It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – April 26

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 Riverdale: The Ties That Bind by Micol Ostow, Thomas Pitilli (illustrator).

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham.

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

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – April 25

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 8 weekly blogging memes:

I also posted about the Frenzy Summer Preview event:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… These Feathered Flames

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A queer retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Characters Who Would Make Great Ship Captains

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Characters Who Would Make Great Ship Captains. Here’s my list:

1. Mare Barrow (Red Queen)

2. Charlotte Fairchild (The Infernal Devices)

3. Rhys (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

4. Lila Bard (Shades of Magic)

5. Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)

6. Theodosia (Ash Princess)

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: The Sky Above Us

Title: The Sky Above Us
Author: Natalie Lund
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Philomel
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of We Speak in Storms comes a twisty, psychological thriller about three friends searching for the truth in the aftermath of a plane crash.

The morning after their senior year beach party, Izzy, Cass, and Janie are woken by a thundering overhead. Then they and their classmates watch in shock as a plane crashes into the water. When the passengers are finally recovered, they are identified as Izzy’s twin brother, Israel, Cass’s ex-boyfriend, Shane, and Janie’s best friend, Nate. But Izzy can feel when her brother is in pain, and she knows he’s not really dead. So she, Cass, and Janie set out to discover what actually happened that day–and why the boys were on the plane.

Told in alternating timelines and points of view, this powerful and captivating novel follows the three boys in the weeks leading up to that fateful flight, and the girls they left behind as they try to piece together the truth about the boys they loved and thought they knew. A spellbinding story about the ripple effects of tragedy, the questions we leave unanswered, and the enduring power of friendship.

Review:

The morning after a beach party, Izzie, Cass, and Janie are woken up by a plane flying overhead. They watch the plane crash into the ocean, and Izzy instantly knows who was on it. The victims are pulled out of the ocean: Izzy’s twin brother Israel, Cass’s ex-boyfriend Shane, and Janie’s secret boyfriend Nate. Each of these girls had a strong connection to the boys. They have no idea what would drive the boys to crash a plane, but they need to find out to get closure. This story is told through alternating timelines, with the boys’ stories before the crash and the girls’ stories after the crash.

This was a devastating story about grief. The girls mourned the loss of the boys in their own ways. The boys also had their own grief that they experienced before the plane crash. Shane had to mourn the loss of his relationship with Cass. Nate mourned the loss of his future soccer career after an injury. Israel experienced his death in a past life every night in a dream. All six of them, and their parents, had different ways of experiencing grief.

One fascinating part of this book was the experience Israel had of remembering his past life. He’d had dreams since he was a child of a man dying in a car crash. He knew that the man was him from a past life. There was a forum he used to speak to other people who also remembered their past lives. I hadn’t thought much about this phenomenon before reading this story, but the circumstances around the man dying, who Israel believed was him in a past life, made Israel’s claim quite convincing.

This was a tragic story that had me hooked from the beginning until the end.

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

What to read next:

The Stepping Off Place by Cameron Kelly Rosenblum

All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

Have you read The Sky Above Us? What did you think of it?

Frenzy Presents – Summer 2021 Preview

This week I was invited to attend the virtual Summer 2021 Preview of books from HCC Frenzy, HarperCollins Canada’s teen imprint. All of these books look amazing! I’m going to try to get my hands on all of them.

All of these graphics were made by the amazing team at HCC Frenzy!

I can’t wait for these books to hit shelves this summer!

Do you see any books on this list that you’re excited to read?

Review: Your Corner Dark

Title: Your Corner Dark
Author: Desmond Hall
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Atheneum
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

American Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family.

Things can change in a second:

The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.

The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble.

The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.

And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back…or is there?

As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself. 

Review:

Frankie Green lives with his father in Jamaica. When he gets a scholarship letter from the US, he knows he has his ticket out of Jamaica. To celebrate, Frankie decides to go to a party that is put on by his uncle’s gang. Frankie’s father doesn’t get along with his brother, but he shows up at the party and gets shot. Frankie has to get money quick to save his father from a bad infection, so he joins his uncle’s gang. Frankie’s life takes a sudden turn, changing the future he had planned.

Frankie was an ambitious boy. He had big dreams of studying engineering in the US. He worked so hard all of his life, but one small decision he made derailed all of his plans. This shows that just one moment can change your life, for better or worse.

This story dealt with some serious topics. Frankie had to join a gang in order to get his father medical care. He gave up his dream of becoming an engineer in order to save his father’s life. That’s something I’ve never had to face, and I’m sure many other readers haven’t had to deal with either. It’s so important to read stories like this, with diverse lifestyles, to understand a little of what life could be like in other places in the world.

This was a suspenseful read!

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

What to read next:

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Have you read Your Corner Dark? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – April 23

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:

“I’ve read many more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me. I’ve had the time.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon.

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Goodreads synopsis:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Have you read Everything Everything? What did you think of it?

Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Review:

While waiting for her brother one night in D.C., Harper is whisked away to Emberfell. Prince Rhen is the heir to Emberfell, which has been cursed for years. A monster terrorizes the country and the people haven’t seen the royal family in a long time. Harper is the key to breaking the curse, and she will be Rhen’s last chance because if he doesn’t break the curse that season, he will never have a chance again. Harper and Rhen have to break the curse and protect Emberfell from the forces that want to break it.

This Beauty and the Beast retelling was set in a fantasy world and our real world. Harper was in Washington D.C. when she was taken by Rhen’s guard, Grey, to a Emberfell. She had a cellphone in Emberfell but it didn’t work because they don’t have electricity. I loved that this fantasy story included the real world because it makes it feel like our world is connected to the fantasy land.

Harper has cerebral palsy. This representation of a disability was great because I haven’t seen much representation of different abilities in fantasy novels. This was part of Harper’s personality but not her entire character. I really liked this representation.

I really enjoyed this fantasy! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

What to read next:

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Other books in the series:

  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken
  • A Vow So Bold and Deadly

Have you read A Curse So Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – April 22

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 Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students.

On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too.

Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.

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