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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April 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

Did April pass by in a blink and a blur for you too or was that just me? 😂 I travelled to Bali at the start of the month and I gotta be honest with you, nothing really stands out to me in April! I can’t recall doing much of anything this month except work, read, sitting by the pool and catching up with one of my besties every now and then. My insomnia hasn’t gotten better and I can count on one hand the number of times I fell asleep before 4AM but I can’t say I’m not used to it by now!

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Book Review: Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Goodreads: Gallant
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: 01 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Gothic Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him? 

If it weren’t for my buddy read with Leslie @Books Are the New Black, this probably would’ve ended up sitting unread on my shelf for a while. Sadly, she didn’t have as great a time with this one as I did and although I liked it, I can totally understand why she didn’t!

TL;DR: I had a bit of a hard time figuring out how I really felt about this book. Although I did end up enjoying it, I can also really understand why people wouldn’t like it. While I don’t think this fully lived up to the hype for me, I was still able to get on board with Olivia’s search for the truth about her family and for a place to call home. If you like slow-moving plots and spooky atmospheric writing, not to mention a pretty quick read, I’d recommend checking this out!

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Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Goodreads: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Published: 23 July 2019
Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

I buddy read this with Leslie @Books Are the New Black and although it started out rocky for the both of us, we ended up really enjoying the story. The angst really sent us! 😂


CHECK OUT LESLIE’S REVIEW!


TL;DR: The moment I finished this book I immediately re-read the last few chapters of the book three times throughout the day. To say this ending had me in a chokehold would be an understatement! If you love stories rich in mythology, culture and history, fantastical adventures, and a classic swoonworthy and achingly angsty romance, I would definitely recommend giving this a try! This was my first book by Moreno-Garcia and I’m sure it won’t be my last!

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March 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

How has another month already come and gone?! March was… something. Half the month passed by too quickly and the other half could’ve passed faster. A good chunk of the month saw me drowning in work stress + insomnia but there were some good times to counter the not-so-fun moments!

  • I got exciting book mail from Goldsboro and Illumicrate!
  • My parents had their wedding anniversary on the 21st and it was dad’s birthday on the 30th!
  • It was a pretty great foodie-licious month with ramen, biryani and decadent melt-in-your-mouth cookies!
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Book Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Goodreads: Don’t You Forget About Me
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 10 January 2019
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

You always remember your first love. Don’t you?
It began with four words.
‘I love your laugh. x’

But that was twelve years ago. It really began the day Georgina was fired from The Worst Restaurant in Sheffield (© Tripadvisor) and found The Worst Boyfriend in the World (© Georgina’s best friends) in bed with someone else. So when her new boss, Lucas McCarthy, turns out to be the boy who wrote those words to her all that time ago, it feels like the start of something.

The only problem? He doesn’t seem to remember Georgina – at all…

TL;DR: Wow, despite not being at all what I expected I still really enjoyed this book! Like, I read this overnight because once I started I didn’t want to put it down. It’s deeply emotional and had me in tears at the end but it was well-balanced with sarcastic quippy humour that had me frequently laughing out loud. I really enjoyed MacFarlane’s writing and the characters, especially the group of friends, were fantastic! I can’t wait to read more by this author in the (near) future. 😍

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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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Book Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Goodreads: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: 17 November 2020
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

I buddy read this with Leslie @ Books Are the New Black. Click here to check out her review!

TL;DR: It happened! I finally picked up one of the most hyped YA releases of the last few years and I’m glad to say that I get it—I really get it! I’m not a big Shakespeare reader and so I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy an R&J retelling but… With beautifully descriptive writing, the incredible setting in 1920s Shanghai and the added element of a mysterious and murderous monster roaming the streets, this was everything I didn’t know I needed.

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February 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone and honestly, good riddance to February! 🙊

Hmm… I think it’s safe to say that February was kind of a shite month? Personally, things are much better now than they were mid-month. Globally, things definitely turned to shite towards the end of the month and my heart feels so heavy, especially with regards to what’s happening in Ukraine. Every day more and more people show their disrespecting asses with their whole gd chest on that freaking bird app and this month it has just been more tiring than usual. 😮‍💨

But on a more positive note… Here are a few good things that happened this month:

  • I finally got my Owlcrate Special Editions for Vespertine and Our Violent Ends. I pre-ordered these books long before cancelling my sub with them last year and this is the longest its ever taken to receive my orders but I’m glad they finally arrived!
  • I got lots of gorgeous book mail from Illumicrate and I couldn’t be happier to have switched my sub to them. It’s pricier for sure and I know I’m hella privileged to be able to order from them but it’s a treat so I have no regrets!
  • Wonderful buddy reads with Jess and Leslie have got me through the month. Bookish friends like these two make me so thankful to be part of this bookish community! 🥰

Although it felt like I didn’t read much this month, I’m surprised to find that I actually read 28 books. I continued to read a number of novellas but I also enjoyed a few audiobooks. I had one re-read, no DNFs and a surprising number of 5-star reads?! That’s definitely what I call winning! 🥰

Are you on Storygraph? Let’s be friends!

That said, with everything that happened this month, it’s no surprise that my mood has been slightly wonky, which had me feeling a bit slumpy at times though I had a few buddy reads to help me power through those vibes. I’m a big fan of these buddy reads! I’m still trying to keep on top of reviewing every book I read but I’ve slacked a bit this month and I’m fine with it! 😂

Undoubtedly my favourite book this month was Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee. This book unequivocally destroyed me and I’m so thankful I had buddy reads to keep me going afterwards cos otherwise I would’ve most likely stopped reading this month. Lee is ✨magic✨ and The Green Bone Saga is one of my favourite fantasy series ever.

“The clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. On my honor, my life, and my jade.”

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Book Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Goodreads: The Deep
Publisher: Saga Press
Published: 05 November 2019
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

TL;DR: This was a stunning little novella that packs a punch for how short it is. Through this fantastical world, Solomon does an incredible job exploring intergenerational trauma, the impact of shared memories and identity. While this might be a sombre read it’s written in a way that’s not oppressive or heavy and I could’ve read so much more of the lore, the setting and the characters. This was definitely a unique read that I think will churn through my mind for days to come and I can’t wait to read more of what Solomon has written! I would also highly recommend the audiobook because Daveed Diggs’ narration really helped to give this story life.

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