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BOOKS I WANT TO READ TAG

Thank you so much to Mani (mani’s book corner) for tagging me in the BOOKS I WANT TO READ TAG. This is the first time I’ve done one of these, so go easy on me my friends. But it’s such a fun idea, I had to give it a go. Don’t forget to check out Mani’s amazing blog. Seriously, it’s so good.

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The Rules

  • Link back to original tag
  • Complete the questions with books you want have read but haven’t
  • Tag people at the end

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Question One: A Book you feel you need to read because everyone talks about it.

There’s a few I could pick, but I’ll go with this one. Actually I could just put all of the books from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Everyone seems to love them.

Question Two: A book that’s long.

I want to read this, I even preorder this book. It’s just soooooo long.

Question Three: A book you’ve had on your shelf or TBR for far too long.

I’m such a huge of Adam Silvera’s, I’m desperate to read this, but it’s been on my bookshelf for nearly two years. Don’t ask me why, I’m not sure.

Question Four: A book that is ‘required reading’ (e.g. a school text or popular classic – a book you feel obligated to read.)

This one of those school texts and a classic. I’m sure I’ll get round to it one day.

Question Five: A book that intimidates you

I don’t know why, it’s just does. Am I intelligent enough to read this?

Question Six: A book you think may be slow.

Any book that’s over 900 pages has got to be a bit slow, right?

Question Seven: A book you’ve got to be in the right mood for

I have such high expectations for this book. I’ve got to pick the right moment so I won’t be disappointed.

Question Eight: A book you’re not sure you’ll like

Some people love this book, some hate it! I’m just not sure.

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Tags

Kerrie – Bookishly Kerrie

Kristen – Beyond The Secret Pages

Sarah – Thoughts Of The Reader

Shaye – A Reading Brit

Mrs Cooke’s – Mrs Cooke’s Books

Jack – Jack Shelton Bed Time Reading

Lucy – Lucy Novel Purpose

And one else who wants to play along!

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘The Girl in the Painting’ by Renita D’Silva

Title: The Girl in the Painting

Author: Renita D’Silva

Length: 495 pages

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Renita D’Silva is the author of many books, but this is the first time I’ve read one. The story sounded so intriguing, I couldn’t wait to get started.

India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place. As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…

England,2000: When Emma’s grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmothers wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…

‘Just like once before when she set aside her desire to study, go to college, in order to get married, do what was expected of her, once again she is felled by duty. That time she gave up her dreams, now she is giving up her life.’

Oh boy, this book did not disappoint. The story was so well thought out, intricate and full bodied. At the end of the first chapter, one of the characters, asks a question that leaves with a cliffhanger, and you want to know the answer to this question. That was me hooked right till the end.

From this question, it then goes into the back story of the two main characters, Margaret and Archana, where we read about their early years and the heartbreaking trials they both go through. You get such a sense of each character, and your heart breaks for both of them.

Like I said, it goes into their back story so the two main characters don’t even meet until about halfway through the book. But it doesn’t make the story slow, or the book feel long. It just engrosses you, so you go on the journey with them.

The descriptions, in this book are like no other. If this book doesn’t make you want to go to India, I don’t know what will? It’s described so beautifully, in such luscious detail. I think this is why the story never feels long, because you become so involved in the story and surroundings. Also, learning about the Indian traditions was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea, things like Sati actually happened. You know I love it when a book teaches me something.

‘Leaves have started to turn, a riot of deep yellow, golden russet, blood orange. Blackberries ripen in the bushes beside the road, bees and flies drunk on them. The air is perfumed with Hawthorn, honeysuckle and wild garlic. Crab apples ferment in the sunshine.’

What really makes the book excellent, is characters, their relationships and how we relate to them. The relationship between Margaret and Suraj, is sweet and romantic. Archana and her family’s relationship is a complex, yet deep love, marred by traditions. Margaret and her sister, with their heartbreak bring them together. Archana and Pramila, a friend she desperately needed. Side note, grab your tissues for this friendship. But the relationship between Margaret and Archana is so special, it’s the heart of this book. They’re connection just comes off the page, you can feel it. So when the friendship becomes complicated your so involved and your desperate for things to work out. This is all a testament to the great writing and storytelling.

Even though Archana is in a very specific situation, I still found myself relating to her. I had such empathy, I think everyone feels like she has felt, not being in control of her own life. I had such sympathy for these characters because the writing was just that good. The details, descriptions, heartbreak.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Renita is such a talented writer, and a great storyteller. Be prepared to become totally immersed in the culture, country, customs and characters in this book. This may be first book I’ve read of hers, but it won’t be the last. Now excuse me, I’m off to buy some more.

This book was given to from Netgalley and Bookouture, in return for a honest review. This book comes out April 11th and you can preorder now.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: War Storm

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Length: 657 pages

Publisher: Orion Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

While this series has gotten better as it’s gone along, we all know this hasn’t been my favourite series. I even had a little break between King’s Cage and War Storm. But would the series finish on a high note, or continue in the same vain?

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart – and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her – Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head. But not battle is won alone, and before the Reds May rise as one. Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything – and everyone- in his path. War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

‘ I can almost trick myself into thinking she’s alive. Sitting next to me instead of trapped in a book. But mostly I feel a deep ache. Hunger for her. Sorrow. Regret.’

This was the best book in the series by a long shot. It was everything I wanted the other books to be, what they needed to be. War Storm was dynamic, intriguing, romantic and complex.

The plot captured me right from the beginning. There’s been parts of the other booking that were uninteresting, even boring but this wasn’t like that. From the epic battles, which were so engaging, to the scenes were the characters were plotting the battles, were evening interesting. The dynamics between the characters really made them shine.

I even started to believe in the romance between Mare and Cal. After having both gone there separate way at the end of King’s Cage, I was really willing them to reunite. I could feel the tension between them, the longing. It gave this book a bit of heart.

I can’t believe I’m actually going to type this, but Mare Barrows actually became likeable. I’m in shock. While she was still complex, she lost her annoying qualities like the whining. In the previous books, I didn’t care what happened to her, but this one I actually found myself rooting for her. I’m sure the romance between her and Cal helped her like-ability, but hey whatever works.

The writing was so much better in this book. The action leapt off the page, with the battles being suspenseful. The dynamics between the characters were a real highlight. Victoria made such a wise decision to tell the story through different characters perspectives. I think it should have been like this from book one. I loved Mavens and Iris’s chapters. Although I would’ve like to read from Farley’s point of view. And what happened to Cameron? She went from being a main character to barely mentioned.

Can we talk about Evangeline? Now this was character development. She went from being the token rival to Mare to the star of the books. I love her. She was brave, tough, heartfelt. Her chapters were a joy to read. How she chose her own future over the one her father planned for her, even though it had some bad repercussions was inspiring. Her and Elane’s romance was the best thing about this book. I’m so glad she got her happy ending.

Now, speaking of endings. The way this book ended was laughable. It genuinely made me laugh out loud. I thought the ending was going to be shocking and explosive but it just sort of fizzled out. Nothing was resolved. The books called War Storm, there’s a big war at the end, yet all characters just decided to continue it another time. It certainly didn’t feel like a series ending. It felt like there might be another book, but please book gods, don’t do that to me.

I honestly don’t know if I’d recommend this series or not. Is it worth reading? I can honestly say I’m glad I’ve read it, but I can honestly say I’m glad I never have to read it again. Ever. Or even think of it.

What did you guys think of this book? Or that ending? Or the series as a whole. Comment and let me know…

Until the next review

JTH

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March Wrap-Up

Well, I can’t believe it. Another month has come and gone. Don’t they fly by so fast? I managed to read 6 books this month. Don’t ask me how, I’ll never know. The two previous months I’ve only managed to read 5 books, so 6 was a step up for me. Am I becoming a fast reader? Probably not, but I can dream right?

Some of the book this month were fantastic, others less so. So, without further ado here they are:

First up was ‘Glass Sword’ by Victoria Aveyard. Was this better than the first one? Yes. Does that make it great? No. It was a step in the right direction. Once again, it left on a cliffhanger so I couldn’t wait to start the next. (Link to read full review is on the photo)

Secondly was ‘King’s Cage’ by Victoria Aveyard. This was the best in the series so far. We got to see the story from different characters perspectives, which invigorated the story. Made it fresh. Also, I really enjoyed the plot. But I did have to take a little break after this one. (Link to read full review is on the photo)

Third Up this month was ‘The Girl in the Painting’ by Renita D’Silva. This was an ARC. This was one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. It was amazing. Such a brilliant story, so engrossing. Kept me hooked till the very end. Such a great historical fiction story. Renita has many books out and I can’t wait to read more. This comes up April 11th and you can preorder now.

The fourth book this month was ‘War Storm’ by Victoria Aveyard. This was the last in the series and after a little break I was ready to start it. It was by far the best in the series! So many different character perspectives. Excellent plot and storytelling. Until the end. That ending! I still don’t get it. It made me laugh out loud.

Fifth this month was ‘The Passing Tribute’ by Simon Marshall. I requested this book from Netgalley as it was Historical Fiction and I was excited to read it. But this book was awful. The worst book I’ve read in a while. It was uninteresting and pretentious. It was a struggle to read, to be honest. Female characters were a highlight of the book though.

Lastly was ‘One of us is Lying’ by Karen M. McManus. This book has been out for a while and it’s been on my TBR forever. I really liked this book. Interesting plot, kept me guessing till the end. I didn’t see it coming. Full of twists. A quick read. It was the perfect book to finish off the month.

So, there you have it. 6 books this month. Roll on April and more books to read.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: King’s Cage (Red Queen Series #3) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: King’s Cage

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Length: 506 pages

Publisher: Orion Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Having read the previous books in this series, and not enjoyed them that much, I wasn’t that eager to start on this one. But book 2 finished on a cliffhanger so I decided to jump straight in. Will it be better than the others?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven continues weaving his web in an attempt to maintain control – and his prisoner. While Mare remains trapped in the palace, the remnants of the Red Rebellion continue organising and expanding. As they prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows, Cal – the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart – will stop at nothing to bring her back.

‘What would I do, to myself or anyone else, for the chance to go back home? But no one is there. No one I care about. They’re gone, protected, far away. Home is no longer the place we’re from. Home is safe with them. I hope.’

This book is my favourite in the series so far. Don’t get me wrong it still had its problems, which I’ll get too, but it was better than the previous two books.

I think Victoria Aveyard made the right choice in telling the story through 3 different people. It gave the story a new life. It was nice to hear someone else’s take on things, with the characters being in different positions and different sides of the war to Mare. It made the book much more readable.

I really like the plot of Kings Cage too. Mare being held prisoner, was interesting and really well done. I enjoyed the dynamic between her and Maven. I also enjoyed Cameron’s storyline of coming to terms with what she is and the things she’s done. Trying to get her brother back.

Evangeline became the standout character for me in this book. I loved getting her perspective. I loved, loved, LOVED the fact she’s part of The LGBT community. Her and Elena’s relationship was the sweetest part of the whole book. I needed more. I could read a whole book just on that. Spin-off?

However like I said, this book just had so many problems. It was too long. Way too long. It felt like it dragged and took me ages to read. I would say most of the last 100 pages was pointless.

When it comes to action scenes, they were a bit messy. I don’t think you moved through them very well. They were sloppy. Compared to the breaking the prisoners out of battle in book 2, the action scenes in this just weren’t as good.

Now, here’s my main problem. Mare is unlikeable. Totally unlikeable. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s such a huge problem. I think the sign of a great book, is when the reader becomes emotionally involved and after 3 books, I haven’t. I don’t care what happens to Mare, her relationship with Cal or her family. She’s so closed off, harsh, boring. I feel like the author is trying to make her complex but is just missing the mark. Other characters like Evangeline, Farley, Cameron, Cal, Maven are much more interesting to me.

So, this book had a better plot with than the previous two, but no big cliffhanger that I’ve come to expect from this author. It was the opposite of the previous books.

I’ve still got one more to go in the series, but I’m going to take a break. There’s only so much of Mare I can take.

Until the next review

JTH

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200 followers!

This is just a quick blog post to celebrate 200 followers on my blog

I honestly can’t believe it. It’s so exciting. Thank you so much to everyone who has followed me. It really means so much.

When I put my first blog post, I didn’t have a single follower. I just did for the love of the book, which I still do. I love to share my thoughts on books, and I love hearing yours back even more.

You can follow my blog

Or my Twitter: jthbooks1

Or my Instagram: instagram.com/jthbooks

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Length: 440 pages

Publisher: Orion Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had my problems with the first book in this series, but it ended with such a good twist I had read the next one. But would it be better?

Mare Barrow’s blood is red, the colour of common folk, but her ability – the power to control lightning- has turned her into a weapon that the Silver court will do anything to destroy. With no one left to trust, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join the uprising. But Mare is treading a deadly path. Will she shatter under the weight of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her for ever?

‘I am a weapon made of flesh, a sword covered in skin. I was born to kill a king, to end a reign of terror before it can truly begin.’

For me, this second book in the series started much better than the first. The story is action packed, quick paced, suspenseful. It started with battles, whilst being introduced to new storylines and characters at the same time. I found it difficult to put down, which surprised me. However this book did have a few quiet, maybe even boring, moments in it also.

I also much preferred the plot of this second book. I enjoyed seeing the core characters form a group and go recruiting newbloods. It created new dynamics, friendships and relationships which was what this book desperately needed. It finally felt like there was purpose to this series.

I also, think the writing and storytelling improved too. It felt more mature. The characters were more complex. I loved getting to know more of ‘Cal’, with him finally becoming more that just a love interest for Mare. I also developed a real soft spot for the character ‘Nanny’. The world was bigger too. We traveled to different places, giving the book more depth. It made it feel world feel more real.

However this book, for me, still had a lot of problems.

My main problem with this book is the main character, Mare Barrow. She is so unlikeable. Whilst she’s complex, she doesn’t have many redeeming qualities. We see the world through her eyes, hear her opinions and are supposed to sympathise with her and I just find it so difficult. I think she’s supposed to come across as someone who is struggling, scared, exhausted but I think she comes across as whiny, selfish brat.

About halfway through, I was struggling to pick this book up. It nearly put in a reading slump. A dreaded reading slump!! It got a bit repetitive, and predictable.

Also, some of the newbloods abilities were laughable. They just felt like they would help the plot move on. The powers were easy help with situations the characters got into not actually be powers like the others. It felt like the author used them for an easy way out. It felt lazy, and silly.

But once again, Victoria Aveyard left this plot on a massive cliffhanger. Just when I think I might not read the next one, it ends like that. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next one.

The first half of this book was definitely better than the second half. It felt like it was going in a new direction, to keep it fresh. But in the end, it was still stale.

Do you guys enjoy this series? Do you prefer book one or two? Comment and let me know.

Until the next review

JTH