Stay inside. Order books. Watch your author visits get canceled. Cry. Rage. Tea. We get it. These are trying times. But it’s a new month, one that hopefully brings us closer to lifted quarantines. Without much further ado, let’s jump into some first impressions.
BOOKED ALL NIGHT URGES YOU TO STAY HOME WHEN POSSIBLE! WASH YOUR HANDS! AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE! AND CONTINUE SOCIAL DISTANCING!
The Best Week That Never Happened by Dallas Woodburn
Pub: April 21, 2020
What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?
After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.
But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?
Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.
I love the “woke up and have no idea what’s going on,” trope. I’m most intrigued to see how the relationships pan out. It sounds like there will be as much pain as there was when I read They Both Die at the End. So I think I will add this one to my TBR.
The Loop by Ben Oliver
Life inside The Loop-the futuristic death row for teens under eighteen-is one long repetitive purgatory. But when news of the encroaching chaos in the outside world reaches the inmates and disorder begins to strike, the prison becomes the least of their worries.
It’s Luka Kane’s sixteenth birthday and he’s been inside The Loop for over two years. Every inmate is serving a death sentence with the option to push back their execution date by six months if they opt into “Delays”, scientific and medical experiments for the benefit of the elite in the outside world. But rumors of a war on the outside are spreading amongst the inmates, and before they know it, their tortuous routine becomes disrupted. The government issued rain stops falling. Strange things are happening to the guards. And it’s not long until the inmates are left alone inside the prison.
Were the chains that shackled Luka to his cell the only instruments left to keep him safe? He must overcome fellow prisoners hell-bent on killing him, the warden losing her mind, the rabid rats in the train tunnels, and a population turned into murderous monsters to try and break out of The Loop, save his family, and discover who is responsible for the chaos that has been inflicted upon the world.
It sounds very Hunger Gamesy to me. And I loved The Hunger Games. Specifically the Delays sound like adding your name for extra meals and such. But believe me when I say I perked up at “experiments for the benefit of the elite.” I know, it’s tropey, but I love it. Okay? Love it. And did I see GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED RAIN!? Because that’s awesome. Excuse me. Mama needs to put this on her TBR.
Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.
I wonder how the stolen lives work. Like, will there be a bleeding effect that gets in the way of her normal every day life? I hope so.
Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcran
‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’
When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.
Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?
In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other …
The back copy is… confusing? Teenage ruler. Got it. Corrupt uncle. Yep. Bankrupt kingdom. Uh huh. Who is Xania’s father exactly? Because if Xania is Lia’s cousin and she’s there to kill family then that’s a big draw for me! But everything else… sounds like books I’ve read before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for some cliches and tropes. But this just doesn’t feel original enough to stand without them.
So This Is Love by Elizabeth Lim
What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper? Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella attempts a fresh start, looking for work at the palace as a seamstress. But when the Grand Duke appoints her to serve under the king’s visiting sister, Cinderella becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king-and the prince-out of power, as well as a longstanding prejudice against fairies, including Cinderella’s own Fairy Godmother. Faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom, Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present . . . before it’s too late.
So the other Twisted Tales all start the same way as the movies, minus the opening Disney logo, of course. I do like the idea behind them: what if that one key point in the story doesn’t happen? I especially love dark re-tellings of the classics and I really want to know who the villains of the past and present are (other than Lady Tremaine and her ugly children). I think this one deserves a chance.