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5 Books to read for LGBT History Month.

It’s LGBT+ History Month here in the UK, so I thought I’d share five books (although there is many more you could read and I hope you do) that talk about the history of the queer community. Some are non-fiction, some are historical, some are just wonderful queer books.

It’s so important to remember the history of the queer community, it can stark reminder of how bad things were, how far we’ve come. And we must remember every part of the community, gay, sapphic, bisexual, trans, questioning, aro, ace and non-binary. We are all part of the same community and we must celebrate it all. We can’t forget 2020, was the worst year for trans violence, especially for trans people of colour.

These books shed some light on queer lives.

So lets talk about the books shall we?

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. This has become one of my favourite books of all time. It’s so beautifully written, it’s literally stunning. It’s so moving. It’s the story of two black enslaved men, who are in love. I’ve never read this before. It’s showing that queer people and queer love existed in this time, because of course they did. You can check out my full review here.

Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski. This is one of those unforgettable novels that is quiet and understated but will have such an impact on you. It’s set in the 1980s Poland, and is the love story between two men in a time when it’s unacceptable. It’s thought provoking and moving. I can’t recommend this one to you enough. You can check out my full review here.

Fighting Proud The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served In Two World Wars by Stephen Bourne. This book says it all in the title. It details the lives and stories of gay men fighting in the war. It gives them a voice, full of facts. Such a super interesting read.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. I will always recommend this book. It’s brilliant. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s sent in our time, but it just perfectly captures the journey towards self acceptance and that’s definitely an important thing to read during lgbtq+ history month.

Lie With Me by Philippe Benson. One of my favourite novels that I couldn’t not mention. Set in France in the 1980s in the middle of the AIDs epidemic, this a story of two boys falling in love when acceptance wouldn’t be granted. It’s so beautifully written, so heartfelt. You can check out my full review here.

I have only chosen to feature five books, which I also know focus on m/m stories but this mainly what I read. But here’s some more recommendations of books that share the queer experience in brilliant ways. All The Young Men by Ruth Corker Burks, You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Real Life by Brandon Taylor, Camp by L.C.Rosen, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson.

This month is a time to reflect on how far the queer community has come, of course not all other the world as being queer is still illegal to be gay in 72 countries, this still shows how far we’ve still got to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. And you enjoy some of these. Let me know if there’s any queer books you think I should be reading for this month.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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Book Review: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

Title: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

Author: Cherie Jones

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: Tinderpress/Headline

Synopsis: In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers. For Wilma, its the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result. When Layla grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man. And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.

I am so thrilled to be on the blog tour for this amazing book, make sure to check out my these other reviews

Let me state this now, I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much. I had high hopes, but this book surpassed them in every way. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the 2020, there is no doubt about that. It was in my top 10 of the year for 2020. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. So I’m absolutely recommending it to you. It’s brilliant.

I don’t want to say to much about the plot of this book, I want you to experience it for yourself. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (can I quickly mention what a fantastic title that is) is at times heartbreaking and it also at points made my stomach drop. It’s so immersive and I was absolutely enraptured from the beginning, I really was. It’s beautiful, it has something to say

We follow multiple perspectives in How The One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House and they are all fantastic. I mean, my heart now belongs to Lala. Lala is one of our main protagonists along with Mrs Whalen. They are brilliant and complex. There’s also Adan and Tone. All the characters are so well crafted. I also loved how Cherie, mentioned characters throughout this novel and then they got their chapter perspectives and they are brilliant. It made the whole book feel so connected. My favourite is character that you get a snippet of is Sheba.

How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is the kind of book you can’t stop thinking about. I would be baking cakes at work and thinking of Lala. Or be thinking about where the plot was going to go. Or how I wanted to get home and read it. It’s also the kind of book you tell everyone about. I was telling everyone at work about this. Most of them don’t read (sad I know) but I just had to let them know about this book and how it was consuming all my thoughts.

The writing is absolutely phenomenal, Cherie has such a wonderful way with words. Chapter 25 is a masterpiece. The writing is just so assured. It’s so powerful and emotive. There are also some really tough moments in this book, but Cherie handles them so honestly. This is Cherie’s debut and it’s one of the best debuts I’ve ever reads. It’s so assured. I just think this book is outstanding. I don’t reread books but I know I’ll be rereading this one, just to experience the beautiful writing again.

By the end of this novel, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. There was so much building up towards the end and there was such an atmosphere. I couldn’t believe what was happening and Cherie paced it perfectly. I won’t say anymore. All I’ll say it didn’t disappoint me in anyway. I also had to put the book down and really take in what happened. Ugh, it was so good.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Could you tell I loved it? Please read it. It’s a powerful, intimate debut that is unforgettable. I’m already looking forward to what Cherie writes next.

Thank you to Antonia at Tinder Press for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on January 21st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

December Wrap Up

Phew, December was not a great reading month for me. It got off to a bad start when i DNF’d two books, which I never do. Although I’m not going to actually class them as proper DNF’s because i do plan on picking them up again at some point. And then I think it took me nearly two weeks to finish my first book. It’s not like me at all.

I finally did get going and I finished five books this month, which isn’t very many for me, but as well know its not the amount you read, its what you learn from each book and how much you enjoy them.

So lets talk about the five books shall we?

First I read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This has been on my shelf for a long time and I had high expectations but ultimately it was disappointing for me. I know people love this one, but for me it just had so much missing. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t my favourite. I’m gutted I didn’t love it, but there’s plenty more books on my shelves.

Up next I read Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green. This was my favourite of the month, I loved it. I love what Simon is doing for Queer UKYA. It’s a sweet, funny road trip romance between to young boys with an important message. You can check out my full review here.

Thirdly, I read All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks. This just wasn’t it for me. It’s a memoir, but I’m struggling to see what the intentions of the book was. The balance was just totally of for me. Thank you to Orion for my copy and its out on January 21st if you’d like to check it out.

Then I read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. This was a brillant historical fiction book. If you loved The Nightingale by this author, you’ll love this one. It’s got a gripping story and characters you’ll love. It had me crying at the end. Thank you so much to panmacmillon for my copy of this book. It’s out February 2nd.

Lastly, I read insatiable by Daisy Buchanan. This to was a really important book. It’s modern, it’s filthy and it has a brilliant message. It definitely made me laugh out loud a few times. Thank you to Sphere books for my copy. It’s out February 11th.

So that’s it for my reading month. Let’s hope in January I can get my reading mojo back. Especially as I’m back in lockdown and what am I going to do besides read?

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

Top 10 Books of the year.

Well my friends 2020 is finally over. Finally. Shall we all breath a collective sigh of relief. It’s been a tough year hasn’t it? But I always try and look at the positive side of things, and being in a nearly 4 month long lockodown I have managed to read more books than ever before. I had a lot of time on my hands.

Throughout this year I had books. Books that let me discover new worlds while I was stuck inside. Books let m meet new characters while I was stuck inside. They’ve been a gift to me. Of course my reading had dips when I just couldn’t manage to pick up a book.

I’ve read some brilliant books this year. Absolutely brilliant. I’ve loved them. There’s been new found favourites, books that surprised me, books with writing that has moved me. There’s definitely an eclectic selection of books here which I love. There’s some young adult books, queer books, literary fiction.

So shall we talk about these books? Just to clarify they are in no particular order.

1) The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr

I knew I was going to love this book, but I didn’t know I’d love it this much. It’s a masterpiece. It’s genius. It’s the book I’ll recommend to everyone. The writing is stunning beautiful. It’s sublime. I’m already planning on rereading this one next year. It’s truly a work of art. It’s out on January 5th. You can read my full review here.

2) The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Everyone was recommending this to me and I’m so glad I read it. It pulled me out of a reading slump and it changed my life. It had me crying through at its sheer beauty and honesty. It’s a Young Adult book but I think it should be required reading for everyone. What a message. I love this book so much.

3) How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

This one took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Cherie creates such real characters that stay with you. It’s the book I was talking to all my friends about at work. It had me gripped from start to finish. It’s truly a wonderful piece of fiction. I won’t forget these characters or the book for a long time. What a brilliant debut. I’m on the blog tour for this one, so look out for my review on January 17th.

4) Camp by L. C. Rosen

I adore this book. It’s the book I needed as a teenager, i still needed as a 28 year old. It’s got brilliant representation and it shows you all kinds of queer is valid and worthy and i think that kind of representation is important. Of course its funny, romantic and a brilliant story. You can check out my full review here.

5) Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

This fantasy book stole my heart. I loved the characters, the story and the African inspired world Jordan has created. It’s so much fun, its got a brilliant message of Black Girl magic and its so captivating. I want more. I’m basically just spending my time waiting for the sequel to come out. You can check out my full review here.

6) The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwartz

I’m sure this is going to be on a lot of people’s lists this year and its got a firm place on mine. It’s just a brilliant, moving book that is so original and enthralling. Addie and Henry just take up a place in your heart. And what an original concept. I can’t wait to read more from Schwab as this was my first book from them. You can read my full review here.

7) Girl In The Walls by A. J. Gnuse

This is not my usual type of book but I absolutely loved it. What an original premise. It’s so clever and the author makes it so believable. It had me on the edge of my seat, and my heart was pounding and I just had to know how it would end. Surprisingly emotional also. I really loved this book. It’s out in March and I can’t recommend it enough.

8) Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

I just think this book is so important. Once again showing how important representation is. Of course its entertaining and you’ll enjoy the characters but this book at its core has something to say. It’s just brilliant. You can check out my full review here.

9) Kingdom Tide by Rye Curtis

Now, I didn’t expect this book to be on the list but as I came to write this blog post I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about this book. Then I realised I’d been thinking about it all year. I remember the brilliant writing and the characters and the powerful connections between. And that to me is a sign of a great book. I read this back in January. You can check out my full review here.

10) Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez.

I read this early on in the year and just knew it would make it on the list. I loved every page. It has so much to say on queerness and race in the uk. It’s so captivating and beautifully written and I’d love more people to read this one. It’s stunning. I’ll look forward to whatever Paul writes next. You can check out my full review here.

So there we have it. My top 10 books of the year. And what a crazy year its been. But I’m so thankful to these books for letting me escape inside them and keeping me sane.

Have you read any of these? Or do you plan to? Let me know in the comments.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, interview, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Top 10 Queer books of 2020

Has this been the year I’ve read the most queer books I’ve ever read? Yes, yes it has. Does that make creating a top ten list very hard? Yes. Yes it does. Am I still going to do it? Yes. Yes I am.

2020 has been the year I’ve really expanded my queer reading. As a white gay man, I was mainly reading stories by white gay authors about white boys falling in love. But I’m pleased to say my queer reading has really diversified this year. I’ve read more queer books by black authors, more sapphic books, some queer fantasy, some books by trans and non binary authors. Books like these will only get published if we support them.

So lets talk about the queer books shall we? (These are in no particular order)

1) The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. This is the most incredible book. It’s the queer historical fiction book I’ve been waiting for. It’s heartbreaking, its life affirming, its got the purest and the most intimate love story I’ve read in a long time. It’s a love story between two black slaves, its never been dove before and it needed to be. It gives a voice to queer history.

2) The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. This book is phenomenal. It had me in an absolute flood of tears. It is so beautifully written. It just captures all those feeling of being a young gay person and feeling lost. It truly is brilliant. I think this book should be required reading for everyone. And it’s got some beautiful poetry in too.

3) Camp by L. C. Rosen. I adore this book. It’s the first book I read that tackled toxic masculinity. It was the first time I read a book that saw femme guys as the love interest and I think its so incredibly powerful. It’s the book I wish I had when I was younger. It’s also incredibly fun and entertaining. It’s also got a wonderful love story.

4) Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. This book is so powerful. It’s the kind of book that will capture your heart and educate you at the same time and to me that great fiction for you. It follows are trans big who is the main character, who is the love interest and that kind of representation is so important. I know this book has helped so many people. Please read this one if you haven’t.

5) Hideous Beauty by William Hussey. This is an incredibly addictive and thrilling young adult book. I read it in one night. I’ve never done that before. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s got a mystery you just want to know the answer to and a sweet lovely. I’m looking forward to Williams next book. You can check out my full review here.

6) You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. This is a brilliant young adult contemporary novel that celebrates black girl magic and the first time falling in love. The romance between the two girls is so adorable and charming, but this book as has an important message. You fly through it and be left wanting to read more from this author. You can check out my full review here.

7) All Of My Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais. This book is wild and sexy and provocative but underneath it all it has a really important message about mental health and the pressures we all face, and I think the author highlights these all so well. It’s an honest and emotional account that had me crying by the end of this book. You can read my full review here.

8) Boy Queen by George Lester. This is such a wonderful book about finding yourself and finding the courage it takes to do what you want. In this book again, we see a femme boy at the centre of the story and I love it. This kind of representation matters. All there’s some fantastic drag featured in this book that is so much fun. You can check out my full review and an interview with George here.

9) Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez. I read this one at the beginning of the year and its stuck with me. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking look at growing black and queer in Britain. It’s written beautifully and will stay with you. I’m looking forward to what Paul writes next.

Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski. Another book I read earlier in the year that has stayed with me. It’s such a beautiful, intimate love story between two me in Poland. It’s got a goodbye that’ll make you cry. It’s such a beauty of a book. You can read my full review here.

Until the next review

Jthbooks