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

Book Review: The Prisoner Healer by Lynette Noni

Title: The Prisoner Healer

Author: Lynette Noni

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Length: 416 pages

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and goal only: stay alive. Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives prison on death’s door, and disrupts all of Kiva’s carefully laid plans. The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal; a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to the only the most dangerous of criminals. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom. But no one has ever survived.

I’m super excited to be taking part in the social media blast for this book. Make sure you check out all these other posts to see what they have to say.

Let me just state the facts: this is book is brilliant. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book, but that is the whole point of a review so I’m gonna try.

You are so immersed in the story right from the very first page. The setting of the story being set in a prison is so enjoyable and unique. I haven’t read a young adult book like this. And considering you don’t leave the prison for the majority of the book, it never becomes boring or stale. I think thats a sign of a great book.

There’s so many fantastic characters in The Prison Healer and I especially enjoyed Kiva. She’s the main protagonist and she’s really likeable. She carries the story, and has great depth and complexity. There’s also brilliant side characters like Jarden and Tipp, you feel them become a team and its so enjoyable to read. There was also a romance that I was a total sucker for. It was really believable and I wanted more.

There is a lot going on this book but it never becomes messy. Lynette manages to tie it all together brilliantly and the plot never got lost. There’s a trail, theres a rebel queen outside the prison gates stirring trouble in the prison. It just felt like a really layered story. A story that I couldn’t put down and one I didn’t want to end.

Now can we talk about that ending?! Can we? Because you know I need to. It is going to be hard to talk about without giving away any spoilers, but I’m going to try. Let me just say it was epic. EPIC! There was a twist that I did see coming, but I didn’t find that disappointed it was still really interesting. But then. THEN. Those last few pages, that second twist. I didn’t see it coming, my jaw was on the floor y’all.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I think this is a brilliant start to a new young adult series. It’s imaginative, exciting, gripping and epic. I loved it. It was also so much fun to actually crack the code at the end.

All I have left to say is I need book two. I need it now. I better not have to wait long.

Thank you so much to Kate at Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. This one is out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

March Wrap Up

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

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

So lets talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review.

Jthbooks

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

ARC book review: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Publisher: Rock The Boat

Length: 469 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne – Jonathan Stroud

I’m very excited to be a part of the Blog Tour The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. And I’m very lucky that Jonathan has written a blog post about his experience writing this book.

Jonathan talks about the writing process, drafting, editing and much more and it’s incredibly interesting to read. There’s some great advice here for writers so this is a great read. So, lets go.

Jonathan Stroud       Writing The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

Hello. I’ve recently finished writing my novel, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne. When I get to the end of a big project like this, my office is always festooned with papery debris that’s built up over weeks and months as I wrestled the book into shape. Sooner or later, I’ll summon the energy to roll up my sleeves, fortify myself with a stiff drink, and get rid of a lot of it, before filing the key bits away in the loft. But I haven’t done this for Outlaws yet, which gives me the chance to look here at some of the stages the book went through over the last three years…

1. First Notes

I began thinking about the new project at the start of 2018, a few months after my last Lockwood & Co. book had been published. I knew straight away that I wanted it to be set in a post-apocalyptic future Britain, where events had made the country much more dangerous and strange. I also knew that it would feature a river journey along the Thames, probably with a raft involved, and that there would be bit of a Western vibe. These elements survived to the final book, but other things were very different – for example, at the outset the main character was a middle-aged man, who met a couple of children on a wrecked bus in the wilderness. These pages of early notes show a diagram of one of the fortified ‘Surviving Towns’ and also a sketch of the crashed bus – both these ideas are still in the finished book, three years later.

2. Early Structure

After a couple of months making notes and writing fragmentary scenes, I tried figuring out the book’s structure – you can see the attempt here. It’s always good to do this, because it helps throw up problems, of which, in this case, there were many. My main issue was that the main character (here known as Bob Choi) didn’t work, but I didn’t realise this yet. He rescues a couple of children from a bus (chapter 3), takes them across the wilds, discovers they are being pursued by bad guys (ch 5), and escapes with them along the Thames (ch 7). All these elements make it (in a different form) into the eventual book, as does the climax in some half-submerged ruins in the London Lagoon (ch 17). But Bob Choi would have to go.

3. Still Struggling

Incredibly, though, he was still there eight months later, at the end of 2018, when these particular notes were done. I was having real problems making the book work, and you can see me here still trying to figure out the structure and rhythm of the book – how the plot would string together in a kind of necklace of ‘crises’ and ‘phases’. I was missing the point: the dynamic between my characters wasn’t working, and that’s the engine that ultimately powers a successful book. It took till early 2019, a full year after starting, that Bob Choi was booted out, and Scarlett McCain took over his role as the dangerous but reluctantly compassionate hero. At least in these notes here, I was having fun sketching toothed birds and giant mud-rats, and was profitably employed thinking about the accelerated evolution of the fauna of my future England.

4. Map Sketch

One thing that never altered, through the whole two and a half years of writing, was the idea of the river journey, from source to outflow, down the Thames. Towards the end of the project, when I knew pretty well how the story worked, I drew up this sketch map of the river and the London Lagoon (our London has vanished within it). It mostly follows the real course of the Thames, with a few tweaks and changes, such as the kingdoms (Mercia, Wessex, Anglia) that it passes through, the absence of most towns, and the promotion of a few real towns and villages to a more important status. I always like drawing maps: it has the same effect for me as it does for the reader, and helps anchor my characters’ travels securely in the mind.

5. Note Files

By the time a book like this is finished, I usually have a couple of ring-binders like these, filled with all the notes I made at every stage of the composition. I file them chronologically, so I can look back and check stuff, and also roll my eyes at all the false starts and appalling cul-de-sacs I explored along the way.

6. Drafts

I’ve lost track of how many drafts The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne went through, but you can see from this pile that it’s quite a lot. Early on there were two or three ‘unfinished’ drafts, where I got to a certain point, realised that it wasn’t working, and stopped to recalibrate, before starting again. Certain scenes that worked, however, were transposed almost word-for-word between them. There were probably at least four complete drafts after that, inching ever closer to the desired result. At each point I thought I’d cracked it, only for a re-read to show me that I needed to try again. Phew, just looking at this pile makes me feel a bit tired! Forget raft trips down the Thames – writing a novel is an epic journey in itself, but it’s all worth it in the end.

How amazing was that? Thank you so much Jonathan for doing this and for all the great information.

I was also lucky enough to read an early copy of this book, and it’s fantastic. It’s a brilliant start to a new teen series, its action packed, its got great world building and was full of intrigue. My favourite thing were the characters. They were brilliant. I enjoyed Scarlett & Browne so much. They made me laugh out loud, and I loved the connection Jonathan creates between them. I really believed their friendship. Now I’ve got to wait for book two, that I am definitely looking forward to.

Thanks again to Jonathan and make sure you check out all the other bloggers taking part. You can even read the first two chapters of this book. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne is out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

Book Review: here comes the miracle by Anna Beecher

Title: here comes the miracle

Author: Anna Beecher

Publisher: Orion

Length:229 pages

Synopsis: It begins with a miracle: a baby born too small and too early, but definitely alive. This is Joe. And decades before, another miracle: in a patch of nettled-infested wilderness, two teenage boys fall in love. One is Edward. Time passes and Joe gains a sister, Emily. She watches learn to play the violin brought for him by his grandfather, Edward. Watches him grow into a young man – a young man who is ready to begin. When Joe is diagnosed with late-stage cancer, Emily, Edward and the rest of the family are left waiting for a miracle.

Have you ever read a book and known that it’s going to make you cry within the first few pages? I have thanks to this book. It was beautiful in every way.

The writing in this book really is stunning. It was lyrical and it has such an honesty to it. This is actually why I knew I’d cry in the first few pages because the writing was so beautiful. It also poignant. Ugh, I loved it. I loved every page. I loved its beauty, its message, its prose. It’s the kind of writing that as you’re reading it, you know you’re reading something special.

This is quite a short book and there’s a part of me that wishes it was longer, but that’s just me being selfish because I loved it so much I wanted more. But it packs such a punch, and its all handled so delicately that its the perfect length. But you can’t blame me for wanting more can you.

Anna has created such complex and intriguing characters. I loved them all. They just have my whole heart. I loved the connection they had with each other, especially Emily and Joe. There was such an honesty and integrity between them. I loved that you were seeing the story through different perspectives and they handled it. It gave the story such depth.

This book obviously deals with death and it is handled so well. It’s so beautifully done. There’s a rawness and a powerfulness. It just broke my heart. It was also death with so honestly. When this book was talking about hospital it really hit home for me, it sort took my breath away. It captures perfectly the loss of a loved one and the grief that follows. Brilliant.

Although this book was sad, incredibly sad, it wasn’t depressing. It was sweet at times, and filled with love. I think this book ultimately reminds you love the people close to us and let them know because you never know how short life is. And I think thats a pretty special thing to leave with after finishing a book.

I also really quickly want to highlight this bit of writing because it made me weep so much. ‘But you wanted another sort of love. The type where another person chooses you and you choose them. You wanted someone to notice you and a little tug to develop inside them, urging them toward you. A mirror tug in you. You had seen it. People luminous around each other. The hungry way of listening, one person’s knee slipping between the other person’s knee, braced there. You wanted to be beautiful to someone. You wanted your skin to be touched…’ I mean, that is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. And its like the author looked into my soul and put it on the page. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’ll remind you of all the important things in life and the wonder of fiction. Don’t forget to grab your tissues, you’ll need them.

Thanks to Orion for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

February Wrap Up

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

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

So lets talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

Title: Infinity Reaper

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Length: 512 pages

First things first, what a stunning cover!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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

ARC Book Review: While Paris Slept By Ruth Druart

Title: While Paris Slept

Author: Ruth Druart

Length: 512 pages

Publisher: Headline

Synopsis: Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door. Paris 1944. A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction in my time as I love the genre and While Paris Slept is one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve read in a while.

We start off with Jean-Luc and Charlotte in America in 1955 and when the police show up to question Jean-Luc about something in the past you are immediately intrigued. I knew then I was hooked within the first 20 pages.

There was also a twist that I did not see coming that shocked me and I knew I needed answers. And it’s one of those books where the answer didn’t disappoint me, it actually exceeded me expectations. Don’t we love it when books do that?

I really enjoyed the dual timelines, with the other half of the book being set in 1944. It was so interesting and heartbreaking to see how all the characters ended up where they are. As we switch between the timeline each one ended on a cliffhanger and made it impossible for me to put this book down.

Now I like my historical fiction to be detailed and intricate and I can gladly say that While Paris Slept is both of these things. It’s the little details that make it atmospheric and believable. It also shows the cruelty and hardship of war. It’s a big book that you can really get emotionally involved in and you’ll absolutely fly through it.

Ruth has created such fantastic characters that it makes the perfect blend of historical details and emotion. They all go on such emotional journeys that you grow to care for all the characters so much. There’s a sweet romance that survives against all odds between characters and familial heartbreak that will break your heart. The while book has such my heart in it.

Here’s what I think is really special about this book and makes it stand out from other historical fiction is how it deals with Sam, the child in the novel. I’m going to try and talk about this without giving any spoilers because I want you to read it for yourself. It was incredibly powerful and heartbreaking to see how the events have a psychological on him. I couldn’t decide what was best for him and Ruth captures perfectly the emotion and complexity of the situation.

Also the ending made me cry. It was such a build up of emotion that I couldn’t help it. When you read it you’ll see what I mean. That’s all I’ll say as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

This is Ruth’s debut novel and I think it’s brilliant. It’s such a strong, emotive debut that I can’t recommend enough for you all to read. This is a book I won’t forget for a long time. I’m already looking forward to what Ruth will do next. I’ll be picking it up for sure.

Thank you to Louise at Headline books for my gifting me copy of While Paris Slept in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out March 4th

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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5 Books to read for LGBT History Month.

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

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

These books shed some light on queer lives.

So lets talk about the books shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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ARC Book Review: This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry

Title: This Will Be Funny Someday

Author: Katie Henry

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Harper360 YA

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Izzy is used to keeping her thoughts to herself- at home and in school. When she accidentally walks onstage in a stand-up comedy club, the performing experience is surprisingly cathartic. After the show, she meets Mo, an inspiring comic who’s everything Izzy’s not: bold, confident comfortable in her skin. Mo invites Izzy to join her friends and introduces her to the Chicago open mic scene. The only problem? Izzy’s new friends are college students – and Izzy tells them she’s one, too. The dutiful daughter and model student is now sneaking out to perform with her new comedy friends while her controlling boyfriend is getting suspicious and her former best friend knows there’s something going on. Izzy can hardly remember all the lies she’s telling to keep her parallel lives separate. And when the collide, Izzy must choose to either hide what she really wants or, finally, truly stand up for herself.

This book says on the back ‘perfect for fans of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel’ and I knew I had to have this book, is I was very grateful when Harper360ya sent me a copy.

This is such an enjoyable book. It’s got everything you could want in a in a YA contemporary novel. It’s funny, it’s moving, and it’s really well written.

This Will Be Funny Someday has got fantastic characters in. I loved the main character Izzy. She was brilliant. She was instantly likeable, you wanted to her to be happy and achieve all her dreams. You really felt for her at times. She’s a really complex character and I really appreciated that in a YA book. I also really loved Mo, and I really enjoyed the friendship her and Izzy had. Jonah and Will were also great. Don’t great characters just make a book brilliant?

I absolutely loved the Stand-Up comedy element to this book. It’s so interesting. I loved seeing Izzy journey from the first time on stage, to working on her set and then getting more confident. I also think the stand-up was really well written. I imagine it was really hard to write but Katie pulls it off perfectly for me. The stand-up made me laugh out loud which is always a good sign.

I will say this book definitely deals with some hard things, it deals with emotional abuse in a relationship, toxic relationships and sexual assault, so there’s definitely some trigger warnings for those. They are dealt with honestly and its really powerful and emotional to read. It also makes you really feel for Izzy.

I also just need to point out how much I enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t a romance in this book. It was so refreshing to read Izzy finding her passion and working towards, it was super inspiring to read. It’s all about Izzy finding her voice and speaking up in every way fo her life and I really loved this aspect.

I will say the only thing I didn’t enjoy about this book was all the lying Izzy did. I understand why she had to lie at the beginning, but as they continue it just becomes annoying. Especially as she is lying to her friends, and we as a reader knew how it was going to end so it was just a little bit tedious.

I definitely recommend this book. It was really enjoyable, and it wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. A brilliant YA novel.

Thank you to harper360ya for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 18th in the UK.

Until the next review

Jthbooks