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Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Title: You Should See Me In A Crown

Author: Leah Johnson

Length: 324 pages

Publisher: Scholastic

Synopsis: Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed Midwestern town. But it’s okay – Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend Uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plan comes crashing down… until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams… or make them come true?

Ugh, I loved this book. I loved it so much.

It just has everything you want in a book. It’s fun, it has a beautiful romance, it has a powerful message and brilliant characters.

Let’s talk about those brilliant characters shall we? Our main character, Liz Lighty, is absolutely fantastic. I absolutely loved her. I loved watching her journey. Her arc definitely felt like a coming of age, learning to be comfortable with her sexuality and learning to love and stand up for herself. I also loved Amanda, what a brilliant character and a burst of fresh air. She’s someone I’d like to know In real life. It’s full of fantastic characters. Read this book and discover them.

I also really loved the plot. We see Liz, who after not getting her musical scholarship for college, enter the race for prom Queen to earn the money. The race itself is so interesting and the complications that come along with. I’m not going to tell you if Liz succeeds but all I’ll say it this…

FUCK YOUR FAIRYTALE (if you’ve read it, you’ll know).

The romance, it was so good. It was a little bit of a slow burn, but the romance didn’t need to be slow burn because it was so bloody good. Their connection was amazing! I thinks it because the characters by themselves were so fantastic, when they joined together it was electric. And it was so sweet. It was just everything I wanted it to be. And more.

This book also deals with grief, family, anxiety and friendships. The friendship were so complex. It deals with race in the friendship and I loved reading Liz stand up for herself. It’s Black Girl Magic at its finest. I can just imagine how many young Black Queer girls who see themselves in this book and i love it. All these aspects just give this book such depth and a realness. I love it.

Leah’s writing is so powerful and beautiful that I enjoyed every page of this book. The story is so beautifully told, that of course i was crying by the end. I’ll look forward to whatever Leah writes next.

This one is out now.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: ‘The Lie’ by Hilary Boyd

Title: The Lie

Author: Hilary Boyd

Length: 360 pages

Publisher: Micheal J Books

I was lucky enough to be sent this from the publisher and I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

Synopsis: Romy and Michael have it all. Over 30 years of marriage, two grown-up sons and a beautiful London home, as well as a weekend bolthole by the sea. Until the arrival of a letter changes everything. At first Romy can’t believe what it is saying. That Micheal could do something so terrible. But then other lies start to emerge and she begins to wonder who the man she’s shared her heart, her bed and the best years of her life with, really is. Walking away should be the start of a new chapter for Romy. But an urgent telephone call brings her back into Michael’s life – and propels her into the past and the allegations that ended their marriage.

I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put down. I read over 200 pages in one night and trust me, that never happens with me.

What kept me hooked was the question of who was lying. When a letter shows up at her house, Romy’s husband is accused of assaulting a teenage girl, Romy stays by her husband side to begin with after he denies it but she always doubts him. It was fascinating to read her perspective and I couldn’t wait to find out the truth. It was dealt with incredibly well, sensitively but honest and real.

‘The Lie’ was filled with such wonderful characters. Romy, the main character, was instantly likeable. I was just drawn to her. And as the story progressed, all I wanted was for her to stand up for herself and get her happy ending. You could tell she was doing what she thought she should do, and I so wanted her to choose herself. I won’t spoil it for you, you’ll have to read it yourself to find out if she does.

It also has a wonderful romance in it, which I was also invested in (incase you haven’t noticed I was invested in the whole book). It was organic and romantic. Much needed sweetness, with the main storyline being such a tough subject.

It also had a satisfactory ending. Often when books are leaving all the questions to be answered at the end it can be a bit of a let down, but I didn’t find that with ‘The Lie’. I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough to find out what happened and I wasn’t disappointed. That’s a sign of great writing and storytelling.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It was an intense story with fantastic characters, that was ultimately a struggle to put down. I throughly enjoyed it.

Thank you Michael Joseph Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Make sure you check it out.

Until the next review

JTH

author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

Title: The Private Joys of Nnenna

Author: Okechukwu Nzelu

Length: 310 pages

Publisher: Dialogue Books

Synopsis: As Nnenna Maloney approaches adulthood, she longs to connect to her Igbo-Nigerian culture. Her close and tender relationship with her mother, Joanie, becomes strained as Nnenna begins to ask probing questions about her father, whom Joanie refuses to discuss. Nnenna is asking big questions about how to ‘be’ when she doesn’t know the whole of who she is. Meanwhile, Joanie wonders how to love when she has never truly been loved. Their lives are filled with a cast of characters asking similar questions about identity and belonging while grappling with the often hilarious encounters of everyday Manchester.

I have to say I loved this book. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but I absolutely flew through it because I didn’t want to put it down.

In The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney we follow Nnenna as prepares to finish school, go to university and we see the strain in has on her relationship with her mother Joanie. Their relationship is the main focus of the book and its handled so delicately by Okechukwu. There’s lightness and you can feel the tension building.

It’s also a coming of age book, with Nnenna wanting to find out more about her father and her heritage. You can feel Nnenna’s longing and confusion. It’s really beautiful when she begins to discover who she is. I loved it.

There are so many characters in ‘The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney’ and they are all absolutely fantastic. They are so real. I just found myself absolutely endeared to all of them. I have to give a special shoutout to Jonathon. His story was incredible. I found this so emotional and so relatable. They are all so relatable because they’re written so beautifully and honestly. I loved how they all connected. Okechukwu knows how to craft characters.

This book has a lot of charm to it. I thinks it’s down to Okechukwu’s writing. It has these incredibly light and witty moments of Joanne and Nnenna playing games, or Joanie talking about every day moments, then it subtly shifts to much more meaningful, deeper and harder issues like the racism in the UK, or tension between Nnenna and Joanie. It’s just handled with dignity, honesty and grace. It’s a real highlight of the book.

I also have give a shoutout to a section of this book towards the end between to characters Amir and Daniel. It was handled perfectly. It was really beautiful. Okechukwu said so little but it said so much. I will never forget that powerful bit of writing.

I don’t know if you can tell from this review but I’m a huge fan of Okechukwu Nzelu’s writing. I can’t recommend this book to you enough. Please check it out.

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

Until the next review

JTH

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

October WrapUp

I know I say this in every monthly wrap up but this month flew by. It really did. Last month I only read six books, so I really wanted to do better and I did.

I managed to read nine books this month. This probably has something to do with the fact that I had a week off work (which was heaven) and I spent a lot of my time reading. I also really enjoyed the books I was reading at the beginning of the month. I couldn’t wait to pick them up.

Right let’s talk about the books shall we?

The first book I finished this month was ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’ by Stuart Turton. Ugh, this was so good. I didn’t expect to love it so much. Suspenseful, immersive. And that ending! I’m still in shock. I was lucky enough to be sent this by Bloomsbury and it’s out now.

The second book for October was All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott. Damn this book was an emotional rollercoaster. But I loved it. And it had the BIGGEST TWIST. I’m still shock now. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for my copy. It’s out now.

Next up was The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu. I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully written. So beautifully written. It’s full of fantastic characters. I don’t think I’ll forget this book for long time. Thanks to Dialogue books for my copy. It’s out now.

For the fourth book this month I read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. I’ve had this on my tbr forever and it didn’t disappoint. I adore this book with all of my being. Why did I wait to long? So powerful and moving.

Then I read Trio by William Boyd. This was my first William Boyd book and I really enjoyed it. I was full of great characters, and I was really intrigued to see how it ended and where the characters would end up. Thanks to Viking Books for the copy. It’s out now.

Next I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Of course I had to read this and of course I loved it. Beautifully written. So emotional. So romantic. I loved it.

Then I decided to read Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins. I really loved this book. I loved the sweet queer love story and I loved the self acceptance and different representation. We need more books like this one. It’s out January 21st.

Next up I read How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones. This is one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved every page. It’s just brilliant. Thanks to Tinder Press for my copy. It’s out in January.

Lastly I read The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell. This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it. I did take me a long time to read. It definitely kept me intrigued. This one is out in January. Thanks to Bloomsbury for the copy.

And that’s it. That was all the books. Have you read any? Or are any on your tbr?

Also, Lockdown has just been announced here in the uk, which means I now have a month of work as I work in hospitality, so I think they’ll be a lot of books read in the next month.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: Trio by William Boyd

Title: Trio

Author: William Boyd

Length: 341 pages

Publisher: Viking Books UK

Synopsis: It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There are riots in Paris and the Vietnam War is out of control. While the world is reeling out three characters are involved in making a Swingin’ Sixties movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives. Elfrida is drowning her writer’s block in vodka; Talbot, coping with the daily dysfunction of making a film, is hiding something in a secret apartment; and the glamorous Anny is wondering why the CIA is suddenly so interested in her. But the show must go on and, as it does, the trio’s private worlds begin to take over their public ones. Pressures build inexorably- someone’s going to crack. Or maybe they will.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit but this is my first ever William Boyd book, but I can definitely tell you it won’t be my last. And at least now I have a big back catalogue to get through.

In Trio we follow three character perspectives, Talbot, Elfrida, and Anny. I can honestly say I really enjoyed each perspective (it’s not often that happens is it). I also really enjoyed how they were all connected. It made the novel really interesting.

I really liked all three of the main characters, if I had to pick a favourite I would probably have to say Elfrida. I don’t know why she’s just the one I felt for the most. I so wanted her to write her Virginia Wolfe book and for it be a success. But I loved Anny and Talbot too. Anny’s story was definitely the most plot driven and I was willing her to make good decisions. And Talbots was really interesting. I think William manages to capture that moment in time where homosexuality has just become legal but attitudes, and internal attitudes haven’t caught up. It was really quiet powerful. I think the characterisation was one of the best things about this book. They were all complicated and real.

I loved the setting too. One, I don’t live very far away from Brighton so that was cool. But I also loved the movie set. It was really interesting and detailed. It just had that old glamour feel to it. The plot was also so intriguing. I wanted to see what would happen. I wanted to see where the characters would end up.

Now let’s talk about it that ending shall we? I can honestly say I didn’t expect it to end like it did, especially Elfrida’s. I was so shocked. I never saw it coming. It also made me sad. In so many ways. But I’m not going to say anymore, as I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you’ll know what I mean when you read.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I as was reading it, I just knew I was throughly enjoying it and it made me not want to put it down. I read it in just over a day. Now I’m off to buy some more William Boyd books.

Thank you so much to Alexia at Viking Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now!

Until the next review

JTH

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

Interview with Tracy Deonn and Book Review: Legendborn

Title: Legendborn

Author: Tracy Deonn

Length: 490 pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Synopsis: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family’s memories or childhood home. A residential programme for bright young high-schoolers at UNC- Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape – until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying Demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called ‘Legendbornstudents that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a ‘Merlin’ and who attempts- and fails- to wipe Beees memory of everything saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if it means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets – and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveals themselves as descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight.

For more stops on this blog tour, check out these other fantastic bloggers and see how much they love this book.

This is the kind of fantasy book I absolutely love. It had everything you could ever want. Fantastic characters, detailed magic, a brilliant plot and romance . Have I convinced you to read this yet?

We follow Bree, who joins a secret society to find out the truth about her mother’s death and gets so much more than she bargained for. It’s such a brilliant plot that I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin it for you. I want you to be swept away like I was.

Bree is such a fantastic main character to follow. She’s smart, brave, gutsy. I loved her. You can’t help but root for her throughout. I even felt protective over her. I also have to give a shoutout to Sel. I also loved him. He had that classic arc of he’s a bad guy but is he really? I love him. Check out the answers below in the interview for some Sel information in book two!

There was a romance between Bree and Nick that was pretty inevitable but it was still fantastic. I totally believe it and was into it. But without saying too much, I wonder if there’s another character that could interrupt Bre and Nicks romance and i think I want it to be explored. It actually need it to be explored. I need it. It excites me.

The magic in this book is brilliant. It’s a real highlight. It’s incredibly detailed so pay attention. When Bree joins the secret order, it’s so interesting to learn about Shadowborns, Onceborns, Merlins. And I love how it all ties into King Arthur and the nights of the round table. It’s genius. I love the blend of modern and historical fiction. And just when you think it can’t get anyone detailed and intricate we learn about Rootcraft. Which celebrates black history and the power of your roots. Which I actually believe is genius and so powerful.

This book also has so many important messages. I love what Tracy has to say about grief. It was so powerful and poignant. It definitely made me tear up a few times. It’s just so honest and real. Such brilliant writing. It also makes you love Bree more. I’ve also lost my mum, like Bree and Tracy the author. So it really hit home for me. It also deals with race and it’s handled honestly and powerfully. It’s black girl magic. It’s what we need more of and this book is perfect at capturing it.

Ugh the ending. It was sooooo good. Tracy manages to build such momentum that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Seriously. It felt like I was in the action. And there was a lot of action. With so many twists and turns. I didn’t guess the ending. It totally surprised me. It was so powerful. I absolutely loved it.

I guess all there’s left to say it, when is book twoout? I need it. Like yesterday.

There’s so much to enjoy about this book and I really want you all to read it. You won’t regret it. Also, it’s just become a New York Times Bestseller

Now it’s time for the interview.

Thank you so much to Tracy for agreeing to do this. Enjoy the answers!

1) What inspired you to write this story?

The first early kernel of Bree, the main character of Legendborn, was born when I lost my mother. At that time, I found out that she had also lost her mother when she was my age, and that the same was true of my grandmother. Being a writer, I immediately wondered how such a pattern could have happened in my family. Of course, there’s no real answer here – life is strange and sometimes the odd and sad things happen to us and that’s that. But as a writer, I decided to create an answer. I began writing from a place of grief and mystery, and in the book Bree begins from that same place, too. I wanted to explore the idea of legacy and whose lives and deaths are lost to history and whose become legendary. That naturally led me to Arthuriana, as I’ve been a fan of the legends for most of my life, and I felt as though I could contribute something new to the 1500 year old storytelling tradition of growing the Arthurian canon. That’s really the source of Bree’s story—a book-length, contemporary fantasy answer to an impossible real world question.

2) Was it always going to be a school setting?

Yes! Once I decided to work with Arthuriana to explore some of my favorite legends, I immediately thought of Susan Cooper and The Dark is Rising Sequence. In those books, part of her brilliance was allowing Arthur and the stories to be pulled forward into the future in a sense. I gave myself the same challenge – How could Arthur and the Table exist in the modern day? The answer seemed very clear here in the US; the Round Table would embed themselves into a secret society somehow! Secret societies are a great cover for very old generations of power. I was familiar with secret societies at UNC-Chapel Hill because I went to school there for both of my degrees, and the campus is very much embedded in my mind. There are a lot of mysterious and fascinating societies at that school, being the oldest public university in the country. I did a lot of primary source research within UNC’s own archives. Tying in UNC’s history was actually quite easy with my background and because I’d been thinking about how that history impacts students for a long time

4) The magic system is so intriguing, how did you come up with it?

In the book, the Legendborn are descendants of the knights of the round table and have inherited magic because of that legacy. I wanted to believably stretch Arthur and the knights and the Table forward in time, and needed magic to make that happen. I also knew I wanted a magic system that had nothing to do with the Order of the Legendborn, and that they needed to have different uses and origins but work within the same environment.

Since the magic systems in the book are very, very old and fairly strict; they needed to be functional and solid over dozens of generations in order to work as I needed them to! So, my first step was to write them out in prose form first, in mostly full sentences, to test whether I could actually verbalize them. Then each system was moved to whiteboards to play out examples or work out problems. I have three whiteboards in my house: one in my kitchen for brainstorming while cooking or doing other tasks, one in my office that I can write on and refer back to as I work at my desk, and another that is portable so I can use it while sitting on the ground.

I used more than a dozen spreadsheets over the course of drafting and revisions, and they kept growing or getting re-organized. Some sheets were just about keeping track of recurring details. For example, I have a sheet that is just about the Scions and their bloodlines, their rankings, their inheritances (powers and personality traits), preferred weapons and character traits. I also collaborated in Google Sheets with my Wales-based Welsh language and medievalist consultant for all of the Welsh vocabulary, both made up magical terms and real ones. I think the magic systems took about a year and a half to design and “test” in revisions.

3) Have you always been interested in history, did this influence the book?

First – thank you for asking this question, because history is such a big part of Legendborn. How we talk about history, how it gets recorded, who gets to record it and why. I’m not a historian by trade, but I have always been interested in those sorts of issues around history. I am deeply fascinated with human storytelling, which is really the most critical component of history in my eyes. History as a strictly official, academic study feels to me like the stories that got written down or that have artifacts; But the history of humanity is much broader than we can possibly conceive and includes stories and tales that were never written down, or that were recorded using different methods and not captured by historians. The interesting thing about legends is that they’re different from myths because there’s a historical component – usually legends are based on a small sliver of truth revolving around a real person, or based on a communally believed history that doesn’t require a documented truth to persist. Legendborn is my way of playing with all of these ideas while working within some of the enduring themes of Arthurian literature and my own storytelling style.

4) Can you tell us anything about book two?

I can’t share anything too juicy, but I will say that the sequel builds on what is exposed in the first book, all of the magic levels up, and we meet brand new characters. And if you enjoy Sel, just know that we don’t see nearly the full extent of his powers in book one! Now that the groundwork is laid for the universe, we’ve got tons to explore.

Thank you Tracy for answering the questions. Such brilliant answers! Obviously I had to ask about book two, I’m obsessed. And we get more Sel!!!

Thank you to Daniel at Simon and Schusters Kids for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

August Wrap Up

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

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

So let’s talk about these books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

JTH

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

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

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

WWW Wednesday – 26th August.

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

What is WWW Wednesday? WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme where all you have to do is answer three simple questions. Look at me using the word meme! I feel so young!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you finished reading recently?
  • What are you planning to read next?

So shall we get started and talk about these books?

What are you currently reading?

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

What have you finished reading recently?

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

What are you reading next?

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

But it could all change.

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

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: ‘Raybearer’ by Jordan Ifueko

Title: Raybearer

Author: Jordan Ifueko

Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Hot Key Ya Books

Release Date: 18th August

Synopsis: Tarisai has always longed for a family. She was raised in isolation buy a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other council members through the Ray, a Bing much deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to being somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn – but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

How do I say this clearly so you all understand? I LOVED THIS BOOK! Did you get that? Do I need to say it again? Because I will…

In Raybearer, we follow the story of Tarisai who has been raised in isolation, only seeing her mother every so often and is then taken to the children’s palace, to try and become one of the princes eleven. But she got a secret mission from her mother.

Before I first started this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I don’t know why, but that’s how I felt. How glad I was to be wrong. Let me tell you, by page 50 I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I knew it was going to have to disastrously wrong for it not to be a 5 star read. It didn’t. It’s 5 stars.

Just to let you know, I’m going to try and review this book without giving any spoilers. I want you to experience it without it being ruined

There’s so many reasons why this book works. So many. I loved the plot. When Tarisai was given the plot to kill the Prince by her mother, ‘The Lady’, but Tarisai begins to care for the Prince, it’s such a great premise. What I thought would happen at the end of the book, happened in the middle and I knew this book was just going to go beyond my expectations. And it did, it soared. It was full of twists and turns. It was just fantastic. Captivating. Everything it needed to be. I know that was vague but just read the book, okay.

This book is set in a magical land, but it’s foundation, it’s roots are these African and Middle Eastern cultures and it really makes this book come to life. They lept off the page and it elevated this book to a whole new level. I love how much it celebrated these cultures, with a magical twist. The magical land is really wide and expansive without ever being overwhelming or opaque. It’s a testament to Jordan Ifueko’s writing. The magic was excellent as well. Really unique and intricate.

The characters, I loved them. Tarisai is the perfect main protagonist. Jordan has captured her perfectly. You can feel her power, her struggle, her heart. She’s fantastic. You can’t help but as a reader care for her instantly. There’s also fantastic side characters. ‘The Lady’ is a brilliant, you can’t help but see her as villain for a while, but she’s fantastic. I loved the Prince and Khira. All of them. There’s also a slow burn romance (my favourite) which is so good. It’s so good. I felt their connection. It was one of the best YA romances I’ve read in a long time.

Jordan Ifueko has crafted a wonderful Young Adult novel. The writing it lush and rich. The storytelling is out of this world. It’s got everything you could. It’s been a long time since I read a young adult novel this good.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I am so unbelievably glad I read this book. Now I’ve just got to wait for book two. And yes there is a book two coming. Trust me, I’ve checked. I implore you to read this book.

Thank you to Hotkey Books YA for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review

JTH