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WWW Wednesday – 24th April

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

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

What is WWW Wednesday?

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme where all you have to do is answer three simple questions. Look at me using the word meme! I feel so young!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you finished reading recently?
  • What are you planning to read next?

So let’s get started!

What are you currently reading?

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

What have you finished reading recently?

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

What are you planning to read next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

JTH

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BOOKS I WANT TO READ TAG

Thank you so much to Mani (mani’s book corner) for tagging me in the BOOKS I WANT TO READ TAG. This is the first time I’ve done one of these, so go easy on me my friends. But it’s such a fun idea, I had to give it a go. Don’t forget to check out Mani’s amazing blog. Seriously, it’s so good.

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The Rules

  • Link back to original tag
  • Complete the questions with books you want have read but haven’t
  • Tag people at the end

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Question One: A Book you feel you need to read because everyone talks about it.

There’s a few I could pick, but I’ll go with this one. Actually I could just put all of the books from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Everyone seems to love them.

Question Two: A book that’s long.

I want to read this, I even preorder this book. It’s just soooooo long.

Question Three: A book you’ve had on your shelf or TBR for far too long.

I’m such a huge of Adam Silvera’s, I’m desperate to read this, but it’s been on my bookshelf for nearly two years. Don’t ask me why, I’m not sure.

Question Four: A book that is ‘required reading’ (e.g. a school text or popular classic – a book you feel obligated to read.)

This one of those school texts and a classic. I’m sure I’ll get round to it one day.

Question Five: A book that intimidates you

I don’t know why, it’s just does. Am I intelligent enough to read this?

Question Six: A book you think may be slow.

Any book that’s over 900 pages has got to be a bit slow, right?

Question Seven: A book you’ve got to be in the right mood for

I have such high expectations for this book. I’ve got to pick the right moment so I won’t be disappointed.

Question Eight: A book you’re not sure you’ll like

Some people love this book, some hate it! I’m just not sure.

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Tags

Kerrie – Bookishly Kerrie

Kristen – Beyond The Secret Pages

Sarah – Thoughts Of The Reader

Shaye – A Reading Brit

Mrs Cooke’s – Mrs Cooke’s Books

Jack – Jack Shelton Bed Time Reading

Lucy – Lucy Novel Purpose

And one else who wants to play along!

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘The Girl in the Painting’ by Renita D’Silva

Title: The Girl in the Painting

Author: Renita D’Silva

Length: 495 pages

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Renita D’Silva is the author of many books, but this is the first time I’ve read one. The story sounded so intriguing, I couldn’t wait to get started.

India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place. As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…

England,2000: When Emma’s grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmothers wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…

‘Just like once before when she set aside her desire to study, go to college, in order to get married, do what was expected of her, once again she is felled by duty. That time she gave up her dreams, now she is giving up her life.’

Oh boy, this book did not disappoint. The story was so well thought out, intricate and full bodied. At the end of the first chapter, one of the characters, asks a question that leaves with a cliffhanger, and you want to know the answer to this question. That was me hooked right till the end.

From this question, it then goes into the back story of the two main characters, Margaret and Archana, where we read about their early years and the heartbreaking trials they both go through. You get such a sense of each character, and your heart breaks for both of them.

Like I said, it goes into their back story so the two main characters don’t even meet until about halfway through the book. But it doesn’t make the story slow, or the book feel long. It just engrosses you, so you go on the journey with them.

The descriptions, in this book are like no other. If this book doesn’t make you want to go to India, I don’t know what will? It’s described so beautifully, in such luscious detail. I think this is why the story never feels long, because you become so involved in the story and surroundings. Also, learning about the Indian traditions was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea, things like Sati actually happened. You know I love it when a book teaches me something.

‘Leaves have started to turn, a riot of deep yellow, golden russet, blood orange. Blackberries ripen in the bushes beside the road, bees and flies drunk on them. The air is perfumed with Hawthorn, honeysuckle and wild garlic. Crab apples ferment in the sunshine.’

What really makes the book excellent, is characters, their relationships and how we relate to them. The relationship between Margaret and Suraj, is sweet and romantic. Archana and her family’s relationship is a complex, yet deep love, marred by traditions. Margaret and her sister, with their heartbreak bring them together. Archana and Pramila, a friend she desperately needed. Side note, grab your tissues for this friendship. But the relationship between Margaret and Archana is so special, it’s the heart of this book. They’re connection just comes off the page, you can feel it. So when the friendship becomes complicated your so involved and your desperate for things to work out. This is all a testament to the great writing and storytelling.

Even though Archana is in a very specific situation, I still found myself relating to her. I had such empathy, I think everyone feels like she has felt, not being in control of her own life. I had such sympathy for these characters because the writing was just that good. The details, descriptions, heartbreak.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Renita is such a talented writer, and a great storyteller. Be prepared to become totally immersed in the culture, country, customs and characters in this book. This may be first book I’ve read of hers, but it won’t be the last. Now excuse me, I’m off to buy some more.

This book was given to from Netgalley and Bookouture, in return for a honest review. This book comes out April 11th and you can preorder now.

Until the next review

JTH

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March Wrap-Up

Well, I can’t believe it. Another month has come and gone. Don’t they fly by so fast? I managed to read 6 books this month. Don’t ask me how, I’ll never know. The two previous months I’ve only managed to read 5 books, so 6 was a step up for me. Am I becoming a fast reader? Probably not, but I can dream right?

Some of the book this month were fantastic, others less so. So, without further ado here they are:

First up was ‘Glass Sword’ by Victoria Aveyard. Was this better than the first one? Yes. Does that make it great? No. It was a step in the right direction. Once again, it left on a cliffhanger so I couldn’t wait to start the next. (Link to read full review is on the photo)

Secondly was ‘King’s Cage’ by Victoria Aveyard. This was the best in the series so far. We got to see the story from different characters perspectives, which invigorated the story. Made it fresh. Also, I really enjoyed the plot. But I did have to take a little break after this one. (Link to read full review is on the photo)

Third Up this month was ‘The Girl in the Painting’ by Renita D’Silva. This was an ARC. This was one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. It was amazing. Such a brilliant story, so engrossing. Kept me hooked till the very end. Such a great historical fiction story. Renita has many books out and I can’t wait to read more. This comes up April 11th and you can preorder now.

The fourth book this month was ‘War Storm’ by Victoria Aveyard. This was the last in the series and after a little break I was ready to start it. It was by far the best in the series! So many different character perspectives. Excellent plot and storytelling. Until the end. That ending! I still don’t get it. It made me laugh out loud.

Fifth this month was ‘The Passing Tribute’ by Simon Marshall. I requested this book from Netgalley as it was Historical Fiction and I was excited to read it. But this book was awful. The worst book I’ve read in a while. It was uninteresting and pretentious. It was a struggle to read, to be honest. Female characters were a highlight of the book though.

Lastly was ‘One of us is Lying’ by Karen M. McManus. This book has been out for a while and it’s been on my TBR forever. I really liked this book. Interesting plot, kept me guessing till the end. I didn’t see it coming. Full of twists. A quick read. It was the perfect book to finish off the month.

So, there you have it. 6 books this month. Roll on April and more books to read.

Until the next review

JTH

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February Wrap-up

It’s that time again! I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by. I hope you’ve all had a good month, reading and otherwise.

I’ve managed to read 5 books again this month, the same as last month. I know that’s not great, but it seems to be all I can manage! As I’ve said many times, I’m a slow reader.

So here they are:

First up was ‘Sea of Memories’ by Fiona Valpy. This book was fantastic. Such a brilliant story. Set in the past and modern day. Historical fiction at its finest. Fiona Valpy is fast becoming one of my favourites.

uSecond, was ‘The Sun is also a Star’ by Nicola Yoon. Another fantastic book. I really enjoyed this YA book. Set in New York over the course of a day. Give this one a go.

‘The Line of Beauty’ by Alan Hollinghurst was my third read of the month. This book was sophisticated. Queer fiction at its finest. It’s a modern classic.

Up next was ‘Red Queen’ by Victoria Aveyard. A huge YA series, I’ve been waiting to read this for a while. First 3/4 was disappointing, then a twist and I loved it. Can’t wait to start the next one.

Last up was ‘Brush Strokes’ by E.S Karlquist. This is an ARC and it’s fantastic. The best M/M romance I’ve read in ages. Comes out 12th March. So glad and grateful I got to read this one.

So that was it for me, roll on March and more fantastic books.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: ‘The Line of Beauty’ by Alan Hollinghurst

Title: The Line of Beauty

Author: Alan Hollinghurst

Length: 501 pages

Publisher: Picador

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Having read Alan Hollinghurst’s most recent novel ‘The Sparshot Affair’ and throughly enjoying it, I found out this is his most loved book and couldn’t resist when I saw it in the shop.

In the Summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of wealthy Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious Tory MP, his wife Rachel and their children Toby and Catherine. Innocent of politics and money, Nick is swept up into the Feddens’ world and an era of endless possibility, all the while pursuing his own private obsession with beauty.

‘The pursuit of love seemed to need the cultivation of indifference. The deep connection between them was so secret that at times it was hard to believe it existed. He wondered if anyone knew – had even a flicker of a guess, an intuition blinked away by its own absurdity.’

I’ve been trying to read more queer novels lately, whether they be young adult, general fiction, romance. I have to say, this is one of the best I’ve read in a while.

This books queer storyline is sublime. It’s starts out with the main protagonist, Nick a recent oxford graduate, trying to find love and lose his virginity. It deals with his first relationship, his first sexual experience, all with someone of lower class than himself. The latter half of the book, we find Nick in a secret relationship with one of his engaged Oxford friends, Wani. This relationship is tender, loving, complicated and realistic. It’s the heart of the book. Nick is also out in book, at a time and in a social class that wasn’t easy. This book is about his, not about his sexual orientation which is refreshing.

‘He felt there must always be hints of a secret affair, some involuntary tenderness or respect, a particular way of not noticing each other… He wondered if it ever would be known, or if they would take the secret to the grave.’

However, this book is so much more that this. It’s political storyline is so intriguing. I didn’t think I’d be interested in this side of the book, but I enjoyed it. I think it’s mainly due the fact that this book has fantastic sub characters. Gerald, the MP. Catherine, who deals with Mental Illness. Leo, Nicks first boyfriend. Wani, his secret lover.

This book, although published in 1993, is set in throughout the decade of the 80s. And it’s really a book of its time. The political storyline, with Margaret Thatcher. The gay storyline, with gay men being out in the open, used to be sexually free, now having to deal with the AIDS crisis.

This book is sophisticated. Its specific. It’s written in a very clever way, it’s detailed, quite sexually graphic and at times dense, with its political subplot and the array of characters you meet. But what is so clever that Alan Hollinghurst has done, is that we get to see the world through Nicks eyes. He’s an outsider to their world, therefore making the characters, plot and time more accessible. It’s so real, that’s all down to the talent of Alan Hollinghurst, with his excellent choice of perspective.

This book, was published over 25 years ago. It’s been made into a BBC series. I think it’s fair to say it’s on its way to becoming a modern classic. I truly feel it should be on the list of books you have to read.

Until the next review

JTH

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(E)ARC Books + My other social media.

Just a quick blog post to say I’ve been blessed by the Netgalley Gods, and I’ve been granted 4 ARC’S this week and I’m extremely grateful!

As I said I’ve been given a total of four this week. I know a lot of people can get more, but I don’t like to request too many as some don’t interest me or aren’t my type of book and I don’t want to give bad reviews.

The books are:

  • ‘Brush Strokes’ by E.S Karlquist from InterludePress. This once comes out on the 12th March. It’s an LGBT romance.I’m reading it now and it’s good.
  • ‘Once More Unto the Breach’ by ‘Meghan Holloway. This once comes out on the 14th May. It’s historical fiction. It’s a mystery/thriller. I can’t wait to get stuck into this one.
  • ‘Another Life’ by Robert Haller. This one comes out on the 4th June. It’s a general fiction. Told from different perspectives. Sounds interesting.

    ‘Bethlehem’ by Karen Kelly. This one comes out on the 9th July. It’s another historical fiction. About two women, thrown together in the name of family.

    Can I just read all these books now? They all sound fantastic.

    Just a reminder that you can follow me on other social media’s

    Instagram: Jthbooks

    Twitter: Jthbooks1

    Goodreads: Jthbooks

    Until the next review

    JTH