Sundays in Bed With… She’s Faking It

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 She’s Faking It by Kristin Rockaway.

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

You can’t put a filter on reality.

Bree Bozeman isn’t exactly pursuing the life of her dreams. Then again, she isn’t too sure what those dreams are. After dropping out of college, she’s living a pretty chill life in the surf community of Pacific Beach, San Diego…if “chill” means delivering food as a GrubGetter, and if it means “uneventful”.

But when Bree starts a new Instagram account — @breebythesea — one of her posts gets a signal boost from none other than wildly popular self-help guru Demi DiPalma, owner of a lifestyle brand empire. Suddenly, Bree just might be a rising star in the world of Instagram influencing. Is this the direction her life has been lacking? It’s not a career choice she’d ever seriously considered, but maybe it’s a sign from the universe. After all, Demi’s the real deal… right?

Everything is lining up for Bree: life goals, career, and even a blossoming romance with the chiseled guy next door, surf star Trey Cantu. But things are about to go sideways fast, and even the perfect filter’s not gonna fix it. Instagram might be free, but when your life looks flawless on camera, what’s the cost?

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – LGBT Books on My TBR

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 Your Dream LGBT Ships, but I decided to do LGBT Books on My TBR. Here’s my list:

1. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

2. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

3. The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

4. Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

5. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

6. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

(All book cover images from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Shades of Magic, Vol. 1: The Steel Prince

Title: Shades of Magic, Vol. 1: The Steel Prince
Author: V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Publisher
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 6, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy!

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic!

The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

There, he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and the intoxicatingly deadly presence of the newly returned pirate queen, Arisa…

Collects Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #1-4.

Review:

Before the events in A Darker Shade of Magic, Maxim Maresh was an arrogant prince. His father, the King, sends him to the port city Verose. There, Maxim meets a captain in the army, named Isra. She shows him the ways of the city, but they are taken by surprise when the pirate queen, Asira, arrives in town. Isra has a personal vendetta against Asira, because she is the niece of the pirate queen. Maxim has to find his place among the army, while keeping an eye on the pirate queen.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but I hadn’t finished the series, so I was holding off on reading this graphic novel until I was caught up. Fortunately, I found out recently that it isn’t necessary to read the original trilogy of novels before reading the graphic novels.

This is an amazing fantasy world. I was hooked on the story right from the start. The images are detailed, giving small hints about the plot that could be missed if it’s read quickly. I loved seeing the setting of the Darker Shade of Magic novels in the illustrations.

The story was fast paced. It took place over a short period of time, so I felt like it ended too soon. I’m so glad the next volumes are out, so I can read them right away!

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

What to read next:

Shades of Magic, Vol. 2: Night of Knives by V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri

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

Other books in the series:

  • Night of Knives
  • The Rebel Army

Have you read Shades of Magic, Vol. 1: The Steel Prince? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Books With Morally Grey Characters

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Books With Morally Grey Characters. Here’s my list:

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

(All book covers from Goodreads)

If you’d like to do this list too, consider yourself tagged!

Did you make a Top 5 Saturday list?

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?