Review: Harvey Holds His Own (Harvey Comes Home #2)

Title: Harvey Holds His Own (Harvey Comes Home #2)
Author: Colleen Nelson, Tara Anderson (illustrations)
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to life returns with his tail wagging and his nose sharp, ready for a new adventure

Harvey the West Highland Terrier, hero of Harvey Comes Home, is back with his beloved Maggie. He is also back at Brayside retirement home, where he and Maggie now volunteer along with their friend Austin. There Maggie is drawn to a new resident, Mrs. Fradette, who tells stories of learning to fix cars as a twelve-year-old during the flood of 1950. Mrs. Fradette, with her bold fashion and love of poker, doesn’t fit in among the beige-cardigan-wearing, bridge-playing ladies of Brayside, but she doesn’t seem to care. Maybe that’s why Maggie likes her so much. Since seventh grade began, Maggie hasn’t been fitting in well with her friends, either.

Harvey has a problem of his own. He can smell an intruder in his yard, and he needs to find it. He is so intent on the nighttime fiend that he almost doesn’t notice how worried Austin is about his grandfather, who has been Brayside’s custodian for longer than Harvey has been alive. It seems like the retirement home is planning to give the job to a younger man, an injustice that Austin can’t let pass unchallenged.

In intertwining perspectives, Colleen Nelson tells four stories of individuals standing firm for what they know is right: Josephine Fradette, insisting on her right to become a mechanic; Maggie, certain that her friends’ expectations shouldn’t define who she becomes; Austin, indignantly campaigning against ageism; and Harvey, who has found his home at last and is determined to protect it.

Review:

Maggie still holds a grudge against Austin, who found her dog Harvey and kept him for a while when Harvey got lost before searching for his owner. When Maggie’s class is given a volunteer assignment, Maggie decides to volunteer at Brayside retirement home, where Austin helps his grandfather, who is the caretaker there. Harvey is allowed to go visit the retirement home too because the residents love him. Austin takes Harvey for a walk one day where they discover a newborn puppy who had been abandoned. This time Austin brings the puppy right to the animal shelter to get help. Then, Austin finds a job posting for the caretaker position that his grandfather has. He’s worried that his grandfather is going to be fired, so Austin has to try to find a way to save his grandfather’s job. Meanwhile, Maggie enjoys spending time with the residents and learning their history, while avoiding the drama with her friends at school.

This story was so cute. I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Harvey Comes Home was sad, since Harvey was missing from his owners and there was a death at the end of that story. This one was more uplifting and cheery, which I liked much more.

There are three alternating perspectives in this story. I love that parts that are from Harvey’s perspective. He spends a lot of time sniffing things and cataloguing them for later. It’s great to see this dog perspective. The two other perspectives are from Maggie’s and Austin’s points of view. Austin’s is in first person, since he was a main character in the first book and this one. Maggie didn’t have a big role in the first book, so her chapters are written from the third person point of view. It made a distinction between hers and Austin’s chapters, even though they were both main characters. However, it worked since it is a continuation of the first book.

This is a great story! It could be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Harvey Comes Home.

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

What to read next:

Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson, Tara Anderson (illustrations)

Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

Other books in the series:

Have you read Harvey Holds His Own? What did you think of it?

The Friday 56 – No Judgments

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The Rules are:

  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  • Post it. And share your link.
  • It’s that simple.

I chose No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot.

Here is my line from page 56 in my copy:

“There was about as little Floridian as you could imagine in the Hartwells’ home, except for a large parrot cage that I passed in the living room on my way toward the back of the house, from which I could hear the music. The parrot greeted me with a cheerful ‘Hello, Joe!’ as I made my way past.”

Did you make a post for the Friday 56?

Review: To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Review:

In Regency England, James and Violet met during her debut into society and instantly fell in love. They had a whirlwind romance and married right away. Now it is five years later, and they haven’t spoken for the past four years. They are still married, but they had a mysterious fight that ruined their relationship. Even though they aren’t close, when Violet gets the news that James has had an accident while horseback riding, she rushes across the country to be by his side. On her way there, she meets him, perfectly healthy and on his way home. Violet is outraged and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine by faking an illness. This sparks a competition between the lovers, with each trying to prove how much they dislike the other.

I love stories set in this time period, the early nineteenth century in England. The characters didn’t act in the way that characters in a book written during that time period would behave. There was lots of gossip, affairs, and sex. It was fun to see how James and Violet kept competing to prove how much they didn’t like each other. This included faking illnesses and having affairs.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. The characters were witty and quick with their responses. I especially liked Violet’s friend Diana. She was a widow who liked to speak her mind and had to know all the gossip. I’m so excited to see that she will be featured in a sequel.

This is a great Regency romance!

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

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Have you read To Have and to Hoax? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – August 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 Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

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

Blog Tour Review: Lies Lies Lies

Title: Lies Lies Lies
Author: Adele Parks
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daisy and Simon’s marriage isn’t what it seems… 

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. They’re a happy little family of three.

So what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes–Daisy’s used to it. She knows he’s just letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And their happy little family of three will never be the same again.

In Lies, Lies, Lies, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in free fall in a mesmerizing tale of marriage and secrets.

Review:

Daisy and Simon want to have another child so their six-year-old daughter Millie can have a sibling. When they go to a fertility clinic, a doctor tells Simon that he could never have children, so he realizes Millie must not be his biological daughter. Instead of asking his wife about it, Simon drinks and becomes an alcoholic. His drinking gets so out of control that he loses his job, and causes an accident that changes all of their lives.

This was a slow burn thriller. There was a lot of time building up to the plot twists. Sometimes it took too long to get to a new development, with the characters reflecting on the past before an obvious plot twist or reveal. If some of the reflection was cut and the space between plot twists was shorter, it would have been a more suspenseful story.

There were some disturbing scenes that need some content warnings. There was alcoholism, abuse, rape, and animal abuse. These things really escalated at the end of the book. The final chapters were quite intense, but also more graphic than the beginning of the book.

Unfortunately this slow burn thriller didn’t work for me, but I’m sure other readers will like it.

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

What to read next:

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

About the author:

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

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

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – August 5

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 Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. The expected publication date is September 15, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight. 

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Pillow Thoughts IV: Stitching the Soul

Title: Pillow Thoughts IV: Stitching the Soul
Author: Courtney Peppernell
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The final installment in this bestselling series completes the journey that Courtney Peppernell began with Pillow Thoughts. With 600,000 copies sold across the series, Pillow Thoughts continues to inspire all who dip into Courtney’s encouraging words.

Self-healing is the theme of the entire Pillow Thoughts series. While books II and III focus on healing the heart and mind, respectively, Pillow Thoughts IV offers a balm for healing the soul. Have a cup of tea and let yourself feel.

Review:

This is the final installment in the Pillow Thoughts series. This collection of poetry is about healing the soul, through grieving, empowering, and recovering.

Most of these poems are spoken directly to “you.” Often the “you” is the speaker’s former partner. The technique of speaking directly to the reader brings the reader right into the poetry. It made me feel more connected to the poetry, since it seems to be speaking to me.

I loved the comparisons to nature. There has been a lot of nature imagery throughout the series, with the images of the jellyfish, the fox, and the owl. There were some poems that compared the soul to nature. You have to weed a garden to make plants grow, just as you have to look after your soul to keep yourself well.

The parts about grief were quite moving. Though we don’t like feeling grief, it is a part of life that we all have to go through. We can’t have good moments, if there aren’t bad moments to compare them to. These poems say it’s okay to grieve, but you must move on after.

Empowerment was another important theme of this collection. Empowerment can heal the soul by encouraging you to keep going. It’s important not to judge your success by the success of someone else. This is so difficult to do, because we want to be the best we can, and it can be discouraging when someone else has what you want. However, everyone has different skills and works at different speeds, so it isn’t fair to compare yourself to other people.

This is a beautiful poetry collection.

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

What to read next:

Pillow Thoughts III: Mending the Mind by Courtney Peppernell

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

Other books in the series:

Have you read Pillow Thoughts IV: Stitching the Soul? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books with Colours in the Title

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 a Books with Colours in the Title. Here’s my list:

1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

2. Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

3. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

4. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

5. The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari

6. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

7. The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes

8. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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

Happy Pub Day – August 3

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco Moore

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon

Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

Pillow Thoughts IV: Stitching the Soul by Courtney Peppernell

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Terry Fox and Me by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Milan Pavlović

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Tea Shop by Roselle Lim

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: Loathe at First Sight

Title: Loathe at First Sight
Author: Suzanne Park
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with its share of challenges. Namely, an insufferable CEO and a team that consists of mostly male co-workers who make the term “misogyny” pale in comparison to their obnoxious comments. Then there’s the infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—MBA intern Nolan MacKenzie, a.k.a. “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss”. 

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes on a dime. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly, Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show. 

When Nolan is appointed a key member of her team, Melody’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she sees he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man. But she’s here to work—and nothing more. All she has to do is resist the wild thoughts coursing through her mind whenever Nolan is near. Easy . . . or so she thinks.

With her pet project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a social media trolling scandal that could end her career. She suspects one of her co-workers is behind the sabotage and is determined to find out who betrayed her. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and love?

Review:

Melody Joo has her dream job as a video game producer. She has to deal with disrespectful and insulting remarks from men just because she is an Asian woman. When Melody and another female producer joke about making a game for women featuring male strippers, the CEO of the company decides to create the game to appeal to more female gamers. Melody is given the lead role for the game creation, with an almost impossible release date in six months. Melody has to work with the annoying intern, Nolan, who got the job because his uncle is the CEO. The details of the game are leaked from someone in the company, leading to Melody being harassed online and even getting death threats. Nolan becomes an unlikely ally for Melody throughout the development of the game.

This story explores sexual harassment of women who work in technology. I was shocked at some of the things that were said to Melody in this story. They were often said to her face by her coworkers. There was even a scene where they attempted to have a sexual conduct meeting, which failed miserably with the men calling Melody names. These scenes were quite disturbing, but unfortunately they were realistic.

The only parts of this book that could be changed are the title and cover. From the title and cover, I couldn’t tell that it was about video game production. I also didn’t realize that the main character was Korean. Her Korean heritage was mentioned a lot in the story with her hilarious parents calling her all the time. She was also recognized as a minority at her office, which the men thought was a great way to diversify the office, though most of the workers were white men. A different title and cover that shows the importance of video games in the story would give a hint to what the story is about.

This is a great story!

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

What to read next:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

Have you read Loathe at First Sight? What did you think of it?