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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Blog Tour Review: Aether Ones by Wendi Coffman-Porter

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another tour with @TheWriteReads for Aether Ones by Wendi Coffman-Porter. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to the author for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Aether Ones
Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group
Published: 13 October 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Panda Rating:

Leilani Falconi is a top agent for the Imperial Investigative Service, tasked with policing the veil between two realities. Long ago, the Great Sundering tore the universe into two mirrored halves; aether space, which progressed using magical energy or eldrich, and kuldain, which advanced via electromagnetic technology. But now a series of suspicious deaths stretching back more than a decade has the agent trapped directly between secretive bureaucracies and their peoples. If she can’t solve the mysterious crimes in time, existence as she knows it could erupt into chaos.

BUY NOW: Book Depository | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

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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: Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another tour with @TheWriteReads for Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to Penguin & Netgalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Bad Habits
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 11 February 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Panda Rating:

Hilarious, bold, sparky and surprising, this is the funniest feminist book you’ll read all year.

Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple faux-hawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan. Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .

BUY NOW: Book Depository | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)
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Blog Tour Review: The Death of Honor by Lyra Thorsson

I’m back with another blog tour today and this time it’s for The Death of Honor by Lyra Thorsson. 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 in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Death of Honor (Honor Trilogy #1)
Published: 12 January 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Panda Rating:

All Rebecca wants in life is to sail through space in her ship—is that too much to ask? The moment she lays eyes on her old military buddy Jonathan, Rebecca knew there was no running away from her duties. With her best friend, sometimes with benefits, Nik, she desired to return home to the Nreff Nation, one of the four government powers of the systems, to serve on one last mission.

However, the problem with returning is that they all are wanted for treason. It wasn’t their fault, however, as they had been framed by their old admiral, Sebastien Wilde. Fortunately, succeeding in this mission might give them a clean slate, as they are to find evidence of Wilde’s involvement in the illegal human experimentation ring that goes against the Treaty Of World Equality and Rights (T.O.W.E.R.).

Rebecca and Nik agree to the mission, hoping to earn a more peaceful life, however Rebecca hides a dark secret: she was once closer to Sebastien than any of them ever realized, and the evidence incriminating him might also implicate her.

Now Rebecca has a choice: turn her back on her comrades and run for her life, or face her sins in order to prevent an all-out war.

CW/TW: This book contains sexual content, violence, drug abuse, and physical, sexual, and mental abuse.

BUY NOW: Amazon US | Amazon UK | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

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Blog Tour Review + Book Look: Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift.
Special thanks to Delacorte Press for providing an 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: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet. Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction

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

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Book Review: Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Note: Review originally posted on Goodreads 07 January 2021

Among the Beasts & Briars
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 20 October 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:


Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya.

Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive. 

TL;DR: Mine is an unpopular opinion but I didn’t end up loving this as much as I hoped I would and I was sad about not enjoying it more. If you’re looking for a YA fantasy that’s light on the world building and character development, but has a nice fairytale vibe with “far-off places, magical spells, and a prince in disguise” then I would recommend it!

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos

I’m back with a blog tour with Xpresso Tours for Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos. Thanks to Feiwel & Friends for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the other bloggers on tour!
Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEWAY (US) at the end of my post!

Goodreads: Girl on the Ferris Wheel
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: 12 January 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance
Panda Rating:

In Girl on the Ferris Wheel, Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos expertly tackle this quirky and poignant romance that explores what first love really means—and how it sometimes hurts like hell.

Tenth graders Eliana and Dmitri could not be more different. He’s an outgoing, self-confident drummer in a punk band called Unexpected Turbulence. Eliana is introspective and thoughtful, and a movie buff who is living with depression. Dmitri quite literally falls for Eliana when he sees her in gym class and slams into a classmate. The pair then navigate the ins and outs of first love. Exciting, scary, unexpected, and so much more difficult than they ever imagined. They say opposites attract, but they soon realize that there is so much they just don’t understand about each other. It begs the question: How long can first love possibly last when you’re so different?

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Blog Tour Review + Top 5 Reasons to Read: Glimpsed by G.F. Miller

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Glimpsed by G.F. Miller. Special thanks to Simon & Schuster Books 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: Glimpsed
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 05 December 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true.

Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.

But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vibha crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?

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

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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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