TBR Thursday – October 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 Everless (Everless #1) by Sara Holland.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

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

Review: Welcome to the New World

Title: Welcome to the New World
Author: Jake Halpern, Michael Sloan (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America

After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, Election Day. The family had reached a safe harbor, but woke up to the world of Donald Trump and a Muslim ban that would sever them from the grandmother, brothers, sisters, and cousins stranded in exile in Jordan.

Welcome to the New World tells the Aldabaans’ story. Resettled in Connecticut with little English, few friends, and even less money, the family of seven strive to create something like home. As a blur of language classes, job-training programs, and the fearsome first days of high school (with hijab) give way to normalcy, the Aldabaans are lulled into a sense of security. A white van cruising slowly past the house prompts some unease, which erupts into full terror when the family receives a death threat and is forced to flee and start all over yet again. The America in which the Aldabaans must make their way is by turns kind and ignorant, generous and cruel, uplifting and heartbreaking.

Delivered with warmth and intimacy, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan’s Welcome to the New World is a wholly original view of the immigrant experience, revealing not only the trials and successes of one family but showing the spirit of a town and a country, for good and bad.

Review:

In November of 2016, the Aldabaan family moved to the United States from Syria as refugees. They didn’t speak English and had to leave many family members in Syria. The family had to adjust to life in America, including finding jobs, navigating the school system, and seeking protection in their new home, despite death threats and an oppressive political system.

This was an incredible graphic novel. It is based on a real family who moved to the U.S. as refugees from Syria. Though many of my childhood friends immigrated or were from families who immigrated from other countries, I wasn’t familiar with this process. I can’t imagine what it would be like to feel so unsafe in your home that you have to move to a new country that you’ve never been to. I recognize that I have this privilege, and this book opened my eyes to the Syrian refugee experience.

Some parts of this story were devastating. The Aldabaan family left a dangerous situation in their home country, but they didn’t arrive to a safe situation in America. The children faced bullies at school. The parents struggled to find work that would support their family of seven. They were constantly worried about the way immigrants were treated by the new government. They even received a terrifying death threat at one point, for no other reason than being refugees. These were some very upsetting events that I’m so sorry they had to go through.

This is an incredibly powerful and informative graphic novel! I highly recommend it.

Thank you Henry Holt and Co for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Have you read Welcome to the New World? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – October 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 The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2) by Kiersten White. The expected publication date is November 10, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from New York Timesbestselling author Kiersten White, exploring the nature of self, the inevitable cost of progress, and, of course, magic and romance and betrayal so epic Queen Guinevere remains the most famous queen who never lived.

EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Title: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales of Dangerous Magic
Author: Leigh Bardugo, Sara Kipin (illustrator)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories
Publisher: Imprint
Source: Purchased at BookCon 2018
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Review:

This short story collection has six tales from the world of the Grishaverse. These tales are based on real folk tales and fairy tales, set in the Grisha world. These tales are:

  • Ayama and the Thorn Wood: A tale about a creature like the Minotaur from Greek mythology
  • The Too-Clever Fox: A tale about a clever fox who outsmarts other animals
  • The Witch of Duva: A retelling of Hansel and Gretel
  • Little Knife: A tale where men had to compete for the chance to marry a duke’s daughter
  • The Soldier Prince: A retelling of The Nutcracker
  • When Water Sang Fire: A retelling of The Little Mermaid

My favourite story was The Witch of Duva. The main character, Nadya, escapes from her father and stepmother and enters the forest where she meets Magda, a witch. It had a surprising twist ending that was very clever and unlike any version of Hansel and Gretel that I’ve read before.

I loved the illustrations with these stories. Each story had its own set of illustrations that bordered the pages. The story started out with one small picture. As the story progressed, the illustrations would grow around the border. These illustrations reflected parts of the story. These were very creative and beautiful pictures that matched the stories perfectly.

This is an amazing book that accompanies the Grishaverse novels!

What to read next:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Other books in the series:

Have you read Language of Thorns? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Read Because Someone Recommended It

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 I Read Because Someone Recommended It. Here’s my list:

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

2. The Shadows by Alex North

3. The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

4. Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

6. The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

7. The Gown by Jennifer Robson

8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

10. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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

Review: Tell Me My Name

Title: Tell Me My Name
Author: Erin Ruddy
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a woman is snatched by an obsessed stranger claiming to be her soulmate, the consequences could be deadly in this suspenseful and darkly twisted psychological thriller … unless she can remember his name.

Ellie and Neil Patterson are eager to settle in to some quality time at their new cottage. It’s the first time in ten years they’ve been alone … or are they?

When a friendly encounter with their new neighbour leads to their violent kidnapping, they awake to a living nightmare. Insisting he is Ellie’s soulmate, the stranger gives her three chances to say his name. If she guesses wrong, it’s Neil who will suffer the consequences. This propels Ellie on a desperate trip down memory lane to dredge up the dubious men of her past.

Only after discovering the man’s true identity and sacrificing her own safety to save Neil does Ellie learn the truth — that everything she thought she knew about her husband and their decade-long love story was a lie.

Review:

Ellie and Neil are excited to spend some quality time together at their new cottage after sending their kids to camp. Ellie meets their neighbour one day and invites him for dinner. The next day she runs into the neighbour again. He kidnaps her and threatens to kill and mutilate her husband until she can tell him his name. The neighbour is a man from her past, and he wants Ellie to remember him. Even once Ellie can remember the truth about this man, she realizes that her life is filled with lies.

This was a very fast-paced psychological thrillers. There were multiple perspectives, including Ellie, Neil, the man who kidnaps her, and the detective investigating the incident. Multiple perspectives in a thriller can sometimes take away some of the tension because there is less of an opportunity to hide the characters’ secrets. However, these characters had such intricate pasts that there were lots of secrets to hide in the narrative.

This was an intricate story with many puzzles. I was pleased that everything was tied up at the end. Sometimes thrillers can get too complicated with pieces of the plot getting lost by the end. This story had a satisfying ending.

I really enjoyed this thriller!

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

What to read next:

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

Have you read Tell Me My Name? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – October 19

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 Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams.

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

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – October 18

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 9 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… Tell Me My Name

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 Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a woman is snatched by an obsessed stranger claiming to be her soulmate, the consequences could be deadly in this suspenseful and darkly twisted psychological thriller … unless she can remember his name.

Ellie and Neil Patterson are eager to settle in to some quality time at their new cottage. It’s the first time in ten years they’ve been alone … or are they?

When a friendly encounter with their new neighbour leads to their violent kidnapping, they awake to a living nightmare. Insisting he is Ellie’s soulmate, the stranger gives her three chances to say his name. If she guesses wrong, it’s Neil who will suffer the consequences. This propels Ellie on a desperate trip down memory lane to dredge up the dubious men of her past.

Only after discovering the man’s true identity and sacrificing her own safety to save Neil does Ellie learn the truth — that everything she thought she knew about her husband and their decade-long love story was a lie.

What book are you in bed with today?