Book Review : Fired Up About Consent

Thank you to Between the Lines and NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book for review.

! Trigger Warring this review deals with rape and other types of abuse. !

In Fired Up about Consent Sarah Ratchford uses her knowledge to defines rape and sexual assault, as well as banish myths, and victim blaming. The writer also includes not just cis woman in this book but also Female identifying people. Ratchford talks about movements such as #MeToo. Ratchford makes sure to write an inclusive way. Unlike most books that are on such topics, Ratchford has included information and statistics about other countries around the world and not solely focused just on the one she lives in.

Ratchford not only approaches what means yes and what means no, she also broaches the following subjects: masturbation, virginity, porn, gender identity, sex work, reporting and not reporting assault, reformative justice and more. The book doesn’t just show us what consent is and isn’t, it shows us that requesting and listening to consent (or rejection) is a key part of human nature and if the reader is not following this way of thinking, then they should. Because if they don’t, they are causing harm.

My art based on the cover of the book.

It is obvious from the out set what this book is here to say. Ratchford doesn’t sugar coat it so that those who are weary of feminism can swallow it easily. She is up front and a lot of the time brutally honest. Some suggested reading that Ratchford mentioned were Audre Lorde and Sarah Deer. It was educational to see what laws there were, or in most cases weren’t, for women in other countries.

I felt this book was powerful. It made me feel like there was a whole community of people with similar experiences to me. I saw how other legal systems also failed woman and how few laws there are to protect women from the men in their own countries. It really got me pumped about changing society, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We are now seeing woman take to social media and telling people about their experiences so that people start to realize just how widespread this epidemic is. The hashtags 97% and Itsenoughmen have started to tread. Of course, this is being hit back at with #notallmen. Which just goes to show the lack of understanding and sexism society is still guilty of.

Ratchford deals with the topic of restorative justice in this book. Personally, for me, I don’t think I could be gracious enough to allow that for the person who raped me. Though I guess some kind of justice is better than nothing which was what I got. I admire those who believe in restorative justice and I was glad it was explored in the book.

I really wanted to give this book five stars but couldn’t as one of the “facts” about an Irish rape case was wrong. In her book Ratchford says that a judge said that a rape victim had consented to sex by wearing a thong. This is incorrect it was the defense lawyer Elizabeth O’Connell SC. Yes, you read that right this 17 year-old was hounded by a female lawyer about wearing a thong.

4/5 Wands /*/*/*/*

50 Book ReviewsReviews PublishedProfessional Reader

Book Review : Fable by Adrienne Young


I was granted a review copy of this book by Titan books via Netgalley.

One storm steals Fable’s whole life. She goes from being a loved daughter to stranded survive. The ship Fable was on has sunk, her mother had drown and now, her father has abandoned her on one of the most dangerous islands there is.

Her father tells her that if she survives and finds him that he will make everything right. Fable watches as her father leaves her there. At the will of the island and its inhabitants Fable has to learn fast or she will die. Her only means of income is to dredge for precious stones. The longer she stays on the island the closer she is to death.

When her time runs out she finds an unlikely savoir. But that does not mean her life is easier, just that she has it a little longer.


The book covered a lot of themes given its size. At the beginning we are with Fable and are dealing with huge themes at once. Grief, abandonment, isolation, uncertainty, treat of danger, secrecy. Later in the book we also deal with love, longing, poverty, truth, trust, belonging and sacrifice. This is a lot to portray in one short book. It was also touching to see that Young included LGBT+ rep.
Art by me COT

Personally I saw through West’s real purpose almost as soon as Fable boards the ship. A lot of the rest of the plot I didn’t foresee but that was definitely one I saw from the off. I loved Willa as a character, she was independent and head strong. I think I admired each crew member for different things.

The only thing I was really left questioning about the book was, how old was West exactly? We know Fable is 17 and I personally would not like West to be much older. It would give their relationship the ick factor in my mind.

Well I was left to also wonder what happened to Fable, but that I hope to answer when I read Namesake.

Would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loved sea adventures.

4/5 Wands /*/*/*/*

Book review : Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

This prequel to Thomas’s The Hate U Give sees main character Maverick Carter’s life is about to spin on its head. Yes he has average teenage worries such as school, will he make it into collage next year, will his girlfriend go to college without him. However Maverick is also a member of the King Lords. He sells weed for them, which helps him earn money and stay safe. His father was a member before he went to prison, without the King Lords Maverick would be a target for his fathers past enemies.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

You would think this would be more than any seventeen year old could handle but Mav is about to find out that he is a father. College seems a distant worry. What will he do now he has been left holding the baby and forced to quite his drug running.?!

Sleepless nights, caring for a baby, school and work. Will Mav manage his new roles? He tell’s himself that now he has to be a real man, to man up. (what ever that means) Maybe he would have handled it all until a loved one is brutally murdered.

The way Thomas uses slang to portray the wold in an honest way was captivating. It was not a struggle to keep up for the most part. Having grown up in the 90’s on a lot of American TV I understood the majority of the pop references. Unfortunately I did miss out on most of the off the basket ball terminology. I don’t follow the sport (though Ireland does have its own team),

Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give, #0)

There is of course a lot in just the 99 pages I got to read. Of course race was one of them. It also seems that the women in this book may not feature as much but are certainly seen as big parts in the live of these young men. Mav’s mother being just one of them.

However I did find it degrading to woman how Iesha is told to have sex with Mav by King “I went to king’s crib stressed out ’bout it. He asked Iesha to take my mind off things.” and later Mav says. “King hooked me up with Iesha one time”.

I felt I was just getting into the story when the sample ended. They picked the perfect place to end the sample. I plan to finish the book as soon as possible .

4/5 Wands /*/*/*/*

Book Review {Breaking the Mould by Sinéad Burke}

Breaking the Mould is a book about self acceptance. Though the book mainly focuses on disability it all inclusive. It talks about race, wight, gender equality, and sexual orientation.

There are even exercises in the book aimed that help promote self acceptance in the reader/child. I believe this would help children open up more both in comunication and to the differnt people around them.

As a 30 year old I am not really the target audience, however as someone with an invisible disability, (Marfan Syndrom, which is degenerative and life threatening so it doesn’t stay invisible.) plus size, pansexual woman, with hearing and eyesight problems, this book definitely spoke to me.

In fact I had requested if from NetGalley (a website that allows book reviewers to read books before and sometimes after release) but when I saw it in a local bookshop I knew I had to have it there and then. Probably the best money I have spent on a book this year.

Again, though the book is for children, I felt seen when I read it. I grew up not feeling that the word disability included me. Not because I didn’t FEEL disabled but because other people looked at me and told me I didn’t SEEM disabled. Even as an adult strangers have demanded to know what was “wrong” with me or told me I look “Normal”. This has often led to a feeling of impostor syndrome or people treating me like a liar.

That is why I feel seen, Burke makes no distinction between any kind of disabilitly. Burke even includes other things that make a person who they are. And that anyone who is treated differently or badly for such things deserves better.

The only part of the book I didn’t like was when Chimamanda Ngoi Adichie’s words were quoted in the book. Do not misunderstand me, my only objection is due to the resent TERF sentiments she has shared regarding the Trans community. I believe she did not make these public until this book was already in print. I there for do not hold this against Burke, and in overlooking this I had to give the book 5 wands (stars)

This is one of those inspirational books you own for a lifetime. I would go so far as to say I hope Burke brings out an adult edition or a similar book aimed at adults. If so I would Que for it.

5/5 /*/*/*/*/* wands

Professional Reader
Reviews Published
25 Book Reviews

Book review of “Season of the Witch”

(The chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1) By Sarah Rees Brennan

Borrowed from my local Library prior to lockdown part2


This book is a prequel based on the TV show. (Thankfully not the comic which I personally thought was God awful) In this work we meet Sabrina and co shortly before her 16th birthday. She knows she will soon write her name in the Book of the Beast and she will have to study at the Academy of Unseen Arts, but she refuses to feel like she is making a choice that will rip her from her mortal life.

Perhaps it is this dread that makes her focus on Harvey. With her attention on Harvey she starts to worry that he might not care about her as much as she thinks. Que Ambrose with a plan and all Hell brakes loose.


Praise Satan GIFs | Tenor

I found the book to drag at first. I was really not there for the plot. In fact I hated the idea that Sabrina would do such a thing. It wasn’t until around page 154 that I started to get interested in the book. I had thought about DNF’ing the book.

I do have to add that some of my initial disappointment may have been due to the fact I was hitting a reading slump. Either way I’m glad I read the book, it may not be a reread for me but it did give me an idea for some slash fic that is not covered in the TV show and is only hinted at in the book.

Dis-moi ton signe astro, je te dirai quel perso des Nouvelles Aventures de  Sabrina tu es

My favorite quote from the book : “Writers were different from other folks. Everybody knew that.” – A thought by Tommy Kinkle.


3/5 wands /* /* /*



Book Review of Don’t Ask by B.K. Dell

Caleb Hertz is just a man who wants to be a Marine. And what is wrong with that? Nothing, as it should be only the USMC disagree. Why? Because of one simple fact, Private First Class Hertz is gay. That’s right G A Y. And to the Marine Corps that might as well stand for Get Away You.

The book seems to be set in a time where “Don’t ask Don’t tell” is about to be appealed. How is it known that PFC Hertz is gay? You might be surprised at the answer.
With a drill instructor the living embodiment of drill instructor Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.

Hertz is all but convinced he has made a mistake joining the USMC when he makes an unlikely friend.
Just as it seems his fellow Marines see him as a brother Hertz has to go through the process twice more before his story continues.

When I started to read this book I was under the false impression it was based on True events which I learned by the half way mark was not the fact.
I may have spotted it sooner if I had any knowledge of the USMC. I was, at least, enjoying Hertz conviction and fight.

However, by the end I was lost about what this book was trying to say.
Was it trying to say:

A) Marine’s are not homophobic
B) Christians are not homophobic
Or
C) Both

I am left wondering if this is the whole reason for the book?
It seemed that for every question about Homosexuality the answer was a religious one. Not necessarily negative but religious none the less. Why? Are there no other sources available for answers?

I believed every moment of this book until the “Friendly Fire incident” and honestly I think the book should have ended there. Or at the very least stayed with Jackson. I understand why we were thrown from place to place but I really think the story could have gained more traction in one place. Instead it was more like a scene from A Few Good Men.

Yes, it showed what can happen to the family of Marine’s but by in large these were characters we had never heard of or only in passing. I had not gained enough about them to care much. I think it would have been pages better dedicated to Jackson’s or Ms Hobbs’s suffering.

I also felt that the bible played too big a role in this book. I did like some of the passages such as Psalm 121 and some of Jackson’s reasoning such as “A fear-based system of morality is no morality at all.”

By the end of the book I felt like religion had been more center stage then the USMC or gay rights. I won’t even start about the strange ramblings about “Muslims” other to acknowledge that like any group of anything in existence there are good and bad.
To be honest If I were not reviewing this and simply reading for enjoyment I would have DNF’ed this book.

When groups of mixed sex were mentioned the men were always angry and shouting and the women always “wiping tears way” or crying, this I disliked a lot. The women in the book also seem two dimensional as they are only ever spoken about as wives, girlfriends and daughters. Their lives beyond such are never mentioned.

And while the book also had both sides of the story it seemed almost acceptable for the USMC to lie and no one else. I hate the pretense that a salt grain of truth counts in a hand full of salt lies.

If, however GI Jane (substitute woman for gay man), Full Metal Jacket, A Few Good Men and a Bible sound like your type of boot camp this is definitely the book for you.

 

Only two wands /*/*

Book Review: Soulbinder (Spellslinger #4)

Soulbinder is the fourth book in the Spellslinger series. It is our first look at what life is like for Kellen now without Ferius. Of course it is not long before Kellen and Reichis find themselves in trouble.
The pair have followed rumors of a brotherhood who suffer with the Shadowblack, and who supposedly live at The Ebony Abbey. Where ever that is.
Kellen has heard that the monks might even know how to cure the Shadowblack.
Then something awful happens and Kellen must continue his journey alone.

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Without Ferius or Reichis, Kellen is the adorable idiot we know him to be.

As ever it seems like the book wants us to delve deeper into the understanding of good and evil. Can someone be good and their actions evil. Does blood bond us more than choices? Or are we only truly family to those who support us and share in our troubles, regardless of blood. Who do you trust when lives could be lost?!

Unlike the previous three books, Soulbinder is much less predictable and without his two friends Kellen’s story does not fall into old patterns. Though as I said Kellen is still not too smart with his choices there are some notable changes. I’m not sure I would have known who the “Bad guys” were in this one. The book feels more mature with more nudity and intimacy.

This book seemed like a good character ark, along with some new information that might be foreshadowing. It may not effect Kellen’s current situation but may decide the future for all of the Jan’tep.

I found it difficult at first to imagine Kellen without Ferius and Reichis but I hung in there. I was glad I did, particularity for the character Butelios. Also has Kellen actually managed to use some of the Argosi ways?! Maybe he wont be so useless after all.

I would have really given this 5 wands but I couldn’t get over the heartache it caused me so I’m sorry but it was 4 wands from me. In the end all I can say is that I can’t wait to read Queenslayer.

This time I will be Ready for the Silk mage that is Sebastien de Castell.

4 Wands /*/*/*/*

Book Review: I Know an Artist

I Know An Artist is a book which intend to show connections between different artists, whether that is one artist being inspired by another or that the two artists were friends.

Though I like the work of Sarah Papworth and her interpretations or the artists own art to create their face I think that for readers who do not know much about the artists in the book, it may come across as confusing.

Having personally studied art for some time I must admit that though this book’s cover called to me,. even I struggled with caring about the artists I didn’t already know. I found myself skipping to the next artist I knew.

The text often started with a spoiler so even if I didn’t already know the artist I was told something that was out of chronological order and felt like a pointless read. For example If I know when or at what age the artist died before I even know what they created it meant I was less interested.

I liked the premise of the book, it is not often you get to know much about an artists life I just felt with interpenetrated art, text in a non-chronicle order and strong terminology even I struggled with the book.

I think this is probably a book more suited to someone with a lot of art knowledge as someone like me would have to look up a lot of the terminology.

Though it may not be something I would read cover to cover I did enjoy reading about the life of each of the artists I did know. I would be happy to own a copy even if I keep it on my coffee table for the odd perusal.
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Sorry

Firstly, apologies for my extremely long absence but there had been a lot going on this side of the keyboard.
The Major thing was that I have moved. Not far I still live in the same town in the same county in Ireland but it has still been quite stressful the moving date was changed several times and I still can’t believe I have all my hair.
Unfortunately moving day was not the end of my stress as several things were wrong with the house or broken and this meant arranging them to get fixed.
At one point I thought I was going to constantly be on the phone for the rest of my life. Just as the situation with the house came under control I got ill.
I had a cold to begin with but just as it started to shift I developed a chest infection which may sound like a small deal it really drained me as I have several heart problems.

During the time I tried to continue with my research for my original writing but it did slow me down somewhat. I did try to keep my Instagram updated and even started a new one that focused on my OG writing but the idea of a full blown blog entry was daunting.

I did also continue to update my Goodreads, my NetGalley was suffering from a loss of love but I managed to get my hands on a physical copy of Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson. I’m currently having difficulty with reading digital copies from NetGalley but hopefully I will get new tech soon which should solve this.

My poor fur baby and my sisters fur baby both developed kennel cough, no idea how they are too papered and spoiled to set foot in a kennel.
Hugo my sisters dog is more affected the poor thing. My Bellatrix (belly) seems to be over the worst.

I have also returned to counselling as I am beginning to show signs of PTSD due to trauma the most recent of which accrued in 2017. Sufficed to say I won’t be going into detail other than to say I have a really good counselor who I have seen in the past.

During my absence I have also dealt with/ celebrated the 30th anniversary of my father’s death, the 2nd anniversary of the trauma I mentioned, my nephews 10th birthday and his sisters, my nieces first birthday, supporting a loved one throw their divorce which they happily received recently, and the 10 year anniversary of a loved ones lifesaving surgery. Not forgetting my Mothers third wedding which I did not attend.

Somehow I’m still motoring which means that now I am trying to focus on my original writing, reviewing books, and the upcoming #Believeathon.
Hopefully after the New Year I should also be creating YouTube content. I had hoped to do so sooner but technology conspired against me so I’ve had to prioritise.

Some updates with what I am reading and watching.

T.V.
Dublin Murders (based on the books by Tanya French which I wish I had read first)
The Walking Dead season 10
Hollyoaks (UK Soap)
Insight
Googlebox (UK)
Strictly Come Dancing
Shots Fired
Drag Race (S1)
Stranger Thing (S1 – S3)

Movies
Angry Birds2
Secret life of Pets2
The Lion King

Books (Since June 13th)
(Enjoyment)

Wexford Then & Now
By Jarlath Glynn /*/*/*/*

Heartstopper
By Alice Oseman /*/*/*/*

Fairest of All
By Serna Valentino /*/*/*/*

The Diary of a Young Girl
By Anne Frank/*/*/*

Coraline
By Neil Gaiman /*/*/*/*

Hearstopper 2
By Alice Oseman/*/*/*/*

The Hobbit
By Chuck Dixon/*/*

Spellslinger
By Sebastien De Castell/*/*/*/*

Shadowblack
By Sebastien De Castell/*/*/*/*

The Girl in the Spiders Web
By David Lagercrantz /*/*/*/*

The Minpins
By Roald Dahl /*/*

The Nightmare Before Christmas
By Tim Burton /*/*/*/*

Charmcaster
Sebastien De Castell /*/*/*/*

(Review)

The Art of Mindful Reading
By Ella Berthoud /*/*/*/*/* 5 wands

Voices of Powerful Women
By Zoe Sallis /*/*

I know an Artist
By Susie Hodge /*/*/*

(Research)

Child Sexual Abuse
By Irish Bishops Conference /*/*/*/*

Child Sexual Abuse
By Maire Keenan /*/*/*/*

Sixties Ireland
By Mary Daly /*/*/*/*

Founded on Fear
By Peter Tyrell /*/*/*/*

(Current reads)

Frankissstien By Jeanette Winterson
Beyond Belief By David Yallop

TBR

(Enjoyment)
Soulbinder By Sebastien De Castell
How High the Moon By Karyn Parsons

#Believeation
The Velveteen Rabbit
Frostheart
The Beast Within
Under My Hat
The Godden Compass
Percy Jackson
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
Under the Hawthorn Tree
The Secret Garden
I am Enough
Wonder

(Review)

Perfectly Preventable Deaths By Deirdre Sullivan
Wake, Siren
The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley
Own Your Anxiety
Fierce Woman
Yay! You’re Gay! Now What?
Ghost stories by Edith Wharton
Fireborn
Be a Super Awesome Photographer

(Research)

Suffer the Little Children
Suffer the Little Children
The Raggy Boy Trilogy
Fear of the collar
Philomena
Black Lives in a White World
The Magdalen
Beyond Belief
The Holy Bible

My Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/caoiloot/?hl=en

My Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26688039-caoilo

Reviews Published

Professional Reader

Dead Talented

A review of Basquiat: A Graphic Novel
by Paolo Parisi

This graphic novel was about the young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Though it gives some back story to his early life we mainly explore his rise to fame.

Parisi uses the voices of those who knew Basquiat to narrate the story. This gives the graphic novel a feeling of closeness between the reader and Basquiat. Parisi was not afraid to broach such topics as drug use or Basquiat’s relationships.

The use of only a few bold colours manages to give the work a POP art feel yet still convey emotion. Parisi manages to balance this well with the use of text, neither one overriding the other. The drawing style was realistic enough to keep the story grounded yet it left enough blankness for the reader to be able to imprint on it. For instance, the picture of Warhol and Basquiat in their side-by-side boxing glove pose was so recognisable to me that it didn’t matter that their faces were absent in the graphic novel, I saw them anyway.

Parisi took a big risk with the opening scene in the book. Personally, I already knew how it would end having just studied Basquiat’s work at college. However, I think this was a good hook for the rest of the book and I would probably surprise people that Basquiat was not close to his father.

I was equally taken with the end of the Novel. How Parisi tied Basquiat’s childhood accident with his death. How Parisi used the heart from Gray’s Anatomy to explain his death, beautiful in a morbid way. The heart felt as though it was real, the most 3D piece of the whole novel.

Having only recently studied Basquiat in college at the age of 32 I can honestly say I would have rathered studied him in secondary school instead of Warhol. Had I had this book in secondary school (high school) I think it would have made a difference to the level of interest I paid art, which was already high, I would have been much more interested in graphic novels at any rate. I’m not sure parents would agree but that is a different matter.

This graphic shows just how much of an artist Basquiat was, and not just as a painter but as a musician, writer and how he used these talents in a political way, even for a time.

I would say that this book and Basquiat’s life in general, give us several morals to live by. Be careful your dream doesn’t ruin your life, trust a few, take care of yourself.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of art or those who read books about influential people of the ’80s.