One Of Us Is Next by Karen McManus @DelacortePress @PenguinTeenCa

Genre: YA, Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.
If you’re a fan of:

✔ Pretty Little Liars
✔ Multiple POV’s
✔ Plot twists


True, Jellyfish.  He did get caught.
But his inspiration lives on in Bayview.
And he’d fucking love the game I’m playing right now.
-Darkestmind

Always take the dare!

It was a tad slower than the first book in some areas (which you need to read, if you haven’t), but I still found myself not wanting to put the book down and enjoying it!

There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming, which I love! Cause it’s becoming pretty rare for me in the thriller genre.

I only guessed half the answer with this one, and even then, I still doubted myself!

Well done Karen! 👏👏👏

Have you read it yet? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!!

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

[#GraphicNovel] Gotham High by Melissa De La Cruz & Thomas Pitilli

GENRE: Graphic Novel, Young Adult

MY RATING: ⭐⭐

Artwork: 5 ⭐

Storyline: 2.5 ⭐

PUB DATE: 04. 07. 2020

**UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT**

I’m gonna be the first to address the elephant in the room! Did anyone else not see a problem with Bruce Wayne being Chinese?! Seriously..his name may as well have been changed to Bruce Wang.

Let me break it down to you:

– Bruce Wayne is Chinese or half Chinese. His Uncle Alfred is also Chinese but with a white last name (Pennyworth)?

-Selina Kyle is Spanish

-Ivy is Korean

While I appreciated the cultural diversity and all for ethnic representation, this was SO not the way to do it! I kinda hated this version to be honest. Allow me to explain.

First of all, I’m Asian..so the idea of a Chinese Batman is just weird & wrong! Even for me!! I grew up with Bruce Wayne always being white, and should have stayed that way in my opinion.

The story itself was good, but I had a hard time getting past the cultural changes and stereotypes. Had this been an entirely different cast of characters, that just so happened to take place at Gotham High, then sure. This would have worked.
But I don’t think this will appeal to any of those who are fans of the original dark knight.

Who ever gave the green light on this version..what the fuck were you smoking?!!

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus @DelacortePress @writekmc

Genre: YA, Thriller

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Whose lives are you ruining next Simon?”

I’ve never watched The Breakfast Club, so for me, this was more like Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale.

No one likes Simon. Everyone has a secret and each one is a suspect.. Talk about the perfect mystery!

It’s been a while since I’ve been lead on a wild goose chase!

Nice job Chief! 👏👏

You kept me on my toes the WHOLE time! Even when I kinda figured it out halfway through, I still second guessed myself!!

Karen McManus does an amazing job at throwing curve balls (pun intended), sending you down a rabbit hole. I highly recommend this one for my YA and thrill seekers! 😉

I can’t wait to read One Of Us Is Next!

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

[#Audiobooks] Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore

Genre: Magical Realism, Time Travel

My Rating: DNF

Narration: ⭐⭐⭐

Story: ⭐⭐

I’m definitely an unpopular opinion (which isn’t surprising). I had been wanting to read this for weeks, and finally had an opportunity to get my hands on it through Scribd, which I’m loving at the moment!

Everyone on Instagram has been raving about it, and seems to be loving this one..except me! This was like finding out Santa and the tooth fairy aren’t real! Incredibly disappointing!

I don’t know if it was because audio was a poor choice for this one, or the story just wasn’t good, or a bit of both. But I thought Oona was whiney and annoying! The romance was cheesy in my opinion, and I was mainly just bored!

It’s a shame, cause I was sold on the whole time travel aspect.

Ugh..another overhyped book. 🤦‍♀️ I tried!

Have you read this one? Did you love it like everyone else?

Just because life might be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.

It’s new years eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or follow her heart and remain at home in Brooklyn to be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the new year begins, Oona feels lightheaded, woozy, and it’s not from the champagne. At the stroke of midnight Oona is torn from her life and everyone she loves, finding herself in her 51 year old body thirty-three years into the future. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that will with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?

Hopping through decades, and a lifetime Oona Out of Order is a surprising, magical novel that explores the power of love, the bonds of family, and the wonders of life.

Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton @BlackstoneAudio @PenguinRandomCa

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

My Rating:

Narration: 4.5 ⭐
Story: 4 ⭐

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Audio: Blackstone Audio

🎶 Havana, oh na-na. Half of my heart is in Havana, oh na-na. 🎶

I did it! I completed a whole book on audio! It might sound stupid, but I’m quite proud of myself right now. I don’t typically do audio cause I zone out after a while, but I think I learned the trick to staying focused!! 😜

Cleeton paints such a vivid picture of both past and present day Cuba, I could literally imagine myself being there.

Marisol’s chapters were a bit slow and dull at times, but I liked the alternating time periods and really enjoyed Elisa’s POV.

To be honest, I normally hate insta love, but the story was beautifully written that I was able to look past it.

I haven’t agreed with majority of the books I chose to read which were Reese’s picks, but I actually enjoyed this one! I’m looking forward to reading the next 2 books!

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Oh, The Places You’ve Been by Ben & Mary Everard #KidLit

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Munchkin Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Did you ever throw a coin or penny into the fountain and make a wish when you were a kid?

I did! So it was only natural that this cute little story reminded me of those times.

This fun story tells the tale of a little girl named Harper and the places her penny has been.

The kids enjoyed the illustrations and liked all the rhymes. It was also a bit of a history lesson for the little ones since Canada eliminated the penny back in 2013.

Do you like stories that rhyme?

[#BlogTour] The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi @alkajoshi @HarperCollins #MIRABooks

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

Hey Book sharks! Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Henna Artist.

After fleeing an arranged marriage as a fifteen year old to an abusive older man, Lakshmi Shastri steals away alone from her rural village to Jaipur. Here, against odds, she carves out a living for herself as a henna artist, and friend and confidante to wealthy, upper caste women. Surviving by her wits and talents, she shares her knowledge and keeps their secrets in a delicate balancing act amid the changing 1950s social mores brought about by Indian Independence. Vulnerable to opinion and innuedo, at any point her intentions might be misunderstood, and she could fall prey to a damaged reputation or worse. Still Lakshmi manages to save to build a house with the dream of bringing her aging parents here to live with her and redeem herself in their eyes. Then one day her ex-husband arrives in town seeking her out with a girl in tow, a sister she did not know she had. Her sister is both passionate and reckless by nature, and all of a sudden the caution that Lakshmi has carefully cultivated is threatened, along with her livelihood. But she preseveres, and in doing so manages to lift up the others around her with her success.

Vulnerable to opinion and innuedo, at any point her intentions might be misunderstood, and she could fall prey to a damaged reputation or worse. Still Lakshmi manages to save to build a house with the dream of bringing her aging parents here to live with her and redeem herself in their eyes. Then one day her ex-husband arrives in town seeking her out with a girl in tow, a sister she did not know she had. Her sister is both passionate and reckless by nature, and all of a sudden the caution that Lakshmi has carefully cultivated is threatened, along with her livelihood. But she preseveres, and in doing so manages to lift up the others around her with her success.

Lakshmi’s tenacity and spirit see her join the ranks of other brave women of historical fiction, such as Farough Farrokhzad in Jasmin Darznik’s Song of a Captive Bird.With gorgeous prose and urgent themes, the novel will captivate readers of Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter, and those who seek a narrative both compelling and necessary.

BUY LINKS

Harlequin

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

Kobo

Prologue

September 1955

Ajar, State of Uttar Pradesh, India

Her feet step lightly on the hard earth, calloused soles insensible to the tiny pebbles and caked mud along the riverbank. On her head she balances a mutki, the same earthenware jug she uses to carry water from the well every day. Today, instead of water, the girl is carrying everything she owns: a second petticoat and blouse, her mother’s wedding sari, The Tales of Krishna her father used to read to her—the pages fabric-soft from years of handling—and the letter that arrived from Jaipur earlier this morning.

When she hears the voices of the village women in the distance, the girl hesitates. The gossip-eaters are chatting, telling stories, laughing, as they wash saris, vests, petticoats and dhotis. But when they spot her, she knows they will stop to stare or spit at the ground, imploring God to protect them from the Bad Luck Girl. She reminds herself of the letter, safe inside the mutki, and thinks: Let them. It will be the last time.

Yesterday, the women were haranguing the Headman: why is the Bad Luck Girl still living in the schoolteacher’s hut when we need it for the new schoolmaster? Afraid to make a sound for fear they would come inside and pull her out by her hair, the girl had remained perfectly still within the four mud walls. There was no one to protect her now. Last week, her mother’s body had been burned along with the bones of other dead animals, the funeral pyre of the poor. Her father, the former schoolteacher, had abandoned them six months ago, and, shortly after, he drowned in a shallow pool of water along the riverbank, so drunk he likely hadn’t felt the sting of death.

Every day for the past week, the girl had lay in wait on the outskirts of the village for the postman, who cycled in sporadically from the neighboring village. This morning, as soon as she spotted him, she darted out from her hiding place, startling him, and asked if there were any letters for her family. He had frowned and bit his cheek, his rheumy eyes considering her through his thick glasses. She could tell he felt sorry for her, but he was also peeved—she was asking for something only the Headman should receive. But she held his gaze without blinking. When he finally handed over the thick onionskin envelope addressed to her parents, he did so hastily, avoiding her eyes and pedaling away as quickly as he could.

Now, standing tall, her shoulders back, she strolls past the women at the riverbank. They glare at her. She can feel her heart flutter wildly in her breast, but she passes, straight as sugar cane, mutki on her head, as if she is going to the farmers well, two miles farther from the village, the only well she is allowed to use.

The gossip-eaters no longer whisper but shout to one another: There goes the Bad Luck Girl! The year she was born, locusts ate the wheat! Her older sister deserted her husband, never to be seen again! Shameless! That same year her mother went blind! And her father turned to drink! Disgraceful! Even the girl’s coloring is suspect. Only Angreji-walli have blue eyes. Does she even belong to us? To this village?

The girl has often wondered about this older sister they talk about. The one whose face she sees only as a shadow in her dreams, whose existence her parents have never acknowledged. The gossip-eaters say she left the village thirteen years ago. Why? Where did she go? How did she escape a place where the gossip-eaters watch your every move? Did she leave in the dead of night when the cows and goats were asleep? They say she stole money, but no one in the village has any money. How did she feed herself? Some say she dressed as a man so she wouldn’t be stopped on the road. Others say she ran off with a circus boy and was living as a nautch girl, dancing in the Pleasure District miles away in Agra.

Three days ago, old man Munchi with the game leg—her only friend in the village—warned her that if she didn’t vacate her hut, the Headman would insist she marry a widowed farmer or demand she leave the village.

There is nothing here for you now,” Munchiji had said. But how could she leave—a thirteen-year-old orphan girl with no family or money?

Munchiji said, “Have courage, bheti.” He told her where to find her brother-in-law, the husband her older sister had abandoned all those years ago, in a nearby village. Perhaps he could help her find her sister.

Why can’t I stay with you?” she had asked.

“It would not be proper,” the old man replied gently. He made his living painting images on the skeletons of peepal leaves. To console her, he’d given her a painting. Angry, she’d almost thrown it back at him until she saw that the image was of Lord Krishna, feeding a mango to his consort Radha, her namesake. It was the most beautiful gift she had ever received.

Radha slows as she approaches the village threshing ground. Four yoked bulls walk in circles around a large flat stone, grinding wheat. Prem, who cares for the bulls, is sitting with his back against the hut, asleep. Quietly, she hurries past him to the narrow path that leads to Ganesh-ji’s temple. The shrine has a slender opening and, inside, a statue of Lord Ganesh. Gifts are arranged around the Elephant God’s feet: a young coconut, marigolds, a small pot of ghee, slices of mango. A cone of sandalwood incense releases a languid curl of smoke.

The girl lays Munchiji’s painting of Krishna in front of Ganesh-ji, the Remover of All Obstacles, and begs him to remove the curse of The Bad Luck Girl.

By the time she reaches her brother-in-law’s village ten miles to the West, it is late afternoon and the sun has moved closer to the horizon. She is sweating through her cotton blouse. Her feet and ankles are dusty; her mouth dry.

She is cautious, entering the village. She crouches in shrubs and hides behind trees. She knows an alone girl will not be treated kindly. She searches for a man who looks like the one Munchiji described.

She sees him. There. Squatting under the banyan tree, facing her. Her brother-in-law.

He has thick, oily, coal-black hair. A long, bumpy scar snakes from his bottom lip to his chin. He is not young but neither is he old. His bush-shirt is spotted with curry and his dhoti is stained with dust.

Then she notices the woman squatting in the dirt in front of the man. She is supporting her elbow with one hand, her forearm dangling at an unnatural angle. Her head is completely covered with her pallu, and she is talking to the man in a quiet whisper. Radha watches, wondering if her brother-in-law has taken another wife.

She picks up a small stone and throws it at him. She misses. The second time, she hits him in the thigh, but he merely flicks his hand, as if swatting away an insect. He is listening intently to the woman. Radha throws more pebbles, managing to hit him several times. At last, he lifts his head and looks around him.

Radha steps into the clearing so he can see her.

His eyes widen, as if he is looking at a ghost. He says, “Lakshmi?”

Excerpted from The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, Copyright © 2020 by Alka Joshi. Published by MIRA Books.

AUTHOR BIO

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a marketing consultant, and an illustrator. Alka was born in India, in the state of Rajasthan. Her family came to the United States when she was nine, and she now lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Henna Artist is her first novel. Visit her website and blog at thehennaartist.com

Visit her website and blog at thehennaartist.com

SOCIAL:

Author Website: https://thehennaartist.com/

TWITTER: @alkajoshi

FB: @alkajoshi2019

Insta: @thealkajoshi

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18257842.Alka_Joshi

Netflix Binge: Love Is Blind #LoveIsBlindNetflix

It’s been a while since I’ve watched reality TV, but I freaking loved this show and binge watched it!

The whole concept of it is genius! Not being able to see one another with any outside influences or distractions..

I mean, let’s be real. I think we’re all guilty of judging how the person looks on some level.

Ok, so let’s talk about the couples..who we loved and who we didn’t! I’ve been itching to talk about it!

**If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading now, cause I’m about to ruin it for you if you haven’t watched it!**

LOVED..

I was rootin for Lauren and Cameron the whole time! I really loved them each individually and together. They were definitely a great match for each other and I was SO happy Lauren said yes!!

HATED..

I really didn’t like Jessica! I hated how she threw herself at Barnett behind Mark’s back! She’s incredibly shallow and it’s no wonder she’s still single to be honest. I do have to say, I was hoping she would change and make the right choice when she picked Mark. But I just couldn’t get past some of the things she said and did. I was upset for Mark! He seems like an incredibly sweet guy and didn’t deserve that.

Even after the fact, he still stuck up for her! I hated that actually! I would have been pissed after finding out her feelings for Barnett and not being honest about it! I fucking hate liars!! And she’s a big fat liar liar, pants on fire!! 🤬

Mark. You deserve soo much better than that!

THE COUPLES..

Amber & Barnett

I was shocked that Barnett ended up saying yes. He was a dog and had some red flags from the get-go. Definitely the kind of guy you wanna steer away from.

I know..Amber wasn’t any better with her debt and wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. Woman. Get a fucking job! Am I right?!

She may have been a little annoying at times, but I do give her respect. She kept it real the whole time and I felt she deserved to be happy. And in all fairness, she did say she was working during the reunion episode.

Damian & Giannina

Not gonna lie. It bothered me how degrading G could be. I cringed.

Buutt..she’s also young and has a lot of growing up to do. So I was really glad to see how far she’s come along during the reunion.

I did think she had a sweet and sensitive side though. So I’m glad her and Damian worked things out!

Ken & Kelly

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly..*shaking my head* another shallow one! When will these bitches learn?!! (Umm..never!)

OK, but in all fairness, she was straight up about it and didn’t really hide it! But in the end, it was like, why do that to the poor guy?!! Why not just tell him you were having second thoughts?!

I’m so glad Ken found someone else in the end.

Was it just me, or did it seem like he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder at the reunion, by feeling the NEED to say he found the most amazing person?? I dunno. It felt kinda forced to me. He coulda just said he was with someone and is happy. End of story.

Diamond & Carlton

Kudos to Carlton for coming out! 👏👏👏

I wish he woulda done it sooner though. Like when they were in the pods. I think he could’ve avoided that major blow out he had with Diamond. True colours would have come out way sooner too.

You live and you learn.

Who was your fave couple? Least faves? Let me know in the comments!

[#Audiobooks] Sadie by Courtney Summers @macmillanaudio

Genre: YA, Mystery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Format: Audiobook

I’m going to be a bit of an unpopular opinion with this one, which happens to me pretty frequently when it comes to hyped up books.

Now I’m normally not an audio kind of reader, but I decided to go that route with this one. I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed all the podcast chapters and wished the entire story was like that.

What didn’t work for me:

– For some reason, I just wasn’t enjoying the chapters with Sadie. They kinda threw off me track. The narration felt too angry the whole time, and slow at others. Those chapters just weren’t working for me.

– The ending..I was like, “whaat? That’s it?!” Personally, I hate these sort of endings where it’s left unresolved and open-ended.

There’s a lot of heavy topics in this book: abuse, pedophilia & rape. They were dusturbing, but I commend the author for telling this story.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad read. I just didn’t love it.

I do have to say though, I think I’m starting to have a newfound appreciation for audio!

Have you read it? Did you love it like everyone else?

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

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