Women's Issues/Feminism

Review: Kick Ass Red Lipstick

All right, first post on the “new and improved” Jalyn Reads! ūüôā¬†

Book cover: "Kick Ass Red Lipstick" in red on a black background; underneath that "Rebel Women Unite" in white
Image from Amazon

Title: Kick Ass Red Lipstick: Rebel Women Unite

Author: Cat Cantrill

Genre:¬†Women’s Issues/Feminism

Trigger warnings: Domestic abuse

Back Cover:

What you thought you knew about yourself was wrong, so very, very wrong…

Our world is ready to explode with a the help of this one thing. We have chapters forming all over the country and world. The author went from a trailer park with two kids to the owner of her own burlesque studio.

Women are given the opportunity to make a real difference

You do not have to settle. You do not have to accept someone treating you poorly. If your husband or boyfriend/girlfriend is a jerk, leave them.

I give you permission to stand up for yourself and do some housekeeping. We, as Kick Ass Red Lipstick, will stand behind you and support you, lipstick ready when you decide that nobody can tell you not to wear lipstick.

There is some adult language in this book. Are you woman enough to deal with that?


I found this book laying on my boyfriend’s sister’s coffee table over spring break. Any female empowerment message is attractive to me, so I picked it up – and blitzed through it in about 45 minutes, it’s not long.

Overall, the message is good. It’s pretty simple:

  • You don’t have to settle for bad, or even “meh”
  • Follow your passions
  • Take care of yourself – as a priority, not an afterthought

Which is really a message I can get behind, especially since that last point is something I’ve really been¬†getting lately and it’s done wonders for my physical and emotional health.

But anyway.

The only thing that keeps me from giving this book my wholehearted seal of approval is Cat’s approach to empowerment. The book is 50% empowerment and 50% “here’s how you do it, my way is the only way.”

Her biggest thing was the lipstick. Doesn’t matter if you don’t wear makeup at all ever, doesn’t matter if you loathe lipstick with a white-hot passion, you HAVE TO BUY THE LIPSTICK and you HAVE TO WEAR THE LIPSTICK if you’re going to be an empowered woman. Which annoyed me. First of all, part of your message is being true to yourself and if I hate lipstick, forcing me to wear it is the exact opposite of what you’re telling me to do. Secondly, wearing lipstick will have exactly zero effect on anything you’re telling me to do in this book.

*sigh* Okay, rant over.

But¬†besides that, it was a really great book, and it makes a lot of awesome and important points. And if you’re new to the whole empowered woman thing, it’s a good starting point. Just know that Cat’s way is not the only way, no matter how much she thinks it is.


Review: Ballad of the Northland

Cover of "Ballad of the Northland," featuring a black background with a small picture of a flying eagle
Image from Abe Books

Title: Ballad of the Northland

Author: Jason Barron

Genre: Contemporary

Back Cover:

Life in the north is hard. For many who dwell on the fringes of the Last Great Frontier, far from the major population centers, daily life is purely a matter of survival, of eking out a hand to mouth existence on the back of frozen wastes or along windswept shores. The Boy grew up poverty-stricken in the wild country of south central Alaska. On the Yentna River, he and his cousins grow up hungry, hard, and tougher than nails. He learns to hunt, trap, and just get by in a world where survival is accomplished day by day and never taken for granted. One day, he learns about the Great Race, a thousand-mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, and his odyssey begins…


I had no intention of ever reading this book. The blurb was lame, the cover was lamer, and it sounded like either a coming-of-age story (not my thing) or something boring and “inspirational.” But my grandparents got it for my brother in Alaska, and he asked me to read it and tell him if it was any good. (He’s not a big reader anyway, and the only books he really reads are ones I recommend.)

One Saturday, nearly six months after he asked me to read it, it finally got to the top of my to-read pile. So I picked it up and decided to read 100 pages, give up, and take a nap.

After page one, I did not expect to like this book. The characters didn’t even get names. Aunt and Uncle, Little Cousin, Middle Cousin, and the main character was just called “The Boy.” (It was written in third person.) So I started slogging. And then I looked at page numbers and realized I passed the hundred mark 23 pages ago.

I didn’t get a nap that afternoon.

The characters weren’t all that outstanding. There wasn’t really a plot. But I was fascinated. It was a look at life in rural Alaska. Cold and bitter, spending the entire day doing enough to survive until tomorrow and do it again. Ballad of the Northland didn’t mince words. It was hard, cold, backbreaking, and brutal … and completely absorbing.

There was also a touch of … something else. Maybe The Boy was messed up in the head. Or maybe there was a dash of paranormal to the story. But it was a strange, eerie addition to the story that somehow didn’t seem out of place.

So did I recommend this book to my brother? Yes. It’s a little different from his usual fare of juvenile humor, but I hope he gives it a chance. I didn’t enjoy it in the sense of entertainment, but it was a fascinating read.