Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Goodreads: A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 13 July 2021
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend.

Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a 
lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter? 

I asked Jess @ Jessticulates to buddy read this with me so I would actually pick this book up. I’m so glad that I finally read my first Becky Chambers book because the hype is real, friends!

TL;DR: It took no more than one chapter for me to realise just how much I would enjoy this book. The characters rapidly grew on me and the story was a soothing read that asked questions that really hit a mark with me. I followed along with parts of the book with the audio, which I would also recommend, and I have a feeling I’ll return to this book often when I’m craving a comforting read.

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Book Review: The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary

Goodreads: The Worst Guy (Vital Signs #2)
Published: 28 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Eight weeks of forced proximity is a long time to hate someone you’re trying not to love.

Sebastian Stremmel doesn’t need another headache. He has enough of his own without Sara Shapiro, the noisy new reconstructive surgeon, stomping all around his surgical wing with her chippy, chirpy cheerfulness.
But Sebastian doesn’t usually get what he wants.

No one gets under his skin like Sara – so much so a heated “debate” and an exam room left in shambles later, they land themselves in eight weeks of hospital-mandated conflict resolution counseling. Now they’re forced to fight fair…which quickly leads them to playing dirty when no one’s looking. 

They know it’s a mistake.
They promise themselves it will never happen again.
They swear they got it out of their systems.
They didn’t.

Author’s Note: Grumpy/recovering people-pleaser sunshine. Introverts attract. Enemies-to-lovers in the workplace. Banter, bicker, and button-pushing foreplay. Don’t tell the friend group, get jealous when the friend group tries to fix her up.
Heat: rip her clothes off before you get the front door open.
Angst: big laughs, big feels, no ugly crying. 

TL;DR: Just as I was thinking how I’ve never read a grumpy x grumpy romance, enter Sebastian and Sara, two screeching grumpy guts who are just a little fragile and lonely and honestly couldn’t be more perfect for each other. This was so devastatingly heart-swooningly good that it was just rude? Like, the audacity of this author to write something that gutted me the way this did! Anyway, say hi to my new favourite Canterbary romance (now tied with The Belle and the Beard)! If you love an intense enemies-to-lovers workplace romance between two headstrong and amazing characters, I’d highly recommend checking this out. 👏🏽

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Blog Tour Spotlight: The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey

I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey today! This middle-grade fantasy sounds really good and I actually started it on a whim the other day. I’m already getting slightly dark but very magical fairytale-gone-wrong vibes from it and I can’t wait to dive back in whenever I have to put it down. I can’t wait to see where this story goes 😄 Also, how cool is this cover?!

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Counterclockwise Heart
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 01 February 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

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Blog Tour Review: The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

Hello, hello friends! I’m so excited to be back with another blog tour hosted by @The Write Reads for The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies. Don’t forget to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here or click on the banner below! 😍

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

Cover artist: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design

Goodreads: The Thirteenth Hour (Cruel Gods #1)
Publish Date: 13 October 2021
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

When the saints fail, the sinners step up.

Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.

Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.

To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.

For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.

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ARC Review: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart by BeKa, Maya

Special thanks to Europe Comics for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart
Publisher: Europe Comics
Published: 17 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle-Grade Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Linon and Garance are best friends with very different ideas about love. To get to the bottom of what all this romance stuff is really about, they decide to conduct an investigation into some of the older students at their middle school. Why are certain kids more popular than others? Why do some already have a “bad reputation” by the 8th grade? Why is everyone so obsessed with appearances? Along the way, the pair discover that, for best friends who are supposed to share everything, they’ve both been keeping some pretty big secrets of their own. 

TL;DR: A cute coming-of-age graphic novel about two friends who just want to know a bit more about love. The friendship between Linon and Garance was so sweet and I loved their little investigative adventures to understand their classmates’ experiences with love and to understand what exactly love means to others. With a fun and contemporary art style and a sweet storyline, I would recommend this to readers of all ages but I know middle-grade me would’ve absolutely loved this!

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#TopTenTuesday: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To.

This week’s TTT list is probably one of the easiest for me to compile because there are so many books that were released last year that I wanted to read but didn’t get the chance to for one reason or another. The only difficult part was narrowing down which books to list here because there are definitely way more than ten! 😂 These titles have wormed their way to the top of my list and I’m hoping to read them sooner rather than later in 2022 (note to self: remember these words!)!

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Book Review: King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

Goodreads: King of Battle and Blood (Adrian X Isolde #1)
Published: 30 November 2021
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Romantasy)

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world. 

TL;DR: If you love vampires, witches, and other paranormal creatures, a fantasy world full of political intrigue and backstabbing drama, and an extremely steamy but nonetheless swoony romance between fated lovers, then I would recommend checking this one out! This was strongly reminiscent of JLA’s From Blood and Ash books with the same addicting qualities to it but I personally enjoyed my reading experience of this one so much more (take that as you will but pls no attack lol)! 😂

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Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Goodreads: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Published: 08 June 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

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. 

TL;DR: I started off really enjoying this fantastical world that’s richly infused with magic and folklore, not to mention being very excited about the enemies-to-lovers romance that I’ve been hearing all about. Sadly, I found myself losing steam thanks to the erratic pacing, plus I also found it difficult to connect to and care about our main characters—which meant that although there were some swoony moments between Gáspár and Évike, I didn’t end up being blown away by their chemistry or romance. No one’s more disappointed than I am that I didn’t enjoy this one more because I was absolutely ready to love this and thought I’d be kicking off my 2022 with a banging 5-star read. 😮‍💨 Still, I’m glad that I gave it a try; I didn’t dislike it but if I’m honest, I feel kind of meh about it.

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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 😍

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#TopTenTuesday: Best Books I Read in 2021

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Best Books I Read in 2021

I’m always terrible at answering prompts that ask for my “best” anything 😂 I know I’ve read some amazing books but it’s also been a very weird reading year? I’ve read a lot but I’ve had a hard time retaining much of what I’ve read but also, I’ve had a hard time focusing on reading, in general, this year! I’ve only had a few 5-star reads this year so it is a bit surprising that I’m having trouble picking a top 10… but in the end, I decided to not include series’ on the list and now, before I keep waffling on, let’s get to it!

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