Top 5 Saturday: Bloody Books!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: blood on the cover.

So… I’m surprised by how much I struggled to come up with five books on my TBR for this prompt! I even struggled to think of five books that I’ve already read with blood on the cover and I don’t know why but this really surprises me? 😂 What I’ve decided to do for this week’s cover is take the prompt literally and I’ve found five books with the word blood on the cover (cos at least this was easier to find on my Goodreads TBR)! Without further ado… Here are five ‘blood-y’ books that I hope to read this year (she said) 😉:

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Top 5 Saturday: Books with Diverse Characters

Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: books with diverse characters.

Well, this is gonna be tough because I can pick way more than five books with diverse characters off my TBR, and I’m looking forward to reading all of them soon! In recent years, I’ve made an active effort to diversify my reads because I realised that many of the books I had access to in the main bookstores in Indonesia tended to feature mostly white authors writing white characters. I also never questioned what I was reading and never actively sought out diverse reads—well, not anymore! It has been amazing to read more stories with characters of different ethnicities, nationalities, religions, LGBTQ+ and abilities in contemporaries, romances, and even SFF and I can’t wait to read even more in the future! For this prompt I decided to focus on books with Asian characters because I love to see the Asian rep! So without further ado, here are five books with diverse characters that I’m really excited for.

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Book Review: Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: Take A Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)
Publisher: Avon
Published: 23 June 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:


Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Yes. Yes. YAAAAAS to this book!!! Oh my lordy lordy. MY FEELS. The swooning. I just… THE FEELS! If you love the fake dating trope, witty banter that will have you simultaneously swooning and cracking up, smart AF badass bisexual heroines, super soft hopeless romantic heroes, crackling chemistry and intensely steamy scenes: don’t sleep on this one. Talia Hibbert really brings it all with this romance I’m so here for it!

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#TopTenTuesday: Adult Romances by Authors of Colour

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie

I’ve seen people posting some really fun and creative content for today’s valentine/love freebie and I wanted to do something fun too, but seeing as I have zero ability to plan posts ahead of time, I’ve decided to just share the adult romances by authors of colour that I can’t wait to get my hands on this year. Tied with my love for fantasy, romance is my favourite genre and they make up more than half of the books I read every year. I just love love, y’know? Give me those HEA, the swoony moments, the favourite tropes like friends-to-lovers, the marshmallow soft-on-the-inside heroes, the feisty kick-ass heroines, the delightful banter, explosive chemistry and YES, the *fans self* steaminess!

One goal I have this year is to focus more on romances by authors of colour. I want to be more intentional in picking up diverse romances and I’m glad to see more and more romance by AOC popping up on my radar! This list is a mix of backlist and upcoming releases and I’m so excited to try all of them. Let me know if you have any recommendations–gimme all that good love, please! 😍

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#5OnMyTBR: L-O-V-E!

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Love.

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Goodreads Monday – The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday! It’s been a very hot minute since I did one but I figured I might as well get back into it! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.*

*Sorry if a book has been featured twice. I need to make better note of which ones I’ve done already!

This week’s featured book is The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga. This is a middle grade contemporary that is set to be published May 2021.

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First Lines Friday – 04 December

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:

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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Let’s Talk Bookish: What is the meaning of diverse books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

what is the meaning of diverse books?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY)
Examples: We talk a lot about diverse books and reads, but what really makes a book diverse? Are books written by authors or about characters from Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, etc) considered diverse? Would you consider a book set in Spain about a Spanish main character diverse? Why or why not? Does diverse mean characters or authors from South America, Asia, and Africa, or from different religious, sexual, ability, etc backgrounds only?

This is a great question and very relevant topic as more readers continue to look for diverse books, and as more diverse books also get published. I’ve been trying to consciously diversify my reads for a while now and 2020 has been my most successful year doing that! I’m a little intimidated about answering this week’s prompt because I think there are quite a few layers to the topic, and I don’t feel comfortable going too in-depth as I’m not that “knowledgeable” about it. But this post is about sharing my thoughts, so I will do that and hopefully I make some sense and don’t come off as (too) uniformed or ridiculous!

defining diversity

Diversity (noun)
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities

Diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster

HOW DO I CLASSIFY DIVERSE BOOKS?

When I think about diverse books, I immediately think of stories with characters who are marginalized, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+. Or are written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+. I also count books that have representation for different religions, ethnicities, mental health, disability, and chronic illness (among other topics) as diverse too. However, I only classify books as diverse when:

  • The main characters are BIPOC/LGBTQ+. I don’t consider it diverse when you have one or a few side characters that fall into these ‘categories’ but are barely represented. But I don’t consider stories written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+ authors as diverse if the story focuses on mainstream “straight and white” characters.
  • Same as above, the rep should concern or be focused on the main character(s) and is not used or identified as a minor sub-plot or anything like that.

is there a line and where do we draw it?

This prompt included a few guiding questions that really made me think whether I would classify certain reads as diverse. For example, if I read a book about Eastern Europe, is that considered diverse? I think if it’s set there and the story is about a straight white character, then no, I wouldn’t. But what if it’s about religion or ethnicity—would I consider it diverse then? I think I probably would because it includes people from different backgrounds. What about a book set in Spain with a Spanish cast—is that diverse? It made me think about a book I read earlier this year called Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. It’s set during the Spanish inquisition period but in an alternate reality, and I considered it diverse because Cordova is AOC and the characters, including the MC, were diverse.

As I write this I realise that perhaps how I consider books diverse is pretty simplistic? But ultimately, I do think it’s subjective because I don’t believe diversity can be so neatly packaged into a box where it means exactly the same thing for everybody. There are many factors to consider, including our individual backgrounds and experiences, and it also depends on the book/author too.

Is it enough to consider a book diverse if it teaches you about different people, cultures, etc.? Is it enough to consider it diverse if it broadens your world view?

Sorry, I know I haven’t really answered anything in this post and it’s mostly just a bunch of brain blah and word vom that I’m not even sure makes any sense–but it has definitely got me thinking!

Now I’m really curious to know what you think. What makes a book diverse in your opinion? Do you think it’s a strict definition or do you think it’s subjective? I’m keen to know your thoughts if you’d like to share them with me!

#TopTenTuesday: Favourite 2020 Quotes

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Favourite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)

I wasn’t really feeling this week’s prompt because I’m so bad at keeping track of my favourite quotes and don’t usually stock them up anywhere (although I’ve been wanting to upload a collection of faves somewhere for years now, I just haven’t got around to doing it *cough*). I remember previously doing some favourite quotes posts, which you can check out here and here.

I was almost going to skip and then I decided that I would share my favourite quotes from some of the books I’ve read and loved in 2020! Maybe they’ll ring a bell for for you, if you’ve already read the book, or maybe they’ll entice you to pick the book up if it’s been sitting on your TBR. Or maybe the quote will pique your interest and you’ll add the book to your already teetering mountain of a TBR (you’re welcome)! So without further ado, here we go…

“Where we come from leaves its fingerprints all over us, and if you know how to read the signs of a place, you know a little bit more who someone is.”

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

“There should be a disconnect button you can push when someone leaves: you’ve fucked me over; therefore I no longer love you. I’m not asking for the button to be connected to an ejector seat that removes them from the universe, just one small button that removes them from your heart.”

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

“She hit him in the best way, like a rainstorm after five years of drought, healing the parched earth with a gentle touch; and in the worst way, like an unexpected earthquake, leaving dust and debris in her wake. She was, in equal parts, a gift and a natural disaster. Her name was Juniper Jones.”

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

“I want you to know there are no right answers. I want you to know that we’re all on loan to one another, and whatever we get, we should be grateful for, because at any minute we can lose another person. We should try to remember every experience.”

With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

“The point is . . . sometimes fighting isn’t about leaving, it’s about staying. It takes practice to get it right, and it’s painful, but if you want to stay with people, you do it.”

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

“I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible. Was she now a goddess or a monster? Perhaps neither. Perhaps both.”

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

“Even though you finally enact a Civil Rights Act not even thirty years ago, it doesn’t erase centuries of unequal access, unequal schooling, unequal living conditions, unequal policing. You can’t tell people to pull up on bootstraps when half of them never had any boots to begin with, never even had the chance to get them. Or when you let people burn whole, thriving black communities to the ground and conveniently forget about it. Because maybe the problem isn’t with ‘bad’ people; maybe the problem is with the whole system.”

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

“You can change the law but you can’t change people and how they treat each other.”

“Perhaps his life might have veered elsewhere if the US government had opened the country to colored advancement like they opened the army. But it was one thing to allow someone to kill for you and another to let him live next door.”

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

“Like Wendy, John, and Michael Darling on the night Peter Pan taught them how to fly – I think one happy thought.
In my pocket, I have a knife.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Favourite 2020 Quotes”

Tour the World in 30 Books Tour: Wicked As You Wish

Tour the World in 30 Books is a blog tour hosted by Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den in support of her local public library’s Diverse Book Drive. The CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures.

I’ve been so excited to take part in this awesome tour! It’s such a wonderful way to visit other countries and learn about other cultures without having to leave the comfort of your home. I’m so happy to support a wonderful friend and librarian in promoting diverse reads in her small-town library. Be sure to check out the other wonderful posts and bloggers on tour—trust, you don’t want to miss out on seeing their awesome content! 😉

Today I’ll be talking about the book Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco. You can also check out my og review for the book! I was a little unsure about how I wanted to do this post and to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure about it but I’m rolling with it and seeing where it takes me. I thought I’d share five reasons why you should read WAYW, but I’m also going to share a short reflection about reading this book, and I’ll be sharing a recipe for a Filipino dish that is one of my all-time favourite foods. What better (and more delicious) way is there to connect to a culture than through food? I hope you enjoy it!

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