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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

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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

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ARC Book Review and Interview with the Author. Boy Queen by George Lester

Title: Boy Queen

Author: George Lester

Length: 389 pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Synopsis: Robin had it all figured out: a future on broadway, a top secret boyfriend and two ride-or-die best friends. Then all his worst nightmares came true. Now, his life is a hot mess. With nothing left to lose, Robin falls wig-first into the glittering embrace of Drag, and comes face-to-face with the queen he was always meant to be. Robin’s about to lest that sometimes your new self is your true self.

This was absolutely delightful. That was literally my first thought when I finished the book. I put it down and said in my head ‘that was absolutely delightful’. I would even quite like a sequel if I’m honest.

I loved the characters. They are eccentric but so real. Robin is a fantastic character. He was a wonderful protagonist for us to follow on his journey of self discovery. His friends were great. George made us care about these characters and it gives even more meaning to the book.

I love to read this in a book, a femme character taking centre stage. Robin at one point in the novel says ‘I’m camp’ and he wears it like a badge of honour and I love that. It’s representation like this that will help so many young people reading this book. It’s so important. Representation matters and I’m so proud of George for writing a character like this. I love it.

The relationship in the book are so important. I loved the relationship between and his mum. It was beautiful to read. I loved the romance too, but I won’t say anymore on that because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it was swoon worthy. And a slow burn and you know I love those. I also love the relationship Robin has with himself, it’s amazing to read how he comes to realise what he deserves and it’s so important for young queer people to read.

Of course the drag is fabulous. I want to go the club, I want to see Robin perform and I want to hang out with him and his wonderful friends. It makes me a little sad that I can’t.

I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s once of those charming, important quick reads (because you won’t be able to put it down, I couldn’t). And like I said, I want a sequel!

Thanks to Amber at panmacillan and MyKindaBook for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

And now for the interview. Thank you so much George for agreeing to do this. I really appreciate it.

1) What was your main inspiration for the book? This book is very much the combination of a lot of the things I love rolled into one. First of all, I am a theatre kid. I am a performer under a different name ( George Lennan, if you must know) and did dance classes and theatre growing up. I even did an MA in theatre at Mountview. It’s been a massive part of my life and is now one of the many careers I am pursuing. Second of all, I am a huge drag race nerd and on my MA I did a 45 minute solo drag show and created That Gurrrl (my drag persona) who has had such a huge impact on my life. And finally, I am a huge fan of queer romance and YA contemporary fiction, so if you put all those things in a pot, throw in a Lorelai Gilmore/Rory Gilmore mother/son dynamic and some glitter. You probably have Boy Queen. The other thing have that inspired this book heavily was wanting show drag as something more that what is shown on Drag Race. I feel like I’ve written this sentence some many times over the past few weeks, but there is so much more to drag than you see on Drag Race. I love the show, I do, but what you see on the show is just a fraction of the absolute magic and brilliant creativity and imagination that exists on the community. If you are a fan, I urge you to go out and look for it! It will blow your mind!

2) I love the relationships in this book. Can you talk a little more about them? Absolutely! As I mentioned in the previous question, was the Gilmore Girls-esque mother/son dynamic. I am a huge fan of the show and remember tweeting many moons ago that I wanted a YA novel version of it but ( as far as I’m aware) that just never happened. So I decided to write it into Boy Queen. This wasn’t just fun for the mother/son dynamic though, I really enjoyed having that in other characters too. My favourite kind of books and tv shows are the ones where characters have their own language that they speak in, a collection of references that each other just get that implies a history and I hope that came across with Natalie, Greg, Priya and Robin. The snappy dialogue and quips were honestly one of the most joyful parts of the book to write. And then of course comes the drag artist where I really had to sharpen my reading glasses. Where this probably became the most fun was with Seth because he was brand new to Robin, so he had to spend some time establishing exactly how to speak to him. And getting tongue tied because… you know… cute boys.

3) What do you hope young queer people get out of this book when they read it? Above anything else, I hope they get a really fun and joyful read featuring queer characters. Sure, the book has it’s dramatic moments and it’s sadder moments, but above everything else I wanted the book to be joyful and a celebration of queerness and drag. I hope it puts a smile on some faces. That would be wonderful! The other thing would be that not getting into drama school isn’t the end of the world. I know for a fact (having experienced it first hand) that it really can feel like that. When you live and breathe theatre, everything becomes a few clicks more dramatic, so not getting into drama school can feel like your life/career/everything is over. It’s not. Rejection is hard, it really does suck the big one, but it’s a part of life! ( A very big part of life of you’re going into the creative industry! Wow!) So take a deep breathe, reassess, do not give up. Keep working. I didn’t go the drama school when I was 18/19 years old. I got rejected from almost everywhere. I ended up studying for a BA in drama and Creative Writing, following which I went to work in publishing. When I realised just how much I missed acting, I started doing amateur theatre and, when I felt like I was ready, did an evening course at ArtsEd followed by my MA at Mountview. It was all about timing. This was the right time for me. Sometimes the universe just knows better!

4) Did the story change over time? Oh absolutely! Every single draft there was something new going in and something old coming out. We tried a lot of different things as the story went by and I am certain there has to be a good twenty to thirty thousand words on the cutting room floor. (They were replaced by other things in the book, I didn’t write a 110,000 word book! Jesus!) But that is the magic of editing. I don’t know where I would’ve been without my editors. They aren’t as close to the book as you are so they see things that you can’t and help you hone the story in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Priya wasn’t even in the first draft and now I can’t imagine the book without her. There is a scene where Robin and Seth are at Eternity together, and that wasn’t in the original draft either but it is such a fab scene that I can’t imagine it any other way! The only problem with this is when I come to write my next book and I find myself comparing the draft zero to my fully edited, copy edited and proofread draft of Boy Queen. Don’t do that. That way sadness lies.

5) How does it finally feel to have your first book out in the world? It is honestly the most surreal feeling in the world. This has been such a dream for me and has been for so many years that it is just surreal, that’s the best word for it. The team at PanMacmillan are working so hard on this book, and I feel every day something cool gets tweeted or posted and I have to pinch myself because I cannot believe it’s been happening to me. I feel so lucky. I have had a literary agent for about six years, I’ve written four books with him ( this is book five), and there were I wondered if maybe it would just never happen for me. So the fact that this is happening, just at the right time (pandemic aside!) with what turned out to be just the right book (I honestly couldn’t be happier Boy Queen is my debut!) is just wonderful.

George’s new book Boy Queen is out from August 6th 2020, £7.99 and is available from all good Bookshops. You can find him on Instagram @TheGeorgeLester or in drag @ThatGurrrlQueen.

A huge thanks to George for agreeing to do this little Q+A. It was absolutely fantastic and is filled with some brilliant advice.

It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

January Wrap Up

I can’t believe January has come and gone already. Where does the time go? Well, I guess time fly’s when you’re reading good books!

I’ve set my goal this year at 90! 90 books to read! Last year the most I read in a month was 10 (bliss) but I don’t think the start of this year has been that good. I’ve managed seven. Not bad, not great. But the ones I’ve read this month I’ve enjoyed.

I shall try and read more next month.

So without further ado. Let’s talk about these book.

First up this month I read ‘Wranglestone’ by Darren Charlton. I really enjoyed this one. It was an incredibly sweet LGBTQ+ love story with a twist. It’s got Zombies in and I have to say it was done really well. Definitely check this one out. It’s out February 4th ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nightingale by Marina Kemp. My first 5 star read of 2020. I loved this book. It’s so rich, full of fantastic characters and wonderful storytelling. I adored it. It’s out February 6th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley. This is a fantastic thriller. It had me guessing right till the end. With an ending that certainly didn’t disappoint. I loved this book. It’s out February 20th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

‘Yes No Maybe So’ by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed. This book was so sweet, so cute. I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read with a really important message and I loved that aspect. It’s out February 4th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Kingdomtide’ by Rye Curtis. It started off a little slow, but once it got going it was hard to put down. It had a fantastic ending, that took me by surprise. I throughly enjoyed this once. It’s out February 6th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Boone. Did I enjoy it? Yeah, it was okay. Will I remember it? No. It was predictable and a little unoriginal. I had no connection to the characters. It was a quick read though. Out February 6th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Swimming In The Dark’ by Tomasz Jedrowski. One of my most anticipated reads of the year. It was a beautiful tender love story set against a political background. I loved it. So beautifully written. It’s out February 4th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

So that’s it. That’s my first months reading. How did you get on? Did you beat my seven books. Whatever you read I hope you enjoyed them.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘The Companion’ by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Title: The Companion

Author: Kim Taylor Blakemore

Length: 271 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

⭐️

This was another request from Netgalley I was lucky to receive, and I thought I’d read it before the new year.

Synopsis: 1855, New Hampshire. Lucy is set to hang for double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows. In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her downfall – from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves. In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage. Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tales she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

I have to be honest and say I did not enjoy this book at all. For me there’s so many things wrong with this book I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll try.

Okay first of all the characters, I didn’t like any of them. Not a single one. None of them had a personality, they seriously could’ve all blended into one and I wouldn’t have known the difference. They had no depth. I’ve finished the book and I still don’t know who some of the characters are and what their purpose was in the novel.

The story has two timelines, both revolved around Lucy, the main character. We first see her arriving to the house looking for work, and we see her in prison waiting to find out if she’ll be hanged for crimes committed at the house. I could see what the author was trying to do, to keep the reading guessing, but I literally didn’t care if Lucy committed the crime or if she died. Like I said, everything that’s been written in this book has been done before and better.

Also, the story itself was bland and predictable. You can definitely tell the author tried to throw in plot twists and keep it interesting but it ultimately failed. I was so bored, I was literally begging it to end. There was what tried (tried because it failed) to be a Lesbian love story but if felt like they’d met twice and were suddenly madly in love. Whilst I’m a appreciative of the LGBT+ representation, it needs to be a lot better than this. I didn’t believe it at all.

This was my first Kim Taylor Blakemore novel and it’ll probably be my last. What could’ve been a gripping historical fiction novel turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out January 14th.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: ‘Infinity Son’ by Adam Silvera

Title: Infinity Son

Author: Adam Silvera

Length: 353 pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK

⭐️⭐️

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Adam Silvera and Infinity Son has been on my radar for a while. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to review it.

Synopsis: Two Brothers thrown into an epic war generations in the making. A fight for good and evil, between those born with power and those who took it. One brother had the power to end it all. The other will stop at nothing in his pursuit of glory. Who will live forever, and who will die trying?

Oh man, this book tried. It tried so hard. I could feel it wanting to be this new epic fantasy series. But for me, it sadly failed. And when I say sadly I truly mean it. I wanted to love it so badly, but I didn’t.

The story is set around Emil and his brother Brighton. Brighton is obsessed with the people who have powers and Emil becomes one of those people. It then introduces us to many (many) new characters and the story unfolds.

Ok, one of the problems I had with this book is when I say many characters, I really mean many. It’s told from the perspective of Four characters, Emil, Brighton, Maribella and, Ness. In all honesty I can’t even remember who Ness is!. I just felt like the characters could’ve been explored more, you never got know them at all and it made them bland and not likeable. It’s also got a lot of supporting characters that just make this book too jumbled

Speaking of jumbled, let’s talk about the magic shall we? There was a lot of magic in this book, I mean a lot! And it wasn’t cohesive. There was wands, Blood Casters, SpellWalkers, Phoenix’s, Celestials, Power Vests. I still honestly don’t know what half of it means. It felt like a group of eight year olds sat around and thought of every type of Magic they could think of and it’s been put in this book.

There needed to be a lot more world building, it feels like your just dropped in the middle with absolutely no explanation as to what’s going on. It didn’t take the time it needed to explain anything to the reader. It just jumped straight into the action, which was also messy and weird. With all the types of magic floating around it was bound to be! I also think at one point there was Phoenix fighting another animal in boxing ring! I honestly don’t even know!

This was Adams first time writing fantasy and you can absolutely tell. It felt amateurish. There was a sentence in the book that says ‘what the what, I’m flying’ and I remember thinking did I really just read. This man has written books so beautifully I’ve been reduced to tears and this one is making my roll me eyes. It was full of cliches and I don’t mind a good cliche, but when nothing else in the book is working they became extremely tedious. None of it felt original.

I did like that the main character of a fantasy novel is LGBTQ+, goodness knows it’s about time and we need more of this. And the ending did surprise me a little, I didn’t see it coming. So there’s two positives for you.

Overall, this book could’ve been good but it had far too many issues and was a bit of a mess. I can’t help but feel it needed to be more precise. It was to big and expansive. It’s supposed to be a trilogy (maybe that’s why the pacing was strange too?) so who knows what will happen in the next book. It does feel like it’s set up for a lot of things for book two. I just don’t know if I’ll read it. We can only hope for better.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out January 14th.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Anticipated Reads for 2020!

I can’t believe 2019 is over! It’s crazy. This year absolutely flew by. But a new year means what NEW BOOKS! NEW BOOKS! NEW BOOKS! Did I say that enough to get the message across?

Now, do I need new books to add to my tbr? Absolutely not. I’ve still got so many to read, some that will probably still be on my tbr at the end of 2020! But that’s what being a book blogger is all about right? An abundance of books.

There’s so many books I’m looking forward to in 2020. Literally so many. My poor tbr! 2019 was my year of queer fiction, and it looks like that will continue next year as there looks to be a lot of good queer fiction out. How exciting. Also, one of my favourite authors has new book our next year which I’m incredibly looking forward to.

So, let’s get started on the books shall we?

‘The Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd. Sue is one of my favourite authors and I am desperate to get my hands on this book. I just know it’ll be fantastic. I really do need it now. It’s out April 21st 2020.

‘The Gravity of Us’ by Phil Stamper. I need this book now. I’ve been trying to get my hand on a proof copy and I just can’t so I’ll be preordering this. A gay love story and space. Sign me up. Sounds like the perfect YA. It’s out February 4th in the US and in May in the UK. Why have I got to wait an extra 3 months??

‘Swimming In The Dark’ by Tomasz Jedrowski. This book sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s an historical fiction LGBT+ novel and that is my idea of heaven. I need this book of my life. It’s out February 6th.

‘Blood and Honey’ by Shelby Mahurin. I don’t know if this is the official cover but I do know I want this book. It’s the sequel to my favourite YA of the year. I’m literally so excited. It’s out the Fall of 2020.

‘CAMP’ by L.C.Rosen. Yes to this book already. Gay kids at theatre camp. How could I not want this. I love L.C Rosens characters so much. Such honest portrayals of queer characters. I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s out May 26 2020.

‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ by Suzanne Collins. I didn’t know I needed this book, but now that it exists I need it. I love The Hunger Games so I’m beyond excited for this. BEYOND. It’s out May 19th.

‘Majesty’ American Royals Book 2 by Katherine McGee. I loved the first and it ended on such a cliffhanger. How could it do that to me? I need to second one so badly. I can’t wait to see what this story has to offer. It’s out Autumn 2020

‘Surrender your Sons’ by Adam Sass. A book where a bunch of kids at conversion camp turn of their councillors! Sign me up now. Just take my money. This ones cover hasn’t been released yet but I’ll eagerly anticipate that too. It’s out September 15th.

I should say this list is all the books I haven’t read that are out next year. There are some fantastic ones coming that I was lucky enough to get proof copies of. Some that are coming out next year that I’ve already had the privilege of reading are ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummings, ‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell, ‘The Other Bennet Sister’ by Janice Hadlow. These are all fantastic so I don’t miss them.

Are there any books you’re looking forward to? Let me know. I’ve probably missed some.

Until the next review

JTH

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

WWW Wednesday -11th December

It’s that time of the month where I try to do one of these WWW Wednesday posts. I missed November but I shall try again. It hasn’t been a great start to the month, with only one book being read so far (what’s happened to me?).

I have feeling this month will be a slow month because I work in a restaurant and this time of year gets extremely busy.

But I’ve started my second book, and I’ll keep going and try and get as many read as possible.

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 let’s get started

What are you currently reading?

‘Your House Will Pay’ by Steph Cha was kindly gifted to me by the wonderful Faber & Faber Books. I’m not very far in but I can say I’m enjoying it so far. It’s atmospheric and I’m really intrigued to see where this novel goes. It’s out January 16th 2020.

What have you finished reading recently?

I’ve recently finished reading ‘Infinity Son’ by Adam Silvera. This is one of the most hyped books of next year and I didn’t like it. Is it too strong to say I hated it? It was a real mess. It’s comes out January 14th 2020.

What are your going to read next?

Next up is ‘The Companion’ by Kim Taylor Blakemore. This is a Netgalley book that I have no recollection for requesting but I must have so I’ll have to read it. It’s Historical Fiction (probably why I requested it) so maybe I’ll enjoy it.

So this has been my reading journey so far this month. What’s yours been like. Let me know.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: ‘Reverie’ by Ryan La Sala

Title: Reverie

Author: Ryan La Sala

Length: 416 pages

Publisher: SourceFire Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was so happy to be granted this book from Netgalley. I’d seen it everywhere and was desperate to read it.

Synopsis: All Kane Montgomery knows is that the police found him half-dead in river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different. As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialise out of nowhere-the gym wraps into a subterranean temple, a historical hike nearby blooms into a Victorian romance filled with rife and scandal – Kane realises that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

Doesn’t this synopsis sound great? Well let me tell you that this book is great.

Now, I don’t really read much fantasy, don’t ask me why, but this book made me want to read more. What an original, fresh idea. Loved the fact that the characters had to play out the reveries until it was the right time to end them. Such a clever idea. Loved how it was explored to. I feel like we could have sequels, with them dealing with more reveries! I’d read them that’s for sure.

We see the story through Kane’s perspective, and because he’s just woken up from a coma and remembers nothing, he’s in the same boat as the reader, so this helps to understand what’s going on because it’s a complex world.

This book is queer AF. It was heaven! A gay main character, who’s unapologetically himself. A lot of you gay men will see themselves in this character and I think that’s so important. Representation matters. It’s so refreshing. That’s right it’s not the sassy sidekick or the gay who’s super masculine so it’s okay. Kane also gets a little romance that I won’t spoil for you, but I sooo wanted more of this. There were so many more queer aspects to this book that I don’t want to spoil for you, but when you read it just revel in them.

I also found this book really suspenseful. I didn’t know wether to believe Kane’s friends or Posey. I never knew what was going to happen next. I was never sure if they were all going to get out of every situation and I loved it. It kept me guessing, kept me hooked until the end. And the ending wasn’t a let down!

I will say this book did take me a little while to get into, but once I did, I didn’t want to put it down. It was such a fun, new, suspenseful book that carries an important message.

Thanks to Netgalley and SourceFire books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out December 3rd.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘The Death of Baseball’ by Orlando Ortega-Medina

Title: The Death of Baseball

Author: Orlando Ortega-Medina

Length: 475 pages

Publisher: Cloud Lodge Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is another Netgalley book, that I’ve been lucky enough to receive, its LGBT+ and I was looking forward to getting started.

Synopsis: Former little league champion Kimitake ‘Clyde’ Koba finds strength in the belief that he is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe as he struggles to escape the ghost of his brother and his alcoholic father. Born on Yum Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, teen prodigy Raphael Dweck has been told his whole life that he has a special purpose in God’s plan. The only problem is, he can’t shake off his doubts, his urges, or the trail of trouble and ruin that follow in his wake. A decade later, Raphael and ‘Marilyn’ find each other wandering the plastic-bright streets of Hollywood and set out to make a documentary about the transmigration of souls. But when the roleplaying goes too far, they find themselves past point of no return in their quest to prove who and what they are to their families, God, the world, and themselves.

This is a really tricky review for me to write, purely because I haven’t made my mind up about this book yet. I guess I’ll try and work it out as I write this review. I will say it took me a long time to read, I just never wanted to pick it up.

The story begins with Clyde, a young boy who is in a horrendous situation, living with his abusive father. As a reader, you can’t help feel for Clyde. It’s also now, that he begins to feel different, and starts experimenting with his cousin. They way it’s written from Clyde’s perspective make this first section of the book really emotive. But I never really go into it. I didn’t feel the incest was necessary.

Then we move onto Raphael, who after causing a lot of trouble, is being sent back to Jerusalem to live with his Aunt. I have to say, Raphael isn’t very likeable at all, so I wasn’t really invested in what happened to him. He again, fell in love with his cousin! A running theme this book didn’t need!

However, I have to be honest and say I was interested to see how these characters would connect. It was a little cliched how they met. And for me, the story just got a bit silly. This is when it really lost me. The whole story lost its realness.

Also, when they connect Clyde now identifies as Marilyn Monroe, Clyde believes they became connected because Marilyn died at the exact moment Clyde was born. Through out the book the author called Marilyn ‘he’ and I wasn’t sure why. I wasn’t sure if it’s to highlight Clyde’s mental health issues, because at the end Clyde goes onto use his Chinese birth name. But it was just strange.

In all honesty I have to admit that I wonder if I missed the point of this book.

I don’t think I’d recommend this book. While I wanted to finish it to see what happened, I didn’t connect to the characters, the romance, the story. It was miss for me. I guess I made up my mind.

Thanks to Netgalley and Cloud Lodge books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out November 19th.

Until the next review

JTH