Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – May 9

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 8 weekly blogging memes:

I also posted a Penguin 10 Fall Preview:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… To Love and to Loathe

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 To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #2) by Martha Waters.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Pastel Coloured 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 Pastel Coloured Covers. Here’s my list:

1. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

2. In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby

3. A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen

4. Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein

5. The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

6. Shipped by Meredith Tate

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Trouble in the Stars

Title: Trouble in the Stars
Author: Sarah Prineas
Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Publisher: Philomel Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 27, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

An outer-space adventure about a troublesome little shape-shifter on the run from the law.

Trouble knows two things: they are a shapeshifter, and they are running from something–but they don’t know what. So when the government–the StarLeague–shows up, Trouble figures it’s time to flee.

Changing from blob of goo form, to adorable puppy form, to human boy form, Trouble stows away on the Hindsight, a ship crewed by the best navigators and engineers in the galaxy, led by the fearsome Captain Astra. When Trouble is discovered, the captain decides to be nice–instead of tossing them out an airlock, she’ll drop Trouble off at the next space station.

As the ship travels, Trouble uses the time to figure out how to be a good human boy, and starts to feel safe. But when a young StarLeague cadet shows up to capture Trouble, things get complicated, especially when Trouble reveals a shapeshifter form that none of them could have expected. Soon a chase across the galaxy begins. Safety, freedom, and home are at stake, and not just for Trouble.


Trouble is a shapeshifter who finds themself on a spaceship. Trouble can change shape from a blob of goo to a puppy to a human. Trouble’s gender can change between different forms. When they stow away on the Hindsight, Captain Astra decides to keep Trouble on board until they reach the next space station. However, the Hindsight is being chased by the Starleague, the law enforcers of space, who are looking for an escaped prisoner. Trouble and the rest of the crew have to run from the law, while Trouble is also looking for the home that they came from.

This story introduced some complex ideas for young readers who may not have come across them in fiction before. One main idea was gender fluidity. Trouble’s gender changes depending on the shape that they are in. As a puppy, Trouble was a girl, but as a human Trouble was a boy. There were different species of humanoids on the ship that also expressed gender in different ways. Some were gender fluid, like Trouble. Another one shared a mind between different bodies. There were also some humans who identified as their biological gender. This is a great way to introduce complex gender ideas through science fiction characters.

Another large idea that was in this story was what it means to be a person. Since Trouble was a shapeshifter who didn’t have a permanent body, others questioned whether or not they were a person. Trouble also didn’t know where they came from, so they wanted to find their origins. This idea was explored more at the end of the story so I won’t give away the ending. I think this was a great way to introduce a complex idea with a complex character.

I really enjoyed this middle grade science fiction story!

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

What to read next:

Target Practice by Mike Maihack

Winterling by Sarah Prineas

Have you read Trouble in the Stars? What did you think of it?

Penguin 10 Preview: 10 Books to Get Excited for This Fall

Last week I attended the virtual Penguin 10 event, hosted by Penguin Teen Canada. They showcased 10 YA books they’re excited about this fall. Here they are:

These amazing graphics were made by the team at Penguin Teen Canada.

All of these books look so good! I’ve added them all to my TBR!

What books are you excited for this fall?

Review: Kate in Waiting

Title: Kate in Waiting
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.


Kate Garfield and her best friend Anderson Walker have always shared crushes. They also share a love of theatre. At their summer camp, they both crushed on Matt Olsson, who didn’t seem to know they existed. However, when they start their junior year of high school, they’re shocked to see Matt Olsson has moved to their school. Kate really likes Matt, but Anderson really likes him too. Their feelings are stronger than their usual communal crushes. They each spend time with Matt in different situations, but eventually someone will get the guy and the other will get their heart broken.

This story was such an emotional rollercoaster. Kate and Andy experienced the whirlwind of first love and first heartbreak. I loved both Kate and Andy, but I knew that only one of them could win Matt’s affection in the end. I was rooting for them both to win, even though that couldn’t happen. I will say that the ending was perfect!

This story had great diversity. Kate’s friends were gender diverse. Andy was gay and their friend Raina was trans. They didn’t know the sexual orientation of their other friend Brandie, but they were okay with that and didn’t force her to tell them. Kate was Jewish, which I don’t see a lot in YA novels. Even though there are many Jewish YA authors, they don’t necessarily put that into their stories, so I was glad to see this aspect of Becky’s life in this story.

This was a beautiful story about first love in high school!

What to read next:

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Have you read Kate in Waiting? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – May 7

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:

“‘What do you mean you gave away the Frankencake?’ Aubrey kept her voice low and calm while she roared and stomped like a T. Rex in her head.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee.


Goodreads synopsis:

Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more.

Bake a chance on love. 

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

Have you read A Sweet Mess? What did you think of it?

Review: Gamayun Tales I

Title: Gamayun Tales I
Author: Alexander Utkin
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a world of magic and adventure in this stunning series based on traditional Russian folklore. Collected into a beautiful new paperback edition for the first time!

Alexander Utkin’s Gamayun Tales are fresh and modern adaptations of familiar Russian folktales, teamed with bold and beautiful illustrations. Jam-packed with stories of magical quests and talking animals, golden chests that turn into palaces and encounters with terrifying Water Spirits, there’s no end to the adventure in these books!

Series Overview: The Gamayun Tales are colorful stories based on Slavic mythology.


This graphic novel is a collection of stories told by Gamayun, a bird in Russian folklore who can see the future. The tales begin with talking animals, then they tell the story of a merchant and his family and the deals he makes with kings without understanding the consequences.

Each of the tales in this book were connected but they could be read on their own as well. Sometimes folktales with a moral or a lesson can have a tragic outcomes. I found that these stories had positive endings, even if they didn’t seem so at first. Everything worked out in the end, which makes it a fun, positive story for kids.

This was a beautiful book. It is printed on thick paper, which makes it feel like an art book. The illustrations had vibrant colours that made the story a fun read. The beautiful illustrations matched the tone of the folktales perfectly.

This is such a beautiful graphic novel of Russian folktales. The story continues in Gamayun Tales II, so I’m excited to read it soon!

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

What to read next:

Gamayun Tales II by Alexander Utkin

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

  • Gamayun Tales II

Have you read Gamayun Tales I? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – May 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 From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

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

Review: Meg and Jo

Title: Meg and Jo
Author: Virginia Kantra
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.


Meg and Jo are the eldest March sisters. Jo moved to New York City to follow her dream of being a writer, but she’s working as a prep chef and writing an anonymous food blog on the side. Meg is the reliable sister who stayed in their hometown and has a family of her own. All of the March sisters are summoned home at the holidays by their mother’s sudden illness. They need to come to terms with the decisions they’ve made and rebuild their family bond.

This story reimagines Little Women. All of the sisters are young adults who have chosen their own paths. Despite living in different cities, they’re all brought back home by their close bond. Even though the characters are older than the girls in the original Little Women, they had to face the same dilemmas. Jo was conflicted about following her dreams, and had an affair with an older man. Meg took her place as the oldest sister by looking after everyone, but she ended up with too much on her plate. They were the same characters, but older and in a contemporary world.

The bond of sisterhood was important in this story. There were other famous sisters mentioned throughout the story which reinforced this sisterhood bond. Meg and Jo referred to themselves as Elizabeth and Jane from Pride and Prejudice many times. The sisters liked to watch White Christmas which also has a famous pair of sisters. The relationship between Betty and Judy in White Christmas was more of a mother/daughter relationship, which represents the bonds between Meg and Amy, and Jo and Beth. Both of the sisters mothered one of the younger girls. Despite all of the problems the March girls faced, they supported each other.

This was a great retelling of Little Women. The sequel, Beth and Amy, comes out in a couple of weeks, and I’m excited to read it!

What to read next:

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Have you read Meg and Jo? What did you think of it?