First Lines Friday – 03 April

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“Gina Luca knew one thing right down to the very marrow of her wedding-planner bones: brides were the devil. And a bridezilla on her fourth round of tequila shots during the reception? A highly flammable devil capable of anything, including hijacking the videographer and projecting an impromptu Kiss Cam on the movie theater-sized screen behind the bridal party dais.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Goodreads: Words in Deep Blue
Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
Panda Rating:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind

So wow, I really wasn’t ready for my feels to be completely shattered reading this book. I was a quietly blubbering hot mess by the time I reached the end! I’m not even sure what I can say other than I absolutely loved it. This one reached right into my heart and gave it a big ‘ole squeeze and basically screamed at me to FEEL THINGS.

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Review: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Goodreads: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Panda Rating:

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 

I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf for quite a while now and have been excited to read it ever since I first heard about it. There’s a lot of hype around this book and while I did have some issues with it, overall I’m glad to say that this second-chance romance lived up to the hype for me!

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Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab – #BookReview

Goodreads: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

Holy heck. What can I even say?! I loved Vicious but I’m surprised to say that I might love Vengeful even more?! I just finished reading it earlier today (when I wrote this on Saturday) so my thoughts are still a jumbled mess but I’m going to at least try writing something semi-coherent. Also, sorry but there will be spoilers for Vicious as this picks up after that!

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Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1) by D.P. Woolliscroft Blog Tour – #BookReview

I’m back with another blog tour with the @WriteReads gang and this time it’s for the epic fantasy: Kingshold. I’m so glad that this book was brought to my attention thanks to Dave and that I was lucky enough to receive a copy from the author. This is one fantasy adventure that’s not to be missed!

Goodreads: Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1)
Published: 30 April 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Panda Rating:

The King is Dead. Long Live the People!
Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.

Neenahwi is the daughter of Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.

Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself. And so she finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.

Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.

Continue reading “Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1) by D.P. Woolliscroft Blog Tour – #BookReview”

Well Met (Well Met #1) by Jen DeLuca – #BookReview

Goodreads: Well Met (Well Met #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1) by Teagan Hunter – #BookReview

Goodreads: Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

A wrong number is supposed to be just that—a wrong number.
Delete. Done.
Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.

A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.

Because that would be weird.

When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.

I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.
But maybe…
Maybe he’s the right guy.

This was such a fun and funny romance! I’d never heard of Teagan Hunter before but I came across this book while looking at recs for “books with puns in the title” for the 2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I started it on a whim yesterday and I don’t regret it! I found myself bursting with laughter half the time and caught in giggling fits the other half. While we don’t really go too “in-depth” with the characters, the banter between our MCs, and even the side characters, was just too good and I had a really great time reading about them all!

As the book and series title indicates, the main form of communication between is text but the whole story isn’t only told through their messages. I’m not always the biggest fan of this format because I don’t usually get a good sense of personalities and the all important “spark” that’s supposed to exist between characters, but that was definitely not the case with this one! I already mentioned it once but I’ll say it again: the banter was so great. I loved the sassiness, sarcasm, and spectacular nerdery of both Zach and Delia (especially Zach), and the progression of their relationship from strangers-to-friends-to-lovers was believable and well-written. It wasn’t a slow burn romance but there was some good anticipation and build up that I was pleasantly surprised by! I loved that it was more than just sex but that you can feel the strength of their friendship! That said this did get pretty steamy at points and I’d give it a 4/5 on the steaminess scale.

For the most part, I found Delia and Zach level-headed and mature and I always find that refreshing in a romance! They complemented each other really well. Delia was head strong and vocal but she was also compassionate and hard working. Zach was whip smart, sweet and a total goofball. Its been a while since I had such a huge crush on a fictional character but as Delia was falling head over heels for Zach, so was I! He is the epitome of a hot nerd and I was here for it. His nerd humor was on point and I was swooning hard.

Did I mention that there’s also an adorably cheeky baby goat called Marshmallow in the story? Yep, he’s a thing. I didn’t think I was about that baby goat life, but Marshy was a certified cutie pie and I wanted baby goat cuddles too. Not to mention that I also really loved the side characters: Zoe (an awesome BFF) and Caleb (the total sweetheart of an ex), even Robbie. I’m hoping that we get to learn more about them and their stories in the Texting series because they grew on me as much as Zach and Delia! Overall, I’m really glad I read this wonderful romcom and I’m looking forward to trying other books by Hunter — it’s quite possible that I’ve found a new romance favourite in 2020! 😍

Have you read Let’s Get Textual or is it on your TBR?

2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Announcement & Possibility Pile

Last year I decided to participate in the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge for the first time. I liked the idea of completing the challenge but I’m also 100% sure the reason I even looked at it in the first place is because of the cute and colorful list of prompts that they came out with. I’m sorry I just really like pretty things 🤣 That aside, I failed to complete it because I just wasn’t organised. I filled a spreadsheet with possible book options for some prompts at the start but gave up before I even really started trying. Bad panda 🐼

BUT I’m ready and eager to make this year different! I’ve not only identified many possible options for each prompt but I’ve even decided what I’ll read for a few of the 40 regular prompts. I haven’t started looking at the 10 advance level prompts yet though I’m not sure that I will this year!

There are basically no rules to this challenge. You can complete it whatever way you want and on Facebook it got a little ugly when people seemed to judge others for saying that they’d use one book for multiple prompts. It wasn’t a fun time 😒 Why can’t we just let people read whatever and however they want without making them feel like they’re “cheating” when there aren’t even any rules on how to complete this challenge in the first place? Sure, a challenge means you push yourself but it’s really nobody’s business but your own, isn’t it? #tea. BUT I DIGRESS! What I meant to say before going off on that rant is that I’ve made some bookish choices that count for multiple prompts but if I complete the regular challenge early (haha) I’ll go back to some of those prompts and choose a different book for it. That way, I’ll feel like I’ve pushed myself even more but I will also have happily completed the challenge in a relaxed and fun way without putting unnecessary pressure on myself. On that note, here are the books that I’ve chosen for some of the prompts. There’s still a possibility that these may change based on my mood but I’m going to do my best to stick to them.

A book published in 2020
A book by a trans or nonbinary author
A book about a book club + A book that has a book on the cover
A bildungsroman
A book with a map + A book by a WOC

A Western
A book by or about a journalist + A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics
A book with a robot, cyborg or AI character
A book with at least four stars on Goodreads
A book with a pink cover

So far I’ve also managed to complete three of the prompts with the books that I’ve read so far this month:

A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins
A book with a bird on the cover
A book with a three-word title
☝🏽 (I’ve been on the fence about counting this last one though… Would you count it?) ☝🏽

Just like I’ll do for the ARC Apocalypse challenge, I’ll share a quarterly update for the POPSUGAR, which will only help to hold me accountable for my participation and so I don’t half-ass anything lol

Are you also participating in the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge? What do you think of my possibility pile? Do you have any suggestions for what I should read for some of the other prompts?

2020 Bookish and Blogging Goals

Yesterday I already talked about Looking Ahead to 2020 but I didn’t really cover all the bookish and blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. I’ve always been one of those people who like the idea of setting goals more than keeping track and achieving them 😅 But I hope that I’ll be able to stick to these ones!

GOAL 1: Read 100 books (Goodreads Reading Challenge)

I feel like a broken record every time I say that 2019 was a crazy reading year but it really was! I read over 200 books and I’ve never ever read that much in one year before. But knowing that I can read that much, I’ve set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 100 books this year.

Continue reading “2020 Bookish and Blogging Goals”