August Monthly Wrap Up!

Well it has certainly been a hot minute since I did one of these (April was my last one)! But since it’s already the end of August and I’m actually remembering to do a monthly wrap up on time, I thought I might as well do it. I don’t know about you but August passed in a literal blink for me! I definitely don’t think that I did anything noteworthy this month on both the work and personal life front, and to be honest, if you asked me what I did yesterday I don’t think I’d be able to tell you. It’s been that kind of brain foggy month and well, I’m just trying to keep my head above water and keep moving forward.

On a more positive note, I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 100 books this past Saturday and I honestly didn’t think I’d do it because my reading has been iffy at best this year. Thank goodness for the blog tours I’ve been on because they’ve been keeping me motivated and have given me the push I need to stay reading. Not that I haven’t wanted to read, it’s just that my moods have been all over the show lately and as a mood reader, books don’t usually get read very quickly, if at all, in my current state of mind.

Saying that, this month I managed to read a total of 15 books, not counting the second book I’ve DNF’d this year! Yes, you read that right, the infamous ‘non-DNFer’ has DNF’d not one, but two books in 2020. Like I’ve said before, I’m taking baby steps to DNF-ing more books and well, it’s two more than I DNF’d last year so, yay progress? 😬

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Blog Tour Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for this gem of a debut: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: His Only Wife
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, African Literature
Panda Rating:

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world.

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Blog Tour Review: The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

I’m so honoured and excited to share my review today as part of the book blog tour for The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. Special thanks to Shivani at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for reaching out and asking if I’d like to be part of their tour for this incredible book. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: The Black Kids
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Panda Rating:

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Los Angeles, 1992
Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

Buy: Publisher | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository

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Blog Tour Review: A House is a Body by Shruti Swamy

Today I’m back with another Algonquin book tour for A House is A Body by Shruti Swamy. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This book is out 11 August 2020!

Goodreads: A House is a Body
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 11 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Panda Rating:

In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy’s debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In “Earthly Pleasures,” Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s moment of crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade’s edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.

Buy: Amazon (US)

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Blog Tour Review: With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: With or Without You
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

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Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for asking me to take part in it!

Thanks to NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads: In the Neighborhood of True
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 07 July 2020 (PBK pub)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Own Voices
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

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The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2020)

Holy wow, I honestly can’t believe that it’s already mid-year. Time is a funny thing normally but in 2020 it’s just outrageous, as the year itself has been! The year got off to a pretty strong start despite quickly falling sick towards the end of January (it wasn’t corona!) after which everything basically spiralled downward and that’s when my reading really tanked. With all the negative energy that has been projected worldwide, it’s a miracle I managed to read anything at all, but I’m thankful I had the blog tours (the majority of which will no longer be mentioned!) to keep me motivated and reading. This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 100 books and despite it all, I think I’ve done quite well and I’m even 27 books ahead of schedule.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people do this tag lately and so of course I’m hopping on board too albeit a little late. I did my first mid-year freak out tag in 2019 and it was fun to look back and see what was and wasn’t making my hit list last year. So before I go off on another long-winded spiel, let’s check in to see what my 2020 reading is looking like right now!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

This is probably (obviously) the hardest question. I am really torn because I’ve had a surprising number of amazing reads so far, but I think I’m going to pick Words in Deep Blue. This sent me on a wild rollercoaster of emotions and it was endlessly quotable. I think this is such an underrated gem and you can read my review here. Now I’m going to cheat a bit and mention my other top contenders: The Kinder Poison, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, Nevermoor and Vengeful.


Best sequel so far of 2020?

Surprising no one, I haven’t read many sequels so far this year but of the ones I’ve read I’m going to have to pick this great contemporary romance: The Guy on the Left. Let’s just say that after completely loving book one but really not loving the character who would be our hero in book two, I was shooketh to read it and love it perhaps even more than the first! If you like romance, second chances, slow burns, and some deliciously steamy encounters, do yourself a favour and pick this up!


new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Eherm… Now where do I even start? (I’ve got those *shame bells a la GoT* ringing in my head!) This hasn’t been a super great year for me reading outside of my blog tour reads so there are plenty to choose from, ha! But I’m going to go for Beach Read because 1) It was released on my birthday, 2) I’ve heard countless praises for it and 3) I’m hoping to read it this summer (loose use of the term as it’s perpetually summer in the tropics)!


Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?

Another one that’s super difficult to narrow down because there are so many amazing releases and I can’t choose? But also, my latest TTT post was about this so you can check out my list of top ten most anticipated releases (although in reality there’s obviously plenty more)! I’m currently reading an eARC for one of my most anticipated reads: Unravel the Dusk, and though it’s still early days I’m loving it!


biggest disappointment?

It hurts me just as much as it might hurt you for me to say this but my biggest disappointment was The Toll, the third and final book of the amazing Arc of a Scythe series. I was just… Expecting more and it really fell short. While I did still enjoy what we were given, it wasn’t the series ending that I thought we would get and I feel the story deserved to end on a much better note! But anywho, those are just some of my thoughts but you can read all my thoughts in my review!


biggest surprise?

It’s for definitely going to be the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I wasn’t expecting to fall head over feet in love with a MG fantasy this year but wow, I loved the books in this series so much! If you’re looking for something that will make you nostalgic for your days reading Harry Potter as a kid this is the book you should read! But it also has so much more to offer. It has an incredible world, quirky and hilarious characters, a feisty MC in Morrigan Crow and a villain who I feel falls more on the morally grey scale (albeit the darker side) than on the pure evil scale? (maybe that’s just me though) TL;DR: Read it! You won’t regret it!


Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)?

I’m so torn! It’s so hard for me to choose because as I’m going to be repeating over and over again, I’ve read so many great books so far in 2020! But… If I had to choose I’d pick Jessica Townsend because her Nevermoor series is seriously going to be one of my all time favourites. Funny that, last year I picked Jane Harper, who is also an Aussie author like Jessica! The Aussie’s are hitting it big 😍


newest fictional crush?

Ugh why do I torture myself? Hmm… I can’t decide so I’m going to cheat and give you three of my new fictional crushes. I’m choosing Ryder from Only When It’s Us, Reid from Love Lettering, and Zach from Let’s Get Textual. If you’ve read any or all of these, I guess you might figure I have a type 🤣 All three had me swooning throughout these reads and I loved every minute of it!


newest favourite character?

I going with Maia Tamarin from Spin the Dawn for this one. I love her spirit and her fierce determination to see that her family suffers no more loss than they already have. She puts family first and works countless hours to achieve her goals and honestly, she’s such an admirable character. I’d often forget her age because she has a maturity to her that made her relatable to me.

I kind of want to cheat a little and given an honorary shout to Zahru from The Kinder Poison because she’s feisty, full of snark and although her naïveté sometimes drove me a little crazy, she was a fierce character (who can also talk to animals!) that brought me so much joy!


Book that made you cry?

The question should be: what book didn’t make me cry?! Hah. Kidding… Sort of!

No, but in all honesty the book that really hit me hard in the feels and made those angry/sad silent tears stream down my face was The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones. So relevant with everything that’s happening in America right now and I think a good introduction to difficult topics for younger readers written by an own voices author. Don’t let this one pass you by, friends! If you’re curious to know more, check out my review.


Book that made you happy?

Okay but all of the books I enjoyed made me happy in some kind of way? I’m a ‘laugher’ so it really doesn’t take much to make me laugh. I’ve laughed through a lot of the books that I’ve read this year but the most recent one was Walk of Shame. Although it wasn’t my favourite romcom I had a really good time laughing at and with our characters.


favourite book to movie/tv adaptation that you saw this year?

Okay this is kind of weird to admit but… I don’t think I’ve watched any book/movie/show adaptation this year? I actually can’t remember the last time I watched a movie/show I read the book of and it has also been a while since I’ve actually sat and watched something thanks to books and ACNH. But if there’s one show that I think will be a favourite (if I do get to watch it!) and it’s Normal People. The book has weirdly and unexpectedly become a favourite and I really like the look of the show!


favourite review you’ve written this year?

Hmm… This is tough but I think I’m going with my review for The Silence of Bones because I loved this book. It makes me sad that it’s one of the more underrated releases of 2020 because it honestly deserves so much more love and attention. You can tell how much work Hur put into that book with all the details about this dynastic period and it was fantastic! Check out my review for more about it but I really recommend it 😉


most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I actually have a few new gorgeous books on my shelves but I’m going with The Mountains Sing. I got my copy personalised and signed by the author as she was living in Jakarta at the time of the release, and that’s always a treat! This story felt like non-fiction and I felt as if I was hearing it being told to me first hand. Immersive and powerful! Check out my review to learn more about it.


what books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Omg if I actually listed what books I “need” to read by the end of the year we might be here forever. So I’m just going to mention a few (cough*twenty*cough) that I’m very excited to get my grabby hands on and that I’m really hoping will get read by year end!

I had a lot more fun doing this post than I thought I would. Granted I didn’t give myself too much time to dwell on my answers and I think that made it easier for me to do! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2020 goes… Have you done a mid-year freak out tag?
How are you doing with your reading? At the end of the day what matters most is that you’re enjoying yourself!

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 been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I spent a good chunk of the day reading The Wrongful Death which is Book III in The Great Devil War series. Although there are some bits that I’m not enjoying so much, mostly an awkward pre-pubescent romance that seems a little forced. I honestly wish the ‘relationship’ between two characters was platonic as I think it’d be more believable. Still, I’m really enjoying Andersen’s imagination of hell. The more I read the series the more I wonder what inspired and continues to inspire Andersen to bring this hellish world to life. It’s so interesting but also obviously very dark (even the humour).

An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.

The Wrong Death is volume 3 of The Great Devil War series.

What are you currently reading?

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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 been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I spent part of the day in bed with The Die of Death which is book II of The Great Devil War by Kenneth B. Andersen. It’s nice to be back with Philip after book one — I feel in ways that he has grown a lot although time didn’t pass in the real world when he was in hell. I’m looking forward to learning more about Mortimer (Death) and seeing what happens next!

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.
But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.
Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

The Die of Death is volume 2 in The Great Devil War-series and winner of the ORLA-Award.

The Great Devil War-series is a humorous and gripping tale about good and evil, filled with biblical and historical characters, such as Judas, Goliath, and Pontius Pilate, as well as modern figures such as Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and many more.

The Great Devil War-series is a Danish bestseller, topping library and school reading lists among teens and young adults. The books have been published in more than ten countries and have won numerous awards. 

What are you currently reading?

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April Monthly Wrap Up!

To say that April was a bit of a wretched month for reading would be a bit of an understatement. Echoing the sentiment that many fellow bloggers have been saying in their wrap ups, while March felt like it crawled by, April was pretty much gone in a blink. I’m honestly not mad about it though. I’d ideally like to have a do-over of this shite month, but it is what it is. By now we all know that my reading took a huge nosedive this month is mainly because of Animal Crossing New Horizons… I had no idea how dangerous this game would be for me as I let my sister convince me to finally buy it–not that it was very difficult, mind you.

So here we are today… With the first exams I’ve ever failed in my life (O.W.L.s), a seemingly unscalable (e)ARC Mountain still to climb, and a total of seven books read this month. At least I have a nice (in game) island though, right? 😅

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