#WWWWednesday: 13 January

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 week, I’ve managed to read 5 books. It was a bit of a mixed bag with mostly so-so reads and one big win, so at least there’s that!

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston ★★★☆☆
I was disappointed that I didn’t love this more but I went into it expecting something completely different. This is a light fantasy fairytale that was a little whimsical, with writing on the younger side of YA, but it was a lot spookier than I expected! Sadly, I didn’t really connect with the characters and inconsistencies in the story/characters kept jarring me out of the zone. Not bad, but not a fave. RTC!

The Crowns of Croswald (The Crowns of Croswald #1) by D.E. Night ★★☆☆☆ (or 1.5 idk)
I FINISHED IT. I FINALLY FINISHED IT! And I wept with relief when I did. 😂 Wow, this is one of those books that sounded like it’d be amazing but it ended up being so very, very not for me! There were some interesting world elements but I simply couldn’t get into it and did not care. This took me two months to finish and I honestly wish I had DNF’ed it. Check out my full review.

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ARC Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

Thanks to the team at Stories Untold for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1)
Publisher: Stories Untold
Publication Date: 21 July 2017
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Ivy Lovely is 16 and she has no idea who she is—or what her powers could be. When she crosses a magical boundary, she discovers a whole new world of enchantment and mystery. Making friends that will last a lifetime—and save her life—she steps into her own abilities and discovers more about her hidden past, magical blood, and the power of Croswald’s mystical stones. But all is not well: a dark history and an evil Queen threatens all that is good. Will Ivy’s bravery and wit be enough?

Curious and whimsical, both shy and brave, Ivy is a hero that connects with readers of all ages. For those who wished that Narnia, Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland could go on forever, Croswald opens a whole new world of magic. Recommended as a read-aloud for families and a first middle-grade fantasy read, The Crowns of Croswald is a four-part series that will carry readers to a whimsical world that they won’t want to leave. 

I really wanted to love this story. I wanted to love it so much that although I struggled to read it over a period of 2 months, I still persisted in the hopes that it would get better or something about it would click for me. I’m really sad to say that it never happened and it was with a great resounding sigh of relief that I finally came to the last page of this book. I feel terrible leaving a low rating, especially when the author’s team reached out for me to read it, but I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and an honest review I shall give it. It does seem that I’m very much in the minority with my feelings though so perhaps this just really wasn’t for me!

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ARC Review: Ever After Always by Chloe Liese

Special thanks to Chloe Liese for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Ever After Always (Bergman Brothers #3)
Publication date: 12 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

Buckle up for an emotional journey of hijinks, heartache, and a hot slow-burn in this marriage-in-crisis romance about going the distance to make love last.

I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby. With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.  As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

GET YOUR COPY: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

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

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#WWWWednesday: 06 January

Welcome, welcome to the first WWW Wednesday of 2021!

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 the last time I did one of these posts I’ve managed to read 5 books (I think?), although none of them were the ones that I was reading in my previous post and all of those are still being “currently read”. 😅

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet ★★★½
Caplin made me question why I’d yet to go to Switzerland and why it wasn’t higher up on my bucket list. She masterfully brought the setting of each location so vividly to life, and not to mention how she so enthusiastically writes about food in this book made me ridiculously hungry (and eager to bake)! Sadly, I wish the characters were better developed as I didn’t feel connected to them and it made the romance fall a bit flat for me. RTC.

Keepers of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) by Shannon Messenger ★★★★
I’d heard so much about this series and I’m so glad I finally picked it up. It’s action-packed and Messenger introduces us to an interesting magical world full of vegetarian elves and a unique magical system. I loved Sophie and her journey and can’t wait to read more. Potentially a new favourite MG fantasy! RTC.

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December Monthly Wrap Up!

We’ve now started the first full week of January and I was debating whether to even make a December monthly wrap-up post because I’m lazy but I already did the End of Year Survey: Parts I, II & III, but I thought let’s just get it done with so… Here we are 🤪

December was both so slow and too fast and it was honestly a bit of a “surreal” month. I found myself struggling even more to stay motivated at work especially since everyone was going off on holidays and I was one of the few that stayed on until the very last day of the year. I did have a lot of wrapping up to do as I was also ending my full-time work contract and with no one around to really hand things off to, it was a bit more hectic than anticipated.

For the most part, I played a lot of Animal Crossing, read a few books and generally tried to not give in to my desire to retreat into ultimate cave-reading mode too often (especially since I still had work to do)! LOL 😂 I did get my Owlcrate mid-December and the merch and book were gorgeous–I absolutely loved it! My favourite items are the planner+stickers, the monthly pin and of course, the book itself!

In December, I read 18 books! They were a pretty good mix of fantasy and romance, although I did manage to sneak in a non-fiction and some literary/contemporary fiction as well. Despite being excited to read more holiday romances, I only ended up reading two, but I might read one or two more in January but that’s also a big might. As you’ll see in my wrap up although I’ve been reading, what I haven’t been doing is writing reviews immediately. I’m so behind and really need to catch up 😂

I loved many of my December reads and despite a few exceptions, most of them were 4-5 stars, so I would defo say it was a successful month for reading! I had two five star reads in December and they were (obviously) my faves: Bad Blood and Amari and the Night Brothers. They’re two very different books but both are equally amazing and I would highly recommend them!

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#WWWWednesday: 30 December


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 week I managed to finish four books but I also decided to DNF one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, I’m quite proud that I’m actually DNFing books this year. It’s been so hard for me to do but baby steps… We’re getting there! But also… I still have to write reviews for all of these. *le super sigh* Yay for reading lots but the struggle to review is so real! 🙃

Subversive (Clandestine Magic #1) by Colleen Crowley ★★★★
I was immediately intrigued by this dystopian society where males reign supreme in every aspect especially to do with magic. There were many layers to the plot(s) and it covers so many issues but the author does a fantastic job of bringing it all together: we’re advocating for women’s rights, subverting the male dominated magical system, hiding government secrets and all while getting a deliciously slow-burning enemies-to-lovers romance! Plus the characters were so easy to root for! I can’t wait to read on. Will likely do a series review for this? RTC.

Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg ★★★★☆
This was an action-packed and ultimately satisfying conclusion to Holmberg’s latest historical fantasy duology. It was so rejoin Elsie and Bacchus as they try to beat the villain at their own game. There was more magic, murder, and mystery, and I was 100% here for it. This book is out in March 2021 so my review will be posted closer to pub day! RTC.

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#WWWWednesday: 23 December


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 week I managed to finish five books:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston ★★★★
Love love love. I wrote a pretty gushing review about this. I had a feeling I’d enjoy it when I read the blurb but I didn’t expect it to love it as much as I did. Alston creates a fantastic supernatural world in parallel to our real world, and this was fast-paced and action-packed and had a wonderful heroine! Check out my full blog tour review.

Special Delivery (Always Satisfied #5) by Lauren Blakely ★★☆☆☆
There were two stories in this book and I found both a little meh. The first one had strong insta-love feels and then the accidental pregnancy trope was thrown in at the end. It was so convenient and it was a no for me. The second story was a ‘forbidden’ sister’s best friend to lovers romance and while the chemistry was a bit stronger there, I still didn’t connect with the characters. In both stories our H/H came across as much younger than their age and it was just… “eh” 🤷🏻‍♀️ Guess you can’t win ’em all!

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ARC Review: Boone by Emily March

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Boone (Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 29 December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

With his smooth talk, rugged good looks, and deep pockets, native Texan Boone McBride appears to be a man who has it all. Few people know about the heartbreak behind his decision to leave home, family, and career for the isolation of a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Luckily, time and life in Eternity Springs has worked its healing magic upon his wounded soul, so when he meets obviously troubled Hannah Dupree, Boone sees a chance to pay his good fortune forward. The last thing he anticipates is tumbling into love.

Tragedy has taken everything Hannah loves, and her will to keep going is failing. So when Boone strides into her life determined to save her, it’s easier to go along with him than to resist. Soon she is drawn into the fabric of life in Eternity Springs, and as her spirit begins to heal, her strength returns, and she’s able to go toe-to-toe with this hardheaded, big-hearted Texan. But just when love blooms and happiness is within their grasp, shadows from the past threaten. Hannah and Boone must stand strong and united in order to defeat old ghosts—if they are to create a brand-new life together. 

CW: mentions of suicide, child abuse, and death of a child and partner (all instances occurred in the past and off-page).

I’ve been on a serious fantasy binge over the last few months and I only recently started reading romances again when this book came onto my radar. Boone is the third book in a series and can easily be read as a standalone, but my curiosity was definitely piqued about the first two books because the characters make appearances and I was intrigued by them.

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Blog Tour Review: In Pursuit of Happiness by Freya Kennedy

I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for In Pursuit of Happiness by Freya Kennedy. Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books 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: In Pursuit of Happiness
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 15 December 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Chick Lit
Panda Rating:

The world is waiting…but just outside of your comfort zone.

Jo Campbell is perfectly content in a perfectly structured life. Nothing ever changes in Jo’s life, and she likes it that way. Or at least, she tells herself she does.

Most of the time, she manages to push down the tiny voice that tells her to chase her dream and maybe, just maybe, open her battered and bruised heart up to love. But to chase her dreams she needs to take chances that are way out of her comfort zone and learn to not put other people’s happiness above her own.

Most of all she has to learn to trust her heart, which may just be the biggest challenge of all.

BUY NOW: Amazon (US)

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ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Thanks to NetGalley and JIMMY Patterson for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
Publication Date: 27 October 2020
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Let me start off by saying that this is an unpopular opinion about this book 😂

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