#fiction, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, books, fiction, gay, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

Title: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

Author: Matt Cain

Publisher: Headline

Length: 464 pages

You’ll understand the Crunchie when you read the book.

Synopsis: 64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the seat of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him. He realises it’s finally time to be honest about who he is. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgot…

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is a reminder that it’s never to late to follow our hearts and be who we are.

There’s so much to love about this book. It’s got fantastic characters, a heartwarming story and an important message. It’s full of charm, heart and joy.

We follow Albert who keeps himself to himself and hides who he is from the outside world. Alberts journey is one of my favourite things about this book. To see him come into his own is so wonderful. And I really like how Matt has done it, it’s gradual and subtle. You’ll just fall in love with him. I also loved seeing make connections with other people, especially Nicole.

Nicole was also a great character to follow throughout the book. I loved the friendship that they formed. I also loved how their friendship was based on them both following their hearts.

Oh the romance. I thought it was beautiful. I was longing to Albert to reunited with George. No spoilers here so I won’t say if it happens but the whole thing had a real quality to it. The sections that go into the past so were so sweet but heartbreaking. Matt really captures the atmosphere of the time.

I really like how this novel tackles internalised homophobia, we need more of this in commercial fiction. You can see where Albert still has moments of shame as he is learning to accept himself, and its done so well. You can also see it when Albert meets the gay couple that moves into the village. I also really liked how Matt captures the atmosphere of Alberts childhood and how it stayed with him. It’s something we see so often and I think Matt handles it with real integrity and honesty.

Also, while reading this I couldn’t help but think this will make a brilliant tv series.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle really was a wonderful read that you won’t want to put down and one with characters you’ll fall in love with. It’s also pride next month and this is the perfect read for it. Don’t miss this one.

Thank so much to Headline Review for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 27th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, historical fiction, literary ficton, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

April Wrap Up

Didn’t April fly by? I can’t believe its over already. It was a strange month for me in many ways and it affected my reading. I read nine books this month and I either absolutely loved them or didn’t like them at all. There was no in between.

It took me a while to read some of the books this month, especially the ones I’ve loved because I didn’t want them to end. And if I haven’t enjoyed them I’ve read them super fast. Does anyone else do this?

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer. No. Nope. Just no for me. I didn’t like this one at all. To felt pointless and depressing. It’s supposed to be a thriller but I didn’t find it engaging at all. It was dull. I had no desire to learn about Hummingbirds that much. Also, if I ever read the Silvina again I will cry. Literally cry. Thanks to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joys Goffney and it was absolutely brilliant. It deals with such important themes to wonderfully. I really need all young adult books to be this good. Seriously. This one is out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here

Thirdly I read Of Women And Salt by Gabriela Garcia. What a book! It’s the kind of book that is so intriguing. The writing is lyrical and brilliant. I was totally enraptured by this book. I just loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

(We’re just taking a break here because I had two five star reads in a row and that deserves to be celebrated.)

Then I read Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein. Well the five star reads didn’t last for long. I just didn’t enjoy this one at all. It also didn’t have much depth, and it was just about a love story. If a book is going to be just about a love story, it needs to be good. And this one just wasn’t. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next was Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli. Now this is how all YA books should be. It was fun, charming, inclusive, funny and romantic. Becky is one of the best young adult authors around. I loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. Well much to my surprise I absolutely loved this book. Full of strong female characters, beautiful story telling and Greek Mythology. It’s really beautifully done. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Seventh this month I read Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard. Have I found my favourite new fantasy series? Yes I think I might have. I loved everything about this book. Everything. I need book two now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out May 4th. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Still Life by Sarah Winman which was absolutely fantastic. It will definitely be one of my favourite books of the year. I loved it. I’ll remember these characters for a long time. Just absolutely brilliant! Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out June 10th.

(Another two five star reads in a row. When does that ever happen?)

Lastly I read Male Tears by Benjamin Myers and I didn’t enjoy this at all. A few of the stories were okay, the rest I didn’t see the point in. Was a big disappointed for me. Maybe the title lead me to believe this was going to be something else, but for me it missed the mark. My favourites were definitely the shorter stories. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

So that’s if for me this month. Not as many as March but some fantastic books. Quality over quantity.

Are you going to read any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fiction, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

Author: Joya Goffney

Publisher: Hotkeybooksya

Length: 352 pages

Synopsis: Quinn keeps lists of everything – from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud”, to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears (as well as embarrassing and cringeworthy truths) on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing. An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett – the last known person yo have her journal and who Quinn loathes – in a race against time to track down the blackmailer. Together, they journey through everything in Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

What a book. I’m going to need all young adult books to be this good. Seriously.

Lets just talk about my favourite thing in this book, which is the black joy. Quinn, in her predominantly white school, has always gone along with the racism she has to endure and as she begins to hang out with the other black kids in her school she begins to stand up for herself. This is what I mean by Black Joy. She learns to love her skin, she has important conversations with her parents about internalised racism and they were all just brilliant. Joya has dealt with such important themes in an honest and educational way. These are things that need to be talked about, and read about especially when they’ve been done this well. All young adult contemporary books need to live up to this.

There’s also a really sweet, believable, slow burn romance throughout this book. I was willing them to be together and let me tell you I swooned when it happened. Swooned! I also loved (LOVED) the fact that when the love interest (I’m not using names to avoid spoilers) made a mistake he took accountability for his actions. It was so refreshing to read. But yes, its a really wonderful, real romance.

It’s full of fantastic characters. Quinn is a brilliant protagonist to follow. She’s funny, charming, relatable and I loved seeing her grow throughout the book. There’s also Carter and Olivia, who show Quinn her to love herself and there’s Auden who rounds out their team and I just wanted to be a part of it. They were all just well rounded, complex characters and it’s fantastic to read in a ya novel.

The story is also really enjoyable, I don’t want to give to much away as I want you to enjoy it for yourself. But if you’re like me you’ll be totally captivated answer you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Like I said, its a brilliant book with an important message that other books are going to need to live up to. It’s the best ya contemporary I’ve read in a long time. It breathes life back into this genre.

Thanks to the publishers for my gifting me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 4th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

March Wrap Up

March has come and gone. It once again flew by, and it was my last full month being furloughed as restaurants can open again in April if they have outdoor space, so I’m going back to work. Which will mean less reading time, but I’m excited to go back. Who knew I’d miss baking cakes and scones!

I did manage to read eleven books this month. Which I believe is a record for me. I would’ve read more but I got a stomach bug just after my birthday and it slowed me down. But I’m still proud of eleven. Let’s see if I can achieve the same in April!

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro. You know, this book just wasn’t for me. I found it dull, and I never wanted to pick it up. Also, the whole point if this book is the friendship between the main characters and I didn’t believe. I felt absolutely no connection between them, so for me the book ultimately failed. But who knows, you might love this one. It’s out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Then I read Sistersong by Lucy Holland. I absolutely loved this one, much more than I expected to. It was a brilliant historical fiction novel, with great magic and fantastic characters. I flew through it and I’ll kook forward to whatever Lucy writes next. Thank to the publishers for my copy if this book. It’s out now.

Next up I read A Lonely Man by Chris Power. This was a subtly intense thriller that I really enjoyed. It’s detailed, it keeps you guessing as to whether the character is telling the truth. And I loved the ending. The book was so good you wanted it to carry on, but the ending was taught and open. It was fantastic. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Fourth up I read The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. This is the beginning of a brilliant new teen series that I think everyone can enjoy. It was action packed, the world was interning and epic and the characters were fantastic to follow. I am looking forward to reading this series. It’s out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Up next was Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. I absolutely loved this book. From beginning to end. It was intriguing, I loved the main character and I thought the ending was epic. Thanks to the publisher for my copy. It’s out now.

Then I read An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon. There were definitely parts that I liked, and I loved the epilogue but for some reasons, I just couldn’t totally emotionally invest in the book. I really don’t know why. It’s usually kind of book I adore. I found the writing slightly jarring at times, it didn’t quite flow. I wonder if I reread this book if I’d love it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Seventh up this month I read In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. What an incredible book. It’s exquisite. This queer nonfiction memoir is a work of art. Carmen writes from her soul. I’m so glad I picked this one up. It blew me away. A new favourite. It’s out now.

Next I read The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. You know when you’re into a book from the first page. That was this book for me. I loved the concept. I loved the story. Loved the characters and all the twists and turns. And that ending? It can’t leave me waiting like that. This was just how I like my young adult books. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. Out in April.

Then I read Lean, Fall, Stand by Jon McGregor. This one started off so strong. Incredibly strong. It’s intense, it’s exciting, its dangerous and I was loving it. Then there was a shift in the plot, and I was still really enjoying it and I was thinking it was going to be a five star book, but towards the end it just lost it for me. I found myself skimming the pages. It just lost my interest, I could see what the author was trying to do but it didn’t work for me. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 13th.

For my ninth book I read Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon. This book just unfortunately wasn’t for me. There was to much going on in the plot, with not enough of it being dealt with in detail. It didn’t care for any of the characters at all. And the writing felt off to me, it felt clunky. Nope, this book wasn’t it for me. Thanks to the publisher for my gifted copy. It’s out April 8th.

Lastly I read Witches Steeped In Gold by Ciannon Smart. This was my third time trying to read this book, I’d put it down twice as I couldn’t get into it, but this time I managed to finish it. For me, it wasn’t worth it. It was long and dense. The first 150 pages were just explaining the complex magic system. I did start to get into it more once we’d passed this but I never felt engaged or attached to the characters. I’m not saying this is a terrible book by any means, and I know many people love it. For me, there’s better fantasy books out there. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 20th.

That was it! That was my reading month. I can’t tell you how much I adored In The Dream House.

Have you read any of these, or do you plan to? Let me know.

Until the next review.

Jthbooks

#contemporary, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC book review: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Publisher: Rock The Boat

Length: 469 pages

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Daunis’s mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and in the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths. In secret, she pursues her own investigation using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the criminals. However, the deceptions – and deaths – keep piling up and soon the threat strikes to close to home. Now Daunis must decide what it means to a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe women), and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

As you’re going to read in the rest of this review, I absolutely adored this book. I thought it was just brilliant. From beginning to end. I will say this book definitely deals with some difficult things so definitely check the trigger warnings for sexual assaults, drugs, grief, death. But I will say they are all dealt with honestly and lots of integrity.

The story right from the beginning was extremely intriguing. There were so many ways I could see the story going and it made it exciting to read. And it was all so detailed. Angeline really has written the perfect balance of character development, romance (yes there’s a romance that I thought was totally believable and sweet), mystery and action.

We follow the main character Daunis as she agrees to help the FBI in an an operation of drug related deaths, and she’s a brilliant character. She’s so complex and has such depth. It makes her so interesting to read. I love how smart she is and I love her how proud she was of her tribe and to an Ojibwe women. So great to see this in a YA book and In such a positive way.

Loved learning about Native American culture. Obviously it wasn’t this books job it educate me, but it did. But it never felt like an information dump, it showed us what we needed to know, then it showed us profound things. I loved learning about the traditions and some of them are absolutely beautiful. It was just detailed in the best way. It was brilliant own voices representation that we need more of.

I absolutely loved the ending to Firekeeper’s Daughter. The momentum and story had been building and the intensity had been growing so I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It was also action packed! It had me on the edge of my seat. I also personally didn’t figure out the mystery. It was just so epic.

Listen, if it’s done right, this will make the perfect mini-series. I can see it in my head so clearly. It’s begging to be made. It felt cinematic. Netflix, you need to get on this, but don’t mess it up. This book deserves only the best.

I can’t wait for you to read this book and see all the intricacies of it. You won’t regret reading this brilliant young adult book. I’ll look forward to whatever Angeline Boulley writes next.

Thank you to Rock The Boat for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, fiction, gay, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Split by Laura Kay

Title: The Split

Author: Laura Kay

Publisher: Quercus

Length: 352 pages

Synopsis: Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat. After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, read to fold herself up in her duvet and remain in the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beats, and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again. In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism. Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan play off…?

When I first heard about this book, I knew immediately I wanted to read it. I love seeing queer stories in commercial fiction like this (something we need more of) so I was so grateful to Quercus for sending me a copy.

As we follow, Ally, who has been dumped and heads back to her hometown you can’t help but grow to love her. Actually you don’t grow to love her, its pretty instant. She’s witty and relatable and you can feel her heartbreak. There’s just an instant connection between the character and the reader and it’s all down to Lauras grey writing. The Split is full of many other fantastic characters like, Jeremy and Jo. They are both so likeable. And they also worm their way into your heart. So do Sophie and Charlie. Honestly, its full of great characters and they feel like the become your friends.

My favourite thing to read in this book was Ally’s growth, it was brilliant to read, especially because Laura has written it so well. I loved reading about ally finding herself and her passion. And you love Ally so much that you want her to succeed. Reading Ally’s growth is great and makes the book so enjoyable. I love how The Split also shows the importance of friendship, which are so important. Especially for queer people.

I also loved the queer representation in this book. Ally and Jeremy are my age, so their queer journey really resonates with me (also how can you not love any book that reference C’est la Vie by B*Witched). There was a moment in the book where Ally and Jeremy talk about being a queer kid at the school disco and that really hit me in the feels. That kid was me, and I’ve never read that in a book before. It also has fantastic queer friendships and found family and it made my little gay heart happy. This book is proof that we need more books in commercial fiction, especially when they are this goose.

Listen, books never make me laugh but The Split had me laughing out loud in the first twenty pages. I never do that. Ally has written a book that is sweet and uplifting that will warm your heart but it definitely has an edge to it that makes it hilarious and relatable.

I can’t recommend this book enough to you. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Also, it’s a super quick read because you can’t put it down.

Thanks to Quercus for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out March 18th but it’s out in ebook and audiobook now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, bookstagram, gay, lgbt, literary ficton, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

February Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. Another month of Lockdown in the uk. I’ve, again, tried to spend my time reading but I did take a little break in the middle of the month. I’m not sure why, but that’s what happened and it definitely slowed my reading down. There was a time that I just didn’t want to pick up a book and that’s okay.

I did end up reading nine books somehow. I’m as surprised as anyone. There were a couple of standouts for me this month and I also think I’ve found a new auto buy author, which is always a good thing. So I’m going to call this month a success!

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was The Drowned City by K. J. Maitland. This was a really enjoyable, detailed historical fiction novel that is the beginning of a new series. It’s got a mystery that will keep you hooked until the end. Thank you so much to the publishers for gifting me this book. It’s out April 1st.

Then I read redder days by Sue Rainsford. Did I love this book? Yes. There was just something about it that totally captured me. It’s just brilliant, not always an easy read but to captivating. Thanks to the publisher for gifting me with this book. It’s out March 11th.

Up next I read This One Sky Day by Leone Ross. This is the book that took me a long time to read. It’s not that it wasn’t enjoyable, the beginning was going to be a 5 star read for me but then I just lost my love for it. Thanks to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out April 1st.

Then I read The Split by Laura Kay. I bloody loved this book. It’s great to see queer stories in commercial fiction. Great characters, great story. I couldn’t put this one down. It’s a glorious quick read. Thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book. It’s out March 18th.

Up next was Diary of a Film by Niven Govinden. This was an intimate look at the film making process and queer love and the things we feel we have a right to. This also had a quote that made me cry. Thanks to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out now.

Then I read how to be sad by Helen Russell. This is a nonfiction that I’ve found really intriguing and even helpful. It says some really poignant things about grief that I’ve really connected. It’s educational and its always good to learn. Thank to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out March 4th.

Up next was Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera. After a disappointing first book, I was intrigued to read this one and I can confirm I loved it. It was epic in every sense. And now I wait for the third book. Thanks to the publisher for my gifted copy. Out March 4th.

Then I read The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent. Another super enjoyable book! It was sweet, funny and a super quick read. I literally read this in a day. Thank you to the publisher for my gifted copy. It’s out April 14th.

Lastly I read here comes the miracle by Anna Beecher. This was such an emotional read that i very much enjoyed and didn’t want to put down. Grab the tissues for this one. Thanks to the publishers for the gifted copy. It’s out now.

That’s it. Everything I read this month. It was bit of a random reading month but a good one none the less. Are you planning to read any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

Title: Infinity Reaper

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Length: 512 pages

First things first, what a stunning cover!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

5 Books to read for LGBT History Month.

It’s LGBT+ History Month here in the UK, so I thought I’d share five books (although there is many more you could read and I hope you do) that talk about the history of the queer community. Some are non-fiction, some are historical, some are just wonderful queer books.

It’s so important to remember the history of the queer community, it can stark reminder of how bad things were, how far we’ve come. And we must remember every part of the community, gay, sapphic, bisexual, trans, questioning, aro, ace and non-binary. We are all part of the same community and we must celebrate it all. We can’t forget 2020, was the worst year for trans violence, especially for trans people of colour.

These books shed some light on queer lives.

So lets talk about the books shall we?

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. This has become one of my favourite books of all time. It’s so beautifully written, it’s literally stunning. It’s so moving. It’s the story of two black enslaved men, who are in love. I’ve never read this before. It’s showing that queer people and queer love existed in this time, because of course they did. You can check out my full review here.

Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski. This is one of those unforgettable novels that is quiet and understated but will have such an impact on you. It’s set in the 1980s Poland, and is the love story between two men in a time when it’s unacceptable. It’s thought provoking and moving. I can’t recommend this one to you enough. You can check out my full review here.

Fighting Proud The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served In Two World Wars by Stephen Bourne. This book says it all in the title. It details the lives and stories of gay men fighting in the war. It gives them a voice, full of facts. Such a super interesting read.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. I will always recommend this book. It’s brilliant. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s sent in our time, but it just perfectly captures the journey towards self acceptance and that’s definitely an important thing to read during lgbtq+ history month.

Lie With Me by Philippe Benson. One of my favourite novels that I couldn’t not mention. Set in France in the 1980s in the middle of the AIDs epidemic, this a story of two boys falling in love when acceptance wouldn’t be granted. It’s so beautifully written, so heartfelt. You can check out my full review here.

I have only chosen to feature five books, which I also know focus on m/m stories but this mainly what I read. But here’s some more recommendations of books that share the queer experience in brilliant ways. All The Young Men by Ruth Corker Burks, You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Real Life by Brandon Taylor, Camp by L.C.Rosen, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson.

This month is a time to reflect on how far the queer community has come, of course not all other the world as being queer is still illegal to be gay in 72 countries, this still shows how far we’ve still got to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. And you enjoy some of these. Let me know if there’s any queer books you think I should be reading for this month.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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Book Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Title: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Publisher: Usborne

Length: 432 page

What a stunning cover!

Synopsis: Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she can become a member of her village. If she bleeds red, she will belong. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. The consequences force Deka to leave her village with a mysterious woman, destined to join an army of girls like her – the alaki, girls who are near-immortals with rare gifts, and the only ones able to stop the empire’s greatest threat. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the battle of her life, Deka discovers the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem – not even Deka herself.

Yes. Yes to this book. It was everything I wanted and more. I’d seen so many people love this one, so my expectations were high but this surpassed all of them. I need all my fantasy to be this good. I’ve been struggling to read fantasy lately but I had no problem with this. I loved every page.

The Gilded Ones is full of fantastic characters. Deka, who has to deal with so much in a fantasy world, like not being ‘pure’, or deathshrieks. She also has to deal with racism, misogyny, abuse and trauma. But its all dealt within this fantasy world and its really cleverly done. I love the fact that you’re getting to discover everything as Deka does and it just makes you rot for her even more. She’s so complex and it’s handled beautifully. It’s black girl magic and I love it. It’s full of brilliant female characters and their comradeship is so powerful. Again, its Namina addressing patriarchy within our world, but dealing with it and educating us with this fantasy world. I mean, the literally call girls who aren’t pure demons. There’s some brilliant side characters especially Britta, she has my whole heart. Can we get a spin-off? I’ll let you meet the others yourself when you read this book.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the connections between the characters. Namina really knows how to build relationships. *SPOILER ALERT* The relationship between Deka and Keita is a beautiful slow-burn romance. I love how slowly they began to trust each other and then helped each other. It just makes the romance so believable to me. The friendship between Deka and Britta, I love it. I love how loyal Britta is, how open she towards Deka. I love her. Also the connection between Deka and Whitehands was so interesting. It was tense, and you weren’t always sure how it was going to turn out, and it made it so interesting. I also loved to see the lgbtq representation in this book. Namina knows how to write relationships, and it’s fantastic to read.

The pacing in this book is perfection. You can feel the plot building and building until the very end. There’s so much going on in the plot to keep the reader hooked. It’s full brilliant action, especially towards the end. Namina just built momentum throughout and you can’t put the book down. It felt so cinematic at times. Yes, I want them to make it into a movie, but they better not mess this up because its perfection to me. The world building is also brilliant, its so immersive. You get so much detail and descriptions of the world but its never overwhelming or just a lot of information. It’s all needed.

Also, there was point in this book that had me so shocked and made me cry. It was one of those moments that you can’t believe what’s happened and you had to put the book down to take it all in. That’s all I’ll say on that. You’ll now what I mean when you read it. And I won’t even talk about that twist!!

So I guess the only thing left to say is when is book two out? I’m excited for it already. I’m excites to see where the story will and how the characters and their relationships will develop. If you love fantasy, read this book.

It’s out now

Until the next review

Jthbooks