Review: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)

Title: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 17, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Review:

I flew through this book, just like I did the first one, Three Dark Crowns. Even though it’s been a year since I read the first one, I was immediately back in that world when I started reading it.

There are many different narrative perspectives, but they don’t get confused. Each chapter switches to a different setting and focus character. I love that you get to see what the supporting characters are doing behind the scenes, not just the three main queens. The people around the queens are pulling strings and creating a lot of drama that surrounds them.

There were some unexpected deaths at the end of this book! I was quite shocked by them. Blake is definitely not afraid to kill her characters. I’m curious to see what the aftermath will be like in the next book.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read Two Dark Reigns next!

What to read next:

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake

Have you read One Dark Throne? What did you think of it?

Stacking the Shelves – August 31

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I was approved for a book on NetGalley from Graydon House Books:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

I was approved for 5 books on NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep #2) by Adrienne Young

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

I was approved for a book on NetGalley from Simon and Schuster Canada:

Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Thank you Graydon House Books, St. Martin’s Press, and Simon and Schuster Canada for these books!

What books did you get this week?

Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Title: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Author: Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Review:

This story had it all! It had romance, mystery, drama, and a little bit of magic. Each of these parts worked seamlessly together.

I fell in love with Alaine immediately. She was hilarious and confident. I loved that she would go to extremes to get her point across, even when it backfired on her. I got so comfortable with her character that I was as shocked as her when she received some devastating news at about a quarter of the way through the book. I had a hard time putting this book down because I needed to know how it ended!

Another thing I loved about this story is that it was told using various different forms of writing. There were letters, texts, emails, and diary entries. I love stories that are told through many forms like this because it gives different perspectives of events.

This was a fabulous book! I can’t wait to read what the Moulite sisters write next!

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

What to read next:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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

Have you read Dear Haiti, Love Alaine? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – August 30

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“She’s standing in the kitchen, looking out the large back windows. She turns toward me – there’s a swing of thick, brown hair – and I see the confusion and then the sudden fear in her wide brown eyes.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Someone We Know by Shari Lapena.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . . 

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out.” 

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets? 

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

Have you read Someone We Know? What did you think of it?

Review: The Turn of the Key

Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Review:

I loved this thriller!

I read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James a few times in university, and I loved it. I was excited to see what would happen in this adaptation.

This story was very fast paced. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. It was quite creepy too. One new element in this adaptation was that the home was a “smart” home. Everything was connected by an app, including the water in the shower and the locks on the front door. These things were convenient, until they malfunctioned. The home was originally a Victorian house, but was renovated to have this modern technology. I love how this can be compared to the original book, Turn of the Screw, which was a Victorian novella, but has been adapted into this modern story.

One thing that I can’t really talk about is the ending. It gave more closure than the original story, but it felt a little rushed, especially in the last couple of pages. I’m curious to hear what other readers thought of this ending.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Turn of the Key? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – August 29

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 The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. 

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative.

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

Review: Superman of Smallville

Title: Superman of Smallville
Author: Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Zoom
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can Superman keep Smallville from going to the dogs?

Acts of awesomeness are happening around town. People are being rescued, runaway tractors stopped, and fires extinguished. This is all in a day’s work for the hero known only as “Superman.” But who is he, really?

Thirteen-year-old Clark Kent knows. He has a super-secret–one his parents are constantly worried will get out. Clark promises to be extra careful, but when random objects begin to take flight and disappear, his parents threaten to ground him. Except he’s innocent! If Superman isn’t responsible…who is? Join Clark in this hilarious adventure as he sniffs out the real culprit.

From New York Times–bestselling and Eisner Award-winning creators Art Baltazar and Franco, comes a fun, whimsical story featuring young Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, and of course Clark Kent.

Review:

This is a great new Superman graphic novel for kids!

There were some really funny parts that I think kids would enjoy. Superman flew around saving people and animals in Smallville. He saved sheep by blowing air so they would land slowly after he tossed them in the air. He lifted the roof of the barn to quickly toss the cows inside when they wouldn’t walk there. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at these funny parts.

Clark’s experience was relatable at times. He was bullied at school, even though the bully is actually a huge fan of Superman. Of course, no one knows that Clark is really Superman. He also had to try hard to impress the popular boy at school, Lex Luthor. I enjoyed seeing Clark in these realistic situations.

I really liked this book!

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

What to read next:

Study Hall of Justice (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1) by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen

Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop, Gustavo Duarte

Have you read Superman of Smallville? What did you think of it?