Sundays in Bed With… One of the Good Ones

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 One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books I Wish I Read in 2020

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 I Wish I Read in 2020. Here’s my list:

1. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

2. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

3. Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

4. Shine by Jessica Jung

5. Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

6. Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Georgana’s Secret

Title: Gorgana’s Secret
Author: Arlem Hawks
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A Regency romance on the high seas.

1811, HMS Deborah

Georgana Woodall dreams of freedom—freedom from her past and freedom from her secret. She has been living on her father’s ship for years, disguised as a cabin boy named “George.” But hiding her true self is becoming more difficult, and she yearns to break free of her life on the sea.

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the boy under his wing.

Georgana quickly loses her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care, but needing to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy, she is convinced nothing can come of her affection. 

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

Review:

1811: Georgana is the daughter of a ship captain. She has travelled with him on his ships for the past three years, since she came of age, in the disguise of a boy named George. The crew thinks that George is an orphan and a distant relative of the captain, but she doesn’t have the respect of the other men and boys. Dominic is a lieutenant on the ship. His mother wants him to get a promotion to captain, but he refused the promotion so that he can have more consistent work and support his mother. His mother has heard of Georgana, the captain’s daughter, and wants Dominic to find out more about her because she wants him to get married. Dominic is drawn to George when he sees him being bullied by the rest of the crew. They spend time together, and Georgana can’t help but fall for Dominic. However, she needs to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy to protect the ship and her father’s position.

This was a very slow burn romance. There was a lot of tension with Georgana’s secret. I held my breath every time someone came close to figuring it out. At the same time, I was rooting for Georgana and Dominic to get together and for him to figure out that she was really a girl in disguise.

I was a little lost when it came to the description of the ship and all the work they did on it. Most of the story was set on the ship, except for a couple of chapters. I’m not familiar with the terms that were used so I couldn’t follow the parts where there was a lot of technical terminology used.

I liked this regency romance.

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

What to read next:

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden

Have you read Georgana’s Secret? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Books with Gold in the Title

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Metal in the Title, so I decided to do Books with Gold in the Title. Here’s my list:

1. A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

3. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

4. Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

5. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

(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: The Perfect Guests

Title: The Perfect Guests
Author: Emma Rous
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel–about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

Review:

1988: Beth is a fourteen-year-old orphan who is sent to live at Raven Hall with a family who also has a fourteen-year-old daughter. The girls quickly become friends and do everything together. Then one day everything changes when the parents ask Beth to dress up as their daughter.

2019: Sadie is a struggling actress. When she’s invited to work at a murder mystery party for a weekend, she can’t resist the good paycheck. She’s given instructions and costumes to wear. However, the clues that she’s given seem to get more personal as the party goes on. Sadie starts to wonder if there’s a reason all of these guests were brought together at Raven Hall for the party.

I love it when the setting of a story becomes a character. Raven Hall was important in both narratives. It seemed to take on a life of its own, in the way that it drew people in and wouldn’t let go. The area of England where this story was set, called The Fens, has an interesting history which was explained at the end of the book. This damp, marshy land added to the suspense of the story.

This was such a suspenseful story. I couldn’t put it down, but I also didn’t want it to end so soon. I could have easily read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this thriller!

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

What to read next:

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Have you read The Perfect Guests? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – January 15

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 is my first line:

“It was dark when Ann left work at a quarter to six, and darker still when she reached home.”

Do you recognize this first line?

And the book is… The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson.

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Goodreads synopsis:

“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.

Check out my review of The Gown here.

Have you read The Gown? What did you think of it?

Review: Amina’s Voice (Amina’s Voice #1)

Title: Amina’s Voice (Amina’s Voice #1)
Author: Hena Khan
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Review:

Middle schooler Amina is a great singer but she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. When her best friend, Soojin, starts spending time with Emily, a popular girl who has teased Amina in the past, Amina feels left out. Soojin is also planning on changing her name to sound more American, even though their unique names are what drew Amina and Soojin together in the first place. Amina tries to deal with these changes, while her community is facing the aftermath of her mosque being vandalized.

This story was very well developed. The characters felt like real people because they each had a full background. Each character also had their own storyline, despite it being a fairly short middle grade story. Amina had different challenges at home, school, and her mosque. At home, Amina needed to follow her parents’ rules and impress her uncle who was visiting from Pakistan. At school, Amina had to deal with her changing relationship with her best friend. At her mosque, Amina witnessed an attack on her community. Each of these situations were realistic and relatable for readers, regardless of their religion.

There were some upsetting things that happened in this story. Amina was bullied in the past because she was different from her classmates. She questioned her religion and her hobbies when she discovered that her love of music may conflict with her religious beliefs. Her mosque was attacked, which rallied her greater community together. These questions behind religion and attacks need to be addressed in children’s fiction to learn about other people’s experiences.

I really enjoyed this middle grade novel and I’m excited to read the upcoming sequel!

What to read next:

Once Upon an Eid by S.K. Ali, Aisha Saeed (editors)

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Have you read Amina’s Voice? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 14

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 Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

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

Review: Charming as a Verb

Title: Charming as a Verb
Author: Ben Philippe
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.

Review:

Henri Haltiwanger is a charming student at the prestigious FATE Academy in New York. He has created his own dog walking company, and he aspires to attend Columbia University. When he gets a new dog walking client, he’s brought to the home of his neighbour and classmate Corinne Troy. Corinne discovers that Henri’s dog walking company is masquerading as a large corporation when it’s really just rum by him. She blackmails him to help her become more social at school to look better on college applications, or she will expose the truth about his company. Henri and Corinne get closer and closer, until he makes a mistake that jeopardizes everything he’s worked towards.

This story addresses common issues that teens face, such as applying to college and keeping up with your classmates. Henri and his friends applied to colleges, and they each had different experiences. For one friend it was easy to get an acceptance right away, while another had to work a little harder at it. Henri had some problems while applying, and he had to decide if he really wanted to go to Columbia for the right reasons. Though Henri went to a prestigious school, he wasn’t in the same position as the other students. His fellow students were from wealthy families, but Henri’s parents were working class immigrants. His parents’ dreams for Henri got in the way of his own path in life, which led Henri to take an extreme measures.

This story reminded me a lot of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Ben Philippe’s first novel. Henri was like Norris, the main character in that novel, with his confident attitude to life. Though some parts of this story were predictable, I still found it exciting when my predictions were correct.

This is a great contemporary story!

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

What to read next:

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Have you read Charming as a Verb? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – January 13

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 Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce. The expected publication date is February 9, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her. 

What books are you waiting on this week?