Smol Life and Reading Update

*tentatively waving*

Hello!? …Is anybody out there? It’s me! Shocked? Same here. But… this panda still lives!!! 🐼

When July rolled in and I finally made my big move from Bali to the megacity, I certainly didn’t have any plans to pull a mini-hiatus or take a break from blogging but that’s what ended up happening anyway! Honestly, I don’t even really have a “good reason” why I haven’t been blogging, hopping or active on all platforms including Twitter over the last month. I initially thought I’d give myself a weekend or so to settle in and take a break from everything because I felt overwhelmed, but that ended up turning into another week and another week, until it’s almost been one month now and I’m definitely feeling some kind of guilty about it!

So I’m going to push myself to start blogging again from today onward–and it’s not that I no longer want to blog or engage with others because I really do! I’ve missed this community and all of the friends I’ve made on here so much and I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA and haven’t been visiting or commenting at all. I think I’ve just allowed myself to get completely overwhelmed by everything (work, big life changing decisions, family issues etc.) and then I’ve wallowed in it. But I’m taking a stand against myself and saying: NO MORE! πŸ˜‚

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#WWWWednesday: 11 March

Can someone please tell me how it’s only just Wednesday when it absolutely feels like it should already be Friday? Anyone? This week fully needs to be over please lol

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?

Since last Wednesday I’ve managed to read five books:

Magic Unleashed (Venators #1) by Devri Walls β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
This was a fast-paced and action-packed fantasy full of all the supernatural creatures that your heart could ever desire! No, seriously. There are fae, werewolves, vampires, elves, witches/wizards, goblins, giants, shapeshifters and DRAGONS! I was surprised by how quickly I read this and by how much I enjoyed it! My blog tour review post will be up tonight!

The Deep by Alma Katsu β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
I was expecting to be scared out of my wits reading this but thankfully it wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be. It was also completely different to what I expected! Katsu’s writing is atmospheric and the mystery works its way under your skin. Her characters, however, confused me a bit. Still glad I gave this a read though–it was certainly different to anything I’ve read! My FFBC blog tour review is up tomorrow!

The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs #1) by Kate Stewart β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
I wrote an extremely gushing post about how much I loved this romcom. Theo and Laney and their love are absolute perfection *chefs kiss*. Their banter was spot on and I loved watching their friendship and romance grow. The pot gummy scenes might be one of my favourites of all time! Check out my review.

The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs #2) by Kate Stewart β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
I didn’t think I could love a hero more than I did Theo but I WAS WRONG. Who’d have thought it’d be Troy to win me over as well? Definitely shook me! This was a wonderful slow-burn redemption love story and ugh, it had me seriously feeling all the damn feels. It was SO GOOD! Review coming very soon.

Enemies with Benefits (Loveless Brothers #1) by Roxie Noir β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
I’m glad I checked out this series because I love the family relationships and banter, but it wasn’t my favourite romcom (I think I’ve been seriously spoiled by the underdogs)! There’s no denying that the physical chemistry between the two was hella fire, but I wanted more of an emotional/personal connection with the characters. Review coming soon.

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#WWWWednesday: 04 March

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?

Since last Wednesday I’ve managed to finish four books and three of them were four blog tours!

Jack Janson and The Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
I don’t normally read MG books but I am always keen to step outside my comfort zone. I read this for a blog tour and it ended up being more enjoyable than I anticipated! I can definitely see the younger audiences it’s aimed at really enjoying the story and connecting with the characters. It’s a good introduction to fantasy! Check out my full review.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Adapted & Illustrated by Fred Fordham β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
This was a very quick read that I finished in a matter of a few hours. It’s a good adaptation of the classic and really brought the story to life. While the art style wasn’t my favourite kind, it very much suited the era of the book and gave it a ‘old school/classic comic feel’. Would definitely recommend it for those who would like to read the classic but don’t have much time. RTC

Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
This was my first book by Holland but I’m keen to check out her other books now. Due to the mystery element this was a much slower paced fantasy than I expected but it was still enjoyable. I kept second guessing who could be trusted, but I’m glad I got the villain right at least! I read and reviewed this as part of the FFBC Blog Tour! Check out my full review.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
This book was absolutely stunning. It was such an intimate telling of Vietnam’s history beyond the Vietnam War and from the unique perspective of a northern Vietnamese family. This story is filled with so much tragedy, suffering and heartbreak, but also so much love and hope. The Tran family’s resilience and ability to overcome hardship was inspiring and brought me to tears. I’m part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be coming up (sort of) soon!

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#WWWWednesday: 26 February

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?

Unlike last week when I set a new personal reading record, I haven’t read much since last Wednesday and only managed to finish two books. The past week has been pretty stressful with my move and I’ve had some busy evenings this week.

Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Didn’t think I’d love Vengeful more than Vicious but there we have it! This series is amazing and it’s everything I never knew I wanted in a sci-fi fantasy book. I love the concept of ExtraOrdinaries and some of their abilities are so killer (maybe literally). Check out my full review.

Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1) by Rin Chupeco β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
Although I had some issues with the writing and world building (in that there was a lot to take in) I ended up really enjoying this read! I loved the concept and the alternate history modern world where fairytales and Carly Rae Jepsen all exist in the same reality. I also loved the found family vibes of the Bandersnatches and after a twisty ending, I’m keen to see what happens next! My FFBC blog tour review post will be up TOMORROW!

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#WWWWednesday: 19 February

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?

So remember how last week I challenged myself to read all those romances? Well, I didn’t manage to read ten but I did get through eight! Although the majority of romances I read were on my possibility pile, I did stray and pick up a dystopian romance series on a whim (hmm). Plus I read two other books so in total I’ve read 10 books since last Wednesday (who am I even). As always, you can check out my mini-mini reviews below!

Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle #1) by D.P. Woolliscroft β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
This is a fantasy that’s not to be missed! There’s great world building, the writing is infused with humour and is easy to follow despite there being so many characters. Everything came together seamlessly and nothing felt forced. My blog tour review will be posted on Saturday!

A Pizza My Heart (Slice #1) by Teagan Hunter β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
Y’all know how much I loved Hunter’s ‘Texting’ series because I can’t stop gushing about it, so I was a little disappointed with my lack of feels for A Pizza My Heart. It wasn’t bad, but it was missing the cheeky sass and spark I’d come to expect from her writing! Check out my mini review.

I Knead You Tonight (Slice #2) by Teagan Hunter β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
The sass and banter came back in the second book of this series and I was living for it! I didn’t particularly care for both characters when they’re intro’d in book one, but I grew to love them so much in this book! They’re both such strong characters and it was super a satisfying read. Check out my mini review.

That Secret Crush (Getting Lucky #3) by Meghan Quinn β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
I’d been waiting for this release since finishing book two and it really didn’t disappoint. I didn’t think much of Reid before but I loved his no-filter character and Eve was his perfect match! I loved their love 😍 All I know is that I can’t wait for the last book now. I needed it yesterday! Check out my full review.

Well Met (Well Met #1) by Jen DeLuca β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
All the swoons for me when I was reading this book! I was definitely kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Who knew that a Ren Faire romance is what I needed in my life? I adored Emily and Simon so much and I really enjoyed their character development! πŸ’ž Check out my full review.

The Rain Trilogy by B.B. Easton β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜† (average)
With book one I knew this book wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t with the super insta-love but I also couldn’t stop reading it until and I can’t explain why. It did get *marginally* better as the story progressed and the ending was satisfying but I still don’t think I’d recommend it… Review coming soon.

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
I fell hard and fast for Meg & Reid and their love story. This book gave me all the feels and I had a much deeper connection to the story and characters than I expected to when going into it. It’s a wonderful read that I know I’ll be recommending, especially to you romance lovers out there! Review coming soon.

Friends with the Monsters by Albany Walker β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½ – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†?
So… I’ve never read a Reverse Harem romance before but one TTT post led to Goodreads to Amazon searches through books I’ve never even thought of reading before and I ended up on this. The cover is what really caught my eye coz it’s just really cool and dark? I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was a dark read with monsters, supernaturals and magic. Plus the heroine was vicious. Obviously it goes without saying there was a lot of sex. Not sure if I’ll continue reading Reverse Harem romances but it was definitely interesting! Review (maybe) coming soon.

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#WWWWednesday: 12 February

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?

Since last Wednesday I’ve managed to finish five books and that’s mostly thanks to my binge reading the rest of the Texting series by Teagan Hunter over the weekend. I may just have discovered a new favourite romance author!

To Kill A Mocking Girl (Bookbinding Mystery #1) by Harper Kincaid β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
This was my first ever cosy mystery and it had me strongly questioning WHY I hadn’t picked up these types of books before. It had so many things that I love in a book–supportive close-knit communities, a loveable family dynamics, entertaining MCs, a budding swoon-worthy romance, doggos, and an intriguing mystery! I adored this book and I’m gutted it’s not even out yet (and won’t be until May 2020) because I’m already looking forward to the rest of this series. This was Kincaid’s debut mystery too, although she does write romances so I’m tempted to check them out. My full review will be out closer to the pub date!

Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
While the illustrations blew me away (seriously gorgeous art work!) the storyline of Nils was weak and I often found myself confused with what was happening, especially towards the climax. The story felt disjointed at times, jumping too quickly from one fast-paced scene to another, without proper explanations and that was a bit of a let down. Can’t recommend the illustrations more though! If this illustrator put out a book of just their drawings I’d so be down to read it. Check out my full review.

Texting Series by Teagan Hunter β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜† (average)
I was looking for a lighthearted romcom and this series ticked all the boxes! It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so much reading a romance and I loved every minute of it. The titles are pun-tastic and the cheese is strong in pretty much all of the books but the geeky humor, swoon worthy heros and super sassy heroines make for some deliciously fun (not to mention steamy) times! Check out my full series review.

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#WWWWednesday: 05 February

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?

Despite still being sick and ordered on bed rest by the doctor, I haven’t been able to read very much since last Wednesday and only managed to finish three books (one e-ARC and blog tour book)!

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
This was a book I was expecting to be five stars and I’m so glad I was right. This was an incredible read. I hadn’t read anything by Colson Whitehead until this book but I’m very eager to read his previous and future books now. He writes so simply but with words that cause such a big impact. I found myself tearing up constantly while reading about the Nickel Boys and their mistreatment. I know that these things have happened in the past and in some countries still continue to happen, but gosh, my heart. It makes me feel so sick to think about what these children go through. It’s a tough and painful read, but so worth it! Review coming soon.

Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1) by Teagan Hunter β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
This was the much needed light read I needed after finishing my previous read. This was a fun, fast and absolutely hilarious romantic comedy with two loveable and nerdy MCs that I was constantly rooting for! Zach is now also my latest fictional man crush because yeah, who doesn’t love a hot nerd with fantastic nerd humor?! Check out my full review.

(e-ARC) The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
I was lucky enough to be chosen as part of The Fantastic Flying Book Club (FFBC) blog tour for The Queen’s Assassin and it’s my first of quite a few that I’ll be joining this year! I just finished this book today with time to spare to prepare my blog post for Saturday–so be on the look out for that post coming up soon! πŸ˜‰

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#ARMEDWITHABINGO Announcement & Possibility Pile

This year I also joined the #ARMEDWITHABINGO reading challenge hosted by Kriti and Ariel @ Armed with a Book. I thought this sounded cool as it’s a personalised book bingo challenge with regular check-ins, book giveaways, guest posts and more! The challenge has 24 prompts that require individual books for each square (except for the book over 500 pages long, which counts for two!) and it runs throughout the year.

The sign up is open until 15 March, so if this sounds like a fun challenge to you, head on over to their page and let’s BINGO! πŸ˜ƒ

So what’s in the bingo? My personalised card below has all the prompts:

I know my announcement is coming in pretty late into January *cough* so I’ve actually managed to already cross of four of the squares so I’m just a tiny bit closer to bingo 🀣

A book in the middle of a series
A book from the last decade (2010-2019)
A young adult novel
A dystopian novel

I still haven’t figured out the books I’m reading for all of the prompts but I do have some ideas. Part of me wants to just “wing it” and see if what I read throughout the year will fit any of the prompts, but that attitude is what caused me to bomb hard last year? So I’ve already started identifying options for some of the prompts πŸ˜… Consider this my mostly “loose” possibility pile. Since I’m trying to cut down on spending most of these are books I already have on my shelves–though I’ma be nice to myself and allow for some of this years’ releases because I mean… I’m only human riiiiiiight? 😬

A book that’s published in 2020
An anthology or poetry collection
A book that a friend recommends
A book that has a number in the title
A fantasty/science fiction

A book by an Indie author
A book with a beautiful cover
A book you saw someone else reading
A book which was gifted/borrowed
A book longer than 500 pages (2 spaces!)

I’ll be sharing progress updates for this along with all the other challenges I’m doing this year in a monthly reading challenges recap post, so be on the look out to see if I’ve managed to cross any other boxes by the end of this month!

Are you joining this reading challenge too? What do you think of my choices? Do you have any suggestions for any of these spaces that you think I must read?

ARC Apocalypse Announcement & TBR

As I mentioned in my bookish and blogging goals, I’ve joined quite a few challenges this year! Last year I (very loosely) joined one year-long challenge outside from Goodreads and that was the 2019 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I was complete trash at keeping track of what I read and basically gave up before I even started. That was fun πŸ™„ I guess I must be feeling more optimistic in 2020 because I joined a whopping FIVE challenges, and first up is the ARC Apocalypse!

This challenge was created by Destiny @ Howling Libraries in an effort to tackle those ARCs! And what’s better than tackling these reads with a bunch of other book lovers with the same goal, right? There are fun chats and buddy reads if you don’t think you can go it alone. Head on over to Destiny’s page (linked above) to find out more and join the challenge! I’ve mentioned it before but as an international book blogger I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) don’t get as much access to all the reads on NetGalley, Edelweiss and from publishers, so my overall list isn’t as long as everyone else’s. Still, there are a few 2020 titles I’d like to stay on top of . but most importantly there are quite a few overdue titles I want to finish this year! Here are my current stats:

  • 2020 eARCs: 12
  • Overdue eARCs: 10

Ten overdue titles doesn’t look so bad right? But overdue is overdue and there’s no making excuses! My game plan is to prioritise my 2020 deadlines (while I’m still ahead of the game!) and alternate with reading the overdue titles. Sounds doable. Seeing as these have deadlines this is going to be my actual TBR for the coming months (January-early March):

After some thought I think I’ll be sharing my progress at the end of every three months along with what’s next on my TBR for the following three months*. I hope that my progress will basically be me saying: I’VE READ THEM ALL! 😍

*After some more thinking I decided to share a monthly progress updates for all my challenges, so you’ll be getting an update from me soon! I still hope that I’ll have made some progress πŸ˜‚

Are you also joining ARC Apocalypse?
How do you plan to tackle your ARCs?