Blog Tour Review: Bound by Firelight by Dana Swift

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift.
Special thanks to Delacorte Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 18 January 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante… but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already… Now, can they save themselves?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Bound by Firelight by Dana Swift”

Blog Tour Review: Passport by Sophia Glock

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Passport by Sophia Glock. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Passport
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 16 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Young Sophia has lived in so many different countries, she can barely keep count. Stationed now with her family in Central America because of her parents’ work, Sophia feels displaced as an American living abroad, when she has hardly spent any of her life in America.

Everything changes when she reads a letter she was never meant to see and uncovers her parents’ secret. They are not who they say they are. They are working for the CIA. As Sophia tries to make sense of this news, and the web of lies surrounding her, she begins to question everything. The impact that this has on Sophia’s emerging sense of self and understanding of the world makes for a page-turning exploration of lies and double lives.

In the hands of this extraordinary graphic storyteller, this astonishing true story bursts to life.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Passport by Sophia Glock”

Book Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime
Panda Rating:


In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

This review was written on 19 December right after I finished reading it!


First of all, wow. WowwowwowwowWOW.
Second, I’ve only ever read one non-fiction that I devoured so quickly and I think I read this one even faster!
Third, JUST. WOW!

I really don’t know how to write this review right now because (clearly) I’m still a little shook. My brain keeps asking: did I just read a science fiction thriller or did this actually happen? I honestly can’t remember the last time I swore so much and so loudly while reading–there was a lot of “WTF, GTFO, and are you forking serious” going on during this read but I just couldn’t help myself! 😂 I had no intention of finishing the book today when I picked it up and decided to purchase the audiobook, but this was 100% unputdownable. I do think the audiobook is what helped me get through this so quickly though and I would definitely recommend it (I listened on 2x speed)!

Continue reading “Book Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou”

Review: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Goodreads: Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime
Panda Rating:

(Review posted from 2018)

From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, soon to be a major film starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattison, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the newly-created FBI’s first major homicide investigations.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And this was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled it. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

“Today our hearts are divided between two worlds. We are strong and courageous, learning to walk in these two worlds, hanging on to the threads of our culture and traditions as we live in a predominantly non-Indian society. Our history, our culture, our heart, and our home will always be stretching our legs across the plains, singing songs in the morning light, and placing our feet down with the ever beating heart of the drum. We walk in two worlds.”

I’ve said it countless times before but I’ll say it again: I’m not usually a nonfiction reader. I always have trouble getting hooked into the flow and most of the time I lose interest after 35-50% or it takes me forever (read: months or years) to finish a book. BUT that wasn’t the case with this one.

This book sucked me in from the start – big props to David Grann and his writing! I don’t know what to say about this book though. It’s… appalling and fascinating? It is a chilling and despondent portrayal of a very dark side of humanity. Reading the history of the prejudices carried out against the Indians left me feeling incredulous. I know it’s not an isolated history and it still goes on today, but I guess reading about the full extent of the injustices done and the perpetrators’ attitude of absolute right and entitlement to do so… Really brings back the time age-old question: who really are the savages here?

That said, this book is also a testament to the strength and perseverance of a peoples – to come through that Reign of Terror, although even generations after the time, not unscathed. I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be like to know that justice will never be seen for the family that was lost in such sickening and brutal ways.

Although I’m not in any way connected to America or this American history, it’s still sad to know that this dark period is not something that’s taught to younger generations – “lest we forget”. It’s so important to not forget this history.

Have you read Killers of the Flower Moon or is it on your TBR?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Magical Realism
Panda Rating:

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark. 

Ever since picking up Neverwhere two years ago, Gaiman quickly climbed to the top of my favorite authors list. So when I picked this up and really struggled to get into it, I felt just a little bit disappointed. But then I saw it on Audible as narrated by Gaiman himself, and with a credit to spare, decided to try it out—after all, who wouldn’t love to have him read to them? His voice is so soothing! If you tried or try to read this and can’t seem to get into it, I’d highly recommend giving the audiobook a chance. But with that said, this was truly one of the stranger and more horrifying tales that I’ve read and while it was…an interesting journey, it’s safe to say that it’s not my favourite book by Gaiman.

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

Continue reading “The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – #BookReview”

#UltimateBlogTour: The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen – #BookReview

I’m back with another #UltimateBlogTour post with the @WriteReads gang and this time it’s for the fast-paced YA fantasy: The Devil’s Apprentice written by Danish author Kenneth B. Andersen. The blog tour runs until 15 December so don’t forget to check out the other reviews for the first book in this exciting series!

Goodreads: The Devil’s Apprentice
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

Continue reading “#UltimateBlogTour: The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen – #BookReview”

Book Review: Good Talk by Mira Jacob

Goodreads: Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
Publisher: One World
Publication Date: 26 March 2019
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

“Who taught Michael Jackson to dance?”
“Is that how people really walk on the moon?”
“Is it bad to be brown?”
“Are white people afraid of brown people?”

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.

“How brown is too brown?”
“Can Indians be racist?”
“What does real love between really different people look like?”

Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.

This is such an important and relevant read for everything that’s happening in today’s society. Perhaps despite the more globalised world we live in, society has become even more fractured and I think one of the greatest examples can be seen with what’s happened and is happening in America (or at least, it’s what I’m constantly bombarded with on my social platforms. I thought Mira Jacob did a great job exploring the experience of immigrants and what it means to be a POC in America in this wonderfully told memoir through (often) tough but heartfelt conversations with her son, friends, and family. Although I’m not a POC living in America, I was still able to relate to some of the experiences that she shared because I did live in the Western hemisphere for several years and I think these experiences are something all POC go through, even if not to the same extreme. That said, I found it a very educational and eye-opening read.

Continue reading “Book Review: Good Talk by Mira Jacob”

Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – #MiniBookReview

Goodreads: Notes On A Nervous Planet
Genre: Non Fiction, Self-Help, Mental Health
Panda Rating:

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century. 

This was my first book by Matt Haig and it certainly won’t be my last! I’m not much of a nonfiction reader but I’m so glad that I decided to read this book because Haig touches upon incredibly relevant issues that we face today living on this increasingly overloaded and sensitive nervous planet.

Continue reading “Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – #MiniBookReview”

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell – #ARC #GraphicNovel #BookReview

Goodreads: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better
Publish Date: 10 January 2017
Publisher: Animal Media Group LLC
Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Graphic Novel
Panda Rating:

Anonymous break up stories from men and women, old and young, serious and silly and the cartoons that inspired them. Author and artist Hilary Campbell turns the painful into the hilarious, validating emotions from forgotten middle school tragedies to relationships that ended only hours ago.
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cartoonist. Her films have won top prizes at Slamdance, SF IndieFest, and more. She was the co-illustrator of Jessica Bennett’s critically acclaimed Feminist Fight Club.Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Better is her first book of cartoons.

As the author states repeatedly in her introduction (and also at the end) of the book, people can be pretty terrible. Some of these had me cracking up (mostly in shock) at how awkward and terrible a break up went. Some had me exclaiming out loud at how awful people could be. I’ve had my fair share of awful relationships and break ups and so many of these instances and feelings were absolutely relatable (as cringeworthy as many of them are). Reading these stories and having that peek into other peoples’ lives brings me a weird kind of satisfaction. Lol not that I take pleasure in other people’s unfortunate situations, but it’s honestly comforting to know that you’re not the only one who goes through some crazy heartbreaking things, and also crazy awful things you never want to repeat. Some people are seriously twisted though. Yikes!

I enjoyed most of the graphics that illustrated and complemented all the stories but I also thought that they weren’t anything spectacular. Some did make me chuckle. I guess I misunderstood the blurb and thought that the stories would be illustrated in comic format, but it was still enjoyable the way it was. Needless to say, this was a very fast, mostly fun read! The author ends the book with a note saying that she’s still accepting these break up stories over on her website, but as I just realized this book was published two years ago, I don’t know if she’s still taking any. If she is, I might go ahead and share some stories myself! Lol

Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Have you read Breaking Up Is Hard…But You Could’ve Done Better? What did you think?

Probably the Best Kiss in the World by Pernille Hughes – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: Probably the Best Kiss in the World
Publish date: 12 April 2019
Publisher: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit
Panda Rating:

Jen Attison likes her life Just So. But being fished out of a canal in Copenhagen by her knickers is definitely NOT on her to do list. From cinnamon swirls to a spontaneous night of laughter and fireworks, Jen’s city break with the girls takes a turn for the unexpected because of her gorgeous, mystery rescuer. Back home, Jen faces a choice. A surprise proposal from her boyfriend, ‘boring’ Robert has offered Jen the safety net she always thought she wanted. But with the memories of her Danish adventure proving hard to forget, maybe it’s time for Jen to stop listening to her head and start following her heart…

I’m on the fence with how I feel about this one because there were obviously things that I really enjoyed but also things I strongly disliked, and I”m not sure which one is winning my feelings right now. I’m ngl, the cover is what had me picking this book up because the colors are fun and the design is super cute. It gives me cozy vibes and to an extent that does match with the contents of the book. I also love the title!  The story and the romance wasn’t anything new, and wasn’t entirely unpredictable, but I liked the setting and the general storyline. Minor spoiler alert for the content ahead as there’s a part of the storyline that I’m just never going to get on board with and that’s cheating. But first, let’s start with what I liked.

Likes:

I really enjoyed the banter between Jen and Yacob and their meet-cute was, well, cute. I thought they were good together and I really wish that the story of how they met was different. I think the side characters really stole the show for me. Lydia, the MC’s sister was a daredevil and go-getter who didn’t let her disability hold her back in anyway. She was feisty and full of humour and I kind of wished that the story was about her. Alice and Max were also great supporting characters and their shop sounded really cool. It would also be remiss of me to not mention the hot Danish man! Yacob was honestly the perfect package — smart, handsome, compassionate, and caring. I love how he was so supportive of Jen’s passion and always encouraged her to never give up. Can has Yacob in my life, plz? Another thing I loved was loved Jen’s passion — The Passion. Jen’s enthusiasm and love for brewing and beer shone strongly through the words of the text and it was wonderful to experience. I can absolutely relate because reading is something I’m super passionate about and when you really love something, it shines through. I’m glad she stood up for what she loved to do and didn’t give it up (for a man no less!) and I enjoyed that she didn’t let the fact that she was one of the few women who brew, stop her from winning. Go girl!

Dislikes:

Cheating. As someone who has been cheated on, I don’t support characters who do this for whatever reason and it’s always gonna be a turn off, and it’s enough to make books lose stars. Despite knowing that it would be wrong and claiming that she isn’t a cheater, the MC went and did it anyway. I personally thought she had absolutely no good reason to do what she did and it was inexcusable. She had every out, especially with everyone telling her the fiancé shouldn’t be her fiancé, and because even her subconscious was rebelling against the engagement! I just wish she would’ve been honest. Admittedly, I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Jen, especially at the start. She was obstinate and overbearing, especially with her sister and especially when it came to beer. It’s one thing to have an opinion but it’s another to be as rude with it as she was.

Although the story wasn’t what I expected, especially the beer part, I’m glad that I did read it. Parts of it were cute, but overall, it wasn’t anything new to me or the romance genre. I wish that there wasn’t any cheating but, oh well. One thing I do know is that now I want to drink all the craft beers I can get my hands on!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is now available in stores!
Have you read Probably the Best Kiss in the World? What’d you think of it?

Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!