Sundays in Bed With… The Heirloom Garden

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 Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman’s heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books on Your TBR From Someone Else’s Recommendation

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 on Your TBR From Someone Else’s Recommendation. Here’s my list:

1. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

2. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

3. The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory

4. Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

5. The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

6. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

(All book cover images from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen

Title: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen
Author: Laura Brennan
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs and women of English history. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe she ruled at the conception of social modernization, living in the shadow of the infamy of her parents reputations and striving to prove herself an equal to the monarchs who had gone before her.

This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life both before and after she ascended to the English throne in late 1558. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life, this book sets out to explain Elizabeth’s decisions, both as a queen and as a woman.

Amongst the events examined are the death of her mother, the role and fates of her subsequent stepmothers, the fate of Lady Jane Grey and the subsequent behavior and reign of her half sister Mary Tudor, along with the death of Amy Dudley, the return of Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland, the Papal Bull and the Spanish Amanda.

Review:

This book talks about important events that shaped Queen Elizabeth I’s life. These include the marriages of her father, Henry VIII, her feud with Mary Queen of Scots, and her battle with King Philip I of Spain.

I was disappointed that this book showed things that happened around Elizabeth, rather than her actual life. The book is supposed to be about events that shaped her life, but there was not much reference to Elizabeth’s actual life. The explanations of how these events affected Elizabeth’s life were quite short compared to the long descriptions of what happened. Almost the entire first half of the book was about Henry VIII and his wives. He was Elizabeth’s father so he greatly shaped her life, but she didn’t live with him at that time, so she wasn’t actually present for most of the book.

There was also a lot of the author’s opinion in the book, rather than just stating the facts. There were many parts where she talked down to the reader. For example, she said that people used paintings to see what other people looked like because they didn’t have cameras. If you’re reading this book about Tudor England, it’s presumed that you know they didn’t have cameras hundreds of years ago. She didn’t need to talk down to the reader to explain things like that.

This was a disappointing book that talked about events that happened during the life of Elizabeth I, but not her actual life.

Thank you Pen and Sword for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Mary Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Have you read Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Books Under 300 Pages

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Books Under 300 Pages. Here’s my list:

1. Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

2. Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

3. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

4. Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura

5. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

(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: Rival Magic

Title: Rival Magic
Author: Deva Fagan
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A young wizard’s apprentice discovers that the best magic is not the biggest or the brightest, but the magic unique to you, in this cinematic middle grade fantasy in the tradition of Kiki’s Delivery Service and The School for Good and Evil.

Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she’s worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia’s path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated.

But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master’s innocence—and their own—the rivals must become allies. As their island province teeters on the brink of rebellion, they’ll face ancient spells, vengeful mermaids, enchanted turnips, voice-stealing forests, and one insatiable sea monster. 

Review:

Antonia is a wizard’s apprentice, but she isn’t very good at magic. One night when she is practicing magic, the new kitchen maid finds her. It turns out that she can do the spell better than Antonia. The kitchen maid, Moppe, becomes the next apprentice because her magic abilities are so strong. Then, the wizard they work with is accused with treason, leaving Antonia and Moppe to run away and look for evidence to prove their master’s innocence. They end up on a journey through the island to find the crown that belongs to the rightful leader.

This story had all the elements of a great children’s fantasy novel. There were magical creatures, such as a talking ferret who was sent to spy on their wizard master. There were dancing turnips, enchanted mermaids, and a nightmare forest. There were also betrayals and deception.

The magical world is controlled by words. The wizards learn words that give them different spell abilities. There are thousands of different words to create spells. That means that they can’t do a spell until they have learned how to say the word for it. This is a problem for Moppe who cannot read. It gave her a unique challenge that she had to find a way to overcome. Since I love words, this was a fascinating world to me.

This was a really good fantasy story!

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

What to read next:

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Have you read Rival Magic? What did you think of it?

Bookish Friday – Places to Read

This is a weekly meme hosted by Laurie Reads and Niffler Reads. Every Friday, they post a list of bookish things based on the prompt they provided. The prompts for Feb to May can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Places to Read. Here’s my list:

  • In Bed
  • On the couch
  • In my backyard
  • At the coffee shop
  • At the beach
  • On a plane
  • In the car (audiobooks)
  • In a waiting room (i.e. doctor’s office)

Did you make a list for Bookish Friday?

Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)

Title: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider

·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

Review:

Trisha is an acclaimed neurosurgeon, so DJ Caine brings his sick sister to be treated her. Trisha can treat her, but at a high cost. Meanwhile, DJ is a chef who gets some important jobs with Trisha’s well-known family. Trisha and him get off on the wrong foot when they first meet, with Trisha coming off as prejudiced. A series of secrets mixes them up with each other and threatens their relationships with their families.

This is an amazing adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Even though the same general events happen as in the original book, things are slightly twisted so it isn’t an exact copy of Pride and Prejudice. DJ, the Darcy character, is an orphan who struggles to look after his sick sister. Trisha, the Elizabeth character, is from a wealthy, royal Indian family. In this story, “Darcy” is the poorer character, while “Elizabeth” is wealthy.

The storyline is flipped from the original Pride and Prejudice, so the story was still a surprise. Since some of the characteristics were given to the opposite characters, it wasn’t obvious what would happen. Some of the events were similar, but treated in a slightly different way. For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s sister is chronically ill. In this story, DJ’s sister has a brain tumor. Darcy’s sister is vulnerable and ill in both versions, just in different ways.

I really got to know all of the characters, so I’m excited to read the next book, which comes out in a few weeks!

What to read next:

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Have you read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – April 23

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 This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil #3) by Emily Suvada.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cat is desperate to find a way to stop Cartaxus and the plague in this gripping finale to a series New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable!’”

Cat’s hacking skills weren’t enough to keep her from losing everything—her identity, her past, and now her freedom. She’s trapped and alone, but she’s survived this long, and she’s not giving up without a fight.

Though the outbreak has been contained, a new threat has emerged—one that’s taken the world to the brink of a devastating war. With genetic technology that promises not just a cure for the plague, but a way to prevent death itself, both sides will stop at nothing to seize control of humanity’s future.

Facing her smartest, most devastating enemy yet, Cat must race against the clock to protect her friends and save the lives of millions on the planet’s surface. No matter the outcome, humanity will never be the same.

And this time, Cat can’t afford to let anything, or anyone, stand in her way. 

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

Review: Camp Spirit

Title: Camp Spirit
Author: Axelle Lenoir
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.

Review:

Elodie is forced to go to a summer camp as a councilor the summer before she starts college. Other classmates that she can’t stand are also going, but they’ve gone every year and it is Elodie’s first time attending. Elodie discovers that this camp isn’t anything like she thought it would be, with the creepy camp leader, a camp theme song filled with references to satan, and wild red headed girls who ask inappropriate questions. She finds herself learning about the dark and supernatural sides to this camp.

I never went to a summer camp, but I love stories about the creepy things that can happen there. With a bunch of imaginative kids cooped up in a camp, surrounded by a dark forest, supernatural events often occur in these stories. This story reminded me of the Lumberjanes series, but this one had more mature themes.

This book was set in Quebec in the 90s. There were lots of timely references, such as the Nirvana songs Elodie liked to listen to on her Walkman. Even though it was set more than twenty years ago, a lot of the events could have been happening today (not including the supernatural parts). The only difference was the kids didn’t have cellphones to play around with, but they probably couldn’t use them at a camp anyway. I liked that unique setting.

I really enjoyed this camp graphic novel!

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

What to read next:

The Avant-Guards, Vol.1 by Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes (illustrator)

Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo

Have you read Camp Spirit? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – April 22

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 The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor. The expected publication date is May 26, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Now:

Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.

Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.

Then:

Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.

What books are you waiting on this week?