Review & Book Launch: The Home for Unwanted Girls

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Title: The Home for Unwanted Girls
Author: Joanna Goodman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Source: Purchased
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

Review:

I loved this book! I had high expectations because I loved Joanna’s previous book, The Finishing School (that was also one of the first books I reviewed on my blog!).

The narrative switches between Maggie’s and Elodie’s perspectives. At first, I preferred Elodie’s story, because her experience at the orphanage was so new to me. But then I got hooked on Maggie’s story.

This story was heartbreaking, but it is an important story that needed to be told. I didn’t know about these orphanages that turned into psychiatric hospitals in Quebec. The story also had twists that I didn’t see coming, with some romance along the way. I highly recommend this book!

I was invited by HarperCollins Canada to attend the book launch at Ben McNally Books last week in Toronto. It was a great experience! Here are some photos from the event:

 

This book is amazing! Have you read it yet?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – April 30

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

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This weekend I finished The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. It was great!

 

What I’m currently reading:

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I’m currently reading Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope.

 

What I’m reading next:

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Next I will be reading Leading Lines by Chantel Guertin.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – April 29

Hello Everyone!

So after a year of blogging, I’m going to change things up slightly. I will not be posting a book review on Sundays. I will post my weekly wrap-up and the meme Sundays in Bed with… It has been a great year, but reading a book a day has been hectic. I will still be reviewing books Monday to Saturday because I like the challenge, but I will be slowing it down just a bit so I can sleep sometimes…

Here’s my weekly wrap up!

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did weekly 2 blogging memes:

I went to a book launch for Joanna Goodman’s awesome new book The Home For Unwanted Girls. I will be posting about that event tomorrow, as well as reviewing the book!

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed with…

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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 have a cold, so all I want to do it read in bed. I’m curled up with The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

What book are you in bed with today?

Review: The Stone Heart (The Nameless City #2)

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Title: The Stone Heart (The Nameless City #2)
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: First Second
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself.

To complicate things further, Kaidu is fairly certain he’s stumbled on a formula for the lost weapon of the mysterious founders of the City. . . . But sharing it with the Dao military would be a complete betrayal of his friendship with Rat. Can Kai find the right solution before the Dao find themselves at war?

Review:

 

I liked this book much more than the first one.

Since the characters were introduced in the first book, the action began right away. There were conspiracies and betrayals, which made the story very exciting.

We also learned more background information on many characters such as Rat. This explained how she came to be in the position she’s in.

There was a big cliffhanger at the end of the story, so I can’t wait to see what happens when the third installment comes out in the fall!

Review: Alex and The Other

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Title: Alex and The Other
Author: Philippa Dowding
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Beware the haunted bathroom mirror at school. Beware strangers in overcoats and dark glasses, whispering in the trees. But most of all, Beware The Other …
Alex is the loneliest boy at school. Not only are his parents away (again), but his beloved cat is missing. Plus, one morning his reflection in the haunted bathroom mirror at school starts talking to him. Then two mysterious strangers in overcoats and sunglasses appear, whispering the same message, over and over: Beware The Other …

But, worse than all that, is the girl with the braid. She looks just like Alex. She’s better than him at everything, and they even share the same name. Soon, she’s the only Alex anyone can see, at school, at work, even at home. In no time, it’s almost as though the real Alex never existed at all.

Can the real Alex outsmart his evil twin and get his life back before she replaces him for good? And more importantly, who is the real Alex, anyway?

Review:

I loved this story!

It’s a very short middle grade book. I read it in about an hour. It is part of a series of weird stories, but I believe they can each be read on their own. I haven’t read the previous books, and I wasn’t missing anything.

This story was really creepy. Pigs can be strange creatures, and after reading this book, I’ll never look at them the same way! (You never know if an alien has taken over the pig’s body!) It really was a spooky, weird story, but it was very entertaining because I didn’t know what was going to happen.

Alex learns a lot throughout the story. People who he thought were bad at first sight ended up helping him, and the ones he thought would help ended up trying to harm him. He also learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes you can’t do everything on your own, and it’s good to ask for help. These are both important lessons for kids to learn too.

I loved this story! It is great for young readers and adults!

Review: Love Songs & Other Lies

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Title: Love Songs & Other Lies
Author: Jessica Pennington
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Review:

I really enjoyed this YA story.

I liked the concept of Virginia traveling around on the tour bus with her friends. This kind of band tour is completely new to me, so I liked learning about it, especially the behind-the-scenes aspects of a reality show. It’s unfortunate for Vee that the bus was completely full of guys. And it’s also unfortunate that her best friend lied to her to get her there.

I liked Virginia too, and it’s too bad that her friends were jerks. I didn’t like Logan. He had an awkward place in the story as Vee’s friend/sometimes fake boyfriend. At first I didn’t like Cam, but he grew on me. Even though he made bad decisions, I don’t think he was a bad guy.

I recommend this story for anyone looking for a light YA romantic read.