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Book Review: Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar.

Title: Grace is Gone

Author: Emily Elgar

Length: 342 pages

Publisher: Sphere Books

Synopsis: Meg and her daughter Grace are the most beloved family in Ashford, the lynchpin that holds the community together. So when Meg is found brutally murdered and her daughter missing, the town is rocked by the crime. Not at least because Grace has been sick for years – and may only have days to live. Who would murder a mother who sacrificed everything, and separate a teenager from the medication that could save her life? Everyone is searching for an answer, but sometimes the truth can kill you…

This is going to be a hard book to review because I did like it. Well I liked a part of it. But I definitely didn’t love it. I’ll explain why.

Let’s start with what I liked. It was actually only one thing. But I liked the main mystery. I wanted to know what happened to Meg and where Grace was and who took her. I was genuinely intrigued to see what happened. It kept me reading through the things I didn’t like.

So shall we talk about the things I didn’t like? Yeah, let’s go for it. The story is told from two different perspectives, Cara and Jon, and I didn’t care about either of them. At all. There was a whole subplot of Jon’s marriage breaking down and it was unnecessary in this novel. I really didn’t care at all.

The ending that I was intrigued to know. I guessed what happened and I was right. It didn’t stop me from reading because I wanted it to be confirmed. But once the Meg and Grace ending is revealed, we were left with Jons ending. Not only did I not care, I also found it silly. I was reading it thinking ‘really’?? It felt like the author was just going for suspense and shock.

I just felt like it had all been done before. It felt like once Cara and Jon got a tiny clue, the suddenly solved the whole mystery quickly. The author even tried to put a little twist on the character of Grace in the epilogue and it made me realise I would’ve preferred the story to be told from Graces perspective. It would’ve made this story so much better and more layered and intense.

I don’t know if I’d recommend this one. I probably would, it was quick read and like I said it was intriguing for some of the book. You might love it. If you do let me know.

Thank you to Millie and Sphere books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

Title: Surrender Your Sons

Author: Adam Sass

Length: 392 pages

Publisher: Fluxbooks

Synopsis: Connor Major’s is turning into a nightmare. His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and sent off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes”. But Connors troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide-from the campers, to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director-and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camps horrible truths for what they are – and taking this place down.

As soon as I heard about Surrender your Sons it’s been on my radar. It’s definitely one of my most anticipated queer books of the year. So many people I know have loved it and that just made me more excited and intrigued. But did it disappoint? Read more to find out.

I won’t keep you in suspense (like this book will) and I’ll tell you that I loved this book. It met all my expectations and surpassed them. It was suspenseful, thrilling, romantic and honest.

This book centres around teenagers at a gay conversion camp. And there were points in this novel when I couldn’t believe any of it was true. But of course it is, I think mainly I don’t want these kind of camps to be true, and I think it’s a testament Adams writing that he captures the horror and brutality of the situation and it just made the whole book believable. He captures the atmosphere perfectly which really makes book stands out. You’ll love the teenagers in this book especially the main character of Connor. I also loved that Adam has given every character depth, even the ones we hate.

There was also something I didn’t expect in this book was the romance. How can a romance blossom in this situation and work? But trust me, it did work. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you, but it really does work. Again it’s another showcase of Adams brilliant writing and talent. It gave me everything I want in a romance. It also gave the novel some hope, which was nice as the book is very dark.

The story really goes to places I didn’t expect, which obviously makes it excellent. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for you but when the kids start to fight back against the councillors it just adds so many layers to the story. It became so intense. You could really feel the story building up to its thrilling climax. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough (I was reading it on kindle but you know what I mean). It was full of twists and turns and so many things surprised me. It really was a fantastic ending.

This is Adams debut novel, and it’s such a strong book. He manages to capture all the horror, the darkness, yet he manages to show hope and vulnerability. It takes real talent to blend all these cohesively. It’s so real. Also with this book being about Conversion Camps, it packs a powerful message. Ultimately, I think, it shows you that queerness is a power and we always need more books like this.

I would definitely recommend this book to you, as I’m sure you can tell. Don’t miss this one. I think I might’ve convinced myself to re-read it. I’ll look forward to reading what Adam does next.

Thank you to Netgally and Flux for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 15th.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Stéphanie Buelens

Title: An Inconvenient Woman

Author: Stéphanie Buelens

Length: 302 pages

Publisher: Quercus

Synopsis: When Claire Fontaine learns that her ex-husband Simon is marrying again, to a woman with a teenage daughter, her blood runs cold. She is sure that years ago Simon molested her own daughter and was responsible for her mysterious death. She can’t let him get away with it a second time. Vandalism, harassment; whatever it takes, Claire will expose him. Simon doesn’t know where Claire got this delusion from; her daughter’s death was ruled a suicide. Why is she lashing out? Wanting to protect his new fiancée, he hires Sloane Wilson, an ex-cop turned ‘sin-eater’, whose job is to handle delicate cases without getting the police Involved. Simon gives her the task of getting Claire off his back. Sloane must navigate the wreckage of Claire and Simon’s marriage to discover the truth. Is she crazy, or is he manipulative? And can Sloane stay clear-headed enough to figure it out.

I’m also so excited to be on this social media blast for this fantastic book. Check out all these other reviews.

I don’t really read thrillers that often because I tend to find them a little disappointing, but I can gladly say I didn’t find this one disappointing at all. This is everything you want in a thriller. It was intense, suspenseful, intriguing, complex and just super enjoyable.

The question of An Inconvenient Woman is whether we believe Claire or her Ex-Husband Simon as to whether he abused his step daughter. This book definitely keeps you guessing as to who was telling the truth. I can say I believed Claire. There was just something about her character that made me. There’s another level to this book as Simon hires a ‘sineater’ to stop Claire trying to contact his future wife to warn her. This also made me feel like I believed Claire even more as Sloane the sineater was just ugh! But I’m not telling you the answer.

The plot goes to places I didn’t expect it to. It had many subplots and characters that all came together in ways I didn’t expect but it really made sense. The chapters were also short so it kept the pacing quick and fresh.

Here’s one of the (many) things I really enjoyed about this novel, it had so much heart. Claire had such a heartfelt, upsetting back story. It gave the novel and the characters another layer and so much depth. It really took this book to another level for me. Can we have more thrillers like this please?

The ending was so good. So, so good. I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. It all came together in such a clever way and kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat until the end. It’s hard to write a review without giving it away. I’ll guess you’ll just have to read it. The ending felt very cinematic to me. It would make a fantastic mini-series.

I would definitely recommend this. It was engaging from the very first page to the end. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a novel I keep finding myself thinking about. It’s out now.

Thank you to Ella at Quercus for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze

Title: Who They Was

Author: Gabriel Krauze

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

Synopsis: This is a story of London you won’t find in any guide books. This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys to eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way. This is a story of redemptions made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost. This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police custody and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal. This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fears and the hopes. This is about what’s left behind.

I’ve never read a book like this. How often do we get to say this as a book blogger? But I can honestly say I never have. It’s one of a kind. You’ll never read another book like this.

It’s totally immersive. It’s set in South London and follows Gabriel as he is a member of gangs and violence. It does take some getting used to in the beginning, but once you do it’s absolutely fantastic. You become accustomed to the slang and the dialogue. This is what makes this book so different.

I will say this book is an uncomfortable, brutal read. And I mean that In the best way. But this definitely isn’t any easy read. And we can’t forget the Gabriel Krauze is writing this book from his own experience or things, which is incredible. It really adds another layer to this story. This book literally opens with the main character violently robbing someone, see I told you it’s brutal. But it doesn’t take anything away from this hard-hitting novel.

As the book progresses, Krauze’s story becomes more of a redemption arc, as he is encouraged to leave the life of violence and gang life behind and focus on this studies. He’s continued to study English Literature at university and the juxtaposition between the separate parts of his life is fascinating.

I just want you to read this unique book. Because it’s so different and immersive, it makes it unforgettable. I know I’ll always remember this book. It’s also just been long listed for the Booker Prize and I’d love it to be shortlisted.

Thank you to Matt at 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd (today).

Until the next review

JTH

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

August Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. Don’t they just fly by! We had a mini heatwave at the beginning of August and I found it hard to read. All I wanted to do was sleep. But I always want to sleep no matter the weather so I shouldn’t use that as an excuse.

I’ve managed to read eight books this month. Eight isn’t bad. And there’s been a few I’ve read this month that I really enjoyed. I don’t usually read thrillers, but I read three in a row! And I enjoyed two of them.

So let’s talk about these books shall we?

The first book I read was Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook. What a great way to start the month. A super sweet gay YA novel. I really enjoyed it. I loved the love story. This one is out now and you can check out my full review here.

Then I read 10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. I can’t stop thinking about this book. It was brilliant. Stunning writing, visceral story and fascinating characters. I’ll be looking out for more Elif novels. She’s a genius.

I then read How It All Blew Up by Armin Ahmadi. I was halfway through and I friend told me that the author is problematic, so I didn’t want to read it anymore, which I didn’t mind because it wasn’t very good. I could see what it was trying to do, but it failed.

Then I read This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I had absolutely no idea what was going on but I loved it. A beautiful, epic love story set in an epic world. I highly recommend this one.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. This was sooooo good. It’s everything I want in a YA fantasy plus it has mermaids! Good mermaids. Definitely don’t miss this one. It’s out now. Check out my full review here.

I then moved onto An Inconvenient Woman by Stéphanie Buelens. This was a great thriller that I couldn’t put down. It was fantastic. It also has a lot of heart which gives it another layer. This one is out September 3rd.

Surrender your Sons by Adam Sass. A queer YA book like I’ve never read before. It’s got a dark subject matter but I really did enjoy this one. I definitely recommend this one to you. It’s out September 15th.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar. I get what this book was trying to do and it was nearly there but for me it mostly missed the mark. Parts of it definitely intrigued me, but most of it I didn’t care about. But I definitely wanted to see how it ended. It’s out on paperback September 3rd.

Now I can’t wait to see what books September brings my way. Have you read any of these? Or are you interested in them? Let me know…

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: Ashes by Christopher De Vinck.

Title: Ashes

Author: Christopher De Vinck

Length: 325 pages

Publisher: Harper Inspire

Synopsis: Belgium, July 1939: Simone Lyon is the daughter of a Belgium national hero, the famous General Joseph Lyon. Her best friend Hava Daniels, is the eldest daughter of a devout Jewish family. Despite growing up in different worlds, they are inseparable. But when, in Spring of 1940, Nazi planes and tanks being bombing Brussels, their resilience and strength are tested. Hava and Simone find themselves caught in the advancing onslaught and are forced to flee. In an emotionally charged race for survival, even the most harrowing horrors cannot break their bonds of love and friendship. The two teenage girls will see their innocence fall, against the ugly backdrop of a war dictating that theirs was a friendship that should never have been.

I’m super thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for Harper Inspire. You can check out all these fantastic blogs for this book here. You can also check my Instagram, Instagram.com/jthbooks and you can have a chance to win a copy of this book.

We follow Simone, who begins a friendship with Hava and as the war begins we see the two girls fight for each other and the bond they have.

I really did enjoy it. Its one of the finest historical fiction books I’ve read recently, it’s evocative and atmospheric. Everything we want from a good book.

I loved the friendship between Hava and Simone. It was the highlight of the novel. I totally believed in it. I could see why they would fight for each. It was heartbreaking when they got separated. Their friendship was the best thing about this novel, it gave it a centre which it desperately needed because some of the other parts felt a little misplaced for me.

I loved learning about the traditions of the Jewish and religion. It’s not something I’ve come across a lot in these types of historical fiction books and I absolutely loved it. It gave the novel real depth in this area. And also it made me believe in family more and their love for each other more.

But I really did like the ending. It was heartbreaking. Made me realise how much I was involved in the friend mashup. It also get the book true for me, but there’s was part of it that was really sweet. I won’t spoil the ending for you. But it doesn’t disappoint.

I would recommend this book. I’m it was a quick read. I wanted to see how it would conclude. It was good.

Thanks to Harper Insider for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out August 20th.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gay, lgbt, queer, review, thriller, ya, young adult

WWW Wednesday – 26th August.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts (ok it’s been months but who’s counting). But I love doing them and I love keeping you up to date with what I’m reading.

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 shall we get started and talk about these books?

What are you currently reading?

So I’m currently reading Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar from Littlebrown Books. I only stated this last night but I’m definitely intrigued. It’s also the third thriller I’ve read in a row and I don’t usually read them so we’ll see how it compares. I’m excited to see where the story goes. So I guess I’ll keep you updated. The paperback is out 3rd September.

What have you finished reading recently?

I recently finished Surrender your Sons by Adam Sass. This was a highly anticipated read for me and it didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed it, definitely a tough read at times, but I’m so glad I got to read it early. It’s a great piece of queer fiction with a difference. It’s out September 15th.

What are you reading next?

This question is always the difficulty one because my tbr is so huge, but I think I’m going to go with Summerwater by Sarah Moss. It’s just calling to me from my shelf and I’ve heard such fantastic things. So I think it’ll be that one.

But it could all change.

Have you read any of these? Or got your eye on reading some? Let me know.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Title: All the Stars and Teeth

Author: Adalyn Grace

Length: 397 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

Synopsis: As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer – the Master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but to secure her place as heir to the throne, Amora must master the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. But when her demonstration goes horribly wrong, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder – and more peril – than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stowaway she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

Royals! Magic! Pirates! What more do you want? Oh I know! Mermaids! Well this book has them all. And it’s good. It’s so good.

We follow the princess Amora who after she fails her magic demonstration to become High Animancer, she flees her island in search of the destructive new magic that’s rising.

I really, really enjoyed the world Adalyn Grace has created. It was fresh and super absorbing. I love the fact that there’s seven islands and they all practice different magic. We get to see a few of the islands in this book and I hope in book two we get to see this world explored more.

It’s full of fantastic characters. Amora is such a kick ass character to follow. I loved that fact even after her people became terrified of her she’s till fights to save them. I liked her. I wanted her to succeed. And we have Bastian and Ferrick who I also loved. And then we had Vataea who was my favourite. Such a brilliant character and she’s a mermaid. Do I need to say anymore? She’s such a good mermaid! I loved her. Again, I want more of her in book two! I love the gang the become. I hope we see more of the gang.

Loved the romance. Loved it. It was a beautiful slow burn that I totally fell for. I want more. I want this to be explored more in book two. I assume it will. Don’t break my heart Adalyn. I also feel like there’s another romance blossoming which I am totally here for. I want it. I need it. I hope I’m right.

I don’t want to give any of the plot or ending away, but it kept me guessing and intrigued throughout. It was exciting! This book didn’t end the way I thought it was going too, I don’t want to spoil anything but I thought the plot might continue into the next one, but it’s set up a new plot for the second one which I’m excited to see what happens. Very excited.

All the Stars and Teeth just has everything I love in a YA fantasy series. It had the fantastic characters, the interesting magic, the good plot and the swoon-worthy romance. I would definitely recommend this book. Can I have book two now please? Pleaseeeeeeee!

Thank you to Sarah at Titan books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review.

JTH

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

Book Review Blog Tour: The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jeffries

Title: The Tuscan Contessa

Author: Dinah Jeffries

Length: 350 pages

Publisher: Penguin

Synopsis: Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan home has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she provides shelter, medical aid and any help she can, keeping her efforts secret from husband Lorenzo – who is also passing information to the Allies. When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Practical, no-nonsense Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a young partisan named Marco, she realises it’s a promise she can’t keep. Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

I’m super thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book, here’s the other book bloggers for you to check out there posts.

Dinah Jeffries has done it again. How does she manage to do it? Another fantastic novel. I was hooked from start to finish.

The Tuscan Contessa has a riveting story, following Sofia and Maxine as they both help in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War Two. The story is full of twist and turns that will keep you turning the pages. It’s a well paced plot that is full of mystery, intrigue and romance.

Here’s what amazes me about Dinahs writing, she always makes me want to go visit these beautiful places. She describes them so wonderfully and richly that just makes me want to visit. But obviously with this book being set during World War Two, things happen and Dinah manages the two beautifully. She really captures the beauty and the brutality.

Sofia and Maxine are two fantastic characters to follow. Dinah has written two strong female characters, who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and it’s fantastic to read. There’s also a romance that runs throughout the book, that is lovely to read, but filled with tension because of the time the book is set in. It’s such an atmospheric book.

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it was intense, heartbreaking and so satisfying. It’s built up throughout the whole novel and certainly isn’t a let down. But I’ll let you discover what happens when you read it.

I definitely recommend this book. It’s the perfect book to get lost in, you’ll travel to a different time and place and get totally lost in the story. It’s out now.

Thank you to Penguin for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Title: The Black Kids

Author: Christina Hammonds Reed

Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Synopsis: Los Angeles 1992. Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of high school and their spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the summer days and endless possibilities of summer. But everything changes one afternoon in April, when four police officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodeny King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids. As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to carry on as if things were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family facade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends spread a rumour that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

Wow, this book is powerful. This is the kind of book that you’ll get swept up in the story, but it’ll teach you something. And to me that’s the best kind of fiction.

I always love a book where a character learns to love themselves or accept themselves, and in ‘The Black Kids’ we see Ashley learn to respect and love her race and it’s so beautifully done. As Ashley sees the pain and power in the protests and the looting, she begins to realise just how sheltered she’s been. To see her learn to stand powerfully in her skin is amazing. I’ve got shivers just writing about it. It’s a coming of age story, that needs to be told more.

The family dynamics are brilliant throughout the whole novel. As Ashley’s mother and father try to give her a better life than they had growing up, you see both the positive and negative affects it has on her and her sister. Jo, Ashley’s sister, is a fantastic character. There’s a complexity to her that Christina has written so well, but so subtly. It’s brilliant.

Even though this novel is set nearly 30 years ago, it’s still unfortunately just as relevant today. Although this book has many themes, race is definitely the main one and it’s what makes it brilliant. You see it in Ashley’s family life, her friendships. You can see it in the riots that Ashley is both scared of and longing to be a part of. It’s so complex.

While there were some incredibly powerful moment’s that I’ve highlighted in my kindle because they are such teachable moments. Its books like this that prove why own voices are important.

There is arc in this novel involving cheating (no spoilers) that maybe didn’t need to be there. Or definitely it needed to be handled a bit better. But that is the only fault I have with this wonderful, wonderful novel.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a fantastic YA book that should be required reading. It’s the perfect fiction book if you’re looking to diversify your reading habits. But also read it because it’s just damn good.

Thanks to Olivia at Simon & Schuster for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out August 4th.

Until the next review

JTH