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WWW Wednesday – 24th April

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by… This is really just a little blog post to keep you updated on what’s going on with my reading life. We had beautiful weather here in the UK but I still managed to get some reading done. I mean, there’s always time for reading right?

I saw this over on Mani’s blog (Mani’s blog)and I just had to have a go! I hope you doesn’t mind and be sure to check out their blog! It’s amazing! Such a great variety of books

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 ‘The Tubman Command’ by Elizabeth Cobbs. I got this as an ARC via Netgalley. I’ve had it on my Dashboard for a while and I’ve really been looking forward to reading it. It’s Historical Fiction. It’s all Harriett Tubman freeing Slaves on her heroic quests. Now, I’m only 35% in but I thought it would be better. It’s seems to very historically accurate but it hasn’t captured her spirit, but we’ll wait and see. I’m not giving up on it!

What have you finished reading recently?

I finished ‘Dear Lily’ by Drew Davies. This was another Netgalley ARC. This was such a good book. I read it really quickly (which I never do). It’s written in the format of letters, it’s got great characters, a great story and it’s heartbreaking. It comes out 17th May.

What are you planning to read next?

This is such a tricky question for me. I never know what to read next. Ever. It’s a real problem for me. There’s a few options, so I guess I’ll share them. Hopefully this will help me decide.

First up is ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones. All I know about a book is it’s on Oprah’s bookclub and if it’s in Oprah’s bookclub it’s good enough for me.

Secondly, there’s ‘The Song of Achilles’ by … I’ll be honest, this is a strong contender. I’ve heard such amazing things about this book and I’m desperate to read it.

Thirdly, is the Goldfinch by ‘Donna Tartt’. I got this for my birthday and I can’t wait to read it. I feel like it’s become a modern classic (don’t come at me if you don’t agree)

Lastly, is ‘They Both Die At The End’ by Adam Silvera. I’ve had this on my TBR for nearly two years. I’ve been desperate to read it and I don’t know why I haven’t. Maybe because I think it’s going to break my heart.

Well that’s it from me. Feel free to play along!

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: ‘One of us is Lying’ by Karen M. McManus

Title: One of us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Length: 358 pages

Publisher: Penguin

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was first published in 2017 and I’ve only just read it. Why did I wait so long?

Five students walk into detention. Only four leave alive. Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing on the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider, Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them ever any of them again. He died 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

‘You find out who your real friends are when stuff like this happens. Turns out I didn’t have any…’

Like I said, this book has been on my TBR for a long time. I was waiting for the right time to read it. Now, I’m a little annoyed at myself for waiting so long.

This book has such a clever premise. It’s such a good idea. It’s a young adult book, but I think one can cross genres. At its heart it’s a murder mystery story, an excellent one at that. It’s also such a relevant, modern story. With Simon and the gossip app being such a clever catalyst for the story to take off from.

I was into this story from the very beginning. The story is set so well in the first few pages with them all being in detention and saying they shouldn’t be, and you as a reader begin to question it and so they mystery begins.

While this is a murder mystery, it’s so much more than that. It’s got two sweet romances in it, which don’t feel out of place. It’s got two characters going on self journeys and finding themselves which is a joy to read. It’s also a fascinating look at our obsession with news story’s like this, and how the media handles them. It feels like a behind the scenes story of how this situation is handled.

This story had a lot of plot twists in, as you’d expect from a book like this. But they weren’t there just to shock the reader, they moved the plot along. I like that. This book kept me guessing till the end. Was one of the main four characters Lying? Or all of them? Did they commit murder? Are they being set up?

Now, I know some other readers were a disappointed in the books ending but I really enjoyed it. I also thought it was clever, I didn’t see it coming. No spoilers, but I certainly didn’t expect it to end that way, with those characters involved.

The story in told from the four main characters perspectives and I love that. Each character was written so well, clean and concise. As is the whole book. But I loved getting to read how each character handled the situation and they secrets the each had.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not usually my type but I’m so glad I read it. Have you read it? Did you like it? Did the ending disappoint you? Karen already has another book, and I’ll look forward to reading that.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘Play it Again’ by Aidan Wayne

Title: Play it Again

Author: Aidan Wayne

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Carina Press

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Aidan Wayne is the author of many books, but this is the first I’ve read of his. It’s a M/M contemporary and you know I love those. But how will I like this one?

When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content. Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid… which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs. They may never meet in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring- no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away.

I always like to include a quote from the book. Something that moved me, inspired me, made me think, question. Unfortunately this book didn’t have any

This book is a very modern, contemporary love story but I don’t think it makes it a great one. It wasn’t the worst romance I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t the best either. It was a lot of both Dovid and Sam telling each other ‘I love you’ but as a reader, I never really felt it.

Now, this might just be me, but if it’s a good love story I get a feeling inside when I read it. I get excited, I can’t wait to see where the journey takes them. It means I’m totally engrossed, immersed in the couple and I didn’t get that when reading this book. It was a tad contrived. That’s why I know it wasn’t one of my favourites.

Apart from the romance, this book had no plot. Nothing happened, there was no big twist, not even a little one. It was obvious the two main characters were going to become a couple, so it all felt a bit predictable. When there’s no plot, for me it needs to be an excellent romance to keep me interested, and sadly this wasn’t that.

To be honest, I even found both characters a tiny bit annoying. They didn’t seem real, they were both very artificial. Dovid was way over the top, and Sam had no personality. It was all a bit lacklustre. It just need more.

I know this review has been a bit harsh so far, but there were things I did enjoy about the book. I liked the modern aspect. The meeting online and how it all evolved around YouTube, I found that really interesting. Who knew you could make so much money from YouTube?

I liked the representation included. Dovid is blind and I found the way he approached life to be very moving. There were a lot of blind jokes made, but when it was taken seriously it was dealt with well. It showed how it affected his personality and his daily life.

This book was a quick, frothy read. Perfect for a beach read, maybe? Is it going to be one I remember? No. Would I recommend it? Probably…

This book was given to me via Netgalley and Carina Press in return for an honest, unbiased review. It comes out April 22nd and you can preorder now.

Until the next review

JTH

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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

——————–—————————————————–

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