It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – July 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 The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

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

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – July 25

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… The Queen Will Betray You

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 The Queen Will Betray You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2) by Sarah Henning.

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

The breathtaking sequel to The Princess Will Save You in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky duology — a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride

To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love…

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Sun in the Title

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 Sun in the Title. Here’s my list:

1. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

2. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

3. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

4. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

5. The Seventh Son by Lani Forbes

6. Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Geis: a Matter of Life and Death (Geis #1)

Title: Geis: A Matter of Life and Death (Geis #1)
Author: Alexis Deacon
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

As the great chief matriarch lay dying, she gave one final decree: Upon her death there would be a contest. Having no heir of her own blood she called on the Gods. Let fate decide the one truly worthy to rule in her place. The rich, the strong, the wise, the powerful; many put forward their names in hope of being chosen. But when the night came . . . only fifty souls alone were summoned.

Book one in gripping action, supernatural, and historical fantasy graphic novel trilogy where souls battle in a contest to become the ruler of an island.

Review:

When the chief matriarch died, she didn’t leave an heir. Instead, she left a contest in her will for fifty people to compete and earn the title of chief. Their first task is to be dropped somewhere in the world and find their way back to the castle. However, they don’t know that this will contained a geis: a magical curse that cannot be broken. All of the competitors must stay in the contest until a chief is named, but if they do not make it back to the palace by sunrise, they will automatically be killed.

I loved the premise of this story. The geis in the will was a secret from the competitors, which made the story so much more intense. Some of the characters wanted to quit, but they didn’t realize that quitting would mean death.

The art in this book was so beautiful. There were a lot of characters but they each had a distinct style and different colour of clothing. Sometimes with a large cast of characters in graphic novels, I can’t tell them apart. Each character was a distinct person, which made this story an easy read.

Geis: A Matter of Life and Death is a beautiful graphic novel! I can’t wait to read the next one!

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

What to read next:

Geis: A Game Without Rules by Alexis Deacon

Other books in the series:

  • Geis II: A Game Without Rules

Have you read Geis: A Matter of Life and Death? What did you think of it?

Review: The Taking of Jake Livingston

Title: The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Review:

Jake Livingston feels like an outsider because he’s one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep and he’s not as popular as his older brother. Jake can also see dead people. He sees the way people died on a loop in the place where they died. Teens start dying in mysterious ways, and they were all connected to a school shooting in a different high school. Jake meets Sawyer, the ghost of the school shooter who is taking revenge on the survivors of the shooting. Jake has to figure out a way to stop Sawyer before he takes over Jake’s life next.

At first glance, this was a horror story with gruesome deaths. However, Jake’s story had a lot of layers. Jake felt like an outsider at school because of his race and his ability to see ghosts. At home he also felt like an outsider because he didn’t think his family would accept that he was gay. After a while, I realized that Jake and Sawyer had a lot in common. They had both been abused by their family, and were headed on a similar path. It was up to Jake to decide if he had the same ending as Sawyer or not.

There were quite a few disturbing scenes in this book. Jake witnessed many deaths on a loop. There was a school shooting as well as a suicide. There was also an attempted rape and child abuse. These are potentially triggering scenes but they were brief.

The Taking of Jake Livingston is a creepy horror story!

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

What to read next:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

Have you read The Taking of Jake Livingston? What did you think of it?

Review: Luck of the Titanic

Title: Luck of the Titanic
Author: Stacey Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise, though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese people aren’t allowed into America.

But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother, Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is on board, as is an influential circus owner. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it.

As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, audition for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America.

Then one night, the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.

Review:

Valora Luck is excited to have a ticket for the Titanic, where she will surprise her twin brother who is also on board. After Valora’s employer, who was supposed to go on the trip with her, dies suddenly, Valora tries to get on the ship by herself. However, Chinese passengers aren’t allowed into America. Valora figures out a way to sneak on the ship to reunite with her brother Jamie. Her plan is for them to revive their acrobatics act to impress a circus owner. Jamie isn’t interested in doing their circus act anymore, or in staying in America with Valora. She has seven days of their journey to convince Jamie to follow their old dream, while also masquerading as a wealthy passenger.

This historical fiction was funny at times, but it also dealt with serious subjects. Valora, Jamie, and the other Chinese passengers had to face horrific racism. I was shocked when they said that she wouldn’t be allowed on the ship because she was Chinese. That was just the first in a series of racist incidents. When Valora wore a veil and dressed to impersonate her employer, she was treated completely differently, with a lot of respect. This reinforced the racism that was directed towards Valora. It’s so devastating that anti-Asian racism still happens today, though perhaps not as openly as in this book.

Since this book was set on the Titanic, I knew what would happen at the end. I kept waiting for the moment when the Titanic would hit the iceberg and sink. I was hopeful that, since this is a fictional story, something would happen and the ship would survive. I won’t give away the ending but I found it shocking and sad.

Luck of the Titanic is a heartbreaking historical young adult novel.

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

What to read next:

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Have you read Luck of the Titanic? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – July 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 Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully. 

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

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

Review: They Wish They Were Us

Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

A murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.

Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it.

But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

Review:

Jill Newman and her friends attend Gold Coast Prep in Long Island, where she’s part of the elite Players group. The Players are an exclusive group of students who have power in the school. This power includes having access to all the tests and assignments in the school, so they can keep their grades up while they’re partying in their free time. Three years ago, Jill’s best friend Shaila was killed during their initiation into the Players. Now, Shaila’s boyfriend, who was convicted in her murder, is claiming he’s innocent. Jill can’t help but question if he’s telling the truth, so she digs into past, while jeopardizing her future.

This was a creepy and authentic view of the power hierarchy in high school. All schools may not have a group like the Players, but there are always popular kids who have power over the other students and who get away with a lot more. The senior members of the Players would force the younger members to do horrible things, including drinking excessively, taking drugs, and taking part in sexual assaults and harassment. These were humiliating things, that the younger kids thought they had to do to impress the older ones, but it, unfortunately, felt like realistic bullying.

There was one character that I thought was suspicious right from the beginning. I was correct in suspecting that character, because they had done something horrible that was revealed at the end. Even though I was right, I still got chills reading the ending.

They Wish They Were Us is an intense young adult thriller!

What to read next:

These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Have you read They Wish They Were Us? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – July 21

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 Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh. The expected publication date is August 17, 2021.

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster. 

So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Cheney takes an interest in both Stephanie and her notorious home, the supernatural and romantic activity escalates to an all-time high. And that doesn’t even take into account the dashing, British-accented eighteen-year-old boy, Erik, who’s taken up residence in Stephanie’s nightly dreams. A boy who may have something to do with the man in the mask, and the strange occurrences taking place at Moldavia.

A steamy YA romance with Twilight vibes, inspired by Gaston Leroux’s classic The Phantom of the Opera

What books are you waiting on this week?