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May Wrap Up

After such a brilliant reading month in April, I think it’s fair to say May went down hill.

I only managed to read nine books, which is still a good amount we all know it doesn’t matter if you read one or a hundred a month, but I just wanted to keep the momentum going.

Let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up I read Raven Smith’s Men. This was a really interesting nonfiction book that looks at the men, and men in general, of Ravens life. It’s funny, it’s poignant and covers some really interesting subjects. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, this one is out now.

Secondly I read Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta. I hugely anticipated novel for me that didn’t disappoint. Beautifully written, with some gorgeous poetry, and it feels really mature for a young adult book. It’s tender, it’s touching and it feels like a love letter to queer people. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

Next I read You Made A Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi. A good book, with some great representation and spicy scenes, but I have to say it made me laugh when I don’t think that was it’s intention. It just felt a little silly at times, but I know many people loved this one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

Then I read An Exciting and Vivid Inner Life by Paul Dalla Rosa.This is a collection of short stories which I found really interesting, I like how so many of had a sadness to them and that’s something I love to read about. There’s was one about a cat I didn’t get at all! Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

Fifth up this month was A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall. I bloody loved this book, a great queer historical romance that I’ve been looking for. It’s steamy, it’s romantic, it’s got a trans main character. I could read a whole series of these characters. It’s out now, thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Up next was If You Change Your Mind by Robby Weber. I loved this sweet, romantic mlm young adult book. It’s the perfect summer read that was full of queer joy. One of the best queer ya books I’ve read this year. Thanks to the publishers for copy, it’s out now.

Then I read Just By Looking At Him by Ryan O’Connell. I really enjoyed this book and it’s one that just gets better as it continues. Great characters, once again very steamy. It’s got brilliant things to say on disability and queerness. Highly recommend. You can check out my full review here. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

Eight this month I read Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill. One of my favourites of the year. The more I think about this book, the more I love it. It’s atmospheric, it’s haunting, it’s got a fantastic main character. I just adore it. Utterly gripping. You can check out my full review here. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Lastly I read Out of the Blue by Jason June. This one wasn’t my favourite. I liked what it had to say about gender and that the main character was realistic. But I felt the second half became to trope heavy and a little bit tedious. Certainly not a terrible book but I’ve read better young adult books this year. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

So that’s month. Have you read any? Or do you plan to? Let me know.

Until the next review…


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Book Review: Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill

Title: Tiepolo Blue

Author: James Cahill

Publisher: Sceptre

Length: 341 pages

Synopsis: Cambridge, 1994. Professor Don Lamb is a revered art historian at the height of his powers, consumed by the book he is writing about the skies of the Venetian master Tiepolo. However, his academic brilliance belies a deep inexperience of life and love. When an explosive piece of contemporary art is installed on the lawn of his college, it sets in motion Don’s abrupt departure from Cambridge to take up a role at a south London museum. There he befriends Ben, a young artist who draws him into the anarchic 1990s British art scene and the nightlife of Soho. Over the course of one long, hot summer, Don glimpses a liberating new existence. But his epiphany is also a moment of self-reckoning, as his oldest friendship- and his own unexamined past – are revealed to him in a devastating new light. As Don’s life unravels, he suffers a fall from grace that shatters his world to pieces.

I loved this novel glimpses into Don’s (the main character) queer life, the restrictive love, and the sexual awakening. These sections of the book feel free and like Don is showing a part of himself he’s always wanted to let go and it’s so enchanting to read. You feel like you really get to know him, but you can also feel the control starting to be lost and James portrays it’s so brilliantly. 

It’s so beautifully written. The writing just flowed until the end and then it became tight and tense and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I finished the last page. James Cahill really builds momentum throughout the novel, whilst never losing the beauty or the discussion about art (which feels like a main character in itself), and it’s thrilling to read. 

As soon as I started this book I knew I was going to hooked until the last page. It’s utterly gripping. I loved how this book and the character become a slow dissent to the upheaval of his life. It’s so hard not to talk about without revealing the plot but you feels as the reader that you’re on a train you can’t get off and it’s mesmerising.

Tiepolo Blue is the kind of book that lingers in the mind and heart. The more I think of it, the more I love it.

When you finish you can’t help but feel you’ve read a future classic and I know for sure I’ll be reading this time and time again.

Thanks so much to Ollie at Sceptre for gifting me with a copy of the book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now

Until the next review


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Book Review: Just By Looking At Him by Ryan O’Connell

Title: Just By Looking At Him

Author: Ryan O’Connell

Publisher: Sphere

Length: 292 pages

Synopsis: Elliot is a TV writer with a perfect-penised boyfriend. He’s living the dream. But behind the glossy veneer he’s been papering over the cracks, and they’re starting to show. He’s creatively stifled, he’s drinking a little too often and his cerebral palsy makes him feel like gay Shrek. When River walks in, Elliott’s life is turned upside down in the best way. River is funny, charming and makes him feel seen. But maybe that’s part of the deal when you hire a sex worker. Elliott is lost and he needs someone, anyone, to point him in the right direction. After all, it’s a long limp towards redemption.

Smart. Funny. Sexy. Poignant. But enough about me let’s talk about Just By Looking At Him.

There’s so much to love about this book. 

It’s a look a queer culture, and what it’s like to grow up queer wondering if you’ll ever have what you’ve grown up seeing and that really resonated with me.  The main character, Elliot, also has Cerebral Palsy and it’s really interesting and touching look into growing up wondering how life will turn out. 

It’s also a really funny, of course you’ll know Ryan is funny if you’ve seen the show Special on Netflix. Elliot is a brilliant main character to follow as he struggles to realise how to make himself happy and whole. There’s so much depth and nuance to him that’s a real testament to Ryan’s writing. 

And damn, it’s hot AF. That’s all I’m gonna say on that front. 

Just By Looking At Him is a difficult book to put down, with its short and sharp chapters, that will ultimately leave you with a full heart.

Thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today!

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart.

Title: Young Mungo

Author: Douglas Stuart

Publisher: Picador

Length: 400 pages

Synopsis: Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in the hyper-masculine and violently sectarian world of Glasgow’s housing estates. They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the doocot that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from those around him, especially his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip with two strange men whose drunken banter lie murky pasts, he needs to summon all his strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.

Listen sometimes books hit. Sometimes they miss. And I’ll say right now this book has been a hit for a lot of people and if you love it you shouldn’t listen to me, but unfortunately for me it was a miss.

Now, I’m not saying it was bad. Not at all. For me, it went a tad too far. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen, but it just left me thinking ‘what is going on’? I don’t mean this in a way that I was confused, I mean it as why does the story have to go to place? Is it necessary? There were just some bits of the sort didn’t fit for me. Especially towards the end. The ending left me with a feeling the book wasn’t cohesive.

I also feel like it’s being sold as an epic, moving love story and it totally fell flat for me in that department. It took over half the book for it to happen and when it did I didn’t feel the connection. And so much of the book is based of what happens surrounding the relationship and the relationship is the catalyst that starts Mungos journey and I couldn’t feel that. But like I said, many many people have felt it.

I do think that the look at working class life is done really well, so much of that is portrayed well and totally transports you to Glasgow. The perspective from Mungos sister was very interesting to me and I would’ve liked to have seen more.

Maybe it’s a case of my expectations were too high? I saw that cover (which is one of the best, I’ll take no arguments on that) and wanted it so desperately to good heartbreaking and epic, but the whole thing just left me bewildered.

Again, so many people are excited for this book and absolutely have adored it. I hope you will too. Definitely check out their reviews. It’s out now.

Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Title: Here Again Now

Author: Okechukwu Nzelu

Publisher: Dialogue Books

Length: 288 pages

Synopsis: Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he’s about to get his big break as an actor. He’s even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home if his own. Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better. But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within in a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they’ve been searching for…

This is by far my favourite book of 2022. It was the first book I read this year because I knew it would be special. And it was. It truly was.

Here Again Now, is a book about love. Love in all it’s forms. What it’s like to feel it but not say, what it’s like to not be able to admit, what it’s like to not be able to show, to not be ready for it. Okechukwu takes the reader to the depths of what love is and what it really means.

It’s about romantic love, in the case between Ekene and Achike. First Okechukwu captures the intamcy between them perfectly. It feels so real, so raw, yet it feels like it can be taken away at any second. It’s tinged with the awkwardness and the uncertainty and it crackles on the page. To read love between two men like this is just an absolute treat. 

It also explores the precarious relationship of Achike and his father Chibuike. The love here is so tenuous and constricted and Okechukwu conveys it perfectly. It’s also a deep look at the damage that can be done when love it withheld, when its conditional. What I really enjoy about the novel is how Okechukwu shows how simple love really is, how joyful it can be before aspects get in the way.

Here Again Now is full of complex characters that really will earn a place in your heart. I know I’ll never forget Achike and Ekene. All these characters are dealing with grief, masculinity, what it means to be your true self. And it’s all glorious to read.

Okechukwu is a phenomenal writer. I can’t tell you how many times the beauty in his words made me cry. I had to pause reading a lot to really let it sink in what I’d just read. I still think about the writing in this book. It’s so tender and searing honest. Okechukwu said he’s put his soul into this book and you can absolutely feel.

There are moments in this book that shocked me, that broke me but I was left with a feeling of hope. Basically what I’m trying to say is its one of my new favourite books and you should all read it! Okay!

Here Again Now is a tender exploration of love in its many forms that will soar into readers hearts with lyrical prose.

I can’t recommend this book to you all enough. I think it’s truly something special.

Thank you to the publishers for my copy in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today.

Until the next review


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January Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. And yes, this wrap up is very late. February has hit me hard and I didn’t feel like writing this.

I had a fantastic reading month in January. I enjoyed all of the books, even found some new favourites. I managed nine books. Can you tell I spent most of my month reading?

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up I read Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu. There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be in my top 10 books of the year. I just thought it was brilliant. It’s emotional, stunningly written. I’ll have a full review up but I hope you all read this book. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out March 10th. Preorder this one.

Then I read To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. I think this book goes from strength to strength with each section and by the end I couldn’t put it down. I think it’s pretty spectacular. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next was A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe. This was another enjoyable book for me, and again it made me a bit emotional. It’s a beautiful book and it’s out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

Fourth this month was When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo. It took me a little while to get into this one, and towards the end I found the story to more cohesive. It was beautifully written and I found myself really savouring the last few pages. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s February 10th.

Fifth this month I read Please Miss by Grace Lavery. This wasn’t my favourite of the month, but it certainly wasn’t bad. It had some brilliant things to say on gender and trans lives and those bits I absolutely loved. The rest I wasn’t to into, but like I said it certainly wasn’t bad. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out February 10th.

Then I read Brown Girls Daphne Palais Andreades. I really enjoyed this. It’s beautifully written. Such a lyrical prose that make it hard to put down. It’s a love letter to girlhood and I can’t wait to see what this author does next. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next was The Alpha’s Son by Penny Jessop. The perfect book to get lost in. Lots of fun. Captures that first love feeling brilliantly. I’m excited to see where this series goes. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Eighth this month I read Devotion by Hannah Kent. A beautiful sapphic historical fiction book. It took a little twist in the middle that took this book to a whole new level for me. Another beautifully written book. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Lastly I read Good Intentions by Kasim Ali. A great book to finish the month on. This book has so much to say and it’s all weaved in beautiful writing and compelling storytelling. It’s out March 3rd.

So that’s it for this month. I really hope you’ll pick some of these up. Let me know.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich.

Title: If This Gets Out

Authors: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Publishers: Hodder Children’s Books

Length: 400 pages

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressure of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet. On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to realise that they will never have the support of their management again.

A secret queer relationship in a boy band? Do I really need to say more to get you to read it? Isn’t that enough? Don’t we all want to read that? I know I do! And trust me… It didn’t disappoint!

There’s so much to love about this book, for me the main thing was that relationship. It was so sweet, so believable and so swoon worthy. Don’t we all just need a swoon worthy romance between two hot dudes every once in a while. I love that it was a slow burn romance. I was begging them to get together!

I also loved the bi representation in the book. I thought it was really well done, nothing about the book was rushed at all. It was really detailed and layered for a young adult contemporary. I loved reading Zachs realisation of his feelings and more importantly the acceptance of himself. Reading about this kind of thing can never be understated.

I really liked that there was more to this novel than just the romance though. There’s a lot that goes on that is important and deep things (I’ll let you find out when you read the book). But I think it’s all dealt with incredibly well!

Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich are a forced to be reckoned with in If This Gets Out. They’ve written a cohesive book, with two distinctive characters. I’d happily read more by these two authors.

Well what more is there to say? Zack and Ruben have my heart! I’d very much like a sequel. And I can’t tell you how many times I went to listen to one of the bands songs only to remember that they don’t exist! Now that’s a sign of good writing! Don’t miss this one!

Thank you so much to team tumblr for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out today in the UK.

Until the next review


book review

Anticipated Queer Books for 2022 – part 2

Welcome to part 2! There are so many queer books coming out that I had to make this list into two parts. I’m sorry if this list is hurting your bank account! But remember there’s always libraries you can borrow from!

This list is going to be a bit more YA based, I know there was a couple on part 1 but young adult will feature heavily on this list. Because even though I turn 30 this year I still read YA.

And queer YA is another level! There’s some fantastic books

So let’s talk about some more brilliant queer books shall we?

And they Lived… by Steven Salvatore. Look at the cover! And I believe this one is set in college so maybe a little older than YA but it’s still a highly anticipated read for me. I’m so excited for it! It’s out March 8th.

Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram. I loved Darius The Great Is Not Okay soooo much so this is highly anticipated for me. A queer relationship in boyband. That’s it. That’s all I need to know! That plus Adib beautiful writing is all I need for perfection. It’s out March 22nd.

This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves. I’m not 100% sure what this one is about but look at the cover! A lot of these books are queer and that’s all I need to know. It’s out May 24th!

Blaine for The Win by Robbie Couch. A queer Legally Blonde. You don’t need to tell me anymore! It’s preordered, I want it in my hands. I’m really looking forward to this one. I know I’ve said that about a lot of these books but that’s why they are on the list! It’s out April 22nd.

Café con Lychee by Emery Lee. And another one I’m excited for. This one feature trans rep and I’m already in love with this book. Especially because of the cover. Also I work in a cafe so I’ll be manifesting this to happen to me. It’s out May 4th.

Out of the Blue by Jason June. A mermaid love story. You don’t need to tell me anything else! Look at that cover! It’s preordered. I want it. I want the trans rep. The gender queer rep. Thank you. It’s out May 4th.

A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy. You best believe the county music lover in me is highly anticipating this book. I can’t wait. It’s out May 31st.

Part 1 and part 2 don’t really feature anything for the second half of the year. So maybe I’ll make another list for that later in the year.

Also if you’re looking for these books in hardback like me (I’m from the uk and they are hard to find) I’ve managed to preorder these from Blackwells that manage to get a lot of the American hardbacks in! Just a little tip for you!

Are you interested in any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review


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

Anticipated Queer Books for 2022 – Part 1

It’s that time of year again. We’ve entered the new year and that means we’ve got a whole selection of new queer books coming out this year and I thought I’d share some I’m really looking forward to.

If there’s one thing you’re going to learn from this list is that queer books have some seriously stunning covers! Just wait and see!

So let’s talk about some brilliant queer books shall we?

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu. Am I lucky enough to have a proof copy of this? Yes. Do I have it preordered? Yes. I loved Okechukwu’s first book and I can’t wait read this new queer book. This is going to be my first read of 2022. That’s how much I’m looking forward to it. It’s out March 10th.

Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta. I absolutely loved The Black Flamingo, I think it’s one of the best books, and I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of this book. Its written in verse once again. I seriously can’t wait. It’s out May 12th.

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. I have such a high hopes for this. I loved Shuggie Bain and I have a feeling this one is going to be even better! Have you seen that final UK cover? Stunning. This one is out April 14th.

Flip the Script by Layla Lee. A queer Korean book all about Korean Dramas. Do I need to say anymore to you really? That should literally be enough for you! I can’t wait to read this sapphic book! Once again the cover is stunning! Now I’ve seen on somethings it’s out January 1st, but I’ve preordered from Blackwells and it’s says June 1st. So that when I’ll be receiving mine.

Bolla by Pajtim Statovic. Again, I have high hopes for this. It’s a queer historical fiction that I’ve been lucky enough to be sent a copy of. I feel like this one might be under the radar a little bit so make sure to check this one out. It’s out in April!

Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armsfield. Incredibly excited for this one. I’ve heard it’s gothic and sapphic and I know that peaked your interest hasn’t it? Its out March 3rd.

Vagabonds by Eloghosa Osunde. Queer stories all set in Nigeria. I’ve been wanting to read more books set in Nigeria and this one sounds perfect for me. It’s been described as ‘spectacular’ by Akwaeke Emezi and that’s enough for me. It’s out March 31st.

The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean. I loved this authors first book and I’m so excited for the second. These queer middle grade books are so important and very excited for this one! It’s out March 31st.

I’m going to add Lavender House by L. C. Rosen. Now I don’t know much about this one. There isn’t a cover for this one. But I will read whatever Rosen writes. You all know how much I love Camp. It’s out October 18th!

This is a very small list I know. There’s many more queer books coming out, some I don’t even know about yet. These are just some I simply can’t wait to read.

If there’s any you think I’d love let me know.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Title: The Island of Missing Trees

Author: Elif Shafak

Publisher: Viking Books Penguin Random House

Length: 343 pages

Synopsis: Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. The taverna is the only place that Kostas and Defne can meet in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic and chilli peppers, creeping honeysuckle, and in the centre, growing through a cavity in the floor, a fig tree. The fig tree witnesses their hushed, happy meetings; their silent, surreptitious departures. The fig tree is there, too, when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns – a botanist, looking for native species- looking really, for Defne. The two lovers return to the taverna to take a clipping from the fig tree and smuggle it into their suitcase, bound for London. Years later, the fig tree in the garden is their daughter Ada’s only knowledge of a home she had never visited, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets and silence, and find her place in the world.

I need to start by saying that this book was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and I feel very lucky and grateful to have been given a proof copy.

I love this book. I love it so much. I don’t think any review I’ll write will ever be able to do it justice. To capture what makes this book so special I know you’ll have to read it. And you won’t be disappointed when you do.

From the very beginning of The Island of Missing Trees you are immediately swept away by the glorious writing. Elif manages to evoke such beautiful imagery throughout the book with some of the most evocative writing I’ve read.

As we follow the love story of Kostas and Defne, who find young and forbidden love before civil war breaks out in Cyprus, and the effects it has on Ada their child as a teenager. I was immediately drawn to these characters because they are so real. They way Elif shows how the past trauma can carry on for generations is so poignant. You can feel Ada yearning to know more about parts of her. I also have a special place in my heart for Yusuf and Yiorgos, a gay couple who run The Happy Fig Kostas and Defne meeting spot. I always love to see LGBTQ+ representation in books, especially when it’s this well done. But did I expect anything less from Elif? No, no I did not.

Another thing Elif captures in the book is humanity and connection. Through characters and world conflicts, Elif captures the importance of connections to others, to where we come from and to ourselves. She conveys the complexity and lasting effects for the people living through wars, both those who stayed and fled, in the most profound and heartbreaking ways.

Partly narrated by the The Fig Tree, Elif reminds us how important and how connected we are to the natural world. I have to say I really loved these sections, they were my favourite of the book. It’s fiction writing at its finest. The way Elif had an animals visiting the tree and how they moved the narrative forward really is something special.

Although the book deals with Civil War and loss, it’s also full of hope. It’s a reminder to live life with an open heart, an open mind and to be accepting of joy in your life. It’s a book that has so much depth to it and so many layers.

There’s no denying the Elif is a master storyteller. She captures the complexities and nuances of the human spirit like no other author. It’s remarkable. By the end of the book I was smiling and it brings a smile to my face to even think of the book. It’s the kind of book I was telling my friends about at work, the kind of book I couldn’t wait to get home and read, the kind of book I’m looking forward to reading again.

There’s no doubt this will be in my top 10 books of the year.

Until the next review