Saracens, Worcester, London Irish and Harlequins.

Since the 1990s, rugby for women has grown significantly as more rugby union tournaments were being held and women’s rugby was given more publicity and centre stage although 7s tend to be more popular.

In 2003 England staged the first women’s international at Twickenham. While in 2006 the RFU devoted the rugby museum's main annual exhibition to the history of women's rugby "Women's Rugby - A Work in Progress", and the Women's Rugby World Cup was broadcast live on the internet.

If I am wrong please feel free to correct me but I don’t think it was till the men’s 2015 rugby world cup being held in England that I noticed The Red Rose getting any recognition. I noticed the Hashtags #WatchThemGrow and #SendHerVictorious start appearing on adverts and social media platforms.  Since the 2017 Women's World Cup, the Red Roses have won 14 of their 15 Tests matches.

Red Roses VS USA Nov 18
Photo Credit: Lauren Reads
In 2017 the RFU launched the Tyrrells Premier 15s which saw an investment of £2.4 million in the new women’s 15s competition with the determination to improve standards of the women’s game.

The growth of  women participating in rugby gained popularity in both developed and emerging nations, being the fastest growing sport in the world according to the RFU. However, the cost and player numbers mean that, in some nations, sevens tend to dominate, but 15-a-side is starting to be established in all regions.

I think it may have been last year when the Barbarians officially launched a female team last year which is a brilliant step in the right direction. Being called up to be a Barbarian is such a great honour let alone been called up as a female player. The Barbarians are a group of players who are chosen to form an elite team and membership is by invitation only.  

Red Roses in numbers
World Cup
2 wins
Six Nations Championship
14 wins
13 Grand Slam
19 Triple Crowns
European Championship
5 wins

L x
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Friday, 22 March 2019


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley and Stripes Publishing for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

Proud is an anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBT+ YA authors, new authors and illustrators, giving their views on the many different ways to feel proud of who they are, covering a wide range of experiences. This book was composed by Juno Dawson with the following contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

I was at YALC last year when Juno and the Stripes team unveiled Proud and I was beyond excited (Also totally Fangirled at Juno #Noshame). So, when it came available to request on NetGalley I could hit the request button any quicker. 

Juno delivers a wonderful foreword and introduction, that is a stark reminder of how far things have come in 30 years.  The introduction also gives us as the read a reminder of the challenges still faced including the fact that some LGBT+ authors and stories have their books banned. This anthology contains twelve short stories and each of this story has an illustration created especially for it. This collection is heart-warming, engaging, powerful and personal, and explore parts of the LGBT+ community. The hard work put into this book is clear and everyone has done a brilliant job.

The stories span different genres from humorous tales of gay penguins to fantasy stories of phoenixes who dare to be different. Each story focuses on different characters of different orientations, as they figure out what it means to be a queer teen in today's society. There are gay, bi, lesbian, trans, queer, and questioning characters, and it was so easy to relate and invest in every single one of them.  We have characters from all kinds of backgrounds and interests from people living in council blocks to D&D nerds living out magical fantasies at school. Some stories are about coming out, some are about finding acceptance, and some are about finding friendship and romance. There are jocks, nerds, people of colour, lottery winners, people who get wrapped up in peacock wrangling and shock horror queer people are people and can be anything. The whole collection is so uplifting and important.

If you get a chance to read a copy of this beautiful anthology please do. The introduction felt like a call to action, to encourage and support all of the wonderful LGBT+ authors and writers. I can't put into words how empowering this book is.  I came across writers that I have previously read and came across some brand-new authors and I now have more books added to the mountain of a TBR list. This collection is wonderful and I loved it so much.
L x

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Kill or Cure: Bloodlust by Pixie Britton

Hello Readers,

Thank you, Pixie, for giving me a copy of Kill or Cure Bloodlust for free in exchange for an honest review. Spoilers

This is the second book in the series I reviewed the first book Kill or Cure not long after I launched my blog. If you wish to read that review I'll link it here.

Like its predecessor this it isn't your stereotypical run of the mill, zombie apocalypse novel, I thoroughly enjoy the way Pixie takes the zombie genre and gives it her own unique twist. It does have zombies but it is also loaded with, Family bonding and their willing to overcome any obstacle that may come in between them. The dynamic between three of the main characters creates a well-developed and complex love triangle. Again, this book isn’t just about survival but how to keep your family together in the disastrous consequences of the apocalypse.

I fell in love with Kill or Cure and couldn't wait to read the second book and the wait was worth it. Bloodlust picks up right where the first book left off and continues to follow Alyx as she continues to battle the infected. But now we have a couple of added bonuses of military tyrants and good old-fashioned gangsters. Axle is seventeen and despite all the events from the first book, you can still tell she’s a teenager, unlike some dystopian books where you need to remind yourself the age of the main characters.

I love Alyx’s character growth she’s still kickass but even more so as she has to protect her brother Tommy and with Pixies writing you’re right there with them. The virus hasn’t consumed Tommy…yet. However, the “delightful” General Sinter is determined to capture him for his own malevolent schemes. My emotions were everywhere I wanted to protect Tommy and I want to punch other characters.

The book pulls you into a new world and once you are there it’s hard to leave. If it wasn’t for the 6 nations rugby, I would have finished this book in one sitting. I adore Pixie’s books because they are so effortless to read as they are well developed and easy to picture. I really don’t know how Pixie does it but the balance between the character and story development is delightful and a joy to read. The journey through the desert and back streets to Alhena delivers an epic dystopian landscape that’s easy to picture.  Keeping the characterisation and story growth balanced while having this book set against a busy world that has been destroyed by an infection that turns people into zombies and the uninfected located in walled cities is magical to read.

I don’t think I can recommend this series enough and if you haven’t read the first one please check it out. The series is worth a read just to get a new take on the Zombie genre or if you’re a fan of zombies with some comedy thrown in for good measure.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Slayer by Kiersten White

Hello Readers,
When I was growing up, I was huge Buffy fan but I did jump straight over to Angel (I know I’m a traitor but David Boreanaz sorry not sorry).  There are spoilers in this review.

Despite being in set in the Buffy-verse Slayer doesn’t focus on Buffy but instead looks at the descendants of Merrick. Merrick was Buffy’s first watcher (before Giles) and how they are handling things after Buffy saves the world which caused all the magic in the world to disappear. Buffy’s actions also mean that no Slayers will rise again and the Watchers have frayed to breaking point This wonderful book is filled with some familiar faces and many new ones and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. They grew up at the Watcher’s Academy where teens are trained as guides for Slayers. Unlike her sister Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic. Nina has always been considered the “less important” of the twins as Artemis has always been favoured. However, Artemis has always been there protecting her sister and the remaining Watchers. Spoilers are coming!

In the beginning, our main character Nina talks about her hate for Buffy but as the story progresses you understand why. Nina hates the Slayers and thinks all Slayers are violent, irresponsible, impulsive creatures. Well surprise sweet you are one!! I loved watching her journey as a Slayer after years of hating everything they are. Nina is a healer, not a fighter she doesn’t want to hurt people and doesn’t really want to hurt demons, she wants to help them.  This internal conflict is at the centre of Nina’s story, and it’s what makes her such a dynamic character. Nina is one of those characters that you immediately get attached to which makes her a brilliant main character and has a lot of believable development throughout the book, more than you would expect from a single novel.

As with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the characters are fantastic and really rounded out this coming-of-age story.  Slayer like Buffy sets up numerous side characters who not only move Nina’s story forward but are independent well-developed characters. This book contains a lot of  family tensions  while emphasising the bond of sisterhood between Nina and Artemis.

Slayer was everything I hoped it would be, and so much more. Kiersten has done a wonderful job balancing this new series with the feel of the Buffy-verse while inserting new characters while continuing to develop and evolve the story. It honestly had that Buffy feel to it, including the humour we all love. The book had a little of everything I remember from the original series, and then took it to another level including vampires, demons, slayers, and Watchers. I loved that the story focused more on the characters than the big bad. (Shout out to my Boo Angel) Slayer like The Angel series identifies that not all demons are evil.

I loved that Kiersten made it easy to enjoy for those who have never been introduced to the world of slayers before. There was just enough explanation of the world to allow new readers to be comfortable with the new characters and their story. Kiersten hid some wonderful Easter eggs and references for those who fell in love with the world, and characters, years ago. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Buffy or anyone who wants a kick ass female lead who starts of like most of us "normal" people.


Saturday, 16 March 2019

My Favourite Female Forward Books

Hello Readers,
Today we’re carrying on women’s week and looking at some of my favourite female forward books. Some of these books are about Feminism, Womens history while some are a little reminder of what can happen. 

Funny, powerful and personal writing by women, for women, about what the F-word means to them. Every woman has a different story to tell. Reading them all in one book might just change your life. Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN women's foundation.

Contributor include Keira Knightley - Gemma Arterton - Bridget Jones (by Helen Fielding) - Saoirse Ronan - Karen Gillan - Kat Dennings - Evanna Lynch - Tanya Burr - Lolly Adefope

In this inspiring and diverse book, Sam Maggs lends her signature wit and warmth to profiles of some of history's most influential female forces. Spanning art, science, politics, activism, and sport, these girl squads show just how essential female friendship has been throughout history and across the globe. Fun, feisty, and informative- with empowering illustrations by Jenn Woodall- it's the perfect gift for BFFs everywhere.

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy that has overthrown the United States government. The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred.

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit.

Silence can be deafening. Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins. Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you're a woman.
Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.
For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. 


Friday, 15 March 2019

Women who I think need more recognition

Hello Readers,
Quick disclaimer I do not own any rights to photos used, the photos are being used for educational purposes. 

Today we are carrying on women’s week and I have picked three women who I personally think need a little more recognition. I have chosen to spotlight Mary Seacole, The Red Roses (England Women's Rugby) and Eileen Nearne

Mary Seacole
I have chosen Mary Seacole for my own negligence I have heard of Florence Nightingale but not Mary. It wasn’t until I was talking to aunty about women who needed more recognition that Mary came up after some research, I couldn’t wait to share Mary's tale.

At 12 years old, Mary was already helping her mother run a boarding house in Kingston, where many of the guests were sick or injured soldiers. Mary’s mother taught her a lot about traditional Jamaican treatments and remedies, and Mary was fortunate enough to learn more about medicine and treatments from army doctors staying at the boarding house.

In 1836, Mary married Edwin Seacole in her hometown of Kingston. But sadly, Edwin was a very sick man and died in 1844. Following her husband’s death, Mary focussed on caring for sick people. Mary's medical skill were put to good use in 1850 when the people of Kingston fell victim to a deadly disease called cholera.

When Mary heard the news of British soldiers going off to Russia to fight in the Crimean War, she wanted to help. So, Mary went to the War Office in London to request if she could join Florence Nightingale and her team of nurses. Mary was turned down, along with several other nurses. Guess what she did? Mary stuck up her two fingers got her friend Thomas Day to join her and in 1866 they set off to the Crimea in a ship stocked with medical supplies.

When Mary eventually arrived many of the soldiers were cold, dirty and hungry, and those that were sick and wounded weren’t being cared for. Mary decided something had to be done and so, with her loyal friend Thomas, she opened a “British Hotel” near to the battlefields. To be clear, this wasn’t a ‘hotel’ it was a hut made of metal sheets, where soldiers could rest and buy hot food, drinks and equipment. Mary used the money spent there to help treat and care for sick and wounded soldiers.

A lot of nurses did invaluable work looking after the soldiers in the Crimean War and no one has any right to take that away from them. However, Mary went a step further than most, and rode on horseback into the battlefields, while under fire, to nurse wounded men from both sides of the war.

After the war Mary led a quiet life, spending her time between London and Jamaica where she went to escape cold winters and Mary received a number of medals for her bravery from governments in different countries.

The Red Roses
Anyone who knows me personally or has seen my social feeds knows I love rugby. I don’t want to sound all feministy right away but I prefer watching The Red Roses games because they are a lot quicker, cleaner and all-around better game experience. As the final round of the 2019 Women's Six Nations draws closer the Red Roses will hopefully win against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium to secure the Grand Slam.

The England women's national rugby union team first played in 1982. In 1994 the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) was formed in England with each of the Home Nations governing their own countries. Many of the top men’s clubs have had women’s teams including Wasps, Saracens, Worcester, London Irish and Harlequins.

Since the 1990s, rugby for women has grown significantly as more rugby union tournaments were being held and women’s rugby was given more publicity and centre stage although 7s tend to be more popular.

In 2003 England staged the first women’s international at Twickenham. While in 2006 the RFU devoted the rugby museum's main annual exhibition to the history of women's rugby—"Women's Rugby—A Work in Progress", and the Women's Rugby World Cup was broadcast live on the internet.

If I am wrong please feel free to correct me but I don’t think it was till the men’s 2015 rugby world cup being held in England that I noticed The Red Rose getting any recognition. I noticed the Hashtags #WatchThemGrow and #SendHerVictorious start appearing on adverts and social media platforms.  Since the 2017 Women's World Cup, the Red Roses have won 14 of their 15 Tests matches.
Red Roses in numbers
World Cup
2 wins
Six Nations Championship
14 wins
13 Grand Slam
19 Triple Crowns
European Championship
5 wins

Eileen Nearne
Eileen and her family were living in France in 1940 when the Nazi’s invaded. Her parents and brothers decided to remain in France while sending Eileen and her sister Jacqueline back to England.
The young women had to travel through neutral territories before finally reaching London in 1942. There they were offered jobs with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, but Eileen turned the offer down.
However luckily for Eileen, she was fluent in French, British intelligence offered her a job with the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Initially, Eileen stayed in Great Britain, working as a signals operator who handled messages from undercover agents abroad.

In March 1944, Eileen finally went to France to work in the field. The Frenchmen that Eileen met upon arrival thought she was too young for such dangerous work, but she refused to be sent home. Eileen assumed the aliases Mademoiselle du Tort and Jacqueline Duterte and set to work in Paris. Her code name was simply “Rose”.

the Germans were getting better at detecting radio transmissions, to stay ahead, Eileen regularly changed addresses. She was nearly caught on a train when a flirtatious German soldier offered to carry her bag—the very one which contained her transmitter.

On July 21, 1944, Eileen had just sent a message when she heard the unmistakable wail of sirens outside. She tried to burn her notebook and hid her equipment before the Gestapo broke in. The burning papers were incriminating enough, but then they found her radio.

Eileen tried to reason with the Gestapo claiming she was French and simply sending messages for a businessman. The Gestapo didn’t believe her and she was taken to the headquarters, where she subjected to torture. Despite that, she would not reveal any information. Eileen was then sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. They shaved her head, and also threatened to shoot her when she refused to do prison work. Over the next few months, they moved her to different camps and tortured her, but she never changed her story.

On 13 April 1945, she escaped with two French girls from a work gang by hiding in the forest, later travelling through Markkleeberg, where they were arrested by the S.S. but released after fooling their captors and reportedly hidden by a priest in Leipzig until the arrival of United States troops.


Thursday, 14 March 2019

Women in Science

Hello Readers,
Quick disclaimer I do not own any rights to photos used, the photos are being used for educational purposes. 

Today we are carrying on women’s week and looking women in Science. I could have gone anywhere with this I know but I have picked three women who I personally think need a spotlight. Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Maria Goeppert Mayer

Marie Curie
In 1891, Marie went to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne where she met Pierre Curie, professor of the School of Physics and they married in 1895.

The Curies worked together investigating radioactivity, building on the work of the German physicist Roentgen and the French physicist Becquerel. In 1898, The Curies announced the discovery of a new chemical element, polonium and by the end of the year, they announced they had also discovered radium. The Curies, along with Becquerel, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

When Pierre's died in 1906 and Marie took over his teaching post, becoming the first woman to teach at Sorbonne. Marie dedicated her life to continuing the work that she and Pierre started. Marie received a second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry, in 1911.

The Curie's research was vital in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One Marie helped equip ambulances with x-ray equipment. Bonus fact: which Marie herself drove to the front lines. The International Red Cross made her head of its radiological service and she held training courses for medical orderlies and doctors in the new techniques.

Despite her success, Marie continued to face great opposition from male scientists in France, and she never received significant financial benefits from her work. Marie died on 4 July 1934 from leukaemia, caused by exposure to high-energy radiation from her research.

Rosalind Franklin
Rosalind was crucial in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. However, Rosalind is considered to be in the shadows of science history despite her contribution to that landmark discovery.

At age 18, Rosalind enrolled in Newnham Women's College at Cambridge University, where she studied physics and chemistry. After Cambridge Rosalind went to work for the British Coal Utilisation Research Association where her work on the porosity of coal became the focus of her PhD thesis. In 1946, Rosalind moved to Paris where she perfected her skills in X-ray crystallography, which would later  become her life's work. Although she loved the freedom and lifestyle of Paris, she returned after four years to London to accept a job at King's College.

A misunderstanding resulted in immediate friction between Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind, the two were to work together on finding the structure of DNA and their conflicts led to them working in relative isolation. While this suited Rosalind, Maurice went looking for his friends in the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge where Francis Crick was working with James Watson on building a model of the DNA molecule.

Unknown to Rosalind, James and Francis saw some of her unpublished data, including "photo 51," shown to them by Maurice. This chain reaction of events continued with Francis and James including Rosalind photograph combined with their own data and created their famous DNA model.
Rosalind’s contribution was not acknowledged, until after her death when Francis said that her contribution had been critical. Rosalind wasn’t even mentioned in 1962 when James, Francis and Maurice jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (insert your own insult)

Maria Goeppert Mayer
Maria made important discoveries about nuclear structure and is one of only two women to have won the Nobel Prize in physics. Early in Maria career, she spent years in unpaid positions before she was able to obtain a professorship in physics. Nevertheless, Maria persisted and in 1948 and published her first paper.

Maria completed her PhD in 1930, with a thesis on double photon reactions. While at Göttingen, she met her husband, physical chemist Joseph Mayer. The couple moved to the US, and Joseph got a job at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Nepotism prevented the university from hiring Maria as a professor, so she worked as a volunteer and continued her own research.

Then in 1939 when Joseph got a job at Columbia University. Maria was given office space, but no salary. At first, she worked on calculations and worked with Harold Urey on a photochemical method for isotope separation. The work involved creating a list of isotope abundances. While making this list, it became clear to Maria that nuclei with 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, or 126 protons or neutrons were stable. This observation led her to suggest a shell structure for nuclei, analogous to electron shell structure in atoms.

As Maria was sending her paper off to the Physical Review for publication, she became aware of a paper by Hans Jensen and colleagues, who had come up with the same result. Maria and Hans hadn’t met at the time, but later when the two did meet they became friends and collaborators and wrote a book together on the nuclear shell model. Maria and Hans won the Nobel Prize in 1963 for their work.
L x

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Women and Politics

Hello Readers,
Quick disclaimer I do not own any rights to photos used, the photos are being used for educational purposes. 

Today we are carrying on woman’s week and looking women in politics. I could have gone anywhere with this I know but I have picked three women who I personally think need a spotlight. I will be looking at Emmeline Pankhurst, Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks.

Emmeline Pankhurst
Emmeline was a leading British women's rights activist, who led the movement to win the right for women to vote.

In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League, which fought for the rights for married women to vote in local elections. In October 1903, Emmeline assisted in creating the more militant Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) an organisation that gained notoriety for its activities and whose members were the first to be given the title 'suffragettes'.

British politicians, press and the public were shocked by the demonstrations, window smashing, arson and hunger strikes of the suffragettes. Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions over the next few years and went on hunger strike, resulting in the vile force-feeding funnel tube thing (don’t look it up it is beyond vile and inhumane!). This period of militancy was ended almost immediately with the outbreak of world war in 1914 when Emmeline and the other Suffragettes turned their energies to supporting the war effort.

In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over 30. Emmeline died 10 years later, shortly after her death women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).

Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a Pakistani activist who spoke out publicly against the prevention of the education of girls that was imposed by the (TTP)Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban). She gained global recognition when she survived an assassination attempt at age 15.

On September 1, 2008, when Malala was 11 years old, her father took her to a local press club in Peshawar to protest the school closings, and she gave her first speech. The BBC approached Malala’s father looking for someone who might blog for them about what it was like to live under TTP rule. Under the name Gul Makai, Malala began writing regular entries for BBC about her daily life.

In 2009 Malala made her first tv appearance when she was interviewed on the Capital Talk show. With Malala gaining momentum in the local and international media, it had become apparent that she was the BBC’s young blogger. Once her identity was known, she began to receive widespread recognition for her activism.

On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot by a TTP gunman while she was on her way home from school. TTP took responsibility for the attempt on her life.  Thankfully Malala survived the attack.

The incident provoked protests, and Malala cause was taken up around the world, including the UN and a petition that called for all children around the world to be back in school by 2015 was created. That petition led to the endorsement of Pakistan’s first Right to Education bill.

In 2014 Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of their efforts on behalf of children’s rights.

Rosa Parks
Growing up Rosa had lived with racism in the south. Rosa would have lived in fear of the members of the KKK (That is all the attention they are getting). She also saw the injustice of the world when a black man got beaten by a white bus driver for getting in his way. I know it was a different time but shocking the bus driver only had to pay a $24 fine!

 Rosa and her husband Raymond wanted to do something about it so they joined the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).  Rosa worked closely with chapter president E.D. (Edgar Daniel) Nixon.  Word of Rosa’s arrest spread quickly and Nixon was there when Parks was released on bail later that evening. Nixon had hoped for years to find a courageous black person to become the plaintiff in a case that might become the test for the rationality of segregation laws. One more idea evolved as well: The black people of Montgomery would boycott the buses on the day of Parks’ trial.

On December 5, Rosa was found guilty of violating segregation laws, given a suspended sentence and fined $10 plus $4 in court costs. Parks courageous act and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott led to the integration of public transportation in Montgomery. Her actions were not without consequence though and after the boycott, Parks and her husband moved to Hampton, Virginia and permanently settled in Detroit, Michigan. Parks work proved to be invaluable in Detroit’s Civil Rights Movement. She was an active member of several organisations which worked to end inequality in the city.

Bonus Fact: When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in 1955, it wasn’t the first time she’d clashed with driver James Blake. Parks stepped onto his crowded bus on a chilly day 12 years earlier, paid her fare at the front, then refused the rule that meant black people had to disembark and re-enter through the back door. She stood her ground until Blake pulled her coat sleeve. Parks left the bus rather than give in.

L x

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

First Women

Hello Readers,
Quick disclaimer I do not own any rights to photos used, the photos are being used for educational purposes. 

Today we are carrying on women’s week and looking into first women. I could have gone anywhere with this I know but I have picked three women who I personally think need a spotlight. I will be looking at Valentina Tereshkova the first woman in space. Bessie Coleman the first woman of African-American descent and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license. Finally, I will be looking at Amelia Earhart thanks to the people who voted.

Valentina Tereshkova
In 1963, Valentina spent almost three days in space and orbited Earth 48 times (71 hours) in her space capsule, Vostok 6. Valentina returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.

Although Valentina did not have any experience as a pilot, she was accepted into the program because of her 126 parachute jumps. At the time cosmonauts actually had to parachute from their capsules seconds before they hit the ground on returning to Earth. (anyone else says screw that or just me)

In 1963, Valentina was chosen to take part in the second dual flight in the Vostok program. On June 14, 1963, Vostok 5 was launched into space with cosmonaut Valeri Bykovsky aboard. With Bykovsky orbiting the earth, Tereshkova was launched into space on June 16 aboard Vostok 6. Valentina’s spacecraft was guided by an automatic control system, and she never took manual control.

Just a little note, just a tiny niggle. The United States screened a group of female pilots in 1959 and 1960 for possible astronaut training but decided to restrict astronaut qualification to men. The first American woman in space was astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, who served as mission specialist on a flight of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 twenty years later!

Bessie Coleman
Bessie was the first African American and the first Native American woman pilot. Known for as; “Brave Bessie,” “Queen Bess,” and “The Only Race Aviatrix in the World.”

At age 23, Bessie went to the Burnham School of Beauty Culture and became a manicurist in a local barbershop. Bessie’s brother John teased her because French women were allowed to learn how to fly aeroplanes and Bessie could not.  Bessie applied and was rejected by so many flight schools across the country because she was both African American and a woman.

Robert Abbott a famous African American newspaper publisher told her to move to France where she could learn how to fly. Bessie was accepted at the Caudron Brothers' School of Aviation in Le Crotoy, France. She received her international pilot’s license on June 15, 1921, from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. In 1922, she performed the first public flight by an African American woman.

During her life as a pilot, Bessie refused to speak anywhere that was segregated or discriminated against African Americans. Bessie’s goal was to encourage women and African Americans to reach their dreams. Unfortunately, her career ended with a tragic plane crash, but she continues to inspire people around the world.

Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was an American aviator who set flying records and advocated the advancement of women in aviation.

During World War I, Amelia served as a Red Cross nurse’s aide in Toronto, Canada. After the war, she returned to the United States and enrolled at Columbia University in New York as a pre-med student. Earhart took her first aeroplane ride in California in December 1920 with famed World War I pilot Frank Hawks and was hooked.

In January 1921, she started flying lessons with female flight instructor Neta Snook. To help pay for those lessons, Earhart worked as a filing clerk at the Los Angeles Telephone Company. Later that year, she purchased her first aeroplane. Amelia passed her flight test in December 1921, earning a National Aeronautics Association license.

Amelia was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During a flight to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific in July 1937. Sadly, her plane wreckage was never found, and Amelia was officially declared lost at sea.

 L x

Monday, 11 March 2019

Women and the space race

Hello Readers,
Quick disclaimer I do not own any rights to photos used, the photos are being used for educational purposes. 

Today we are looking at the woman who helped America win the space race. If you followed me for a while and saw my post on Girl Squadsby Sam Maggs Illustrated by Jenn Woodall you know that I loved the film and book Hidden Figures. The true story of three brilliant African-American women named Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who worked at NASA and served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and ultimately restoring the nation's confidence in NASA. I am so grateful that the book and film were made because I had no idea, I honestly cannot recall any of these magnificent women mentioned during any lessons while at school.

Katherine Johnson
American mathematician who calculated and analysed the flight paths of the U.S. space program over
three decades. In 1952 a relative told Katherine about jobs at the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley laboratory, headed by Dorothy Vaughan.

In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. The complexity of the orbital flight had required the construction of a worldwide communications network, linking tracking stations around the world to IBM computers in Washington, DC, Cape Canaveral, and Bermuda.

The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in the mission but the astronauts were suspicious of putting their lives in the care of the machines that were prone to hiccups and blackouts. As a part of the pre-flight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl” (Katherine) to run the numbers through the same equations by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine. Glenn said, “If she says they’re good……then I’m ready to go.” Glenn’s flight was a success.

Dorothy Vaughan
Dorothy Vaughan started at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1943, during the height of World War II, leaving her position as the math teacher to take what she believed would be a temporary war job. Two years (after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802) the Laboratory began hiring black women to meet the demand for processing aeronautical research data.

Dorothy was assigned to the segregated "West Area Computing" unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians. Over time, both individually and as a group, the West Computers distinguished themselves with contributions to virtually every area of research at Langley. In 1949, Dorothy was promoted to lead the group, making her the NACA's first black supervisor, and one of the NACA's few female supervisors.  Engineers valued her recommendations as to the best "girls" for a particular project, and for challenging assignments they often requested that Dorothy personally handle the work.

Dorothy supervised the West Computing for nearly a decade. In 1958, when the NACA made the transition to NASA, segregated facilities, including the West Computing office, were abolished. Dorothy Vaughan and many of the former West Computers joined the new Analysis and Computation Division (ACD), a racially and gender-integrated group on the frontier of electronic computing.

Mary Jackson
Mary Jackson was an American mathematician and aerospace engineer who in 1958 became the first African American female engineer to work at NASA. Mary’s path to an engineering career at the NASA Langley Research Centre was far from direct. Mary arrived at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory’s segregated West Area Computing section in 1951, reporting to the group’s supervisor Dorothy Vaughan.

After two years in the computing pool, Mary Jackson received an offer to work for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki, Czarnecki offered Mary hands-on experience conducting experiments in the facility and eventually suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to get a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Trainees had to take graduate level math and physics in after-work courses managed by the University of Virginia. However, the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, Mary needed special permission from the City of Hampton to join her white peers in the classroom.

Mary got permission to completed the courses and earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer.  As the years progressed, the promotions slowed, and she became frustrated at her powerlessness to break into management-level grades. In 1979, seeing that the glass ceiling was the rule rather than the exception for the centre’s female professionals, she made a final, dramatic career change, leaving engineering and taking a demotion to fill the open position of Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager. There, she worked hard to impact the hiring and promotion of the next generation of all of NASA’s female mathematicians, engineers and scientists.

L x

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Women’s History Month (Week)

Hello Readers,

It turns out that March Women's History Month and International women’s day is the 8th March. I am a little late I know but bear with me. I had a plan and I was going to do the full month with a different woman who changed history for each day but then I felt that was a little too much so instead I am doing a concentrated week. During this next week I am looking at woman who
·         Women in the Space Race
·         First Women
·        Women and Politics 

Towards the end of the week I will be sharing some on myfavourite female forward books and to end the week on Sunday I will be talking all things female from periods to boobs and smears!

To find out more about Women’s History Month and International Women’s day I have included a link to the official websites
I do not own any rights to any of the photos used in this post. 

Mary Shelley, Marie Curie, Bessie Coleman, Katherine Johnson, Emmeline Pankhurst and Katy Daley-McLean

L x

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Blog Spotlight: Trapped by Nick Louth

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Ellie and Canelo for sending me a free copy of Trapped by Nick Louth in exchange for a spotlight.

Today is my stop on the Trapped Blog tour grab a biscuit and a cuppa, I’ve got a spotlight 
just for you. This post contains links to buy the book, I do not profit from the sharing of these links. 

Title: Trapped
Author Name: Nick Louth
Previous Books: The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and Heartbreaker
Genre: Thriller, Crime and Mystery
Release Date: 28th January 2019
Cover Image:

Book Blurb:
Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. A searing suspense thriller from bestselling author Nick Louth
In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.
Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost...
Brace yourself.
A nerve-shredding suspense thriller you won’t believe until you have experienced it yourself, Trapped is perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, JP Delaney and Rachel Abbott.

Links to buy the book (UK links only):

Author Bio:
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.
The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. Nick has been freelance since 1998 and has been a regular contributer to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicles and Money Observer, and has published seven other books.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Map of the Dead by Murray Bailey

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Murray Bailey, for sending me Singapore Boxer for free in exchange for an honest review

Disclaimer I have worked with Murray before. I have been lucky enough to receive a collection of books from Murray himself in exchange for honest reviews.  If you have followed my blog for a while you know I am a bit of history geek it is a hard tossup between the Greek history and Egyptology so when Murray messages me asking if I would look at his Egypt based book, I couldn’t say yes, any quicker.

In this book we have a new main character called Alex. Alex’s former girlfriend dies in a “accident”, although it made pretty clear for the reader from the get go that this is not the case. Ellen was an Egyptologist about to make a major discovery that could change history. After he death Alex decides he is going to to try and complete the work that Ellen had become very excited about. There are people who will stop at anything to stop this discovery from becoming public.

Alex has to figure out the clues Ellen has left him as well as the people he can trust. His search eventually leads him to Vanessa, a reporter who has taken an interest in what he is doing. All while running from his pursuers, trying to stay alive while trying to figure out how to outwit them going across Egypt from Cairo to The Valley of the Kings and the Nile Delta.

This book kept me guessing who Alex should trust and shouldn't trust using my previous experience from Murray's books I have trust issues. The book is written mainly from the point of view of Alex, and partly from the point of view of an Egyptian boy. There’s a good climax as the clock ticks down in an ancient tomb before an explosion. The way the story snowballs makes Alex think of events and consequences: something small, spreading outward and becoming something else, something bigger.  The final shocking conclusion was a surprise and was delicately delivered I think this may have been to avoid offending religious groups.

As I have come to expect from Murray's books a lot of research has been done. There is an incredible amount of information communicated across in this book although the serious element is "pure fiction" in Murray's own words. Although the book is set in the present, there are flashbacks to 1,300 BC and a time of turmoil. This second story woven through this book is an ingenious counterpart to the main plot, explaining what happened to Nefertiti and suggesting what Moses’ role may have been. I loved this addition but history geek! Egypt is a land of rich culture and astonishing stories and has always fascinated me. So, this story mentioning Egyptian pharaohs, Royalty and mythology was a treat.  Also, the religious conspiracies referenced throughout the book are fascinating.

There are some new theories involved in this work, but the research behind them gives them enough credibility to add to the story. I really enjoyed this book with the race against time to solve the puzzle, the lurking danger.  I have to say, I enjoyed both the fictional historical perspective and the parts set in modern day and I can’t wait to read the sequel Secrets of the Dead.