Six for Sunday – 2019 Books I Want to Read

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 2019 Books I Want to Read. Here’s my list:

1. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

2. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

3. The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler

4. Last Girl Lied To by L.E. Flynn

5. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

6. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Did you write a #SixforSunday post? What was your list of 2019 Books You Want to Read?

Review: Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Review:

This story broke my heart and put it back together again. It was incredibly moving.

The premise of the story is that Carver texts his friends while they are driving, and they get into a fatal car accident while responding. Carver has to deal with the guilt of potentially causing his three best friends to die, while also moving on with his life. Carver goes on “Goodbye Days” with his friends’ families, in which they do his friends’ favourite things so everyone can say goodbye to them.

It was fascinating to read about this fairly new experience: texting while driving. There is a law, in this story, where a person could be charged with involuntary manslaughter for doing an action which you know could cause someone’s death. In this case, Carver texted his friend, knowing he may respond while driving and cause an accident. In my opinion, Carver shouldn’t have been blamed for this accident since his friend Mars ultimately made the decision to text while driving. However, it was up to the authorities to decide on his fate.

I don’t want to give anything away, because this is an important story with a modern lesson. I really liked the ending! I loved this whole story, and I highly recommend it!

What to read next:

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Have you read Goodbye Days? What did you think of it?

Stacking the Shelves – May 18

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 a book from Thomas Allen and Son:

The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White

I received a book from Pajama Press:

The Castle in the Sea by Mardi McConnochie

I was approved for four books on NetGalley from Simon and Schuster Canada:

Titans by Kate O’Hearn

The Helpline by Katherine Collette

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son, Pajama Press, and Simon and Schuster Canada for these books!

What books did you get this week?

Review: The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)

Title: The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a darkness inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

Review:

I loved this book! I loved The Last Namsara, so I was excited to read this sequel.

This book wasn’t a typical sequel, because it had a different plot. It was in the same world with the same characters, but there was a different heroine in this story than The Last Namsara. I loved Asha’s story in the first book, and it took a little while to get used to the new main character, Roa. She was in the first book, but not as much as in this one. This was a great way to show a different perspective of the world.

I was surprised at the ending. I thought I knew how the story would end throughout the book, but I was wrong. I was pleased with this ending, because it was hopeful.

This is a great series! I’m excited to read the next book in the series when it comes out!

What to read next:

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury #1) by Tracy Banghart

Have you read The Caged Queen? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – May 17

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:

“Veronyka gathered the bones of the dead. Joints of venison blackened and burned on the spit, and racks of ribs stewed so long that they were dry and brittle as driftwood. She dug through rotten lettuce and potato peelings for tiny, sharp-as-daggers fish bones and the hollow, delicate bones of birds.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers #1) by Nicki Pau Preto.

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Goodreads synopsis:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken. 

Have you read Crown of Feathers? What did you think of it?

Review: There’s Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi #2)

Title: There’s Something About Sweetie
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

Review:

This was another amazing story by Sandhya Menon.

I loved the characters in this book. Sweetie was adorable and loveable. She was extremely talented, yet her mother criticized her for being “fat.” Ashish was also a great character. He was going through a lot of pain from a recent breakup, yet he was open to meeting a new girl that his parents picked out for him.

The narrative alternated between Sweetie’s and Ashish’s perspectives. It was third person, yet limited to both Sweetie’s and Ashish’s thoughts. I liked this style, because both characters were given equal time to show their stories.

This story features some of the characters from When Dimple Met Rishi, but it isn’t a sequel. The ending of that book may be spoiled if you read this book first, because Dimple and Rishi appear in the story. Rishi is actually the older brother of Ashish, the main male character in this story. However, it isn’t necessary to read that book first.

I loved this story! I’m so glad to see a body positive, “fat” girl featured in a book! I would have loved to read this kind of story when I was a teen, so I’m happy that teens today can see themselves in this book.

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

What to read next:

Dumplin’ (Dumplin’ #1) by Julie Murphy

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon

Have you read There’s Something About Sweetie? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – May 16

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 A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good. 

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet. 

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