Series Review: No Virgin and No Shame by Anne Cassidy

*Note: We received ‘No Shame’ from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

NO VIRGIN

Stacey Woods has been raped and this is her story. She lays out the circumstances that led to the horrific event and what happened immediately after. The story is unassuming at first, but tinged with something terrible that you can’t avoid thinking about on every page.

It’s powerful and important, with a positive message about seeking the support from friends, family and charities that specialise in helping rape victims. (The ending is particularly supportive, delivering the most hopeful speech when Stacey phones the Rape Crisis Centre.)

Obviously, every rape that you read about, fictional or real, is terrible, but ‘No Virgin’ certainly isn’t as harrowing and dark as the books of Louise O’Neill or ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I’d really recommend picking up this series if you’re interested in exploring these themes and how they’re portrayed in YA, without being too heavy. ‘No Virgin’ is the perfect stepping stone for a dialogue about sexual assault and the effects it has on the victim.

NO SHAME

The companion is all about the court trial Stacey is convinced by in order to get justice. There’s further exploration into the way rape cases are perceived by the media/jury/eyes of the law. It’s actual terrible, and made my blood boil on so many occasions but it’s the sad reality for most cases. Reading ‘No Shame’ will hopefully open everyone’s eyes to the injustice of it all, and the wrongly placed blame and encourage people to get angry about the way court works.

If you enjoyed the third season of ‘Broadchurch’ or shows like ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, this is for you. The court room drama is real, but so are the effects on the defendants.

I really liked the discussion of ripple effects of rape cases and just how many individuals are harmed. As more and more women stepped forward, the more likely justice was to get served.

Again, by the conclusion, ‘No Shame’ is another powerful tale about speaking out against sexual violence and getting the support that one deserves. Both stories felt like two halves of the same whole, so while they can easily be read as two stand-alones, I’d really recommend both. (I mean, they’re under 200 pages each, so really, it’s one reasonably sized book put together!) Overall, it’s a hard-hitting, raw series perfect for lighting a fire in anyone who reads it to fight for justice.

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Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked, Star Cursed, Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Genre: Supernatural (Witches), Romance. Sisters = buzzword
Published by: Speak. Pages: 352, 384, 368 respectively
Rating: ★★★★

This series has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. It’s the story of three sisters who are all witches in a society where if you’re rumoured to be a witch you’re either imprisoned or hanged. There’s also a prophecy that claims one of the sisters will either be the undoing of witches or will help them rise. I loved the drama and the the way every single relationship is written! For a series that was recommended to me by a friend in my Lit class almost four years ago, I’m surprised I didn’t pick it up sooner, because it’s really not one to be missed!

(Warning: As I’m going to be discussing all three books in one post, you might find the reviews of books 2 and 3 spoiler-y since I’ll be noting how the plot progresses.)

Continue reading “Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood”

Review: The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson

The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson
Genre: 
Historical
Published by: Doubleday Children’s
Pages: 400 | 400 | 432 | 304 | 512
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Note: As this is a review of the entire series, certain plot points and outcomes are discussed that may spoil the series for first time readers, or people that haven’t completed the series!

H  E  T  T  Y     F  E  A  T  H  E  R

Hetty Feather is such a change of pace from anything Jacqueline Wilson has written before. Set in the 1890s, it is the first in her Victorian series, featuring Hetty, a foundling girl with ambitions to join the circus and becoming a published author, whichever comes first. Hetty Feather is so unique because it reads like usual middle grade fiction, but has the makings of a classic. Hetty’s journey is structured very much like Jane Eyre’s, except it spans across three books! The first book is pastoral, fascinating and exciting. The circus makes such a wonderful setting, in stark contrast to the Foundling Hospital. Reading as Hetty gets torn away from everyone she loves: her mother, foster family and beloved Jem, is heartbreaking. No matter what she goes through, mischief, mayhem or injustice, you always root for her! It’s hard to think that the sequels are going to match up to such a marvellous beginning!  Continue reading “Review: The Hetty Feather Series by Jacqueline Wilson”

Series Review: The Spinster Club Trilogy by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? and What’s a Girl Gotta Do?
Genre: 
Contemporary, Feminism, Romance
Published by: Usborne
Pages: 434, 480, 432
Rating: ★★★★★
More: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

Over the summer, I read this absolutely amazing series called ‘The Spinster Club’ and I loved it so much I couldn’t even put into words how much it all meant for me. Dealing with everything you could possibly want in a contemporary and more, Holly Bourne manages to actually do the impossible and create a series when I loved each and every one of the books equally. Now, there’s a short story epilogue to the series, called …And A Happy New Year? that’ll be the first thing I read after Christmas and I’m sure to review the finale, but first, let’s reflect on just how awesome this feminist trilogy is!

Continue reading “Series Review: The Spinster Club Trilogy by Holly Bourne”

Series Review: Stella Etc by Karen McCombie

Frankie, Peaches and Me, Sweet-Talking TJ, Meet the Real World, Rachel, Truly, Madly Megan, Amber and the Hot Pepper Jelly, Twists, Turns and 100% Tilda, and Forever and Ever and Evie
Genre: 
Contemporary, Adventure, Humour | Published by: Scholastic
Rating: ★★★★★

Stella Etc. was another one of our all-time favourites. Back when the summers were only six weeks long, we’d read one book a week (always skipping the final book because it was when Stella went back to London so you did’t see all her Portbay friends). This time Maddie and I managed to read all seven books in one day! Stella Etc. is full of summer adventures, friends and sea-side fun!

Continue reading “Series Review: Stella Etc by Karen McCombie”

Series Review: Night School by C. J. Daugherty

Night School, Legacy, Fracture, Resistance, and Endgame by C.J. Daugherty
Published by: Atom | Genre: Mystery, Romance | Format: Paperback | ★★.5

I have an individual review for the first book in this series, and if you’ve read that, you’ll know that I struggled to get through it. HOWEVER, I decided to continue reading for a few reasons:

  1. To support a UKYA author!
  2. To support my library (since I sources all 5 books from local libraries!)
  3. Because the author admitted her mistake in letting main character Ally get rescued by boys in the first book and said it got better in a Feminism in YA panel I attended earlier in the year.
  4. I believed there was a good story to tell underneath some of the sillier elements.

In the end I’m pleased that I gave this series a second chance, because much to my relief it did get better. Night School even turned into something I would recommend to fans of Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynne Barnes. It has it’s issues, and I think some of the general concept for the series is confused and completely unrealistic, but taken with a pinch of salt it’s pretty fun.

Continue reading “Series Review: Night School by C. J. Daugherty”

Series Review: The Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy

Cherry Crush, Marshmallow Skye, Summer’s Dream, Coco Caramel, Sweet Honey, Fortune Cookie
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Romance | Published by: Puffin
Pages: 272, 304, 288, 304, 304, 288 | Format: Hardback | Rating: ★★★★

The Chocolate Box series is one of my favourite middle grade series. I remember when Cherry Crush was being teased on Cathy Cassidy’s website and getting so excited at the idea that she was going to be writing a series about sisters! I also remember in 2010 (when I was 12-13) thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to be 18 by the time I finish this series!’ (Though I was 19 in the end because she added a half-brother to the mix which bumped the series up to six.) I stopped reading when Summer’s Dream came out…I’m not entirely sure why… but it felt like finally the right time to complete my Cathy Cassidy reading experience! I’m so glad I did, because it’s chocolatey and beautiful.

Continue reading “Series Review: The Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy”

Series Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the UniverseA Million Suns, Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance. Published by: Razorbill
Pages: 398, 404, 369 respectively. Format: e-book
Rating: ★★.5

The Across the Universe series seemed to be one of the staples of everyone’s shelves on the booktube community when we first joined almost three years ago. And I’m sure the majority of you will have heard of this series, if not for it’s content, then for the widely contested cover change. DUN DUN DUN. Not many people are talking about this series anymore, but we decided to give it ago anyway, because if it was popular once, then maybe it could be again. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the case. The whole series is very typical of what the YA market was like a a few years ago. Full of adventure, insta-love, and poorly explained enemies. Had we read it when it was first popular maybe we would’ve enjoyed the series, but instead we found ourselves slogging through for the sake of this review.

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Review: Between The Lines and Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

9781444740998-uk25001544Between The Lines and Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Genre: 
Contemporary, Fairytale, Romance
Published by: Hodder
Pages: 351 | 372
Format: Paperbacks
Ratings: ★★★.5

I’ve been wanting read these two books since I stumbled across them on Goodreads, via recommended books and realised they’d be exactly the thing I needed to rekindle my love for the Inkheart series without having to read Inkheart for the sixteenth time! Reading characters out of books has always fascinated me since reading Cornelia Funke’s masterpiece, and I really liked the idea of a mother-daughter writing duo dealing with the relationships formed between real people and fictional characters. Basically, this book is a fangirl’s dream come true, and it certainly read like a fairy tale! Continue reading “Review: Between The Lines and Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer”