Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – August 9

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 9 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… Lobizona

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading Lobizona by Romina Garber.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Spring Covers

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Spring Colours, so I chose some Spring Covers. Here’s my list:

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

2. The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

3. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

4. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

5. Kristy’s Big Day by Gale Galligan, Ann M. Martin

6. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1)

Title: No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1)
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too. 

Review:

Bree Beckham moved to Little Bridge Island in the Florida Keys after a bad break up and some startling discoveries about her family. A hurricane is due to arrive on the island, which is causing many residents to evacuate, but Bree thinks she can wait it out. She goes to her boss’s home, where an extended family lives in a mansion high above sea level and safe from the storm. The storm is much worse than expected, leading to power outages and destroying the bridge that connects the island to the mainland. Bree volunteers to help look after the pets that were left behind, but she needs the help of Drew Hartwell, who has the reputation of being the island’s sexy heartbreaker.

I haven’t read many books about hurricanes, and I have never experienced one. It seems like a scary experience, that can bring unexpected destruction. The hurricane in this story added some extra tension that isn’t usually seen in a romance novel. Bree is naive in thinking the storm won’t affect her very much, since it ends up taking out the power and destroying the only way on and off the island. This storm made the stakes much higher for the characters, but it also threw Bree and Drew together in a way that wouldn’t be possible without it.

I liked how the title “no judgments” was woven through the story. People made many misguided judgments throughout the story. Drew was judged as staying with many different women on the island because his truck was parked at various houses every night. Bree kept saying that the pet owners who left their pets behind when they evacuated shouldn’t be judged for their decision. Bree’s mother was also a famous judge. Despite these reminders not to judge others, characters still made judgments that weren’t necessary.

There are a couple of content warnings for this story. There was a brief scene of animal abuse and a sexual assault was described. These warnings can often make me dislike a book, but these were mild scenes that weren’t offensive. These scenes were short and resolved quickly.

I really enjoyed this romance!

What to read next:

Bridal Boot Camp (Little Bridge Island #0.5) by Meg Cabot

Well Met (Well Met #1) by Jen DeLuca

Other books in the series:

  • Bridal Boot Camp
  • No Offense

Have you read No Judgments? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Hidden Gems

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Hidden Gems. Here’s my list:

1. The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

2. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

3. The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari

4. Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

5. Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

(All book covers from Goodreads)

If you’d like to do this list too, consider yourself tagged!

Did you make a Top 5 Saturday list?

Review: Harvey Holds His Own (Harvey Comes Home #2)

Title: Harvey Holds His Own (Harvey Comes Home #2)
Author: Colleen Nelson, Tara Anderson (illustrations)
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to life returns with his tail wagging and his nose sharp, ready for a new adventure

Harvey the West Highland Terrier, hero of Harvey Comes Home, is back with his beloved Maggie. He is also back at Brayside retirement home, where he and Maggie now volunteer along with their friend Austin. There Maggie is drawn to a new resident, Mrs. Fradette, who tells stories of learning to fix cars as a twelve-year-old during the flood of 1950. Mrs. Fradette, with her bold fashion and love of poker, doesn’t fit in among the beige-cardigan-wearing, bridge-playing ladies of Brayside, but she doesn’t seem to care. Maybe that’s why Maggie likes her so much. Since seventh grade began, Maggie hasn’t been fitting in well with her friends, either.

Harvey has a problem of his own. He can smell an intruder in his yard, and he needs to find it. He is so intent on the nighttime fiend that he almost doesn’t notice how worried Austin is about his grandfather, who has been Brayside’s custodian for longer than Harvey has been alive. It seems like the retirement home is planning to give the job to a younger man, an injustice that Austin can’t let pass unchallenged.

In intertwining perspectives, Colleen Nelson tells four stories of individuals standing firm for what they know is right: Josephine Fradette, insisting on her right to become a mechanic; Maggie, certain that her friends’ expectations shouldn’t define who she becomes; Austin, indignantly campaigning against ageism; and Harvey, who has found his home at last and is determined to protect it.

Review:

Maggie still holds a grudge against Austin, who found her dog Harvey and kept him for a while when Harvey got lost before searching for his owner. When Maggie’s class is given a volunteer assignment, Maggie decides to volunteer at Brayside retirement home, where Austin helps his grandfather, who is the caretaker there. Harvey is allowed to go visit the retirement home too because the residents love him. Austin takes Harvey for a walk one day where they discover a newborn puppy who had been abandoned. This time Austin brings the puppy right to the animal shelter to get help. Then, Austin finds a job posting for the caretaker position that his grandfather has. He’s worried that his grandfather is going to be fired, so Austin has to try to find a way to save his grandfather’s job. Meanwhile, Maggie enjoys spending time with the residents and learning their history, while avoiding the drama with her friends at school.

This story was so cute. I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Harvey Comes Home was sad, since Harvey was missing from his owners and there was a death at the end of that story. This one was more uplifting and cheery, which I liked much more.

There are three alternating perspectives in this story. I love that parts that are from Harvey’s perspective. He spends a lot of time sniffing things and cataloguing them for later. It’s great to see this dog perspective. The two other perspectives are from Maggie’s and Austin’s points of view. Austin’s is in first person, since he was a main character in the first book and this one. Maggie didn’t have a big role in the first book, so her chapters are written from the third person point of view. It made a distinction between hers and Austin’s chapters, even though they were both main characters. However, it worked since it is a continuation of the first book.

This is a great story! It could be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Harvey Comes Home.

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson, Tara Anderson (illustrations)

Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

Other books in the series:

Have you read Harvey Holds His Own? What did you think of it?

The Friday 56 – No Judgments

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The Rules are:

  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  • Post it. And share your link.
  • It’s that simple.

I chose No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot.

Here is my line from page 56 in my copy:

“There was about as little Floridian as you could imagine in the Hartwells’ home, except for a large parrot cage that I passed in the living room on my way toward the back of the house, from which I could hear the music. The parrot greeted me with a cheerful ‘Hello, Joe!’ as I made my way past.”

Did you make a post for the Friday 56?

Review: To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Review:

In Regency England, James and Violet met during her debut into society and instantly fell in love. They had a whirlwind romance and married right away. Now it is five years later, and they haven’t spoken for the past four years. They are still married, but they had a mysterious fight that ruined their relationship. Even though they aren’t close, when Violet gets the news that James has had an accident while horseback riding, she rushes across the country to be by his side. On her way there, she meets him, perfectly healthy and on his way home. Violet is outraged and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine by faking an illness. This sparks a competition between the lovers, with each trying to prove how much they dislike the other.

I love stories set in this time period, the early nineteenth century in England. The characters didn’t act in the way that characters in a book written during that time period would behave. There was lots of gossip, affairs, and sex. It was fun to see how James and Violet kept competing to prove how much they didn’t like each other. This included faking illnesses and having affairs.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. The characters were witty and quick with their responses. I especially liked Violet’s friend Diana. She was a widow who liked to speak her mind and had to know all the gossip. I’m so excited to see that she will be featured in a sequel.

This is a great Regency romance!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Have you read To Have and to Hoax? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – August 6

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Lies Lies Lies

Title: Lies Lies Lies
Author: Adele Parks
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daisy and Simon’s marriage isn’t what it seems… 

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. They’re a happy little family of three.

So what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes–Daisy’s used to it. She knows he’s just letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And their happy little family of three will never be the same again.

In Lies, Lies, Lies, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in free fall in a mesmerizing tale of marriage and secrets.

Review:

Daisy and Simon want to have another child so their six-year-old daughter Millie can have a sibling. When they go to a fertility clinic, a doctor tells Simon that he could never have children, so he realizes Millie must not be his biological daughter. Instead of asking his wife about it, Simon drinks and becomes an alcoholic. His drinking gets so out of control that he loses his job, and causes an accident that changes all of their lives.

This was a slow burn thriller. There was a lot of time building up to the plot twists. Sometimes it took too long to get to a new development, with the characters reflecting on the past before an obvious plot twist or reveal. If some of the reflection was cut and the space between plot twists was shorter, it would have been a more suspenseful story.

There were some disturbing scenes that need some content warnings. There was alcoholism, abuse, rape, and animal abuse. These things really escalated at the end of the book. The final chapters were quite intense, but also more graphic than the beginning of the book.

Unfortunately this slow burn thriller didn’t work for me, but I’m sure other readers will like it.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

About the author:

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Have you read Lies Lies Lies? What did you think of it?