Review: Evil Thing (Villains #7)

Title: Evil Thing (Villains #7)
Author: Serena Valentino
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cruella De Vil is the perfect villain: stylish, witty, relentless…and possibly cursed. 

From her lonely childhood, to her iconic fashion choices, to that fateful car crash (you know the one), Cruella tells all in this marvelous memoir of a woman doomed. Even the cruelest villains have best friends, true loves, and daring dreams. Now it’s Cruella’s turn to share hers.

This latest novel by the author of the wildly popular and darkly fascinating Villains series brings readers a tale told by the Evil Thing herself-a tale of the complicated bonds of female friendship, of mothers and daughters, and of burning, destructive desire.

After all, nothing is as simple as black and white.

Review:

Cruella De Vil was a spoiled little girl. Her father loved her and spent time with her, but her mother only bought her gifts to show her love. When Cruella’s father died, she was abandoned by her mother, who decided to travel the word after sending Cruella away to school. The only way that Cruella knows how to give and receive love is through money and gifts. The ultimate gift to her is fur, and it would be an even more special gift if it was a unique fur coat made from black and white puppies.

This is the first book I’ve read in this Disney villains series and I loved it! Cruella De Vil is one of the meanest Disney villains. She wanted to make a fur coat out of Dalmatian fur. This story didn’t try to justify what Cruella wanted to do, which is so horrible it can’t be explained. What the story does though is show how Cruella became a woman who wanted a coat made out of puppies.

Cruella narrates this story herself. She tells the story of her upbringing and her confusing relationships with other people. Cruella was from a high class family, who lived in a large house with servants. She would describe the people who she was close to, but weren’t quite at her high level in society, as in-betweens. This included her best friend Anita, who lived with an upper class family but was not given the same privileges as them. Anita later becomes the owner of the Dalmatians which Cruella wants to have for their fur. The relationship between Cruella and Anita was much more complex than in the movie 101 Dalmatians. This story explained why Cruella behaved the way she did.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Disney Book Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino

Other books in the series:

  • Fairest of All
  • The Beast Within
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul
  • Mistress of Evil
  • Mother Knows Best
  • The Odd Sisters

Have you read Evil Thing? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – July 9

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 A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

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

Blog Tour Review: The Last Wife

Title: The Last Wife
Author: Karen Hamilton
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Graydon Thriller
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Girlfriend.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends—until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

Review:

Marie has always been jealous of her best friend Nina. After Nina dies of cancer, Marie finally has a chance to take over Nina’s life. Marie moves in with Nina’s husband, Stuart, and helps him look after their children. While living with Stuart, Marie discovers secrets about Nina’s past.

Marie was the narrator of this story and she was unreliable. She constantly lied to other people and herself, which got confusing at times. She would jump around in the narrative between memories and the present, without much distinction between the two time periods. I found Marie and all of the other characters unlikeable, because they each were hiding horrible secrets.

The story was slow at first, because there was a lot of groundwork that had to be laid before the real tension began. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters because they were so unlikeable. The book took a turn at the end that I wasn’t expecting, so I was pleasantly surprised at that.

This was a twisty thriller.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

About the author:

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend.

Have you read The Last Wife? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – July 8

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 The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. The expected publication date is September 1, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Date Me, Bryson Keller

Title: Date Me, Bryson Keller
Author: Kevin van Whye
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com! 

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.

Review:

At a New Year’s Eve party, Bryson Keller, the most popular boy in school, is dared to date a different person every week until Spring Break. The catch is that they have to ask him to date on Monday morning until Friday afternoon. When there are just a few weeks left to go in the dare, Kai Sheridan is paired up with Bryson for a drama project. On a whim, Kai asks Bryson to date that week. The rules said that a person had to ask him, not specifically a girl, though that was assumed. The problem is that no one knows that Kai is gay, so Bryson and Kai have to hide their fake dating for the week. Their new relationship becomes more than just a dare when they have to explore their identities.

I loved this story so much! Kai and Bryson were adorable together. The first two thirds of the story were filled with fun fake dating, where everyone was happy. In the last third, there was more conflict, but it was unavoidable with so many lies about the fake dating.

Kai and Bryson were so cute, but there was also a layer of lies since no one knew Kai was gay. He had to hide it from his friends and family, because he didn’t think they would accept him if they knew. He had a bad experience with a friend that he told when he was younger, so he was afraid to share his secret. The story addressed the way that everyone is automatically assumed to be heterosexual. Kai figures that any guy who he likes won’t like him back, because they are straight. Sexuality shouldn’t be assumed for anyone, but we often automatically make a decision based on how someone looks or who they date. Though Kai’s story is fictional and has a hopeful ending, it’s important to recognize that there are many people who don’t have such a positive life when coming out.

This is such a great story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Have you read Date Me, Bryson Keller? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

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 Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By. Here’s my list:

1. Leigh Bardugo

2. Sarah Mlynowski

3. Marissa Meyer

4. Tahereh Mafi

5. Michelle Hodkin

6. Philippa Gregory

7. J.K. Rowling

8. Victoria Schwab

9. Maggie Steifvater

10. Raina Telgemeier

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Happy Pub Day – July 7

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning

The Shadows by Alex North

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Evil Thing by Serena Valentino

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

What books are you most excited for this week?

Blog Tour Review: The Black Swan of Paris

Title: The Black Swan of Paris
Author: Karen Robards
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected. 

Paris, 1944

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.

Review:

Genevieve Dumont is a famous singer in Paris, known as the Black Swan. While she performs for Nazis at night, she works with the Resistance during the day with her manager, Max. Genevieve’s estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis. Lillian has information on an invasion, so they plan to torture her until she tells and then kill her. Genevieve has to use her secret contacts to find her mother in time.

This story was so suspenseful. There were many twists. I became invested in the story very quickly because it was so detailed. It wasn’t clear at first how Lillian and Genevieve were related, but it was revealed a few chapters in. There were some details about their relationship that weren’t revealed until later in the book, which kept me guessing throughout my reading.

I find the stories of spies during the war so fascinating. They had to use subtle ways to communicate, so as not to be noticed by the enemy, yet they were often found out. Without technology they had to rely on small scraps of paper and nicknames. It’s amazing the way the espionage worked back then.

This story was a tearjerker. The setting of World War II gave the story a dark atmosphere. Even without the war, Genevieve had a heartbreaking past. The story was upsetting at times, but so good.

This is such a great story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

About the author:

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

Where to buy:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Have you read The Black Swan of Paris? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – July 6

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – July 5

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 9 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?