Six for Sunday – Books I Studied in School

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 Books I Studied in School. Here’s my list:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

3. Middlemarch by George Eliot

4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)

Title: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow.

But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner-none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.

The Mirror: Broken Wish marks the first book in an innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, Jennifer Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it.

Review:

1848, Germany: When Agnes and Oskar moved to their new town, they befriended Mathilda, the witch next door. Once Agnes gets help from Mathilda to have a child, she stops speaking to her, breaking the promise that Agnes made to be friends with her. This sets off a chain reaction that creates a curse that will affect her family for years to come. Sixteen years later, Elva, Agnes’s daughter, can see visions when she looks at her reflection. Her family keeps this a secret because they don’t want her to be labeled a witch. However, once Elva sees a vision of her home being destroyed, she realizes that she could get some helpful information from these visions. Elva befriends the Witch of the North Woods to learn how to improve her magical skill, but she’s in danger of ruining her future by taking control of her visions.

I love fairytale retellings. This story had similar plots to a few different fairytales, such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White. Even the Grimm brothers were mentioned, traveling around Germany to find fairytales for their book.

This book is the first in a series that will follow a family through generations. I love this concept because it will be fascinating to see how this family’s curse, stemming from Agnes breaking a promise to Mathilda, will affect the family over time. The next book, Shattered Midnight, will be released in a couple of weeks.

Broken Wish is a great fairytale!

What to read next:

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Have you read Broken Wish? What did you think of it?

Review: Rule (Rule #1)

Title: Rule (Rule #1)
Author: Ellen Goodlett
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut.

Review:

Three girls with three secrets are summoned to the kingdom, Kolonya, by the King himself. Zofi has spent her life on the run with her mother. Ren has worked as a lady’s maid with her mother in the kingdom. Akeylah was raised by an abusive father who blamed her for her mother’s death. When the three girls arrive at the palace, they’re told that they’re the King’s daughters. He has summoned them because he is dying and must choose one of them as his heir. The problem is that each of these girls has a dark secret. Someone at the palace knows their secrets and will use them to drive the sisters out of the palace.

This was such an intense fantasy story! It alternated between the three sister’s points of view. I liked how quickly the story began. The first chapters were introductions to the girls in their homes, which showed how they were called to the palace. There wasn’t any time wasted in getting right into the story.

I thought I had the story all figured out, but I was wrong. There were lots of dark, twisty turns that kept the story moving at a fast paced. It ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m going to have to go get the sequel to find out what happens next!

Rule is a great suspenseful fantasy!

What to read next:

Rise by Ellen Goodlett

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Other books in the series:

  • Rise

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

Review: The Orphan King (The Orphan King #1)

Title: The Orphan King (The Orphan King #1)
Author: Tyler Chin-Tanner, James Boyle
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: A Wave Blue World
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Prince Kaidan, born to rule as a hero of the realm, is on the move, taking first steps into the life of soaring regal adventure promised by his birthright. After completing secret training with his aunt, the magical Lady Taleissa, Kaidan returns home hoping to pick up where he left off and start an exciting new chapter. Instead, his parents are missing and the kingdom is destroyed, along with everything he’d ever hoped and dreamed. 

With the monarchy overthrown by a rapacious warlord, Kaidan is set adrift in a lawless land where his royal lineage now means nothing but danger; there’s a steep price on his head and everyone is eager to cash in. But when there are no laws, outlaws can become allies, and Kaidan’s got a fighting chance with some new friends on the fringes of society. A new path is set: find whatever pieces of his old life he can and use them to build something new – if he can live that long!

A fresh retelling of the King Arthur myth, THE ORPHAN KING upends the concept of birthright in a magical coming-of-age adventure for the ages.

Review:

As a boy, Prince Kaidan was sent away with his aunt to do some secret training. When he returns three years later, he discovers that his kingdom has been destroyed. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and the knights responsible for it are chasing him. Kaidan meets up with some outlaws who will help him find his family.

This was an exciting, fast paced story. Though Kaidan was returning home, it was bittersweet because he didn’t get along with his father before he left. He was looking forward to seeing his mother, until he saw the devastation of his home. Kaidan had lost his family and his future as King.

I liked the art in this graphic novel. The first few chapters alternated between when Kaidan was younger and when he returned home. It was easy to tell these scenes apart because the scenes from the past had lighter colours and the scenes in the present were darker. Each of the characters also had a distinct outfit, so it was easy to differentiate between them.

The Orphan King is a great new graphic novel!

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

What to read next:

Dark One by Brandon Sanderson

Have you read The Orphan King? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – September 23

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 Burden Falls by Kat Ellis.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Riverdale meets Stephen King in the terrifying new thriller from the author of Harrow Lake. 

The town of Burden Falls drips with superstition, from rumors of its cursed waterfall to Dead-Eyed Sadie, the disturbing specter who haunts it. Ava Thorn grew up right beside the falls, and since a horrific accident killed her parents a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares in which Sadie comes calling—nightmares so chilling, Ava feels as if she’ll never wake up. But when someone close to Ava is brutally murdered and she’s the primary suspect, she begins to wonder if the stories might be more than legends—and if the ghost haunting her dreams might be terrifyingly real. Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose . . . with a vendetta against the Thorns.

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

Review: When We Make It

Title: When We Make It
Author: Elisabet Velasquez
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An unforgettable young adult debut novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to make it, touching on themes of mental illness, sexual assault, food insecurity and gentrification, in the Nuyorican literary tradition of Nicholasa Mohr and the work of contemporary writer Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to girls who were taught to believe they would not make it at all. The verse is evocative and insightful, and readers are sure to be swept into Sarai’s world and rooting for her long after they close the book.

Review:

Sarai is a Puerto Rican eighth grader living in Bushwick with her mom and sister, Estrella, in 1996. She struggles with her family, while her mom just tries to keep them alive, moving from apartment to apartment. Sarai struggles to find her place in the community, knowing that her family doesn’t have the same lifestyle as her friends. There are pressures to follow a certain system, yet Sarai knows there’s the possibility of a different, and better, life that she could reach one day.

This novel was written in verse. This was the perfect format for this emotional story. Sarai and her family had a lot of struggles, though they didn’t always realize that things could be different. The rhythmic writing, and the inclusion of Spanish words mixed in with the English, made me feel like I was right there with Sarai.

There were some tough subjects in this story. These include addiction, mental health, postpartum depression, gun violence, and racism. These subjects were handled delicately, but are definitely important to telling this story.

When We Make It is a beautiful story about girls who can defy the odds.

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

What to read next:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Have you read When We Make It? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – September 22

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 Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline. The expected publication date is October 19, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of The Marrow Thieves comes a thrilling new story about hope and survival that New York Times bestselling author Angeline Boulley called “a revelatory must-read”

Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape. 

Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers—school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go—and how many loved ones is he willing to betray—in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – September 21

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider

This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

As If On Cue by Marisa Kanter

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Sidelined by Kara Bietz

She Who Rides the Storm by Caitlin Sangster

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles

Big Boned by Jo Watson

Spells Like Teen Spirit by Kate Williams

Maybe We’re Electric by Val Emmich

To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames

Gutter Mage by J.S. Kelley

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2021 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 is Books On My Fall 2021 TBR. Here’s my list:

1. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

2. You’ll Be The Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

3. Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat

4. Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

5. Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

6. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

7. Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline

8. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

9. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

10. The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

(All book covers from Goodreads)

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

Blog Tour Review: This Is Why We Lie

Title: This Is Why We Lie
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Review:

One morning, while Jenna was standing at the harbour taking photos, she found Adam pulling a body from the water. Her friend, Colleen, had drowned but it wasn’t an accident. Jenna’s best friend is the main suspect, but she is certain that her friend didn’t do it. Adam and his friends also had a connection to Colleen. She had threatened him and his friends the night before her body was found. Adam and Jenna bond over this tragedy. Everyone has a motive and everyone is keeping secrets, but the clock is ticking down until they find the murderer.

This was such a fast paced thriller. It had short chapters that flew by quickly. It was really hard to put this book down because there were so many twists.

It’s been a while since a thriller truly surprised me. I couldn’t figure out how this story was going to end and I was really surprised. I liked that there wasn’t any wasted space. Every chapter and scene was important to the plot and it wrapped up quickly at the end.

This is Why Why Lie is an exciting, fast paced thriller!

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

What to read next:

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

About the author:

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

Have you read This Is Why We Lie? What did you think of it?