Tuesday, 19 November 2019

#BlogTour Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist. It's the kind of read you don't want to miss.

About the Author
Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote 'Stay Mad, Sweetheart', a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel's setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, 'In Servitude' won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she's raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

Follow @hkist on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit heleenkist.comBuy Stay Mad, Sweetheart


About the book
There's a fine line between innocence and guilt. An even finer line between justice and revenge.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up's annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women's paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who've wronged them. But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

Review
Not a crime. Not a crime. Not a crime.
I think, for me at least, these words will be forever connected to this read. How many actions and words aren't considered criminal, despite being the catalyst for pain, fear and often even death. Has our society become lost in the anonymity of technology, perhaps to the point of actively ignoring all feelings of empathy towards our fellow human beings?

It's easy to shout about freedom, wave placards demanding our democratic rights and become indignant at the thought that someone may be trying to control our output, regardless of how damaging it may be. There is no accountability and there should be.

The story begins with Emily and the way she is hounded and maligned after speaking out about a sexual assault. Her subsequent actions lead us to her best friend Laura, her work colleague Claire and Suki, who is involved with both of the aforementioned on a professional level. What they all have in common is the lack of gender equality, the way they are perceived and treated because they are women, and their desire to change the patriarchal status quo.

Aside from the on point subject of the story in the Me Too era, there was also another element of the story that I found quite fascinating. In fact if it is feasible, doable or perhaps already something being coded into systems, then it is also something that is simultaneously awe-inspiring from a technological point of view and deeply concerning when looked at from the aspect of the human it effects. Then again when you look at it from the position of a possible victim or someone vulnerable it could be a positive tool.

From a purely business perspective being able to not only see connections, reactions and then even preempt them to ensure a more effective workplace environment and scheme, it's the future. Using the same code to safeguard and identify certain behaviour and problems - it's both invasive and a spectacular advancement.

It's a poignant piece on sexual violence activism, gender quality politics, a statement about behaviour in an anonymous world of technology, but this story is foremost about culpability and holding ourselves and others accountable for both words and actions.

Kist has written an incredibly compelling and clever piece of fiction, which is unfortunately far too close to fact than is comfortable.

I think I will finish the review on this thought - harassment and abuse has become the norm, which is why complacency has crept in. Stay safe, take note and stay mad. You're not alone.

Buy Stay Mad, Sweetheart at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press; 19 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Red Dog Press. Buy at Hive.co.uk.

Connect with Red Dog Press on Facebook, on Twitter @reddogtweets -Visit reddogpress.co.uk

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