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May Wrap Up

I’m posting my May Wrap up now, this is because I haven’t read a book throughout June. I wish I could say this wasn’t true but my mental health took a bad turn and I just couldn’t pick up a book.

So, in May I many to read twelve books. That’s not bad, compared to June it’s fantastic but let’s hope I can start reading again in July.

Let’s talk about these books shall we?

A Room With A View by E.M Foresster. This classic so not my usual kind of book, but a friend suggested it so I thought I’d give it a go. And I really enjoyed it. Especially the end. A short and sweet novel with fantastic characters.

The Hunted by Gabriel… This is a horror, so this again is not my usual type of book, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was genuinely creepy. Full of suspense and action. It would make the perfect film. This one is out August 6th

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. This was another good book, full of some fantastic characters but I was left wanting a little more at the end. But it was really good. It’s out on June 16th.

Fall Out by C.G.Moore. I could feel this book trying so hard, but it just didn’t do it for me overall. There were some parts that I thought were handled well, but unfortunately it most of it wasn’t great. It’s out June 16th.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty. I really enjoyed this one, it started off fantastically. I was instantly intrigued and it was dealing with a difficult subject, but it definitely lost it for me towards the end. It became a bit silly almost, but it was enjoyable. It’s out June 11th.

Boy Queen by George Lester. Yaaaaaassss, this book was fantastic. I really, really loved this one. It was a great queer book, that I can’t recommend enough. A great story, great characters. I loved it. It’s out August 6th.

All Of My Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais. Another fantastic book, this one is filthy, fun but packs an important message, that comes across in a great way. I highly recommend this one. A brilliant own voices novel. It’s out June 16th.

Tell Me How It Ends by V.B. Grey. I really enjoyed this one, I loved the period of time it was setting in. It just has that old Hollywood glamour. It had great characters and it was an enjoyable, easy read. It’s out July 9th.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. Took me a little while to get into this one, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It was heartbreaking in the end, with a character I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I loved it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I had such high hopes, but I unfortunately was disappointed. The ending was strange, the whole book was strange, and a bit dull. This is a hard one for me to take. It’s out now.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff. I really enjoyed this book, it was so powerful but had such a subtly too it that I haven’t read before. Full of fantastic characters and interesting dynamics, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. It’s out in July.

The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies. I’m a huge fan of Dinah’s and I really enjoyed this book. Full of mystery and intrigue. Fantastic characters and a great historical setting. It was just a great book. It’s out July 23rd.

These are the books, I hope you’ve read some fantastic books in this time.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: Queen of Coin and Whispers’ by Helen Corcoran

Title: Queen of Coin and Whispers

Author: Helen Corcoran

Length: 464 pages

Publisher: O’Brien Press

Synopsis: When Lia, an idealistic Queen, falls for Xania, her new spymaster – who took the job to avenge her murdered father – they realise all isn’t fair in love and treason. Lia won’t mourn her uncle: he’s left her a bankrupt kingdom considered easy pickings by its neighbours. She’s swarm to be a better ruler, but if she wants to push through her reforms, she needs to beat the court at its own games. For years, Xania’s been determined to uncover her fathers murderer. She finally gets the chance when Lia gives her a choice: become her new spymaster, or take a one way trip to the executioner’s axe. It’s an easy decision. When they fall for each other, their love complicates Lia’s responsibilities and Xania’s plans for vengeance. As they’re drawn together amid royal suitors and new diplomats, they uncover treason that could not only end Lia’s reign, but ruin their weakened country. They must decide not only what to sacrifice for duty, but also for each other.

This book was so enjoyable. For so many reasons. Full of romance, intrigue and fantastic characters. I needed a good YA book in my life and this one was it.

We follow Lia, who is a newly crowned Queen, with big ideas to return her kingdom to glory. We also follow Xania, who is hired as the queen’s spymaster.

There’s so many things I loved about this book. I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the intricacy and the detail. I loved how it allowed you to really loose yourself in the story. When a story is as detailed as this, it sets such a solid foundation for the rest of the story and it’s works beautifully in this book.

The romance! Oh the romance. It was F/F and it was heaven. It was a lovely slow burn romance (you know I love those) and it was so well done. I loved that it wasn’t the main plot, but was still so beautifully done. It always great so see LGBTQ+ representation in books, especially when it’s so well done like it is in ‘Queen of Coin and Whispers’. There’s some beautiful, tender scenes between the two. I also loved how the relationship dealt with the political side of things.

Queen of Coin and Whispers read to me at times like a political thriller. Full of the inner workings of a queen and her government, it has some great characters and I didn’t know who to trust, it was wonderful. It really kept me intrigued as a reader. With the assassination attempts in queens life and the spymaster trying to solve it, it gave the story and the characters a great dynamic. It all made for a thrilling read.

Can I say how much I loved the characterisation in this book. It didn’t focus on either characters looks, of course they were described, but it was refreshing to read about to two strong, fierce, flawed, intelligent women. Especially in young adult. It’s so desperately needed and Helen Corcoran delivers.

This is Helens debut novel and I can firmly say she has made a fan! To create such a well rounded, intriguing story with fantastic characters, I was hooked from start to finish. I’ll look forward to seeing what she does next. I couldn’t recommend this book more. Don’t miss this one. The perfect read for Pride Month.

Thank you to O’Brien press for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out June 1st.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: Camp by L. C. Rosen

Title: Camp

Author: L. C. Rosen

Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Penguin

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only in straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists. This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him. But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself, how much is he willing to change for love? And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

I absolutely loved this book. I just think it’s brilliant. And more than that it’s important. For me, it was the perfect YA. Can we have more books like this one please? Especially own voices, like this one.

I loved the premise and the setting for this book. I don’t know if this kind of place is real (I’m old) but it’s fantastic. It great place for the story to take place. It was so inclusive. It also gives the story a great foundation and it really takes off from there.

‘Camp’ has such amazing characters. I love Del, he was sweet. I loved that he was so multifaceted. Even though he’s changed himself to be loved, he accepted that this part of himself was also real. But he also knows who is and loves himself for it. Ugh, I love him. His two best friends George and Addy were amazing. They made me laugh out loud. I even liked Hudson, even though he had the most problematic views, he was never unlikable. L C Rosen really has created fantastic characters. They were also beautiful written. All complex and real.

I love the romance. I just loved it. It was so well done. Even though a lot of it’s circumstances were fake because of both boys lying. There connection felt real. I was rooting for them. It was also very sex positive. Which is important for young adults, especially queers one to read.

This book is loveable and fun, but it definitely shouldn’t be underestimated because it is so important. This is a book where queer kids shine. In every way. They aren’t the sidekick, or the one being bullied. They are all the stars and it’s fantastic to read. This book isn’t another of those stories of the straight acting guys who just happened to be gay, these are femme gay guys who love themselves.

L C Rosen is out here giving a voice to so many people that have often been overlooked in every way. I can’t think of another author that is doing it, especially not this well. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

I hope every young adult (even adults) reads this book. Queer teens we see themselves represented in this book, many for the first time. Representation is so important. We see so many different kinds of queer representation in this book. I know I keep going on about it really is important. I think this book will give so many people hope. It’s the kind of book I wish I had around when I was younger.

I can’t recommend enough, in case you couldn’t tells tell. I loved every second of this book. I already know this is going to be on all my books of the year lists. It’s that good.

Thank you to Penguin 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

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

ARC Book Review: Hideous Beauty by William Hussey

Title: Hideous Beauty

Author: William Hussey

Length: 336 pages.

Publisher: YA Osbourne

Synopsis: Dylan is forced to come out after his secret relationship with Ellis is exposed on social media, but to his surprise everyone is really supportive-or at least they appear to be. But Dylan and Els relationship is short lived, and following a tragic accident, Dylan begins to realise how little he knows about the boy he loves, or those who knew him.

I read this book in one night, I never do that. I actually read it in under 3 hours. I couldn’t put it down. That tells you just how much I enjoyed it.

For Hideous Beauty to work as a novel, for the secrets to be in intriguing you have to believe the love story at the centre of the novel between Dylan and Ellis and I can say I did. It was incredibly sweet and was the heart of the book. It’s really heartbreaking what happens ( no spoilers). It deals with that first young love and all joys and heartache that comes with it. Hussey handles it beautifully. It’s so believeable.

I loved the characters. Hussey has created characters that are real, and heartfelt. William also show the complexity of gay teens, the feelings we feel growing up. Those moments of insecurity, those fleeting moments of self acceptance. I also loved the connection they had. It also deals with coming out and it’s dealt with well. It’s dealt with the way only an own voices author can.

This book is full of so much intrigue and mystery. It’s going to hard to talk about without any spoilers but as the story progresses and Dylan begins to receive drawing in the post that are clues, I couldn’t wait to find out who was sending them and what happened. It’s full of shocking, dark secrets that keep the novel moving at a fantastic pace. I couldn’t turn those damn pages fast enough.

The ending, it shocked me. Again, I really don’t want to spoil anything for you, but it made shed a little tear. Grab the tissues, you’re going to need them. I didn’t see it coming, and yet it perfectly fit the story. It was actually really heartbreaking.

I’ve really tried to talk about this book without giving any spoilers so you can experience every bit of this book.

I can’t recommend this book enough. William Hussey has written a beautifully complex, heartfelt novel. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

Thank you to Osborne YA for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 28th.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, gay, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

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

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

Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins

Length: 517 pages

Publisher: Scholastic UK

This is the Waterstones edition without the dust jacket on.

Synopsis: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, it’s fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to our charm, outwit, and outmanoeuvre his fellow students who to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their faces are intertwined- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what.

The only fair way to start off this is review is to talk about expectations, I loved The Hunger Games and I expected this to match my love, even surpass it. I had such high hopes. I preordered it. I sat looking at the window waiting for the postman to deliver it.

I have a lot of thoughts about this book. A lot. I’m going to try and condense them down so this review isn’t one long ramble, but it will probably be a mess. I even made notes, in my little notepad to help me write this review.

What I found really interesting about this novel was that we see the Hunger Games in its infancy. Not the well oiled machine we know it as when Katniss enters the arena. And I loved reading about how the betting came into it, and the sponsors and treating the tributes like celebrities. I wanted more of this. It touched on the brutality, with the tributes performing for food as they were being starved but it didn’t go far enough. I thought for a while the games would actually almost like a character in the book, but unfortunately that wasn’t so. When Lucy Gray actually gets enters the game, it just wasn’t exciting. I know they were meant to be a bit messy and haphazard because of when the book was set, but did it have to be dull? They still could’ve been exciting, but they just never reached there potential.

Obviously we’re following Snow as our main protagonist, and I know some people had an issue with the book being about him as they didn’t feel he deserved a redemption story and I think it’s safe to say he didn’t get one. He didn’t come across as nice, or evil. He was a bit meh to be honest. I didn’t connect to him at all. And it was hard to distance young Coriolanus from President Snow. And then we had Lucy Gray, who at the beginning I really liked. I thought this is where it gets interesting, she’s feisty, smart and knows how to play the game. In fact, she sort of invited a lot of the things we attribute to the hunger games. But as the novel went on, she lost her spark. She was reduced to Snows love interest. There was also a character called Sejan, who is Snows friend, who I found incredibly annoying. I think the end of his story was supposed to shocking, upsetting and a catalyst for Snow, but ultimately I didn’t care. There was also a lot of other characters in this book, and I was getting confused who was who and who was a tribute or mentor and in the end I gave up caring.

For a huge part of this book to work, you had to believe in the romance Collins creates between Snow and Lucy Gray, and I can say I didn’t. In part 1 I definitely believed they had a connection, I just didn’t know what it was. And I wanted her to win the games and for them to be reunited but for me the romance just didn’t take off. Which then made the second half of the book fall a little flat in that aspect. I was just sitting there thinking ‘Am I really reading a book about Snows love life?’

There’s no doubt in my mind that Suzanne is a fantastic writer, I like the hints throughout that connected us to the Panem we know. And I think she chose the right time to set this book, but it was lacking excitement and intensity. We all know Suzanne can end chapters with brilliant cliffhangers (can we talk about Chapter 14 in The Hunger Games, I couldn’t turn the page fast enough) but in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, they didn’t have that same affect. I could recognise that she was trying to build up excitement and momentum, but it just didn’t happen. Suzanne also wrote a lot, A LOT, of songs for the book and while the song that ends of page 171 was beautiful and made me cry, by the end of had to read another song I would’ve entered the Games. It was to many.

Now shall we talk about the ending? Shall we? Oh trust me, we are going to. I guess all have to say it WHAT? I was wondering if the end would save the book. If it was building up to something shocking, some big twist but nope. It felt like it was but in fact it was strange ending, I actually reread it because I thought I’d missed something for that to happen, but again, nope. It was strange. I’m not saying too much to try and avoid spoilers. Also let’s be honest, it’s hard to read a book like this because ultimately we know how it ends, he doesn’t up with Lucy Gray and he becomes President.

Also because there was so much of the book I didn’t connect to like the romances, and the choices made by Snow and Lucy Gray at the end, I was just wonder if it’s enough to make Snow what he is in The Hunger Games. Or are we going to get another Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book which will take his story further?

You know, when I was on page 323 a friend of mine messaged me and asked if I was enjoying it, and I replied that I don’t know. If your 3/4 of a way into one of your most anticipated reads of the year and you’re not sure if you’re enjoying it, I think it’s safe to say you’re probably not. But in saying that, I kept reading and parts of it I enjoyed. I would’ve liked the Hunger Games section to more detailed. I think ultimately I was just left feeling was this return to Panem justified? Was The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes actually needed?

Ahhh I hope it didn’t ramble on to much and it made some sort of sense. Do you agree with me? Or do you think I’ve missed the point of the book? Did you love it? Let me know.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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

WWW Wednesday- 20th May

I haven’t done one of these posts in such a long time. So I figured I’d have a go. It’s just a little update where I’m at with my reading.

What is WWW Wednesday? WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme where all you have to do is answer three simple questions. Look at me using the word meme! I feel so young!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you finished reading recently?
  • What are you planning to read next?

So let’s get started

What are you currently reading?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Well I have to be honest and say I’m not reading this. I’m still waiting for it to arrive. I’m literally sitting looking out of the window waiting for the postman to arrive. But I will be picking it up as soon as it arrives. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time.

What have you finished reading recently?

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. I finished this late last night as I couldn’t put it down. While it took me a little while to get into it, once I did it was brilliant. It really did break my heart. This one is out August 6th.

What are you reading next?

I always find this question so hard because I never know what to read next, but I think I’m going to try and get through my arcs ‘The Great Godden’ by… I’ve heard nothing but good things and I want to experience it for myself. It’s out July 7th.

So that’s it, that’s my reading week I guess. I wonder how long it will take me to read ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’. I plan on doing nothing else.

Let me know what you’re reading.

Until the next review

JTH

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

ARC Book Review: People Like Us by Louise Fein

Title: People Like Us

Author: Louise Fein

Length: 496 pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Synopsis: Leipzig, 1930s Germany: Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother is in the Luftwaffe. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. But Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect-in-every-way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. As Hetty falls more deeply in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…

I have to say I really enjoyed this novel.

There were many elements to this book, but for it to really work, it all depends on the love story. I have to be honest and say Hetty and Walter fell in love pretty quickly, I can say I believed it. Especially as the novel went on. It was a sweet romance, that I wanted to have a happy ending.

Hetty is a great character to follow. I really believed she was following her heart and I loved the slow, gradual build up of strength to fight for what she felt was right. It was a beautiful transition to read. I also loved her friend, Erna. I Loved that she was a resistance fighter. I adored the friendship they had. I loved the connection. between these two characters.

I though it was really interesting to place this novel at the time of the rise of the Nazi and not the war. It gave it a different perspective and I loved it. Also the the fact that her dad was SS officer was also a great plot point for these characters to be in. There was a great moment between Hetty and Erna where they told each other about being in the resistance and they weren’t sure if they could trust each other.

The ending. I’m not going to spoil anything but they really made me cry. You just find out so much, and it’s done in the most heartfelt way. It’s a testament to the writing and made me really realise how much I believed in the characters on this book. I was really pleased with the ending. I actually really think it was the perfect ending.

Louise has written a very atmospheric book, that captures the fear and hatred but it also manages to hold onto hope and love. It’s filled with lots of historical details, which I absolutely loved.

I can’t recommend enough. For fans of historical fiction and romance. It’s beautiful with a great ending.

Thanks too Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now on ebook and comes out in August if you’d like a physical copy.

Until the next review

JTH

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

April Wrap Up

Well my fellow readers, I think it’s fair to say it’s been a strange month right? I know most of us have been or still are on lockdown. I know, in terms of reading, it’s affected everyone differently. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had times where I all I wanted to do was read, and others where I haven’t even wanted to look at a book.

I’ve been off work, so I’ve managed to read more than ever this month. I read 14 books. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to read that many. But again, it’s just because of circumstances that it’s happened. I’ll definitely take it as a win.

Anyway, let’s chat about them shall we?

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr. This was good, it could’ve been great but was a little mix matched for me. Although the ending was brilliant, I just wanted the whole book to be like that. The connection just didn’t feel right throughout. It’s out now.

The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle by Neil Blackmore. This was good, there were parts I really enjoyed. But revolves around Mr Lavelle and I absolutely hated him. So it made the book feel a little off. Ugh, I really hated him. This one is out on ebook now and published in August.

The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes. I really enjoyed this one. It was a super emotional, intense read. It gave a different side of the story to WW2. A great piece of historical fiction. It’s out now.

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez. Oh I loved this book. I loved, loved, loved it. It was just brilliant. I hope it’s nominated for all the prizes. I adored it. It’s out now.

The Revolt by Clara DuPont-Monod. I like my historical fiction detailed and this certainly was. It’s very short, about 190 pages but it kinda lost me after 130 pages. But it was good. Out May 12th.

Only You by Kate Eberlen. I really enjoyed this one. It was sweet, romantic and emotional. It was the perfect escape for these times and made me feel like I was walking the streets in Rome. It’s out now.

Love is For Losers by Wibke Brueggemann. A fresh and funny f/f romance that’s got a lot of heart. I did really like this one. Although at times felt a little long. It’s out 2021.

People Like Us by Louise Fein. This is a great historical fiction book. Again, a different look at the Nazi approach to telling the story. It had a really wonderful ending. Made me emotional. This out May 7th.

Writers & Lovers by Luly King. This was a quiet book, I didn’t realise how much I was enjoying it until things started to work out for the main character and I was pleased. It definitely grew on me. It’s out May 28th.

Camp by L.C. Rosen. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. The kind of book I wished I had when I was younger. Unashamedly queer and beautiful. I highly recommend. It’s out May 28th.

Ashes by Christopher De Vinck. This was good, with a sweet ending but wasn’t the best historical fiction book. Parts of it felt rushed. I can’t even really remember what happened in it now. It was okay. It’s out May 28th.

The Magnificent Sons by Justin Myers. I hated this book. Hated it. Hated it. It was boring, bland and dull. Unlikeable characters I cared nothing about. It put me in a reading slump. I never want to think about this book again. It’s out May 28th.

The Stray Cats of Homs by Eva Nour. This was good, but not great. It captures the horror of what’s happening really well, but there’s was something missing and I don’t know what. I have a feeling I won’t remember this book in a few weeks. It’s out May 7th.

Hideous Beautiful by William Hussey. This was another great queer fiction book. Full of mystery and intrigue with a great love story. I definitely recommend this one. It’s out May 28th.

So that’s it. That’s my month. Definitely a few hits and definitely a few misses. One even put me in a reading slump for a few days! Ugh, I hated that book with a passion. But oh well, there’s better books out there.

I hope you’re all safe and well and enjoying your reading as much as you can.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review: Only You by Kate Eberlen

Title: Only You

Author: Kate Eberlen

Length: 432 pages

Publisher: Mantle Books

Synopsis: Letty and Alf are the only English speakers at an Italian class in Rome, where they discover the language that really connects them is dance: Letty’s first love was ballet, while Alf was a junior ballroom champion. They come from different worlds until the moment they waltz around the Piazza Navona, and everything changes. But one moment can’t change the past, and it’s clear that Alf and Letty still have their secrets. What caused them to leave their lives in England behind? And who, or what, are they running from? As their relationship happens, it becomes harder and harder to tell the truth. When the unthinkable happens, Letty returns to London and Alf to Blackpool. Will they spend their lives apart, or discover future together?

I’ll start by saying I loved this book. It really was the perfect escape for these troubling times. I got lost in this book and it was a joy to do so.

Spilt into three sections, we find the two main characters Letty and Alf in Rome, both leaving behind things they’d rather forget, then we find out the reason why the came to be in Rome, and finally how it all ends.

I love the Rome section, I wanted to be in Rome with them. Kaye made it feel like I was. It had beautiful descriptions. I loved all the knowledge of the monuments and buildings put into the novel. You can tell an Kate did her research and for me it really added to the book. This Rome part wasn’t done in a silly way and I loved it. Sometimes it can feel like teens running away or just a summer fling, but it was done so well it made the love story incredibly believeable. I want my own summer in Rome.

I also loved the love story. It was so well done. Like really well done. It was organic and believeable and just beautiful. I was rooting for them. I got that feeling in my stomach, so that’s how I know it’s a good love story. But boy did it end on a cliffhanger.

Section two got darker than I expected, but I liked it. It dealt with some serious issues. It definitely gave the characters a lot of depth and explained somethings that happened in the ‘present’ section. Alf and Letty were just the best characters to follow. They were both sweet, kind, flawed, confused and loveable. I wanted them to have their happy ending.

Then the last section, the section I read so fast because I needed to know if all my questions would be answered. And I can safely say they were. Now, I won’t tell you how. You’ll find out when you read it. Because trust me you won’t want to miss this book.

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, this book really was the perfect escape and I loved it. You’ll fall in love with the characters, the setting and the story. It’s a perfectly written, sweet story. It’ll make you believe in love, break your heart, but I think it might just put it back together again.

Thank you so much to Mantle Books for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. Its out now.

Until the next review

JTH