Cover Image: We Were Kings

We Were Kings

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Member Reviews

This is my first book by this author. I enjoyed it. It was very intriguing right from the start. It kind of reminded me of the movie “Clue.” There are so many possible villains and at one point they end up all together in one room and the fireworks start. There were a lot of surprises and twists. I liked that.

I thought the writing style flowed well. I enjoyed statements like this: “Empathy and anger might be unlikely friends, but they occasionally hang out and go for drinks, you know?” (location 590).

I liked the main characters, Nyla and Sam. I was waiting for Beth’s physicalness to play a part in the story since they made such a point about it at the beginning. I would read more books by this author.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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After a living a lifetime knowing her mother's best friend is on death row, a new law has accelerated that execution date and Nyla has decided it's time to now more about the case. She never expected to find the tangled web of lies and deceptions that span generations. Sometimes looking for the skeletons in your family closet can lead to discoveries of the worst kind.

A great story with plenty of twists and turns and revelations. This was a well-built mystery. Most of the characters are easy to understand their motivations, though I would have liked a little more relationship building/connection written into the story earlier on between Nyla and Beth.  Overall an appealing read for fans of the genre.
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"She is a girl. She is scared. She is regretful. She is stuck. She is brave. She is a deliverer of freedom. She is fire. She comes alive, only to die again, and this time her dying hurts."

If you like A Good Girl's Guide to Murder or Truly Devious, let me introduce you to the latest YA mystery that will leave you in shock.

18-year-old Nyla King's mum's best friend is being executed in 30 days for killing her aunt. But as Nyla slowly learns more about the case alongside her new friend, Sam, she quickly realises that Frankie might be innocent after all.

We Were Kings was so fast-paced and captivating, thanks to a couple of shocking surprises. I flew through it as I just needed to know what was going to happen next. It's the kind of book that will literally keep you guessing until the last page.

Nyla was a strong protagonist that reminded me of Pip in AGGGTM, especially when she sets up a video channel to chronicle her progress in trying to prove Frankie's innocence.

So, if you like your YA with a side of mystery, I highly recommend reading We Were Kings.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Fiction and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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I was a bit nervous about picking this one up. Since I loved Dresscodes for Small Towns and Four Three Two One, but I was not a big fan of her previous release, The June Boys. But I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read this ARC, since it was so good and I was so invested!

In this book Frankie will be sentenced to death, 20 years after she was convicted for the murder of Cora King. She has 30 days to live. We follow Nyla, and later Sam, who want to figure out what really happened 20 years ago. They do this with the help of Nyla’s YouTube channel, so this research becomes really big!

The characters were really interesting, not necessarily likable, but they were really understandable! Like why they made certain decisions, and did certain things. And I liked that those weren’t always the smartest are best decisions.

I really enjoyed the plot, there kept happening things that really made me want to continue to read. I just needed to know what was going to happen next, what they would find out next and what they would do with this information!

The addition of YouTube, and the worldwide reactions on this (but helpful and rude) were really nice. Makes it more of the current time?!

I was shocked at many parts and I enjoyed it!

Courtney Stevens really set a good atmosphere in this book. With this island, where everyone knows everyone (who lives there), and all the tourist who come to visit to see were this murder has happened. It was good!

I definitely recommend this one if you want a YA mystery!
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A 20 year old mystery, one woman who will be sentenced to the death family, and an elite family with secrets. For as long as Nyla can remember her mother has been obsessed with Francis Quick, a woman who was sentenced to the death penalty for killing her friend. When it is announced that Francis will be put on the accelerated death penalty and secrets about Nyla’s mother comes out to reveal that Nyla is part of the King family... and that her mother is actually the sister of the best friend that Francis killed Nyla’s entire life is put into question. Now she will begin to unravel the mystery of what truly happened and along for the ride is a handsome country island boy named Sam who together, they create a youtube channel called Death Daze where they will investigate the events and hopefully save Francis from the death penalty because there are more secrets to the King family and someone out there is trying to keep the events of the past a secret even if it means killing Nyla and Same. This was a fun mystery read, it started off good but I kind of lost traction by the end but overall an okay read and the mystery was intriguing. 

*Thanks Netgalley and Thomas Nelson--FICTION, Thomas Nelson for sending me an arc in exchange for na honest review*
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We Were Kings by Court Stevens is an intriguing young adult thriller with a hint of mystery and the fear of the unknown. A well-written rea that is sure to send readers on an emotional roller-coaster with all the twists and turns with an unexpected ending. I really enjoyed this book and the author's writing and fabulous!
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3.5/5
Thanks to netgalley for the ARC in exchange of an honest review, the start was very good but from a 25% of the book it just didnt felt right to me, the romance between Nyla and sam wasnt placed correctly in the plot, qnd i struggled to get to a 70% of the book where it finally started to get more fast paced and then ending was good, didnt shock me but good.
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I have been a bit burned out and disappointed by thrillers lately (YA and adult), but this one was really enjoyable! I read this super quickly and enjoyed the mix of family drama and mystery. The writing style got a bit to get used to, but that didn't bother me too much. I had a lot of fun trying to guess all the twists and figure out the mystery, and I think Court Stevens did a really good job with the storyline. Highly enjoyable, recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for granting me this e-arc!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Nyla's mom is obsessed with Frankie Quick, the woman who was charged for the murder of Cora King. The death penalty has sped up, and Frankie has 30 days. When Nyla finds out that her mom's real name is Beth King, and that Cora is her mom's sister, she realizes that her mom might be right about Frankie not being the killer... but there's 30 days before Frankie is gone for good. If Frankie didn't kill Cora, who did?

This book was extremely interesting and had me until the very end. The very twist was a bit too much, but the rest was done perfectly. I was able to guess some things before they were revealed, but I think that just tells how well they were written. This book was lots of fun. Definitely recommend for fans of "A Good Girl's Guide to Murder" who wanted a more loveable main character. Nyla is the coolest.
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This is a book that is hard to classify - it's a family drama and a mystery and it has some appeal to the YA market with a burgeoning romance between the young protagonist and her new friend, but it's really not any of those things. Honestly, the book reminded me, at least at the end, of nothing more than a great Scooby Doo episode (though it was a bit more bloody than those cartoons got, but otherwise...). The ending was complete and everything was wrapped up neatly. There is no ambiguous ending or questions left at the end of this book - if your patrons want something that has an ending that they can count on, this would be a good suggestion. It's also written by a woman who works at a library, though there isn't much in the book about libraries in general, it's an interesting point of trivia. All told, I enjoyed the read, though I am more a fan of books with ambiguous, complex endings, this one seemed pat and easy to me, but I'm 100% sure there are folks out there who will LOVE it.
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I got really surprised by We Were Kings, as it completely caught me off guard. I requested it on Netgalley based off the Death Daze concept, and although the Internet investigation aspect wasn't all that I expected, I got completely pulled in the plot.

So, we have a woman, Frankie, in jail for murdering one of her friends, 20 years ago. But now, her sentence is being accelerated, and she is set to die in a month. Beth, Nyla's mom is Frankie's best friend, and the victim's sister. So when Nyla's interest in the case leads her to conclude that maybe Frankie isn't guilty, she sets on an investigation to solve this 20 year old murder, and dives in her influent family's history.

I wasn't sure I would enjoy a murder mystery, but I completely did! The writing style did a lot for me. It's not too adult and complicated, neither too teeny and cliché. The tension builds throughout the pages, and even if I don't like to, I couldn't help but try to figure out who was guilty. The tension really got me, which had me reading the book in less than 6 hours! This is FAST.

Nyla was also a great main character, and I thought everyone around her flowed beautifully. Sam, her official sidekick on the investigation, but also Nyla's mom, and the rest of the King family. It was like a soap opera meets Youtube. There's so much family history to uncover, and so many secrets to dig out on the Kings, I couldn't believe it. This is also why I loved the book. The Kings and the islanders are all so intricately linked through various bonds! It was absolutely delicious to discover how this and that person was related to another, and seeing the lies that survived 20 years come to light.

I mean, seriously, the action is everywhere, and so are the plot twists. There are two major plot twists, and even though I saw one coming, the other was a real surprise. The author never lets us breathe, without overdoing it, which was so nice! We Were Kings was a great surprise, and I can recommend it to YA mystery fans with my eyes closed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I sadly couldn’t get into this book. The writing style was not for me. It’s hard for me to adapt to the short sentence, first person POV and I struggled to figure out what was going on a good portion of the story.
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*5 Stars!!

Relief comes for some when it's announced that The Accelerated Death Penalty Act has just PASSED meaning those on death row now have 30 days left before they face the needle. But for some the news is devastating especially for Beth who's best friend Francis Quick was sent to prison 18 years ago for murdering her best friend Cora. 

Beths daughter Nyla has always felt second best to Frankie having had to spend most of her life moving around and never able to make any long lasting friends. When the news breaks about the ADPA  journalists appear on their doorstep bringing surprises and secrets. With surprising secrets revealed Nyla decides to go back to where it all started and find out what really happened in the months leading upto Cora's murder. Along for the ride is Sam who Nyla instantly feels a connection with.

It quickly becomes apparent that the evidence which originally lead to Frankie's conviction was circumstantial at best. Things take a dangerous turn when another body is discovered in the same cave Cora was found in similar circumstances. With the eyes of the world on her because of her YouTube channel Death haze going international the pressure is on now more than ever with Frankie's time running out Nyla has to convince her mother not to run as  Frankie's life depends on it. 

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Its one of them books which you can't put down and with lots of twists and turns that you didn't see coming. I thought I knew who the killer was then the big reveal happened and I didn't even see it coming at all. The ending was amazing shocked the hell out of me!!  This was the first book that I've read by Court Stevens but definitely not the last. 

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review.*
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

When it comes to reading YA fiction, thriller/mystery books are usually my least favourite genre. I suppose it’s because I find them slightly predictable sometimes and the ones I’ve read in the past use stereotypical genre tropes. Having said that, I am so glad I decided to read We Were Kings as it defied all my expectations. I was gripped from the first page. 

The book follows protagonist, Nyla, who is on a mission to uncover dark family secrets whilst trying to save a woman facing the death penalty. There are a lot of characters in this book  but I feel they are introduced at a steady pace so you don’t lose track of who is who. The plot is very fast paced with twists and turns that I never anticipated. If this was a series on Netflix I would have binged it in a day! 

One of the great aspects of this narrative was that although it centres around Nyla’s ambition to uncover hidden truths, there is an overarching moral question surrounding the death penalty itself. Lots to discuss and unpack within these pages!
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Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend, Cora King, and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act has passed giving Frankie thirty final days to live. Surprising everyone, one of the King family members sets out to challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Frankie Quick.

The at-first reluctant but soon-fiery Nyla and her unexpected ally—handsome country island boy Sam Stack—bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel, Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. But who? The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?

Best advice: Don’t go to family dinner at the Kings’ estate. More people will leave in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Frankie Quick, she’s a gem . . . even if she’s guilty.

Ohh the storyline was fascinating, deep, intense, thrilling, and shocking! Honestly, as much as I needed to know how it ended-I didn’t want it to! I needed more!! Overall this was a fun, exciting book that gave me several hours of escapism and enjoyment.
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one of my main issues with this book was the characters. like, i feel like the characters were barely developed and that i think that the characters could have had so much growth with it all and had so much developed with this heavy topic. but, i mean, the characters all kind of blended together and didn't really have a different voice from the other people and i think that they never had a big enough plot / personality for me to like this book and actually get behind the characters. and like nyla is like supposed to be 17/18 years old, where she honestly read like an older mid-twenties character, which it was so stupid and i really hated. 

but, i also think that the whole mystery wasn't that good. like i feel like you can kind of tell when this is going and that it was just kind of pushing you into this way, which you can honestly tell when it is happening. but, i feel like the build up was honestly kind of cool and epic and that it was most of the story, it was this really big build up, but i feel like the ending was kind of a mess. 

but, i also think that this book had a lot of plot holes. like with all these different incidents and plots brought up, that it honestly felt off and it took away from this book cause of all the plot holes. and i mean, it was just kind of annoying and got on my nerves, since a lot of these plot points were just brought up for page stake and nothing else. which got to be on my nerves and i really hated it.
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3.75, rounded up. I didn’t LOVE it, but I’m not sure why. It felt long to me, and I think it took a while to get to the good stuff. The plot was compelling and kept me reading…the characterization was so-so and the dialogue seemed belabored. It just moved slowly unless major action was happening. Some great twists, though!
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Well this was fun and quite entertaining! I can see many a teen girl loving this! Thanks for the chance to read it!
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thank you so much NetGalley for the earc! I’m completely obsessed with this ya mystery (rare for me for this genre!!) 

the story follows Nyla as she slowly discovers who she is and who her family is. her mother has been a huge advocate for her best friend, Frankie, as she sits in jail for the murder of Cora King. Not only is she in jail, but she’s set to be executed due to the accelerated death penalty laws. I don’t wanna say what puts into motion Nyla’s search for the truth (bc spoilers & also OMG I was shocked!) but she finds herself digging into the background of her mother and the strange goings on of her hometown. Nyla, along with help from a local boy Sam, start a YouTube channel on the case called Death Daze. they do interviews and find evidence as to what’s really going on.

what I loved most about this book were the reveals. the first for me being the reason why Nyla and her mother are connected to Frankie & her case. the next happened about 50% in (which is not my favorite but didn’t affect my enjoyment) I loved how slowly clues were revealed and connections made. the King family was soooo interesting with their connections and how they functioned. I think what really did it for me was THE ENDING! double & triple OMG moments 🤯🤯🤯 I gasped out loud! 

just read the book its sooo good!
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💭My review 🐻
Wow Wow WOW!! This book was absolutely awesome and so interesting. The mystery in it is pretty cool and I love the setting of the story. This book was a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. I very much enjoyed the different perspectives of this murder mystery and it had many twists and turns just the way I like it and you didn't see them coming (even better). Oh, and you can't forget that ending!!! so perfect. I really enjoyed this book and the author's writing and fabulous!. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for this incredible ARC in exchange for my honest review
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