Tag Archives: Caitlin Moran

How To Be Famous- Caitlin Moran

WordPress has a new way to embed tweets…I’m not sure. I preferred the graphic side of screen grab and paste (as in my last review), but this is easier than either that or separately embedding each tweet, and it’s possible to edit the tweets to make them more like a ‘standard’ review. What do you think?


‘How to be Famous’ is the follow-up to ‘How to Build a Girl’ it continues the story of Dolly/Johanna, a teenager and music journalist from Wolverhampton living in London. In this book she is 19, and more adult than she was in the first.


I had enjoyed the first book, but it felt very familiar after reading Caitlin Moran’s autobiographical stuff. This second book felt more unique, although I do get a very strong Caitlin Moran vibe from Dolly. That’s not a bad thing, I wish I could be Caitlin Moran’s friend

I felt like Dolly was more independent in this one, less defined by other people, although she still wanted others to like her. I found her even wise at some points. The way she got famous was sort of predictable, which at first I was a bit meh about, but as the story developed it become more than what it first appeared, and really made me respect Dolly.

This is teenage fiction, but it’s the type of teenage fiction certain parents might not love. There’s lots of sex, in sometimes quite graphic detail, there’s alcohol, and drugs and lots of cigarettes.

The sex bit is important. It’s about Dolly growing up and understanding sex and relationships, and for those reasons I wouldn’t want to stop teenagers reading it.


Buy it from ¬£4.49 @AmazonUK https://amzn.to/3hxbHdB (yes that is the price of the paperback!) –

Affiliate link, money made from my affiliate links go back into the blog.

Originally tweeted by Lucybird (@lucybirdbooks) on 24/07/2020.

For chances to see reviews early follow me on twitter, I posted a review of ‘Seven Signs of Life’ today

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Filed under Fiction review, YA

Deals of the Moment- June 2020

Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but the money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

See all the books in the deals here

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

The Help- Kathryn Stockett

Do you remember when this was super popular a few years ago? If you missed it then you can read it for cheap now. It’s taken from the view of black maids in white households (who are not nice). It is a good book, although maybe when you consider context a little problematic. So maybe not the best to read if you want to understand black history.

Buy it for just £0.99

Adults- Emma Jane Unsworth

I was surprised this is so cheap because it’s relatively new and not out in paperback yet. I read it a few months ago and suggested it for my bookgroup, but we decided not to read it at the time due to the price.

It’s the story of Jenny, who seems rather vapid and self-obsessed to start with, but once you get to know more of her story you realise what hides behind it, and that maybe her self-obsession isn’t quite that. A very good read but it takes some getting into.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)

The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

I’m not the worlds biggest YA fan in general, but I enjoy a dystopian novel, and this is the start of a very good series.

‘The Hunger Games’ are ‘games’ set up by the elite as part of controlling the population. Each district has two young tributes every year, only one tribute will come out alive.

Buy here (only £2.49) 

How to be Famous- Caitlin Moran

I really enjoyed the first book in this series How to Build a Girl, as soon as I saw this was on offer I bought it. It continues the story of Johanna, young music journalist and her (mis)adventures in the Britpop scene.

You can buy it…here (only ¬£0.99)

The Closed Circle- Jonathan Coe

Another one I bought immediately on seeing it. This is the follow-up to ‘The Rotter’s Club’. Set during the time of the ‘War on Terror’ it will be interesting to see the view of terrorism now vs. how it was during the time of the IRA (The Rotter’s Club is set around the Birmingham bombings)

Buy it…here (only ¬£0.99)

Attachments- Rainbow Rowell

‘Attachments’ is the story of an IT tech who falls in love with a woman through reading her e-mails. I can’t remember much about it except that I enjoyed it and it was an easy read.¬†

Buy it…here (Only ¬£0.99)

Seven Signs of Life- Aoife Abbey

A medical memoir focusing around an intensive care doctor. Also pretty glad this one is written by a woman, as they generally seem to be written by men.

Buy it...here (only £0.99)

The Lake House- Kate Morton

As usual for Kate Morton half historical novel half mystery. Lots of intrigue. This one focuses on the disappearance of a baby, and the secrets which surround it.

Buy it…here (only ¬£0.99)

Also, quick mention Room is cheap again, this seems to happen every few months so I’m not bothering to go into a big song and dance, but you can get it for 99p if you want!

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Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 1)

Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 1) is books I’ve already read, part two (hopefully tomorrow) will be books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet, and part 3 will be books I’m interested in. My computer is going to the macshop tomorrow (l0ts of little problems) so I will try and get part 3 out on Friday but we will see how it goes.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

Still Alice- Lisa Genova

I really enjoyed this rather sad novel told by a narrator who has early onset dementia. It’s very touching, and language wise an easy read but also rather emotionally difficult

You can buy it…here¬†(only ¬£0.99)

Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

To be honest I didn’t love this classic about book burning, but there were some points which made it worth a read.

You can buy it,,,here (only £1.99)

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

I loved this funny, quirky, sweet book about a clever man who thinks he has found a clever way to find love. It was so much more than I expected

You can buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)

Mockingbird- Kathryn Erkstien

A beautiful book about a girl with Asperger’s whose brother is killed. The normal grief of that situation added to her autism.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.39)


Girl at the Lion D’or- Sebastian Faulks

This book is actually the first in the trilogy which ends with, what is probably Faulks’ most well known novel, Birdsong. It’s probably my least favourite of the trio but it’s a nice little book about a girl who starts working at a slightly seedy hotel. I read the series in the wrong order and it does stand well as a novel on its own.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99) Buy the others in the series, Charlotte Grey, and Birdsong, for ¬£4.99 each.


The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Since reading The Secret Scripture I have read a lot of other Sebastian Barry novels, and none are as good as this one, I loved this one. About a woman who has spent most of her life in a mental institution

Buy it…here (¬£1.09)

Clovenhoof series- Heide Good and Iain M. Grant

Funny, political-ish books about satan being expelled from Heaven and being sent to live in Birmingham. I love these books, I’ve read 1-3 (and the short) and ordered number 4 when I saw it on offer, number 5 is out too, but that’s not on offer.

Buy one, two, three, four (only £0.99 each)

The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth

I love Mark Forsyth, his books about language are interesting and funny, I recommend them to everyone.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.19)

The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I love Jodi Picoult, I’ve read all her books. This one is about a boy and a girl who apparently had a suicide pact, or did the boy call the girl?

Buy it…here (¬£1.99)

Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

Hitler wakes up in the modern day. Everything is wrong, he must find his power again. Satirical, funny, a bit on the edge.

Buy it...here (only £0.99)

Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of my favourite books. A sort of coming of age novel, kind of hard to describe, but there’s a family secret involved and I can’t tell you because that will spoil the story. Just read it

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)


The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filler

An incident happened, it effected the whole of one man’s life

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)

Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl, she’s not fitting in great, but then she meets Park. A nice little love story.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)

The Beach- Alex Garland

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book about a secret island, and the things that happened there.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)

How to Build A Girl- Caitlin Moran

Yay Caitlin Moran. How to Build a Girl is a little too autobiographical to feel like novel, but I still loved it.

Buy it…here (only ¬£1.99)


Filed under general

Moranthology- Caitlin Moran

Synopsis (from amazon)

In MORANTHOLOGY Caitlin Moran ‘gets quite chatty‚Äô about many subjects, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually left to hot-shot wonks ‚Äď and not a woman who sometimes keeps a falafel in her handbag.

These other subjects include…

Caffeine | Ghostbusters | Being Poor | Twitter | Caravans | Obama | Wales | Marijuana Addiction |Paul McCartney | The Welfare State | Sherlock | David Cameron Looking Like Ham | Amy Winehouse | ‚ÄėThe Big Society‚Äô | Big Hair | Nutter-letters | Failed Nicknames | Wolverhampton | Squirrels‚Äô Testicles | Sexy Tax | Binge-drinking | Chivalry | Rihanna‚Äôs Cardigan | Party Bags | Hot People| Transsexuals | The Gay Moon Landings


I wanted to read Moranthology since it came out, but somehow it hasn’t happened until recently. After all the build-up and how much I loved How to be a Woman it got to a point where I was almost expecting to be disappointed.

I found it interesting and funny, just like How to be a Woman, but less cohesive, maybe because it was actually made up of lots of Moran’s columns from The Times. Some columns were more funny than others, and some more interesting. It was nice to see a variety of topics, even though it did make for a less cohesive book. I think although the book was split into sections it might actually have been better to have as a flick through book than one to read cover to cover, as I did.

I always feel a little cheated when I read a book made up of things which have previously been published, simply because I feel I could have already read them for free online (ok, maybe not so much with The Times), or bought the paper. There was a little original material, and that did contain some of my favourite bits (the conversations with her husband most notably).

All in all a very good read, but not to the levels of How to be a Woman. Which is hard by the way because that basically gave me a girl crush on Caitlin Moran


Buy it:

Paperback (£6.74)

Kindle (£5.98)

Hardback (£7.94)

Other Reviews

Between the Pages

Nylon Admiral

Devouring Texts

Lit and Life


Filed under Essays, non-fiction review

How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran

Synopsis (from amazon)

What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes Рand build yourself.

It‚Äôs 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there‚Äôs no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde ‚Äď fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer ‚Äď like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes – but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?


Some books you want to review as soon as you’ve finished them, you don’t want to wait for all the feelings and thoughts to fall out of your head. How to Make a Girl was one of these books, so I moved it to the top of my review pile (despite the fact that I still have reviews of books I read in 2014 that I need to write). Unfortunately I couldn’t actually write the review straight away, so I hope my thoughts are still clear enough.

I was excited to read something of Caitlin Moran’s after basically having a girl crush on her after reading How to Be a Woman (don’t ask me how I haven’t managed to read Moranology yet, it’s a mystery to me). I must admit though I had my doubts about How to Build a Girl, it seemed basically to be an autobiography pretending to be fiction (a bit like Stephen Fry’s Moab is my Washpot and The Liar, which I still confuse).

There are a lot of similarities between Caitlin’s life and Johanna. They both grew up in Wolverhampton. They both had Irish fathers who were once in bands but now had some sort of problem causing them pain. They both had large families. They both had early jobs writing for music magazines. They even both won awards for writing before they entered the world of work. Oh and they both had a slightly goth look.

So you can see why I was wondering how much more was based on Caitlin’s life. At times it even distracted me from the story itself, especially early on. It didn’t help that Johanna had a very similar voice to Caitlin too.

One thing I like about Moran is that she’s so forthright. She’ll say whatever she’s thinking, not worrying about embarrassing herself or others.¬† I admire her for it. Johanna is the same. Although I think more with Johanna I didn’t want to know, maybe because for a good chunk of the book she was a teenager. In a sense I would say this is a YA book, I could certainly see myself connecting with Johanna at the beginning of the story, in some ways at least. However I can see it not being a hit with parents due to how frank it is. There’s little in there I don’t think the average teen would know, but I think it’s the way it’s put across too. I don’t really want to go into too much detail here, but if you have listened to Lily Allen’s album ‘Sheezus’ it’s a similar sort of frankness (listen here, beware explicit), you can probably guess just by looking at the titles in fact.

I did really like How to Build a Girl in the end though. I loved Johanna, even if she made me cringe at times at her decisions, and at her cluelessness when she seemed so ‘grown-up’. She seemed fairly realistic, if a bit of a teenagers dream. The ending was satisfying but did seem to lead to more. Apparently there are two more books to come, which I would be interested to read too.


Buy it:

Hardback (£10.49)

Kindle (£9.42)

Paperback- pre-order (£6.39)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Lit and Life

Nylon Admiral –start of a readalong

As the Crowe Flies (And Reads) – also start of a read-a-long

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here




Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, YA

Review of the Year 2012- Best Non-Fiction

As only one non-fiction scored 5/5 this year I’m going to list all that scored 4/5 or above. Of course the one which scored 5/5 is the winner!

How To Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Is a collection of the thoughts of Caitlin Moran on being and experiences of being a woman.

Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World- Dave Gorman

Is a book where Dave Gorman travels around the country playing different games with different people, some familiar, and some less well known.

Sick- Jen Smith

Is a story of drugs and domestic violence.


The Fry Chronicles- Stephen Fry

Is the second of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies and chronicles his rise to fame.

And the winner is…

How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

I loved this book. Caitlin is funny and easy going. I really just wanted to be her friend whilst reading How to be a Woman. It’s advertised as a feminist book, I wouldn’t say it was a major point to the book however, although it did have some feminist areas.


Filed under general

Top 10 ‘Older’ Books Not to be Forgotten

Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s

Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

I’m trying to use books which I think may end up being forgotten. Not sure if I can make it to 10 but I will try my best.

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas Scarlett Thomas is probably better known as the writer of The End of Mr Y but I preferred this one. Her more recent releases haven’t quite met up to standard so I hope this one doesn’t get lost because of them.

2) Random Acts of Heroic Love- Danny Scheinmann I read this book before I started my blog. It had been very popular for a while but I haven’t seen a review of it in a long time. When I read it I adored it and wanted to share it with everybody.

3) An Equal Music- Vikram Seth This is another one I read in my pre-blog days. I read it when A Suitable Boy (which I have never managed to finish) was at the height of its popularity, and it’s probably overshadowed by A Suitable Boy. The descriptions of music and playing made me want to pick up my violin again.

4) The Historian- Elisabeth Kostova Beware about this vampire novel, it gave me funny dreams! I was in half a mind whether to include this one or not. It still seems to be quite well know, but it didn’t have the greatest amount of hype so I thought I would add it just in case.

5) The Lover’s Dictionary- David Levithan Considering this wonderful little novel is written by a traditionally YA author I worry that it will be drowned out, or will be seen as a book for teenagers, rather than the adult novel it actually is.

6) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: when I read the review which put me onto this book I didn’t even know it existed. Louis de Bernieres is best known for Captain Correli’s Mandolin, and a lot of his work prior to that is given little notice. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, however, is the best I have read by him.

Yup 6 is my limit.


Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog

It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday (which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I only occasionally join in with this meme but I really liked the look of this week’s topic.

Top Ten Books Read in the Lifetime of Your Blog.

Well my blog is almost 3 years old (in fact my blogiversary is at the end of this month) and in that time I’ve red and reviewed almost 200 books. So it’s a bit difficult to pick just 10…I shall see what I can do. In no particular order…

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas This is the story of a woman who creates spy kits for kids as part of a large toy company- Pop Co. One day she receives a strange coded message, who is it from and what do they want?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me think about things like the morality of corporations, and see more everyday things in a different light.

2) Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter. This book is basically feminism for the modern world. It’s one that I recommend all women read, whether you consider yourself a feminist or not.

3)¬†Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile. These are a series of short stories set in Brooklyn and all have a connection to food. The descriptions are especially good. I’m not usually a reader of short stories but I loved these, plus they show that just because something is self-published doesn’t mean it’s no good!

4)¬†The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo: I studied psychology at uni and this means that a large proportion of my non-fiction reading is psychology related. The Lucifer Effect is the book written about Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment which studied how a person’s authority would effect their behaviour. The experiment had to be cancelled because of some of the effects, and it took a long time for Zimbardo to feel he could write this book. This meant he could apply his findings to new world events and actually means it was published at a time when people were looking for answers. It’s a scary book to read because it suggests there are things we could all be capable of but I think it’s important too.

5) Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult: I’m quite a fan of Picoult and this one is my favourite, probably because I connect with it personally. It’s a story about a woman suing her midwife because her daughter was born with severely brittle bones which should have been picked up on her scan. Well really, no, it’s more about her daughter.

6)¬†How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran: This book is basically Caitlin Moran’s biography, with a bit of a feminist kick. It pretty much made me fall in love with her.

7)¬†The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: since reading Captain Correli’s Mandolin I had been looking for a Louis de Bernieres’ book as good. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts does that and more. It’s basically about a South American country with dodgy politics and the goings on of different groups and people

8)¬†Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami: I discovered Murakami thanks to the bookish community online and Kafka on the Shore is my favourite of his that I have read.¬† I can’t really adequately describe it, and I had trouble reviewing it, but it is fantastic.

9) Mockingbird- Kathryn Erskien: is the story of Caitlin, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose brother has just died. It is a story about grief but ultimately it’s a story about Asperger’s, and Caitlin is portrayed wonderfully.

10)¬†Middlesex- Jeffery Eugenides: Is the story of Cal, who is a hermaphrodite, about her growing up, and about his family. It’s one of those books that you can’t really tell people why they need to read it, just that they have to.


Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

How to Be Woman- Caitlin Moran

Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

1913: Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse

 1970: Feminists storm Miss World

 Now: Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunach from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller

There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, Topshop, motherhood and beyond.


Those who follow my Twitter feed will know that I had a bit of a girl crush on Caitlin Moran during this book. Honestly I just would love to be her friend! It’s almost difficult to see this as a feminist book simply because you feel more like you are reading something designed to entertain. I was pretty much constantly giggling and the tone of her writing is just so natural you feel as if you are having a conversation with her rather than reading something she has written. Indeed in some parts she even writes out what she imagines the reader might be thinking and answers it. You can just imagine her sitting there talking to herself as she writes. Yet it is a feminist book. It talks about what you may call ‘little’ feminist issues- high heels, waxing, and the occasional bigger issue, but it makes it much easier to relate to things you encounter on a day to day basis, and are so easy to accept that they don’t even seem to be issues. But she’s right, who decided heels are a good idea? They’re stupid, they just kill your feet! Why is it attractive to have no hair?

Honestly you have to read this.



Buy it:



Filed under Biography, Comedy, non-fiction review, Politics