Review: Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Thanks to author Chloe Liese for providing the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2)
Publication date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Panda Rating:



Ren
The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is. I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie
I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about. Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

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

Continue reading “Review: Always Only You by Chloe Liese”

Blog Tour Review: A Good Match for the Major by Josie Bonham

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for A Good Match for the Major by Josie Bonham. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to the author for providing a free 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: A Good Match for the Major
Release Date: 05 May 2020
Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance
Panda Rating:

Pride meets prejudice – can love blossom?

Beautiful young widow, Lady Eliza Wyndham, is determined never to remarry after a disastrous first marriage. The undeniable attraction that fizzes between her and Major Nathaniel Overton terrifies her. She rejects his advances.

With his pride badly dented, Nat vows to forget Eliza until he finds her in danger from an old adversary of his army days. His protective instincts are stirred and he steps back into her life, but will Eliza be prepared to accept his help?

Buy: Amazon

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Blog Tour Review: The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to Boldwood Books and the author for providing the e-ARC 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: The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 09 July 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Panda Rating:

A feel-good story of new beginnings set in a gorgeous country village, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson.

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart. But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.


When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.
Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?
And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

Buy: Amazon

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Book Spotlight: The End of Magic by Mark Stay

Hi everyone, today is my stop on the blog tour for The End of Magic by Mark Stay and I’ll be sharing a spotlight for this SFF standalone novel! Special thanks to Heather Fitt from Overview Media for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the author for providing a copy. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The End of Magic
Publication Date: 07 February 2019
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Two powerful mages. One steeped in privilege, the other bound by a moral code. Their world is thrown into chaos by the end of magic.

‘What will you do when the magic is gone?’
Sander Bree is a royal mage. He lives an easy life advising the king on matters of court and politics, yet he still complains that he’s stuck in a rut.
Rosheen Katell is a wandering mage and, with Anzu her griffin, she’s worked hard to build a reputation as a trustworthy truth seer. She never lies, never kills. 
Very soon, their magic will be gone. A cataclysmic event will change their lives and world forever. 
Sander must keep a promise that would have been difficult enough with magic, but is a suicide mission without it. 
Rosheen is forced to side with a murderous warlord, and her once-solid principles are tested and found wanting. Both will be set against one another in a war unlike anything the world has seen before, in this sweeping fantasy of magic’s ending.

A stand alone fantasy novel for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay Blog Tour Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to HQ Digital and the author for providing the e-ARC 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: Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay
Publisher: HQ Digital
Release Date: 24 June 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Panda Rating:

(3.75 rounded up)

Grab your strawberries and cream and get ready to return to the beautiful Swallowtail Bay! Summer is in full swing and the locals are getting excited for the launch of the Swallowtail Bay strawberry food festival. But will all run smoothly when festival organiser Hetty’s heart is torn between lord of the manor John Thornhill and successful bakery owner Ben?

Buy: Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

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The Crow Rider Review and Favourite Quotes

Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcefire Books and Kalyn Josephson for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow #2)
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Release date: 01 July 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:



Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be. 

Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Play

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

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Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Goodreads: The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1)
Published: 15 July 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Panda Rating:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

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Book Spotlight: Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton

Hi everyone, I’ve joined the @WriteReads gang on another tour and this time it’s for: Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton! Today I’ll be sharing a spotlight of the book. Huge thanks goes to Dave for organising these tours. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour here.

Goodreads: Crossing in Time (Between Two Evils #1)
Publication Date: 21 April 2015
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Press
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap. If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk.

Fall into this “Funny, Romantic & Harrowing” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review) dystopian love story and prepare to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely NO ditzes!)

When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.

This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.

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Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Note: This review was originally posted on my Goodreads in January 2019.

Goodreads: Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Panda Rating:


Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

2020 note: I was super excited to read this book because there was a helluva lot to be excited for and so I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t love it more. I know it’s a super unpopular opinion because everyone adored this book. So, JFYI, there’s an unpopular opinion coming right up! 😅 Also, soz it’s a bit of a chunky review!


I’m kind of torn on how I feel about this one. I was super excited to start reading it and while I did enjoy it— especially the world that the author created—I think the story just fell a bit flat for me. I’m feeling disappointed because I wanted to enjoy it so much more than I did. That said, with her debut, Natasha Ngan presents a wild fantasy that is not only rich in detail, but has a diverse and representative cast of characters and a very open narrative on sexuality and on sensitive issues such as abuse. There is action, politics, coverage of social issues such as discrimination and poverty, and there is also a blooming f/f romance. TW: violence and sexual abuse.

“We might be Paper Girls, easily torn and written upon. The very title we’re given suggests that we are blank, waiting to be filled. But what the Demon King and his court do not understand is that paper is flammable.

And there is a fire catching among us.”

We follow 17-year-old Lei as she is forcibly taken from her village to become an unprecedented ninth Paper Girl, where on her journey she discovers unexpected friendships and her first love, while also navigating the dark and harrowing experiences that come with being forced to be a consort to the Demon King.

Ngan stated that she wanted to tell a story that has diverse representation, one that more young readers can relate to, and I think she did a wonderful job delivering on that. Even though I’m not “young” anymore (lol), I thoroughly enjoyed reading a YA story that was so heavily influenced by Asian, specifically Chinese-Malaysian cultures, which also have many similarities to my own Indonesian culture. I found it refreshing to read a YA fantasy where I recognized words from my own native tongue and other familiar references from Asia in the text. I found that the cultural influences added an extra special element to the world building, which Ngan creates with a wonderfully bizarre fusion of human and animal forms, mixed with the rich spiritual beliefs and ritualistic practices from Asian cultures. Ngan’s writing offers such rich and vivid imagery that breathes life, not only into the characters, but into the surroundings, making it easy to picture exactly what’s being painted.

This was also the case when we encounter the ‘darker’ scenes in the story that involve abuse (sexual and physical). Although there was a CW/TW at the start, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read a YA novel that’s as explicitly dark as this. If you’re okay with confronting and reading about these topics, then this book is suitable for you. Though I think that because Ngan is so open about it in her writing, it provides a good platform where young readers can gain an understanding, engage in discussions and explore these difficult issues in private or in safe spaces such as book clubs. Not only that, but I think the openness allows people to gain a sense of empowerment from the main character Lei—who ultimately chooses to not let what has happened to her define her life.

While Lei’s character was admirable in how she dealt with her situation, I have to admit that I didn’t really connect with her—which I think is perhaps the main reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I expected to. Yes, she’s undoubtedly brave for having stood up to the Demon King, but I also felt that (ironically) her character was a little helpless and lacked strength. Her emotions and actions were so dependent on other characters pulling her through and what I found really frustrating was that she would dive into these situations without any forethought into how it would affect others; especially if she failed, which she did almost every time. I know this is YA, and really, Ngan does a great job in capturing the internal coming-of-age struggles of a teenage girl and an even better job at capturing the struggles of a young woman discovering her sexuality. However, Lei’s character just didn’t latch on to me. In many ways, I see Lei as being so far from the typical ‘fierce, strong, warrior, self-saving heroine’ that YA fantasy is full of and this is definitely not a bad thing but for some reason she just didn’t work for me…

It was unfortunate that the majority of the Paper Girls and other characters experience little to no growth, save for one other Paper Girl, Aoki, who goes through just as much change as Lei. It was actually quite painful (in the best way) to see how Aoki’s character develops, especially in relation to Lei’s, and I can see her playing a much bigger and potentially more sinister role in the upcoming book(s). The next one is meant to come out towards the end of 2019 and Ngan will apparently make an announcement about the upcoming book’s title very soon. I personally hope that how I feel about Lei’s character improves or changes in the next book and that the pace of the story picks up a little bit. I felt the pacing was a bit slow for me at times and the climax I was anticipating towards the end, also didn’t hit that ‘satisfying’ spot for me.

But it really wasn’t all negative for me—even though maybe this review might make it seem so. I did enjoy this book, just not as much as I hoped to. That won’t stop me from picking up the next one though! I look forward to diving back into Ikhara and seeing where the story takes us next 🙂

Have you read Girls of Paper and Fire or is it on your TBR?

The Plus One Pact Blog Tour Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for The Plus One Pact by Portia Macintosh. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to Boldwood Books and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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

Goodreads: The Plus One Pact
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 21 May 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Panda Rating:

What if your plus one could be the one…?
Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end. But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone.  So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…? 

A brand new romantic comedy from bestseller Portia MacIntosh, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley, Sophie Ranald and Mhairi McFarlane.

Buy a copy: Amazon (US)

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