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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

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ARC Book Review: ‘Coral’ by Sara Ella

Title: Coral

Author: Sara Ella

Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is another Netgalley ARC that I was lucky enough to get, and it’s about mermaids so I was incredibly excited to read it.

There is more than one way to drown. Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in has always been key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans-emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light? Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can is the numbness is the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms- a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point in living if her soul is destined to bleed? Merricks may be San Fransisco golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his sisters suicide attempt send Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mum, everything will be made right again – right? When their worlds collide, all three will do what it takes to survive, and Coral night even catch a prince in the process. But what- and who- must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

This a hard review for me to write. Because this was a hard book to read. I know that sounds strange, let me explain.

I probably spent the first 3/4 of this book not enjoying it. At all. I don’t like to DNF books, I have to admit I was pretty close. I just found it to be silly and quite frankly, it annoyed me.

First of all, the character of Coral was annoying. I was so excited to be invested in this underwater world, but it was underwhelming. And this whole business of ‘Red Mist’ was incredibly annoying. Ugh, I couldn’t stand to read those words. I get what it was trying to do, but it didn’t work. And then suddenly she becomes human and is enrolled in school. Just silly! This is when I was very close to DNFing this book.

The Merrick perspective was more of the same, annoying, predictable. It’s hard to read about characters and become invested when you don’t like them, right? The only saving grace of book was Brooke. Her character had some depth, some heart. I was intrigued to see what happened with her. It’s probably the only reason I kept reading.

So, like I said I didn’t like it. I spent the 3/4 wondering how it was going to work. I didn’t see how the characters stories would blend together, then the twist came.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see the it coming. And it finally made everything make sense! It definitely made the book come together as a whole piece of work. But even now, I still don’t think it was enough of a twist for me to say I enjoyed the book. I just made it didn’t feel like a waste of time reading it. Does a book really have to be bad for so long?

I will say this book has fantastic mental health representation. It really shines a light on depression and anxiety. It’s speaks about it in a honest way.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend this book. It’s a tough one. Maybe I had different expectations? I don’t know.

Until the next review

JTH

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October Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone! How does time fly this quickly?

This didn’t feel like the best reading month for me. It felt slow. I wonder if it’s because I read four books on my kindle, and some of them just seemed to go on forever. I just wanted to hold a book.

For the last couple of months I’ve managed to read ten books, but this month I’ve slipped down to nine. Hmmmm, I wonder why? Anyway on to the books

First up was ‘Sword of Kings’ by Bernard Cornwell. This was a great historical fiction in the long running sereies. I enjoyed it, and the time it was set in. Out now! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Second this month I read ‘Find Me’ by André Aciman. I was excited for this book. The writing was absolutely beautiful, but it was a bit of a let down. Out now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Third was ‘A View Across The Rooftops’ by Susan Kelman. This is a wonderful book. I enjoyed it immensely. I just got lost in the story. So beautiful. Out now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then I read ‘Across a Broken Shore’ by Amy Trueblood. This was a good book. Had some aspects that I really enjoyed. But I just needed more. A tad predictable. It needed more depth. Out November 5th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Up next was ‘Coral’ by Sara Ella. This was a strange one, I spent most of the book not enjoying it. But then a twist happened, and it made it all made sense. I’m still unsure. Out November 12th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then I read ‘The Death of Baseball’ by Orlando Ortega-Medina. I don’t even know where to start with this one. I think it missed an opportunity. Great characters, but story lost me a little. I’m still unsure of this one. Out November 29th. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I finally read ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston. It’s been on my TBR for so long. A sweet, fun read. With a hot love story, but again predictable. But still so glad I read it. Out now ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After this I read ‘Moth to a Flame’ by Stig Dagerman. I throughly enjoyed this. It was like a look inside someone’s soul for a short while. Deals with grief beautifully. Intense in a wonderful way. Out now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then I read ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummings. I’ve never read a book so intense from the first page. A wonderful, important story. It deserves to be huge. Out January 21st 2020. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

So that’s it, my month all wrapped up. I hope I can get up to ten again next month. How did you get on this month?

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review and Blog Tour: ‘A View Across The Rooftops’ by Suzanne Kelman

Title: A View Across The Rooftops

Author: Suzanne Kelman

Length: Ebook

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was absolutely thrilled to join the Blog Tour for this book. I love Historical Fiction so I couldn’t wait to get started.

1941 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.

University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, even as the sinister beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots threaten to drown it out. Terrified, Josef tries to keep his eyes on the ground as Jews across the city are forced into ghettos. But then, Michael Blum, his most reluctant, infuriating pupil, tell Josef Jews like him will no longer allowed to study at all. Josef can no longer ignore the situation. And, after the shock of seeing his own neighbour killed on his doorstep, he offer Michael a place to hide in an impulsive act of courage. Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic and unafraid of love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl is strictly forbidden- for he is Jewish, she is not. Somehow- in the quiet gloom of the attic, Josef doesn’t mind things about Michael that annoyed him in the classroom, and a bond begins to grow. Remembering the pain of his own heartbreak, Josef is desperate to give Michael and his girlfriend a chance. He must go on as if nothing has changed: teaching his classes, bowing to the Nazis. Beneath the fear, a thrill of defiance begins to bloom. But then Michael becomes perilously ill, and there is no way to get him the help he desperately needs. As the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. If Michael is to survive and get back to the women he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. Even if it means putting his own life on the line.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I’m trying to think of a better historical fiction novel I’ve read of this kind this year, and I can’t. It really was historical fiction at its finest.

I liked the fact that this book had a different perspective on the war. It’s the first book I’ve read, of the Nazi occupation in set in Amsterdam, so that added a different element to the book and kept it fresh. I was immediately immersed in the story. And I didn’t leave it until the last page.

This book had fantastic characters. They’re all so beautiful written. Josef, who is the main character, is so complex. You can really feel his internal struggle, with wanting to help and wanting to be safe. It was one of the joys of the book to watch his character open up. To see him help Michael is wonderful. For me, it’s the foundation of this book. The bond they form is so special and heartwarming, in this brutal time in history, is probably my favourite thing about this book.

This book also has some wonderful secondary characters, who have some great storylines. Hannah, who joins the resistance and helps fight. Michaels girlfriend, who never gives up on him. And Ingrid, who is a Nazi sympathiser. A have to give a special shoutout to the arc of Ingrid’s story because it had a twist I didn’t see coming and I end up caring for her. It’s brilliant writing. With all these perspectives, you’d think I’d hate one, but no.

The romance between Michael and his girlfriend is so lovely. I couldn’t read this book fast enough to see if they became reunited. The ending! Oh my god the ending of their story. I’m not ashamed to say I cried. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but I wept like a baby. I just didn’t see it coming. It was one of those moments in a book where you just pause. I was so shocked. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

It’s abundantly clear this book has been meticulously researched. It had to be, with so many perspectives being told. It was filled with just the right amount of detail to make it accurate, but never to get bogged down and lose the story.

This is just one of those books that has a tremendous amount of heart. It’s all down the brilliant writing of Suzanne Kelman, who’s managed to create wonderful, real characters and put them in a harrowing time in history. When I finished this book I was hopeful and my heart was full. It’s such a fantastic story.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It comes out 25th October. Check it out.

Until the next review

JTH

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WWW Wednesday- 23rd October

Hello my fellow book lovers, I hope you’re all well. I hope you’ve been reading some fantastic books

This is a little blog post, just to keep you up to date on what I’ve been reading recently. I’m trying to do them once a month. But sometimes I get so distracted by reading I forget!

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?

Well, I’m just over half way of Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’m really enjoying it so far. Yes, is it a little predictable, but it’s still fun. And it’s been on my TBR forever, so it always nice to get that number down a little bit.

What have you finished reading recently?

I’ve just finished ‘The Death of Baseball’ by Orlando Ortega-Medina. This was a Netgalley book that comes out on November 19th. This was a tricky one. I don’t know how I feel about this book. Parts of it loved, but it lost me maybe about 3/4 in. I think writing the review will help me figure it out!

What are your going to read next?

I think (and it’s always subject to change with me) I’m going to read ‘My Sister, The Serial Killer’. I bought it in paperback recently and I can just feel it calling out to me! And it’s short too, and another book of my TBR.

Then after that, I think it’ll be ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummings. It’s out next January but I’ve heard such good things, I can’t wait to read it. I was lucky enough to get an ARC, so why not use.

So that’s it. Read any of these? Let me know. Or let me know what your reading. Whatever it is I hope you’re enjoying it.

Until the next review

JTH

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

September Wrap Up

Ahhh September, that means autumn has arrived and I can now settle in bed in the evenings and read my book. Wait, that’s what I was doing all Summer long. Oh well, at least I’m consistent.

September has been another good reading month for me (it’s because I’ve got no social life but that’s another blog post). Last month I managed to break my personal best and read 10 books. This month I managed 10 again! I love that! Let’s hope I can keep it up in October.

Anyway, onto the books:

First Up is ‘the stone rainbow’ by Liane Shaw. This book was sadly a miss for me, it was unoriginal, preachy and bland. It had annoying, whiny characters. It gets points for its diversity rep, but a let down. It’s out now. ⭐️⭐️

Secondly was ‘Serpent & Dove’ by Shelby Mahurin. THIS IS THE BEST YA BOOK I HAVE READ ALL YEAR. THAT IS ALL. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then was ‘Six Goodbyes We Never Said’ by Candace Ganger. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Fantastic characters, and a brilliant mental health rep. Plus the characters didn’t lose their personalities. Fantastic. Out now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Next up was ‘The Mating Habit of Stags’ by Roy Robinson. I loved this book fantastic characters, a great story and beautiful descriptions of a lush landscape. Out now ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then I read ‘The First Lady and the Rebel’ by Susan Higginbotham. This had all the ingredients to be a great book but failed. It was boring. I usually love historical fiction so it hurts me to say. Out October 1st. ⭐️⭐️

Next up was ‘Royals’ by Emma Forrest. I did enjoy this book but it was something out of nothing. Not much happens. But it did have good characters and was a quick read. Out October 31st. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

After this I read ‘The Death of Me’ by M.J. Tyja. I enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. Full on intrigue and it kept me guessing till the end. Out October 1st. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Next was ‘Blackberry and Wild Rose’ by Sonia Velton. I throughly enjoyed this. It’s a great historical fiction novel, with a fantastic story. Great characters and interesting details. I loved it. Out October 3rd ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then I read ‘The Choke’ by Sofie Laguna. It’s been a while since a character captured my heart like the main one did in this book. It was beautiful. So glad I read this. Out October 3rd. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Lastly was ‘Into The Crooked Place’ by Alexandra Christo. What a great book. I loved it. Great characters, interesting magic! I need book two now. Out October 8th ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

So there it is, my monthly wrap up. I hope you’ve all had a great month! Let me know!

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘The First Lady and the Rebel’ by Susan Higginbotham

Title: The First Lady and the Rebel

Author: Susan Higginbotham

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

⭐️⭐️

I was over the moon when I was approved for this book on Netgalley, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The story of Mary Todd Lincoln and Emily Todd Helm, two sisters on separate sides of history, fighting for the country the believe in against the people the love the most. When the civil war cracks the country in two, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln watches from the White House as the blows of a divided nation shake her people and her husband, President Lincoln, to their very core. As the news of wartime enters the Oval Office, Mart waits with baited breath, both for the hope of a Northern victory as well as in distress of a bloody Southern defeat. Mary, like many people during this time, have a family that is torn between North and South, her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the Confederates, and Mary is at risk of losing the country she love and the family she has had to abandon In the tides of this brutal war.

I find this period of American history absolutely fascinating and I’ve read some great fiction books about it. Some even this year. But this unfortunately wasn’t one of them. Not even close.

This book was 400 pages long and it felt like it. Actually it probably felt longer. It felt as though I’d been reading the book for months. It was so slow. I truly believe this book could’ve been a lot shorter. Or maybe less about how the sisters met their future husbands and more about the time after the Civil War finished, as that was only lightly mentioned but seemed much more interesting.

This book was dense. Extremely dense. And at times, dull. Whatever you say about this book, there’s no denying it has been meticulously researched. Usually I love Historical Fiction novels with a lot of details, in fact most don’t have enough for me. But there’s was something about this book that I couldn’t put my finger on, why it wasn’t connecting, then I realised, it had no heart.

Now, what I mean when I say the book has no heart is it felt like the book had no story. It felt like I was reading a list of dates, or a list of battles, a list of states the characters visited. It felt more like a textbook trying to teach me something than a work of fiction. It didn’t feel like there was much of story woven in between, and what story was woven in between, well it certainly wasn’t a good one.

The characters of Mary and Emily weren’t very likeable. Neither one really had any personality. And the book needed it. When it’s going to be that historical, it needed characters that you can emotionally connect to and these two weren’t it. Their characters felt vapid and shallow. Emily’s love story was sweet but I wanted it to go further. And when her husband was killed in battle, she barely shed a tear. That was this books change to connect and it missed it.

I have to say, unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend this book. I found myself feeling annoyed at its lack of fluidity, it’s dullness and it’s repetition. There’s better books out there about this period in history.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: ‘Six Goodbyes We Never Said’ by Candace Ganger

Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said

Author: Candace Ganger

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: Wednesday Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a request off Netgalley that I was lucky enough to accepted for. The Synopsis sounded so intriguing to me I had to read it.

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss and letting go. Naimi Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronising sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero – a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was”, though that’s all her loving family want her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the eff-off while she separates her Lucky Charms Marshmallows into six, always six, ziplock bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her. Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he otherwise can’t say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naimi and everything’s changed- just in the way he, or she, expects.

Would you rather stand stark naked in front of the world, but emotionally protected, or be fully clothed and all your feelings in plain sight?’

Now when I first started this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This book is heavy, it’s very emotional. As a person who has lost a parent, I could relate to both characters. But I did worry this book was going to be a tad depressing. My biggest fear was that both characters would just be a list of mental health disorders and have no personality, like other authors have reduced their characters to in books *I’m looking at you John Greene in Turtles All The Way Down*

When actually what really shines about this book, is it’s characters. Dew and Naimi are fantastic characters, that’ll break your heart and put it back together again. Dew is instantly likeable, with his sweet but damaged personality radiating off the page. Naimi takes a little while to become more likeable, but as she beings to deal with her grief, you see more of her personality. To be on the journey with these two characters as they come to terms with their losses and finding small ways to deal with pain is really beautiful.

The friendship that Naimi and Dew form is really beautiful. I was worried for a while the author was going to turn it into a romance but thankfully that didn’t happen, it just wouldn’t have felt right. But to watch them grow close and help each other was really touching. I also loved they dynamic between Dew and his adopted family. I didn’t expect this from the book but it was really heartwarming.

Mental health disorders, anxiety and grief get represented incredibly well in this book. Both characters had these, but were more than that. I think gives a lot of hope to people reading this who suffer with these things. You could tell the books been well researched. It’s so beautifully written. This book exudes the notion that things can always get better.

I highly recommend this book. It’s the kind of book that needed to be written. I truly believe this book could help a lot of people. This book will have you feeling all the feels at the end. Beautiful.

Thank you Netgalley and Wednesdaybooks for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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ARC Book Review: ‘The Stone Rainbow’ by Liane Shaw

Title: The Stone Rainbow

Author: Liane Shaw

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Second Story Press

⭐️⭐️

I was so pleased when I was approved for this title on Netgalley. It’s an LGBT+ book, so I couldn’t wait to get started.

Seventeen-year-old Jack Pederson is finding life complicated ever since coming out to his mom. Even though she’s been doing her best to be understanding, it’s obvious to Jack that she still wants to cry every time she’s says the word gay. Complications go into overdrive when a new student arrives at school, and Jack starts experiencing feelings he’s never allowed himself to feel before. When a near tragedy turns his life upside down, Jack realises it’s time to stop hiding from himself and everyone around him, and then he decides to organise his small town’s first Pride Parade.

‘A better question is why should anyone need to rescinded from asswipes like those guys in the first place? Why is the world like this?

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I tried so hard but alas, I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. At all. Even typing out the synopsis annoyed me to be honest and it reminds me how much I didn’t like this book?

Let’s talk about the characters first. They had absolutely no depth. They had situations happen to them, but no depth. They were bland, boring, predictable. The main character Jack, was so annoying. I’ve never read such a whiny character. Which is very upsetting as we share the same first name. They also weren’t described very much, I have no idea what anyone looked like. How can you expect a story to be good without great characters?

Now, let’s talk about the romance. Well, the attempt at romance. Once I got over the awful trope of instalove, I thought I might buy into the romance but it didn’t happen. Jack fell in love with Benjamin after one conversation, and it was so pathetic. It also didn’t help me to find Jack less annoying. They had absolutely no chemistry, Benjamin (the love interest) had no personality. The author clearly tried to make him come across as charming, but he jus came across as dull. Just ugh.

Plot? Does this book even know what that is? You just knew how this book was going to end the moment it began. They’d end up together, the pride parade would go well, he’d recover from the accident. Blah, blah, blah. This book wanted to show the struggles and the harshness to being gay, but only showed them on the surface. Then gave it all a happy (but rubbish) ending.

This book had so many cliches. In fact I think it was one whole big cliche. The romance, the bullies, the parent situation, the ending. Obviously this book gets points for diversity, with its queer characters, but even they were walking cliches. It did have a character with cerebral palsy, who was in a wheelchair, and I thought that was written well. Probably the best character and best thing about this book.

So like I said it’s predictable, cliched, bland, boring. I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend this one at all. Don’t waste your time, there’s better LGBT+ books out there that will challenge you, make you think, believe in love. Read those, not this.

Thank you to Netgalley and Second Story Press for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 19th.

Until the next review

JTH