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ARC Book Review: The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Title: The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois

Author: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Publisher: 4thestate

Length: 790 pages

Synopsis: The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the problem of race in America, and what he called ‘double consciousness’, a sensitivity that very African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Ailey grows up in the North, in the City, but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women – her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries – that urge her to succeed in their stead. To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors – Indigenous, Black, and White – in the Deep South. In doing so, she must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story – and the song – of America itself.

You know, I’ve seen people call this book a masterpiece and I can only say it’s hard to disagree. In fact I don’t disagree at all. From the very first pages of the book you just know you’re reading something special.


The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois was a novel that I didn’t know had hold of my heart until I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about it, till I was telling people who I work with (who don’t read) all about it, till I couldn’t put it down. I’ve never read a novel this size that quickly.

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has crafted characters in this book that I know I’ll remember forever. Lydia and Ailey are truly unforgettable. To read about their lives from infancy to adulthood you just take the characters into your heart. They’re real, complex, damaged, vulnerable, loveable and you want them to succeed. Ailey’s character arc was maybe my favourite thing about the book. The way Lydia’s story came to an end had me crying.


The complexity of the novel and the way the timelines are formed are what truly make this book feel epic. It is epic. It’s a tough read at times, in the sense that deals with incredibly difficult things, but it’s also full of joy, love. Also for a book that spans such a vast amount of time, from before the civil war to present day and to have it feel so intimate is a sign of Honorée immeasurable talent.

I think we’re going to see this book around a lot this year. I can only assume it’s going to be nominated for a lot of book prizes and it deserves every single of them.


No review I can write will do this book justice, you’ll know what I mean when you read it. It’s immersive and one of the finest books to come out of America in a long time. Just do yourself a favour and read this book. You won’t regret it.

Thank you so much to 4thestate for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

December Wrap Up

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

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

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, yafantasy

ARC Book Review: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich.

Title: If This Gets Out

Authors: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Publishers: Hodder Children’s Books

Length: 400 pages

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressure of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet. On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to realise that they will never have the support of their management again.

A secret queer relationship in a boy band? Do I really need to say more to get you to read it? Isn’t that enough? Don’t we all want to read that? I know I do! And trust me… It didn’t disappoint!


There’s so much to love about this book, for me the main thing was that relationship. It was so sweet, so believable and so swoon worthy. Don’t we all just need a swoon worthy romance between two hot dudes every once in a while. I love that it was a slow burn romance. I was begging them to get together!


I also loved the bi representation in the book. I thought it was really well done, nothing about the book was rushed at all. It was really detailed and layered for a young adult contemporary. I loved reading Zachs realisation of his feelings and more importantly the acceptance of himself. Reading about this kind of thing can never be understated.

I really liked that there was more to this novel than just the romance though. There’s a lot that goes on that is important and deep things (I’ll let you find out when you read the book). But I think it’s all dealt with incredibly well!


Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich are a forced to be reckoned with in If This Gets Out. They’ve written a cohesive book, with two distinctive characters. I’d happily read more by these two authors.

Well what more is there to say? Zack and Ruben have my heart! I’d very much like a sequel. And I can’t tell you how many times I went to listen to one of the bands songs only to remember that they don’t exist! Now that’s a sign of good writing! Don’t miss this one!

Thank you so much to team tumblr for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today in the UK.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, yafantasy

Top 10 Books of 2021

The year has come to an end and it’s time for the obligatory blog post about the best books of the year.

So I read 100 books this year, which was my goal and I just managed to complete it at the end of the year. I literally finished it two days before the end.

I read so many fantastic books this year. These are the ones that have stuck with me. They are the ones I couldn’t stop talking about, thinking about and couldn’t stop recommending!

So let’s talk about them shall we?

1) Still Life by Sarah Winman. Boy oh boy did I absolutely love this book. I adored it. It’s full of love, it’s full of joy. And it left my heart so full. In a tough year it was exactly what I needed from a book. And it’s written beautifully. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. If you’d like to read my whole review click here.

2) Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. I loved All The Light We Cannot See and was eagerly anticipating this book and it didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know what was going to happen. It was historical fiction, it was sci-if and it was surprisingly heartfelt. Just fantastic. Thanks again to the publishers for my copy.

3) Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. I know so many people love this book and I can say it surpassed all my expectations. It’s so beautifully and delicately written, with some of the best YA characters I’ve read. I can’t wait to read the sequel but I’m saving it for something special. Truly a remarkable queer book.

4) Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard. I didn’t think there would be a fantasy book in this list but I’m always up for a surprise. I just thought this multi perspective book was brilliant. It was filled with cliffhangers, action, brilliant characters and great world building! I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here.

5) The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun. I didn’t think there would a romance book either but this book completely stole my heart. It has some fantastic mental health rep, it’s hot and sexy and it’s romantic! And it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes you just need a fun book!

6) The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. The most recent addition to the list. A story that spans a century yet feels so intimate. It’s really beautiful. And the characters are phenomenal. You become so invested in their lives. It’s just so brilliant! Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

7) The Antarctica of Love by Sara Stridsberg (translated by …..). This novel took me completely by surprise. Unlike anything I’ve ever read. So brutal but so heartfelt. I definitely shed a few tears over this one. The writing is so lyrical. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here.

8) The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. This really is a stunning novel. It just somehow works in the even with everything going on. It’s really down to Elifs phenomenal writing. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here.

9) In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. This queer memoir is a work of art. It’s harrowing and beautiful. I want everyone to read this book so desperately. It’s really something special. I won’t forget this bike for a long time. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

So that’s it! My top books of the year. I loved all these books so much! Have you read any? Or do you plan to? Let me know!

Until the next review…

Jthbooks

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

November Wrap Up

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

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

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you read any of these? Let me know

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

October Wrap Up

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

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

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC book review: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Title: Skin of the Sea

Author: Natasha Bowen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Length: 303 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

September Wrap Up

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

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

Let’s talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

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

Title: The Antarctica of Love

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

Publisher: MacLehose Press

Length: 272 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Defy The Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Defy The Night

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Length: 443 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks