#contemporary, #fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, historical fiction, literary ficton, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

April Wrap Up

Didn’t April fly by? I can’t believe its over already. It was a strange month for me in many ways and it affected my reading. I read nine books this month and I either absolutely loved them or didn’t like them at all. There was no in between.

It took me a while to read some of the books this month, especially the ones I’ve loved because I didn’t want them to end. And if I haven’t enjoyed them I’ve read them super fast. Does anyone else do this?

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer. No. Nope. Just no for me. I didn’t like this one at all. To felt pointless and depressing. It’s supposed to be a thriller but I didn’t find it engaging at all. It was dull. I had no desire to learn about Hummingbirds that much. Also, if I ever read the Silvina again I will cry. Literally cry. Thanks to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joys Goffney and it was absolutely brilliant. It deals with such important themes to wonderfully. I really need all young adult books to be this good. Seriously. This one is out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here

Thirdly I read Of Women And Salt by Gabriela Garcia. What a book! It’s the kind of book that is so intriguing. The writing is lyrical and brilliant. I was totally enraptured by this book. I just loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

(We’re just taking a break here because I had two five star reads in a row and that deserves to be celebrated.)

Then I read Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein. Well the five star reads didn’t last for long. I just didn’t enjoy this one at all. It also didn’t have much depth, and it was just about a love story. If a book is going to be just about a love story, it needs to be good. And this one just wasn’t. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next was Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli. Now this is how all YA books should be. It was fun, charming, inclusive, funny and romantic. Becky is one of the best young adult authors around. I loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. Well much to my surprise I absolutely loved this book. Full of strong female characters, beautiful story telling and Greek Mythology. It’s really beautifully done. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Seventh this month I read Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard. Have I found my favourite new fantasy series? Yes I think I might have. I loved everything about this book. Everything. I need book two now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out May 4th. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Still Life by Sarah Winman which was absolutely fantastic. It will definitely be one of my favourite books of the year. I loved it. I’ll remember these characters for a long time. Just absolutely brilliant! Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out June 10th.

(Another two five star reads in a row. When does that ever happen?)

Lastly I read Male Tears by Benjamin Myers and I didn’t enjoy this at all. A few of the stories were okay, the rest I didn’t see the point in. Was a big disappointed for me. Maybe the title lead me to believe this was going to be something else, but for me it missed the mark. My favourites were definitely the shorter stories. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

So that’s if for me this month. Not as many as March but some fantastic books. Quality over quantity.

Are you going to read any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

WWW Wednesday- 28th April

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these blog posts, so I figured it’s about time. This is just a fun way to show what I’m reading in real time, as I’m always bit slow in uploading my reviews.

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 start shall we?

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been lucky enough to receive a proof the new Sarah Winman novel Still Life that’s our in June and I couldn’t resist picking it up an longer. I’ve only got 150 pages left and I simply don’t want it to end (although I am going to pick it up as soon as I finish writing this blog post, so I will probably finish it tonight). I’m absolutely loving it. It’s a beautiful story, it’s got beautiful characters. It’s brilliant. It’s out June 10th.

What have you finished reading recently?

I recently finished Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard which is a fantasy book I absolutely loved. I think it’s a brilliant start to a new series that has potential to become my favourite. I loved the characters, the magic, the world. And I love where this story can go. I’m so excited to see more of this world Victoria has created. And yes, I’ve ordered two copies of this book. It’s out May 4th.

What are you reading next?

This is always such a difficult question for me as I never know what to read next. It’s usually dictated by which proof I have to read before it’s release date, but there’s so many fantastic books that I want to read. But I do have a couple of choices.

Male Tears by Benjamin Myers, which is out tomorrow, is kind of tempting me but kind of not. But I might give it a go.

Or I might choose We Run The Tides by Vendela Vida, which is out May 14th. I received this in the post the other day and it’s just tempting me.

So, that’s my reading update. Let me know what you’re reading or if you’re going to read any of these!

Until the next review

Jthbooks.

#contemporary, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, lgbt, queer, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Title: Kate In Waiting

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Penguin

Length: 387 pages

Synopsis: Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate and Anderson. Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsal? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other in every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway. But when their long-distance crush Matt Olsen shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

This review is basically just a thank you to Becky Albertalli for writing this wonderful young adult book.

There is just so much to love about Kate in Waiting. The first thing that’s wonderful about this book is all fantastic characters. Kate is a brilliant main protagonist to follow. I loved that it was really about Kate finding herself and her confidence and it really was a joy to read. It was full of fantastic supporting characters to like Anderson, Noah, Brandie, Raina and Matt.

One of the best thing in the book was the relationships between the characters. Becky Albertalli really knows how to right friendships. They all had such a brilliant connections, especially Kate and Anderson. It reminded me of me and my bestie and I loved that.

Of course this is a Becky Albertalli so we had some fantastic representation and inclusivity in this book. Everyone gets there chance to shine and people are just who they are and it’s something Becky does so well.

The book follow Kate and Anderson as the both like the same guy and I’ll be honest and say that I thought it was going to be a little tedious, but it wasn’t! They always put their friendship first and I loved it. There were a few romances in this book, but I don’t want to spoil them for you. Let’s just say they were swoon-worthy.

And I loved that they were working on a musical! It was such a fun part of the book. If you feel like writing more books like this Becky, I definitely won’t complain.

The whole book is extremely sweet, but it never crosses into being to sweet and cliche. Kate in Waiting is just super enjoyable. It’s a super quick read because you never want to put it down.

Thanks to Penguin Random for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 22nd.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #yafantasy, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: The Prisoner Healer by Lynette Noni

Title: The Prisoner Healer

Author: Lynette Noni

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Length: 416 pages

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and goal only: stay alive. Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives prison on death’s door, and disrupts all of Kiva’s carefully laid plans. The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal; a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to the only the most dangerous of criminals. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom. But no one has ever survived.

I’m super excited to be taking part in the social media blast for this book. Make sure you check out all these other posts to see what they have to say.

Let me just state the facts: this is book is brilliant. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book, but that is the whole point of a review so I’m gonna try.

You are so immersed in the story right from the very first page. The setting of the story being set in a prison is so enjoyable and unique. I haven’t read a young adult book like this. And considering you don’t leave the prison for the majority of the book, it never becomes boring or stale. I think thats a sign of a great book.

There’s so many fantastic characters in The Prison Healer and I especially enjoyed Kiva. She’s the main protagonist and she’s really likeable. She carries the story, and has great depth and complexity. There’s also brilliant side characters like Jarden and Tipp, you feel them become a team and its so enjoyable to read. There was also a romance that I was a total sucker for. It was really believable and I wanted more.

There is a lot going on this book but it never becomes messy. Lynette manages to tie it all together brilliantly and the plot never got lost. There’s a trail, theres a rebel queen outside the prison gates stirring trouble in the prison. It just felt like a really layered story. A story that I couldn’t put down and one I didn’t want to end.

Now can we talk about that ending?! Can we? Because you know I need to. It is going to be hard to talk about without giving away any spoilers, but I’m going to try. Let me just say it was epic. EPIC! There was a twist that I did see coming, but I didn’t find that disappointed it was still really interesting. But then. THEN. Those last few pages, that second twist. I didn’t see it coming, my jaw was on the floor y’all.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I think this is a brilliant start to a new young adult series. It’s imaginative, exciting, gripping and epic. I loved it. It was also so much fun to actually crack the code at the end.

All I have left to say is I need book two. I need it now. I better not have to wait long.

Thank you so much to Kate at Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. This one is out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, review, Uncategorised

ARC Book Review: The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

Title: The Summer Job

Author: Lizzy Dent

Publisher: Viking Books Uk

Length: 320 pages

Synopsis: Have you ever imagined running away from your life? Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s. The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems… Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)? And can she herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)?

So excited to be on the blog tour for this book. Make sure you check out all the other bloggers to see what they’ve got to say.

Listen, if you’ve read my blog before you know I’m a slow reader, but let me tell you I read this book in a day. That never happens to me. Ever. I just couldn’t put the book down.

Birdy was such a great character to follow. She was funny, relatable and you could tell she was sad and had a heart of gold. I just warmed to her instantly. She was honest. You also meet a lot of other great characters that were fantastic. Irene, James and Roxy. I really just loved them all. I loved the connection that Birdy had with them all.

Here was my favourite thing about the book, I loved the how the characters all came together to try and make the hotel a success. I loved reading it. I was desperately wanted Birdy to help them make it succeed, thats why I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen. I also loved that Birdy trained secretly to help. It was so endearing.

Now, I have to be honest and say that I don’t usually enjoy books when the main character is lying to everyone around them. It actually really annoys me. But in The Summer Job, it didn’t annoy me at all. I think it was because Birdy was such a great character. And it was obvious that she really cared about the people around her and the hotel.

There’s a romance, that I’m not going to say who its between because no spoilers, but I was totally into it. It was believable, romantic and well developed and I was excited to see how it was going to end. That’s all I’ll say, you’ll find out more when you read it.

I can’t recommend The Summer Job enough, its a funny, charming and endearing book thats a great read. I’ll look forward to reading whatever Lizzy Dent writes next.

Thanks to Viking Books UK for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 15th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Title: Sistersong

Author: Lucy Holland

Publisher: Panmacmillan

Length: 416 pages

I’m super excited to be on the Blog Tour for this wonderful book! Make sure you check out these other brilliant book bloggers.

Synopsis: King Cador’s children inherit a war-torn land, abandoned by the Romans. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. Since dreams of love and longs for adventure. All three will become entangled in a web of treachery and heartbreak, and must fight to forge their own paths. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

I absolutely loved this book. Sistersong is the kind of historical fiction that reminds me why I love this genre. The story is gripping and engaging right away. Usually it takes me a while to get into the story but with Sistersong I was immersed instantly. The whole book had such a charm to it.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this book. I loved all of the sisters, Riva, Kenye and Sinne. I’m sitting trying to decide which was my favourite but I loved them all. Each perspective was incredibly interesting, and the characters all so different and well written that I always knew which perspective I was reading. I loved all the individual journeys they went on. It was brilliant.

Kenye also goes on a really personal journey, that I won’t go into to much detail, because you’ll discover it when you read the book but I thought it was really well done. I found it emotional, especially when their sisters accepted them. And I loved it was tied into the old folklore. It was brilliantly done. And I loved to see this topic in a historical fiction book. I know that was vague, read the book you’ll get it.

There was a couple of romances in this book that I’m going to try and take about without spoiling it for you. I’m not going to say who the character of Tristan has romance with, but damn I was invested. But I also couldn’t decide if I could trust him and it kept me so intrigued. The other romance in the book was sweeter and much more subtle but no less enjoyable. They were both so well written, neither were really the main focus of the book, but they were so believable. Super enjoyable.

I loved the magical element to the book, and again I thought it was really well done. I loved how it didn’t over power the whole novel, because the other elements of the novel were so well done.

I think you’ve got the message that I thought this book was really well done and the ending didn’t disappoint. Lucy Holland had built such moment that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It felt like a very cinematic ending. I can’t help but think this book would make a brilliant mini-series. I mean, it would be amazing!!

Also can we talk about how stunning the cover is!?

I can’t recommend this book. It’s a fantastical historical fiction that is brilliantly written and fully immersive that you won’t be able to pit down. It’s out now.

Thanks to Stephen at Panmacillan for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. Thanks for having me on the Blog Tour.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

March Wrap Up

March has come and gone. It once again flew by, and it was my last full month being furloughed as restaurants can open again in April if they have outdoor space, so I’m going back to work. Which will mean less reading time, but I’m excited to go back. Who knew I’d miss baking cakes and scones!

I did manage to read eleven books this month. Which I believe is a record for me. I would’ve read more but I got a stomach bug just after my birthday and it slowed me down. But I’m still proud of eleven. Let’s see if I can achieve the same in April!

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro. You know, this book just wasn’t for me. I found it dull, and I never wanted to pick it up. Also, the whole point if this book is the friendship between the main characters and I didn’t believe. I felt absolutely no connection between them, so for me the book ultimately failed. But who knows, you might love this one. It’s out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Then I read Sistersong by Lucy Holland. I absolutely loved this one, much more than I expected to. It was a brilliant historical fiction novel, with great magic and fantastic characters. I flew through it and I’ll kook forward to whatever Lucy writes next. Thank to the publishers for my copy if this book. It’s out now.

Next up I read A Lonely Man by Chris Power. This was a subtly intense thriller that I really enjoyed. It’s detailed, it keeps you guessing as to whether the character is telling the truth. And I loved the ending. The book was so good you wanted it to carry on, but the ending was taught and open. It was fantastic. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Fourth up I read The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. This is the beginning of a brilliant new teen series that I think everyone can enjoy. It was action packed, the world was interning and epic and the characters were fantastic to follow. I am looking forward to reading this series. It’s out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Up next was Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. I absolutely loved this book. From beginning to end. It was intriguing, I loved the main character and I thought the ending was epic. Thanks to the publisher for my copy. It’s out now.

Then I read An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon. There were definitely parts that I liked, and I loved the epilogue but for some reasons, I just couldn’t totally emotionally invest in the book. I really don’t know why. It’s usually kind of book I adore. I found the writing slightly jarring at times, it didn’t quite flow. I wonder if I reread this book if I’d love it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Seventh up this month I read In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. What an incredible book. It’s exquisite. This queer nonfiction memoir is a work of art. Carmen writes from her soul. I’m so glad I picked this one up. It blew me away. A new favourite. It’s out now.

Next I read The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. You know when you’re into a book from the first page. That was this book for me. I loved the concept. I loved the story. Loved the characters and all the twists and turns. And that ending? It can’t leave me waiting like that. This was just how I like my young adult books. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. Out in April.

Then I read Lean, Fall, Stand by Jon McGregor. This one started off so strong. Incredibly strong. It’s intense, it’s exciting, its dangerous and I was loving it. Then there was a shift in the plot, and I was still really enjoying it and I was thinking it was going to be a five star book, but towards the end it just lost it for me. I found myself skimming the pages. It just lost my interest, I could see what the author was trying to do but it didn’t work for me. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 13th.

For my ninth book I read Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon. This book just unfortunately wasn’t for me. There was to much going on in the plot, with not enough of it being dealt with in detail. It didn’t care for any of the characters at all. And the writing felt off to me, it felt clunky. Nope, this book wasn’t it for me. Thanks to the publisher for my gifted copy. It’s out April 8th.

Lastly I read Witches Steeped In Gold by Ciannon Smart. This was my third time trying to read this book, I’d put it down twice as I couldn’t get into it, but this time I managed to finish it. For me, it wasn’t worth it. It was long and dense. The first 150 pages were just explaining the complex magic system. I did start to get into it more once we’d passed this but I never felt engaged or attached to the characters. I’m not saying this is a terrible book by any means, and I know many people love it. For me, there’s better fantasy books out there. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 20th.

That was it! That was my reading month. I can’t tell you how much I adored In The Dream House.

Have you read any of these, or do you plan to? Let me know.

Until the next review.

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #fiction, #yafantasy, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, interview, middlegrade, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne – Jonathan Stroud

I’m very excited to be a part of the Blog Tour The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. And I’m very lucky that Jonathan has written a blog post about his experience writing this book.

Jonathan talks about the writing process, drafting, editing and much more and it’s incredibly interesting to read. There’s some great advice here for writers so this is a great read. So, lets go.

Jonathan Stroud       Writing The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

Hello. I’ve recently finished writing my novel, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne. When I get to the end of a big project like this, my office is always festooned with papery debris that’s built up over weeks and months as I wrestled the book into shape. Sooner or later, I’ll summon the energy to roll up my sleeves, fortify myself with a stiff drink, and get rid of a lot of it, before filing the key bits away in the loft. But I haven’t done this for Outlaws yet, which gives me the chance to look here at some of the stages the book went through over the last three years…

1. First Notes

I began thinking about the new project at the start of 2018, a few months after my last Lockwood & Co. book had been published. I knew straight away that I wanted it to be set in a post-apocalyptic future Britain, where events had made the country much more dangerous and strange. I also knew that it would feature a river journey along the Thames, probably with a raft involved, and that there would be bit of a Western vibe. These elements survived to the final book, but other things were very different – for example, at the outset the main character was a middle-aged man, who met a couple of children on a wrecked bus in the wilderness. These pages of early notes show a diagram of one of the fortified ‘Surviving Towns’ and also a sketch of the crashed bus – both these ideas are still in the finished book, three years later.

2. Early Structure

After a couple of months making notes and writing fragmentary scenes, I tried figuring out the book’s structure – you can see the attempt here. It’s always good to do this, because it helps throw up problems, of which, in this case, there were many. My main issue was that the main character (here known as Bob Choi) didn’t work, but I didn’t realise this yet. He rescues a couple of children from a bus (chapter 3), takes them across the wilds, discovers they are being pursued by bad guys (ch 5), and escapes with them along the Thames (ch 7). All these elements make it (in a different form) into the eventual book, as does the climax in some half-submerged ruins in the London Lagoon (ch 17). But Bob Choi would have to go.

3. Still Struggling

Incredibly, though, he was still there eight months later, at the end of 2018, when these particular notes were done. I was having real problems making the book work, and you can see me here still trying to figure out the structure and rhythm of the book – how the plot would string together in a kind of necklace of ‘crises’ and ‘phases’. I was missing the point: the dynamic between my characters wasn’t working, and that’s the engine that ultimately powers a successful book. It took till early 2019, a full year after starting, that Bob Choi was booted out, and Scarlett McCain took over his role as the dangerous but reluctantly compassionate hero. At least in these notes here, I was having fun sketching toothed birds and giant mud-rats, and was profitably employed thinking about the accelerated evolution of the fauna of my future England.

4. Map Sketch

One thing that never altered, through the whole two and a half years of writing, was the idea of the river journey, from source to outflow, down the Thames. Towards the end of the project, when I knew pretty well how the story worked, I drew up this sketch map of the river and the London Lagoon (our London has vanished within it). It mostly follows the real course of the Thames, with a few tweaks and changes, such as the kingdoms (Mercia, Wessex, Anglia) that it passes through, the absence of most towns, and the promotion of a few real towns and villages to a more important status. I always like drawing maps: it has the same effect for me as it does for the reader, and helps anchor my characters’ travels securely in the mind.

5. Note Files

By the time a book like this is finished, I usually have a couple of ring-binders like these, filled with all the notes I made at every stage of the composition. I file them chronologically, so I can look back and check stuff, and also roll my eyes at all the false starts and appalling cul-de-sacs I explored along the way.

6. Drafts

I’ve lost track of how many drafts The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne went through, but you can see from this pile that it’s quite a lot. Early on there were two or three ‘unfinished’ drafts, where I got to a certain point, realised that it wasn’t working, and stopped to recalibrate, before starting again. Certain scenes that worked, however, were transposed almost word-for-word between them. There were probably at least four complete drafts after that, inching ever closer to the desired result. At each point I thought I’d cracked it, only for a re-read to show me that I needed to try again. Phew, just looking at this pile makes me feel a bit tired! Forget raft trips down the Thames – writing a novel is an epic journey in itself, but it’s all worth it in the end.

How amazing was that? Thank you so much Jonathan for doing this and for all the great information.

I was also lucky enough to read an early copy of this book, and it’s fantastic. It’s a brilliant start to a new teen series, its action packed, its got great world building and was full of intrigue. My favourite thing were the characters. They were brilliant. I enjoyed Scarlett & Browne so much. They made me laugh out loud, and I loved the connection Jonathan creates between them. I really believed their friendship. Now I’ve got to wait for book two, that I am definitely looking forward to.

Thanks again to Jonathan and make sure you check out all the other bloggers taking part. You can even read the first two chapters of this book. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne is out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Drowned City by K. J. Maitland

Title: The Drowned City

Author: K. J. Maitland

Publisher: Headline

Length: 418 pages

Synopsis: 1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage. In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds. For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of the dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer.

The Drowned City promises to be the start to an exciting new series. A new series that I will look forward to continue reading as the first book is such a wonderful read.

I absolutely loved the period of history this book was set in and the author manages to create such wonderful imagery of the place. She also creates so much atmosphere. You can really tell The Drowned City was meticulously researched. I loved the use of all the old words and the glossy at the back. It made the book so immersive.

Now, this is a book that has a lot of characters but the main ones we follow in the novel are great. Daniel, the main character, was a complex and intriguing character and it was good to get to know the other characters, and the story, through his eyes. I also really enjoyed when we had a few chapters from the kings perspective. They were really interesting. It really did have some many interesting characters.

My favourite thing in the book was how K. J. Maitland built momentum. Every character Daniel met had information and was guiding him to the next person and the information got more vital. It made the book so exciting and intriguing. Which meant I couldn’t put this book down.

There was a mystery throughout This Drowned City that I couldn’t figure out and I was desperate to know how it would end. All the clues that had led me to the end of the book and let me tell you I never would’ve figured it out, it was so surprising and I loved it. I loved how we were kept guessing. Such a brilliant ending,

Like I said, I shall look forward to more adventures from Daniel Pursglove. If you love historical fiction, then you’ll love this book. Filled with mystery and intrigue that makes for a book you can’t put down.

Thanks to Headline books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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Book Review. Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse

Title: Girl In The Walls

Author: A. J. Gnuse

Length: 384 pages

Publisher: 4thEstate Books

Synopsis: Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the Walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what. Eddie is a teenager now, almost a grown-up. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees from the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his fierce older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists. And, if they cast her out, what other threats might they invite into their home?

I was lucky to receive a very early proof of this book from 4thestate and now that I’ve read it I feel even more lucky because it was so incredible. It’s not out till March 4th 2021 but I couldn’t wait to read it.

What an interesting premise. I was so intrigued by the synopsis and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve always said there’s someone living in out loft called Harrison but that’s a different story. The author has crafted the story so it’s totally believable. It’s the little details of house Elise moves through the walls, how she lives while the family are out that I loved. I was genuinely intrigued from the first page until the last. It was brilliant.

At the heart of this novel is grief, and A. J. Gnuse has dealt with it brilliantly. It’s subtly heartbreaking. A girl so lost by her parents death that she has to return to the only home she knows to feel close to them. As story goes on and you learn a little more about Elises life before she became the Girl in the Walls, it becomes even more heartbreaking.

Elise is a brilliant character, In fact it’s full of brilliant characters. Marshall and Eddie are fantastic. The tension and connection that’s between Elise and Eddie is genius, the way he knows she’s there but won’t admit it. He’s terrified of her but also protects her. I love it. I didn’t expect the story of the family in the house but I’m so glad it was included. It made this book even better.

I’m not going to lie to you, at times I was scared. When a certain character is introduced (no spoilers) there were times I was holding my breath. This is by far the best gothic novel I’ve ever read. It’s just written so brilliantly, it’s got moments of real tension and fear.

The ending. Oh my god. It was brilliant. Those last few pages had my heart pounding. Literally pounding. I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough. I just had to do find out what happened. And it didn’t disappoint. At all. My stomach was literally in knots. I haven’t been like this about a book in a while. But Girl in the Walls was so brilliant I couldn’t help it.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a grippy gothic tale that doesn’t disappoint. I can’t stop thinking about this book. It will stay with you a long time after you’ve finished it.

Thank you to Liv at 4thestate for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks