Cinderella is Dead – ARC Book Review

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy via NetGalley.  Cinderella Is Dead will be published on July 31, 2020.

cinderellaI just want to say how much I loved and devoured this book.  I could NOT put it down!  This was one of my late night reads, finishing it in a day.

Sophia lives in Lille, 200 years since Cinderella found her Prince Charming.  Now, at the age of 16, every girl gets to meet her own “Prince Charming” at the annual ball… whether she wants to or not.

Under an authoritative rule by a demanding king, Sophia is living a life she does not want.  Women are no more than property of their fathers and husbands.  There are curfews, rules, and laws.  They have little rights.  They are required to attend a ball, look their best, and draw in the best suitor.  If they don’t, after a certain amount of times, or if their parents chose, their lives are forfeit – at the mercy of the king.  They don’t get to chose their suitor – they especially don’t get to chose a suitor of the same sex.

Sophia is not like the other girls.  Not only does she question the official Cinderella story, she would rather marry her childhood friend Erin, not some male suitor.  When the ball arrives, and drama ensues, Sophia runs, and finds herself in Cinderella’s mausoleum.  From there, the story of Cinderella and Prince Charming starts to unravel.  Did Cinderella really get her happily ever after, or is there more to the story than what the official story says?  Who is the real evil in the story?

I feel that this book needs a TW right away for spousal abuse.  It’s not much, but it’s there, and may affect some people.  That does NOT take away from the story, and it actually makes such a point for the story.

This is a love story, a fractured fairy tale, and an alternative perspective to what we think we know.  I absolutely loved this book.  Sophia was a believable protagonist, who didn’t want to hide who she was or conform to the expectations that were made for her.  She wants to live her life.  Erin is a believable friend, a character who denies who she is because of the expectations put upon her, and ignores what she wants because everyone tells her to.  I hurt for Erin, but at the same time, I shake my head for her.  There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, and a lot of things I didn’t expect, which I loved and kept me reading.  It is a great book, a great representation for the LGBTQIA+ population who have been forced over time to conform to societal views of heteronormative relationships and expectations.  I hope it gets the reception it deserves.

The Cousins – Book Review

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy via NetGalley.  The Cousins will be published on Dec. 1st, 2020.

cousinsI’m just going to say first off – another wild ride from Karen M. McManus.  She has become my go to for mystery thrillers without being scary/horror, which I just can’t do.

Three cousins, Milly, Audrey, and Jonah, have been sent letters by their grandmother, stating that she wants to meet them and have them work at her island resort for the summer.  Their parents were all disowned by their grandmother over 20 years ago, and the cousins barely know each other.  All accept the offer, as they really had little choice from their parents, and head to the island to work and meet their grandmother.  However, things aren’t really as they seem when they arrive.  Everyone on the island seems to be keeping secrets, including the cousins.  As they continue to live on the small island resort, the cousins learn how very mysterious their grandmother and family really are, and secrets start to come out into the open.

I enjoyed this book.  I have come to really appreciate Karen M. McManus’ style of writing that keeps me engaged and tangled in the web she weaves – I’m intrigued, I’m curious and want to read more, and in this book I was uneasy to the point where I had to put it down for two days to get over a particular part of the book.  (I don’t do well with cringe situations, especially in books… that’s just a me thing though.)

Overall, this is another winner.  You are kept guessing until the end, and once you get there you realize all the clues you missed throughout the book.  A solid read.

The Great Gatsby – Graphic Novel Adaptation – Book Review

**NOTE – This is the first review that I have done that is not specifically for my students.  I was able to acquire several ARC ebooks through various publishers after participating in School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog.  I joined the site NetGalley and am trying my hand as a book reviewer.  Forgive me as I learn the ropes.**

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaption

This book is a graphic take on the classic Great Gatsby.  Set in the 1920’s, we follow the narrator, Nick, as he moves around in the circle of Jay Gatsby, a man of wealth and mystery, and the love of Jay’s life, the very married Daisy Buchanan.  Love, excess, lies, and even murder are all themes in this enduring novel.

First, the positives about the graphic novel version – the artwork.  Beautiful.  I really felt like I was in the 1920’s with this beautiful work.  The colors are lovely, and stylistically beautiful.  

The “negatives” – and I use that lightly.  I felt it was missing something.  There is always a gap that seems to occur when translating a classic text to a graphic novel.  I got the main parts of the story, but had I not known the story beforehand, I don’t know if I would have understood it all.  

Overall, it’s a quality graphic novel, and I will be putting it in my library.

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight – Book Review

**copied from my school blog:

I'm not dyingI’m Not Dying with You Tonight

Authors: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Sega

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight is an intense book that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions! The story is told from two points of view: Campbell, a senior who has just transferred due to her mom moving to a different country and is just trying to survive the year, and

Leah, a fashionista who is popular in school and a great boyfriend. These two are as different as can be, race aside (Campbell is white, Leah is black). But after shots are fired

when they are both at the Friday night football game, and police basically lock down the area, their lives are turned around. For better or worse, they have to get along and work together to survive the night.

This book is packed with emotion and conflict. The two characters are completely different, and I appreciate how the authors portrayed each. There is still so much racial tension in the US and world today that makes this book an important read. oh, and the intensity of the later half of the book will make you not want to put it down! An important read.

Someone I Used to Know – Book Review

**copied from my school blog:

someoneiusedSomeone I Used to Know

By: Patty Blount

TW – afterwards of a sexual assault

The story flips perspectives between two teens – Ashley, a sexual assault survivor, and her brother, Derek.

Ashley was raped by a football player who was playing a scavenger hunt game played by most of the school football team. Derek was a part of that team, and also played the scavenger hunt game. Ashley deals with the aftermath of her assault, where she has become a pariah in her town, where the boy who raped her only got a two year sentence, and where her brother Derek can’t understand and cope with what happened to his sister.

This book is powerful. Truly. This book is timely to the current #metoo movement, survivor guilt and shame, family aftermath, and the difficulties of the court system, where the victim is forced to prove and relive their trauma over and over. The part I really thought was good was reading about the perspective of the brother, Derek. He played the game with most of the rest of the football team, he made choices that affected Ashley’s life, and he has to deal with those consequences.

This is a book that everyone should read. There is not a direct scene of rape, but there are allusions to it that may be difficult for those who have experienced trauma to read. I really believe more boys should read this, to truly understand a girl’s perspective on guys, dealing with aggression and toxic masculinity.

Furyborn – Book Review

**copied from my school blog:


By: Claire Legrand

Book 1 of The Empirium Trilogy

Furyborn follows the lives of two different characters – Rielle and Eliana. Their lives are set 1000 years apart.

Rielle is a lady in the court of Celdaria. She is also more powerful than any other human alive. It is only when her closest friend, the crown prince, is attacked, that her multiple powers are shown. That makes people fear her, as there is a prophecy about two queens – a sun queen and a blood queen.

Eliana lives 1000 years after the fall of Queen Rielle. She is known as the Dread or Orline, a bounty hunter. She believes that she is practically invincible – she can’t get hurt. She deals with the violence in her life as a way for her and her family to survive.

This book is a wild ride. I will admit at times it is difficult to follow at first, as you are reading the stories of two different lives, 1000 years apart, simultaneously. But, once you start getting into the book, you start to understand how Rielle and Eliana’s lives are intertwined. This is definitely a book that made me mad when it ended – because it is a trilogy and I wanted more of the story now!!!! Book two is called Kingsbane, which is out currently (and on the to be ordered list), but the untitled third book won’t be out until 2020.

Monday’s Not Coming – Book Review

**copied from my school blog:

mondaysnotMonday’s Not Coming

By: Tiffany D. Jackson

Monday Charles is missing, but no one seems to notice or care, except for her best friend Claudia. When Monday doesn’t show up to school, Claudia starts to ask questions. But everyone keeps dismissing things, Monday’s mother won’t give her a reasonable answer, and Monday’s sister April seems to be hiding something. Monday’s missing. Why won’t anyone care?

If you want a realistic fiction book that will just not let you put it down, this book is IT. As an educator, it killed me inside. As a human, I died a little. And I cried. That’s how much this book affected me. This is a short review, but to say more would take away from reading the book, in my opinion. This is a forthcoming book, on order, so make sure you’re one of the first to check it out when it comes in! This won’t stay on the shelves for long!

The Cruel Prince – Book Review

**copied from my school blog:

cruelprinceThe Cruel Prince

by Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air, Book 1

This story follows the life of Jude, a human girl who lives in the Faerie lands. At a young age Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne were taken by a man named Madoc, who murdered their parents. This is because Vivi is actually part faerie, and the daughter of Madoc. They are raised in the High Court of Faerie as part of the Gentry, though they are human and no true relation to the Faerie. Their humanness is their weakness. They learn the rules they have to in order to survive.

Of Jude’s antagonists is Prince Cardarn, the youngest Prince of Faerie. He and his friends are cruel to Jude and Taryn, but Jude does not relent to their cruelty. Jude wants to belong in Faerie, human or not. But when it comes down to it, her humanness is what gets her in the most trouble.

Holly Black does not disappoint when it comes to her characters or story. Jude is a strong female protagonist. The Prince is a conundrum that you think you understand, but as soon as you think you do, something changes. The land of Faerie is gorgeously detailed, and makes you feel as if you are there. The cliffhangers of the first book make you want to grab the second, The Wicked King, right away! With the series finale coming out in November of 2019, this is a must read!!!!

Lies You Never Told Me – Book Review

**Copied from my school blog:

36547961Lies You Never Told Me
by Jennifer Donaldson

I just want to say beforehand wow.  Just wow.  This book is powerful, mysterious, confusing, frustrating, has a lot of what the #$%^ moments, and a realization at the end that will blow you away.  It’s that good.  It’s so good I shared it with some of my top readers, and word got out, so I had to quickly add it into the system for people to check out.

This book has two narrators: Elyse and Gabe.  At first, I will admit, this book is confusing at the start.  It did take me a bit to really get into it because of that.  But, as you start reading, you realize that you’re reading two different stories, two different perspectives.  And that’s ok!  Really, I promise.  As you read more into the story, you realize that Elyse starts going down a path she shouldn’t, and Gabe is with a girl who is popular but not right for him, but he feels trapped.  The twists and turns in their story really take you for a rollercoaster ride.  But that last drop – the reveal – will truly blow you away.  Completely unpredictable, in a world where so many books and movies are overly-predictable.  This is a total amazing read.  Get past the first couple of chapters where you feel confused by the storylines and I guarantee you’ll get sucked into Elyse’s and Gabe’s stories.  This is a 5/5 star book if I ever read one.