Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – December 8

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?

Sundays in Bed With… The Gown

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 The Gown by Jennifer Robson.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it.

“Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news of Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books You Want to Give as Gifts

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 Books You Want to Give as Gifts. Here’s my list:

1. The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

2. The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

3. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

4. American Royals by Katharine McGee

5. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

6. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

(All book cover images from Goodreads)

Did you write a #SixforSunday post? What was your list of Books You Want to Give as Gifts?

Review: Guts

Title: Guts
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears. 

Review:

This book talks about Raina’s experience with IBS and anxiety as a child. I could relate to that, because I have both IBS and anxiety. It is something that isn’t talked about much, especially in children’s books, but it is very common.

Even if readers can’t relate to Raina’s sick stomach, they could relate to her being stressed out in class or the stresses that her friends had. One of her friends was moving away, so she was worried about that. It was a different kind of stress than what Raina had, but still relatable to young readers.

I really liked this book. I wish it was around when I was a kid. I’m excited to see what Raina writes next!

What to read next:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

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

Stacking the Shelves – December 7

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I was approved for two books on NetGalley from Simon and Schuster Canada:

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

The Secret Hours (Deverill Chronicles #4) by Santa Montefiore

I was approved for seven books on NetGalley from Penguin Random House Canada:

Teddy Bear of the Year by Vikki VanSickle, Sydney Hanson

What’s Up, Maloo? by Geneviève Godbout

Me and Banksy by Tania Lloyd Kyi

Fairy Unicorn Wishes (Fairy Mom and Me #3) by Sophie Kinsella

Vote for Me! by Ben Clanton

Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal

Megabat is a Fraidybat by Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada and Penguin Random House Canada for these books!

What books did you get this week?

Review: Finding Christmas

Title: Finding Christmas
Author: Karen Schaler
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the writer of the Netflix sensation, A Christmas Prince,and Christmas Camp, the Hallmark movie and novel, comes a heartwarming new Christmas story, Finding Christmas, showing how sometimes the detour in your journey is the path to true love.

With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.

This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.

But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.

When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.

When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…

Review:

This is a perfect holiday romance.

I loved the premise for the book. Emmie created a Christmas scavenger hunt for her boyfriend, which would lead him to their Christmas vacation, but the clues were intercepted by someone else. She ends up spending time with Sam, instead of her workaholic boyfriend.

Even though the story was predictable, it was a comforting read. The characters were stereotypical, with the workaholic boyfriend who doesn’t have time to spend with his girlfriend and the fun new guy who’s willing to try anything new. However, the story was still a lot of fun.

I loved this book! It’s perfect for this Christmas!

What to read next:

Christmas Camp (Christmas Camp #1) by Karen Schaler

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

First Lines Friday – December 6

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:

“The Royal Astologer, Baphen, squinted at the star chart and tried not to flinch when it seemed sure the youngest prince of Elfhame was about to be dropped on his royal head.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898-2.png

Goodreads synopsis:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power. 

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. 

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Have you read Queen of Nothing? What did you think of it?

Review: Topside

Title: Topside
Author: J.N. Monk, Harry Bogosian
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way.

When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet’s core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet’s dangerous, unruly surface. Soon she’s wandering through deserts, riding on the back of giant beasts, and cutting deals with con artists and bounty hunters. Meanwhile, agents of the core are in hot pursuit. J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian (co-creators of the web-comic StarHammer) present a wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way. 

Review:

This was a fun sci fi graphic novel.

Jo is a maintenance worker in the core of the planet she lives on. She makes a mistake one day that will take a long time to get the supplies to fix. Instead of waiting, she goes to the surface of the planet, or the topside, to get the supplies. She ends up leading a bunch of people on a chase around the planet.

There were some funny parts to the story. When the workers were chasing Jo to reprimand her for making the mistake, they had to keep stopping to get approval for different tasks. They couldn’t pursue her without permission. That was funny, because every time they caught up to her, she got away because they had to wait for permission.

I didn’t like the colours used in the graphics. The colours were good when the characters were on the top side, but when they were in the core, the colours were monochromatic. That made it difficult to tell what was actually happening in the graphics, since everything was the same colour.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty, Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante

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

TBR Thursday – December 5

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 Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exactcircumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

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

Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power. 

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. 

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Review:

This was an amazing conclusion to the Folk of the Air series!

I love Holly Black’s writing. She paints a clear picture of the faerie land, without dragging on. Some fantasy series can have long descriptions that distract from the storyline, but there is just enough description to understand what is going on.

I also love how the real world is included in this story. The girls travel back and forth between the faerie world and the human world. It’s funny to see these two groups interact. It also makes the story relatable, because it is occasionally set in our contemporary world.

There were thrilling twists throughout the story. Almost every time the characters made a plan, something happened that changed it. It made the story unpredictable because nothing happened the way they thought it would. I had no idea how it would end, right up until the final chapter!

This book definitely lived up to the hype! I loved it!

What to read next:

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Queen of Nothing? What did you think of it?