Book Review: Meet Me Halfway by Lilian T. James

Goodreads: Meet Me Halfway
Published: 29 March 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Madison gave her heart to a boy at the age of sixteen, but all she got in return was a broken heart and a swollen belly. Alone with a baby and desperate for the love she hadn’t found, she turned to a man who sealed his claim of devotion with a diamond ring. He promised her a family. A life. A future. But his lies had only been a cover for the personal hell he introduced her to daily.

Now, at twenty-five, Madison has long since stopped believing in love. It’s simply not a square on her bingo card. Balancing single parenthood, three jobs, and online courses, she doesn’t have the time anyway.

So when the broody neighbor living in the other side of her duplex leaves a rude note on her door, she’s not interested. Not in his dark hair, not in his physique, and definitely not in the dimples she’s only seen a hint of. She’s one hundred percent, absolutely, not interested.
Not even a little.

Author’s Note: Head to the author’s website for a full list of all content descriptions, tropes, etc.

TL;DR: I stayed up all night reading this and basically finished it in one sitting because I didn’t want to put it down! This had so many of the things I love:
– Single parent trope
– Grumpy neighbour/hate to friends to lovers
– Slow burn romance
– Amazing friendships, adorably angry doggo, and ALL. THE. BANTER!
– Explosive chemistry and the sexual tension, folks!!!
🥵
– Gentleman in public but a dirty talking alpha in private
😌
– So many sweet domestic couple moments at home ft. cooking, taking care of her when she’s sick, bonding with the kid, falling asleep in the backyard while stargazing… I can go on!


A note: Maddie deals with a lot of things that led to situations that were hard to read, so I would advise checking the CW/TW below but the author also provides a list at the beginning of the book and on her website!


CW/TW: topics such as mental and emotional recovery from previous spousal abuse, stalking, alcoholism, sexual harassment, and assault, sex on-page


Continue reading “Book Review: Meet Me Halfway by Lilian T. James”

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

I’ve spent my Sunday reading Malice by John Gwynne. I’m reading this with Leslie and it’s very different from what I’ve been reading lately but I think it could be refreshing!

This will be my first John Gwynne book and I’m very excited as I’ve heard lots of good things about his books (and although it’s early days, I’m enjoying this one so far)!

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”

Book Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

Goodreads: The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 24 March 2020
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

TL;DR: I started reading this thinking that it would go way over my head. I wasn’t connecting, I wasn’t understanding each time Rabbit would end a story and ask “Do you understand?” and I was kinda tempted to DNF. And then something clicked and as I continued reading and more things made sense, I listened to my urge to go back to the beginning to re-read what I didn’t understand at first… And then I got it and mind-blown. 🤯

Continue reading “Book Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo”

#WWWWednesday: 18 May 2022

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Post divider: What did you just finish reading?

Since last week I’ve managed to finish six books. It’s been another week where it feels like I haven’t read anything but, in fact, I have read a fair bit? Funny that!

To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne ★★★★☆
Super sweet and ridiculously cute! I loved the epistolary chapters, the angsty enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance, and the sibling relationships and friendships. So much fun bubbly goodness and a rom-com I’d recommend!

(ARC) Sweeter than Honey (Honey Hill #2) by Joy Avery ★★★½
This was a fun small-town romance ft. brother’s best friend, friends-to-lovers vibes, fake dating, delightful banter and hilarious, meddling oldies! But I didn’t connect with the romance as much as I wanted to and felt there was a lot more “telling” than “showing”.

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 18 May 2022”

ARC Review: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Special thanks to Clarion Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Ivory Key (The Ivory Key Duology #1)
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publish Date: 04 January 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war. When magic runs out, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source before their country is swallowed by invading forces. The first in an Indian-inspired duology.

Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic–a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict–she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.

Vira’s only hope is to find a mysterious object of legend: the Ivory Key, rumored to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings, torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key–and even more to lose if they fail. Ronak plans to sell it to the highest bidder in exchange for escape from his impending political marriage. Kaleb, falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani needs it to clear his name. And Riya, a runaway who cut all family ties, wants the Key to prove her loyalty to the rebels who want to strip the nobility of its power.

They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good. 

TL;DR: My journey reading this was quite an experience! Although it was a bit of a rough first half, I ended up enjoying this Indian-inspired fantasy and the characters plus the strong focus on family and sibling relationships. We get several POVs but the author does a great job in creating distinct voices for each sibling. The second half was so full of Indian Jones-style mystery adventure and I sped through it so quickly! With the surprising twists and baby-cliffhanger ending, I’m excited to know what happens next and how this duology concludes.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman”

ARC Review: Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Starry-Eyed Love (Spark House #2)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: 10 May 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Charming, hilarious, and emotional, Starry-Eyed Love is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Having just broken up with her boyfriend, London Spark is not in the mood to be hit on. Especially not when she’s out celebrating her single status with her sisters. So when a very attractive man pays for their drinks and then slips her his number, she passes it right back to him with a ‘thanks, but no thanks’. As the business administrator for their family’s event hotel, the Spark House, London has more important things to worry about, like bringing in new clientele.

As luck would have it, a multi-million-dollar company calls a few months later asking for a meeting to discuss a potential partnership, and London is eager to prove to her sisters, and herself, that she can land this deal. Just when she thinks she has nailed her presentation, the company’s CEO, Jackson Holt, walks in and inserts himself into the meeting. Not only that, but he also happens to be the same guy she turned down at the bar a few months ago.

As they begin to spend more time together, their working relationship blossoms into something more. It isn’t until their professional entanglements are finally over, that London and Jackson are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship. But between Jackson’s secretive past and London’s struggle with her sisters, London must question where she really stands – not just with Jackson, but with the Spark House, too.

TL;DR: I genuinely enjoyed this so much more than the first book! Although it was slow at the start and there were communication issues that I wished had been handled better, London and Jackson had great chemistry and I liked how their romance played out. They had sweet moments with just the right amount of cheese to make it cute and I really liked how they supported each other. I also loved the sibling dynamic between the Spark sisters and although I’m not sure if Hunting’s books are 100% for me, I’m looking forward to Harley’s story because she’s my favourite sister so far!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting”

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

I spent most of Sunday in bed finishing Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting. This is the second book in her Spark House series and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed it so much more than the first! There were still things that irked me but I liked the romance much more. My review will go up tomorrow! 🙂

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”

First Lines Friday – 13 May 2022

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:

“The myths of my people say only a true bride of the Sea God can bring an end to his insatiable wrath. When the otherworldly storms rise from the East Sea, lightning breaking the sky and waters ripping up the shore, a bride is chosen and given to the Sea God.
Or sacrificed, depending on the measure of your faith.”

Do you recognise the book these first lines come from?

Continue reading “First Lines Friday – 13 May 2022”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers”

#WWWWednesday: 11 May 2022

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Post divider: What did you just finish reading?

Since last week I’ve managed to finish eight books. I’m back on that romance kick and I’m loving it! My fave was Everything for You by Chloe Liese though—a sweet, emotional, heartwarming MM romance ft. some soccer. 💜

(ARC) Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley ★★★★½
This had a bit of a slow start but once I got into it I flew through in one sitting! The banter was fantastic and the chemistry was f-i-r-e! Jada and Donovan were well-developed characters and had such a fun/playful connection. The cupcakes also had me salivating! 🧁

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1) by Becky Chambers ★★★★★
I did it—I finally read my first Becky Chambers book and wow, I loved it so much?! Dex and Mosscap so quickly won my heart. Their friendship was incredibly heartwarming and sweet and they had me laughing and even tearing up by the end. Fantastic. I want more!

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 11 May 2022”