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The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne – Jonathan Stroud

I’m very excited to be a part of the Blog Tour The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. And I’m very lucky that Jonathan has written a blog post about his experience writing this book.

Jonathan talks about the writing process, drafting, editing and much more and it’s incredibly interesting to read. There’s some great advice here for writers so this is a great read. So, lets go.

Jonathan Stroud       Writing The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

Hello. I’ve recently finished writing my novel, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne. When I get to the end of a big project like this, my office is always festooned with papery debris that’s built up over weeks and months as I wrestled the book into shape. Sooner or later, I’ll summon the energy to roll up my sleeves, fortify myself with a stiff drink, and get rid of a lot of it, before filing the key bits away in the loft. But I haven’t done this for Outlaws yet, which gives me the chance to look here at some of the stages the book went through over the last three years…

1. First Notes

I began thinking about the new project at the start of 2018, a few months after my last Lockwood & Co. book had been published. I knew straight away that I wanted it to be set in a post-apocalyptic future Britain, where events had made the country much more dangerous and strange. I also knew that it would feature a river journey along the Thames, probably with a raft involved, and that there would be bit of a Western vibe. These elements survived to the final book, but other things were very different – for example, at the outset the main character was a middle-aged man, who met a couple of children on a wrecked bus in the wilderness. These pages of early notes show a diagram of one of the fortified ‘Surviving Towns’ and also a sketch of the crashed bus – both these ideas are still in the finished book, three years later.

2. Early Structure

After a couple of months making notes and writing fragmentary scenes, I tried figuring out the book’s structure – you can see the attempt here. It’s always good to do this, because it helps throw up problems, of which, in this case, there were many. My main issue was that the main character (here known as Bob Choi) didn’t work, but I didn’t realise this yet. He rescues a couple of children from a bus (chapter 3), takes them across the wilds, discovers they are being pursued by bad guys (ch 5), and escapes with them along the Thames (ch 7). All these elements make it (in a different form) into the eventual book, as does the climax in some half-submerged ruins in the London Lagoon (ch 17). But Bob Choi would have to go.

3. Still Struggling

Incredibly, though, he was still there eight months later, at the end of 2018, when these particular notes were done. I was having real problems making the book work, and you can see me here still trying to figure out the structure and rhythm of the book – how the plot would string together in a kind of necklace of ‘crises’ and ‘phases’. I was missing the point: the dynamic between my characters wasn’t working, and that’s the engine that ultimately powers a successful book. It took till early 2019, a full year after starting, that Bob Choi was booted out, and Scarlett McCain took over his role as the dangerous but reluctantly compassionate hero. At least in these notes here, I was having fun sketching toothed birds and giant mud-rats, and was profitably employed thinking about the accelerated evolution of the fauna of my future England.

4. Map Sketch

One thing that never altered, through the whole two and a half years of writing, was the idea of the river journey, from source to outflow, down the Thames. Towards the end of the project, when I knew pretty well how the story worked, I drew up this sketch map of the river and the London Lagoon (our London has vanished within it). It mostly follows the real course of the Thames, with a few tweaks and changes, such as the kingdoms (Mercia, Wessex, Anglia) that it passes through, the absence of most towns, and the promotion of a few real towns and villages to a more important status. I always like drawing maps: it has the same effect for me as it does for the reader, and helps anchor my characters’ travels securely in the mind.

5. Note Files

By the time a book like this is finished, I usually have a couple of ring-binders like these, filled with all the notes I made at every stage of the composition. I file them chronologically, so I can look back and check stuff, and also roll my eyes at all the false starts and appalling cul-de-sacs I explored along the way.

6. Drafts

I’ve lost track of how many drafts The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne went through, but you can see from this pile that it’s quite a lot. Early on there were two or three ‘unfinished’ drafts, where I got to a certain point, realised that it wasn’t working, and stopped to recalibrate, before starting again. Certain scenes that worked, however, were transposed almost word-for-word between them. There were probably at least four complete drafts after that, inching ever closer to the desired result. At each point I thought I’d cracked it, only for a re-read to show me that I needed to try again. Phew, just looking at this pile makes me feel a bit tired! Forget raft trips down the Thames – writing a novel is an epic journey in itself, but it’s all worth it in the end.

How amazing was that? Thank you so much Jonathan for doing this and for all the great information.

I was also lucky enough to read an early copy of this book, and it’s fantastic. It’s a brilliant start to a new teen series, its action packed, its got great world building and was full of intrigue. My favourite thing were the characters. They were brilliant. I enjoyed Scarlett & Browne so much. They made me laugh out loud, and I loved the connection Jonathan creates between them. I really believed their friendship. Now I’ve got to wait for book two, that I am definitely looking forward to.

Thanks again to Jonathan and make sure you check out all the other bloggers taking part. You can even read the first two chapters of this book. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne is out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley

Title: Skyward Inn

Author: Aliya Whiteley

Length: 251 pages

Publisher: Rebellion

Synopsis: Skyward Inn, within the high wall of Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the mire before the war with Qita. But safety from what? Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Inkeepers Jen and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars. Their peace is disturbed when a visitor know to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future. Did humanity really win the war?

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this book before. It was one of those books that when I finished reading it, it took me a while to decide how to feel about it. I just had to sit and think about it. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I loved it.

Skyward Inn is so other worldly, its got another planet, a kissing gate and another species. And the author manages to pack in a lot of details about this everything to do with this because the book is only 251 pages. So imaginative, especially the other species. I loved how the author connected Western Protectorate and Qita, especially when you realise how the book ends. I also loved what Aliya did with the illness that people think is spreading on Western Protectorate, and then you see it from the Qitan perspective. It almost felt ethereal by the end.

With this book being so other worldly, it is innately human. At the centre of this book its a relationship between a mother and son. Their relationship is so intricate and fragile and it’s fantastic to read. It shows that the two characters are flawed and how it affects there nonexistent relationship and I just found it to be really realistic.

My favourite section of Skyward Inn, is when Fosse arrives on the planet Qita and he goes on a journey with his Qitan ‘tour guide’. I felt a real connection between the two and its also where we see Fosse become the character I loved. But there’s a part of the journey where Fosse has to make a decision as it comes to an end and I have to say i found it really emotional. I didn’t know what he was going to do or I didn’t know what I wanted him to do. This section was perfectly written. It was subtle but really emotive. I loved it.

At the heart of this novel is Fosse, who is a character I don’t think I’ll ever forget. He’s a character you’re not sure if you’ll like at first, but you seem grow and change and you really grow to care for him. He became so gentle. In fact the whole novel has a gentleness to it. He is just so well written and Aliya has created a character with real depth.

I will say I had no idea where this book was going. It became such a character driven story that I found the ending to quite emotional. Some things happen (no spoilers) and because of the connection between characters it felt so personal. As I said before its like nothing I’ve read before and I’m so glad I’ve read it.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a book that’ll make you think, make you care for the characters and will keep you intrigued till the very last page. The more I think about this book, the more I love it. I know I’ll definitely be rereading it. Please read this book so I can have someone to talk to about it. It’s out March 16th.

Thanks to Rebellion Publishing for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

Title: Infinity Reaper

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Length: 512 pages

First things first, what a stunning cover!!

Synopsis: Brothers Emil and Brighton beat the Blood Casters in an epic war and escaped… or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed he’d be invincible – instead the potion is killing him. But finding an antidote risks disturbing the battle for peace. Now they have to reach the ultimate decision- to end the war or to win it.

I have been waiting for this book for this book since that ending of book one? Yes, yes I have. And I know often in the second book in a series we usually have a struggle, but does this one? No. It does not. It only goes from strength to strength. I loved it! This book does start immediately where Infinity Son ended, so if you need to reread the last few chapters like I did, theres your warning.

There was just so much I enjoyed about this book. In fact I enjoyed everything. Look, I like to be asleep by 10pm, 11 if I’m feeling wild, but I was up until 1.00am reading this book because I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened, I wanted to know what happened. I was feeling all the feels and I was loving it.

First of all, I loved the story. I loved the direction Adam took it in. There was so many different aspects to it. It was full of action. It was full of romance. It was full of character development. It was exciting. There was literally points when I was reading and I was saying to myself ‘damn this book is exciting’. But I also really loved the quiet moments in the book. I loved when the gang was at the New Ember Sanctuary, it was just so interesting.

I also loved the characters, everything that happened in Infinity Son, they’ve grown and learnt from and it’s really interesting to read. It felt like they all became more complex and likeable. I loved each perspective, I mean did I agree with everything Brighton is doing no, but its such a great choice from Adam and makes it really intriguing. But I loved Emil, Ness and Maribelle. I do remember at one point saying that Ness has my whole heart. But me feelings are invested in all of them. I’m excited to read more from them and I want to be part of the gang.

*Spoiler* That was your warning ok! The romances, I loved them. Brighton and Prudencia, I loved their trepidation towards their feelings for each other and I’m excited to see where it goes. I also enjoyed there sex positivity. But you know what us gays were waiting for, it was the reunion between Emil and Ness. What I didn’t expect was the love triangle and what I REALLY didn’t expect was how into it I was. I love how the different guys bring out different sides to Emil. I mean, I think Ness is endgame but I’m excited to see what happens.

In the first book, we had a lot of magic and a lot to learn but I think in this book its been toned down and it works for the better. It felt more compact and accessible. I know this going to sound strange but it also expanded in a way I loved. I don’t want to say how, I want you to be surprised. But it was so exciting.

I really loved the writing in Infinity Reaper. Reading from four different perspectives is tough, but I never got confused who I was reading. I loved how the modern world and social media was woven in. Also, the action scenes were epic. The were thrilling. I mean, the fight in the air on the back of the Phoenixes was cinematic. I could see it so clearly in my head. Like the rest of the book, it was all next level.

Shall we talk about the ending? You know I want to. I can’t believe it ended like that. It was brilliant. Don’t worry, no spoilers. But Adam has built it up so perfectly between Emil and Brighton, that it made the ending epic and heartbreaking. Also Maribelle, I have questions. I need answers.

So now I guess all there is to do is sit around and wait for book three…

Thank you to hashtagreads for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review review. It’s out March 4th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, adult fantasy, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

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

#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

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

ARC Book Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Length: 439 pages

Publisher: Hodderscape

Synopsis: A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang – a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their hero, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love.. and first betrayal. But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability, culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns – and grudges – aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Did I know I needed a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in 1926? But am I glad I got one? Yes. Yes, I am.

There’s so many enjoyable elements in this novel. I found the whole book really immersive. I just felt like I was in Shanghai and forgot about the real world. It just has such an atmosphere to it. Does anyone else think this would make a brilliant movie or mini series. I could see it all so clearly in my head. When it’s made I’ll definitely be watching.

These Violent Delights is full of fantastic characters. Of course we’ve got Juliette and Roma (see how it’s a retelling?) and they really are enjoyable characters. I’ve seen other reviewers say whether their team Juliette or team Roma and I have to say I’m team Juliette. She was such a great character. She was complex, fierce and kick ass! Honestly, I really loved her.

I’ve also seen people say whether they’re team Scarlet Gang or The White Flowers (again, see how it’s a retelling) and I have to say on this one I’m with Roma and the White Flowers. I found this one to had the most comradeship between the characters. Marshall and Benedikt, I want to be their friends.

Let’s talk about the romance shall we? It was a lovers to enemies to lovers and it was soooo good. It was sexy and romantic! And the longing, I was begging for them to get together. I also got the feeling of another romance between another two characters (which I won’t spoil) but I’m really excited for it to explored! I hope I’m not wrong.

I also didn’t expect the fantasy elements with the monster and the madness, but it definitely added another element to the novel. This is definitely a huge part of the story that kept me reading. I had to know what was going to happen.

Shall we talk about the ending? The pacing of the book really picked up and I couldn’t keep up. It was action packed. And let me tell you the ending shocked me. I had to put the book down for a minute to take in what happened. Ugh it was so good!

I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s action packed, romantic. And I am so excited for book two to explore these characters and stories even more.

Thank you so much to Hodderscope for gift me with a copy of These Violent Delights in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out tomorrow. November 17th.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, adult fantasy, author, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gay, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E.Schwab

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V.E Schwab

Length: 541 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

Synopsis: France, 1714. A desperate woman makes a desperate deal in the dark – a bargain to live forever but be remembered by none. So begins the invisible life of Addie LaRue, shadow muse to artists throughout history, forgotten friend, confidante and lover, slipping away in the morning light. Addie passes through lives, desperate only to leave a trace of herself. Until the day she walks back into a small bookshop in Manhattan and meets Henry, who remembers her. After 300 years Addie’s life is restarting, but the devil never plays fair. As Henry and Addie’s lives start to intertwine, they must face the consequences of the decisions they’ve made and the prices to be paid.

Yes, I jumped on the hype train and preordered this book. And let me tell you I’m a very happy passenger (get it? Because I’m on the hype train!) because I absolutely love this book.

This is my first V.E.Schwab book (yes I know, it’s bad but the A Darker Shade of Magic series is on my tbr don’t worry) but I was surprised at how much I loved V.E Schwabs writing. It was absolutely beautiful. It was really comforting in a way, yet there were these really profound moments that I absolutely loved. It was beautiful I had to have a little cry. Pretty early on in the book. The whole book is written beautifully. It’s emotional, atmospheric and romantic.

It was such an immersive plot. It was the kind of book that I didn’t want to put down. In fact I didn’t put it down. It’s a dual plot timeline which is handled so beautifully by Schwab. I just absolutely loved how detailed it was. There were so many things in the plot that I wouldn’t have thought of (that’s why I’m not an author). There was also twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. It really surprised me and it gave the story some real excitement. And then there was another twist, that I feel like some people might have seen coming, but I obviously didn’t. This is very vague I know, but I refuse to ruin these surprises for you. The second twist also broke my heart.

Let’s talk about the ending shall we? Yes it broke my heart. I’d seen some people say that the ending disappointed them a bit, but I absolutely loved it. It really made me cry. I was just sitting in bed crying at 8pm on Wednesday. I had to stop reading and just sit and take it all in. You know it’s a good book when this happens. It was just so emotional. So emotional. And I’ll tell you why it’s emotional.

It’s because you absolutely fall in love with Addie. You really do. You see her in Paris in the 1700s just as she’s made the deal with the God coming to terms with everyone, and you see in her in 2014 as she’s living in New York and is fully adept to her situation. She’s just so strong and vulnerable. She’s funny. Honestly, you’ll just love her. But Addie isn’t the only great character, there’s also Luc. Even though he’s the ‘bad guy’ he definitely adds something to the book. And of course there’s Henry. My Henry. I felt for him, I loved him. There’s a sadness and loneliness to him that I adored.

The romance is so beautiful. It really is. It just filled my heart with so much joy. It’s also what makes the ending even more heartbreaking (but it definitely finishes strong). I just wanted Addie and Henry to live happily together forever. Is that too much to ask? There’s also a kind of but not really love triangle. You really believe the connection Schwab has crafted between them all. It definitely didn’t make me mad. And it also made the ending so powerful. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve read it.

Incase you couldn’t tell I loved this book. It’ll be in my top ten for the year. I can’t recommend it to you enough. Now If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to reread this book.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, adult fantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, ya

Book Review: ‘Crescent City, House of Blood and Earth’ by Sarah J Mass.

Title: Crescent City

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Length: 799 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: Bryce Quinlan used to light up Crescent City, partying all night in the clubs where the strict classes of angels, shifter, human and Fae merge into a sea of beautiful bodies. And then a demon murdered her closest friends. Two years later, when the supposed killer is behind bars but the crimes start up again, the city’s leaders command Bryce to help investigate. They assign an enslaved fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, to make sure she does. But as Bryce fights to uncover the truth – and resist her attraction to the brooding angel who shadows her every step – she finds herself following a trail that leads deep into her own dark past.

This is one of the few books that I’ve read this year that I’ve actually bought (the rest have been arcs) but as soon as it showed up in my postbox I knew I had to start it right away.

Now I will say it took me a while to get into it. There was a lot of world building in this book, which I know is what we normally want, but this was extreme. I felt at times we would find out what Bryces next door neighbour had for dinner (of course I joke) It definitely needed the world building, but it definitely made it a little dense at times. I mean it was nearly 800 pages! That’s long.

However once I was into I got into the story a bit more, I really started to enjoy it. It was a good story, and it was full of twists and turns (I mean, it’s Sara J Mass, what did I expect?) and I didn’t see any of them coming. At one point it left the story on such a cliffhanger, you know the one I’m talking about, with Hunt. Yes THAT bit. It’s was literally all I could think about when I was at work.

It’s full of great characters. Bryce was a fantastic main character to follow. She had some real depth and Maas dealt with her grief beautifully. Of course, she was kick-arse. Did we really expect anything else? There was Danika and Connor who I definitely wanted to get to know more but were gone to soon. RIP. I liked Hunt, the trouble is we know the arc of his character. He starts of horrible but is actually kinda nice, so he was a bit predictable but towards the end I definitely liked him.

The romance. We all knew it was coming didn’t we? What I will say about it is that it was a slow burn. A good slow burn. Sarah J. Mass writes a damn good slow burn romance and I’m here for it. And i thought it was realistic, especially for enemies to lovers. They had fantastic chemistry. Can we talk about the sexual chemistry was out of this world. Some of those scenes toward the end! I’m looking forward to this being explored more.

I would recommend this. Of course I would, it was a fantastic urban fantasy and I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m excited for the characters to be explored more. The romance, the story and the world. I’ll definitely be preordering it.

It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

blogtour, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

September Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. September was a strange month. I only managed to read six books. I haven’t read that little in a long time. I wonder why? Oh well, we can always hope for more books next month.

Also when I’m reading so little, it certainly doesn’t stop buying more books. I’ve bought and received double the amount of books than I’ve read this month. But I’m not complaining. There’s nothing better than book mail.

Anyway, let’s talk about these books shall we?

The first book is The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi and what a way to start the month. I loved this book. I’ll be surprised if it’s not in my top 10 for the year. Beautiful, beautiful writing! It’s out now.

I then read You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. This was just incredible! I loved it from the first page to the last. Queer Black girl love and I need more. It was Brilliant. It’s out now.

Next up was Beloved by Toni Morrison. I can say this wasn’t my favourite Toni Morrison book, but the writing was still exceptional as always. A masterful storyteller.

Then I read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This was absolutely fantastic. A brilliant fantasy book with every done so well. I loved it. Now I’ve got the long wait for book two. It’s out now.

I then finished Just Like You by Nicky Hornby. This book managed to capture a time and a place well. But there was also something lacking in this book. But it was a quick read. It’s out now.

Next up was The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffith. I really, really enjoyed this one. It was so good. Full of twists and turns. A fantastic mystery. Great characters. I loved it. It’s October 1st.

This is what it for me this month. I guess it wasn’t my best month. But let’s hope October goes better.

I also have a new Blog Photo which I absolutely love. My wonderful friend Hugo drew it for me. You can find him on Instagram.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Title: Cinderella is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: It’s been 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over. Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows she only has one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball… are forfeit. But Sofia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world…

This book was enjoyable, but I have to be honest and say for me, there was just something missing. Something that would’ve taken the book from good to great.I love the premise. It was really interesting, and I thought it was such a good idea. I was really invested in the first few chapters. I was ready to explore the world, the story, the history but unfortunately I just can’t but think that I wanted the story to go deeper. Maybe there needed to be more world building? I wanted to know more about the grand Balls, and in the palace walls. To truly get the sense of the evils Sophia was fighting against. I wonder if it focused too much on Cinderella. I know that sounds silly to say as it’s literally called Cinderella is Dead.

I loved that this book has a F/F relationship. But again, it needed to be more. It felt a bit flat. I just didn’t feel the connection, I knew there was supposed to be one between the characters but it never happened for me. I loved both of these characters separately, but they didn’t click for me as a romantic pair. They definitely worked as pair trying to change history. But it’s always good to see LGBTQ+ representation in books.

I did however love the characters. Sophia is a great character to follow. She was fierce, brave yet had a vulnerability in her bravery that I absolutely loved. I loved Constance too. She was funny and sharp. I cared about them. Towards the end, when they were in a bit of danger, I was genuinely worried what was going to happen to Sophia. Kalynn Bayron has written some fantastic characters. For me, overall this book did need more. It was still good, it certainly wasn’t a bad read. But I just felt at times the author was telling me what to feel, instead of actually letting me feel it. It was a bit lacklustre. And also i felt the story needed a bit better structure.

Again, this book wasn’t bad. I wanted to see how the author would wrap the story up and I wasn’t disappointed. And there was a twist that I didn’t see coming and it shocked me. That’s always a good thing. It was enjoyable, I just feel like it had the potential to be great. But I know so many people loved this book. Listen to them, not me.

I would recommend this book. I even wonder if I read this again, would I like it more. And I’m excited to see what Kaylnn writes next.

Thanks to Bloomsbury UK and Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now in the UK.

Until the next review

JTH