First Lines Friday – December 27

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months. Really. Just the best. Every moment presented itself to her like a gift and said, Here I am, another perfect moment, just look at me, can you believe how lovely I am?

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell.

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Goodreads synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 

Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? 

Who still has secrets to hide?

Have you read Then She Was Gone? What did you think of it?

Review: What’s Up, Maloo?

Title: What’s Up, Maloo?
Author: Geneviève Godbout
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs.

No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back.

Simple text and adorable art convey the power of friendship over a gloomy mood in Geneviève Godbout’s charming debut as both author and illustrator.

Review:

Maloo is a kangaroo who loves to hop. One day, he stops hopping and only walks. His friends are concerned and figure out a way to get him to hop again.

This story shows that sometimes people don’t feel well, and don’t behave the way they usually do. Maloo’s friends came together to help him. This shows kids that it’s okay to feel bad sometimes. Everyone has bad days, even kangaroos.

The images were beautiful. They looked like pastel illustrations. I really liked them.

This is a great children’s story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Small Things by Mel Tregonning

Have you read What’s Up, Maloo? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – December 26

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 Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A middle grade debut by author, Erin Bow, about a young girl who defies her family’s expectations in order to save her brother and become an eagle hunter.
It goes against all tradition for Aisulu to train an eagle, for among the Kazakh nomads, only men can fly them. But everything changes when Aisulu discovers that her brother, Serik, has been concealing a bad limp that risks not just his future as the family’s leader, but his life too.

When her parents leave to seek a cure for Serik in a distant hospital, Aisulu finds herself living with her intimidating uncle and strange auntie — and secretly caring for an orphaned baby eagle. To save her brother and keep her family from having to leave their nomadic life behind forever, Aisulu must earn her eagle’s trust and fight for her right to soar.  Along the way, she discovers that family are people who choose each other, home is a place you build, and hope is a thing with feathers. 

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

Review: Christmas Shopaholic

Title: Christmas Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: The Dial Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic! 

The brilliant laugh-out-loud festive novel from the Number One bestselling author.

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It’s always the same – Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.

And now it’s even easier with online bargain-shopping sites – if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!

But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky’s parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she’ll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong?

With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper – surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .

Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?

Review:

This was one of the funniest books I’ve ever read!

There was loads of shopping in this story, but there were also a lot of other Christmas traditions, too. I really liked that everyone had their own storyline, including Becky’s sister, her daughter, and even another parent at school. Since every character had their own plot, it felt like they were real people.

I laughed out loud so many times while I was reading it. There were so many clever punchlines that developed throughout the story. Some of them only came out close to the end, but they were built up through the story. This was a hilarious and clever story.

I loved this book! I’ll have to reread it next Christmas too!

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

What to read next:

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

Have you read Christmas Shopaholic? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – December 25

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. The expected publication date is January 7, 2020.

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Stumptown, Vol. 1

Title: Stumptown, Vol. 1
Author: Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth
Genre: Graphic Novel, Crime
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Dex is the proprietor of Stumptown Investigations, and a fairly talented P.I. Unfortunately, she’s less adept at throwing dice than solving cases. Her recent streak has left her beyond broke – she’s into the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast for 18 large. But maybe Dex’s luck is about to change. Sue-Lynne, head of the Wind Coast’s casino operation, will clear Dex’ debt if she can locate Sue-Lynne’s missing granddaughter. But is this job Dex’s way out of the hole or a shove down one much much deeper?

Review:

This was a great story!

I liked the main character, Dex. She was kind of a mess in her personal life, with racking up debt and being disorganized, but she put her younger brother first. She also worked hard to solve the mystery of where Charlotte had disappeared.

The story moved quickly. It was a detailed plot, with many characters. I didn’t guess what had happened to Charlotte. This was a great crime story.

I really enjoyed this introduction to the series.

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

What to read next:

Stumptown, Vol. 2 by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth

Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn, Claire Roe

Have you read Stumptown, Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Thankful, but I decided to do another topic, which is Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree. Here’s my list:

1. Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart

2. Harley Quinn: Mad Love by Paul Dini, Pat Cadigan

3. Doctor Who: The Women Who Lived by Christel Dee, Simon Gurrier

4. Calling All Witches! The Girls Who Left Their Mark on the Wizarding World by Laurie Calkhoven, Violet Tobacco

5. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

6. Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

7. This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson

8. Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

9. Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

10. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2) by Mackenzi Lee

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Review: The Almost Sisters

Title: The Almost Sisters
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality – the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. 

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy – an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows. 

Review:

This story had romance, comic books, and a murder mystery. It was so good!

I loved the comic and geeky references in this book. Leia (who is named after Princess Leia in Star Wars) was a graphic novel artist for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. She made lots of references to different comics. Her one night stand at a fan convention is what sparks the events in the story. These kinds of references aren’t usually in books categorized as Women’s Fiction, so this was a nice surprise.

Race relations were a big part of the story. Leia is pregnant with a baby who will be half black. Her grandmother lives with her best friend, who is a black woman. The town that her grandmother lives in is divided in many ways between black and white people, including the churches they attend and where they live. It was problematic in many ways. This is an important part of the story.

I really enjoyed this story!

What to read next:

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Have you read The Almost Sisters? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – December 23

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:

This weekend I finished The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – December 22

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 8 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?