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November Wrap Up

Now, I’ve been on lockdown this whole month and I really thought I was going to read more, but of course these lockdowns are hard and my reading took a while to get going.

I really started off the month slowly, just not reading much. I was finding it really hard to concentrate. But when I finally did get going I read some brilliant books. Absolutely brilliant. But I don’t only manage to read seven books. Not great, but not bad. Still I’ve found a new favourite so it was a good month.

Towards the end of the month my reading sort of tapered off again. But hey, that’s lockdown for you.

Let’s talk about these books then shall we?

First up I read The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell. This was a good book, not my favourite of the month, but still good. It kept me intrigued throughout. And I’ll definitely be checking out Laura’s other books. It’s out in January.

Next I read These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and I really enjoyed this one. It took me a little why to get into it, but once I did I loved it. Great characters, a great story. Action packed. You can check out my full review here. Can I have book two now? This one is out now.

Then I read Between The World and Mw by Ta-nehisi Coates. This is a brilliant non-fiction book. I don’t think this is something you review. It’s just something you learn from. It’s a must read.

Up next was The Prophets by Robert Jones jr. Is this my new favourite book? I think so. It’s absolutely outstanding. The writing is phenomenal. Phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough. This one is out January 5th. Thank you to Quercus books for my copy.

Then I read Love Is A Revolution by Renée Watson. This is a quick YA book that I really enjoyed. It had some fantastic characters, and I loved the message that this book gets across. This one is out in February. Thanks to Bloomsbury YA for my copy.

Next up was Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. This book was short but it really packed a punch. The writing was absolutely stunning. It really was stunning. This one is out in February and I can’t recommend it enough. I look forward to rereading it. Thanks to Viking Books UK for my copy.

Then I read While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart. Loved this one. I love historical fiction and this is an excellent one. Thank you to Headline books for my copy. It’s out in March.

Lastly this month I read The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I absolutely loved this book. Brilliant characters, a brilliant story. I can’t stop thinking about this book.

So that was my reading for the month. Are you interested in any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

JTH

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WWW Wednesday – November 11th

We are in Lockdown here in the UK, and I hate to say it’s been affecting my reading. I just don’t want to pick up a book, but I can slowly feel it coming back so I figured I do a one of these blog posts to keep you all up to date.

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?

Let’s talk about the books shall we?

What are you currently reading?

Ok so I’m currently reading The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr from Quercus Books. This is one of my most anticipated reads for 2021. I’m not very far in, I think around 60 pages, and it’s pretty incredible so far. I can just tell it’s going to be brilliant. The writing is so good. It’s out in January.

What have you finished reading recently?

I recently finished, just yesterday, Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and it was absolutely brilliant. After the American election, I saw a video clip of Van Jones speaking so emotionally and eloquently about what it’s like to be a black parent in the US and I just knew I had to read this book. If you’re looking to further understand and educate yourself on Black History and racial inequality this is the book. It’s so moving and powerful. I highly recommend. Everyone should read this book. It’s out now.

What are you reading next?

This is such a hard question. I’m really trying to make my way through my proof books for next year. So it’s definitely going to be one of those, but which one is the choice to make. This is why I don’t set tbr’s because I can never stick to them. But I think it’ll be between these two.

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson which is out in February

Or

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson which is also out in February.

They both sound incredible. Can someone pick for me?

Until the next review

JTH

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October WrapUp

I know I say this in every monthly wrap up but this month flew by. It really did. Last month I only read six books, so I really wanted to do better and I did.

I managed to read nine books this month. This probably has something to do with the fact that I had a week off work (which was heaven) and I spent a lot of my time reading. I also really enjoyed the books I was reading at the beginning of the month. I couldn’t wait to pick them up.

Right let’s talk about the books shall we?

The first book I finished this month was ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’ by Stuart Turton. Ugh, this was so good. I didn’t expect to love it so much. Suspenseful, immersive. And that ending! I’m still in shock. I was lucky enough to be sent this by Bloomsbury and it’s out now.

The second book for October was All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott. Damn this book was an emotional rollercoaster. But I loved it. And it had the BIGGEST TWIST. I’m still shock now. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for my copy. It’s out now.

Next up was The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu. I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully written. So beautifully written. It’s full of fantastic characters. I don’t think I’ll forget this book for long time. Thanks to Dialogue books for my copy. It’s out now.

For the fourth book this month I read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. I’ve had this on my tbr forever and it didn’t disappoint. I adore this book with all of my being. Why did I wait to long? So powerful and moving.

Then I read Trio by William Boyd. This was my first William Boyd book and I really enjoyed it. I was full of great characters, and I was really intrigued to see how it ended and where the characters would end up. Thanks to Viking Books for the copy. It’s out now.

Next I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Of course I had to read this and of course I loved it. Beautifully written. So emotional. So romantic. I loved it.

Then I decided to read Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins. I really loved this book. I loved the sweet queer love story and I loved the self acceptance and different representation. We need more books like this one. It’s out January 21st.

Next up I read How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones. This is one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved every page. It’s just brilliant. Thanks to Tinder Press for my copy. It’s out in January.

Lastly I read The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell. This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it. I did take me a long time to read. It definitely kept me intrigued. This one is out in January. Thanks to Bloomsbury for the copy.

And that’s it. That was all the books. Have you read any? Or are any on your tbr?

Also, Lockdown has just been announced here in the uk, which means I now have a month of work as I work in hospitality, so I think they’ll be a lot of books read in the next month.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Trio by William Boyd

Title: Trio

Author: William Boyd

Length: 341 pages

Publisher: Viking Books UK

Synopsis: It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There are riots in Paris and the Vietnam War is out of control. While the world is reeling out three characters are involved in making a Swingin’ Sixties movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives. Elfrida is drowning her writer’s block in vodka; Talbot, coping with the daily dysfunction of making a film, is hiding something in a secret apartment; and the glamorous Anny is wondering why the CIA is suddenly so interested in her. But the show must go on and, as it does, the trio’s private worlds begin to take over their public ones. Pressures build inexorably- someone’s going to crack. Or maybe they will.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit but this is my first ever William Boyd book, but I can definitely tell you it won’t be my last. And at least now I have a big back catalogue to get through.

In Trio we follow three character perspectives, Talbot, Elfrida, and Anny. I can honestly say I really enjoyed each perspective (it’s not often that happens is it). I also really enjoyed how they were all connected. It made the novel really interesting.

I really liked all three of the main characters, if I had to pick a favourite I would probably have to say Elfrida. I don’t know why she’s just the one I felt for the most. I so wanted her to write her Virginia Wolfe book and for it be a success. But I loved Anny and Talbot too. Anny’s story was definitely the most plot driven and I was willing her to make good decisions. And Talbots was really interesting. I think William manages to capture that moment in time where homosexuality has just become legal but attitudes, and internal attitudes haven’t caught up. It was really quiet powerful. I think the characterisation was one of the best things about this book. They were all complicated and real.

I loved the setting too. One, I don’t live very far away from Brighton so that was cool. But I also loved the movie set. It was really interesting and detailed. It just had that old glamour feel to it. The plot was also so intriguing. I wanted to see what would happen. I wanted to see where the characters would end up.

Now let’s talk about it that ending shall we? I can honestly say I didn’t expect it to end like it did, especially Elfrida’s. I was so shocked. I never saw it coming. It also made me sad. In so many ways. But I’m not going to say anymore, as I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you’ll know what I mean when you read.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I as was reading it, I just knew I was throughly enjoying it and it made me not want to put it down. I read it in just over a day. Now I’m off to buy some more William Boyd books.

Thank you so much to Alexia at Viking Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now!

Until the next review

JTH

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September Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. September was a strange month. I only managed to read six books. I haven’t read that little in a long time. I wonder why? Oh well, we can always hope for more books next month.

Also when I’m reading so little, it certainly doesn’t stop buying more books. I’ve bought and received double the amount of books than I’ve read this month. But I’m not complaining. There’s nothing better than book mail.

Anyway, let’s talk about these books shall we?

The first book is The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi and what a way to start the month. I loved this book. I’ll be surprised if it’s not in my top 10 for the year. Beautiful, beautiful writing! It’s out now.

I then read You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. This was just incredible! I loved it from the first page to the last. Queer Black girl love and I need more. It was Brilliant. It’s out now.

Next up was Beloved by Toni Morrison. I can say this wasn’t my favourite Toni Morrison book, but the writing was still exceptional as always. A masterful storyteller.

Then I read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This was absolutely fantastic. A brilliant fantasy book with every done so well. I loved it. Now I’ve got the long wait for book two. It’s out now.

I then finished Just Like You by Nicky Hornby. This book managed to capture a time and a place well. But there was also something lacking in this book. But it was a quick read. It’s out now.

Next up was The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffith. I really, really enjoyed this one. It was so good. Full of twists and turns. A fantastic mystery. Great characters. I loved it. It’s October 1st.

This is what it for me this month. I guess it wasn’t my best month. But let’s hope October goes better.

I also have a new Blog Photo which I absolutely love. My wonderful friend Hugo drew it for me. You can find him on Instagram.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Interview with Tracy Deonn and Book Review: Legendborn

Title: Legendborn

Author: Tracy Deonn

Length: 490 pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Synopsis: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family’s memories or childhood home. A residential programme for bright young high-schoolers at UNC- Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape – until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying Demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called ‘Legendbornstudents that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a ‘Merlin’ and who attempts- and fails- to wipe Beees memory of everything saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if it means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets – and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveals themselves as descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight.

For more stops on this blog tour, check out these other fantastic bloggers and see how much they love this book.

This is the kind of fantasy book I absolutely love. It had everything you could ever want. Fantastic characters, detailed magic, a brilliant plot and romance . Have I convinced you to read this yet?

We follow Bree, who joins a secret society to find out the truth about her mother’s death and gets so much more than she bargained for. It’s such a brilliant plot that I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin it for you. I want you to be swept away like I was.

Bree is such a fantastic main character to follow. She’s smart, brave, gutsy. I loved her. You can’t help but root for her throughout. I even felt protective over her. I also have to give a shoutout to Sel. I also loved him. He had that classic arc of he’s a bad guy but is he really? I love him. Check out the answers below in the interview for some Sel information in book two!

There was a romance between Bree and Nick that was pretty inevitable but it was still fantastic. I totally believe it and was into it. But without saying too much, I wonder if there’s another character that could interrupt Bre and Nicks romance and i think I want it to be explored. It actually need it to be explored. I need it. It excites me.

The magic in this book is brilliant. It’s a real highlight. It’s incredibly detailed so pay attention. When Bree joins the secret order, it’s so interesting to learn about Shadowborns, Onceborns, Merlins. And I love how it all ties into King Arthur and the nights of the round table. It’s genius. I love the blend of modern and historical fiction. And just when you think it can’t get anyone detailed and intricate we learn about Rootcraft. Which celebrates black history and the power of your roots. Which I actually believe is genius and so powerful.

This book also has so many important messages. I love what Tracy has to say about grief. It was so powerful and poignant. It definitely made me tear up a few times. It’s just so honest and real. Such brilliant writing. It also makes you love Bree more. I’ve also lost my mum, like Bree and Tracy the author. So it really hit home for me. It also deals with race and it’s handled honestly and powerfully. It’s black girl magic. It’s what we need more of and this book is perfect at capturing it.

Ugh the ending. It was sooooo good. Tracy manages to build such momentum that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Seriously. It felt like I was in the action. And there was a lot of action. With so many twists and turns. I didn’t guess the ending. It totally surprised me. It was so powerful. I absolutely loved it.

I guess all there’s left to say it, when is book twoout? I need it. Like yesterday.

There’s so much to enjoy about this book and I really want you all to read it. You won’t regret it. Also, it’s just become a New York Times Bestseller

Now it’s time for the interview.

Thank you so much to Tracy for agreeing to do this. Enjoy the answers!

1) What inspired you to write this story?

The first early kernel of Bree, the main character of Legendborn, was born when I lost my mother. At that time, I found out that she had also lost her mother when she was my age, and that the same was true of my grandmother. Being a writer, I immediately wondered how such a pattern could have happened in my family. Of course, there’s no real answer here – life is strange and sometimes the odd and sad things happen to us and that’s that. But as a writer, I decided to create an answer. I began writing from a place of grief and mystery, and in the book Bree begins from that same place, too. I wanted to explore the idea of legacy and whose lives and deaths are lost to history and whose become legendary. That naturally led me to Arthuriana, as I’ve been a fan of the legends for most of my life, and I felt as though I could contribute something new to the 1500 year old storytelling tradition of growing the Arthurian canon. That’s really the source of Bree’s story—a book-length, contemporary fantasy answer to an impossible real world question.

2) Was it always going to be a school setting?

Yes! Once I decided to work with Arthuriana to explore some of my favorite legends, I immediately thought of Susan Cooper and The Dark is Rising Sequence. In those books, part of her brilliance was allowing Arthur and the stories to be pulled forward into the future in a sense. I gave myself the same challenge – How could Arthur and the Table exist in the modern day? The answer seemed very clear here in the US; the Round Table would embed themselves into a secret society somehow! Secret societies are a great cover for very old generations of power. I was familiar with secret societies at UNC-Chapel Hill because I went to school there for both of my degrees, and the campus is very much embedded in my mind. There are a lot of mysterious and fascinating societies at that school, being the oldest public university in the country. I did a lot of primary source research within UNC’s own archives. Tying in UNC’s history was actually quite easy with my background and because I’d been thinking about how that history impacts students for a long time

4) The magic system is so intriguing, how did you come up with it?

In the book, the Legendborn are descendants of the knights of the round table and have inherited magic because of that legacy. I wanted to believably stretch Arthur and the knights and the Table forward in time, and needed magic to make that happen. I also knew I wanted a magic system that had nothing to do with the Order of the Legendborn, and that they needed to have different uses and origins but work within the same environment.

Since the magic systems in the book are very, very old and fairly strict; they needed to be functional and solid over dozens of generations in order to work as I needed them to! So, my first step was to write them out in prose form first, in mostly full sentences, to test whether I could actually verbalize them. Then each system was moved to whiteboards to play out examples or work out problems. I have three whiteboards in my house: one in my kitchen for brainstorming while cooking or doing other tasks, one in my office that I can write on and refer back to as I work at my desk, and another that is portable so I can use it while sitting on the ground.

I used more than a dozen spreadsheets over the course of drafting and revisions, and they kept growing or getting re-organized. Some sheets were just about keeping track of recurring details. For example, I have a sheet that is just about the Scions and their bloodlines, their rankings, their inheritances (powers and personality traits), preferred weapons and character traits. I also collaborated in Google Sheets with my Wales-based Welsh language and medievalist consultant for all of the Welsh vocabulary, both made up magical terms and real ones. I think the magic systems took about a year and a half to design and “test” in revisions.

3) Have you always been interested in history, did this influence the book?

First – thank you for asking this question, because history is such a big part of Legendborn. How we talk about history, how it gets recorded, who gets to record it and why. I’m not a historian by trade, but I have always been interested in those sorts of issues around history. I am deeply fascinated with human storytelling, which is really the most critical component of history in my eyes. History as a strictly official, academic study feels to me like the stories that got written down or that have artifacts; But the history of humanity is much broader than we can possibly conceive and includes stories and tales that were never written down, or that were recorded using different methods and not captured by historians. The interesting thing about legends is that they’re different from myths because there’s a historical component – usually legends are based on a small sliver of truth revolving around a real person, or based on a communally believed history that doesn’t require a documented truth to persist. Legendborn is my way of playing with all of these ideas while working within some of the enduring themes of Arthurian literature and my own storytelling style.

4) Can you tell us anything about book two?

I can’t share anything too juicy, but I will say that the sequel builds on what is exposed in the first book, all of the magic levels up, and we meet brand new characters. And if you enjoy Sel, just know that we don’t see nearly the full extent of his powers in book one! Now that the groundwork is laid for the universe, we’ve got tons to explore.

Thank you Tracy for answering the questions. Such brilliant answers! Obviously I had to ask about book two, I’m obsessed. And we get more Sel!!!

Thank you to Daniel at Simon and Schusters Kids for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: Ashes by Christopher De Vinck.

Title: Ashes

Author: Christopher De Vinck

Length: 325 pages

Publisher: Harper Inspire

Synopsis: Belgium, July 1939: Simone Lyon is the daughter of a Belgium national hero, the famous General Joseph Lyon. Her best friend Hava Daniels, is the eldest daughter of a devout Jewish family. Despite growing up in different worlds, they are inseparable. But when, in Spring of 1940, Nazi planes and tanks being bombing Brussels, their resilience and strength are tested. Hava and Simone find themselves caught in the advancing onslaught and are forced to flee. In an emotionally charged race for survival, even the most harrowing horrors cannot break their bonds of love and friendship. The two teenage girls will see their innocence fall, against the ugly backdrop of a war dictating that theirs was a friendship that should never have been.

I’m super thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for Harper Inspire. You can check out all these fantastic blogs for this book here. You can also check my Instagram, Instagram.com/jthbooks and you can have a chance to win a copy of this book.

We follow Simone, who begins a friendship with Hava and as the war begins we see the two girls fight for each other and the bond they have.

I really did enjoy it. Its one of the finest historical fiction books I’ve read recently, it’s evocative and atmospheric. Everything we want from a good book.

I loved the friendship between Hava and Simone. It was the highlight of the novel. I totally believed in it. I could see why they would fight for each. It was heartbreaking when they got separated. Their friendship was the best thing about this novel, it gave it a centre which it desperately needed because some of the other parts felt a little misplaced for me.

I loved learning about the traditions of the Jewish and religion. It’s not something I’ve come across a lot in these types of historical fiction books and I absolutely loved it. It gave the novel real depth in this area. And also it made me believe in family more and their love for each other more.

But I really did like the ending. It was heartbreaking. Made me realise how much I was involved in the friend mashup. It also get the book true for me, but there’s was part of it that was really sweet. I won’t spoil the ending for you. But it doesn’t disappoint.

I would recommend this book. I’m it was a quick read. I wanted to see how it would conclude. It was good.

Thanks to Harper Insider for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out August 20th.

Until the next review

JTH

author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review Blog Tour: The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jeffries

Title: The Tuscan Contessa

Author: Dinah Jeffries

Length: 350 pages

Publisher: Penguin

Synopsis: Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan home has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she provides shelter, medical aid and any help she can, keeping her efforts secret from husband Lorenzo – who is also passing information to the Allies. When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Practical, no-nonsense Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a young partisan named Marco, she realises it’s a promise she can’t keep. Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

I’m super thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book, here’s the other book bloggers for you to check out there posts.

Dinah Jeffries has done it again. How does she manage to do it? Another fantastic novel. I was hooked from start to finish.

The Tuscan Contessa has a riveting story, following Sofia and Maxine as they both help in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War Two. The story is full of twist and turns that will keep you turning the pages. It’s a well paced plot that is full of mystery, intrigue and romance.

Here’s what amazes me about Dinahs writing, she always makes me want to go visit these beautiful places. She describes them so wonderfully and richly that just makes me want to visit. But obviously with this book being set during World War Two, things happen and Dinah manages the two beautifully. She really captures the beauty and the brutality.

Sofia and Maxine are two fantastic characters to follow. Dinah has written two strong female characters, who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and it’s fantastic to read. There’s also a romance that runs throughout the book, that is lovely to read, but filled with tension because of the time the book is set in. It’s such an atmospheric book.

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it was intense, heartbreaking and so satisfying. It’s built up throughout the whole novel and certainly isn’t a let down. But I’ll let you discover what happens when you read it.

I definitely recommend this book. It’s the perfect book to get lost in, you’ll travel to a different time and place and get totally lost in the story. It’s out now.

Thank you to Penguin for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, queer, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Title: Shuggie Bain

Author: Douglas Stuart

Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Picador

Synopsis: It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from her life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one the must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as not right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

This book was so immersive. I forgot about the outside world when I was reading it. I can’t really think of a higher compliment for a book than that. It’s a story of addiction, survival, love and heartbreak. It’s bleak but so beautiful.

The central theme for the novel is the relationship between Shug and his mother. It was so endearing but so heartbreaking. His protection of her, his willingness to look after her. Even when she was so cruel sometimes. He captures working class estates perfectly and I of course loved the queer element to this novel. There’s a subtly to it that is unbelievably powerful. There was an intensity to this whole novel and I haven’t read a book like that in a long time.

Shuggie Bain is full of Brilliant, brilliant characters. Anges, her addiction problem was heartbreaking. I was willing her to get better. Shug, everytime someone said to him ‘be like other boys’ it made my heart ached. And leek, who just crumbled under his own hurt. They were just all so complex, and intimate. I just felt so connected to them. They felt so real. I know I won’t forget these characters for a long time. Each of them will break your heart in their own way as the fight for the life they want and they life they are desperate to get away from. They are the shining force in this brilliant novel.

This story was taken to another level with the beautiful, powerful writing from Douglas Stuart. He somehow manages to capture an intimate relationship between mother and son, and capture the feeling of a place and time and blend them all together seamlessly. His writing has such depth. The descriptions of people and place are so good.It’s brilliant writing. It really is.

The ending, I cried. I had to. I don’t want to say to much a ruin it. It was heartbreaking, yet there was this sense of freedom. I don’t even know how to explain it. You’ll just have to read it for yourself and find out.

This book has just been shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020 and I’m not surprised at all. It’s a powerful book.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of this book around. It’s going to be on a lot of people tbr piles and I don’t blame them. It’s just that good. I see a few prizes in the future for this book.

Thanks to Picador for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out August 6th.

Until the next review

JTH

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July Wrap Up

Ahhh July, I want to thank you because for me you’ve been a good reading month. You’ll notice there was no June wrap up, that’s because I didn’t read a single book in June. But thankfully I came back strong in July. To be fair, even reading one book would’ve been an improvement but let’s not dwell on the negative.

I read some fantastic books in July. I found a new favourite. I read diversely, I read to learn and all in all it was a great reading month. I also returned to work after lockdown ended here in the UK, so I was definitely looking for an escape.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. This should be required reading. I can’t explain how much I loved this book. As a member of the queer community this book made me feel seen. Please read this book if you haven’t. It’s out now.

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune. I really enjoyed this one. More than I thought I would. I did find it a little tedious at the beginning but I grew to love it. And the characters. There’s a sequel which I can’t wait to read so that’s always a good sign. This one is out.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron. This one was good, but there was something missing from it that would’ve made it great. I don’t know if it was the plot or the pacing. Or maybe the romance. But it was good and definitely worth a read. It’s out in the Uk August 14th.

Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this. It was so immersive and brutal. It’s truly a unique novel. I can honestly say I’ll never forget this book. It’s also just been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It’s out in September.

The Black Kids by Christine Hammonds Reed. Damn this book was good. This one of those books that you get wrapped up in and learn something from. So good. So important. I loved it. It’s out in August.

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse. Oh this was so good. At times terrifying and heartbreaking, it really was a captivating novel. I couldn’t turn the last few pages fast enough. It’s not out till March 2021 but definitely keep an eye out for this one.

That’s it for this month. I definitely didn’t read as many books as I usually do, but it was nice to be reading again. And so many of the books were excellent. Truly excellent. It’s was quality over quantity this month and I’m ok with that.

I hope you had a good reading month.

Until the next review

JTH