Blog Tour Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for the highly anticipated The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! Thanks to Dave for organising the tour and Noly for the banner! 😍

Special thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Cousins
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK
Published: 03 December 2020
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Panda Rating:

The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:
You know what you did.
They never hear from her again.

Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.

This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus”

Mini-Reviews: Oh, Those Highland Lords!

So… Who loves a fast-paced, chemistry-laden and steamy romance featuring headstrong and outspoken ladies and burly Scottish Highland lords? Apparently, I do! 🙋🏻‍♀️ You might’ve notice that I’ve recently got into historical romances and so I thought I’d share more mini-reviews for two of the books I read in the Lords of the Highlands series by Amy Jarecki. I read these completely out of order although they can definitely be read as standalones, but these two do have closely connecting characters (they’re siblings)! I actually read #8 before #5 but I decided to share the reviews in reading order.

The Highland Renegade (Lords of the Highlands #5)
Genre: Historical Romance
Panda Rating:


She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.
Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his rival’s daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he should ever desire.

He is her one hope of happiness.
Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert. Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to choose love over vengeance?

This is my second taste of historical romance set in the Scottish highlands and I’ve really enjoyed how Jarecki brings that era to life. While the romance is obviously the main plot, we still learn a great deal about society, as well as the increasingly tense political situation between Scotland and England.

Robert and Janet were great characters! Robert is definitely of the ‘gruffer’ and domineering sort and while Janet comes across as very prim most times, she also has a delightful rebellious streak that makes her so much fun to read about! There’s a long history of feuding between their clans, so it was very much a forbidden-lovers romance, which upped the stakes and added a touch of angst to the story. They initially deny their chemistry but once they give into it… Oof, lemme tell ya! That was some sizzling chemistry and it ended up being even steamier than I expected!! I loved how well they complemented each other, brought out the best in each other, but also allowed the other to flourish in their own way without setting expectations on each other.

TL;DR: I’m definitely looking forward to trying the other books in this series because I’m really enjoying them so far! There’s lot of fast-paced action, steamy connections, characters you really come to care about and romances that will leave you swooning!

The Highland Laird (Lords of the Highlands #8)
Genre: Historical Romance
Panda Rating:


Emma Grant has been sheltered and underestimated her entire life. Her blindness may set her apart, but she’s just as fierce and loyal as any of her clansmen. So when she catches word that her brother’s best friend is in jail, she doesn’t hesitate to race to the brawny Highlander’s rescue.

Laird Ciar MacDougall is on a vital mission for Scotland when he witnesses a murder—and then is blamed for the death and thrown into a Redcoat prison to rot. He never thought he’d be broken out by a slip of a lass and her faithful hound. But now they’re outlaws on the run. And as their enemies circle ever closer, he will have to choose between saving his country or the woman who’s captured his heart

I’m a big romance fan but I don’t read many historical ones, and this was also my first taste of a historical Scottish romance. You can definitely say I’m sold and I’ve already got another one of these books lined up to read soon! It was full of action and adventure, not to mention the chemistry between our hero and heroine was pretty damn fire 🔥 It got pretty steamy too and I’d put this at close to 4/5 on the steamy scale.

I really liked Ciar and Emma! They were wonderfully written characters who complemented each other so well! Ciar was known as a ‘beast’ thanks to his stature and gruff looks but you wouldn’t know that considering how gentle he is with Emma. I swooned at how supportive he was of her and how he was still able to look out for her, without smothering her need for independence and adventure. He really understood her and unlike others who defined her by her lack of sight, he didn’t do that. I absolutely adored Emma’s character. She’s young and there’s a natural naïveté about her but it doesn’t come across as annoying. I love her passion for life and how she really doesn’t let her disability keep her from experiencing it in her own unique way, despite being raised under her overprotective brother’s charge. In all the years they’ve known each other, Cair always treated her kindly and didn’t make her feel like she wasn’t capable of doing anything she wished, which is really all she wanted. So it was especially heartwarming to see them come together and get a HEA! They really brought out the best in each other and their characters fit together so perfectly.

TL;DR: There was plenty of fast-paced action, sweet flirtations, and a surprisingly steamy romance, all set against an interesting historical backdrop. Cair and Emma were wonderful characters who stole my heart and who absolutely deserved their HEA.

Is there something about men in kilts… or is it just me? 🙈
Do you like Scottish Highland romances? Have you read this series? If you’re a fan of highland romances, I’d love to hear your recs! 😉

ARC Review: A Scandalous Bargain by Darcy Burke

Thanks to NetGalley and Darcy Burke Publishing for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Scandalous Bargain (The Pretenders #2)
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing
Publication Date: 10 November 2020
Genre: Historical Romance
Panda Rating:


Tricked into marriage five years ago, Thomas Devereaux, Lord Rockbourne is suddenly a widower. Rumors abound that his wife’s death may not have been an accident and given the troubling secrets Thomas keeps buried, even he isn’t entirely sure. But when a woman sees what happened, he agrees to accept her help to disguise the facts in exchange for not divulging her suspicious behavior. Their arrangement grows more complicated under the force of a scorching mutual attraction.

Abandoned by her father—a duke—after the death of her mother—his beloved mistress—Beatrix Linley has fought to become a daughter he could be proud of, that he would regret leaving. She becomes the toast of the Season until her penchant for pilfering pretty things threatens to expose the illicit past she needs desperately to remain hidden. Soon the scandal and darkness both Beatrix and Thomas fear comes to light, compelling them to finally face their demons—and potentially driving them apart forever

Continue reading “ARC Review: A Scandalous Bargain by Darcy Burke”

Blog Tour Review: The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza. Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC 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: The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
Publication Date: 17 November 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Panda Rating:

A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before the Shadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.

Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky. And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out

BUY NOW: Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | Indiebound

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza”

Blog Tour Review: Born at Dawn by Christina Davis

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Born at Dawn by Christina Davis. Special thanks to the author for providing the ARC 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: Born at Dawn (Da’Valia Trilogy #1)
Publication Date: 15 November 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Panda Rating:

In a world of secrets, the one she never expected is the one that will change her life forever.
When a heist goes terribly wrong and the binding spell holding 17-year-old Neva’s powers at bay is shattered, the half-human thief knows she’s in trouble.

Neva has always hidden her Da’Valian heritage while working risky jobs to make a name for herself and serving at her family’s tavern, but she won’t be able to hide much longer. She can either risk the safety of those she cares about or seek out her mother’s people to gain control over her emerging powers.

The Da’Valia are beautiful, brutal creatures created by the god of war, and the austere Da’Valian soldier Astiand reluctantly agrees to take Neva to his clan under his protection. She makes unexpected friends, including the handsome fighter Emiliand, and a new enemy in the clan’s ruthless leader.

Spying on her guardian, the sly heroine quickly discovers just how deep she has stumbled into a dangerous, developing clan feud. Will she be able to embrace who she is in time to keep her loved ones safe?

⚠This book is about a race of warriors and contains violent scenes, which may not be suitable for all audiences.

Buy: Amazon (US)

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Born at Dawn by Christina Davis”

Book Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs #1)
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Publication Date: 05 May 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:


How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.
Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?
The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

It took a little while for me to get into the story but when I did, I fell hard and fast for these two insanely adorable and incredibly weird (like, really weird) characters! I didn’t think this level of weirdness would work for me initially but y’know what? It did and I really enjoyed it! If there was ever a couple that was destined to be together in all of their glorious oddity, Graham and Zoey would be IT. I also need to give an honorary mention to JAKE, the most adorable doggo in the doggo-sphere because I literally died of cuteness overload whenever he would appear, and he appeared often! 

Me every time Jake was mentioned
Continue reading “Book Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler”

Blog Tour Review: The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl. Thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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

Goodreads: The Forgotten Gift
Release Date: 11 November 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Panda Rating:

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?

Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…


Discover a family’s darkest secrets today. Perfect for fans of The Girl in the Letter, The Beekeeper’s Promise and The Forgotten Village!

BUY NOW: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl”

ARC Graphic Novel Review: The Grémillet Sisters by Giovanni Di Gregorio, Alessandro Barbucci

Thanks to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads: Sarah’s Dream (The Grémillet Sisters #1)
Publish date: 15 July 2020
Publisher: Europe Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel
Panda Rating:

Being sisters is never easy. But when you’re as different as Sarah, Cassiopeia, and Lucille, it’s even harder! The first is haunted by recurring dreams, the second lives with her head in the clouds, and the last spends most of her time with her cat. Then one day they discover a mysterious photo of their mother pregnant. Where was it taken, and who is the baby? And most importantly, why was this photo hidden away in the depths of the attic? To find out, they’ll have to venture into the tangled forest of the Grémillet family secrets!

Continue reading “ARC Graphic Novel Review: The Grémillet Sisters by Giovanni Di Gregorio, Alessandro Barbucci”

ARC Review: Mistletoe & Mr. Right by Sarah Morgenthaler

Thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mistletoe & Mr. Right (Moose Springs #2)
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Publication Date: 06 October 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:


How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.
Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?
The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

While I enjoyed the weird charm of The Tourist Attraction, I feel like I connected so much more with this second book. I wasn’t sure whether I would like Lana at the end of book one as she seemed a bit of an aloof friend, but this showed me that there’s so much more to her than meets the eye. Was her character a bit of a “not like other rich girls” cliche at times? Maybe! But that really didn’t make me enjoy this story any less!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Mistletoe & Mr. Right by Sarah Morgenthaler”

October Monthly Wrap Up!

Well, it’s now the second to last month of 2020 and I don’t know whether to be relieved or cringe at how much there’s still left to do in both my personal and work life, as well as when it comes to reading all the books! Time’s definitely flying although the latter part of October did seem to slow to a crawl (at least for me), and some days ended up feeling like weeks. I bet that’s definitely not going to happen this month though especially with everything that’s on my agenda and it’s low-key giving me some pretty intense anxiety. Welp! 😫 But anyway, let’s stick to the books, right?

In October, I managed to read 17 books. It’s not bad considering my reading slowed down considerably at the end of the month! It was a heavy fantasy month, with sprinklings of contemporary and a dollop or two of historical fiction. I actually didn’t DNF a book in October (yay!) and for the most part, I really enjoyed a lot of my reads although I had no five stars this month! So without further ado… Let’s take a look at what I got through!

Continue reading “October Monthly Wrap Up!”