ARC Review: The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse

Special thanks to JABerwocky Literary Agency, Inc. for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern #1)
Publisher: JABerwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Published: 05 August 2021
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .

TL;DR: My review turned into an essay because I had so much to say about this book and still, it does not do it justice. Safe to say that I enjoyed the heck out of this fantasy and I’m still surprised that it’s J.T. Greathouse’s debut novel?! Please, give me more! This is such a stunning fantasy and deserves so much more attention. If you’re a fan of wonderful prose, intricate world-building, fascinating magic, and messy characters that you can’t help but root for, I would highly recommend you check this one out!

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ARC Review: The Bastard’s Betrayal by Katee Robert

Huge thanks to Katee Robert for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Bastard’s Betrayal (Scandalous Scions #1)
Publisher: Trinks and Tales LLC
Published: 25 August 2021
Genre: Mafia Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

She thought it was love.

Rose Romanov is a mafia princess, and everything that entails. Violently over-protective parents. A giant extended family, all ready to kill anyone who looks at her wrong. Learning to run a business that isn’t exactly on the right side of the law. So, naturally, when she meets a nice guy who isn’t in the life, she falls hard… Right up until the she discovers her new boyfriend isn’t a civilian at all.

But he betrayed her.

When Dante Verducci was sent on an undercover mission to evaluate the Romanov family for weakness, he never expected to have an instant connection with their unlikely heir. There’s something fierce and feral about Rose that calls to him. They’re alike, even if they’re both lying to each other during the months they date. Before he could figure out a new plan, Rose finds out who he really is, dumps him, and immediately enters an engagement with the heir of a rival family. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work for Dante.

Now he’ll do anything to reclaim her. Even go to war.

CW/TW: Murder, assault, kidnapping, explicit sex, dubious consent, Parental death (drug overdose, historical, off-page)

TL;DR: The Bastard’s Betrayal was a fun and steamy start to a new mafia series. Rose is a bad ass mafia queen and I loved her take charge, don’t-mess-with-this attitude, but I also loved how her softer side came out around Dante. Dante was a whipped hero and I loved how much he loved Rose! 😂 These two had sizzling hot chemistry and those steamy scenes were fire hot! I can’t wait for the next book in the Scandalous Scions series 😍

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Blog Tour Review: Passport by Sophia Glock

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Passport by Sophia Glock. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Passport
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 16 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Young Sophia has lived in so many different countries, she can barely keep count. Stationed now with her family in Central America because of her parents’ work, Sophia feels displaced as an American living abroad, when she has hardly spent any of her life in America.

Everything changes when she reads a letter she was never meant to see and uncovers her parents’ secret. They are not who they say they are. They are working for the CIA. As Sophia tries to make sense of this news, and the web of lies surrounding her, she begins to question everything. The impact that this has on Sophia’s emerging sense of self and understanding of the world makes for a page-turning exploration of lies and double lives.

In the hands of this extraordinary graphic storyteller, this astonishing true story bursts to life.

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ARC Review: Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Thanks to Park Row for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Never Saw Me Coming
Publisher: Park Row
Published: 08 October 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

TL;DR: Never Saw Me Coming was an entertaining, thrilling and fast-paced murder mystery! I enjoyed following the three main character perspectives and thought that they were unique as they’ve all been diagnosed as psychopaths. While I’m sure we’re not meant to find these characters likeable, I still found myself rooting for them to survive and solve the mystery? 😂 From a ‘social’ perspective it was also really interesting to see their interactions, how they viewed each other and the people around them as well!

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#NetGalleyNovember: Bingo & Other Possibilities!

Seeing as we’re already well into November this post is coming in a little late and in all honesty, I kinda forgot that I said I wanted to join in this month-long reading challenge! 😂 I know I’m probably not going to slay all the titles on my NetGalley TBR but I hope to at least tick off all the prompts for the NetGalley November Bingo, so that’s what I’m focusing the main part of this post about. First, some information for those of you who don’t know:

NetGalley November is where we dedicated the month to reading just NetGalley books with the aim of smashing through our unread books and boosting our ratios.

This challenge is organised by Emma @emandherbooks and Lisa @tot_and_tales and the community (at least on the NGN Twitter) seems to be pretty active and engaging! Not only are there ratios to boost, but also prizes to be won, sprint reading and perhaps even new friends to make! They’ve also prepared some awesome templates, which I found on Emma’s blog so definitely check that out if you want to join. There’s still time, I say! 😉

So now on to the books that I’m hoping to tackle for my NetGalley November Bingo! There are nine prompts in total and surely, I can at least read nine books before the month ends, right?! Here’s what I’ve got:

Book published this year

skin of the sea

your latest approval

You’ll be the death of me

beginning with ‘the’

the hand of the sun king

your oldest approval

the Vanishing season

book with a green cover

a people’s history of heaven

a debut author

she who became the sun

beginning with ‘n’

never saw me coming

a book yet to be released

how to love your neighbor

most excited for

chef’s kiss

There are a couple of other titles that I’m hoping to tackle this month as well. Considering my wonky reading mood I’m hoping that I’ll at least be able to tackle the graphic novels, poetry collections and short stories!

That’s a wrap from me, folks! Let’s see how much progress I make by the time November ends. Are you participating in NetGalley November too or do you just naturally slay your NG ratio? (teach me pls) 😂

ARC Review: Intolerable by Darcy Burke

Special thanks to Zealous Quill Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Intolerable (The Phoenix Club #3)
Publisher: Zealous Quill Press
Published: 19 October 2021
Genre: Historical/Regency Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Every three years, like clockwork, Ruark Hannigan, Earl of Wexford loses his heart. Alas, he promised his father he wouldn’t marry until the age of thirty so that he’d be certain in his choice. When his best friend’s sister needs him to pose as a potential suitor to garner attention on the Marriage Mart, he’s the perfect candidate—if only he hadn’t kissed her in secret.

Lady Cassandra Westbrook can’t forget the incident between her and Wexford, and she’s having a devil of a time focusing on finding a husband. The fact that her father intimidates every gentleman has made her quest intolerable, and her two brothers who could help are proving completely worthless. But if she doesn’t settle on someone, her father will arrange an “acceptable” marriage by the end of the Season.

Finally, Cassandra has a chance at courtship, but, frustratingly, it’s not with the impulsive and irresistible Irishman her father detests and she desires. However, when Ruark sees the woman he passionately wants—despite his better judgment—swept into the arms of another man, the prospect of losing her becomes intolerable.

TL;DR: Intolerable was another very enjoyable addition to the Phoenix Club series! I was excited for Cass and Ruark’s story after we see a brief interaction between them in the previous book and I wasn’t disappointed by this forbidden older brother’s best friend romance! 😍 This was a sweet (although sometimes frustrating) love story between two tender-hearted characters. There was cheeky banter, sizzling chemistry and side characters you will also come to love!

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Blog Tour Review: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen. Special thanks to Random House Children’s for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Skin of the Sea
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Publication Date: 02 November 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

An unforgettable fantasy debut inspired by West African mythology, this is Children of Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid, in which a mermaid takes on the gods themselves.

A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home. But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable–she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail… Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

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Blog Tour Review: Creation by Bjørn Larssen

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1) by Bjørn Larssen. Thanks to the SoT for organising and to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1)
Publisher: josephtailor
Publication Date: 18 August 2021
Genre: Humorous Fantasy, Norse Mythology Retelling
CW: Contains the word “ass-thetics”

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

In the beginning there was confusion.

Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers keep creating mosquitoes and celery and other, more threatening weapons. What can your ultimate answer be – the one that will make you THE All-Father and them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-All-Have-But-Don’t-Talk-About?

“FML! The answer’s why I drink!” – Odin

Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, and Mrs Brown’s Boys.

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ARC Review: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Special thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Once More Upon a Time
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: 05 October 2021
Genre: Romance Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire… But first they must remember what that is..

This was another wonderful (and super fast) buddy read with Julie @ One Book More! 😍 Chokshi is an author I’ve been meaning to check out for a while now and this small taste has convinced me I’ll enjoy her work!


TL;DR: Once More Upon a Time was a great novella that has great fairytale vibes! Despite being so short, it feels like a fully formed story with a fantastical setting, a journey full of magical creatures and adventure, and a good dose of romance. This has a sweet HEA that brings the story around full circle and I loved it! 😍

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Blog Tour Review: Pighearted by Alex Perry

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Pighearted by Alex Perry. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Pighearted
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 26 October 2021
Genre: Middle-Grade Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Charlotte’s Web meets My Sister’s Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.

Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.

J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he’s never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah’s family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.

At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there’s more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs—even if their lives depend on it.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Pighearted by Alex Perry”