December Monthly Wrap Up!

We’ve now started the first full week of January and I was debating whether to even make a December monthly wrap-up post because I’m lazy but I already did the End of Year Survey: Parts I, II & III, but I thought let’s just get it done with so… Here we are 🤪

December was both so slow and too fast and it was honestly a bit of a “surreal” month. I found myself struggling even more to stay motivated at work especially since everyone was going off on holidays and I was one of the few that stayed on until the very last day of the year. I did have a lot of wrapping up to do as I was also ending my full-time work contract and with no one around to really hand things off to, it was a bit more hectic than anticipated.

For the most part, I played a lot of Animal Crossing, read a few books and generally tried to not give in to my desire to retreat into ultimate cave-reading mode too often (especially since I still had work to do)! LOL 😂 I did get my Owlcrate mid-December and the merch and book were gorgeous–I absolutely loved it! My favourite items are the planner+stickers, the monthly pin and of course, the book itself!

In December, I read 18 books! They were a pretty good mix of fantasy and romance, although I did manage to sneak in a non-fiction and some literary/contemporary fiction as well. Despite being excited to read more holiday romances, I only ended up reading two, but I might read one or two more in January but that’s also a big might. As you’ll see in my wrap up although I’ve been reading, what I haven’t been doing is writing reviews immediately. I’m so behind and really need to catch up 😂

I loved many of my December reads and despite a few exceptions, most of them were 4-5 stars, so I would defo say it was a successful month for reading! I had two five star reads in December and they were (obviously) my faves: Bad Blood and Amari and the Night Brothers. They’re two very different books but both are equally amazing and I would highly recommend them!

Continue reading “December Monthly Wrap Up!”

2020 End of Year Book Survey: Part II & III

Alright, it’s time for part two and three 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 2020 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 2020?

Oh, I discovered so many amazing book blogs this year. I really wish that I could mention every single person that I follow because everyone deserves such a huge shoutout for constantly posting great and inspiring content, but also for being such supportive people! You keep me motivated and excited to keep engaging and I appreciate all of you so much! 😍 Some of my faves who’re a few of the most supportive bloggers I’ve met in the community and who’ve also heavily contributed to my increasingly gigantor TBR with their recs are: Becky, Leah, Julie, Lisa, and Stephen!

I never watched Booktube until this year but I did start watching a few although in the end the one that I keep coming back to is Noelle Gallagher. First of all, I could listen to Noelle speaking all day because her voice is so incredibly soothing, plus I love how much passion comes through when she speaks about books. I love her discussions, her reviews, and pretty much everything she posts 🤣


FavoUrite post you wrote in 2020?

This is surprisingly difficult to answer because I actually have a few posts that I really enjoyed writing and am happy I wrote, thanks to the Let’s Talk Bookish discussion prompts I joined. One of the posts that I had tons of fun writing was the one for “What Makes You DNF A Book?” because 2020 was the year that I finally took the steps to DNF books that weren’t giving me joy without feeling crushing guilt for doing so.


FavoUrite bookish related photo you took in 2020?

2020 was the year that I disappeared off bookstagram because I feel like I pretty much burned out with all of that at the end of 2019. The pressure of trying to get a decent enough shot for the gram was just too much and I lost my enjoyment for it and rarely took photos in the end. There were a few pictures I took that I did like though! If you wanna be bookstagram friends you can add me: @dinipandareads


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

Sadly, I participated in none this year… I didn’t have the time with work but also, the time differences being on the other side of the world made it even more difficult to try and attend events without having to either stay up ridiculously late or wake up ridiculously early 😂


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?

I think one of the best moments was achieving one of that goals that I set out for at the start of 2020, which was to get 500 followers on my blog. When it happened, I honestly had no words for how amazing it felt to wake up and see that I reached that number because I never actually believed it was possible, or at least that it’d take me a few years to achieve. I know that everyone says the numbers don’t matter and it’s about the enjoyment you get from doing this and I totally agree, it’s definitely that. But knowing that there are people out there who like what I post enough to subscribe and keep coming back really fills my heart with such warmth. Thank you so much, friends! ❤️


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

What wasn’t challenging about this year though, right? Lol 😂 In all seriousness though, I think the most challenging thing was finding balance with my blogging/reading and my work life. Work was particularly trying this year and as I was already struggling to keep my motivation high, one of my biggest struggles was not succumbing to my desire to say “screw it” and just hole up in “cave reading mode” all year long 🙃 It’s a very privileged stance, I know. Sometimes blogging does feel like second job (although personally a lot more fulfilling for me than my actual job) and I’m quite proud that I did both without compromising on quality.


Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Um, so I can’t actually recall how to get the exact post numbers info but I think my most popular post this year was my Let’s Talk Bookish discussion post about Rereading Books! This was another really fun discussion post to write 🙂


Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Umm… I don’t really know the answer for this question? I think my posts get pretty okay views and engagements overall. After I took a short hiatus earlier this year my stats did drop and from that point on they stayed lower than they were at the start of the year, but I wasn’t particularly disappointed about the lack of engagement on any one post! 🤷🏻‍♀️


Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Thanks to Becky’s post with a list of bookish stores we could shop at to treat ourselves, I did discover a few bookish Etsy shops that I would one day like to purchase from because their merch is awesome and you can never really have too many bookish things! 😉 Some of my favourite shops were: Bookishly, Miss Bohemia and Bookworm Candles & Crafts!


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

This feels like a personal attack 😭 Kidding… Sort of! I was quite ambitious at the start of 2020 and set myself quite a few reading challenges/goals that I mostly failed at achieving. The one goal that I did achieve and tend to always reach was my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Last year I set out to read 100 books and ended up reading 160. I was so very close to completing the POPSGUAR Reading Challenge but when I ended up DNFing one of the books in December I just decided it wasn’t worth rushing through reads just to complete it. That’s okay. 2021 is another year to try 😂

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?

Easily: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I got my copy towards the end of the year but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it, it was on so many favourites lists, I also really love Schwab’s books, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one 😊


Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?

There are so many amazing sounding/looking books that I really can’t wait to get my hands on in 2021 but I’m super excited for TJ Klune’s next book: Under the Whispering Door 😍


2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Witches Steeped in Gold sounds so good and I can’t wait to check it out!


Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

Um, I seriously cannot wait for The Heart Principle! I needed Quan’s story last year already so this is definitely one of my most anticipated releases 😃


One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?

I think what I’d really like to try doing this year is spend more time engaging with other book bloggers on the blogosphere and book twitter but especially on bookstagram. I won’t be working full-time this year so I hope it’ll give me the time to focus on getting my bookstagram lively again, but also to have more meaningful interactions with others on here 😊


A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone
(if applicable)

The book that immediately jumped to mind was Amari and the Night Brothers (I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again… Lol). This was a fantastic middle grade fantasy that is chock full of everything I love about MG books. I cannot wait until the world gets to experience its magic this month 😍

And that’s a wrap on 2020, folks!

I still can’t believe that 2020 is over and that we’re kicking off with another new year already. Truthfully, I’m quite pleased with what I’ve accomplished in 2020 especially when it came to blogging. I’m glad that I didn’t let any hurdles stop me from pushing forward! I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2021 will bring in terms of reading and blogging. I’m hopeful and excited that it will be another amazing year for the books!

How was your year of reading and blogging? What was your best blogging or book-related moment in 2020? Is there anything that you’re really looking forward to in 2021?

2020 End of Year Book Survey: Part I

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 🥳

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA over the last week. My desire to do the absolute bare minimum took over and I’ve done nothing but read (and game) since my last day of full-time work on Wednesday! It’s been grand but okay, it’s time to hop back on the horse! In my typical disorganised fashion, I’ve saved up all the “ending 2020″/wrap up posts for the first week of January, so if you’re sick of looking at wrap up posts now is the time to quit reading 😅

The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. It’s a bit of a long one and when I did this for the first time in 2019, I split it into three parts, though I think for 2020 I’ll split it into two (combining two and three as they’re shorter)! On that note, let’s dive straight in:

Number of Books Read: 160
Number of Re-reads: 2 (Scythe, Thunderhead)
Genre(s) You Read THE Most From: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance

Best Book You Read in 2020?

I’ve been thinking this over a fair bit since making my top ten favourites but after some thought, I think the best book I read was The House in the Cerulean Sea.


Book You Were Excited About &
Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Oh, it pains me to say it but… Kingdom of the Wicked. I did enjoy parts of it and gave it ★★★ but I thought I’d for sure love it, and then ended up feeling on the fence about it. I’m pretty sure this is more “it’s me and not the book” though because I also ended up feeling “so-so” about SJTR.


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

One of my December reads was the non-fiction Bad Blood and even knowing how praised it is, I was surprised by how I sped through it. I’ve got a mixed relationship with NF as most of the time I find them a bit of a slog to get through but I devoured this book in a span of 8ish hours? It was intense. It was amazing. I would definitely recommend it (especially the audiobook)!


Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I think it’s a tie between two books and they’ll come as no surprise either. Plus, I don’t know if I’d say I “pushed” people to read them and also, I doubt it was me who convinced them to read them in the end? 😂 But I didn’t stop raving about both The House in the Cerulean Sea and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and often highly recommended them!


Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?

Oof… The best series started is so freaking hard to pick because there were so many that I started and absolutely loved this year… How am I supposed to choose?! 😩 I think I’m just gonna have to go with the first one two three (cough) that popped into my head and that’s The Poppy War, The Kinder Poison and Amari and the Night Brothers. (I’m sorry it’s so hard to choose okay!!!)

For best sequel I’m going with Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, which is book two in the Nevermoor series! For the series ender, I’m choosing Unravel the Dusk because it was a really satisfying conclusion to a beautiful duology.


FavoUrite new author you discovered in 2020?

I don’t think I can just choose one for this because I read so many books by new-to-me-authors that it’d be really impossible for me to pick one. I refuse. So here are some of my new faves: T.J. Klune, Jessica Townsend, Talia Hibbert, Chloe Liese, Kate Stewart, Teagan Hunter, Devri Walls, R.F. Kuang, Zoraida Cordova, June Hur. Basically, these authors are or are close to being auto-buys for me! 😂


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

Hmm… I think I’m going to also pick two books for this one. The first being Bad Blood, as I already mentioned this was a fantastic non-fiction and I’d highly recommend it especially if you like true crime. The second is Children. Although this is fantasy, it was pretty dark and different to what I usually read. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but Larssen’s writing and characterisation were exquisite!


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

I think this one goes to Amari and the Night Brothers. This was packed with action from the go and it was an absolutely thrilling adventure from start to finish. It was so much fun and 100% unputdownable (for me), and I can’t wait for the world to experience its awesomeness when it’s out this month (Jan 2021)!


Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

While I can pick more than one, I don’t tend to re-read very often so it’s gonna be With the Fire On High. Acevedo’s writing is so evocative and Emoni’s story was so beautiful and touching. Not to mention the recipes and all the talk about food made me crazy hungry. I definitely want to re-read it!


Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

I’m not even going to pretend that I can pick just one favourite cover because there were so many that were gorgeous and I refuse to choose ONE. 🤣 So, feast your eyes on some gorgeous covers:


Most memorable character of 2020?

Art by: EXY Fanart

Surprise surprise, I think I’m gonna go with… The cast of my favourite book this year! I loved Linus, Arthur and all the kids in this book. They won my heart big time ❤️


Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

Ooh, this one was a really tough pick but in the end I think Words in Deep Blue takes this one. This book was so deeply touching. It was beautifully written and made me feel ALL THE FEELS. It’s a gorgeous book!


Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

These books really made me think a lot about history and the society we live in, especially with the murder of George Floyd. The Nickel Boys and The Black Kids are really important, impactful and timely reads that are so worth your time!


Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

I have a tendency to put off hyped books (or, well, many books but mostly hyped ones) because the hype is intimidating a lot of the time, but I was so annoyed with myself for putting off reading Well Met until earlier this year. It’s SUCH a great romance! The banter, the character development, the faire! I loved it so much and can’t wait to read the next book set in this town!


FavoUrite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”

Cath Crowley, Words in Deep Blue

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

Shortest: 56 pages (The Straw King)
Longest: 631 pages (The Toll)


Book That Shocked You The Most

It’s not just the brutality of certain scenes that shocked me in The Poppy War but I was also shocked by how much I loved it! This was definitely one heckuva dark read, especially as the story goes on, as Kuang does not shy away from the gruesome details of war. But it’s brilliant writing!


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

Omg, why is this so hard? Lol I mean, there were so many wonderful couples that I would do this for like Ren & Frankie, Citra & Rowan, Meg & Reid, Yadriel & Julian, and Chloe & Red because I love all their loves… But I think Maia & Edan take the OTP cake this year! So swoon. *sigh*


FavoUrite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I’m a sucker for the found-family trope and strong friendships, and there were some really great ones in the books I read this year but I have to say that my favourites were from Nevermoor. The relationship between Juniper and Morrigan and also the friendship between Morrigan and Hawthorne filled my heart with such joy and warmth. These relationships made me fall even more in love with this book/series!


FavoUrite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Vengeful. I love Schwab and I honestly wasn’t expecting to love Vengeful more than I loved Vicious because that book was *chefs kiss*. It was so great to come back to the devious characters I loved in the first book and I can’t wait to see what else Schwab has in store for these ‘Villains’.


Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown/The Brown Sisters series has been hyped everywhere (blogosphere, bookstagram, book twitter, booktube) and y’know what? Even though I’ve only read Chloe’s story, I know the praise is so well deserved. The banter, the romance, the diversity, the disability rep, THE STEAMINESS *fans self*. Ooh, I can’t wait to continue the series!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

Ryder from Only When It’s Us. Um, yes, hello. THIS GUY. Ryder had me from the beginning even at peak broody mountain-man mode. That gruff exterior but soft interior is such a weakness for me. But I loved the disability rep in this book (and the series overall). Also, there’s this scene that involves Ryder + Pride & Prejudice and oh my heart, how I melted and swooned! 😂


Best 2020 debut you read?

It’s honestly hard to believe that The Silence of Bones is June Hur’s debut because it is so beautifully done. I’ve never read a book set in 1800s Joseon Dynasty Korea but the writing made it so easy to picture the historical setting perfectly. The inclusion of the sociopolitical climate of the time was intriguing and the mystery kept me on my toes! Plus, this cover? I LOVE! 😍


Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

There are three books in the Venators series (so far) and Walls amps up the world building with each book we read and it’s done amazingly. I love that we get to explore so many different areas of this world in such great detail. It’s so easy to picture it all coming to life before my eyes and it doesn’t hurt that the characters and plot are fantastic as well!


Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Good for Nothings was such a treat to read and I’m so glad it got put on my radar! It had me laughing out loud so often because the characters, their banter and their many shenanigans were so entertaining. This was a fast-paced, action-packed space drama that I absolutely loved!


Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?

I’m just a *bit* of an emotional reader (read: a big one) so it actually isn’t that hard to make me cry 🤣 Haha what can I say, I’m weak with the emotions! The book that probably made me cry hardest was The House in the Cerulean Sea because FEELS, but also The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, The Mountains Sing and The Poppy War made me pretty freaking weepy, too! 😅


Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I’m shouting four books that I really enjoyed reading this year (I gave all of them 4-5 stars) but haven’t seen a lot of on the blogosphere. I haven’t spent *that much* time on bookstagram or booktube so I don’t know if they were mentioned there, but I think all of these deserve much more attention: Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky, The Silence of Bones, The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice, and The Kinder Poison.


Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I really think it’s gonna be The Poppy War. I mean, this book just forking devastated me emotionally especially towards the end. It was… Wow. A lot. It was definitely worth it though! LOL


Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

Oh, easily the biggest standout for this is Big Girl, Small Town. This was easily the most unique book I read in 2020 especially because it combines so many elements that tend to frustrate me in books, but instead I ended up loving this and the MC, Majella. I learned a lot about The Troubles and the simple, every day life in Northern Ireland. It also made me ridiculously hungry!


Book That Made You The Most Mad
(doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

There were actually a few books that made me quite mad this year and I loved all of them! I got mad at the blatant discrimination and bullying in these books, especially when it’s directed towards a child by the “adults” in the book. I wonder that I can still be surprised at the cruelty of humans when terrible and infuriating situations happen so often (even IRL)!


And that’s a wrap, folks!

Oof, despite all the crazy that happened this year, there’s no doubt that some really amazing books were read and many new favourites were discovered. I’m really hoping that 2021 will continue to be an amazing year for books and blogging! Stay tuned for part 2 & 3 of the End of Year survey which I’ll hopefully post tomorrow! 😉 Hope you’re doing well, taking care and staying safe, friends! ❤️

How was your year of reading? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? Have you read any of these books? Any favourites?

November Monthly Wrap Up!

Can you believe it’s already December? I’m a little shook at how quickly November seemed to zoom right by me and that I can’t recall reading much of anything at all last month!

Work in November was been overwhelmingly busy with projects ending, people leaving, and new things to start sorting for next year as my organisation goes through a merger. Having to prepare communications for the region and projects, as well as representing Southeast Asia in our global works council (similar to a union), on top of finding time to blog and read, really stretched me quite thin! To say that everything seemed to be overflowing might be a bit of an understatement and part of me is even glad to see that we’re in the last month of 2020 now because I’m truly running low on steam 😂

But it hasn’t been all bad! It has been an incredible month for book mail and I’ve received many of the special editions that I ordered earlier in the year. I haven’t spent much on regular book buying in 2020, but I’m 100% positive I made up for all that with the many special editions that I purchased. I really kissed that money goodbye, friends 😂

Now… ON TO THE “FUN” STUFF!

In November, I read 15 books! **Okay, I just totally surprised myself with that count because I expected to see that I only managed to read five books or something because that’s really what this month has felt like 😂 LOL I didn’t have any five star reads or DNFs and the majority this month were 4 stars. If you can’t tell I went on a bit of a historical romance binge and the light reads were exactly what I needed! The books were a good mix of blog tour reads, ARCs and new books on my TBR.

Being the only book I rated 4.5 stars this month, The Cousins was my favourite read but I think the Moose Springs series are close contenders because they really brought me a lot of joy and I can’t wait to continue on with the series in December as I was lucky enough to get the ARC!

Continue reading “November Monthly Wrap Up!”

First Impressions Review: Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

So it turns out that I noted my date incorrectly for this Algonquin tour and I didn’t bother to recheck it like I usually do because it’s been so busy… and I feel terrible about it! 😰 I have read 30% of the book though so this will be a “First Impressions” review but I will follow it up with a full review ASAP!

Thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Big Girl, Small Town
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Irish Literature

Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up during the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, and watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed. But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s seemingly mundane existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town. 

Continue reading “First Impressions Review: Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen”

October Monthly Wrap Up!

Well, it’s now the second to last month of 2020 and I don’t know whether to be relieved or cringe at how much there’s still left to do in both my personal and work life, as well as when it comes to reading all the books! Time’s definitely flying although the latter part of October did seem to slow to a crawl (at least for me), and some days ended up feeling like weeks. I bet that’s definitely not going to happen this month though especially with everything that’s on my agenda and it’s low-key giving me some pretty intense anxiety. Welp! 😫 But anyway, let’s stick to the books, right?

In October, I managed to read 17 books. It’s not bad considering my reading slowed down considerably at the end of the month! It was a heavy fantasy month, with sprinklings of contemporary and a dollop or two of historical fiction. I actually didn’t DNF a book in October (yay!) and for the most part, I really enjoyed a lot of my reads although I had no five stars this month! So without further ado… Let’s take a look at what I got through!

Continue reading “October Monthly Wrap Up!”

September Monthly Wrap Up!

Wow, has it really been a month since I did my last wrap up? Because it still feels as if I did my August wrap up last week! 😂 Is time flying for you too or is it just me? Although some weeks this month have felt longer than ever, most days have gone by in a blink and before I know it Mondays have become Wednesdays have become Fridays, and then another week is over. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing either. We’re one step closer to having this flaming hot mess of a year be over but what comes next? That’s a question I’ve been really contemplating lately because I’ve been feeling a bit directionless looking forward to 2021 and I’m hoping an answer will come to me soon!

But before I digress further, let’s take a look at what this month of reading has been like. In September, I read a (surprising) 23 books but I read a lot of romance which I tend to speed through so maybe it’s not surprising. I’m actually not sure if this is all the books I’ve read because I haven’t been marking them properly on Goodreads but we’ll roll with it! I also DNF two more books this month and although the guilt made me push on for longer than I wanted to, I ended up putting both books down because they only made me miserable.

Continue reading “September Monthly Wrap Up!”

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? 😬

Continue reading “August Monthly Wrap Up!”

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

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed”