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

ARC Book Review: Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein.

Title: Slingshot

Author: Mercedes Helnwein

Publisher: Panmacmillan

Length: 334 pages

Synopsis: Grace Welles has resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beaten up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever… because now there is a boy in it that she never asked for. Wade Scholfield. With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt and logical stream if thought. So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realises that 1. The universe doesn’t evolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret? Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?

Look, is this a bad book? No absolutely not. Is it a great book? No absolutely not. Is this book pretty meh? Yes, yes it is.

I need to talk about the main character, Gracie, who in the first 100 pages is so annoying. Extremely annoying. She made me want to put the book down and never pick it up. She’s got such a bad attitude, and I know she’s meant to, and I can tell the other characters find it charming but as a reader I absolutely do not. And I think she’s meant to get better as the book progresses but again, nope.

Now lets talk about the romance or romances? I guess it’s actually a sort of love triangle. And I don’t get it. Why are these two boys in love with the her? One of the romances is actually pretty sweet, but it did happen very quickly. It definitely feels very shallow. And the other one just has no connection for me, it is more of a boy being in love with Gracie and she doesn’t feel the same but I’m still sitting here saying why are they all obsessed with her??

Here’s the thing, there isn’t much of a plot to this book. It’s all about finding your first love and having all those experiences. Maybe it’s because I’m too old for this kind of book, but it needs more! I didn’t believe the romances and the book sort of depends on them.

Like I said this isn’t a totally bad book, I just think to myself am I going to remember anything about this book in two weeks? I won’t, there’s so much brilliant young adult books out there at the moment with fantastic, important messages and this isn’t one of them.

Thank you so much to panmacmillan for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review, it’s out April 29th.

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, 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

#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, #yafantasy, adult fantasy, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Realm Breaker

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Orion

Length: 563 pages

Synopsis: A strange darkness is growing in the Ward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea. Fate knocks on her door, in the form of a mythical immortal and a lethal assassin, who tell Corayne that she is the last of an ancient lineage – with the power to save the world from destruction. Because a man who would burn kingdoms to the ground is raising an army unlike any seen before, bent on uprooting the foundations of the world. With poison in his heart and a stolen sword in his hand, he’ll break the realm itself to claim it. And only Corayne can stop him.

Ok, I’m starting this review literally minutes after I’ve just finished the book and all I have to say is AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!I’ve really struggled getting into fantasy over the last couple of years, with a few exceptions, but with Realm Breaker I think I may have found a new all time favourite series. Just a quick warning there will be spoilers in this review.I loved everything about this book. Literally everything. I can’t think of one single thing I didn’t enjoy. I mean what’s not to love? It got great characters, epic action, brilliant world building and some page-turning plot twists. Ok lets start with the characters, I love them all. They all own my heart, yes even Erida. Read the book and you’ll know why I’m saying that! The story is told through five perspectives and each one was just as enjoyable as the other. Victoria has written such strong characters, each one so different, that I slowly grew to love them all. Seriously. Even the supporting characters that didn’t get a perspective, I still really loved. They were just all full of personality and they had such great character development. I really mean it, the seven (even Erida) have a place in my heart.I also loved how the characters relationship developed. The pacing of it was really well done. You can feel them slowly becoming a team whilst still being unsure of each other at times and it’s fantastic to read, Victoria strikes the balance really well. And I lived for the banter, especially between Dom and Sorasa. I’m also really excited to see how the friendship will deepen in book two. Ugh, I just love them. Now, this is a SUPER SPOILER, but I kinda ship Erida and Taristan. I know I shouldn’t because they want to hurt my loves, but I do. I know they’re only married to help each other but I can sort of feel a connection building or maybe its Victoria tricking me, either way I’m excited for more. I feel likes there could be more relationships between some of the seven, and I’ve got my ideas of who but I’ll keep them to myself and just be taken along for the ride. And yes, I need Charlon and Garion to reunite and I need that queer love story. That’s all I have to say.I loved the world Victoria has created. It feels expansive but not overwhelming. It’s called ‘Allward’ and it feels like a fresh universe. I really liked how the characters had connections to the some of places and it just made it feel real to me. The characters went to many different places and each place was different and I never got confused. The world is written beautifully. I loved looking at the map to see where the characters were (sad I know but true). It feels cohesive and I’m looking forward to it being explored more in book two. There’s some magic to this book that I really love. The love the whole idea of Spindles and other realms, it’s so exciting (and scary) to see how this will expand in book two. It’s a unique magical world with wizards, elders, spindleblood and I think Victoria has crafted it really well. Expertly well. It’s my favourite fantasy setting for a long time. I think this is a really well paced book in every sense. It’s Like I before with the character development and relationships, its also applies to the world building and magic. There’s so much more it explore. It just felt exciting to read, even when the characters were just travelling I was excited. It full of action, really well written action. It was so cinematic, I could see it so clearly in my head I loved it. It was full of twists and turns, some of them making my jaw hit the floor. I didn’t see them coming and I’m still shocked now. And don’t talk to me about that last page!! How could you end it like that Victoria!! I’m not sure if you could tell but I loved this book. LOVED IT! It’s one of those books that I took my time reading (even though I wanted to devour it) because I was just loving every page and I didn’t want it to end and I know I was going to miss this world and these characters when I was done! So I’m going to need fan art, special editions, merchandise and a tv series (you know its a good idea). I can’t wait to collect it all. I need book two. I need it now. But I guess I’ll just have to wait…Thank you so much to Orion for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 4th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks