First Lines Friday – February 14

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:

“You’ve probably seen this scene before:
Ladies in black church dresses, old men in grey suits, and hood kids in white tees with some blurry picture printed on the front under the spray-painted letters RIP.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson.

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Goodreads synopsis:

In this standalone novel, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he is still alive.

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other. 

Have you read Let Me Hear a Rhyme? What did you think of it?

Review: Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Matt Hunt (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

New in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Stephen Hawking, the genius physicist and author.

When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant physicist’s life.

Review:

Stephen Hawking was a physicist. He loved studying science when he was a kid. However, when he was a young adult, he developed a motor neuron disease, which caused his muscles to degenerate. He lost the ability to move and speak. He was able to overcome these challenges and become a success in the world of science.

Stephen Hawking died a few years ago, which generated more interest in his life. There was a popular movie made about his life before he died. He was an extraordinary man who defied expectations. He is an inspiration.

I think kids will love reading this book about Stephen Hawking.

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

David Attenborough (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Mikyo Noh (illustrator)

Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Mai Ly Degnan

Have you read Stephen Hawking? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – February 13

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 Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal We comes a fun and daring novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar—and who just might get her own fairytale in the process.

Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.

After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.

So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.

Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.

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

Blog Tour Review: Foul is Fair (Foul is Fair #1)

Title: Foul is Fair (Foul is Fair #1)
Author: Hannah Capin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target. 

They picked the wrong girl. 

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly. 

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes. 

Review:

This story is a modern retelling of Macbeth. I only read the play once, years ago, but I was surprised at how much I remembered while reading this book.

This story has a modern twist, with Jade seeking revenge. She was assaulted by a popular group of boys at St. Andrew’s school. She reinvents herself and orchestrates a plot to take them down.

This story is told from the perspective of Jade, who is the Lady Macbeth character. It took me a while to catch on to who she was meant to play. She uses her friends, the witches, to influence Mack to murder his friends.

There were a lot of characters in this book, and I got them mixed up sometimes. A few boys had names starting with D, so I got them mixed up. They were sometimes called their first name, and other times their last name. It was confusing when there were scenes with many characters because they were all moving and doing things, like they would in a play, but it made the scene really drawn out in the book.

I enjoyed this story. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book.

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

What to read next:

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

Killing November (Killing November #1) by Adriana Mather

Author Info:

Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

Have you read Foul is Fair? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – February 12

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 Thorn by Intisar Khanani. The expected publication date is March 24, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl. 

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: The Body Under the Piano

Title: The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1)
Author: Marthe Jocelyn
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

Review:

This story imagines what Agatha Christie would have been like as a child solving mysteries. Along with her new friend from Belgium, Hector Perot, she investigates a body found under the piano at her dance studio.

This mystery was suspenseful and unpredictable. I couldn’t figure out who was the murderer, so I was surprised at the end. One of the most important clues was saved until right before the end, so there wasn’t any way to figure it out until then, but I was still surprised.

I wish this book was around when I was a kid. I loved Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew mysteries. This book combines them, with a young detective, who is also an inspiring writer.

I loved this first book in the Aggie Morton series. I’m excited to read the next one!

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

What to read next:

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Have you read The Body Under the Stairs? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books with Love in the Title

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 a Love Freebie, so I decided to do Books with Love in the Title. Here’s my list:

1. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

2. Harley Quinn: Mad Love by Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan

3. A Love Hate Thing by Witney D. Grandison

4. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

5. The Love Solution by Ashley Croft

6. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite

7. Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

8. Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

9. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

10. Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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