blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: ‘The Stone Rainbow’ by Liane Shaw

Title: The Stone Rainbow

Author: Liane Shaw

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Second Story Press

⭐️⭐️

I was so pleased when I was approved for this title on Netgalley. It’s an LGBT+ book, so I couldn’t wait to get started.

Seventeen-year-old Jack Pederson is finding life complicated ever since coming out to his mom. Even though she’s been doing her best to be understanding, it’s obvious to Jack that she still wants to cry every time she’s says the word gay. Complications go into overdrive when a new student arrives at school, and Jack starts experiencing feelings he’s never allowed himself to feel before. When a near tragedy turns his life upside down, Jack realises it’s time to stop hiding from himself and everyone around him, and then he decides to organise his small town’s first Pride Parade.

‘A better question is why should anyone need to rescinded from asswipes like those guys in the first place? Why is the world like this?

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I tried so hard but alas, I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. At all. Even typing out the synopsis annoyed me to be honest and it reminds me how much I didn’t like this book?

Let’s talk about the characters first. They had absolutely no depth. They had situations happen to them, but no depth. They were bland, boring, predictable. The main character Jack, was so annoying. I’ve never read such a whiny character. Which is very upsetting as we share the same first name. They also weren’t described very much, I have no idea what anyone looked like. How can you expect a story to be good without great characters?

Now, let’s talk about the romance. Well, the attempt at romance. Once I got over the awful trope of instalove, I thought I might buy into the romance but it didn’t happen. Jack fell in love with Benjamin after one conversation, and it was so pathetic. It also didn’t help me to find Jack less annoying. They had absolutely no chemistry, Benjamin (the love interest) had no personality. The author clearly tried to make him come across as charming, but he jus came across as dull. Just ugh.

Plot? Does this book even know what that is? You just knew how this book was going to end the moment it began. They’d end up together, the pride parade would go well, he’d recover from the accident. Blah, blah, blah. This book wanted to show the struggles and the harshness to being gay, but only showed them on the surface. Then gave it all a happy (but rubbish) ending.

This book had so many cliches. In fact I think it was one whole big cliche. The romance, the bullies, the parent situation, the ending. Obviously this book gets points for diversity, with its queer characters, but even they were walking cliches. It did have a character with cerebral palsy, who was in a wheelchair, and I thought that was written well. Probably the best character and best thing about this book.

So like I said it’s predictable, cliched, bland, boring. I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend this one at all. Don’t waste your time, there’s better LGBT+ books out there that will challenge you, make you think, believe in love. Read those, not this.

Thank you to Netgalley and Second Story Press for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 19th.

Until the next review

JTH

Advertisements
blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

WWW Wednesday – September 18th

Did you know it was May the last time I’ve done this kind of blog post. May! I can’t believe it. Where does the time go? I guess I was just lost in a world of books and that’s never a bad thing.

This is just a little blog post to keep you updated on what I’ve been reading, and what I plan to read next. If anyone is interested! Are you? Your probably not, but I’ll pretend you said yes.

What is WWW Wednesday?

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme where all you have to do is answer three simple questions. Look at me using the word meme! I feel so young!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you finished reading recently?
  • What are you planning to read next?

So let’s get started

What are you currently reading?

Well, right now I’m currently reading a book called ‘Royals’ by Emma Forrest. I’ve literally only just started it, last night in fact. So it’s a little early to give an opinion, but it was a good start so I’ll hope it continues that way. It’s an LGBTQIA+ book and I haven’t read one of them is so long. It was an ARC that I was approved for on Netgalley and it’s out October 31st.

What have you finished reading recently?

Well, I’ve just finished a book called ‘The First Lady and the Rebel’ by Susan Higginbotham. It was another Netgalley book. It’s historical fiction (which you know I love) and it was set during the Civil War period, a time I find fascinating. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book, it had absolutely no heart. It was like reading a text. It had all the ingredients to be great, but wasn’t for me. It’s out October 1st.

What are your going to read next?

Well next up I’m going to read ‘The Death of Me’ by M.J. Tjia. It’s out on October 1st, from Legend Press and I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Blog Tour. It’s set in Paris in 1864 and it’s about a deadly game of danger. It’s about a spy undercover. I know it sounds good right?

Then after that, I’m going to read my copy of ‘Find Me’ by André Aciman. I’ve been truly blessed to receive an ARC of the sequel to ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and I’ve been saving it as I want the first time I read it to be special. Sad I know, but true. It’s one of my most anticipated reads of all time. It’s out October 31st.

So, there you have it. My reading goals all wrapped up into one post. I hope your enjoying whatever book your reading, and if not DNF it and move on to something wonderful.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: ‘Days Without End’ by Sebastian Barry

Title: Days without End

Author: Sebastian Barry

Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

I picked this book up in the Pride section of my local Waterstones. I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in. Then, when a young Indian girl crosses their path, the possibility of lasting happiness seems within reach, if only they can can survive.

We’re holding hands then like lovers who have just met or how we imagine lovers might be in the unknown realm where lovers act as lovers without concealment.’

I once again have read this book, as part of my Pride Month readathon, where I’m only reading books about LGBT+ characters.

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. It’s the kind that worms it’s way into your soul without you even realising. Where you start reading and suddenly hours have gone by. I couldn’t put it down. This book was violent, yet so full of love. So harsh, yet tender. It was so wide and expansive, yet a personal intimate story. That’s where the magic lies in this book, the juxtapositions.

The writing in this book is sublime. It’s so beautiful. The prose is so lyrical. It was the kind of book where I had to stop after some sentences because they moved me so deeply, made me think, wonder. The descriptions of battle were so vivid, so real, you truly got a sense of war. The way love was described, was so real. It wasn’t dramatic. It had a simplicity to it. A truth. In fact, I think that’s what this book does best. It simply tells the truth.

It was so silent you could swear the moon was listening.’

What maybe surprised me the most about this book was the love story through out. In the chaos of wars, battles, fights and death. Their love story becomes an anchor, something for the characters and the reader to cling onto. Love becomes the overall theme. The love they have for each other, their daughter, their country and the life they build. It was truly wonderful.

There was also the plot that totally grips you. It has you on edge, filled with twist and turns. You spend a lot of time reading, wondering if they’ll survive war. Or if their wonderful love story will come to a tragic end. Then that ending, I won’t spoil it but I didn’t see that coming. I couldn’t turn the page fast enough. It wasn’t the ending I expected to be honest, but it sure made my little heart happy.

I imagined him near me and I imagined I kissed his face. I imagined he said nice things to me and I imagined me saying back I thought he was the best man I ever knowed. I weren’t leaving the world without saying one more time I loved John Cole even if he weren’t there to hear it.’

I seriously can’t recommend this book enough. Do yourself a favour and read it. Historical fiction and a M/M love story. It’s perfection.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised

ARC Book Review + Blog Tour: ‘Meet Me In Monaco’ by Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb

Title: Meet Me In Monaco

Authors: Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb

Length: 356 pages

Publisher: William Morro (HarperCollins)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for ‘Meet Me In Monaco’. I was so excited to read this, I started it the day it arrived.

Movie Starts and Paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest start of all, wants only to escape the flashbulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelter Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy. James Henderson cannot forger his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie – like Princess Grace- must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

‘We only get one chance at true love. Till death do us part will hopefully be a very long time- too long to spend with the wrong person. Men often think they’re the ones to make all the decisions, but I think that women can do anything they decide to do. Follow your heart, Sophie.’

I absolutely loved this book. I loved it. I knew it was going to be a 5 star read for me, from the first page, that first Newspaper article. It set the tone for book and I loved it.

‘Meet Me In Monaco’ just has a great overall story. It’s what shines. There’s so many aspects too it. I love the whirlwind, yet heartfelt romance between Sophie and James. I love friendship between Sophie and Grace. But what I loved the most was Sophie trying to save her business. This story arc had twists and turns (as did the romance) but I was really rooting for Sophie. You could feel who much it meant to her and I always think that makes for fantastic reading.

The characters were wonderful. The story is told through the perspectives of James and Sophie. At first I thought James was going to be like the preconceived notions I had in my head about paparazzi, but I was wrong. So wrong. I like that Sophie was strong woman, and I loved it when she realised what she truly wanted towards the end of the novel. I also loved how we saw Grace Kelly through both of their eyes. It was fascinating to read. It truly felt like we go a peek behind the curtain into the wedding. Grace was a brilliant character in this book. It only made me want to know more about her.

This book is amazingly written. It’s so atmospheric. I could do easily see and feel the chaos and excitement on the day when Grace married Prince Rainer. You could feel the buzz in the air. Also that ending!! I don’t want to give anything away, but it shocked me. I didn’t expect it to end like that. I have to be honest and say I did cry. It only made the book better.

What this novel does best is it captures a time, place, essence and feeling. It just encapsulates Old Hollywood Glamour. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you love movie stars, sweet romance and glimpse into a different world, then this book is for you. It’s a wonderful piece of work. The novel just has a charm to it that captured my heart.

I was very grateful to receive a copy of ‘Meet Me In Monaco’ from Harper Collins in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised

ARC Book Review + Blog Tour ‘A Single Thread’ by Tracy Chevalier

Title: A Single Thread

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: Borough Press

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for ‘A Single Thread’ from the writer who brought you the international bestseller ‘Girl With the Pearl Earring’.

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her In Winchester. Yes, it is one of the draughty boarding houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it’s also a life gleaming with Independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the borderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

I throughly enjoyed this book. It’s the first book by Tracy Chevalier that I’ve read and I think I chose a good one to start with.

What really shone throughout this book was it’s characters. They were fantastic. Violet was such a wonderful character to follow through on her journey. Then there was Gilda and subsequently Dorothy who added some heart to the book. All these characters were flawed and messy. They were women ahead of their time. It was fascinating to read.

The overriding sense I got from this book was women’s history and they struggles they faced. Like I said, they were women ahead of their time. They had very modern attitudes, modern views on life but live in an old fashioned time. I loved reading about Violet trying to live her life as an independent women, something that wasn’t very common in those times. Facing scrutiny from those around and overcoming it. I also loved Gilda and Dorothy fighting for their relationship. Again, something that wasn’t often talked about in these times. So for me, that was the message of this book, a reminder of the inequalities women faced in those times.

There were some really interesting, unusual aspects to this book. For example the Bell Ringing, it goes into extreme detail. I never thought I’d know that much about bell ringing. Also, the embroidery is fascinating. I didn’t know that kind of thing happened, I love a book that teaches me something.

For me, this book did take a little while to get going, with the characters really carrying it during these moments. It really got going for me when Violet went on her walking holiday. But towards the end, the plot was really picked up. It was a real page turner. I just loved how Violet handled everything. I loved how the end of Violet’s story summed up how modern perspective, whilst be so heartwarming and touching.

The romance between Gilda and Dorothy, I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly sweet and heartfelt. I loved Violets reaction to the romance, once again showcasing her modern attitude. Although the romance between Arthur and Violet felt a little rushed to begin with. It turned to be a lovely romance. I liked how it ended, and how it once again showed the modern side to Violet’s personality.

With ‘A Single Thread’ being set between WWI and WWII, you could feel Violet struggling to over come the grief she was still facing from WWI, whilst the threat of WWII loomed ahead. Whilst I have to admit I would have liked this mentioned a bit more to really set this novel in its time, I liked it when it was mentioned. I enjoyed the mention of the Fylfot and how it’s been used long before the Nazis made it their symbol. I loved how the characters used them in this book, it was a fantastic act of rebellion. I had no idea and it’s something I’ll never forget.

Overall, this is a great novel with some fantastic characters. The juxtaposition between characters views and the time they live in was fascinating. It was a quick read, at times I struggled to put it down. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to HarperCollins for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for a honest, unbiased review. Out September 5th.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: ‘Lie With Me’ by Philippe Bensson

Title: Lie With Me

Author: Philippe Bensson

Length: 148 pages

Publisher: Viking Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I was thrilled to get an early copy, but did it live up to my expectations?

Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe, a famous writer, chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back to Philippe’s teenage years, to a winter morning in 1984, a small French high school, and a carefully timed encounter between two seventeen-year-olds. It’s the start of a secret, intensely passionate, world-altering love affair between Philippe and his classmate Thomas.

‘He says that he can no longer be alone with this feeling. That it hurts him too much… He might have wanted to check that he wasn’t wrong about me, but he has chosen to offer himself openly to me and to explain, in his own way, what has pushed him toward me at the risk of being compromised, mocked, rejected.’

Look, I’m going to be honest, this whole review is literally just going to be me declaring my love for this book. I loved this book. It not only met my expectations but exceeded them. I gave it 5 stars but I’d like to give it 10. I’d give it the stars, the moons, the galaxy! Ok Jack, reign it in.

THIS IS HOW ALL LOVE STORIES SHOULD BE WRITTEN. Did I say that loud enough? Do I need to repeat it? It was beautiful, complicated, simple, real, ethereal, sweet, emotive and powerful. It just captured everything teenage love should be, everything that it is. But on a much deeper level.

The writing is wonderful! Originally written in French and translated by the extremely talented Molly Ringwald, who does a fantastic job, it doesn’t lose any of its impact, romance or passion. The prose is so beautiful, and captures those feeling so well. I found myself crying throughout this book. In fact, all the quotes in this review made me cry. Seriously I was crying by page 23. Such beauty.

The clandestine meetings resume as before. Kisses on the body. Love in my bedroom. Everything in this room that belongs only to us. Everything that is incommunicable to the rest of the world.’

I love how it’s written, that Philippe is looking back on his time with Thomas. I loved the juxtaposition between the passion of the time and his retrospect of time. I was a little worried the book would lose its magic as the story moves onto 2007, then 2016 and becomes set in the present. But it truly doesn’t.

Both characters are fantastic. It’s so fascinating to be in Philippe’s head, watching him learn to accept his love he has for Thomas, whilst dealing with his own insecurities about the relationship, his ambitions in life. However, Thomas has become one of my all time favourite characters. There’s something about him. It’s his openness, yet his reserve. His feelings run so deep for Philippe yet are never truly expressed. It’s just wonderful. There’s his inner shame which become prevalent as the novel goes on. It’s a feeling so many in the LGBT community can relate too.

Now, let’s talk about that ending. It was sublime. It was perfect but so heartbreaking. I don’t want to give anything away, but I need that last page. It was such a real culmination of Thomas’s story. Please believe me when I say I cried like a baby. It was one of those books where I had to sit, take everything in, dry my eyes, then revel in the beauty of this book.

‘I just wanted to write to tell you that I have been happy during these months together, that I have never been so happy, and that I already know I will never be so happy again.

This book went from being one of my most anticipated reads, to being one of my best of the year, to one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t recommend this book enough. This book made me cry because of its sheer beauty, and it’s heartbreak.

Thank you to Vikingbooksuk, for gifting we with a copy in return for an honest, unbiased review. Out in the UK September 5th.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: ‘American Royals’ by Katherine McGee

Title: American Royals

Author: Katherine McGee

Length: 440

Publisher: Penguin Random House

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mean, I think is one of the most hotly anticipated YA books of the second half of the year. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was excited to read it.

The Washington’s have ruled America for almost 250 years. They’re gorgeous, fiercely famous and the beating heart of the most court in the world. But behind the glittering ballrooms, elegant gowns and perfect public personas lie forbidden romances and scandalous secrets that could cost them the throne.

THE HEIR is Princess Beatrice, who knows duty before the crown comes before all else. Right?

THE SAPRE is Princess Samantha, whose only duty is to party hard.

THE SCHEMER is Daphne Deighton, who’ll do anything to get back in Royal favour.

THE NOBDOY is Nina Gonzalez, who’s unwittingly about to steal the spotlight

Welcome to the world of the American Royals

‘They were living fragments of history. Each time she put one on, Sam felt the ghosts of her ancestors whispering to her across the fabric of centuries.’

I enjoyed this book. I really did. Could have it been better? Yes, but it was still an entertaining read. While it felt young, and I loved the concept of Royals in America, parts of the book just felt a tad stale, but by no means boring.

Right, I’m going to get the negatives out of the way first. The cliches, there’s so many of them. The book is basically one big cliche. Don’t get me wrong, there the cliches we all love. Girl in love with sisters boyfriend, princess wants to give up crown for love, ex girlfriend scheming to get back with boyfriend and girl can’t handle the fame of being in love with the prince. See, you’ve read all them before right?

With all these cliches, it didn’t take me very long to get into this book at all. I knew what train I was about to take and was excited for the journey. It was juicy, soapy and everything I expected this young adult book to be.

Told from the perspective of four different characters, Beatrice, Nina, Samantha and Daphne it kept the story flowing nicely. Each of their storylines were entertaining, although some more than others. I don’t know if the I found some of the characters annoy at times because of their personalities, or because their story was marred with cliches. It’s difficult to tell. My favourite character by far was Beatrice, her story just felt more real. It was the one with the most depth to it.

But seriously guys, don’t mistake me, by the end of this novel I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was so into it. I loved how it ended, it was so sad, yet poignant. It conjured up some great imagery in my mind. It was really well written. The ending only left me wanting more, so I was glad to see a second due out next year. But a little angry I’ve got to wait a whole year. It’s a book I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. I WANT MORE AMERICAN ROYALS.

So, like I said this book could have been better. It could’ve felt a bit fresher without the cliches, but overall I think the good outweighs the bad on this. I was hooked.

Thank you to Penguin Random House for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for a honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 5th.

Until the next review

JTH