ARC Review: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Death of Vivek Oji
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 20 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Panda Rating:


What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

TL;DR: This was an incredible and heartbreaking story about the complexities of love, sexual and gender identity, and self-acceptance in a society that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your existence. It’s about loss, grief, fear and secrets. It’s a stunningly written book that I would highly recommend, although I will say it might not be for everyone as it does involve taboo relationships (sexually explicit) that some readers might find uncomfortable or disturbing. There are still months left to go in 2021, but so far, this is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

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ARC Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Project
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 02 February 2021
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Panda Rating:


Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

TL;DR: Ever since I was blown away by the gripping mystery of Sadie, I’ve been keen to read more by Courtney Summers and so I was thrilled to get my hands on The Project. A book about sisters and a cult? Didn’t know I needed it but I definitely wanted to read it! I’d seen some mixed reviews about the book prior to picking it up so I went in with tempered expectations and I’m glad that I did because if I went in hoping for another book that’d give me the ‘Sadie vibes’ I would’ve been so sorely disappointed. As it is, the pacing ended up being a bit more of a slog than I anticipated but I’m glad that I kept reading and finished it. Also, the cover is STUNNING and I’m loving all the promo artwork and creative content that’s being shared for it!

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Blog Tour Review: At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for inviting me to be on the blog tour and for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: At the Edge of the Haight
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She knows whom to trust, where to eat, when to move locations, and how to take care of her dog. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw. As adults pressure her to give up her secrets and reunite with her own family before she meets a similar fate, Maddy must decide whether she wants to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.

As judge Hillary Jordan says, “This book pulled me deep into a world I knew little about, bringing the struggles of its young, homeless inhabitants—the kind of people we avoid eye contact with on the street—to vivid, poignant life. The novel demands that you take a close look. If you knew, could you still ignore, fear, or condemn them? And knowing, how can you ever forget?”

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Blog Tour Review: Kept from Cages by Phil Williams

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Kept from Cages by Phil Williams. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Kept from Cages (Ikiri Book 1)
Publication Date: 21 September 2020
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller
Panda Rating:

No one returns from Ikiri.
Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.
Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?
On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?
Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today.

BUY NOW: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

BOOK PROMO: The Kept From Cages ebook will be available for 99p/99c in UK/US Kindle from January 13th–19th.

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Blog Tour Review: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another @TheWriteReads blog tour for this absolute gem of a book: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to Egmont Publishing and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Amari and the Night Brothers
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Published: 21 January 2021
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon. Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous. With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

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ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Thanks to NetGalley and JIMMY Patterson for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
Publication Date: 27 October 2020
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Panda Rating:


Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Let me start off by saying that this is an unpopular opinion about this book 😂

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Blog Tour Review: The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West. Special thanks to Holiday House and the author for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Bitterwine Oath
Publication Date: 01 December 2020
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Panda Rating:

Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?

San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.

The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

BUY NOW: Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | Indiebound

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Blog Tour Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for the highly anticipated The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! Thanks to Dave for organising the tour and Noly for the banner! 😍

Special thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Cousins
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK
Published: 03 December 2020
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Panda Rating:

The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:
You know what you did.
They never hear from her again.

Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.

This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Inside Voices by Sarah Davis

I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for Inside Voices by Sarah Davis. Thanks to Rachel for organising this tour, and to the author for providing the book in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the other bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Inside Voices
Publisher: Darkstroke Books
Release Date: 23 June 2020
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Fiction
Panda Rating:

The mind is a strange beast…extraordinary, unpredictable, protective.

Penny Osborn’s mind is no exception. In High School, Penny witnessed a massacre and lost her father to the same killers. She had seen it unfold before it happened, in a premonition, but could not prevent it.

A college research project at the edge of the Arctic is her chance for a new beginning. Struggling with PTSD, Penny’s therapy includes running, dogs, and guitars. Yet her fresh start is plagued by new premonitions, dark and foreboding, that coincide with a rising number of murders in the community. Her visions are vague, offering little to identify the killer.

When confronted with an orphaned polar bear cub, Penny risks everything to save its life. The deepening mystery of the murdered women, coupled with the exhaustive duties of caring for the small cub, draw her closer to her friend, Noah, and further from her sister.

Fearful for the serial killer’s next target, Penny discovers where her physical abilities can help her. Will letting go of the past lead to healing? And can she stop the murders? 

BUY NOW: Amazon (US)

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Blog Tour Review: I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan. Thanks to the TBR & Beyond team for having me on tour and to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: I Hope You’re Listening
Publisher: AW Teen
Publication Date: 06 October 2020
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Panda Rating:

EVERY MISSING PERSON HAS A STORY.

In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.

At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.

When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?

Buy: Amazon (US) |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

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