Blog Tour Review: The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Hey, hey friends! I’m so excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for The Ship of Shadows. This was such a fun and fast-paced read and I’m so glad this was put on my radar because of this tour 😍 Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour over here.

Super big thanks to Dave for organising these tours and to NetGalley and Puffin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Let’s get to it…

Goodreads: The Ship of Shadows
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 16 July 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find

Buy a copy: Amazon

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Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for asking me to take part in it!

Thanks to NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads: In the Neighborhood of True
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 07 July 2020 (PBK pub)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Own Voices
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

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Blog Tour Review: The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to Boldwood Books and the author for providing the e-ARC 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: The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 09 July 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Panda Rating:

A feel-good story of new beginnings set in a gorgeous country village, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson.

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart. But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.


When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.
Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?
And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

Buy: Amazon

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Review: Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars #2)
Publisher: Knopf
Release date: 07 July 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:



The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

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#TopTenTuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: authors I’ve read the most books by.

This week’s topic is pretty straightforward and although it should be easy I have to admit I was a little stumped to figure out who I’ve read the most books by. I have to admit that I don’t actually know the number of books that I’ve read for each author and I’m also really tired right now so I don’t have the energy to look it up (I’m so lame, I’m sorry, friends!), and so I’m ballparking it here… I’m also keeping this short since this week has already felt like the past three months combined and is it really only Tuesday? 🙃 Welp.

Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts really take the top spots for this because I used to devour their books starting from high school and when I picked up reading again after I finished uni. I’ve also read almost all of Michael Crichton’s books after I discovered a bunch of his books in the secondhand bookstore when I moved to Cambodia and started reading again (the same time as Roberts’ books actually which were also found in abundance at the secondhand store)!

I’ve read about half of V.E. Schwab’s books including some of her earlier works (The Archived series) but I’m still planning to read her latest middle grade books eventually… If I can work up the courage to since it’s all ghost-y and stuff!

Pretty sure that when it comes to romances I’ve binged a large number of Mariana Zapata and Christina Lauren (including their much earlier and quite smutty romances back in the day)! 😂 I love these three authors so much and they’re always my go-to recs.

I realise that I’ve actually read all of Leigh Bardugo’s books, save for her latest two releases. I read her series years ago before knowing that such a huge book community existed online and that the books had such huge followings lol. Same goes for Laini Taylor! All I have to finish now is Muse of Nightmares… *cough*

Then of course there are my more ‘recent’ favourites: Jay Kristoff (& Amie Kaufman) and Neil Gaiman! I still have a lot of Gaiman to read although I’ve already read a fair few of his books. Of course I can’t wait to read more of Kristoff and Kaufman, too!

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

I’m sad to say that I have spent 0% of my day actually reading. But now that it’s night and I’m about to hit the bed at a ridiculously early hour, I’m planning to spend my time finishing Unravel the Dusk. I realise it’s been a week and I’m still reading this book but this is really only because I’ve been busy moving (plus I’m still working coz I have no more leave days). So I’m hoping to finish this very soon, at least before pub day. I am enjoying it so far!

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”

First Lines Friday – 03 July

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:

“It is better to be a coward than a corpse.
The phrase was a cacophonous jingle in Tillie Pembroke’s mind.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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Book Spotlight: The End of Magic by Mark Stay

Hi everyone, today is my stop on the blog tour for The End of Magic by Mark Stay and I’ll be sharing a spotlight for this SFF standalone novel! Special thanks to Heather Fitt from Overview Media for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the author for providing a copy. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The End of Magic
Publication Date: 07 February 2019
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Two powerful mages. One steeped in privilege, the other bound by a moral code. Their world is thrown into chaos by the end of magic.

‘What will you do when the magic is gone?’
Sander Bree is a royal mage. He lives an easy life advising the king on matters of court and politics, yet he still complains that he’s stuck in a rut.
Rosheen Katell is a wandering mage and, with Anzu her griffin, she’s worked hard to build a reputation as a trustworthy truth seer. She never lies, never kills. 
Very soon, their magic will be gone. A cataclysmic event will change their lives and world forever. 
Sander must keep a promise that would have been difficult enough with magic, but is a suicide mission without it. 
Rosheen is forced to side with a murderous warlord, and her once-solid principles are tested and found wanting. Both will be set against one another in a war unlike anything the world has seen before, in this sweeping fantasy of magic’s ending.

A stand alone fantasy novel for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2020)

Holy wow, I honestly can’t believe that it’s already mid-year. Time is a funny thing normally but in 2020 it’s just outrageous, as the year itself has been! The year got off to a pretty strong start despite quickly falling sick towards the end of January (it wasn’t corona!) after which everything basically spiralled downward and that’s when my reading really tanked. With all the negative energy that has been projected worldwide, it’s a miracle I managed to read anything at all, but I’m thankful I had the blog tours (the majority of which will no longer be mentioned!) to keep me motivated and reading. This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 100 books and despite it all, I think I’ve done quite well and I’m even 27 books ahead of schedule.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people do this tag lately and so of course I’m hopping on board too albeit a little late. I did my first mid-year freak out tag in 2019 and it was fun to look back and see what was and wasn’t making my hit list last year. So before I go off on another long-winded spiel, let’s check in to see what my 2020 reading is looking like right now!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

This is probably (obviously) the hardest question. I am really torn because I’ve had a surprising number of amazing reads so far, but I think I’m going to pick Words in Deep Blue. This sent me on a wild rollercoaster of emotions and it was endlessly quotable. I think this is such an underrated gem and you can read my review here. Now I’m going to cheat a bit and mention my other top contenders: The Kinder Poison, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, Nevermoor and Vengeful.


Best sequel so far of 2020?

Surprising no one, I haven’t read many sequels so far this year but of the ones I’ve read I’m going to have to pick this great contemporary romance: The Guy on the Left. Let’s just say that after completely loving book one but really not loving the character who would be our hero in book two, I was shooketh to read it and love it perhaps even more than the first! If you like romance, second chances, slow burns, and some deliciously steamy encounters, do yourself a favour and pick this up!


new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Eherm… Now where do I even start? (I’ve got those *shame bells a la GoT* ringing in my head!) This hasn’t been a super great year for me reading outside of my blog tour reads so there are plenty to choose from, ha! But I’m going to go for Beach Read because 1) It was released on my birthday, 2) I’ve heard countless praises for it and 3) I’m hoping to read it this summer (loose use of the term as it’s perpetually summer in the tropics)!


Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?

Another one that’s super difficult to narrow down because there are so many amazing releases and I can’t choose? But also, my latest TTT post was about this so you can check out my list of top ten most anticipated releases (although in reality there’s obviously plenty more)! I’m currently reading an eARC for one of my most anticipated reads: Unravel the Dusk, and though it’s still early days I’m loving it!


biggest disappointment?

It hurts me just as much as it might hurt you for me to say this but my biggest disappointment was The Toll, the third and final book of the amazing Arc of a Scythe series. I was just… Expecting more and it really fell short. While I did still enjoy what we were given, it wasn’t the series ending that I thought we would get and I feel the story deserved to end on a much better note! But anywho, those are just some of my thoughts but you can read all my thoughts in my review!


biggest surprise?

It’s for definitely going to be the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I wasn’t expecting to fall head over feet in love with a MG fantasy this year but wow, I loved the books in this series so much! If you’re looking for something that will make you nostalgic for your days reading Harry Potter as a kid this is the book you should read! But it also has so much more to offer. It has an incredible world, quirky and hilarious characters, a feisty MC in Morrigan Crow and a villain who I feel falls more on the morally grey scale (albeit the darker side) than on the pure evil scale? (maybe that’s just me though) TL;DR: Read it! You won’t regret it!


Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)?

I’m so torn! It’s so hard for me to choose because as I’m going to be repeating over and over again, I’ve read so many great books so far in 2020! But… If I had to choose I’d pick Jessica Townsend because her Nevermoor series is seriously going to be one of my all time favourites. Funny that, last year I picked Jane Harper, who is also an Aussie author like Jessica! The Aussie’s are hitting it big 😍


newest fictional crush?

Ugh why do I torture myself? Hmm… I can’t decide so I’m going to cheat and give you three of my new fictional crushes. I’m choosing Ryder from Only When It’s Us, Reid from Love Lettering, and Zach from Let’s Get Textual. If you’ve read any or all of these, I guess you might figure I have a type 🤣 All three had me swooning throughout these reads and I loved every minute of it!


newest favourite character?

I going with Maia Tamarin from Spin the Dawn for this one. I love her spirit and her fierce determination to see that her family suffers no more loss than they already have. She puts family first and works countless hours to achieve her goals and honestly, she’s such an admirable character. I’d often forget her age because she has a maturity to her that made her relatable to me.

I kind of want to cheat a little and given an honorary shout to Zahru from The Kinder Poison because she’s feisty, full of snark and although her naïveté sometimes drove me a little crazy, she was a fierce character (who can also talk to animals!) that brought me so much joy!


Book that made you cry?

The question should be: what book didn’t make me cry?! Hah. Kidding… Sort of!

No, but in all honesty the book that really hit me hard in the feels and made those angry/sad silent tears stream down my face was The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones. So relevant with everything that’s happening in America right now and I think a good introduction to difficult topics for younger readers written by an own voices author. Don’t let this one pass you by, friends! If you’re curious to know more, check out my review.


Book that made you happy?

Okay but all of the books I enjoyed made me happy in some kind of way? I’m a ‘laugher’ so it really doesn’t take much to make me laugh. I’ve laughed through a lot of the books that I’ve read this year but the most recent one was Walk of Shame. Although it wasn’t my favourite romcom I had a really good time laughing at and with our characters.


favourite book to movie/tv adaptation that you saw this year?

Okay this is kind of weird to admit but… I don’t think I’ve watched any book/movie/show adaptation this year? I actually can’t remember the last time I watched a movie/show I read the book of and it has also been a while since I’ve actually sat and watched something thanks to books and ACNH. But if there’s one show that I think will be a favourite (if I do get to watch it!) and it’s Normal People. The book has weirdly and unexpectedly become a favourite and I really like the look of the show!


favourite review you’ve written this year?

Hmm… This is tough but I think I’m going with my review for The Silence of Bones because I loved this book. It makes me sad that it’s one of the more underrated releases of 2020 because it honestly deserves so much more love and attention. You can tell how much work Hur put into that book with all the details about this dynastic period and it was fantastic! Check out my review for more about it but I really recommend it 😉


most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I actually have a few new gorgeous books on my shelves but I’m going with The Mountains Sing. I got my copy personalised and signed by the author as she was living in Jakarta at the time of the release, and that’s always a treat! This story felt like non-fiction and I felt as if I was hearing it being told to me first hand. Immersive and powerful! Check out my review to learn more about it.


what books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Omg if I actually listed what books I “need” to read by the end of the year we might be here forever. So I’m just going to mention a few (cough*twenty*cough) that I’m very excited to get my grabby hands on and that I’m really hoping will get read by year end!

I had a lot more fun doing this post than I thought I would. Granted I didn’t give myself too much time to dwell on my answers and I think that made it easier for me to do! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2020 goes… Have you done a mid-year freak out tag?
How are you doing with your reading? At the end of the day what matters most is that you’re enjoying yourself!

#WWWWednesday: 01 July

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?

I’ve been incredibly busy packing for my big “cross country” move from Bali to Jakarta, on top of still having to work as I don’t have anymore leave days left this year, so reading has taken a bit of a back seat. Since last Wednesday I’ve only managed to read three books but I’m trying not to feel meh about it.

Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger ★★★★☆
This would be the perfect companion for a hot summer day laying by the pool or at the beach soaking in the sun (with no one else around because we’re still mindful of social distancing!!!). I enjoyed this lovely romance a lot more than I expected. The characters really grew on me and I rooted for them to their HEA because they absolutely deserved it! Check out my full review.

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend ★★★★★
I need book three NOW! I think I loved Wundersmith even more than I did book one and that’s saying something because I adored book one. The Nevermoor series continues to sweep me away to its magical and odd world. The characters grew on me even more in book two and the plot becomes even more intriguing. If you want a book that’ll give you those nostalgic and whimsical childhood feels, this is the one! Review coming very soon.

The End of Magic by Mark Stay
TEOM has a great premise and presented an interesting idea but I felt that the follow through in terms of world building and characters fell short. There wasn’t much world building and I unfortunately found the characters very unlikeable and hard to root for. This was also a lot more violent/gore filled than I expected. I will say that Stay’s writing style was very easy to read and that’s how I ended up finishing the book despite of the difficulties in reading it. Full review to come (soon-ish)!

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