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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

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Top 10 Queer books of 2020

Has this been the year I’ve read the most queer books I’ve ever read? Yes, yes it has. Does that make creating a top ten list very hard? Yes. Yes it does. Am I still going to do it? Yes. Yes I am.

2020 has been the year I’ve really expanded my queer reading. As a white gay man, I was mainly reading stories by white gay authors about white boys falling in love. But I’m pleased to say my queer reading has really diversified this year. I’ve read more queer books by black authors, more sapphic books, some queer fantasy, some books by trans and non binary authors. Books like these will only get published if we support them.

So lets talk about the queer books shall we? (These are in no particular order)

1) The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. This is the most incredible book. It’s the queer historical fiction book I’ve been waiting for. It’s heartbreaking, its life affirming, its got the purest and the most intimate love story I’ve read in a long time. It’s a love story between two black slaves, its never been dove before and it needed to be. It gives a voice to queer history.

2) The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. This book is phenomenal. It had me in an absolute flood of tears. It is so beautifully written. It just captures all those feeling of being a young gay person and feeling lost. It truly is brilliant. I think this book should be required reading for everyone. And it’s got some beautiful poetry in too.

3) Camp by L. C. Rosen. I adore this book. It’s the first book I read that tackled toxic masculinity. It was the first time I read a book that saw femme guys as the love interest and I think its so incredibly powerful. It’s the book I wish I had when I was younger. It’s also incredibly fun and entertaining. It’s also got a wonderful love story.

4) Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. This book is so powerful. It’s the kind of book that will capture your heart and educate you at the same time and to me that great fiction for you. It follows are trans big who is the main character, who is the love interest and that kind of representation is so important. I know this book has helped so many people. Please read this one if you haven’t.

5) Hideous Beauty by William Hussey. This is an incredibly addictive and thrilling young adult book. I read it in one night. I’ve never done that before. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s got a mystery you just want to know the answer to and a sweet lovely. I’m looking forward to Williams next book. You can check out my full review here.

6) You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. This is a brilliant young adult contemporary novel that celebrates black girl magic and the first time falling in love. The romance between the two girls is so adorable and charming, but this book as has an important message. You fly through it and be left wanting to read more from this author. You can check out my full review here.

7) All Of My Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais. This book is wild and sexy and provocative but underneath it all it has a really important message about mental health and the pressures we all face, and I think the author highlights these all so well. It’s an honest and emotional account that had me crying by the end of this book. You can read my full review here.

8) Boy Queen by George Lester. This is such a wonderful book about finding yourself and finding the courage it takes to do what you want. In this book again, we see a femme boy at the centre of the story and I love it. This kind of representation matters. All there’s some fantastic drag featured in this book that is so much fun. You can check out my full review and an interview with George here.

9) Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez. I read this one at the beginning of the year and its stuck with me. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking look at growing black and queer in Britain. It’s written beautifully and will stay with you. I’m looking forward to what Paul writes next.

Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski. Another book I read earlier in the year that has stayed with me. It’s such a beautiful, intimate love story between two me in Poland. It’s got a goodbye that’ll make you cry. It’s such a beauty of a book. You can read my full review here.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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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: Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

Title: Heartbreak Boys

Author: Simon James Green

Length: 405 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Uk

Synopsis: Jack’s summer of love just became the summer of dumped. Nate is newly out and newly broken-hearted. Together they’re on a mission to prove to the world (or at least Instagram) that they are totally over their exes. But between dismal campsites and clapped-out camper vans, is there a sparkle of something that might change this summer from Insta-fake to forever?

December has been a rough reading month for me but thankfully Heartbreak Boys came along and saved my reading month and made me remember that I actually enjoy books.

In Heartbreak Boys we follow Nate and Jack, who after finding out their boyfriends have been cheating on them, rekindle their friendship and go on a road trip with Nate’s family.

The first thing I’m going to talk about is how much I loved the characters. Nate has my whole heart. I wanted to look after him, I want to give him a hug, I wanted to be his friend. And then there’s Jack, all I can say is Jack is a way cooler Jack than I will ever be and one day I hope to be authentically myself as Jack in the book is. Also, we love Rose for her side comments and is it weird I’d like to spend the day hanging out with Mrs Nate?

The story is told through two perspectives and Simon has created such individual characters that you never get mixed up which character you’re reading and I love that. Simon really does write fantastic characters.

This book is full of both heart and humour. You can really feel Nates heartbreak at being cheated on and how both the boys deal with it. It’s really emotional to read. Of course there’s a wonderful slow burn romance that I was so swooning over. It was such a good one. It was so quiet and tender, which made it super believable. They’ll be together forever and won’t have any problems and no one can convince me otherwise. Rose is incredibly funny, as is Mrs Nate after she smokes a ‘special cigarette’. Hilarity happens on the road trip of course. Simon can really write comedy. It’s a laugh out loud book.

Throughout the book, Simon subtly tackles toxic masculinity and living in a heteronormative world without ever mentioning it and I think it’s incredibly important. Towards the end of the book Jack considers turning down his personality in order to make other people more comfortable, to be less queer and thankfully he doesn’t do it but it really highlights how queer people are treated. It’s shows young kids, hell anyone reading it, that you are perfect the way you are and you are valued and you deserve love. I think it’s brilliant.

I love what Simon is doing for UKYA book, especially queer UKYA books. I would’ve loved books like this when I was a teenager and I’m so glad to read them and I still enjoy them just as much because Simon is a brilliant writer.

I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a super easy, quick read filled with love, fun and, an important message. I loved ‘Alex in Wonderland’, I loved ‘Heartbreak Boys’, I’m excited to read ‘Noah Can’t Even’ and ‘Noah Could Never’. Simon also has a new book called ‘You’re The One That I Want’ coming out in June 2021 that I’ll definitely be picking up.

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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November Wrap Up

Now, I’ve been on lockdown this whole month and I really thought I was going to read more, but of course these lockdowns are hard and my reading took a while to get going.

I really started off the month slowly, just not reading much. I was finding it really hard to concentrate. But when I finally did get going I read some brilliant books. Absolutely brilliant. But I don’t only manage to read seven books. Not great, but not bad. Still I’ve found a new favourite so it was a good month.

Towards the end of the month my reading sort of tapered off again. But hey, that’s lockdown for you.

Let’s talk about these books then shall we?

First up I read The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell. This was a good book, not my favourite of the month, but still good. It kept me intrigued throughout. And I’ll definitely be checking out Laura’s other books. It’s out in January.

Next I read These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and I really enjoyed this one. It took me a little why to get into it, but once I did I loved it. Great characters, a great story. Action packed. You can check out my full review here. Can I have book two now? This one is out now.

Then I read Between The World and Mw by Ta-nehisi Coates. This is a brilliant non-fiction book. I don’t think this is something you review. It’s just something you learn from. It’s a must read.

Up next was The Prophets by Robert Jones jr. Is this my new favourite book? I think so. It’s absolutely outstanding. The writing is phenomenal. Phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough. This one is out January 5th. Thank you to Quercus books for my copy.

Then I read Love Is A Revolution by Renée Watson. This is a quick YA book that I really enjoyed. It had some fantastic characters, and I loved the message that this book gets across. This one is out in February. Thanks to Bloomsbury YA for my copy.

Next up was Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. This book was short but it really packed a punch. The writing was absolutely stunning. It really was stunning. This one is out in February and I can’t recommend it enough. I look forward to rereading it. Thanks to Viking Books UK for my copy.

Then I read While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart. Loved this one. I love historical fiction and this is an excellent one. Thank you to Headline books for my copy. It’s out in March.

Lastly this month I read The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I absolutely loved this book. Brilliant characters, a brilliant story. I can’t stop thinking about this book.

So that was my reading for the month. Are you interested in any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

JTH

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

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

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

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

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

ARC Book Review: Fall Out by C.G. Moore

Title: Fall Out

Author: C.G. Moore

Length: 323 pages

Publisher: uclanpublishing

Synopsis: For Cal, coming out is explosive. But that is nothing to the fall out from his family, friends and foes. When events in Cal’s life reach critical, he is shaken to his core. Can he rely on his loved ones to help avoid meltdown?

I enjoyed the novel, some parts were definitely hit and miss, but overall an enjoyable with an important message that gets across to the reader.

There was a romance in the beginning of this book that I really didn’t like. It was rushed, unbelievable and it was definitely instalove. But I can say that it didn’t last to long, and it had a much better ending than beginning.

I also have to say I didn’t like the main character Cal at the beginning or his friendship with Em. The friendship was often tedious. There was also Cal relationship with Ems nan Peggy which also felt a bit random. There was just something off about if to me. However both get better as the characters develop but it still wasn’t enough to save them. All relationships just felt a bit forced to me.

The story line with Cal and his family is my favourite thing of the novel. It’s dealt with well and it’s heartfelt and meaningful. It felt was very real to me. It was the highlight of the novel.

Throughout the novel Cal is being bullied and it’s dealt with so well in the novel. It was descriptive and hard to read in the best way. It made my stomach drop at points. It captured the brutality of the kind of bullying LGBT+ kids go through and it’s heartbreaking. It also captures the ramifications well. It goes into a lot of detail and it defiantly needs some trigger warnings.

The conclusion to the story was what it needed to be. I think that’s fair to say that a good summary for the whole novel, it finishes stronger than it starts.

Thank you to C.G. Moore for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH