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

Arc Book Review: This Is My Truth by Yasmin Rahman

Title: This Is My Truth

Author: Yasmin Rahman

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Length: 381 pages

Synopsis: Amani’s family is outwardly perfect, but no one must know about the Bad Nights, when her father’s temper rages. Her best friend Huda has grown up with loving foster parents, but what will happen to her now they’re expecting a baby of their own? The two best friends hide their fears even from each other. Then a prank blog starts revealing people’s deepest, darkest secrets. Amani is terrified that her shame will be exposed. How will she survive if everybody finds out her truth?

Yasmin is fantastic at writing characters. Amani, the main character, is so well written. As a reader you instantly warm to her. She’s funny, especially with Huda. She’s personable and real. But every character had such depth, it’s amazing how it all fit in to the book. And their connections with each other are so believable. They all felt real to me.

I have to say my favourite thing about this book Is the friendship between Amani and Huda. It’s so honest and real. It’s so refreshing to see a friendship like this in a book. They talk to each other like me and my friends. It was really lovely to read. Of course, they have their ups and downs but that made it even more realistic. It made me smile.

Now, this book does deal with some incredibly difficult things and it doesn’t shy away from them. These scenes are hard to read at times but they need to be. Yasmin brings honesty to them. They are very real. But I truly think they are handled brilliantly, nothing is there for shock factor. You see the situation escalate until it becomes unbearable for the characters.

I’ve also never read about this situation looking at from a child’s view. This is the young adult genre at its best, when books are dealing with real issues and helping people. So many young readers will unfortunately relate to this situation, but I think they’ll be able to find so solace in this book.

This Is My Truth had me gripped from beginning to end, filled with important storytelling, fantastic relatable characters and brilliant friendships. I couldn’t recommend this book enough.

Thanks to Hot Key Books for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out July 22nd.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

Books I’m looking forward to in the second half of the year!

Now, I’ve never done a post like this before mainly because I never, ever know what’s coming out. But I’ve done my research as to what’s coming out later in the year and I’ve found some I’m excited about.

1) The Magician by Colm Tóibín

I crave Queer historical fiction and this one sounds like it could be it. I absolutely loved Brooklyn and I’m excited to see what this author does. Set in the period of WWII and featuring a queer main character. Yes please. I’m also very lucky to have a proof of it, so I will be reading it soon.

2) Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

This is the conclusion to this epic trilogy. I fell in love with the first book Serpent & Dove, I am so excited to see where this book ends. I’m excited (and a little scared) to see what happens to my beloved characters. This is really the only series I’m a Stan for. I own two copies of the first to books and I’ve already got two copies of this ordered. So yes, I’m very excited. It’s out in August.

3) Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

I loved Raybearer. Absolutely loved it. It was my favourite fantasy of last year. I could to be more excited for this book. So excited. I can’t wait to see where this book goes and how this brilliant duology wraps up. Please don’t disappoint me. It’s out in August.

3) Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

I love All The Light We Cannot See, is a brilliant book and I’ve been looking forward to Anthony Doerrs book for so long and I’m excited. I don’t even really want to know what it’s about. I just want to be taken away in this story. My expectations are very high. It’s out in September.

4) The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. I am very excited for this one. Elif is a beautiful writer and I’m excited to read more of her lyrical prose. I don’t know much of what this one is about and I’m keeping it that way on purpose. I just want to be swept away. It’s out on August 5th.

5) Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I need this book. I need it so bad. I’m so looking forward to going back to this world. These characters. It’s out October 12th.

That’s it, these are the novels I’m looking forward to in the second half of 2021. I’m sure there’s going to be more added to this list. My poor bank account.

Let me know if you plan on reading any of these.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

anthology, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, gay, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Mainstream – An anthology of stories from the edges.

Title: Mainstream

Author: Edited by Justin David and Nathan Evans

Publisher: Inkandescent

Length: 247 pages

Synopsis: This collection brings thirty authors in from the margins to occupy centre-page. Queer storytellers. Working class wordsmiths. Chroniclers of colour. Writers whose life experiences give unique perspectives on universal challenges, whose voices must be heard. And read.

Thank you so much to the team at Inkandescent for having me on the blog tour for this short story collection and make sure you check out the other bloggers on the tour.

First of all I love what Inkandescent are doing with this book. It’s such an important thing and they’ve done it successfully. It’s a great collection.

Mainstream has a real variety of short stories in it that it keeps the book fresh and exciting. You never knew what kind of story you were going to get next. Yet it’s a very cohesive book.

There are some really fantastic writers in this book, some I’d read before and some that were new to me. They all have something to say and it was wonderful. I’ll definitely be checking out more from these writers and I have a feeling you will be too.

I have to say I really enjoyed the queer stories in this short story collection. I love how varied they were. Some were heartfelt, some were sexy. I always love to read about queer lives and especially from authors this talented.

I really did enjoy all of the stories in this collection, but some really did stand out for me. They were so interesting and unique. I loved ‘Scaffolding’, ‘Twickenham’, ‘The Birdwatchers’, Pixmalion’ and ‘Going Up, Going Down’. But there really is something in this book for everyone.

Mainstream has accomplished what it set out to do and then some. If you love short stories this is definitely a book to add to your collection. I know I’ll keep returning to it to reread these stories. It’s really wonderful.

If you’d like to purchase a copy which is out now, you can buy it from Amazon here or from the Inkandescent website here.

Again, thank you so much to the team at Inkandescent for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

June Wrap Up

Ahhhh June. My favourite month. Why I here you ask? Well, because it’s Pride Month.

Now, I always make it my own personal little mission in June to read Queer books by Queer Authors. This month was a bit of a struggle be she if I was trying to read ARCs, but I still managed it.

I only read 7 books this month. It’s probably the least I’ve read but my mental health took a huge dip for a while.

So let’s talk about them shall we?

I started off the month with Fifteen Hundred Miles From The Sun by Jonny Garza Villa. I read this from Netgalley, so thanks to the publishers for the copy. I really enjoyed this one. It was sweet, romantic and I loved the story. It definitely dealt with some tough things but it handles them so beautifully. Such a fantastic book. It’s out now.

Secondly I read The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. I absolutely loved this book. It’s a brilliant Indian inspired fantasy book that I was totally captivated by. Also, more queer fantasy. Amazing characters. A plot that had me on the edge of my seat. I feel the romance could’ve been better but I think it’ll be explored more in book two. I’m so excited for the second one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Thirdly I read Mainstream edited by Nathan Evans and Justin David. This is a wonderful short story collection that showcases so many writers from the edges. It’s filled with such varied stories that really keep the reader entertained. Thanks to Inkandescent for my copy. It’s out now and I’m on the blog tour for this one.

Up next I read Everybody In This Room Will Be Dead by Emily Austin. I can see what this one was trying to do but for me, it unfortunately didn’t work. There was something missing. I’m not even sure what it was. Maybe lack of connection to the characters. I just don’t know. It’s out July 8th if you fancy it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Then I read The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons. This was absolutely my favourite read of the month. A full five stars. I loved it. A brilliant important story, showing trans people should be allowed to play all sports. And a fantastic romance. I just loved it! Loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Sixth this month I read The Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron. Another brilliant fantasy book. I felt this was really fresh and new. I didn’t know what to expect but I absolutely loved it. You can check out my full review here Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Lastly I read The Dangerous Kingdom of Love by Neil Blackmore. Oh I wanted to love this one so badly. So badly. I didn’t love the authors first one and I was desperate to love this one. But I didn’t. I crave queer historical fiction but this didn’t do it for me. I didn’t like the characters. I didn’t like the romance. I just think with the story and the time period it was set in, it could’ve been brilliant. But it fell flat. It fell flat in every way. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out in July.

So that was it for me this month. Do you plan on picking any of these up? Or have you read some? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

Book Review: The Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron.

Title: The Poison Heart

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Length: 370 pages

Synopsis: Briseis has a gift. She can grow an apple tree from seed in a heartbeat, and flowers bloom at her touch. But she and her adoptive mothers have spent her whole life trying to hide her extraordinary powers. And then Briseis inherits an old house from her birth mother and suddenly has the privacy to test herself for the first time. But as Bri starts to magic the house’s rambling grounds back to life she finds she has also inherited generations of secrets. In a hidden garden overgrown with the most deadly poisonous plants on earth a dark legacy lies waiting for her. And Bri’s long-departed ancestors won’t let her rest until she finds it.

Let’s first just mention how unbelievably beautiful this cover is. We all agree? Good.

I didn’t know too much about this book going in, as I wanted to be surprised and I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It was brilliant.

There is just so much to love about The Poison Heart. It was full of fantastic characters, an engaging story and brilliant magic system.

We follow the character of Briseis, who is left a house by her birth mothers family and with her mums they decide to spend the summer there. I loved the beginning of this book and getting to know Briseis. She really is a wonderful character to follow. She’s funny, kind and I just instantly warmed to her. I also really loved her parents. So much. So, so much.

I also just have to say how much I loved the family Kalynn has written. It’s so wonderful to see a queer family written so beautifully. The dynamics, the love and the joy between Briseis and her parents was one of my favourite things about this book and I think it should be celebrated. I really loved reading it.

I really loved the magic in this book, it was I unlike anything I’ve read before. And it’s great to see something new in YA. I loved that Briseis was still learning about her powers as the reader did, it really helped to form that connection with her. I love how it ties in with her family. It’s just so expansive, but I’ll let you discover all that when you read the book.

Let’s talk about the ending shall we? I knew something was about to go down and I couldn’t figure it out. But let me tell you, I never would’ve figured it out. It was brilliant. It was suspenseful, shocking and heartbreaking. It’s the kind of ending you message your friends about because you need to talk about it. But that’s all I’ll say. No spoilers!!!

So basically I really loved this book and now I desperately want to read book two. This is a fantastic fantasy novel that will have you turning the pages and it’ll only leave you wanting more.

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury YA kids for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out Tomorrow (June29th)

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fiction, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, lgbt, literary ficton, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: What’s Mine And Yours by Naima Coster

Title: What’s Mine and Yours

Author: Naima Coster

Publisher: Trapeze Books

Length: 337 pages

Synopsis: When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives. On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle’s enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey’s daughter return home to visit her in hospital, they’re forced to confront the ways their parents’ decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love.

What’s Mine and Yours is a captivating read that I couldn’t put down an was gripped by till the very last page.

Throughout the book you follow many different characters, and we slowly see how all their lives connect. I really love when a book does this and I have to say Naima Coster does it really well. It was really interesting to see these characters at certain points in their lives and grow to care for them and then to see their actions. It’s obviously a part of Naima intention to make you question how their actions affect how you feel about them. There are definitely characters in this book that you won’t forget for along time.

Naima creates genuine connections between the characters and they are all so real and complex. Whether it was romantic relationships or familial, they were absolutely captivating.

This book deals with some very hard things to read (triggers warnings for racism and violence). It’s really thought provoking and anger inducing. To tackles aspects of racism that I haven’t seen in a novel before, and then goes onto explore the affects it has on these characters and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to read. Yet it doesn’t feel to heavy at any point, and there are moments of real joy throughout and loving relationships.

There was a plot twist at the end of this book that I didn’t see coming and when it arrived it was really gut-wrenching. I really had to sit with it for a while.

This is a utterly enjoyable read that will make you think and you’ll want to discuss this books with all of your friends. It’s the perfect book club selection.

Thank you so much to Ellen for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 27th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

May Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. I managed to read 10 books this month. I think I could’ve done more but I got ill at the end of the month and it really slowed me down. I was on such a roll.

There were some books I enjoyed this month, but mostly it was average. Not any ill necessarily remember or rave about. Oh well, there’s always next month.

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up I read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel is only 100 pages but it sure does pack a punch. There are so many interesting aspects to the book that I wanted it to be longer but I think its shortness is what makes it special. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy. It’s out June 8th.

Secondly I read We Run The Tides by Vendela Vida. This book was very middle of the road for me. The writing was just okay, the story was just okay. I just felt like it all could’ve gone further. I just don’t think its a book I’ll remember. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain. I really enjoyed this book. It was a really sweet, wonderful story that I just got lost in and didn’t want to end. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of book. It’s out now.

Fourth this month I read Black buck by Mateo Askaripour. I loved the first half of this novel, I thought it was entertaining and intriguing and had a real message. The second half just lost it for me. There was a reveal which really bought the novel down for me. I don’t know why. Definitely not a bad book, just definitely could’ve been a lot better. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper. I loved the premise of this story but something about it fell flat for me. I wanted so much from it. It needed more description, more depth. I kept willing it to give me more. It wasn’t a bad book, it just could’ve been so much better. I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to the characters. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Sixth this month I read Diamond Hill by Kit Fan. This one started off slowly for me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I ended up really enjoying it. It had moments of beautiful writing and fantastic, in-depth characters.

Seventh was What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster. There was a lot to like about this novel, strong complex characters, a gripping story with an important message. There’s nothing stand out about it, but it was definitely a good read. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Then I read The Fortune Men by Nadia Mohamed. This one was based on a true story and it’s really captivating and infuriating in the best way. It maybe dragged at the beginning, but this one is definitely worth a read. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. You know, this one just wasn’t for me. It took me an age to read it, I couldn’t get into it. I could see what the author was trying to do, but they didn’t pull it off in my opinion. But I know a lot of people have loved this one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Lastly I read Heaven by Mieko Kawakami. I really enjoyed this book, although due to its subject matter it was hard to read a times. It was another short novel but really packs a punch. I won’t forget this one for a while. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out June 10th.

That’s it for me this month. Are you going to read any of these? Or have you and you didn’t like them? Let me know!

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Still Life by Sarah Winman

Title: Still Life

Author: Sarah Winman

Publisher: 4thestatebooks

Length: 487 pages

This is the proof copy, the final copy of the book is beyond beautiful.

Synopsis: It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together. Ulysses Temper is a young British Soldier and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered E.M. Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in particular Florentine room with a view. These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seen in Uylsses’s mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

In Still Life Sarah Winman captures the essence of what it means to be human. It will remind you the importance of being yourself and the wonder of human connection. It’s beautiful, it’s ethereal and its how all books should make you feel. There’s no doubt this will be one of my favourite books of 2021. It’ll probably be one of yours too.

One of the many things that shines in this book is the characters. I’ve never read characters like this before. Sarah has crafted characters that are so complex, so real. The way these characters came to life is astounding to me. Sarah makes you care for everyone of these characters. I still do care for them. I read this two months ago, and i still care about them. They’ll stay with me long after I’ve finished the book.

Also, I’m so glad Evelyn got her own section in the book. I could read a whole book on her. Evelyn has my whole heart. I loved her. And her friendship with Dotty. I love them.

Just a warning this book make you want to travel to Italy.

The connections Sarah creates between the characters is phenomenal, their is an intimacy in the simplicity in the conversations, in the way they know each other, how they feel about each other. It’s a part of what made these characters feel so real. It’s what makes the book unforgettable. It’s what makes me think about the novel even though I read it months ago. I’ve never known another author to create such honest, full connections in a book.

Sarah’s writing is just absolutely stunning. It’s beautiful. I cried because of the story but I also cried because of the beautiful writing. It just hits you right in the heart. Every so often there was a sentence that captured the soul of the character, or described what its like it be human. It’s brilliant. I was basically just weeping for the last quarter of this book. I need all books to be written this well.

I didn’t want this book to end but I couldn’t put it down. I just can’t stop thinking about this book. This book reminds me to have hope, you nebr know what or who’s around the corner. These characters live in my heart now. I adored this book from beginning to end.

Thank you so much to 4thestate books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out June 10th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, books, fiction, gay, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

Title: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

Author: Matt Cain

Publisher: Headline

Length: 464 pages

You’ll understand the Crunchie when you read the book.

Synopsis: 64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the seat of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him. He realises it’s finally time to be honest about who he is. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgot…

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is a reminder that it’s never to late to follow our hearts and be who we are.

There’s so much to love about this book. It’s got fantastic characters, a heartwarming story and an important message. It’s full of charm, heart and joy.

We follow Albert who keeps himself to himself and hides who he is from the outside world. Alberts journey is one of my favourite things about this book. To see him come into his own is so wonderful. And I really like how Matt has done it, it’s gradual and subtle. You’ll just fall in love with him. I also loved seeing make connections with other people, especially Nicole.

Nicole was also a great character to follow throughout the book. I loved the friendship that they formed. I also loved how their friendship was based on them both following their hearts.

Oh the romance. I thought it was beautiful. I was longing to Albert to reunited with George. No spoilers here so I won’t say if it happens but the whole thing had a real quality to it. The sections that go into the past so were so sweet but heartbreaking. Matt really captures the atmosphere of the time.

I really like how this novel tackles internalised homophobia, we need more of this in commercial fiction. You can see where Albert still has moments of shame as he is learning to accept himself, and its done so well. You can also see it when Albert meets the gay couple that moves into the village. I also really liked how Matt captures the atmosphere of Alberts childhood and how it stayed with him. It’s something we see so often and I think Matt handles it with real integrity and honesty.

Also, while reading this I couldn’t help but think this will make a brilliant tv series.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle really was a wonderful read that you won’t want to put down and one with characters you’ll fall in love with. It’s also pride next month and this is the perfect read for it. Don’t miss this one.

Thank so much to Headline Review for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 27th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

We’ve all got those books that we heard about and just had to have? And then they just sat on out bookshelves for years? Yep, that was Song of Achilles for me. And I’m glad to say I have finally read it.

Now, what I’m not so pleased to say is that I found this book incredibly disappointing. So many people love this book and when I put it on my bookstagram that was reading it everyone told me how much I’d love it. But I didn’t. I really didn’t.

In the first half of the book focuses on Patroclus who meets Achilles and as the grow up together they slowly fall in love. And the second half is dealing with Patroclus and Achilles at the Trojan war.

For me, the main focus in this book is the love story between Patroclus and Achilles and ultimately it just didn’t do it for me. I was promised an epic love story and it didn’t deliver. It felt shallow and trite. If I had this book at the beginning of my queer book journey I might’ve loved it more but I’ve read much better love stories. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters or the love story. It was a big miss for me.

The second half of the book was so boring. I just wanted it to end. Especially because I didn’t care for the characters meant I didn’t care what happened to them. So when Patroclus died I didn’t care. I didn’t even cry and I cry at everything.

What I did like about this book was the Ancient Greek element. I found it super interesting and I would’ve liked to read more about it. Maybe there’s better books out there set in this period. I know Madeline has another book out but after reading this I don’t think I’ll be picking it up anytime soon.

Maybe my expectations were just too high for this book? Or maybe it just wasn’t good. Let’s go with that. Like I said, I’m glad to have read it but what I’ll remember most about how disappointing it is.

Until the next review

Jthbooks