Review: Sincerely, Harriet

Title: Sincerely, Harriet
Author: Sarah W. Searle
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.

Review:

This story was really emotional. Nothing too dramatic happened, but some of the things that happened were really heartbreaking.

Harriet has Multiple Sclerosis. It isn’t revealed until close to the end of the book, but she has symptoms throughout the story. She drops things and stumbles sometimes, so I knew something was happening with her. She becomes close friends with a neighbour whose son had polio when he was a kid. They bond over this shared history with chronic illness.

One of the saddest parts of the story was when Harriet would send her friends postcards, pretending to do things in the city. She mostly stayed home, but she made it seem like she was doing lots of activities. The girls didn’t return her feelings, and told her to stop sending letters. It was so sad to see her be rejected like that.

This is an important story because it has a main character with a chronic illness, which isn’t common, especially in children’s books.

What to read next:

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk

Have you read Sincerely, Harriet? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 17

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: An Unwanted Guest

Title: An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up.It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love. So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm. 

Review:

I was so excited to read this book when I found out it was similar to And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. That has always been my favourite book.

It is similar to that story in the way that a group of people are stranded for a couple of days, and someone starts murdering them. However, it doesn’t have the same ending. There was a little twist at the end which I loved!

This is the perfect book for a cold winter night. It was a fun mystery, but terrifying to imagine being part of it.

What to read next:

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Have you read An Unwanted Guest? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – January 16

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. The release date is February 5, 2019.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families. 

What books are you waiting on this week?

Top 5 Wednesday – Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

This meme is hosted by Lainey from Thoughts on Tomes. The Goodreads Group for Top 5 Wednesday can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Most Disappointing Reads of 2018. I don’t usually like writing about the books I don’t like, so this prompt is a little different for me. These are the books that I gave the lowest ratings in 2018. (A note about my ratings: I don’t usually go below 3 stars anymore because if I am able to read the book, I think the author deserves at least an average 3 stars. If I am unable to read the book, or it is absolutely terrible, then I will give less than 3 stars, but I don’t think I gave any books less than 3 stars in 2018.)

1. The Mistletoe Murders and Other Stories by P.D. James

2. Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

3. Curse of the Arctic Star (Nancy Drew Diaries #1) by Carolyn Keene

4. Very Rich by Polly Horvath

5. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

What were your most disappointing reads of 2018?

Review: Dragon Pearl

Title: Dragon Pearl
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Disney Book Group, Rick Riordan Presents
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her.

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination. 

Review:

This was an exciting story!

I loved the mix of folklore and a futuristic setting. Min is a Fox, so she is a shapeshifter. She lives on a different planet, but they take the form of humans since those are most common. There was a lot of science fiction, since most of the story took place on spaceships, but the background came from Korean folklore.

This story was so fast paced. I read it in just one day! It felt like a whole series because so much happened. It was thrilling in some parts too, because there was a lot of danger. Min started out as an innocent teenage girl, but she put herself in a lot of risky situations in a short amount of time.

I also like the diversity of the characters. The characters had Korean names. There was a character who preferred gender neutral pronouns. It takes a while to get used to a single person being referred to as “they,” but this was a great way to include gender diversity in the story.

What to read next:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Have you read Dragon Pearl? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Debut Authors I Read in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is New-To-Me-Authors I read in 2018, but I narrowed it down to Debut Authors I Read in 2018. These are authors who published their debut book in 2018. Here’s my list:

1. American Panda by
Gloria Chao

2. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

3. Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir by Mark Critch

4. Tara Takes the Stage by Tamsin Lane

5. The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman

6. Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

7. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

8. The Window by Amelia Brunskill

9. The Queen’s Rising (The Queen’s Rising #1) by Rebecca Ross

10. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

(All photos taken from Goodreads)