Let’s Talk Bookish: 2022 Reading/Blogging Goals

Hello, friends! It’s been a while since I did a Let’s Talk Bookish post but I thought what better time to dive back into these posts than at the start of a new year, right?!


Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for January 2022 prompts & a full list of the past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

2022 READING GOALS

(SUGGESTED BY DANI @ LITERARY LION)
Prompts: As we enter the new year many of us will be setting goals on Goodreads and choosing new year’s resolutions. What are your goals related to your blog or books/reading in general? Are you going to have resolutions this year, and if not why not?

QUICK RECAP of 2021 goals/resolutions

I’m just gonna come out and say it: I didn’t do a great job of achieving my 2021 goals/resolutions. 🙃 I was so convinced at the start of the year that it would be my year and well, a couple of slumps, weird reading moods, and burnouts later, and that wasn’t the case at all. I felt pretty shoddy about it when I realised just how little I accomplished but after a little internal monologuing, I decided that it’s okay. Of course, I’m disappointed that I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, but I had as much of a rough personal year as a lot of others did—but the high point is: we got through it!

I thought I’d share a review of some of my 2021 goals/resolutions before moving on to 2022:

  • Read 150 books (GR challenge)this is the only goal I achieved as I ended up reading 199 books!
  • Tackle my existing physical shelves (at least 50 books)yeah, no. this really didn’t end up happening as i participated in a slightly overwhelming number of blog tours last year 😂
  • Catalogue all my physical/digital booksi didn’t even end up making/downloading a library tracker until january 2022 so… 🙈
  • Prioritise reading Asian (South/Southeast Asian) authorsi read 13 books by asian authors and considering i read almost 200 books, i didn’t do well with this one!
  • Read more amazing Middle Grade Fantasy!i read a few mg fantasies that i really enjoyed but 2021 ended up being the year of romance, and i think 2022 is going to follow suit.
  • Grow my blog to 800 followerssadly, i didn’t achieve this and have been in 700 followers limbo for the past 8 months but i’m honestly just happy to have a few regular readers who engage with me, especially after posting so erratically in 2021
  • Read more non-fiction (at least 4 books)nope. non-fiction stood no chance 🥲

IS THERE HOPE FOR MY 2022 READING GOALS?

Oof, that recap was a little more painful than I anticipated (😮‍💨) but I’m not gonna let that stop me from trying again in 2022! I also know myself and I’ve never been very good at sticking to resolutions or slaying goals. I’ve always kind of taken things as they come and just going with whatever flow I’m on, but I also like having a general idea of where I’m heading and what I want to work towards. All that to say, I’ll have these goals but I’ll try not to take them too seriously? It’s chaotic but we’re rolling with it, ok? 🤓

THE 2022 READING/BLOGGING GOALS

I’m gonna keep it pretty simple this year and include one or two ideas that I’ve been thinking about doing for the past year and I’m pretty excited about it, so hopefully, that means it’ll happen! 😂

  • Read 150 booksGoodreads Reading Challenge
  • Read 50 backlist titles – Because I really want to focus on getting the backlist read this year!
  • Complete the 2022 Popsugar Reading Challenge – I’m trying. Again. Maybe 2022 is the year I’ll finally complete it 😂 why not be ambitious, right?
  • Fill in my Library Tracker – I’m starting with recording my ebooks and then I’ll move onto my physical books!
  • Grow my blog to 800 followers – why not be a little more ambitious, eh?
  • Start my Re-read Project – I had this idea to re-read some of the books that I rated 4-5 stars before I started my book blog. I’d love to see whether I still feel the same way about them and I want to give them actual reviews this time! I hope to at least read 2-3 series or ~10 books.

That’s it for my 2022 reading and blogging goals! Do you set yearly goals for reading and blogging? Do you find setting goals helpful or is it just pressure you don’t need?

2021 End of Year Book Survey: Part II & III

It’s time for parts 2 & 3 of the End of Year Book Survey! This part of the survey looks more at blogging and future planning but you can check out part one for my 2021 Stats & ‘Best in Books’!

The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

New favourite book blog/bookstagram/youtube channel you discovered in 2021?

I didn’t do half as much blog hopping this year as I had planned so there were only a few new bloggers that I discovered but I’m so glad that I discovered them! They produce great content and write great reviews, so you should definitely check them out: Nick @ Infinite Limits of Love, Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse, Kerri @ Kerri McBookNerd , Lia @ An Ode to Fiction, Maria @ The Character Study, Georgia @ Lost in Neverland, Hasini @ Bibliosini, Sam @ We Live and Breathe Books, and Lori @ Fifty-two!

I also have to give a special shout out to my favourites on here because they’ve made this reading year even more incredible with buddy reads and great chats: Leslie @ Books Are the New Black, Julie @ One Book More, Jess @ Jessticulates, Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog and Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den!

I also started watching my fair share of booktube this year and these three were my favourites:

Jess

Gavin

Jack


Favourite post you wrote in 2021?

I’m not usually good at boosting my own stuff? But there were a few posts that I really enjoyed making and two reviews that I’m particularly proud of, even though they’re a bit lot on the long, I couldn’t help gushing about the books because I loved them *so much*!


I didn’t take a lot of bookish related photos this year but I did do a book look for my stop on the Cast in Firelight blog tour, a photo of my newly reorganised bookshelf (that didn’t last long lol) and another photo of one of the (very) few hauls I did this year!


Best bookish event that you participated in
(author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

There were none this year (but are there ever any events? no… lol) 🥲


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?

I don’t know if I can really say whether I had a “best” moment because my blogging and reading life felt pretty low key in 2021. I guess one of the best moments I felt was when I came back from my extended hiatus to find that there were still people following my blog? 😂 I still feel the imposter syndrome pretty often, especially when things felt really tough this year, but yeah… I’m just thankful for all of you who engage with this weird third culture kid across the sea! ❤️


Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Oof, I’ve said it a million times already but this year was a weird one and I felt it on both the blogging and reading front. I planned to take a short break early on in the year which then turned into a several-month-long hiatus which I apparently really needed! It wasn’t a smooth journey diving back into blogging but I found my groove again after a while. I still question why I’m producing anything at times because my engagements weren’t what they were before, but I love this community and I’m still glad to be here. In terms of reading, I was stuck with a weird reading mood that didn’t disappear until… well, it didn’t really disappear all year! 😂 While I’d normally read a pretty balanced mix of fantasies and romances, I could hardly focus on anything except the latter all year and without them I probably would’ve read next to nothing in 2021. 🙈 I’m planning to try reintroducing more fantasy into my life this year but if not, I’m totally okay with mainly reading romances!


Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views?)

The most liked post on my blog this year was my Top Ten Tuesday: Goals & Hopes for 2021! The post with the most comments was also a Top Ten Tuesday: Re-reading 5-star Books Like It Was the First Time.


Post you wished got a little more love?

As with every year so far, my reviews always get the lowest views out of all the posts on my blog. I’m also sure that because I took an extended hiatus this year, my stats dropped considerably but again, I’m just glad that anyone stuck around. ❤️


I gotta be honest, I didn’t really discover any new book related sites or book stores this year because I didn’t really do much retail therapy (surprisingly!) and outside of work, I spent very little time online and engaging. 🙈 Boring, I know!


Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Well, I can say with certainty that I didn’t reach many of the reading/blogging goals I set myself this year. Some of the reasons why were out of my control and the others… Well, it just didn’t happen and that’s fine! The one goal that I did surpass was my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I set my goal for 150 books in 2021 and I ended up reading 199 (welp, that one to 200 😂). I’m happy I at least did that!


One book you didn’t get to in 2021 but will be your number 1 priority in 2022?

I’ve technically been reading She Who Became the Sun for… A long time now. It’s been on my “currently reading” list since I picked it up mid-year and I’m disappointed that I haven’t finished it yet but as I’ve mentioned, I really struggled with fantasy last year. I’m definitely going to prioritise it this year and I do hope I love it as much as everyone else seemed to!


Book you are most anticipating for 2022 (non-debut)?

Ooh, there’s not just one book I’m highly anticipating! I’ve just made a list of ten but here are ten more that I’m really looking forward to this year:


2022 debut you are most anticipating?

A Magic Steeped in Poison isn’t my most anticipated debut because it has the most gorgeous cover but it definitely doesn’t hurt! 😂


Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2022?

I’m really looking forward to reading Bound by Firelight, the second and final book in the Wickery duology.


One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2022?

I wrote last year that I wanted to spend more time engaging in the book community and sadly, I didn’t do as much as I’d like. So I think I’m going to keep this goal the same! I hope to be more active in the book community and engage with more amazing book lovers!


A 2022 release you’ve already read & recommend to everyone (if applicable)

I’ve only read two 2022 releases (I’m so behind please don’t judge) and one I didn’t quite enjoy and the other I absolutely loved but haven’t gushed much about yet.

If you’re looking for a sweet and adorable graphic novel to read this year I’d highly recommend Chef’s Kiss! It’s got great friendships, realistic and relatable adulting situations post-uni life, and a very sweet MM romance. Not to mention all the food!

And that’s a wrap on 2021, folks!

So, that’s the last bit of the End of Year Survey. I actually feel like there are maybe some things that I haven’t reflected on yet in this wrap-up—mostly to do with my 2021 goals—but that’s OK. Maybe I’ll do a separate post for that. I can’t believe 2021 is already over and we’ve started another new year, sadly with the same circumstances. That said, I hope 2022 gets better and is kinder to all of us!

How was your year of reading and blogging in 2021? What was your best blogging or book-related moment? Is there anything that you’re really looking forward to or something you really want to achieve in 2022?

#WWWWednesday: 05 January 2022

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Post divider: What did you just finish reading?

Since last week I’ve managed to finish seven books. Most of them were erotic romances, as I was chasing my 200 reads in 2021 (and still didn’t succeed but it’s fine lol)! I still find that I’ve carried over the weird reading mood from 2021 but I’m hoping that’ll fade as 2022 rolls on.

Before Girl (Vital Signs #1) by Kate Canterbary ★★★☆☆
I have an unpopular opinion for this one and I’m sad that I didn’t enjoy it. I just couldn’t vibe with the chaotic energy of the characters. I think this is definitely a me thing and not because of the book! Still plan to try another book by Canterbary though! RTC.

The Lick Series Box Set (Lick #1-3) by Naima Simone ★★★★☆
I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this one. It’s erotica so the sex does play a big role in the plot (and it was very kinky and steamy) but I thought the character development was done well for novellas! The third book (Only For You) about Killian was my favourite though. Defo keen to try more by this author! RTC.

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 05 January 2022”

#TopTenTuesday: Anticipated Releases in the First Half of 2022

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the First Half of 2022.

I’m notoriously a last-minute kind of girl so it’s no surprise that I’m writing this post the day it’s going up. I also started off making this list with less than 10 books marked on my Goodreads 2022 releases list and by the time I finished “researching”, I’d ended up with 68 releases. 😂 *phew* there are so many great releases coming out this year I don’t even know what my bank account is gonna look like if I end up getting my hands on many of them! 👀 But I digress! I had a fun time narrowing the list down to 10 11 books and, as always, it’s a random mix of Adult and YA fantasies, romances and some literary/speculative fiction. The list goes in order of release month!

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Anticipated Releases in the First Half of 2022”

2021 End of Year Book Survey: Part I

It’s that time of the year again and I’m keen to look back on my year of reading with The End of Year Book Survey originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. Since this is a bit of a longer recap I’ve split the survey into two, combining parts 2+3 but that’ll also be going up later this week! And on that note, let’s dive straight in:

Screenshot of My Year in Books - 2021 from Goodreads. Image shows an open book with the text My Year in Books below it. Followed by: 62,038 pages read, 199 books read

Number of books read: 199
Number of pages read: 62,038
Number of re-reads: 3 (Illuminae, Gemina, Aurora Rising)
Genre(s) you read the most from: Romance and Fantasy

This is the first time I’ve checked the details of my reading stats on Goodreads but I love to see it! Interesting to see just how few 5-star reads I had in 2021—I know I had a few but I didn’t realise it was so few either! 😅 Despite that, my average rating was 3.7 this year, which is a surprisingly minor difference from 3.8 last year!

Goodreads status: 2021 Reads, ranking tier from 5 stars to 1 star and unrated reads.

Best book you read in 2021?

I really don’t think I can pick one for this prompt. I’m sorry! I made a Top 10 list but if I had to narrow it down to a Top 3 I think I’d pick: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, The Death of Vivek Oji, The Love Hypothesis and The Ones We’re Meant to Find.


Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

I buddy read Jade Fire Gold with Becky and unfortunately, we both didn’t end up loving it. It had potential but it fell short; the whole time I wanted more and sadly, we didn’t get it by the end.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

I decided to look at a book that surprised me in a good way! I struggle with anthologies/short story collections but I really enjoyed Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise. Lots of fun, feel good, nostalgic YA stories that gave me the warm fuzzies 🥰


Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

Hmm… This is a tough one. I’m not sure that I managed to convince anyone to read anything that I gushed about? 😂 But the books I’m quite sure pushed the most were these three: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, and Sing Anyway! All were brilliant. *chefs kiss*

Book cover: Jade City
Book cover: The Goddess of Nothing at All
Book cover: Sing Anyway

Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?

Six Crimson Cranes

Book cover: Six Crimson Cranes

I love Lim’s writing and world-building and I’m so happy this story was gorgeous as its cover!

Jade War

Book cove: Jade War

I didn’t think it could get better than Jade City, but this sequel blew my mind!

Subtle Blood

Book cover: Subtle Blood

This was a great ending to an amazing series. I adore this queer historical mystery/ romance!


Favourite new author you discovered in 2021?

Ooh, there are so many new favourites including: Fonda Lee, Martha Wells, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Holly Jackson, KJ Charles, Brighton Walsh, Ali Hazelwood, Lucy Parker, Anita Kelly and Danielle L. Jensen.


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Kept from Cages

Dark SFF is not usually my jam but this had a compelling mystery, intriguing powers and awesome characters! 😍

Shards of Earth

I don’t read much adult sci-fi but this book was wow! The world-building was amazing and the characters grew on me quickly. I became very *invested* 👀


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Bridge Kingdom series was one of my more recent reads and I sped through this so quickly I surprised myself! The action steadily escalated, the romance became deliciously angsty and I adored every moment of it. 😍


I think I’d re-read Silver in the Wood before starting the next book in the series.


Favourite cover of a book you read in 2021?

So so many but here are a few:


Most memorable character of 2021?

Art by: C.J. Merwild

Just like last year, this year’s favourite is not just one person but one family from The Green Bone Saga! After craving fan art all year, I’m so glad so much exists now. This family portrait by C.J. Merwild is my favourite. Everyone’s just so freaking stunning—I can’t 🥲


Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

There were two books tied for this but A People’s History of Heaven won by a small margin. The prose flowed like magic. Subramanian really knows how to give life to her words because I was able to vividly picture everything!


Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2021?

Hmm… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was life-changing but it did make me think a lot about time and life, changes and chances. This hit really deep emotionally!


Book you can’t believe you waited until 2021 to finally read? 

I honestly can’t believe I didn’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder before this year! I loved Poppy and the mystery had me hooked until the very end!


Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2021?

“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”

T.J. Klune, Under the Whispering Door

Shortest & Longest book you read in 2021?

Shortest: 52 pages (Surrender: An Erotic Short)
Longest: 672 pages (Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2))


Book that shocked you the most

Credence was pretty taboo and it definitely won’t be for everyone but it wasn’t the forbidden elements that shocked me. It was more how much I enjoyed the story! 😂


OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I didn’t even have to take a second to think about it: Olive and Adam from The Love Hypothesis. They’re so precious and aah, I squee thinking about them! 😍

Honourary mentions: Sylvie & Dom (Battle Royal), Lara & Aren (The Bridge Kingdom), Will & Kim (The Will Darling Adventures), Gianna & Christian (The Maddest Obsession), Mac & Hudson (Captain Heartbreaker)


Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year

I loved the ride or die friendship between Olive and Lucy. Their relationship was my favourite aspect of this Love & Hate series.


Favourite book you read in 2021 from an author you’ve read previously

Chloe Liese is one of my favourite romance authors and I adored both books by her that I read this year: Ever After Always and With You Forever.


Best book you read in 2021 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.

I’d seen a few of the Havenbrook series covers circulate on book Twitter throughout the year and all the threads gushed about how awesome they were so of course I had to find out for myself! It’s become one of my favourite small-town romance series and I can’t wait to read more by Brighton Walsh in 2022!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?

Ooh, this is a toughie. I read so many romances with swoontastic heroes that swept me off my love-drunk feet! I’m gonna do my best to narrow it down to a Top 5… I was a sucker for Zaf, Adam, Dominic, Hudson and Rahul! 😍😍😍😍😍


Best 2021 debut you read?

I still can’t believe The Hand of the Sun King was a debut with its immaculate world-building and stunning prose! The Love Hypothesis is also another stunner of a debut and I can’t wait to read more by Hazelwood ASAP!


Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

I only read a few fantasies this year but I would have to say The Green Bone Saga books had the best world-building. It’s so intricate and vivid that I felt like I was there experiencing it myself!


Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

Chef’s Kiss was one of the only graphic novels that I read in 2021 and I was constantly smiling as I read! It was so cute and relatable and ah, happy heart sighs. 🥰


Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2021?

I’m an emotional reader so once I become invested in characters and their stories, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, cry, scream at all the injustice… Anyway, it’s safe to say I cry easily while reading but these are the books that made me ugly cry.


Hidden gem of the year?

I feel like I haven’t seen enough people talk about Skin of the Sea in 2021 and it’s a gorgeous YA fantasy debut that deserves all the love!


Book that crushed your soul?

The soul-crushing honour definitely goes to The Goddess of Nothing at All. This book absolutely wrecked me and I felt so bereft when it ended 😭 (and obviously I mean all of this in the best way)!


Most unique book you read in 2021?

I can’t remember the last time I read a story from an animal perspective and Pighearted was a heartwarming story about family and belonging, told partially through the eyes of J6, a little pig who thought he was human. So cute!


Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

As Good As Dead took a turn that I really didn’t expect or wish for the main character and it frustrated me because why was she done like this?! I don’t mean it in a bad way either but just in a heartbreaking way, I guess?


And that’s a wrap on part 1!

2021 was a pretty weird reading year. I read more than I did in 2020 but I also feel like I read less impactful or memorable books too—or more like they left less of an impression on me? I’m still pretty happy with what I read though and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) more amazing reads in 2022!

How was your year of reading in 2021? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? What was your favourite book(s)? What about the book that surprised you the most?

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I’ll be tucked in bed with The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. I started this last night but didn’t get through much of it before I fell asleep at 15% cos I was so knackered. I did predict something that just happened but I’m really looking forward to what happens next! Also, this is surprisingly gruesome but I’m not overly squeamish but just a quick heads-up if you’re thinking of reading it and you’re squeamish!

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”

December 2021 Monthly Wrap Up

Happy New Year, friends! 🥳

I can’t believe that it’s already the last day of December as I write this. How quickly time does fly! I’ve spent my month in Bali reunited with the parents in our newly renovated home. My sister has been with me and my brother recently joined us and for the first time in a very long time, it’s the five of us under one roof again. It’s been a little… overwhelming at times (lol) but it’s also been nice! 😊 We’ve been really lucky that the sun has been shining more than it has been raining which gives us time to soak up some vitamin D after a year stuck indoors.

This month was also my last month of work and… It was a bittersweet moment. Five years of my life with this organisation and its been tough a lot of the time but I know I’ve been lucky to have a well-paying job that allowed me to indulge in my pretty expensive love of books (especially pretty special edition ones)! 😂 Let’s hope 2022 brings something good my way on the employment front.

I ended up reading 26 books in December and all of them were romances. I’m not usually as a seasonal reader but apparently holiday romances have been my thing this month and I’m not mad about it at all! For the most part, I enjoyed most of the ones I read but there were a few duds that weren’t my jam or ended up being a let down (for me). I think this might be the most I’ve read out of any month this year and what a great way to end 2021, especially considering how weird my reading mood has been all year!

In terms of favourites, this month saw me reading two of my favourites for the year: The Love Hypothesis and Battle Royal! I loved these books so much and both book couples are some of my new favourites. There are so many feel good and swoontastic moments in these books and I can’t stop gushing about them! 😍

The Love Hypothesis

Battle Royal

Continue reading “December 2021 Monthly Wrap Up”

Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances

I’m not much of a seasonal reader but the holiday romances have really worked for me this particular holiday season! Having spent the majority of my life living in the tropics, with a few years here and there in countries with four seasons, I actually do miss the cold weather and these reads have allowed me to immerse myself in both holiday cheer and snowy settings.

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly

Goodreads: Dipped in Holly
Publication Date: 17 December 2021
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Holly was just dumped.
Less than a week before Christmas. In public. Dressed as a slutty Mrs. Claus.
All she wants is to hide in the bathroom and have a breakdown in peace.
But the Silver Fox who owns the bar has other plans.

The moment Nick takes in Holly’s grey eyes and sassy attitude, he’s hooked.
There’s no denying the attraction that has sparked between them.
And when that tension finally snaps, he finds himself taking Holly to bed.
A kinky one night stand later, and they’re left questioning if it was enough.

Continue reading “Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances”

Book Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart

Goodreads: The Plight Before Christmas
Published: 19 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.
Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.
I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.
I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML. 

TL;DR: It admittedly took me a little while to get into the story but I ended up really enjoying the Christmas vibes, the Collins family, the sibling relationships, and following along with Eli and Whitney’s second-chance romance after a gut-wrenching heartbreak and 17 years apart. This ended up being a bit more serious than I expected (CW/TW below) but the story was well-balanced with light-hearted moments of cheeky banter, swoony romance and steamy moments.

CW/TW: recounting of terminal illness (cancer), parental death, anxiety

Continue reading “Book Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart”

Book Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid

Goodreads: Homecoming King (Three Kings #1)
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Published: 14 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.
The guy who doesn’t recognize her.
The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.
The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.

TL;DR: This was a delightfully binge-able fake-dating/marriage romance that I had a really hard time putting down. Abby and Rex stole my heart and their romance made me swoon and sigh with happiness! I’m eagerly anticipating the next two books in the series, which I’m assuming will be about Cyrus and Alaric(?) and I absolutely cannot wait 😍

Continue reading “Book Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid”