#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

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

5 Books That Have Made Me Cry

I thought I’d do a fun, silly kind of post. I’m gonna talk about books that have made me cry.

Now, I love a book that makes me cry. If you care that deeply about a character, or they story that you openly weep, then the author has done a fantastic job.

Just because they’ve made you cry doesn’t make them depressing to me, sometimes sadness can be cathartic, beautiful even. I personally love the feeling of being so wrapped up in my book, that I begin to believe it’s real then become effected by it.

A good cry does the soul some good.

So here are the books that have made me cry.

First up is ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd. My favourite book. The book that made me fall in love with reading. In the middle of this book, something devastating happens. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS. May, a character who finds the world hard to bare, receives some sad news and it pushes her over the edge and she commits suicide. Not only is this sad, but her sisters reactions are heart breaking. Then, she leaves a note, which is so heartbreaking and true to the character, it just makes me weep. Glorious storytelling.

Next up is ‘Lie With Me’ by Philippe Bensson, translated by Molly Wringwald. This is one of those books that makes you believe in love. This book made me cry for two reasons, first it’s just written so beautifully. It’s so lyrical, honest and deep. Like taking a look inside someone’s soul. It’s beauty made me cry. Second, that ending. I was sobbing. Once I finished I had to sit there and let me feelings out. It’s taken me a long time to get over this book.

‘Crooked Kingdom’ by Leigh Bardugo. I think most people that have read this know which bit I’m talking about. AGAIN STOP READING IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS. When Mathias dies, there’s just so many layers to make you cry. There’s the fact that he genuinely cares about the group after her didn’t for so long. There’s the fact that he was shot by a young kid, the exact kind of person Mathias used to be before he changed. And there’s the fact he made it back to Nina, to see her one last time. The imagery of her lying next to his body on the boat as it sails was enough to make me cry In the bath.

‘Second Chance Summer’ by Morgan Matson. I read this a few years ago on vacation. I have to say, I rather embarrassingly cried like a baby by the pool. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, but when Taylor receives a letter from her Dad after he’s passed away from cancer, after spending one last summer together. Well I’m sure you can imaging how sad it was. Grab the tissues for this one.

Dear Lily by Drew Davies. This book deals with grief in such a real way. It asks the questions we all have when we’ve lost someone close to us. In Joys case, it’s dealing with the grief of losing her sister. In my case, the loss of my mother. I really had to take some time after finishing this one and just let the tears flow.

So, these are the books that have made me cry. In fact, writing this I’ve realised a lot more books have actually made me cry, so I’m sure I’ll be doing another one of this blog posts.

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

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

Book Review: Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar.

Title: Grace is Gone

Author: Emily Elgar

Length: 342 pages

Publisher: Sphere Books

Synopsis: Meg and her daughter Grace are the most beloved family in Ashford, the lynchpin that holds the community together. So when Meg is found brutally murdered and her daughter missing, the town is rocked by the crime. Not at least because Grace has been sick for years – and may only have days to live. Who would murder a mother who sacrificed everything, and separate a teenager from the medication that could save her life? Everyone is searching for an answer, but sometimes the truth can kill you…

This is going to be a hard book to review because I did like it. Well I liked a part of it. But I definitely didn’t love it. I’ll explain why.

Let’s start with what I liked. It was actually only one thing. But I liked the main mystery. I wanted to know what happened to Meg and where Grace was and who took her. I was genuinely intrigued to see what happened. It kept me reading through the things I didn’t like.

So shall we talk about the things I didn’t like? Yeah, let’s go for it. The story is told from two different perspectives, Cara and Jon, and I didn’t care about either of them. At all. There was a whole subplot of Jon’s marriage breaking down and it was unnecessary in this novel. I really didn’t care at all.

The ending that I was intrigued to know. I guessed what happened and I was right. It didn’t stop me from reading because I wanted it to be confirmed. But once the Meg and Grace ending is revealed, we were left with Jons ending. Not only did I not care, I also found it silly. I was reading it thinking ‘really’?? It felt like the author was just going for suspense and shock.

I just felt like it had all been done before. It felt like once Cara and Jon got a tiny clue, the suddenly solved the whole mystery quickly. The author even tried to put a little twist on the character of Grace in the epilogue and it made me realise I would’ve preferred the story to be told from Graces perspective. It would’ve made this story so much better and more layered and intense.

I don’t know if I’d recommend this one. I probably would, it was quick read and like I said it was intriguing for some of the book. You might love it. If you do let me know.

Thank you to Millie and Sphere books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze

Title: Who They Was

Author: Gabriel Krauze

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

Synopsis: This is a story of London you won’t find in any guide books. This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys to eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way. This is a story of redemptions made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost. This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police custody and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal. This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fears and the hopes. This is about what’s left behind.

I’ve never read a book like this. How often do we get to say this as a book blogger? But I can honestly say I never have. It’s one of a kind. You’ll never read another book like this.

It’s totally immersive. It’s set in South London and follows Gabriel as he is a member of gangs and violence. It does take some getting used to in the beginning, but once you do it’s absolutely fantastic. You become accustomed to the slang and the dialogue. This is what makes this book so different.

I will say this book is an uncomfortable, brutal read. And I mean that In the best way. But this definitely isn’t any easy read. And we can’t forget the Gabriel Krauze is writing this book from his own experience or things, which is incredible. It really adds another layer to this story. This book literally opens with the main character violently robbing someone, see I told you it’s brutal. But it doesn’t take anything away from this hard-hitting novel.

As the book progresses, Krauze’s story becomes more of a redemption arc, as he is encouraged to leave the life of violence and gang life behind and focus on this studies. He’s continued to study English Literature at university and the juxtaposition between the separate parts of his life is fascinating.

I just want you to read this unique book. Because it’s so different and immersive, it makes it unforgettable. I know I’ll always remember this book. It’s also just been long listed for the Booker Prize and I’d love it to be shortlisted.

Thank you to Matt at 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd (today).

Until the next review

JTH

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

August Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. Don’t they just fly by! We had a mini heatwave at the beginning of August and I found it hard to read. All I wanted to do was sleep. But I always want to sleep no matter the weather so I shouldn’t use that as an excuse.

I’ve managed to read eight books this month. Eight isn’t bad. And there’s been a few I’ve read this month that I really enjoyed. I don’t usually read thrillers, but I read three in a row! And I enjoyed two of them.

So let’s talk about these books shall we?

The first book I read was Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook. What a great way to start the month. A super sweet gay YA novel. I really enjoyed it. I loved the love story. This one is out now and you can check out my full review here.

Then I read 10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. I can’t stop thinking about this book. It was brilliant. Stunning writing, visceral story and fascinating characters. I’ll be looking out for more Elif novels. She’s a genius.

I then read How It All Blew Up by Armin Ahmadi. I was halfway through and I friend told me that the author is problematic, so I didn’t want to read it anymore, which I didn’t mind because it wasn’t very good. I could see what it was trying to do, but it failed.

Then I read This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I had absolutely no idea what was going on but I loved it. A beautiful, epic love story set in an epic world. I highly recommend this one.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. This was sooooo good. It’s everything I want in a YA fantasy plus it has mermaids! Good mermaids. Definitely don’t miss this one. It’s out now. Check out my full review here.

I then moved onto An Inconvenient Woman by Stéphanie Buelens. This was a great thriller that I couldn’t put down. It was fantastic. It also has a lot of heart which gives it another layer. This one is out September 3rd.

Surrender your Sons by Adam Sass. A queer YA book like I’ve never read before. It’s got a dark subject matter but I really did enjoy this one. I definitely recommend this one to you. It’s out September 15th.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar. I get what this book was trying to do and it was nearly there but for me it mostly missed the mark. Parts of it definitely intrigued me, but most of it I didn’t care about. But I definitely wanted to see how it ended. It’s out on paperback September 3rd.

Now I can’t wait to see what books September brings my way. Have you read any of these? Or are you interested in them? Let me know…

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gay, lgbt, queer, review, thriller, ya, young adult

WWW Wednesday – 26th August.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts (ok it’s been months but who’s counting). But I love doing them and I love keeping you up to date with what I’m reading.

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 shall we get started and talk about these books?

What are you currently reading?

So I’m currently reading Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar from Littlebrown Books. I only stated this last night but I’m definitely intrigued. It’s also the third thriller I’ve read in a row and I don’t usually read them so we’ll see how it compares. I’m excited to see where the story goes. So I guess I’ll keep you updated. The paperback is out 3rd September.

What have you finished reading recently?

I recently finished Surrender your Sons by Adam Sass. This was a highly anticipated read for me and it didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed it, definitely a tough read at times, but I’m so glad I got to read it early. It’s a great piece of queer fiction with a difference. It’s out September 15th.

What are you reading next?

This question is always the difficulty one because my tbr is so huge, but I think I’m going to go with Summerwater by Sarah Moss. It’s just calling to me from my shelf and I’ve heard such fantastic things. So I think it’ll be that one.

But it could all change.

Have you read any of these? Or got your eye on reading some? Let me know.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, interview, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: ‘Girl, woman, other’ By Bernadine Evaristo

Title: Girl, Woman, Other

Author: Bernadine Evaristo

Length: 453 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This novel (like many people, I’m sure) was bought to my attention because of the Booker Prize, so I decided to pick up a copy.

Synopsis: This is Britain as you’ve never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From the top of the country to the bottom, across more than a century of change and growth and struggle and life, Girl, Woman, Other follows twelve very different characters on an entwined journey of discovery. It is future, it is past. It is fiction, it is history. It is a novel about who we are now.

Like I said, this book won The Booker Prize (along with Margaret Atwood for ‘The Testaments’) and that’s how it was brought to my attention, and I’m a sucker for a prize winner. I’ll be forever grateful to the Booker Prize for bringing this to my attention, I fear it would’ve passed me by otherwise.

I can’t explain how much I loved this book, but I guess I’ve got to try and explain otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a blog post.

It’s told through the perspectives of 12 womxn. Each character gets their own chapter and I’m amazed at how Bernadine has crafted the story so cohesively. Each one is full of heart, love, depth. You learn so much about these characters in the chapters, you really come to care for them. It’s a glimpse into modern day Britain through the eyes of these magnificent characters.

What’s really great about this book is how Bernadine connects them all. It’s genius. It’s so subtle. Sometimes they’re best friends, sometime student/teacher, sometimes employee/employer. It really combines the novel as a whole. It gives it a wonderful fluidity.

Full of powerful messages told through exquisite, impactful prose, the stories resonate because they are basically a glimpse into each characters soul. It’s one of those books that I read slowly, carefully. Mainly because I didn’t want it to end, but also because I didn’t want to miss a single word. It’s the kind of book that captures your heart.

‘Girl, Woman, Other’ is a book I can’t forget. I look back on it and smile. If feels like Bernadine has written a love letter to Black womxn, to Britain, and the human race.

As soon as I read it I knew there would be no doubt in my mind that this will be in my Top 10 books of the year, to be honest it’s probably one of new favourites of all time. This book has a special quality that I can’t put my finger on. My review will never be able to do it justice.

I recommend this book to everyone. It’s a must read. I read it a while ago and I still think of it. In fact I think I’m due a reread to relive some of the magic. I also own two copies of this book, that’s how much I love it.

Please know there are other reviews out there that will do this book the justice it deserves. I also need to buy everything else Bernardine has written.

I seriously can not recommend this book enough. There is just something about it. Do yourself a favour and read it, you will not regret it. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore.

Title: Valentine

Author: Elizabeth Wetmore

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate books

Synopsis: Mary Rose Whitehead isn’t looking for trouble – but when it shows up at her front door, she finds she can’t turn away. Corinne Shepherd, newly widowed, wants nothing more than to mind her own business, and for everyone else to mind theirs. But when the town she has spent years rebelling against closes ranks she realises she is going to have to take a side. Debra Ann is motherless and lonely and in need of a friend. But in a place like Odessa, Texas, choosing who to trust is a dangerous game. Gloria Ramírez, fourteen years old and out of her depth, survives the brutality of one man only to face the indifferences and prejudices of many. When justice is as slippery as oil, and kindness becomes a hazardous act, sometimes courage is all we have to keep us alive.

This is an incredibly powerful novel, with all the characters connecting around Glory, who has been attacked and turns up at the nearest house, after fighting back fleeing for her life.

Valentine is told through the perspectives of many characters, and it works perfectly. Wetmore weaves the story through all these perspectives and it elevates this story to another level. There was maybe one perspective that didn’t need to be there, it didn’t diminish the story in anyway, but i found myself wanting to skip it.

Each perspectives also reveals how a character is dealing with their own issues, as well as the effect the crime is having on the town. Mary Rose, who is answers the door to Glory and Corrine who just wants to be left alone to grieve her husband, are two of the standouts for me.

You can tell this novel is building to something, and I thought it would be the trial for Glory’s case, which it dealt with, but it went beyond what I was expecting and I found myself not being able to turn the pages fast enough. I’m not going to give anything away, or all the perspectives but it all came together so well.

Wetmore has created some fantastic characters that are real and heartfelt. You’ll root for them. Wetmore also captures the injustice and racism in a small town perfectly. This book at times will make your blood boil. This is a debut novel and it’s fantastic how much heart Elizabeth has managed to include.

I also can’t think of another novel that finishes so well, yet left me with some many questions. Some of the story was wrapped, but I wanted to know more about the characters I’d come to care for. It was a satisfying ending in many ways, but I can’t deny it left me wanting more.

I would definitely recommend this book, it’s raw and impactful. I think it’s a book you won’t forget for a while after reading it. It has something to say, in the many layers of this book.

Thank you to 4th Estate 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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WWW Wednesday- 20th May

I haven’t done one of these posts in such a long time. So I figured I’d have a go. It’s just a little update where I’m at with my reading.

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?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Well I have to be honest and say I’m not reading this. I’m still waiting for it to arrive. I’m literally sitting looking out of the window waiting for the postman to arrive. But I will be picking it up as soon as it arrives. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time.

What have you finished reading recently?

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. I finished this late last night as I couldn’t put it down. While it took me a little while to get into it, once I did it was brilliant. It really did break my heart. This one is out August 6th.

What are you reading next?

I always find this question so hard because I never know what to read next, but I think I’m going to try and get through my arcs ‘The Great Godden’ by… I’ve heard nothing but good things and I want to experience it for myself. It’s out July 7th.

So that’s it, that’s my reading week I guess. I wonder how long it will take me to read ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’. I plan on doing nothing else.

Let me know what you’re reading.

Until the next review

JTH