Review: Music for Tigers

Title: Music for Tigers
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.

Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.

As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?

A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.

Review:

Louisa is sent to Tasmania to stay with her uncle for the summer when her parents go on a research trip. Her Uncle Ruff lives in a remote camp where he looks after a variety of wild animals. He gives Louisa a journal belonging to her great-grandmother, who rescued Tasmanian tigers. Even though Tasmanian tigers were thought to be extinct for centuries, Louisa’s family knows that they are secretly around the island. Now, Louisa is the only one who holds the secret to rescuing the remaining tiger.

I learned so much while reading this book. I realized recently that I have read books by Australian authors, but none that are set in Australia. I was so glad to discover that this one was set there. I loved learning about the different animals in Tasmania that I didn’t know before. The fictional mystery around the extinction of Tasmanian tigers was so great. It makes me wonder how many creatures that are thought to be extinct could be hiding out somewhere in the world.

This book was less than 200 pages, yet there was so much to the story. The important topic of animal extinction was discussed a lot. Louisa also had anxiety surrounding her performing music on her violin. She met a boy named Colin, who was autistic. Louisa was eager to learn about Colin and how to help him navigate the world of social interaction. These were relevant topics to be in a middle grade novel.

I loved this book!

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

What to read next:

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman

Have you read Music for Tigers? What did you think of it?

The Friday 56 – A Darker Shade of Magic

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The Rules are:

  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  • Post it. And share your link.
  • It’s that simple.

I chose A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

Here is my line from page 56 in my copy:

“He ran his thumb over the scar. Contrary to its name, the symbol wasn’t meant to help one remember. It was meant to make one forget.”

Did you make a post for the Friday 56?

Review: Every Step She Takes

Title: Every Step She Takes
Author: K.L. Armstrong
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

A gripping new thriller by the author of the instant bestseller Wherever She Goes.

Sometimes there’s no use running from your past. . . .

Genevieve has secrets that no one knows. In Rome she can be whoever she wants to be. Her neighbours aren’t nosy; her Italian is passable; the shopkeepers and restaurant owners now see her as a local, and they let her be. It’s exactly what she wants.

One morning, after getting groceries, she returns to her 500-year-old Trastevere apartment. She climbs to the very top of the staircase, the stairs narrowing the higher she goes. When she gets to her door, she puts down her bags and pushes the key into the lock . . .

. . . and the door swings open.

It’s unlocked. Sometimes she doesn’t lock it because break-ins aren’t common in Rome. But Genevieve knows she locked the door behind her this morning. She has no doubt.

She should leave, call the police. What if someone is in her apartment, waiting for her? But she doesn’t.

The apartment is empty, and exactly as she left it, perfectly tidy and not a thing out of place . . . except for the small box on her kitchen table. A box that definitely wasn’t there this morning. A box postmarked from the US. A box that is addressed to “Lucy Callahan.”

A name that she hasn’t used in ten years.

Edge-of-your-seat riveting, K.L. Armstrong’s new book will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Review:

Genevieve walks into her Rome apartment one day to find a package addressed to Lucy, the name she used to go by when she lived in the U.S. The package leads her back to New York, the place where she was part of a celebrity scandal. Lucy was caught naked with an action star, whose children she tutored in music. Lucy became Genevieve and had escaped that scandal, only to be drawn back into the famous family when she returns to New York.

This was such a suspenseful thriller. I couldn’t put it down. It took a little while for the suspense to start. The real triggering event didn’t happen until almost a third of the way through. I was actually wondering where the suspense was until then. However, once it started, I had to keep reading.

An issue I had with the book wasn’t really a problem with the story, but the synopsis didn’t match what happened. It told the events of the first couple of chapters, but the real plot didn’t start until later. The synopsis should have given a better overview of the plot, so it actually explained what would happen beyond the first chapter.

I loved the ending of the book. I suspected all the different characters at some point. There were some surprising twists that were revealed at just the right moments. There were a couple of loose ends that weren’t cleared up, but they may have been clear in the final version.

My ARC was actually missing some pages, which may have been due to piracy protection or a glitch. That was frustrating, but I still enjoyed the story regardless of the missing passages.

I really enjoyed this suspenseful thriller.

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

What to read next:

Wherever She Goes by K.L. Armstrong

Social Misconduct by S.J. Maher

Have you read Every Step She Takes? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – June 25

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 Queen’s Assassin (The Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898.png

Goodreads Synopsis:

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

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

Review: Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale

Title: Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale
Author: Tim Hanley
Genre: Comics, Nonfiction
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

An action-packed comedy about a fake family that includes a spy, an assassin and a telepath!

Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head! Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

Review:

Betty and Veronica were created as feuding girlfriends of Archie, in Archie Comics. They have gone through many changes during the decades they have been around. This book tells the evolution of Betty and Veronica, from when they were created in the 1940s to their television adaptation in 2020.

I’ve read Archie Comics for as long as I can remember. I always loved reading about Betty and Veronica. I hadn’t really thought about how sexist the characters were, but after reading about their history, I realize how problematic they were.

One of the major problems with Betty and Veronica was that their stories were written by men. They were sexualized by old men, though they were meant to appeal to young female readers. They were even originally drawn with the same face and body, but different hairstyles, unlike the boys who each had distant facial features. Now, with the tv show Riverdale, there are female writers and creators on the show, so they are finally written by women.

There were so many interesting stories in this book. There was a period during the 1970s when Archie and the gang were written by a religious writer, who made the characters preach the Bible to readers. There were also many tv and movie adaptations that didn’t end up happening. Despite a sometimes controversial history, Archie and his friends have survived for almost 80 years.

This book is a must-read for fans of Betty and Veronica!

Thank you Rowman and Littlefield for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley

The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale by Tim Hanley

Have you read Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – June 24

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 Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon. The expected publication date is August 4, 2020.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898.png

Goodreads Synopsis:

First-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.

Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall—or rather, walls.

There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.

There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.

And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whitenup.

So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t…and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.

But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Blog Tour Review: The Unready Queen (The Oddmire #2)

Title: The Unready Queen (The Oddmire #2)
Author: William Ritter
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Human and goblin brothers Cole and Tinn are finding their way back to normal after their journey to the heart of the Oddmire. Normal, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with them. Fable, the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, has her first true friends in the brothers. The Queen allows Fable to visit Tinn and Cole as long as she promises to stay quiet and out of sight—concealing herself and her magic from the townspeople of Endsborough.

But when the trio discovers that humans are destroying the Wild Wood and the lives of its creatures for their own dark purposes, Fable cannot stay quiet. As the unspoken truce between the people of Endsborough and the inhabitants of the Wild Wood crumbles, violence escalates, threatening war and bringing Fable’s mother closer to the fulfillment of a deadly prophecy that could leave Fable a most Unready Queen.

Review:

Fable is the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark. She’s friends with Cole and Tinn, the human and goblin brothers. Some new people in town decided to dig for oil in the Wild Woods, disturbing the magical creatures who live there. Fable has to stand between her fellow magical creatures in the Wild Wood and her friends from the human town, when the dispute threatens to start a war.

There was a lot of history of the Oddmire world in this story. The story begins with Fable’s grandmother, and her experience with a changeling. She lost her own daughter, but she was returned right before the old woman died. These stories of the past made the story feel realistic, like it existed beyond the pages.

The dispute between the humans and magical creatures reminded me of race relations today. In the story, the humans took the land that the magical creatures lived on, just because they could. Other creatures were put down and accused of doing things, when there wasn’t evidence to support the accusations. This could teach kids the dangers of racism through a fantasy story.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

The Revenge of Magic (The Revenge of Magic #1) by James Riley

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Unready Queen? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Summer 2020 TBR

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 Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10, but I did that one last week by mistake! So I’m going to do the prompt for June 16 this week, which is Summer 2020 TBR. Here’s my list:

1. Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

2. Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

3. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

4. Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

5. Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu

6. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

7. Lobizona by Romina Garber

8. Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon

9. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

10. The Wrong Mr. Darcy by Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lörincz

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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

Happy Pub Day – June 23

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson

The Swap by Robyn Harding

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) by Talia Hibbert

The Unready Queen (The Oddmire #2) by William Ritter

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

What books are you most excited for this week?

Blog Tour Review: That Summer in Maine

Title: That Summer in Maine
Author: Brianna Wolfson
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

A novel about mothers and daughters, about taking chances, about exploding secrets and testing the boundaries of family

Years ago, during a certain summer in Maine, two young women, unaware of each other, met a charismatic man at a craft fair and each had a brief affair with him. For Jane it was a chance to bury her recent pain in raw passion and redirect her life. For Sue it was a fling that gave her troubled marriage a way forward.

Now, sixteen years later, the family lives these women have made are suddenly upended when their teenage girls meet as strangers on social media. They concoct a plan to spend the summer in Maine with the man who is their biological father. Their determination puts them on a collision course with their mothers, who must finally meet and acknowledge their shared past and join forces as they risk losing their only daughters to a man they barely know.

Review:

Since her mother, Jane, had twins, Hazel has felt left out of her family. It used to be just her and her mom, but then her mom married Cam and they had twin sons. She doesn’t even look like anyone in her family, with her dark hair while they are all blonde. One night, she gets a message online from a girl who claims to be Hazel’s half-sister. Eve suggests that Hazel and her go to visit their father, Silas, together for the summer. That seems like the perfect escape for Hazel to leave her family behind and find new relatives. Hazel and Eve seem to bond over their new found biological father, while their moms have their own shared history with Silas.

This was an intriguing concept for a story. I read an article once about a young woman who found out she had 30-something half-siblings because their mothers all used the same sperm donor. That isn’t the way Hazel’s and Eve’s mom’s had their daughters, but it was similar in the way that these girls had many close relatives that they didn’t know about.

There were a few loose ends at the end of the story. Some of the subplots weren’t explained. Silas had a former girlfriend who he almost had a baby with, and their story was only told in parts, though it seemed important to the overall story. The format of the story was a little confusing as well. The first part was about Jane and Hazel in their home. The second part was about what Jane did when Hazel was visiting Silas, as well as stories about how she met Silas and how Eve’s mother met him. The next part was about Hazel and Eve spending the summer with Silas. The final part was when they were leaving his home. The second and third parts happened simultaneously, so I wish they had been combined so the story continued to move forward. The way the story jumped between time periods was disjointed and anticlimactic.

I liked the premise for the story, but I wish it had been organized more clearly.

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

What to read next:

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

About the author:

Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco. Her narrative nonfiction has been featured on Medium, Upworthy and The Moth. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.

Have you read That Summer in Maine? What did you think of it?