50 Followers on my Blog

Just a quick blog post today to say I’ve reached 50 followers on my blog! I can’t believe it. Now I know it’s not much (compared to some of you) and I hope it keeps growing. But I’m really happy with the progress so far.

I’m surprised how much I’ve liked writing my blog posts. I love reviewing books. I know I don’t do that many because I’m a slow reader but I’m really trying this year. I try to keep my reviews honest. If I don’t like a book, I’m gonna let you guys know.

I’ve even set up a Goodreads challenge of 40 books to read. My name is jthbooks if you’d like to be my friend on there.

Thanks for reading

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review ‘At Swim, Two Boys’ by Jamie O’Neill

Title: At Swim, Two Boys

Author: Jamie O’Neill

Length: 643 pages

Publisher: Scribner

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This book was hard to get into at first, but it’s so worth it in the end. Whilst the storytelling and the writing is magical, it could’ve been shorter.

Out as the Forty Foot, that great jut of Dublin rock where gentleman bathe in the scandalous nude, two boys meet day after day. They make a pact: that Doyler will teach Jim to swim and, in a year, they will swim the bay to the distant beacon of the Muglins rock, to raise the green and claim it for themselves. As a turbulent year drive la inexorably towards the Easter Rising of 1916 and Ireland sets forth on a path to uncertain glory, a tender, secret love story unfolds.

‘All love does ever rightly show humanity our tenderness.’

There is something special about this novel. I’ve often read that people describe this book as lyrical and I completely see why. It flows as your reading it. Chapter 8, is truly one of the best chapters I’ve read in any book. It’s magical. It’s a great introduction to ‘MacMurrough’ who has since become one of my favourite characters I’ve ever read. He’s smart, witty and his character goes on a real journey. I think that’s the best thing about this novel, it’s the storylines that the characters embark on.

The love story between Jim and Doley, the main characters, is sweet and tender. It needed to be sweet because the rest of the novel is about the unrest in Ireland before the war hits the country. The romance is totally believable, and you find yourself rooting for them. I thought their love story was going to be the main focus of the book, but it wasn’t. It was at times the main driving point but often got pushed into the background. But it truly shined when these characters were at the forefront. The novel had a few subtle surprises in there, which kept it fresh. The ending was climactic which I didn’t expect.

Now there were a few things wrong with this book in my opinion. It was very long, and I don’t think it needed to be. The book needed less character perspectives because it just became overwhelming. To give them there own perspective didn’t anything to the book. I know the oncoming war was a big part of the story line, but Jim and Doyler should’ve been the main focus as it was there story that made this book special. It’s also written with Irish dialect which made it very hard to begin with but make sure you persevere, it’s worth it.

I would definitely recommend this book. Especially for people who like historical fiction, Irish history, LGBT romance and beautifully written books. Comment and let me know

Until the next review

JTH

Goodreads Challenge

Just a short blog post today to say I’ve set up my first GoodReads book challenge which I’m very excited about, but also nervous as I want to complete it.

I’ve only gone for 40 books as I’m a slow reader and I don’t want to set the bar too high and not complete it. So expect more reviews from me this year as I aim to review everyone. The good and the bad. If you’d like to add me on Goodreads as I’ll also be writing short reviews on there, my name is jthbooks.

I’ve just finished my first book of the year which was ‘At Swim, Two Boys’ a full review will be coming soon.

So until the next review

JTH

Book Review: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone Trilogy

Length: 3 Books

Publisher: Orion

These are the first books I’ve read by Leigh Bardugo, I had high hopes for them and unfortunately they just didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe I would’ve enjoyed them if there wasn’t such hype around them, who knows? I was looking forward to reading Six of Crows bur this series has made me question whether I want too.

Alina Starkov is a solider. When her regiment is attacked whilst crossing the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters- Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed. Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift. But as Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

‘The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine” he said with a weary shrug. Make me your villian.’

The series stared off well with the first book. It was interesting with a good plot that I enjoyed. The universe is such a complex world and you get drawn into it immediately. The descriptions are fantastic. There was also a twist that I didn’t see coming and made me excited to read the rest. It started to lose momentum towards the end, but I was still intrigued enough to read the second novel. The Grisha plot in the first half of the first book is so interesting, learning about it all, but by the end of book one it already becomes tedious and then you’ve got two more books to suffer through it.

It’s when you start book two, that’s when things really start to go downhill. The plot becomes too long and drawn out. It gets even more drawn out in the third book, to the point where it comes boring. It’s obvious where the plot is heading through the third book, towards a big battle at the end which is also underwhelming. When the plot did finally did something unpredictable it ended up predictable again. There is a twist in third book that did surprise me, but made absolutely no sense. It was like the author just plucked it out of thin air and never even decided to explain it. It felt like it was just there for shock value, not to compliment the story.

Whilst the main character Alina was our portal to the Grisha Universe, she was completely unlikeable, I just wasn’t invested in her journey and I didn’t care what happens to her. She only gets more irritating as the story progresses. It felt like the writer tried to make her complex but still keep her heading towards a happy ending, when really it just made her whiny. There was a romance throughout the three novels that was lacklustre. It just dragged the plot along. Adding nothing to the story. There was no passion, no heart to it. It just seemed obvious to pair them together, so that was why it happened. There was an attempt at a love triangle, which just made the is series unnecessarily longer. My favourite characters were the Darkling and Nickolia. They were complex and actually interesting. I could of read books about both of those characters. The relationship between the Darkling and Baghra (another good character) was the best part of the last book.

Most of the time when I read a book, I get this feeling in my stomach and that’s my indication if its good or not. Whether it’s if two characters finally falling in love, if there’s a shocking twist or there’s an ending that is unforgettable. I didn’t get that once with these books. The Shadow and Bone Series almost put me in a reading slump to be honest.

The Young Adult world is so wonderful with complex, diverse, suspenseful, interesting stories and this series just isn’t one of them. Like I said, I hope Six of Crows is better! Comment and let me know what you think.

This is my review of the month for the review collection on lovelyaudiobooks.com

Until the next review

JTH

Book Review… Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Title: Salt to the Sea

Length: 378 pages

Publisher: Penguin

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 out of 5

I loved Ruta’s first book ‘Between shades of grey’ so I decided to pick this one up. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was amazing.

War-torn Germany. Four young people. Four dark secrets. They come from different lands but each of them is hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies… and war. As thousands of refugees flock to the coast, desperate to escape the advancing Red Army, the paths of four young people converge. All are hoping to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

“Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realise that somehow you still have more to give.”

I tried to read this book about a year ago and gave up, I just couldn’t get into. The chapters are short and you change characters so quickly I just couldn’t carry on. However I decided to give it another go as I know people love this book and I can really see why. It’s something special.

Ruta Sepetys is a master at writing historical fiction. Her writing is so evocative, you truly feel as if your on the tumultuous journey through Germany with these characters. I always love it when an author gives you a new perspective on something and Ruta has done just that. Giving us a new side of the war I’d never encountered before. As I said before the chapters are very short, changing the narrative between characters and it works in this books favour. It makes the book feel chaotic, just like the characters journey which is genius.

The four different characters stories are interwoven is such a clever and stylish way. You get a sense for each character and their back story which adds another layer to an already fantastic plot. You won’t be able to put it down, as you’ll want to find out how this thrilling story concludes. It does not disappoint. Ruta even manages to get a romance in the book which doesn’t feel out of place in such a harrowing setting. Is that not a testament to great writing and excellent story telling.

So if you like historical fiction, or just a gripping book, then I can’t recommend this one enough. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Until the next review.

JTH

Book Review: ‘The Secret Vow’ by Natalie Meg Evans

Title: The Secret Vow

Author: Natalie Meg Evans

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

This is the first book I’ve read by Natalie Meg Evans, it won’t be the last. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I throughly enjoyed it.

Katya – young, beautiful and impoverished – arrives in Paris, hoping to begin a new life. She leaves behind a terrible secret, and her survival in this strange and beautiful city depends on nobody discovering who -and what- she is. Immediately Katya is swept up in the city’s glamour – particularly the boutiques on the main boulevard, where glittering gowns are hand sewn for exclusive clientele. Dare Katya dream that she may someday wear – or even design – one of these dazzling creations? It feels like an impossible wish, until she meets businessman Henry Morgan. Tall, handsome and well-connected, Harry could give Katya everything she wants and more…but at what price? And should she break the vows she made and trust him with her secret when her very survival could be a stake?

‘When I met you, I was a man of twenty-eight who wasn’t sure he’d make it to twenty-nine. You were hanging onto your life by your fingernails. We were birds crashing in flight, which doesn’t make it any easier.’

I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. It’s such a good story with a wonderful plot. The female protagonist, Katya, is extremely likeable and you find yourself rooting for her from the beginning of this book. It’s a classic riches to rag story, but told so well. I loved reading about her chasing her dream, starting her new career. It was so well done. Look, I’m even writing about it as if it was real!

As for the love story that occurs, it’s beautiful. It’s one of the best love stories I’ve read in a while. It’s dramatic, passionate, loving, sweet and honest. I was rooting for Harry and Katya to be together at the end ( I won’t give it away, if they are or not).

The plot moves along really well. From the fleeing of Russia, starting a new life in Paris, Katya’s new business, the love story. It’s truly a book that will keep you entertained. There’s also a back story throughout this book, the keeps you guessing till the end. I had to know what happened. Speaking of the end of this book, it was amazing. It surprised me, it was suspenseful and cinematic. This book is the perfect candidate for a BBC miniseries.

It’s truly beautifully written. Natalie has a real talent. The emotion she conjures up is phenomenal. You truly feel for the characters. As for setting the scene, you get a real sense of Paris in the 1930s. Along with the description of the outfits, the machinery, it’s authentic.

So, if you like historical fiction, books about the fashion industry or a romance book, then this is the one for you. I can’t recommend it enough. Now excuse me, I’m off to buy some more Natalie Meg Evans books.

This ARC was given to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in return for an honest review.

This e-book comes out 11th December! Don’t miss it!

Until the next review

JTH

Book Review: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh

Title: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh

Author: Jess Moore

Length: 321 pages

Publisher: NineStar Press

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

This is a fantastic book by Jess More. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Jeremy Warsh has been in off-mode ever since his Grandpas death a couple of years ago. He set aside the shared passion, comic art, and hasn’t looked back. As an introvert from the other side of town, he fully expects to spend his boring life bagging groceries until, maybe one day, he’s promoted to store manager. Yet, his two best friend, Kasey and Stuart, are differently. They’re not afraid to demand more out of everyone. When Kasey comes out, Jeremy’s inspired. He picks up his coloured pencils and starts drawing comics again, creating a, no-nonsense, straight talking character named Penny Kind. Who speaks to him. Literally. The friend-group sets in motion Stuart’s plan for a huge homecoming prank, and if they can get Penny’s comic trending, they might be able to pull it off. Could this a stepping-stone to a future Jeremy’s only dreamed of? And after he kisses a boy at a college party, will Jeremy finally face what he’s been hiding from?

‘I’m tired of seeing the same plain faced kid in the mirror and wondering why he’s allowed to take up so much space. I want to recognise what makes me, me.’

Jess More really is a fantastic writer. Just read that quote above, haven’t we all felt like that? Jeremy’s journey is written so delicately, subtlety and yet intricately that you truly go on a journey with him. Jess’s writing is really emotive. It’s a book that deals with, first romances, grief, friendship, family, coming out and it all blends together seamlessly. Is that not a testament to great writing?

The plot moves along nicely too. You can see where Jeremy’s story is going, but it’s such a nice ride along the way. You can’t help but want to get to finish the book to see if the prank comes off, to see how the romance blooms (this is done in such a realistic way, I love it). There was also a bit towards the end that made me really emotional. I honestly feel like I could read a second book of these characters to see where the story could continue.

Not only is this an excellent young adult book, I think it’s a really important book for young LBGTQIA+ to read. It deals with not only romance, but finding yourself. Which is important for all queer people to do. And it does in such a realistic, heartfelt and positive way. So if your a fan of young adult, m/m romances or a good book. This is definitely one for you. Comment and let me know.

I also have to thank NineStar Press and Netgalley for an ARC copy in return for an honest review. The book comes out today (26th November). Check it out guys.

Until the next review

JTH