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Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Title: The Coven

Author: Lizzie Fry

Publisher: Sphere Books

Length: 448 pages

Synopsis: Imagine a world in which witchcraft is real. In which mothers hand down power to their daughters, power that is used harmlessly and peacefully. Then imagine that the US President is a populist demagogue who decides that all witched must be imprisoned for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them – creating a world in which to be female is one step away from being a criminal. As women across the world are rounded up, one young woman discovers a power she did not know she had. It’s a dangerous force and it puts her top of the list in a global witch hunt. But she – and the woman around her – won’t give in easily. Not while all of the women’s power is under threat.

A book about witches? Isn’t that all you need to know? Aren’t you going to pick it up right now? Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

The Coven is intriguing right from the start, seriously from the first page. You start off with so much tension, questioning what’s happening and it immediately makes you invested in the story. Lets be honest, you stay intrigued until the very last page.

We’ve all read books about witches before, but I thought this book was a fresh take on the subject and it was really well done. It was detailed, it was intricate. The witchcraft just felt epic and slightly dangerous. I also really loved the message of The Coven, its a look at the political climate how women are treated by society and it gives the book real depth.

This book is filled with brilliant characters. I loved the connections that the four main characters had, I loved how they all grew throughout the book. It was all really organic and believable. Then I say, without any spoilers, that something happened that broke my heart. There was a romance that I really enjoyed, and I desperately hoped it was going to happen. There was just so much to enjoy.

The story is my favourite part of the book. It’s so well paced and you can feel the story building and gaining momentum. It makes you want to get to the end so you know what happens. It’s full of twists and turn and I just had no idea where the story was going and I absolutely loved it. It’s so layered, the story and the characters keep growing as you read. It’s makes it a real page turner. And it’s always great when the ending doesn’t disappoint.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a thrilling story, filled with brilliant characters that you won’t want to put down. I wish this was the start of a series! I want more.

Thank you so much to Sphere Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 25th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: insatiable by Daisy Buchanan

Title: insatiable

Author: Daisy Buchanan

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: Sphere

Synopsis: Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend; Violet’s life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now. So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives. Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it show her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking?

Theres many things to enjoy about ‘insatiable’, its got great characters, its filthy, its got a great story and its a fast read.

I enjoyed most about this book was the characters. Violet is so likeable and relatable. I mean we’ve all felt like Violet, we’ve had that point in our lives where we feel stuck and want more and I think Daisy gets that across really well without ever making Violet annoying. There was a lot of interesting and complex characters. Simon and Lottie are so intriguing at the beginning but you’re definitely wary of them, but they are very complex. All the characters are very human and real.

There was a lot of sex in this book, which surprised but I enjoyed it. And I think they were written really well and I didn’t feel like they were just in the book for the sake of it. And they were really sexy. The whole book had a really modern feel to it. And I thinks its also a real exploration of sex and how we use sex to hide our pain and as a distraction, but it also shows how it can be freeing. It also explores women’s sexuality in the best way. Although there is a trigger warning for sexual assault.

My absolute favourite thing was reading about Violet finding herself and her voice. At the core of this book its Violet discovering what she wants out of her life and her sexuality and her power and I loved to read it. I was so intruded to see how this book would end and I definitely didn’t see it coming, but it made total sense to me. I really enjoyed it.

This is Daisy’s first fiction book, she’s written some wonderful nonfiction, and I think its a really assured debut. This book clearly has something to say and I think its gets the message across.

Thanks to Millie for gifting me a copy of insatiable in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s about February 11th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Title: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Publisher: Usborne

Length: 432 page

What a stunning cover!

Synopsis: Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she can become a member of her village. If she bleeds red, she will belong. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. The consequences force Deka to leave her village with a mysterious woman, destined to join an army of girls like her – the alaki, girls who are near-immortals with rare gifts, and the only ones able to stop the empire’s greatest threat. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the battle of her life, Deka discovers the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem – not even Deka herself.

Yes. Yes to this book. It was everything I wanted and more. I’d seen so many people love this one, so my expectations were high but this surpassed all of them. I need all my fantasy to be this good. I’ve been struggling to read fantasy lately but I had no problem with this. I loved every page.

The Gilded Ones is full of fantastic characters. Deka, who has to deal with so much in a fantasy world, like not being ‘pure’, or deathshrieks. She also has to deal with racism, misogyny, abuse and trauma. But its all dealt within this fantasy world and its really cleverly done. I love the fact that you’re getting to discover everything as Deka does and it just makes you rot for her even more. She’s so complex and it’s handled beautifully. It’s black girl magic and I love it. It’s full of brilliant female characters and their comradeship is so powerful. Again, its Namina addressing patriarchy within our world, but dealing with it and educating us with this fantasy world. I mean, the literally call girls who aren’t pure demons. There’s some brilliant side characters especially Britta, she has my whole heart. Can we get a spin-off? I’ll let you meet the others yourself when you read this book.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the connections between the characters. Namina really knows how to build relationships. *SPOILER ALERT* The relationship between Deka and Keita is a beautiful slow-burn romance. I love how slowly they began to trust each other and then helped each other. It just makes the romance so believable to me. The friendship between Deka and Britta, I love it. I love how loyal Britta is, how open she towards Deka. I love her. Also the connection between Deka and Whitehands was so interesting. It was tense, and you weren’t always sure how it was going to turn out, and it made it so interesting. I also loved to see the lgbtq representation in this book. Namina knows how to write relationships, and it’s fantastic to read.

The pacing in this book is perfection. You can feel the plot building and building until the very end. There’s so much going on in the plot to keep the reader hooked. It’s full brilliant action, especially towards the end. Namina just built momentum throughout and you can’t put the book down. It felt so cinematic at times. Yes, I want them to make it into a movie, but they better not mess this up because its perfection to me. The world building is also brilliant, its so immersive. You get so much detail and descriptions of the world but its never overwhelming or just a lot of information. It’s all needed.

Also, there was point in this book that had me so shocked and made me cry. It was one of those moments that you can’t believe what’s happened and you had to put the book down to take it all in. That’s all I’ll say on that. You’ll now what I mean when you read it. And I won’t even talk about that twist!!

So I guess the only thing left to say is when is book two out? I’m excited for it already. I’m excites to see where the story will and how the characters and their relationships will develop. If you love fantasy, read this book.

It’s out now

Until the next review

Jthbooks

author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, gay, gothic, historical fiction, interview, lgbt, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

January Wrap Up

Hello my bookish friends, another month has come to an end and I can confirm its been a good reading month for me. In England, we have gone back into Lockdown so that means I’ve had a lot of time to read on my hands (which I’m not mad at).

I managed to read 10 books this month, which is very good for me. It ties with the most I’ve ever read in a month. I enjoyed most of the books I read this month, so that makes it a really good month.

Lets talk about the books shall we?

First I read This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry. I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, I loved all the stand up elements to the book. It’s a great YA contemporary that’s out in the UK in February.

Then I read Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean. This book was so adorable and wholesome. I loved every page. It’s a children’s book but I truly think everyone should read this book. It’s got such an important message. It’s out in February

Thirdly I read The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe. This book is absolutely wild. It’s so intense, with a plot that will keep you hooked until the very last page. Filled with twists and turns and complex characters. It’s out in February.

Up next was Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s taken me a long time to make my mind up, but i think I loved it. It’s so human but other worldly. It’s out in March.

Then I read Forever Ends On Friday by Justin A. Reynolds. This was such a wonderful book, that deals with a heavy subject that made me really emotional. I really loved this book. Thanks to mykindabook for my copy. This one is out now.

Up next was A Meeting Of Two Prophets by Judah Tasha. This a sweet queer love story from a perspectives I’ve never read before. The love story really captured me but it also taught me a lot. Thanks to Judah for sending me this book. It’s out on February 4th.

Then I read Native by Akala. I read this as part of my 2021 challenge to read a nonfiction book every month. Such a brilliant book on class and race in the uk. I learnt so much. It was so informative yet accessible. This one should be required reading.

Up next I read Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson. I was really looking forward to this book but for me it unfortunately missed the mark. There was just something missing and few things that didn’t quite work for me. It wasn’t bad, but not my favourite. Thanks to Netgalley and SourceFire books for my copy. Out February 2nd.

Then I read The Coven by Lizzie Fry. I really enjoyed this book. It was engrossing and really clever. With fantastic characters and a book that parallels a society we find ourselves living in today. And who doesn’t love witches? Thanks to the publishers for this book. It’s out February 25th.

Lastly I read The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. I absolutely loved this book. I loved it. Every page, every character. The only thing I didn’t like is now I’ve got to wait for the second one. Such a brilliant young adult fantasy. This one is out February 4th.

So that’s all my books for the month. Do you plan on reading any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Title: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Length: 464 pages

Publisher: Macmillan

Synopsis: Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli has finally found the life she’d yearned for: a family, a home and a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all that she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonising decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Lorena and Ant, west to California in search of a better life.

Kristin Hannah has done it again. I know we all love The Nightingale, but I think The Four Winds might surpass it.

Here’s the first thing that struck me about this novel, was its characters. You instantly care for Elsa. And I mean instantly. By the second page you feel for her, you hate how her family treats her and you want her to succeed in life. As you go on her journey with her, you only go onto care for her more. And I loved how she grew, she was such a complex, strong and vulnerable woman and it was just fantastic to read. I also really loved Loreda. She felt like the modern voice in this novel. But you also cared for her as well. Kristin just writes fantastic characters, and the connection she creates between them is brilliant. There’s lot of connections in this book that are so well done.

We all know that Kristin is a master at historical fiction, and this book has an epic feel to it. While the connections are intimate, the story is a sweeping novel that takes you back in time to 1921 when this novel begins. This book includes piece of American history I’ve never read about before and Kristin describes them in terrific detail. You can tell this novel has been meticulously researched and it just makes it all the more immersive. The farming, the dust storms, the droughts. It’s all dealt with brilliantly. Then when the family move to California for work in the Great Depression, it shows the harshness, the poverty and the horrible conditions of the camps. These are things I had no idea about. They make for a fantastic read.

There was a romance in this book that I didn’t see coming but I found totally believable and heartwarming. It works because the depth of character Kristin creates. Obviously its a sad book, and it needed this love story to give the book a bit of lightness.

Now lets talk about the ending shall we? I thought I knew how this book was going to end, I’d maybe decided halfway through that I knew. But boy, how wrong was I! Even when something happened (no spoilers here) I thought it would still end differently but i was still wrong. The ending had me sobbing. I didn’t see it coming and it was so sad. I think it was brave ending and the right one. But it definitely had me reaching for the tissues. It was so sad.

I said it earlier in the blog and I’ll say it again, Kristin has done it again. The Four Winds is a brilliant, moving novel that captures nearly two decades of American history with characters that will capture your heart. I couldn’t recommend this book more. I have a feeling a lot of you will be picking this one up.

Thank you so much to Macmillan for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on February 2nd.

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

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

5 Books to read in 2021

With 2020 coming to an end (I know we all can’t wait right?) I figured it’s time to start talking about some books that are coming out next year. You can never be to prepared can you?

I’ve been lucky enough to be sent some proof copies for next year and in today’s blog post I’m going to talk about some of the ones I’ve loved. I will be doing a post about ones I haven’t read yet but I still want you to know about.

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up we have The Prophets by Robert Jones jr from Quercus Books and this out on January 5th. This book is probably my most anticipated book of 2021 and I consider myself very lucky to Have an early copy. I can’t tell you how incredible this book is. It’s outstanding. It’s firmly a new favourite of mine. I’m going to have to read it again just to fully take everything in. The writing is absolutely stunning. STUNNING. This available for preorder now and it’s out January 5th. I urge you to pick this one up.

Synopsis: Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was they way it was since to beginning, and they way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a space of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man – a fellow slave – seeks to gain favour by preaching the masters gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is now seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

The next one is How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones. This one is out January 21st from Headline Books. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this one but I absolutely adored it. It is so engrossing. The characters are so beautifully crafted. And the ending is such a page turner. It’s truly a brilliant debut. Its out January 21st.

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.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson from Viking Books UK out February 4th. This is a short novel but it packs a punch. The writing is absolutely phenomenal. Phenomenal. It’s such an intimate look into the life of a young black man in the UK. It writing like this that makes the book unforgettable. Out February 4th.

Synopsis: Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both now are artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that both celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

Then we have Girl In The Walls by A. J. Gnuse from 4thestate and it’s out March 4th. This is a book I can’t stop thinking about. It went above and beyond my expectations. And at times I was genuinely scared. It’s got that kind of ending where you’ll be turning those pages as fast as you can. My heart was genuinely pounding. It’s that’s good. Out March 4th.

Synopsis: Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the Walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what. Eddie is a teenager now, almost a grown-up. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees from the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his fierce older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists. And, if they cast her out, what other threats might they invite into their home?

Lastly is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I finished this just last night and I loved every page. It’s an epic tale with brilliant characters that really capture your heart. If you loved The Nightingale then you’ll love this one. And yes I can confirm you’ll be weeping at the end. I definitely was.

Synopsis: Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli has finally found the life she’d yearned for: a family, a home and a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all that she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonising decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Lorena and Ant, west to California in search of a better life.

So there you have it, five books that are coming out early next year. And they are all brilliant. I loved every single one, each in there own way. I can’t recommend them enough to you.

Are any of these books on your tbr? Have you been intrigued by any? Comment and let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Title: Felix Ever After

Author: Kacen Callender

Length: 354 pages

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Synopsis: Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears he’s one marginalisation too many – Black, queer, and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages- after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned- Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle… But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Oh my good! Oh my god! Oh my fucking god this book is incredible. Absolutely incredible. Not only is it incredible, it’s sweet, romantic and incredibly powerful.

We follow Felix, as he is trying to get a scholarship for art at the college he wants to attend and he is subject of a transphobic attack.

It’s such a captivating story that gives you all the feels. It really does. You so desperately want Felix to be happy. Again, it’s hard to read at some points because Felix is outed, and there’s transphobia, but it really is important.

Felix is a fantastic character to follow. He was kind, funny, super relatable. I also loved how although he had transitioned, he was still questioning who he is, what is pronouns would be. I can really see people finding the representation they’ve maybe been longing for in this book. There’s also more fantastic characters in this book. Shoutout to Ezra. I loved him. Loved him.

Oh the romance. It was so perfect. There was kind of a love triangle that I didn’t see coming and I was into it. One aspect of the triangle I didn’t really think I would be into when it became clear what was going to happen, but of course I was. But I was happy with the outcome. It was so well done. So romantic. How wonderful to see a trans love story!

As I’m sure you can imagine, I cried many times throughout reading this book (yes it really is that good). I shall now list the pages where I cried. Page 23. Page 124. Page 259. And then the last 15 pages. I cried because of the story, because of the writing and because of some of the powerful statements Kacen makes throughout the book.

I have to say this is why fiction is so powerful. Fiction shows you someone’s experience, so you connect to it in someone way. And in that connection you empathise. And when you empathise, you care and when you care that’s when you support. And this book is the perfect example of that.

‘I know, that as a trans person of colour, my life expectancy is in my early thirties, just because of the sort of violence people like me face every day.

Kacen has created a story that’s so entertaining, romantic and ultimately heartwarming. They’ve also created a story that is authentic that is full of representation. And we all know how important representation is.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s brilliant. This will be in my favourites of the year for sure. Everyone needs to read this book.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: The Prophets by Robert Jones jr

Title: The Prophets

Author: Robert Jones Jr

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Quercus Books

Synopsis: Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was they way it was since to beginning, and they way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a space of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man – a fellow slave – seeks to gain favour by preaching the masters gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is now seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

I’m going to start this review and say that this is probably the best book I’ve ever read. It is simply outstanding. I’m also going to say that this is the hardest review I’ve ever had to write because I know I’ll never do the book justice.

There are so many elements in this book that just hit you in your soul. The writing is so sharp it gets to the core of you. The characterisation is phenomenal. It all just comes together to make a brilliant book.

And let me say this, in literature, we often read about Queer movement or Queer Historical figures but in The Prophets Robert Jones jr has given a voice to Queer Love. In a historical period were queer love has never been considered. Two black slaves choosing each other and love is so powerful to read. I’ve never read Queer Love in this period of history. And by doing this Roberts given queer people of this time a voice.

The romance between Samuel and Isiah is so tender, yet constricted. You can feel the characters, especially Samuel, be afraid to fully give into the relationship because of the ramifications it will have, not only for what will happen to them from their masters point of view, but what would happen if they admit it to themselves. But you also can tell that they need each other, they wouldn’t survive without each other. And somehow Robert conveys all so poignantly and so powerfully. He makes their love feel so deep. It feels like you’re reading about true love, I know that sounds silly to say, but It doesn’t always work in books but in The Prophets it feels real. It’s achingly beautiful. It captures you. It feels so intimate and special, but it feels grand and opening. It’s one of the best love stories I’ve ever read.

There are so brilliant characters in The Prophets, like Maggie, Adam, Sarah and Essie. Here’s what I thought was genius and such a smart, brilliant choice by Robert is that you learn about all these characters through their connection to Samuel and Isiah and their love story. I love how it connected them all. I love how Robert has put Queer love at the centre of the novel. It gives the love such a power. It makes the whole book feel like magic to me. I haven’t felt like this about a book since Girl, Woman, Other. It’s got the same feel to me.

Now of course this book is set in America before the Civil War and its set on a Plantation. So at times it’s hard to read. It’s harrowing and brutal. But Robert handles it with honesty. There’s also some chapters that show White people capturing and enslaving Black people and bringing them over on the ships. They are short chapters but they are so enraging and engrossing. They are incredibly powerful. It just shows what a masterful writer Robert Jones is.

I’m not going to say much about the ending, but all I’ll say is that it broke me. It absolutely broke me. I was crying so loudly my sister came into my room to ask if I was okay. And I’m not even embarrassed about that fact. Robert builds so much momentum and atmosphere. Utter brilliance.

Roberts writing is so breathtaking that he conveys all this without ever really saying it. It is absolutely phenomenal. It’s the kind of book I’ll reread, and I never reread, and I’ll find more meaningful beautiful prose. I can’t tell you how many times I cried because of the honesty and the rawness of the writing, especially about the love between Samuel and Isiah. It’s majestic. All queer love stories will need to live up to this one for me now.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I’d recommend this one. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I think it’ll be award winning. I’m gonna say Booker 2021 now. Please read this book. You won’t regret it. I know I’ll be rereading it.

Thank you so much to Quercus for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out January 5th. It’s available for preorder now. I’ve preordered mine and it’s a signed copy and I’m so excited!!

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: 10 minutes 38 seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

Title: 10 minutes 38 seconds in this Strange World

Author: Elif Shafak

Length: 308 pages

Publisher: Viking Books UK

Synopsis: For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, the goat sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee the Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her…

Ahhhh I loved this book. Really loved it. I actually can’t stop thinking about it.

Let’s start with the premise. It’s genius. After our main character Tequila Leila has been killed, her brain continues to work for 10 minutes 38 seconds and that’s how we see her life. She remembers significant moments from her past and that’s how we get to know her.

The writing is beautiful throughout. From start to finish. It’s so beautiful, I was crying by page 20. Elif Shafak is a huge talent. She has such a unique Ann’s and so nsnnsndndndnenndnand distinctive voice. You can tell Elif has a real understanding of human souls and countries and religions. Is it weird to say I think she’s a genius. The whole book is so visceral.

Also, I can’t stop watching videos of Elif talking about her books and life on the internet. I highly recommend them and this book. I told you I think she’s a genius!

It’s full of characters that I won’t forget for a long time. They are just absolutely fantastic. Elif has given all these characters powerful, immersive voices. They are all minorities living in a religious country but Elif makes them so much more than this. It’s so hard to explain, but they encompass so much.

There really is a sadness to this novel, that doesn’t mean it’s depressing, it’s a beautiful sadness. It’s the kind of sadness that makes you think about life and what you want. How others are treated. What really happens after we die? This is all because of Elif Shafak’s glorious writing and the impact it has.

I 100% recommend this book. I am far too unintelligent to properly review this book. Elif Shafak brain is 10 times better than mine, so just do yourself a favour and read it. You won’t regret it I promise.

This one is out now.

Until the next review

JTH