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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

#fantasy, #fiction, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Length: 439 pages

Publisher: Hodderscape

Synopsis: A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang – a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their hero, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love.. and first betrayal. But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability, culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns – and grudges – aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Did I know I needed a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in 1926? But am I glad I got one? Yes. Yes, I am.

There’s so many enjoyable elements in this novel. I found the whole book really immersive. I just felt like I was in Shanghai and forgot about the real world. It just has such an atmosphere to it. Does anyone else think this would make a brilliant movie or mini series. I could see it all so clearly in my head. When it’s made I’ll definitely be watching.

These Violent Delights is full of fantastic characters. Of course we’ve got Juliette and Roma (see how it’s a retelling?) and they really are enjoyable characters. I’ve seen other reviewers say whether their team Juliette or team Roma and I have to say I’m team Juliette. She was such a great character. She was complex, fierce and kick ass! Honestly, I really loved her.

I’ve also seen people say whether they’re team Scarlet Gang or The White Flowers (again, see how it’s a retelling) and I have to say on this one I’m with Roma and the White Flowers. I found this one to had the most comradeship between the characters. Marshall and Benedikt, I want to be their friends.

Let’s talk about the romance shall we? It was a lovers to enemies to lovers and it was soooo good. It was sexy and romantic! And the longing, I was begging for them to get together. I also got the feeling of another romance between another two characters (which I won’t spoil) but I’m really excited for it to explored! I hope I’m not wrong.

I also didn’t expect the fantasy elements with the monster and the madness, but it definitely added another element to the novel. This is definitely a huge part of the story that kept me reading. I had to know what was going to happen.

Shall we talk about the ending? The pacing of the book really picked up and I couldn’t keep up. It was action packed. And let me tell you the ending shocked me. I had to put the book down for a minute to take in what happened. Ugh it was so good!

I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s action packed, romantic. And I am so excited for book two to explore these characters and stories even more.

Thank you so much to Hodderscope for gift me with a copy of These Violent Delights in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out tomorrow. November 17th.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, adult fantasy, author, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gay, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E.Schwab

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V.E Schwab

Length: 541 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

Synopsis: France, 1714. A desperate woman makes a desperate deal in the dark – a bargain to live forever but be remembered by none. So begins the invisible life of Addie LaRue, shadow muse to artists throughout history, forgotten friend, confidante and lover, slipping away in the morning light. Addie passes through lives, desperate only to leave a trace of herself. Until the day she walks back into a small bookshop in Manhattan and meets Henry, who remembers her. After 300 years Addie’s life is restarting, but the devil never plays fair. As Henry and Addie’s lives start to intertwine, they must face the consequences of the decisions they’ve made and the prices to be paid.

Yes, I jumped on the hype train and preordered this book. And let me tell you I’m a very happy passenger (get it? Because I’m on the hype train!) because I absolutely love this book.

This is my first V.E.Schwab book (yes I know, it’s bad but the A Darker Shade of Magic series is on my tbr don’t worry) but I was surprised at how much I loved V.E Schwabs writing. It was absolutely beautiful. It was really comforting in a way, yet there were these really profound moments that I absolutely loved. It was beautiful I had to have a little cry. Pretty early on in the book. The whole book is written beautifully. It’s emotional, atmospheric and romantic.

It was such an immersive plot. It was the kind of book that I didn’t want to put down. In fact I didn’t put it down. It’s a dual plot timeline which is handled so beautifully by Schwab. I just absolutely loved how detailed it was. There were so many things in the plot that I wouldn’t have thought of (that’s why I’m not an author). There was also twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. It really surprised me and it gave the story some real excitement. And then there was another twist, that I feel like some people might have seen coming, but I obviously didn’t. This is very vague I know, but I refuse to ruin these surprises for you. The second twist also broke my heart.

Let’s talk about the ending shall we? Yes it broke my heart. I’d seen some people say that the ending disappointed them a bit, but I absolutely loved it. It really made me cry. I was just sitting in bed crying at 8pm on Wednesday. I had to stop reading and just sit and take it all in. You know it’s a good book when this happens. It was just so emotional. So emotional. And I’ll tell you why it’s emotional.

It’s because you absolutely fall in love with Addie. You really do. You see her in Paris in the 1700s just as she’s made the deal with the God coming to terms with everyone, and you see in her in 2014 as she’s living in New York and is fully adept to her situation. She’s just so strong and vulnerable. She’s funny. Honestly, you’ll just love her. But Addie isn’t the only great character, there’s also Luc. Even though he’s the ‘bad guy’ he definitely adds something to the book. And of course there’s Henry. My Henry. I felt for him, I loved him. There’s a sadness and loneliness to him that I adored.

The romance is so beautiful. It really is. It just filled my heart with so much joy. It’s also what makes the ending even more heartbreaking (but it definitely finishes strong). I just wanted Addie and Henry to live happily together forever. Is that too much to ask? There’s also a kind of but not really love triangle. You really believe the connection Schwab has crafted between them all. It definitely didn’t make me mad. And it also made the ending so powerful. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve read it.

Incase you couldn’t tell I loved this book. It’ll be in my top ten for the year. I can’t recommend it to you enough. Now If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to reread this book.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, adult fantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, ya

Book Review: ‘Crescent City, House of Blood and Earth’ by Sarah J Mass.

Title: Crescent City

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Length: 799 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: Bryce Quinlan used to light up Crescent City, partying all night in the clubs where the strict classes of angels, shifter, human and Fae merge into a sea of beautiful bodies. And then a demon murdered her closest friends. Two years later, when the supposed killer is behind bars but the crimes start up again, the city’s leaders command Bryce to help investigate. They assign an enslaved fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, to make sure she does. But as Bryce fights to uncover the truth – and resist her attraction to the brooding angel who shadows her every step – she finds herself following a trail that leads deep into her own dark past.

This is one of the few books that I’ve read this year that I’ve actually bought (the rest have been arcs) but as soon as it showed up in my postbox I knew I had to start it right away.

Now I will say it took me a while to get into it. There was a lot of world building in this book, which I know is what we normally want, but this was extreme. I felt at times we would find out what Bryces next door neighbour had for dinner (of course I joke) It definitely needed the world building, but it definitely made it a little dense at times. I mean it was nearly 800 pages! That’s long.

However once I was into I got into the story a bit more, I really started to enjoy it. It was a good story, and it was full of twists and turns (I mean, it’s Sara J Mass, what did I expect?) and I didn’t see any of them coming. At one point it left the story on such a cliffhanger, you know the one I’m talking about, with Hunt. Yes THAT bit. It’s was literally all I could think about when I was at work.

It’s full of great characters. Bryce was a fantastic main character to follow. She had some real depth and Maas dealt with her grief beautifully. Of course, she was kick-arse. Did we really expect anything else? There was Danika and Connor who I definitely wanted to get to know more but were gone to soon. RIP. I liked Hunt, the trouble is we know the arc of his character. He starts of horrible but is actually kinda nice, so he was a bit predictable but towards the end I definitely liked him.

The romance. We all knew it was coming didn’t we? What I will say about it is that it was a slow burn. A good slow burn. Sarah J. Mass writes a damn good slow burn romance and I’m here for it. And i thought it was realistic, especially for enemies to lovers. They had fantastic chemistry. Can we talk about the sexual chemistry was out of this world. Some of those scenes toward the end! I’m looking forward to this being explored more.

I would recommend this. Of course I would, it was a fantastic urban fantasy and I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m excited for the characters to be explored more. The romance, the story and the world. I’ll definitely be preordering it.

It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Interview with Tracy Deonn and Book Review: Legendborn

Title: Legendborn

Author: Tracy Deonn

Length: 490 pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Synopsis: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family’s memories or childhood home. A residential programme for bright young high-schoolers at UNC- Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape – until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying Demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called ‘Legendbornstudents that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a ‘Merlin’ and who attempts- and fails- to wipe Beees memory of everything saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if it means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets – and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveals themselves as descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight.

For more stops on this blog tour, check out these other fantastic bloggers and see how much they love this book.

This is the kind of fantasy book I absolutely love. It had everything you could ever want. Fantastic characters, detailed magic, a brilliant plot and romance . Have I convinced you to read this yet?

We follow Bree, who joins a secret society to find out the truth about her mother’s death and gets so much more than she bargained for. It’s such a brilliant plot that I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin it for you. I want you to be swept away like I was.

Bree is such a fantastic main character to follow. She’s smart, brave, gutsy. I loved her. You can’t help but root for her throughout. I even felt protective over her. I also have to give a shoutout to Sel. I also loved him. He had that classic arc of he’s a bad guy but is he really? I love him. Check out the answers below in the interview for some Sel information in book two!

There was a romance between Bree and Nick that was pretty inevitable but it was still fantastic. I totally believe it and was into it. But without saying too much, I wonder if there’s another character that could interrupt Bre and Nicks romance and i think I want it to be explored. It actually need it to be explored. I need it. It excites me.

The magic in this book is brilliant. It’s a real highlight. It’s incredibly detailed so pay attention. When Bree joins the secret order, it’s so interesting to learn about Shadowborns, Onceborns, Merlins. And I love how it all ties into King Arthur and the nights of the round table. It’s genius. I love the blend of modern and historical fiction. And just when you think it can’t get anyone detailed and intricate we learn about Rootcraft. Which celebrates black history and the power of your roots. Which I actually believe is genius and so powerful.

This book also has so many important messages. I love what Tracy has to say about grief. It was so powerful and poignant. It definitely made me tear up a few times. It’s just so honest and real. Such brilliant writing. It also makes you love Bree more. I’ve also lost my mum, like Bree and Tracy the author. So it really hit home for me. It also deals with race and it’s handled honestly and powerfully. It’s black girl magic. It’s what we need more of and this book is perfect at capturing it.

Ugh the ending. It was sooooo good. Tracy manages to build such momentum that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Seriously. It felt like I was in the action. And there was a lot of action. With so many twists and turns. I didn’t guess the ending. It totally surprised me. It was so powerful. I absolutely loved it.

I guess all there’s left to say it, when is book twoout? I need it. Like yesterday.

There’s so much to enjoy about this book and I really want you all to read it. You won’t regret it. Also, it’s just become a New York Times Bestseller

Now it’s time for the interview.

Thank you so much to Tracy for agreeing to do this. Enjoy the answers!

1) What inspired you to write this story?

The first early kernel of Bree, the main character of Legendborn, was born when I lost my mother. At that time, I found out that she had also lost her mother when she was my age, and that the same was true of my grandmother. Being a writer, I immediately wondered how such a pattern could have happened in my family. Of course, there’s no real answer here – life is strange and sometimes the odd and sad things happen to us and that’s that. But as a writer, I decided to create an answer. I began writing from a place of grief and mystery, and in the book Bree begins from that same place, too. I wanted to explore the idea of legacy and whose lives and deaths are lost to history and whose become legendary. That naturally led me to Arthuriana, as I’ve been a fan of the legends for most of my life, and I felt as though I could contribute something new to the 1500 year old storytelling tradition of growing the Arthurian canon. That’s really the source of Bree’s story—a book-length, contemporary fantasy answer to an impossible real world question.

2) Was it always going to be a school setting?

Yes! Once I decided to work with Arthuriana to explore some of my favorite legends, I immediately thought of Susan Cooper and The Dark is Rising Sequence. In those books, part of her brilliance was allowing Arthur and the stories to be pulled forward into the future in a sense. I gave myself the same challenge – How could Arthur and the Table exist in the modern day? The answer seemed very clear here in the US; the Round Table would embed themselves into a secret society somehow! Secret societies are a great cover for very old generations of power. I was familiar with secret societies at UNC-Chapel Hill because I went to school there for both of my degrees, and the campus is very much embedded in my mind. There are a lot of mysterious and fascinating societies at that school, being the oldest public university in the country. I did a lot of primary source research within UNC’s own archives. Tying in UNC’s history was actually quite easy with my background and because I’d been thinking about how that history impacts students for a long time

4) The magic system is so intriguing, how did you come up with it?

In the book, the Legendborn are descendants of the knights of the round table and have inherited magic because of that legacy. I wanted to believably stretch Arthur and the knights and the Table forward in time, and needed magic to make that happen. I also knew I wanted a magic system that had nothing to do with the Order of the Legendborn, and that they needed to have different uses and origins but work within the same environment.

Since the magic systems in the book are very, very old and fairly strict; they needed to be functional and solid over dozens of generations in order to work as I needed them to! So, my first step was to write them out in prose form first, in mostly full sentences, to test whether I could actually verbalize them. Then each system was moved to whiteboards to play out examples or work out problems. I have three whiteboards in my house: one in my kitchen for brainstorming while cooking or doing other tasks, one in my office that I can write on and refer back to as I work at my desk, and another that is portable so I can use it while sitting on the ground.

I used more than a dozen spreadsheets over the course of drafting and revisions, and they kept growing or getting re-organized. Some sheets were just about keeping track of recurring details. For example, I have a sheet that is just about the Scions and their bloodlines, their rankings, their inheritances (powers and personality traits), preferred weapons and character traits. I also collaborated in Google Sheets with my Wales-based Welsh language and medievalist consultant for all of the Welsh vocabulary, both made up magical terms and real ones. I think the magic systems took about a year and a half to design and “test” in revisions.

3) Have you always been interested in history, did this influence the book?

First – thank you for asking this question, because history is such a big part of Legendborn. How we talk about history, how it gets recorded, who gets to record it and why. I’m not a historian by trade, but I have always been interested in those sorts of issues around history. I am deeply fascinated with human storytelling, which is really the most critical component of history in my eyes. History as a strictly official, academic study feels to me like the stories that got written down or that have artifacts; But the history of humanity is much broader than we can possibly conceive and includes stories and tales that were never written down, or that were recorded using different methods and not captured by historians. The interesting thing about legends is that they’re different from myths because there’s a historical component – usually legends are based on a small sliver of truth revolving around a real person, or based on a communally believed history that doesn’t require a documented truth to persist. Legendborn is my way of playing with all of these ideas while working within some of the enduring themes of Arthurian literature and my own storytelling style.

4) Can you tell us anything about book two?

I can’t share anything too juicy, but I will say that the sequel builds on what is exposed in the first book, all of the magic levels up, and we meet brand new characters. And if you enjoy Sel, just know that we don’t see nearly the full extent of his powers in book one! Now that the groundwork is laid for the universe, we’ve got tons to explore.

Thank you Tracy for answering the questions. Such brilliant answers! Obviously I had to ask about book two, I’m obsessed. And we get more Sel!!!

Thank you to Daniel at Simon and Schusters Kids for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Title: Cinderella is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: It’s been 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over. Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows she only has one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball… are forfeit. But Sofia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world…

This book was enjoyable, but I have to be honest and say for me, there was just something missing. Something that would’ve taken the book from good to great.I love the premise. It was really interesting, and I thought it was such a good idea. I was really invested in the first few chapters. I was ready to explore the world, the story, the history but unfortunately I just can’t but think that I wanted the story to go deeper. Maybe there needed to be more world building? I wanted to know more about the grand Balls, and in the palace walls. To truly get the sense of the evils Sophia was fighting against. I wonder if it focused too much on Cinderella. I know that sounds silly to say as it’s literally called Cinderella is Dead.

I loved that this book has a F/F relationship. But again, it needed to be more. It felt a bit flat. I just didn’t feel the connection, I knew there was supposed to be one between the characters but it never happened for me. I loved both of these characters separately, but they didn’t click for me as a romantic pair. They definitely worked as pair trying to change history. But it’s always good to see LGBTQ+ representation in books.

I did however love the characters. Sophia is a great character to follow. She was fierce, brave yet had a vulnerability in her bravery that I absolutely loved. I loved Constance too. She was funny and sharp. I cared about them. Towards the end, when they were in a bit of danger, I was genuinely worried what was going to happen to Sophia. Kalynn Bayron has written some fantastic characters. For me, overall this book did need more. It was still good, it certainly wasn’t a bad read. But I just felt at times the author was telling me what to feel, instead of actually letting me feel it. It was a bit lacklustre. And also i felt the story needed a bit better structure.

Again, this book wasn’t bad. I wanted to see how the author would wrap the story up and I wasn’t disappointed. And there was a twist that I didn’t see coming and it shocked me. That’s always a good thing. It was enjoyable, I just feel like it had the potential to be great. But I know so many people loved this book. Listen to them, not me.

I would recommend this book. I even wonder if I read this again, would I like it more. And I’m excited to see what Kaylnn writes next.

Thanks to Bloomsbury UK and Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now in the UK.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, #yafantasy, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Title: All the Stars and Teeth

Author: Adalyn Grace

Length: 397 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

Synopsis: As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer – the Master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but to secure her place as heir to the throne, Amora must master the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. But when her demonstration goes horribly wrong, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder – and more peril – than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stowaway she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

Royals! Magic! Pirates! What more do you want? Oh I know! Mermaids! Well this book has them all. And it’s good. It’s so good.

We follow the princess Amora who after she fails her magic demonstration to become High Animancer, she flees her island in search of the destructive new magic that’s rising.

I really, really enjoyed the world Adalyn Grace has created. It was fresh and super absorbing. I love the fact that there’s seven islands and they all practice different magic. We get to see a few of the islands in this book and I hope in book two we get to see this world explored more.

It’s full of fantastic characters. Amora is such a kick ass character to follow. I loved that fact even after her people became terrified of her she’s till fights to save them. I liked her. I wanted her to succeed. And we have Bastian and Ferrick who I also loved. And then we had Vataea who was my favourite. Such a brilliant character and she’s a mermaid. Do I need to say anymore? She’s such a good mermaid! I loved her. Again, I want more of her in book two! I love the gang the become. I hope we see more of the gang.

Loved the romance. Loved it. It was a beautiful slow burn that I totally fell for. I want more. I want this to be explored more in book two. I assume it will. Don’t break my heart Adalyn. I also feel like there’s another romance blossoming which I am totally here for. I want it. I need it. I hope I’m right.

I don’t want to give any of the plot or ending away, but it kept me guessing and intrigued throughout. It was exciting! This book didn’t end the way I thought it was going too, I don’t want to spoil anything but I thought the plot might continue into the next one, but it’s set up a new plot for the second one which I’m excited to see what happens. Very excited.

All the Stars and Teeth just has everything I love in a YA fantasy series. It had the fantastic characters, the interesting magic, the good plot and the swoon-worthy romance. I would definitely recommend this book. Can I have book two now please? Pleaseeeeeeee!

Thank you to Sarah at Titan books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review.

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, #yafantasy, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: ‘Raybearer’ by Jordan Ifueko

Title: Raybearer

Author: Jordan Ifueko

Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Hot Key Ya Books

Release Date: 18th August

Synopsis: Tarisai has always longed for a family. She was raised in isolation buy a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other council members through the Ray, a Bing much deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to being somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn – but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

How do I say this clearly so you all understand? I LOVED THIS BOOK! Did you get that? Do I need to say it again? Because I will…

In Raybearer, we follow the story of Tarisai who has been raised in isolation, only seeing her mother every so often and is then taken to the children’s palace, to try and become one of the princes eleven. But she got a secret mission from her mother.

Before I first started this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I don’t know why, but that’s how I felt. How glad I was to be wrong. Let me tell you, by page 50 I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I knew it was going to have to disastrously wrong for it not to be a 5 star read. It didn’t. It’s 5 stars.

Just to let you know, I’m going to try and review this book without giving any spoilers. I want you to experience it without it being ruined

There’s so many reasons why this book works. So many. I loved the plot. When Tarisai was given the plot to kill the Prince by her mother, ‘The Lady’, but Tarisai begins to care for the Prince, it’s such a great premise. What I thought would happen at the end of the book, happened in the middle and I knew this book was just going to go beyond my expectations. And it did, it soared. It was full of twists and turns. It was just fantastic. Captivating. Everything it needed to be. I know that was vague but just read the book, okay.

This book is set in a magical land, but it’s foundation, it’s roots are these African and Middle Eastern cultures and it really makes this book come to life. They lept off the page and it elevated this book to a whole new level. I love how much it celebrated these cultures, with a magical twist. The magical land is really wide and expansive without ever being overwhelming or opaque. It’s a testament to Jordan Ifueko’s writing. The magic was excellent as well. Really unique and intricate.

The characters, I loved them. Tarisai is the perfect main protagonist. Jordan has captured her perfectly. You can feel her power, her struggle, her heart. She’s fantastic. You can’t help but as a reader care for her instantly. There’s also fantastic side characters. ‘The Lady’ is a brilliant, you can’t help but see her as villain for a while, but she’s fantastic. I loved the Prince and Khira. All of them. There’s also a slow burn romance (my favourite) which is so good. It’s so good. I felt their connection. It was one of the best YA romances I’ve read in a long time.

Jordan Ifueko has crafted a wonderful Young Adult novel. The writing it lush and rich. The storytelling is out of this world. It’s got everything you could. It’s been a long time since I read a young adult novel this good.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I am so unbelievably glad I read this book. Now I’ve just got to wait for book two. And yes there is a book two coming. Trust me, I’ve checked. I implore you to read this book.

Thank you to Hotkey Books YA for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Title: The Extraordinaries

Author: TJ Klune

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Synopsis: In Nova City, there are extraordinary people, capable of feats that defy the imagination. Shadow Star protects the city and manipulates darkness and Pyro Storm is determined to bring the city to its knees using his power of fire. And then there’s Nick, who… well, being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right? Instead of fighting crime, Nick must contend with a new year at school, a father who doesn’t trust him, and a best friend named Seth, who may or may not be the love of Nicks short, uneventful life. It should be enough. But after a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do with or without Seth’s reluctant help.

The plot was super interesting, even if I did have a few problems with the pacing. I loved the whole superhero aspect to it. I hadn’t read a book like this before and I enjoyed it. Also gay superheros FINALLY. I also loved the relationship between Nick and his dad, it was dealt with beautifully.

My favourite thing about this book was the friendship between the main four characters Nick, Seth, Gibbi and Jas. I absolutely adored it. They all had such great chemistry. I loved the dynamics between them all. All the characters had such strong personalities, but they blended so well together. I had a real soft spot for Gibbi. She made me laugh out loud.

I loved the romances. Nick and Seth were absolutely adorable and total end goals, would I have liked them to get together sooner as it was so obvious, yes, but it was worth it when they did. I also loved Gibbi and Jas’s relationship. They had a real solidity to their relationship that you don’t see often in YA.

There was definitely some things I wasn’t to keen on about the book, I definitely found it to be a bit tedious at times, mainly about the 25% mark. It just needed to move on quicker. I guess I had a little problem with the pacing. And it was also a tiny bit predictable, it took it further than I thought it would, but it made me struggle to pick it up at times.

I loved TJ’s writing. It was witty, it had me laughing out loud but it was also really heartfelt and honest. He managed to combine the two perfectly. This is the first book I’ve read by him and I look forward to reading another of his. So many people have recommended The House on the Crulean Sea, so I’m going to check that one out.

I really would recommend this book. Look all I know is I had to ask people if there was going to be another book in this series because I want to got back to this world. So keep a look out for that one, I will be.

Thank you to Hooder & Stoughton and Netgalley for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. This one is out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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Pride Month YA recommendations.

Pride Month is upon us. It’s a very exciting time. Last month, I spent the whole entirety of June nothing but queer books and it made my heart very happy. Very happy indeed. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that this month, so I thought I’d share my recommendations.

These book are all YA. I truly think YA books have some fantastic options for us to read with some fantastic representation. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. Representation Matters. I’m trying to keep all these books as Own Voice options, but at the bottom of the blog, I’ll put a little section that aren’t own voices.

These books will help young queer people to find themselves, find others like them and I can’t tell you how important that is. It’s all about acceptance. I remember being a young queer boy and desperately trying to find the courage to be able to buy a queer book in my local bookstore. Now, there’s only a little hesitation when I buy them.

I’ll be doing another post for some adult literature queer books, a bit later.

So let’s get started shall we.

‘History Is All You Left Me’ by Adam Silvera. This book is so beautiful, heartbreaking and emotional. It was the first queer book I read, so it owns a very special place in my heart. It deals with so much, and there’s some beautiful queer representation at its heart. This was the book I had to pluck up the courage to buy and I’m so glad I did. In the photo above are some more of Adams books if you’d like to check them out. But History really is the most beautiful for me.

‘Camp’ by L.C.Rosen. Boy oh boy, do I love this book. It took queer to another level. It put femme characters centre stage and it’s brilliant. It’s not something I’ve seen before, and I hope more books follow. It’s a beautiful story of self acceptance, queer love, and being proud to be you. It’s just so celebratory. Rosens other book ‘Jack of Hearts’ also very good. I really can’t recommend this one enough. It’s out May 28th. Just in time for Pride Month.

Felix Ever After by Kacen …. Now, I am going to be honest and say I haven’t actually read this one, but I’m going to recommend because it’s got Trans POC representation, which is so underrepresented. The story revolves around Felix, who learns to love himself. And I can’t think of a more positive message than that. Also, let’s just look at the cover. STUNNING.

Hideous Beauty by William Hussey. This is a queer thriller and it’s fantastic. While this one had a love story that will make you heart soar, it’s also going to break it. It’s filled with mystery and romance. It’s a little darker than some of the others on this list, but just as beautiful. This one is also out on the 28th. Just in time for Pride.

Boy Queen by George Lester. Another book I’ve read recently and loved. Again, we have another femme character at the centre and I love it. This book is delightful. It’s full of drag queens, romance, self pride and love. This is definitely one to add to your queer collection. It’s out August 6th.

Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian. Again, I have to confess I haven’t read this book. I’m mentioning one I haven’t read just to bring them to your attention and maybe you’ll like the sound of them. This one is set in the 1980s and centred around the Aids crisis, a moment in queer history we can never forget. But it’s from teenagers perspective. I can’t tell you how badly I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. Again, this is another one I haven’t read but want to highlight. This has got an abundance of different representations. Queer, Mental Health and POC. And this book is getting a sequel so it can’t be bad right? A friend recommended this to me and I trust their opinion highly. I am incredibly excited to read it.

‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe’ by Benjamin Alice Sáenz. Well this book reads just like a love song. It’s stunning. Quiet and impactful and it will have you weeping at the end. Beautiful. Just beautiful. And highly underrated.

There are so many more books out there, like ‘ I Wish You All The Best’ by Mason Deaver, ‘The Gravity of Us’ by Phil Stamper, ‘ziggy, stardust & me’ by James Branderson. ‘Alex in Wonderland’ by Simon James Green, ‘The Black Flamingo’ by Dean Atta and ‘Wranglestone’ by Darren Charlton. I encourage you to look all these Own Voice books up.

Now for some of those books that aren’t own voice. ‘Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli. ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston, ‘Only Mostly Devastated’ by Sophie Gonzales, ‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell and ‘I’ll Give You The Sun’ by Jandy Nelson.

I also really need to add some F/F books. I did recently read ‘Queen of Coin and Whispers’ by Helen Corcoran which was fantastic. And waiting for ‘The Henna Wars’ by Adiba Jaigirdar to arrive, which I can’t wait to read.

So there we have, some fantastic books that celebrate inclusivity, queer love, queer pride and self acceptance. They all teach such valuable lessons.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Let me know if there’s any I’m missing, or if you’ve read some of these and you love them, or if they’ve helped you.

Until the next review

JTH