Review: Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author: Karma Brown
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 31, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice Hale reluctantly leaves a promising career in publicity, following her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. However, she is determined to become a writer–and to work hard to build the kind of life her husband dreams of, complete with children.

At first, the old house seems to resent Alice as much as she resents it, but when she finds an old cookbook buried in a box in the basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she begins to settle into her new surroundings, even as her friends and family grow concerned that she has embraced them too fully: wearing vintage dresses and pearls like a 1950s housewife, making elaborate old-fashioned dishes like Baked Alaska, and drifting steadily away from her usual pursuits.

Alice justifies the changes merely as research for her novel…but when she discovers that Nellie left clues about her own life within the cookbook’s pages–and in a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to Nellie’s mother–she quickly realizes that the housewife’s secrets may have been anything but harmless. As she uncovers a more sinister side to Nellie’s marriage and with pressure mounting in her own relationship, Alice realizes that to protect herself she must harbour and hatch a few secrets of her own… 

Review:

This book was so good!

This story follows Alice in 2018 and Nellie in 1956. Alice has just purchased the house that Nellie lived in until her death. They both had private struggles in their lives as housewives. They had very different experiences, since the stories take place six decades apart, but there were some similarities. For example, they both had secret and creative ways of preventing themselves from having children.

The two storylines of Alice and Nellie reflect each other but they are separate. Sometimes characters in other books with mirroring lives, like these ones, end up having their stories blend together so they seem like one person. These two characters had similarities but they had very different stories.

There were also some very tense moments. I found myself holding my breath until the end because I didn’t know what would happen. There were some dramatic twists that I didn’t expect.

This was a great novel!

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

What to read next:

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

In This Moment by Karma Brown

Have you read Recipe for a Perfect Wife? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 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 The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want… 

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

Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Review:

This book is a great introduction to this new series.

This story started out as a type of Mulan story. Maia’s father is selected as a master tailor to go to the emperor, but he is unwell. Only him or his sons could go because women can’t be tailors. Maia dresses up as her brother and goes to the palace to compete in a competition to become a royal tailor. I thought this was going to be the whole story, so I was surprised when the competition ended so quickly. The rest of the story followed Maia on a journey to get special materials to create mythical dresses.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was the romance. It felt a little forced to me, because it seems like it can’t work out. I hope it works out better in the next book.

I’m curious to see what happens in the next book, because this story felt complete to me. I’m not sure where the plot is heading, but I’m excited for it to continue.

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

What to read next:

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

'Waiting on' Wednesday – January 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 Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon. The expected publication date is February 18, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Teddy Bear of the Year

Title: Teddy Bear of the Year
Author: Vikki VanSickle, Sydney Hanson
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The teddy bears’ picnic gets a modern twist in this warm and fuzzy picture book about a young teddy bear who learns that small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

Ollie is a regular bear with a regular job. He listens to his girl’s stories about her days, he snuggles her to sleep and he is there waiting when she gets home from school. Just your typical teddy bear stuff. So when he is whisked away to the annual teddy bears’ picnic, he feels insignificant compared to the other bears who do daring and daunting things: sleepovers, hospital stays–even a night in the lost and found!

After small talk with a regional stuffing manager, a department of cuddling official and a stitchery inspector; a stop at the snack table; and even some team building activities, it’s time for the teddy bear service awards . . . and Ollie feels even more small and unimportant. But he soon learns that it’s not just the big things that matter, it’s the little things too.

While parents will love the tongue-in-cheek office-party details, kids and parents alike will fall in love with Ollie: a sweet bear who discovers that his love for his girl makes him very special indeed.

Review:

In this story, Ollie is Amena’s teddy bear. One night, he is invited to a teddy bear picnic by the Teddy Bear Association. Various awards were handed out to the teddy bears for accomplishments they had done throughout the year.

This was an adorable story. It’s so cute to imagine all the teddy bears of the world gathering to have a picnic together. The teddy bears also have the rule of ABCs: Always Be Cuddling.

This story made me smile throughout it. It is such a sweet story. I loved it!

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

What to read next:

If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle, Cale Atkinson

Have you read Teddy Bear of the Year? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

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 Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. Here’s my list:

1. The Egyptian Mirror by Michael Dedard

2. Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow

3. Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell, Katie Cotugno

4. Thorn by Intisar Khanani

5. Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

6. To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

7. Influence by Sara Shepard, Lilia Buckingham

8. Half Life by Lillian Clark

9. Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim

10. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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

Blog Tour Review: Tweet Cute

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Review:

This book is a great twist on a Romeo and Juliet style of story.

Pepper and Jack are the children of rival sandwich company owners, though they don’t know it at first. They go to the same school and they tweet from their family’s company’s Twitter accounts. They start a Twitter war, that their families encourage rather than stop. At the same time, Pepper and Jack are also communicating on a secret app which hides their identities. There were many layers to their relationship, from Twitter to their chatting app, and even to their relationship in real life.

This story was a lot of fun. It kept making me hungry because of all the food that was described. There were lots of sandwiches, but there were also desserts because Pepper and her sister have a baking blog. They made delicious sounding desserts, such as Monster Cake, which is made of every sweet food you can imagine.

I really enjoyed this story! I recommend having some sweet treats nearby when you read it!

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

What to read next:

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

About the Author:

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Have you read Tweet Cute? What did you think of it?