[REVIEW] The Diamond Setter by Moshe Sakal @OtherPress

I love the cover of this book and that’s the first thing that attracted me to it and then the blurb which sounded so interesting. This isn’t a typical read for me but I am so glad I got the chance to read it because it’s good to read something different than your usual reads from time to time. I must confess that I really liked reading this book.

The Diamond Setter is a story that spans through generations and at the center of it is one diamond, the blue diamond. The story begins with one man’s journey from Syria to Israel with a goal of returning the diamond called ‘Sabakh’ to its rightful owner and also finding more about his family roots. Fareed gets swept not only into the mystery of the ‘Sabakh’ but into a dangerous life that comes with finding the truth. The author takes us to many places, from the present day to the 1900s where we get stories about the diamond, how it was first found and how it got into the hands of many different people (Don’t worry the stories revolve around the family and don’t stray away from the story). I feel like saying more will ruin your experience so I won’t say anything further.

I must say that the first two-three pages of the prologue were so interesting and they made me dive into this book. The first few chapters were confusing but after them I got into the gist of who’s who and what’s happening. Sakal writes characters that are flawed but also real because of that. If you’ve researched this book it says that it’s about a love triangle and I read that but was still surprised when I came across it in the book. The love triangle thing was so intriguing because of the things that happened later in the book. There’s a point where the name of the novel comes up within the story as well as the plot of it which I had mixed feelings about because it kind of deviated from the story but what I found rewarding was the potrayal of gay characters in the book. I loved reading about Tom and Honi. I feel like the end of the book had a bitter-sweet taste but it left me wondering and thinking about the future of these characters.

The Diamond Setter is a novel with a heart and I’m sure many readers will enjoy reading this story.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press for sending this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the fact that I got a free copy for review.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Diamond Setter ‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Moshe Sakal is the author of five Hebrew novels, including the best-selling Yolanda, which was short-listed for the Sapir Prize (the Israeli Booker), My Sister, which was long-listed in 2016, and The Diamond Setter, forthcoming in the USA.

Sakal was born in Tel-Aviv into a Syrian-Egyptian Jewish family. He has been awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa, the Levi Eshkol Prize for Creative Work, and a Fulbright grant. ​

Sakal lived six years in Paris, France. He currently lives in Jaffa.

Find him on: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

[REVIEW] Tangerine by Christine Mangan @LittleBrownUK

What first attracted me to this book is the absolutely stunning cover. I love everything black and white especially these kinds of photos so this was an immediate add to my to-be-read list. I didn’t base my decision of reading this book on it being optioned for a movie because that doesn’t attract me as much as the book itself does. I have to admit that I can see this book as a movie but I would be very careful who to cast for these roles.

Tangerine is set in Tangier, Morocco and it follows two women, Alice and Lucy. Their friendship is a strange one because of the horrific past that follows both of them. The book begins with the reappareance of Lucy  and a rather peculiar reaction from Alice. Is Lucy supposed to be there? It goes back and forth from the past and slowly reveals the happenings that took place when they were in college to the present where they are re-connecting their friendship. From the beginning we can see the strangeness that surrounds Lucy but also the spell she has cast on Alice. I don’t want to describe the story any futher because I  feel like the synopsis of Tangerine reveals a bit much about the plot. This is all you should know before going in.

Tangerine has a symbolic name because it’s doesn’t represent the fruit but something else you’ll have to find out when you pick it up. The characters were well crafted and the setting made the story ten times more interesting because I don’t usually see these kinds of stories set in the 1950’s. Mangan has a great way with words and can really paint a picture with her sentences which I particularly enjoyed. As I mentioned when it comes to the synopsis of the book I feel like it could ruin someone’s experience and I wish it was more mysterious because I didn’t feel shock when it came to certain scenes. From the synopsis you can tell that Lucy is someone who plays a major role in the book and I have to say that she was a great character. The ending was interesting because I didn’t expect it to end like that and I had a different scenario in mind which sort of fell short for me. Even though I had some issues with it I feel like the book will attract many readers who’ll fall under its spell like I did.

This book cover is one of my favourite ones this year.

Christine Mangan’s Tangerine is a great debut novel set in the 1950’s Morocco which is centered around two women whose friendship is  a very dangerous one but also a very intriguing one at the same time.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. Opinions written in this review are my own and have not been affected by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘Tangerine ‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘Tangerine‘ here: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

Find her on: Instagram and GoodReads.


[REVIEW + Q&A] The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara @OneworldNews

The House of Impossible Beauties is one of those books you stumble upon once in a while that leave a mark on you. What first attracted me to this book was the topic it deals with plus it being a LGBTQ book it was an immediate add to my to-be-read shelf. What awaits you inside is a story filled with courage, hope and suffering but above all that what this book carries and showcases the most are love and support between each character in it.

Before reading this book I had to watch Paris is Burning because for some reason I wanted to see what exactly inspired this interesting-looking book. The documentary was truly amazing and this book follows the fictionalized lives of some of the real people from the documentary like Dorian Corey, Angel Xtravaganza, Venus Xtravaganza with appearances by some other characters like Pepper Labeija and many more. It mainly focuses on the life of the House of Xtravaganza : Hector, the father of the house, Angel Xtravaganza who is the mother and Venus, Juanito and Daniel. Each new part begins with a chapter narrated by Dorian Corey with her sass and wisdom.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to each character and chapter by chapter get to know their upbringing stories as well as their lives in the present.  I loved reading their stories because they show the truth behind being a trans person and the judgment they have to face daily because of being trans. What this book offers is a real look at the 1980s, the HIV crisis and the moral people had back then about things that are somewhat accepted in our society [I say somewhat because there are still parts of the world where people look at someone who’s gay or trans with disgust]. These are the sort of stories that need to be told more often because they are so good and they made me feel closer to the T part of the community. I must say that where I come from trans people as well as gay people are treated very harshly because of the religious beliefs people have but nowadays a lot of young people have no judgement towards the LGBTQ community which makes me happy because future generations will be raised without hate towards people who are different.

What makes this book so special to me are the characters in it. I loved reading about them, hearing their stories, passions and their dreams. Throwing shade is the way they communicate at times and I just loved every bit of shade they threw at each other.

The only thing I found as a con is the use of pronouns because at times they were confusing. Some people may find the use of Spanish in the sentences annoying or too much but to me it made the story much more real.

What can I say? This review is a rollercoaster ride and I hope I presented the book and my thoughts in an interesting way that makes you want to pick up and read this marvelous book.

The House of Impossible Beauties is a gorgeous novel about transgender and gay kids set in the 1980s filled with stories that will make you feel every emotion possible. Once you finish reading this book you’ll want to read it again.

I would like to thank the publisher Oneworld Publications for sending this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in any way.

My rating: 

Add ‘The House of Impossible Beauties ‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘The House of Impossible Beauties‘ here: 

*Purchase ‘The House of Impossible Beauties‘ with free international delivery here: 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The House of Impossible Beauties is his first novel. He lives in Iowa.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.


You can find my Q&A with the author below.
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