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

December Wrap Up

The last month of the year has come and gone. And it was a weird reading month for me. Some I really loved. Really loved. Some I didn’t at all.

I read Seven books in the month of December. That’s not too bad. Of course things get a bit hectic this time of year.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up was The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. This turned out to be one of my favourite reads of 2022. It’s haunting, it’s heartbreaking. It’s just incredible! I know I’ll be thinking of these characters for a long time. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out January 20th.

Second was Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim. I really enjoyed this book. I learnt a lot about Korean history that I didn’t know and it’s just captivating and entertaining. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out February 3rd.

Then I read Violeta by Isabel Allende. I have to say this was a let down for me. I felt no attachment to any of the characters, I didn’t enjoy the story, it had no depth to it. It all felt glazed over and the story didn’t flow. Nah. Didn’t like this at all. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out in January. Th

Up next I read The Christie Affair by Nina De Garment. Hmmm, I’m not sure about this book. It’s definitely not a bad book, it just felt the like something out of nothing. I just didn’t quite see the point. It’s certainly not one I’m going to remember. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out January 20th.

Fifth this month I read Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors. I was really surprised how I enjoyed this novel. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the different perspectives and the story. I loved the writing. It’s funny, it’s devastating. I’ll look forward to reading more from this author. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out February 17th.

Then I read The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh. Yes. Yes to this book. It’s so beautiful, so imaginative. It’s just a great fantasy based on East Asian tales. I love Axie Oh’s writing so much. I could’ve done with the romance being developed a little bit more but I was still into it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out February 22nd.

Lastly I read Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu. This wasn’t a bad book at all, in fact at times I think it really shined. But it also sometimes felt a little long. The more I think about this one the more I’d don’t like it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out February 2nd.

So that was my reading month for December. Are you going to read any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #fiction, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fantasy, fiction, historical fiction, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

November Wrap Up

November, a month where I’d finished all my proof copies for the year and I could read some of the books I bought and I definitely did. I did sneak in one proof of next year because I was desperate to read it.

I only managed seven books this month. Probably my lowest of the year. I’m not sure why really. I was loving everything I read. Very strange.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up was The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye. I think everyone should read this book. It highlights, I’m well researched detail, of the attacks on trans lives and how we can be better ally’s. Just absolutely brilliant. It’s out now

Then I read Real Life by Brandon Taylor. I have a feeling my expectations were a little to high for this one. I just didn’t fully connect with it for some reason, I love what it had to say in places. It’s by no means a bad book at all, the opposite but for me, there was just something missing. It’s out now.

Up next was If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. I really enjoyed this sweet love young adult love story. I would happily read a lot more books with these characters in. I was totally swept up, couldn’t ask for more. Well I can, I want more books. Thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book. It’s out January 6th.

Fourth this month I read XOXO by Axie Oh. I loved every page of this book. I loved the romance, I loved that it was set in Korea. I loved that they were idols. I just loved it all. Seriously loved it. I want to read more books like this. It’s out now.

Up next was A Dutiful Boy by Moshin Zaidi. A really beautiful, emotional nonfiction book about losing apart of yourself to find another. I have to say I did shed a few tears by the end of it. This one is out now.

Then I read The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun. I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but I absolutely did. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. I’ll probably spend a lot of time rereading this book. I absolutely loved it. It’s out now.

Lastly I read Tin Man by Sarah Winman. My goodness what a book. It’s a short book, but it really does pack punch. I think Sarah is one of the most gifted writers of our time. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It’s out now.

So that’s it for this month, not so many books this month but there was some I really truly loved. And that makes it worth while.

Have you read any of these? Let me know

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, #memoir, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, gay, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya

October Wrap Up

Another month come and gone and October was a strange reading month for me. Some of the books I absolutely loved, some I hated and some I felt let me down a little.

I only managed to read seven books, it felt like more and I was a little shocked at that number.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up was Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Loved this. Absolutely loved it. It’s definitely one of favourites of the year. It’s so imaginative and immersive. I adored how the story connected and it’s just pure bliss. Thank you so much to the publishers for my copy.

Then I read The Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen. A brilliant and original fantasy book, which is part of a new series that I absolutely loved. Full of fantastic characters and African mythology. I adored it. And who doesn’t love mermaids? Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here.

Thirdly I read The Selfless Act of Breathing by JJ Bola. This a book that slowly creeps up on you, and it definitely has left me thinking about this book long after I finished it. But I’m also left with the feeling that something was missing. It was times incredibly powerful. Thanks so much to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Next up I read The Madness of Grief by The Reverend Richard Coles. A really heartbreaking memoir, that I did at times feel could’ve gone a little deeper. I maybe needed a little more, but it definitely had me emotional at times. You can pick this one up now.

Up next I read The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. I had such high hopes for this book, but I ultimately didn’t like it. At all. It took me such a long time to read and I found myself not caring at all. This one is out now.

Sixth up I read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Beautifully written, with such heart and heartbreak. Did I feel it was a little too long? Yes. But in the middle of the book, when Maggie is writing about grief, it doesn’t get better. It just doesn’t. This one is out now.

Lastly I read Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Rawaguchi. This book is a little bit of magic. It can’t be denied. There is something really beautiful about this, without it ever going to far. I adored it. The more I think about it, the more I love it. This one is out now.

So that’s it for me this month. Have you read any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC book review: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Title: Skin of the Sea

Author: Natasha Bowen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Length: 303 pages

This is the proof copy and the final cover is just as stunning!

Synopsis: This is the story of many things. Of the Mami Wata – Black Mermaids who collect the souls of enslaved people who die at sea and bless their journeys home. Of Simi who wants to save lives not souls. Of a great love – a love that threaten worlds and anger Gods. Of a terrible choice and the lives that hang in the balance. This is a story that will change history. Do you want to hear more?

There is so much to love about Skin of the Sea. It’s a really impressive debut fantasy book that I really can’t find anything wrong with.

Simi, a mermaid who captures the soul of people after they’ve been thrown of the slave ships, is a fantastic character to follow. She has such depth and is really complex. In fact all the characters in this book are brilliant. I have to give a special little shout out to Issa. I’ll never forgive Natasha Bowen for what’s she did!

There’s a romance to the book that definitely isn’t the main subject of this book, but Natasha someone gives it such depth and believability that I was IN.

Skin of the Sea is immersed with African Mythology and History, that for me, takes this book to another level. It gives the book such depth and makes it really powerful. It’s also really heartbreaking. It’s a mermaid who captures the souls of black people who have been thrown off the slave ships and this really heartbreaking. Natasha manages to fit this in amongst all the fantasy and capture the brutality.

The ending. THE ENDING. The story has such a brilliant build up and it doesn’t disappoint. After I read the end, I turned the pages looking for me because I needed it. I can’t believe it was left on that cliffhanger. I need more. I NEED MORE. And it’s going to be such a long wait till book two. But as soon as I can get my hands on it I will.

Skin of the Sea is a book I think everyone should read and be prepared to be swept away. Natasha is a brilliant new talent and I can’t wait for book two.

Thank you to Michelle at Penguin Books for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

September Wrap Up

Well, September absolutely flew by. I seriously don’t know where it when. Can anyone tell me? I’m going to use the excuse that the month went by so quickly as the reason I only read six books this month.

Six in a month is definitely the least I’ve read in a month so far this year. But that’s okay. We’ll try and bounce back next month.

Let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up in September I read Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Did I love this book? Yes, yes I did. It definitely wasn’t perfect but it’s just so much fun and so romantic. It was just a quick, sweet read. So glad I finally picked this one up. It’s out now.

Then I read Little Thieves by Margaret Owens. This is a brilliant fantasy book that had me hooked from beginning to end. It was so intriguing and intricate. It had such a wonderful ending to. I was surprised at how much I loved this one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out October 5th.

Up next was Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen. This was a brilliant, insightful complex book about the a family struggling to human. It really is fantastic. It’s a beast of a book so it took me a while to read, but it was so worth it. Now the long wait for the next instalment. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out October 5th.

Fifth this month I read Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. The queer YA books need to be this good. It’s understated, quiet and yet so powerful. With characters you’ve felt you’ve known your whole life. I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s out now.

Then I read Piranesi by Suzanne Clarke. I have to be honest and say this one disappointed me. I thought it was going to be something fresh and original, I thought the first half was intriguing and exciting, but ultimately it became predictable and like something I’d read before. I thought the second half was really underwhelming and that’s when I was expecting to go to great heights. I really was let down. It’s out now.

Lastly I read A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske. This wasn’t a bad book at all, but I just found it all pretty average. I didn’t find it particularly engaging, or like I got to know the characters at all. I just needed more from this book. I’ll probably read the second one, Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out in November.

So that’s it for me this month. Not my best reading month that’s for sure.

Have you read any of these books? Or are you planning to? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Little Thieves by Margaret Owens

Title: Little Thieves

Author: Margaret Owens

Publisher: Hodderscope

Length: 500 pages

Synopsis: Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love- and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja is the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, and up until a year ago was the dutiful servant of Princess Gisele. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded payment for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her fortune back… by stealing Gisele’s life. Thanks to an enchanted string of pearls, Vanja transformed into her former mistress and took her place, leaving the real Gisele a penniless nobody. Now, Vanja leads a lonely bit lucrative double life as a princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to slowly turn into jewels, stone by stone. Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and maker her getaway. And with a feral half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

It always takes me a little while to get into fantasy novels. It takes me while to get to know the magic, the world and it did take me a while but the difference with Little Thieves is that it’s enjoyable learning the all of these things.

There is just so much to love about this book I’m not sure where to start. But I think it’s how much I really enjoyed the characters. Vanja is a fantastic main character to follow. I loved how complex and flawed she was but still likeable. I just loved her growth. I also loved Emeric and Ragne. But I enjoyed them all.

What Margaret does brilliantly in this book is create connection between the characters that is so real and believable. I loved, loved loved the friendship between Vanja and Ragne. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the novel for me. Of course I also loved Vanja and Emeric, but I’m not going to spoil that for you. Towards the ends of the there’s almost a found family trope and it adds a lovely element to the book.

Here’s something I often think goes unappreciated in a novel is how enjoyable it is to read. Even when not much wasn’t happening in the plot, it was great to read about the characters and the world. You could tell the story was building (and Margaret does it so well) to the ending. It’s exciting to see if Vanja will break her curse and stop Adalbrecht. As a reader it just keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

Now let’s talk about that ending shall we? It’s so good! So so good! The last 100 pages are such page turners that I just couldn’t stop reading. The ending was exciting and intense. It even had one of those moments where I was like what did I just read! I loved it. Loved it.

Margaret Owens has written a complex, intricate fantasy novel filled with brilliant characters, wonderful magic and a story that has a lot of heart. I do believe it’s a stand-alone book but damn I want a sequel!

Thanks to Kate and Hodderscope for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out October 5th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: The Antarctica of Love by Sara Stridsberg.

Title: The Antarctica of Love

Author: Sara Stridsberg (translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner)

Publisher: MacLehose Press

Length: 272 pages

Synopsis: Inni is a rebellious teenager, a volatile young woman, a drug user, a sex worker, an unstable mother… she loves her life on the margins, but it is a life that is full, complex, filled with different shades of dark and light. Until it is brutally ended one summer’s day, on a lake shore at the heart of a distant, rain-washed forest. But Inni’s story doesn’t end with her murder. We sit with her as she watches her children, parents and friends living on in the world without her, hoping, as time passes, that they will still remember her.

I read the synopsis of The Antarctica of Love and just thought it sounded so interesting and intriguing, so I was very lucky when MacLehose Press sent me an early copy.

The Antarctica of Love is beautifully written. I really mean it. It’s gorgeous. It’s so beautifully written that it almost feels ethereal even though it deals with such a horrible subject matter. There were points on this book that the writing is so beautiful and Sara Stridsberg took the novel to places I didn’t expect it to go, that it made me cry.

The novel begins with Inni being murdered and it is so impactful. It is absolutely brutal at times, but Sara has some struck the perfect balance between the hard hitting acts of violence committed against Inni, and the tangible vulnerability of human connection. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that is so full of tenderness yet packs a real punch. It’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

You can’t help but feel for Inni, as you learn about how life and how it lead to the point of her murder. And I loved Sara’s choice to make the reader experience Inni looking back on her life after her depth and then to see all other characters she’d left behind. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, as was this book.

It amazes me how Sara has packed so much depth in the story, in the characters and their connections. It’s one of my favourite things about this exquisite novel. There is so much to unpack. It deals with loss, death, addiction, grief and love.

There is such a sense of sadness and heartbreak about this novel but it’s never overwhelming as it’s also full of love. And Sara’s writing elevates the book to even higher heights. It’s the kind of book you tell your friends about at work because you can’t stop thinking about it and you want them to read it too. It’s that good.

It has also been beautifully translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner.

I was wonderfully surprised at how much I loved The Antarctica of Love. There is no doubt it’s ine of my favourite reads of the year. I hope it’ll be nominated for the international Booker prize next year as it fully deserves to be. It’s book I won’t forget for a long time and I don’t think you will either.

Thank you so much to Katya and MacLehose Press for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 30th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Defy The Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Defy The Night

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Length: 443 pages

Synopsis: In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist. Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing medicine to those who need it most. As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa faces a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom… and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

Defy The Night is a young adult novel that’s an absolute triumph.

Sometimes with a fantasy novel it can take me while to get into, as we learn about the worlds and the characters, but with this book I found myself instantly engaged and engrossed. Seriously, I couldn’t put the book down. And I was excited to see where this book was going.

I mean, I was into it. I loved the characters, I loved the world, I loved where the story was going and then the twist happened. The twist happened that I didn’t see coming (don’t worry no spoilers). And it just elevated the book. I haven’t been that shocked by a book in a long time. My jaw actually fell open.

I loved the characters in this. I loved Tessa, Wes, Corrick and Harriston. I liked that they were all complex. And I liked the personal issues each had to go through (I know I’m being vague but I really don’t want to spoil anything). But I really liked that Brigid put some social issues in the book, it gave it real depth and therefore the characters became stronger too.

There was a romance that I totally believed and and I want more of and I want more of it now. But you’ll have discover that when you read it.

The last quarter of Defy The Night is a real page turner. I was up till gone midnight reading this book, I never do that. But I couldn’t put it down. Every chapter finished on a cliffhanger and I kept saying to myself I’ll just read one more and the next thing I knew I’d finished the book.

I really like how it ended. It ends in such a strong position for the next book to explore (which I am already highly anticipating). How long do I have to wait? I’m excited to see where the second book goes and to continue to get to know these characters. And that’s the sign of a great start to a new series right?

Thank you so much to Mattea at Bloomsbury YA Uk for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 14th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

August Wrap Up

Well didn’t August just fly by?

I managed to read 8 books this month. That seems to be my average these days and I’m okay with that.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up was Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune and I have to say this was pretty average for me. I know a lot of people loved and are looking forward to it but I just felt we’ve seen it all before. Yep, nothing special for me. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out October 28tb.

Secondly this month I read Last Night At The Telegraph Club by Malindo Lo. Well I absolutely loved this book. It’s a brilliant sapphic historical fiction novel that I wish more people would read. It’s out now.

Thirdly was Magpie by Elizabeth Day. This was such a brilliant thriller novel that had so much heart and depth. This one really surprised me in the best way. It’s not my usual style of book so I was glad I got to read it. Thanks so much to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here.

Up next I read Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stéphanie Garber. This is was big no for me. I honestly thought it was a load of nonsense. I still don’t know what the point in this book was. My worst of the month. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out September 30th.

Then I read my first Graphic Novel Heartstopper Volume 1. I absolutely loved this. It was so sweet and wholesome, with a really beautiful love story that I look forward to continuing. Beautiful illustrations too!

Sixth this month I read Defy The Night by Brigid Kemmerer. I absolutely loved this fantasy novel. It was so enjoyable, I was immediately intrigued and then it had a plot twist I didn’t see coming at all. I already can’t wait for the next one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book. It’s out September 14th.

Up next I read The Antarctica of Love by Sara Stridsberg. God I absolutely loved this book. I didn’t know what to expect at all, but I loved every page. Definitely going to be one of my favourites of the year. So emotional, so gloriously written. I really hope a lot of people read this one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out September 30th.

My last book of the month was That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu. This one started off a little rocky for me and I wasn’t sure but by the end it was a brilliant read. I kept rereading those final few pages. I loved it.

So that was it. That was my reading month.

Any interests in these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fiction, #literature, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, literary ficton, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Title: Magpie

Author: Elizabeth Day

Publisher: 4thestate

Length: 336 pages

Synopsis: Marisa may have only known Jake a few months, but she has never felt this certain about anyone. When he asks her tk move in with him and they start trying for a baby, she knows she has finally found the steadfast love and support she has been looking for all her life. But their relationship is tested when they take in a lodger, Kate, who has little regard for personal boundaries and seems to take an uncomfortable interest in Jake – as well as the baby they are hoping to have. Why is Kate so obsessed with the couple? And, more worryingly, why doesn’t Jake share Marisa’s concern? In her determination to find the answers, Marisa risks losing everything she holds dear…

Magpie feels like a tale of two halves, which in this case isn’t a bad thing, the first half feels taut with suspense and wonder, while the second half is an exploration on motherhood, love and forgiveness. Day manages to keep the novel cohesive with a plot twist that moves the story to another level of excellence.

Now, let’s talk about the plot twist. I had my ideas of what I thought would happen, and I was desperately trying to guess and I got it wrong! I didn’t see it coming and I was really shocked! I love it when an author pulls off a good plot twist and Elizabeth does just that!

Also the characters were fantastic in this book. I couldn’t help but like Kate. I literally said to myself while reading it that I really like Kate. I liked Marisa too and Jake. For a thriller like this to work you have to have believable, likeable characters and Elizabeth Day has done just that.

This is hard to explain without giving any spoilers and I really don’t want to do that, but I love how Elizabeth has connected they story before and after the plot twist. It really made it cohesive and was such a smart decision. It really makes the novel feel whole. Magpie really shows Elizabeth’s talent as writer as she handles both the psychological thriller and the emotional moments phenomenally. And it gives the story and every character such depth.

It is a book that deals with mental illness and I was grateful that it wasn’t exploited. Marisa wasn’t made into a villain, or made to be evil. Things that happen (without spoilers) are the consequences of her actions and intentions that were good. I think it’s balanced really well. And let’s be honest we all know who the real villain of this book is. You’ll know who when you read it!

Magpie is a fast-paced, thrilling, emotional read that will keep its reading guessing, wanting to know more and is one of the best thrillers I’ve read. It really is a book you won’t be able to forget for a long time.

Thanks so much to Liv at 4thestate for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 2nd

Until the next review

Jthbooks