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ARC Book Review: Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley

Title: Skyward Inn

Author: Aliya Whiteley

Length: 251 pages

Publisher: Rebellion

Synopsis: Skyward Inn, within the high wall of Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the mire before the war with Qita. But safety from what? Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Inkeepers Jen and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars. Their peace is disturbed when a visitor know to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future. Did humanity really win the war?

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this book before. It was one of those books that when I finished reading it, it took me a while to decide how to feel about it. I just had to sit and think about it. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I loved it.

Skyward Inn is so other worldly, its got another planet, a kissing gate and another species. And the author manages to pack in a lot of details about this everything to do with this because the book is only 251 pages. So imaginative, especially the other species. I loved how the author connected Western Protectorate and Qita, especially when you realise how the book ends. I also loved what Aliya did with the illness that people think is spreading on Western Protectorate, and then you see it from the Qitan perspective. It almost felt ethereal by the end.

With this book being so other worldly, it is innately human. At the centre of this book its a relationship between a mother and son. Their relationship is so intricate and fragile and it’s fantastic to read. It shows that the two characters are flawed and how it affects there nonexistent relationship and I just found it to be really realistic.

My favourite section of Skyward Inn, is when Fosse arrives on the planet Qita and he goes on a journey with his Qitan ‘tour guide’. I felt a real connection between the two and its also where we see Fosse become the character I loved. But there’s a part of the journey where Fosse has to make a decision as it comes to an end and I have to say i found it really emotional. I didn’t know what he was going to do or I didn’t know what I wanted him to do. This section was perfectly written. It was subtle but really emotive. I loved it.

At the heart of this novel is Fosse, who is a character I don’t think I’ll ever forget. He’s a character you’re not sure if you’ll like at first, but you seem grow and change and you really grow to care for him. He became so gentle. In fact the whole novel has a gentleness to it. He is just so well written and Aliya has created a character with real depth.

I will say I had no idea where this book was going. It became such a character driven story that I found the ending to quite emotional. Some things happen (no spoilers) and because of the connection between characters it felt so personal. As I said before its like nothing I’ve read before and I’m so glad I’ve read it.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a book that’ll make you think, make you care for the characters and will keep you intrigued till the very last page. The more I think about this book, the more I love it. I know I’ll definitely be rereading it. Please read this book so I can have someone to talk to about it. It’s out March 16th.

Thanks to Rebellion Publishing for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, adult fantasy, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Title: The Coven

Author: Lizzie Fry

Publisher: Sphere Books

Length: 448 pages

Synopsis: Imagine a world in which witchcraft is real. In which mothers hand down power to their daughters, power that is used harmlessly and peacefully. Then imagine that the US President is a populist demagogue who decides that all witched must be imprisoned for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them – creating a world in which to be female is one step away from being a criminal. As women across the world are rounded up, one young woman discovers a power she did not know she had. It’s a dangerous force and it puts her top of the list in a global witch hunt. But she – and the woman around her – won’t give in easily. Not while all of the women’s power is under threat.

A book about witches? Isn’t that all you need to know? Aren’t you going to pick it up right now? Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

The Coven is intriguing right from the start, seriously from the first page. You start off with so much tension, questioning what’s happening and it immediately makes you invested in the story. Lets be honest, you stay intrigued until the very last page.

We’ve all read books about witches before, but I thought this book was a fresh take on the subject and it was really well done. It was detailed, it was intricate. The witchcraft just felt epic and slightly dangerous. I also really loved the message of The Coven, its a look at the political climate how women are treated by society and it gives the book real depth.

This book is filled with brilliant characters. I loved the connections that the four main characters had, I loved how they all grew throughout the book. It was all really organic and believable. Then I say, without any spoilers, that something happened that broke my heart. There was a romance that I really enjoyed, and I desperately hoped it was going to happen. There was just so much to enjoy.

The story is my favourite part of the book. It’s so well paced and you can feel the story building and gaining momentum. It makes you want to get to the end so you know what happens. It’s full of twists and turn and I just had no idea where the story was going and I absolutely loved it. It’s so layered, the story and the characters keep growing as you read. It’s makes it a real page turner. And it’s always great when the ending doesn’t disappoint.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a thrilling story, filled with brilliant characters that you won’t want to put down. I wish this was the start of a series! I want more.

Thank you so much to Sphere Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 25th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean

Title: Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

Author: Benjamin Dean

Length:

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s

Synopsis: My name’s Archie Albright, and I know two things for certain 1. My mum and dad kind of hate each other, and they’re not doing a great job at pretending they don’t anymore. 2. They’re both keeping a secret from me, but I can’t figure out what. Things aren’t going great for Archie Albright. His dad’s acting weird, him mum too, and all he wants is for everything to go back to normal, to three months before when his parents were happy and still lived together. When Archie sees a colourful, crumpled flyer fall out of his Dad’s pocket, he thinks he may have found the answer. Only problem? The answer might just lie at the end of the rainbow, an adventure away.

I absolutely loved this book. It was so wholesome and sweet, yet I believe it has such an important message.

Archie, Seb and Bell are such a fantastic characters. I loved them, what a trio. I loved there friendship, I loved how the support each other. They also made me laugh, Bell is so funny. It made me laugh out loud and books never do that. Honestly they are so adorable. There’s other great characters in this. Archie dad, who journey of self acceptance is touched upon, is really moving.

It’s such a fun, meaningful story. I loved the adventure that the gang went on. And I have to say, as someone who has never been to a pride parade I am insanely jealous of them. I don’t want give to much of the gangs adventure away but it is fun, and it also has so much heart. And the adventure ends so brilliantly.

Can we also talk about how stunning the proof is?

This is obviously a book for children, but i think its a book everyone should read. It has such a wonderful important message. It shows the importance of acceptance. And its from a perspective I’ve not read before. It also shows the importance of found family that is often so vital to the queer community. It also made me cry, I couldn’t help. The message is just put across so well.

Dean has written a brilliantly book. It’s funny, it’s sweet and its vital. I love that theres a queer book like this out in the world, especially for children. It’s a diverse, inclusive book that I sincerely hope you all decide to pick up.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I’m looking forward to what Dean writes next. I guess all there’s left to say is, can we have some more adventures from Archie and the gang?

Thank you so much to Simon & Schusters Children’s books for gifting me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 4th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Title: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Length: 464 pages

Publisher: Macmillan

Synopsis: Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli has finally found the life she’d yearned for: a family, a home and a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all that she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonising decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Lorena and Ant, west to California in search of a better life.

Kristin Hannah has done it again. I know we all love The Nightingale, but I think The Four Winds might surpass it.

Here’s the first thing that struck me about this novel, was its characters. You instantly care for Elsa. And I mean instantly. By the second page you feel for her, you hate how her family treats her and you want her to succeed in life. As you go on her journey with her, you only go onto care for her more. And I loved how she grew, she was such a complex, strong and vulnerable woman and it was just fantastic to read. I also really loved Loreda. She felt like the modern voice in this novel. But you also cared for her as well. Kristin just writes fantastic characters, and the connection she creates between them is brilliant. There’s lot of connections in this book that are so well done.

We all know that Kristin is a master at historical fiction, and this book has an epic feel to it. While the connections are intimate, the story is a sweeping novel that takes you back in time to 1921 when this novel begins. This book includes piece of American history I’ve never read about before and Kristin describes them in terrific detail. You can tell this novel has been meticulously researched and it just makes it all the more immersive. The farming, the dust storms, the droughts. It’s all dealt with brilliantly. Then when the family move to California for work in the Great Depression, it shows the harshness, the poverty and the horrible conditions of the camps. These are things I had no idea about. They make for a fantastic read.

There was a romance in this book that I didn’t see coming but I found totally believable and heartwarming. It works because the depth of character Kristin creates. Obviously its a sad book, and it needed this love story to give the book a bit of lightness.

Now lets talk about the ending shall we? I thought I knew how this book was going to end, I’d maybe decided halfway through that I knew. But boy, how wrong was I! Even when something happened (no spoilers here) I thought it would still end differently but i was still wrong. The ending had me sobbing. I didn’t see it coming and it was so sad. I think it was brave ending and the right one. But it definitely had me reaching for the tissues. It was so sad.

I said it earlier in the blog and I’ll say it again, Kristin has done it again. The Four Winds is a brilliant, moving novel that captures nearly two decades of American history with characters that will capture your heart. I couldn’t recommend this book more. I have a feeling a lot of you will be picking this one up.

Thank you so much to Macmillan for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on February 2nd.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

author, blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gothic, gothic horror, historical fiction, review, thriller, Uncategorised

Book Review: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Title: The Shape of Darkness

Author: Laura Purcell

Length: 398 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Raven

Synopsis: When silhouette artist Agnes’s clients start being mysteriously murdered, she approaches Pearl, a renowned child spirit medium to try and make contact and reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl soon discover they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

I know Laura Purcell is a hugely popular author, who many of my fellow bookstagrammers absolutely love, but I’ve never read a book by her before. So The Shape of Darkness is my first.

I really did enjoy this book. I found it super intriguing throughout and I can definitely say that Laura keeps her readers on their toes. I never knew what was going to happen and I absolutely love that.

We follow to main characters, Agnes and Pearl, as they team up to try and find out who is murdering Agnes’s customers. I really enjoyed the character of Agnes. From the start I just connected with her. I felt for her. It took me a little while to connect with Pearl, but I can definitely say she is an interesting character. There characters arcs and the way they connect is so interesting.

The Shape of Darkness is wonderfully gothic. It’s at times dark, and I’m not going to lie to you at times I was very creeped out. This book is really atmospheric. It’s also meticulously researched, you can tell. The detail Laura goes into about Agnes’s job as a Silhouette artist is phenomenal. It’s such an interesting aspect to the story.

I said earlier that this book is intriguing and keeps you on your toes and it’s true. You just never know where the story is going to go. And I will say I didn’t expect it to go that way. At all. I was so shocked. I won’t give anything away as I know so many of you are going to read this book, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens.

I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s a wonderfully gothic, intriguing story with some character depth. I don’t think you’ll forget this book once you’ve read. Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to buy Laura’s other books!

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out January 21st.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, literary ficton, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

Title: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

Author: Cherie Jones

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: Tinderpress/Headline

Synopsis: In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers. For Wilma, its the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result. When Layla grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man. And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.

I am so thrilled to be on the blog tour for this amazing book, make sure to check out my these other reviews

Let me state this now, I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much. I had high hopes, but this book surpassed them in every way. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the 2020, there is no doubt about that. It was in my top 10 of the year for 2020. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone. So I’m absolutely recommending it to you. It’s brilliant.

I don’t want to say to much about the plot of this book, I want you to experience it for yourself. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (can I quickly mention what a fantastic title that is) is at times heartbreaking and it also at points made my stomach drop. It’s so immersive and I was absolutely enraptured from the beginning, I really was. It’s beautiful, it has something to say

We follow multiple perspectives in How The One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House and they are all fantastic. I mean, my heart now belongs to Lala. Lala is one of our main protagonists along with Mrs Whalen. They are brilliant and complex. There’s also Adan and Tone. All the characters are so well crafted. I also loved how Cherie, mentioned characters throughout this novel and then they got their chapter perspectives and they are brilliant. It made the whole book feel so connected. My favourite is character that you get a snippet of is Sheba.

How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is the kind of book you can’t stop thinking about. I would be baking cakes at work and thinking of Lala. Or be thinking about where the plot was going to go. Or how I wanted to get home and read it. It’s also the kind of book you tell everyone about. I was telling everyone at work about this. Most of them don’t read (sad I know) but I just had to let them know about this book and how it was consuming all my thoughts.

The writing is absolutely phenomenal, Cherie has such a wonderful way with words. Chapter 25 is a masterpiece. The writing is just so assured. It’s so powerful and emotive. There are also some really tough moments in this book, but Cherie handles them so honestly. This is Cherie’s debut and it’s one of the best debuts I’ve ever reads. It’s so assured. I just think this book is outstanding. I don’t reread books but I know I’ll be rereading this one, just to experience the beautiful writing again.

By the end of this novel, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. There was so much building up towards the end and there was such an atmosphere. I couldn’t believe what was happening and Cherie paced it perfectly. I won’t say anymore. All I’ll say it didn’t disappoint me in anyway. I also had to put the book down and really take in what happened. Ugh, it was so good.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Could you tell I loved it? Please read it. It’s a powerful, intimate debut that is unforgettable. I’m already looking forward to what Cherie writes next.

Thank you to Antonia at Tinder Press for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on January 21st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

November Wrap Up

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

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

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

Let’s talk about these books then shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: 10 minutes 38 seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

Title: 10 minutes 38 seconds in this Strange World

Author: Elif Shafak

Length: 308 pages

Publisher: Viking Books UK

Synopsis: For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, the goat sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee the Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her…

Ahhhh I loved this book. Really loved it. I actually can’t stop thinking about it.

Let’s start with the premise. It’s genius. After our main character Tequila Leila has been killed, her brain continues to work for 10 minutes 38 seconds and that’s how we see her life. She remembers significant moments from her past and that’s how we get to know her.

The writing is beautiful throughout. From start to finish. It’s so beautiful, I was crying by page 20. Elif Shafak is a huge talent. She has such a unique Ann’s and so nsnnsndndndnenndnand distinctive voice. You can tell Elif has a real understanding of human souls and countries and religions. Is it weird to say I think she’s a genius. The whole book is so visceral.

Also, I can’t stop watching videos of Elif talking about her books and life on the internet. I highly recommend them and this book. I told you I think she’s a genius!

It’s full of characters that I won’t forget for a long time. They are just absolutely fantastic. Elif has given all these characters powerful, immersive voices. They are all minorities living in a religious country but Elif makes them so much more than this. It’s so hard to explain, but they encompass so much.

There really is a sadness to this novel, that doesn’t mean it’s depressing, it’s a beautiful sadness. It’s the kind of sadness that makes you think about life and what you want. How others are treated. What really happens after we die? This is all because of Elif Shafak’s glorious writing and the impact it has.

I 100% recommend this book. I am far too unintelligent to properly review this book. Elif Shafak brain is 10 times better than mine, so just do yourself a favour and read it. You won’t regret it I promise.

This one is out now.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: ‘The Lie’ by Hilary Boyd

Title: The Lie

Author: Hilary Boyd

Length: 360 pages

Publisher: Micheal J Books

I was lucky enough to be sent this from the publisher and I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

Synopsis: Romy and Michael have it all. Over 30 years of marriage, two grown-up sons and a beautiful London home, as well as a weekend bolthole by the sea. Until the arrival of a letter changes everything. At first Romy can’t believe what it is saying. That Micheal could do something so terrible. But then other lies start to emerge and she begins to wonder who the man she’s shared her heart, her bed and the best years of her life with, really is. Walking away should be the start of a new chapter for Romy. But an urgent telephone call brings her back into Michael’s life – and propels her into the past and the allegations that ended their marriage.

I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put down. I read over 200 pages in one night and trust me, that never happens with me.

What kept me hooked was the question of who was lying. When a letter shows up at her house, Romy’s husband is accused of assaulting a teenage girl, Romy stays by her husband side to begin with after he denies it but she always doubts him. It was fascinating to read her perspective and I couldn’t wait to find out the truth. It was dealt with incredibly well, sensitively but honest and real.

‘The Lie’ was filled with such wonderful characters. Romy, the main character, was instantly likeable. I was just drawn to her. And as the story progressed, all I wanted was for her to stand up for herself and get her happy ending. You could tell she was doing what she thought she should do, and I so wanted her to choose herself. I won’t spoil it for you, you’ll have to read it yourself to find out if she does.

It also has a wonderful romance in it, which I was also invested in (incase you haven’t noticed I was invested in the whole book). It was organic and romantic. Much needed sweetness, with the main storyline being such a tough subject.

It also had a satisfactory ending. Often when books are leaving all the questions to be answered at the end it can be a bit of a let down, but I didn’t find that with ‘The Lie’. I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough to find out what happened and I wasn’t disappointed. That’s a sign of great writing and storytelling.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It was an intense story with fantastic characters, that was ultimately a struggle to put down. I throughly enjoyed it.

Thank you Michael Joseph Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Make sure you check it out.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Title: Fall Out

Author: C.G. Moore

Length: 323 pages

Publisher: uclanpublishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

JTH