Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:
The Stranded by Sarah Daniels
Welcome to the Arcadia.
Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near the coastline of the Federated States–a leftover piece of a fractured USA.
For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. It is a world of extreme haves and have nots, gangs and make-shift shelters.
Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all.
When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever…(Credit: Sourcebooks Fire)
I normally don’t like dystopian fiction but this one is very intriguing and compelling with very detailed world building. I’m immensely enjoying this so far! If you want to see me talk to the author, Sarah Daniels about her debut, find the registration link here.
You Don’t Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine by Yeva Skalietska
Yeva Skalietska’s story begins on her twelfth birthday in Kharkiv, where she has been living with her grandmother since she was a baby. Ten days later, the only life she’d ever known was shattered. On February 24, 2022, her city was suddenly under attack as Russia launched its horrifying invasion of Ukraine. Yeva and her grandmother took shelter in a basement bunker, where she began writing this diary. She describes the bombings she endured while sheltering underground and her desperate journey west to escape the conflict raging around them. After many endless train rides and a prolonged stay in an overcrowded refugee center in Western Ukraine, Yeva and her beloved grandmother eventually find refuge in Ireland. There, she bravely begins to forge a new life, hoping she’ll be able to return home one day. (Credit: Union Square & Co.)
I am finding this so heartbreaking to read but of such vital importance to read a first account of a person’s experience of war and as dismal it is to read, we truly don’t know what war is unless we actually experience and Yeva gives us a glimpse of that here.
The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard
Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College–and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his five young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city’s Central Psychiatric Hospital.
Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enroll in St. John’s and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed … and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer–and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who’d been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.
When a young woman’s body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess–but there’s only one person he’s prepared to confess it to.
The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she’s worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn’t set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.
Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all …(Credit: Blackstone Publishing)
After having a discussion with Howard about her other great books, I needed to read something else by her while I wait for her 7th book and she said this one was good one to start with! Who am I to argue with an international bestselling author?
Love In Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello
Trey Anderson is popular and handsome, and he works at his family’s beloved Black-owned bookshop, Wonderland. Ariel Spencer is quirky, creative, and in need of a holiday temp job to cover her tuition for The Artists’ Studio. An opening at Wonderland is the answer . . . and the start of a hate-to-love journey for Trey and Ariel. When Trey and Ariel learn that Wonderland is on the brink of shutting down, can they get over their differences and team up to stop the doors from closing before the Christmas Eve deadline ? (Credit: Simon & Schuster Ltd)
I am halfway through this rom-com and I’m loving every minute of it! I haven’t had this fun reading a YA romance in a long time. Books and the UK always reel me anytime!
What I Plan to Read Next:
The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson
When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend’s struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn’t easy. Bell River’s literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.
And in Maggie’s world, book rules are made to be broken.
To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.
Maggie will have to decide what’s more important: the books that formed a small town’s history, or the stories poised to change it all. (Credit: Sourcebooks Landmark)
People Person by Candice Carty-Williams
If you could choose your family…you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.
Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about.
She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated. (Credit: Gallery/Scout Press)
The Society For Soulless Girls by Laura Steven
Ten years ago, four students lost their lives in the infamous North Tower murders at the elite Carvell College of Arts, forcing Carvell to close its doors.
Now Carvell is reopening, and fearless student Lottie is determined to find out what really happened. But when her roommate, Alice, stumbles upon a sinister soul-splitting ritual hidden in Carvell’s haunted library, the North Tower claims another victim.
Can Lottie uncover the truth before the North Tower strikes again? Can Alice reverse the ritual before her monstrous alter ego consumes her? And can they stop flirting for literally fifteen seconds in order to do this? (Credit: HarperCollins Publishers)
Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard
Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind? (Credit: Pan Macmillan)
Kemosha of the Caribbean by Alex Wheatle
In 1668, fifteen-year-old Kemosha is sold by a slave owner to a tavern keeper in Port Royal, Jamaica–the “wickedest city on earth.” She soon flees from a brutal assault and finds herself in the company of a mysterious free Black man, Ravenhide, who teaches her the fine art of swordplay, introduces her to her soul mate, Isabella, and helps her win her freedom.
Ravenhide is a privateer for the notorious Captain Morgan aboard his infamous ship, the Satisfaction. At Ravenhide’s encouragement, Morgan invites Kemosha to join them on a pillaging voyage to Panama. As her swashbuckling legend grows, she realizes she has the chance to earn enough to buy the freedom of her loved ones–if she can escape with her life . . .(Credit: Black Sheep)