Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Music From Another World by Robin Talley [BLOG TOUR]

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Music From Another World is a powerful and emotional read, about fighting for freedom and acceptance and the amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd where you can really fit in!

Synopsis:

It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school. Not at her conservative Orange County church. And certainly not at home, where her ultra religious aunt relentlessly organizes anti gay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk… until she has a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins will bond with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others – like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom. But as anti gay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths. What they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

My Thoughts: 

From the very first moment I read the synopsis, I knew I needed to read this book. It seemed filled with 1970’s spirit, the movement to be brave and honest. The discussions in this book are through the form of letters or diary entries, which I really enjoyed. This writing style helped me get through the book extremely quickly. 

We get to meet the two girls, Tammy and Sharon, both very different, but both struggling with the same issues of being contained in a world where they cannot be themselves. And even though this particular book is about the LGBTQ+ community, I believe this issue also applies to anything else in life, where people feel like they cannot be who they really are. Sometimes it is religion, other times it is political opinions, it could even be different hobbies where the person feels needs to contain in themselves because of the fear they might be frowned upon or laughed at.

It is amazing to see how the world has progressed over the years, where people start feeling like they can finally express who they really are. It is not yet ideal, but I have a good feeling we are getting there. There is also the very powerful force of the internet, the advantage people didn’t have before, to find people across the globe that share the same beliefs and interests. 

Music From Another World really moved me, and it brought up various emotions. It talks about the struggles and the reprimands, but it also talks about real happiness and laughter. The amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd that accepts you and where you truly belong. I believe this is the first book with a plot that made me feel so happy, so sad and so angry at the same time. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the HQ Team, for sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review · Books

A Throne of Swans (A Throne of Swans #1) by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr [BOOK REVIEW]

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A Throne of Swans by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr is the first book in the series. An epic fantasy about courage, secrets, betrayals and love. 

Synopsis

When her father dies, Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles can transform into birds. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan, But since witnessing the death of her mother, Aderyn hasn’t been able to transform. Aderyn must venture to the Citadel to seek the truth about her mother’s death and to fight for the land she has vowed to protect!

My Thoughts:

From the first moment I read the synopsis of A Thorn of Swans, I was intrigued. I am a sucker for fantasies that involve badass princesses. The cover of this book is also incredible. 

From the very first pages we familiarise ourselves with Aderyn. She has already lost her mother, in fact, watched her die, and now she has lost her father too. She has been grieving her whole life, but she has also been wanting to find out what really happened that day. When her father dies and some clues are unveiled, she needs to travel to the Citadel to find answers.

However, this decision comes with a huge risk because of her current inability to transform into a swan. The punishment, if someone finds out the truth, is death. 

On this trip, she is accompanied by Lucien, who is there to serve as an advisor and protector for Aderyn. They have a dynamic and interesting relationship, bonding over their vows to protect their kingdom. Lucien is also one of the few people that knows Aderyn cannot transform.

Following Aderyn’s story, we witness revealing of secrets, betrayals, drama and gossip. She is determined to find answers, which sometimes includes trusting the wrong people and finding out more than she can cope with.

I was struggling with the fact that this book lacks strong side characters. People that are not main characters, but who you root for. Aderyn was an amazing character, but also the only one that had everything it takes.

The story was very unpredictable until the very end, and quite unexpected at all times.

I loved the plot twists and the cliffhanger at the end. I also shipped the romance, so I was quite perplexed with how the book ended regarding the romantic topic. Some questions remained unanswered and I am sure that the second book in the series will tackle them. 

I highly recommend A Throne of Swans if you love epic fantasies, castles, kingdoms and cool princesses! 

Thank you to ReadersFirst and Hot Key Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review · Books

The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (World of Warcraft #8) by Christie Golden [BOOK REVIEW]

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The The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm by Christie Golden is the eighth book in the World of Warcraft series. The series covers the lore of the characters that are featured in the popular video game World of Warcraft. This is the first book of the series I have read, as they can be read as standalones too. After reading it, I definitely want to read the rest of the series as well!

I received this book as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend, as we both enjoy the World of Warcraft video game. We played together for a while, but then stopped playing retail and started to play again when the Classic WoW came out. I am familiar with most of the lore in the game, but reading a full book about something that happens during this game (in this case – Cataclysm) is a whole new level of epic!

The Shattering has a focus on the events that happen before the Cataclysm, and the events that actually lead to it, from various character’s perspectives, from both the Horde and the Alliance. We get to see the character’s perspectives, choices and how even small things have a big impact on what’s about to happen.

Get ready to meet some legendary characters: 

Thrall, the Shaman

When Thrall discovers the elements no longer heed the Shaman’s call, he has to travel back to his birth place to seek answers, while leaving the leadership of the Horde with the orcs. 

“Nature has its own rhythms and reasons. It does not adapt to suit us – we must change to accommodate it.”

Garrosh, the Orc

Great warrior with a fiery attitude, Garrosh is now in charge of the Horde while Thrall is away. Then the hostility with the Alliance starts to grow. Garrosh’s approach is different that what Thrall would have done, and things are about to get more heated. 

“But it is a work of a leader to hold all possibilities, even the unpleasant – even the unthinkable.”

Prince Anduin

Anduin finds himself conflicted about who he is and what his purpose is, when a new adventure starts for him. With the help of Jaina and other amazing characters, he slowly begins to realise where he truly belongs.

The story was amazingly written and very powerful! From the very first chapter, I was invested in the characters and the plot. I kept turning page after page until I finished the book. The characters are very much alive and real. They were all different in their own way which is quite hard to accomplish with so many characters involved. I think what I loved the most was how each character had their own purpose, choices to make and a lesson to learn. Even when wrong choices were made, the characters had their own valid reasoning behind their choices. 

I highly recommend The Shattering if you are a fan of World of Warcraft, but also if you love adventure books and stories that tackle the battle between good and evil. 

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Book Review · Books

I Am David by Anne Holm [BOOK REVIEW]

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“You can’t change others, but you can do something about a fault in yourself.”

I Am David by Anne Holm is a very interesting and emotionally powerful story about a young boy. David was born and raised in a prison when one day, he is given a backpack and a few instructions to escape and find his way to Denmark. 

During this time, we follow David’s adventure and his thoughts. He is programmed to not trust anyone and to escape as soon as he smells any danger coming his way. Throughout his journey, we can see that David goes through a lot of hardship and he meets many people, even though he fails to connect with them or entrust them with anything. Good people are somehow always there to help him, and I have to be honest and mention that I found this to be incredibly convenient to the story and in no way believable.

Besides this fact, we get to see David be his true self at all times, which is something I enjoyed about this book. There are instances where he has to make choices that require him to pretend and be something he is not, and he chooses to stay true to himself. Some times, these choices mean he has to give up the comforts of his new-found life, a bed to sleep in and food that is always on the table. 

“And if you never allow other people to influence what you’re really like, then you’ve something no one can take from you – not even they.”

David’s adventure will teach him many things.

Some of these traits he already knew of by seeing them in others, but now he will learn to possess them himself. Honesty, bravery, kindness. But there is one thing David never knew before: true happiness. 

“Joy passed, but happiness never completely disappeared: a touch of it remain to remind one it had been there.”

Even though I loved this book for all the right reasons, I couldn’t help but notice the red flags. The parents in this book seemed to believe David’s ridiculous story about the circus. They also invited him into his home without any doubts. And the most important part – David was a manipulator. Getting close to the little girl, as well as he showed open hatred towards one of the boys. And the parents were aware of all this, and still didn’t seem that concerned. I understand where David came from – the way he behaved was all he’s ever known. What I cannot understand was how the parents were portrayed in the book.

The ending seemed quite fast paced, even rushed. The outcome was predictable. I still manage to find the whole story unbelievable though. I recommend it to children, for the lesson of being yourself. However, I don’t think that as an adult you would enjoy it. 

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Book Review · Books

The Last One: JFK Returns by Mary F. Carruthers [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Last One: JFK Returns by Mary F. Carruthers is a story where JFK returns to Earth as another person, in hopes to find his true killer. 

JFK is coming back from heaven, and on this mission he is assisted by other angels as well, who take the bodies of other characters.

Disguised as a bestselling author, he starts to dig into who was actually responsible for his death. 

My Thoughts: 

The only good thing about this book was that it was short and I read it in a day. Aside from this, everything else was executed poorly. 

Firstly, the proofreading and editing had issues of their own, as well as the print. When Chapter 11 has a different font, font size and spacing than Chapter 12, it makes me think that this book was perhaps a draft that got published by mistake. I know that this might not bother some of readers out there, but it did bother me throughout the book.

The story itself was emotionless. I didn’t even want to know whether JFK will find out the truth. Furthermore, during the story, we find out that some of the evil people are not alive and have returned, same as JFK did. However, we never got to any explanations on this, their motive, their reasoning, their “why”. The story felt very rushed throughout the whole book. 

I would like to not that as I am not quite familiar with the history of the US, I am not sure whether any characters had any historical symbolism to the actual history of JFK, or if any references were made in this particular manner. 

I was very disappointed to find out in the end that there is supposed to be a part 2, where we actually find out how this ends and who the killer was. My disappointment lies in the fact that the cover of the book has no indication that this is a part of a series. I will, therefore, not be reading the rest of the story. I cannot recommend this book. 

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