Six for Sunday – 2018 Kid Lit Must Reads

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 2018 Kid Lit Must Reads. Here’s my list:

1. Blended by Sharon M. Draper

2. Kate’s Really Good at Hockey by Howard Shapiro, Christina Frey

3. Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3) by Matt Haig

4. The Truth About Martians by Melissa Savage

5. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

6. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Did you write a #SixforSunday post? What was your list of 2018 Kid Lit Must Reads?

Review: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

Title: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
Author: Sabina Khan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Review:

I loved this book! It had some of the biggest highs and lows of any book I’ve read, but it had a powerful message.

Rukhsana was a very strong character. She went through so much in this story, but it ended on a hopeful note. The story was emotionally draining at times, because there were so many difficult topics, such as abuse. There was physical and emotional abuse, including violent beatings and imprisonment. Though it was hard to read about, these are real things that happen in the world, so it’s important to recognize the dangers that some people face.

It was shocking at times to see how Rukhsana’s family reacted to her coming out as a lesbian. I didn’t take it as an insult to the whole Bangladeshi community, because there are some families that are accepting to their queen children. It was just the way that her parents handled it that was so extreme. I can’t imagine going through something like that, so it really broke my heart to see everything she had to go through once her parents found out. I was glad this story ended with hope, because many other people’s stories don’t have such happy endings.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s an important LGBT story.

What to read next:

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Have you read The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali? What did you think of it?

Stacking the Shelves – April 20

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I received one book from HarperCollins Canada:

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

I was approved for one book on NetGalley from Graydon House Books:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Thank you HarperCollins Canada and Graydon House Books for these books!

What books did you get this week?

Review: Nancy Drew and the Palace of Wisdom

Title: Nancy Drew and the Palace of Wisdom
Author: Kelly Thompson, Jenn St-Onge
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nancy Drew is seventeen and good at everything…ESPECIALLY solving crimes. But her totally-in-control-and-obviously-running-perfectly-smooth-(but-not-really) life hits a snag when a mysterious message drags her back to the hometown she left behind. There she’ll have to find out which of her friends are still her friends, which are enemies, and who exactly is trying to kill her…and (hopefully) stop them before they succeed. 
KELLY THOMPSON (Hawkeye, Star Wars, Rogue & Gambit) and JENN ST-ONGE (Giant Days, The Misfits) team up to present an all-new modern spin on a classic mystery icon!

Review:

I’ve loved Nancy Drew since I was a kid. I’m always looking for new adaptations, including graphic novels. This was a fun new story.

The setting of the story was a little difficult to get used to at first. Nancy grew up in Bayport, and she moved to River Heights with her father when she was a teen. In this story, she is called back to Bayport when she receives a threatening letter referring to her mother’s death. Her old friends Bess and George, as well as Frank and Joe Hardy, are in Bayport, and they join her on her new mystery.

There was some diversity added to the original Nancy Drew cast. Nancy meets Pete, a black boy, who joins her and her friends on their mystery. George is gay, and is dating Danica, who is also black.

Bess has always been one of my favourite characters and she was hilarious in this story. She finally started a romance with Joe, which I’ve been waiting to see for a long time. Bess also knew some surprising information which helped them solve the mystery!

I hope this series continues. There was a huge cliffhanger at the end, so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Thank you Dynamite Entertainment for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie by Anthony Del Col

Have you read Nancy Drew and the Palace of Wisdom? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – April 19

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:

“The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars. It was late afternoon, just before Vespers, a time where psalms to the gods were given up in an effortless chorus.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan.

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Goodreads synopsis:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

My review of Wicked Saints can be found here.

Have you read Wicked Saints? What did you think of it?

Review: The Temptation of Gracie

Title: The Temptation of Gracie
Author: Santa Montefiore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Never give up on your dreams, no matter how long you hold on to them . . . 

Gracie Burton is a grandmother, living quietly in Devon. She has rarely left the village over the past forty years. Her daughter, Carina, is immensely high-powered with her own fast-paced business in London. She has very little time for her 17-year-old daughter, Anastasia, away at boarding school, and even less time for her aging mother. In many ways, the three of them barely know each other. Then Gracie stumbles upon an advertisement for a weeklong cookery course in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. She cannot resist and ploughs her life savings into the trip. Carina and Anastasia accompany her. They have no idea why Gracie has been drawn to this venture. They have no sense of her past; she has never spoken about it. They have no idea that Gracie is harbouring the secret of an extraordinary life that preceded them . . . 

Review:

This is a great book to start off the summer. It is set in beautiful Tuscany. I feel like I have been there after reading this book!

I loved the mystery of this story. Gracie lived a secret life in her youth, which she has always kept from her family. Her mysterious past slowly unraveled throughout the story. There were huge revelations in the last couple of chapters, so even when you think it’s finished, there is more to learn.

There was a lot of symmetry in this story. Gracie’s life in Italy is slightly reflected in the experiences her granddaughter has on their trip. I love it when books are mirrored in this way.

The only part that I found a little strange was the way the story sometimes returned to the town where Gracie lives in Devon. The story only returned there a couple of times, and I didn’t see any connection to the main plot about Gracie. This may have been changed in the final edition.

I really enjoyed this new historical novel!

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

What to read next:

Juliet’s Answer by Glenn Dixon

Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore

Have you read The Temptation of Gracie? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – April 18

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 Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

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