ARC Review: Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker

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

Goodreads: Happy Singles Day
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Publication Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:


As a Certified Professional Organizer, everything in Paige Parker’s world is as it should be. Perfect apartment, perfect office, perfect life. And now, the perfect vacation planned to honor Singles Day. After all, what’s better than celebrating her pride in being single? Because who needs a man anyway? They have zero taste in quality television, leave the toilet seat up, and sleep with your best friend. No thanks. Her life is fine just the way it is.

As the owner of a now-dormant bed & breakfast, Lucas Croft’s life is simple and quiet. It’s only him and his five-year-old daughter, which is just the way he likes it. Because who needs a woman anyway? They nag you to clean up your stuff, want the toilet seat put down, and expect the dishes to be done the same day the meal is cooked. No thanks. His life is fine just the way it is.

But when Paige books a room that Lucas’ well-intentioned sister listed without his knowledge, their two worlds collide. If they can survive the week together, they just might discover exactly what they’ve both been missing.

TL;DR: The cover is what first caught my eye and the synopsis sounded interesting so I was really looking forward to reading it! This was an easy-to-read romance that had some funny and silly moments but ultimately it’s not a romance that stands out for me and is somewhat forgettable. Also, if you’re not into reading steamy scenes, you’re in the clear for this one as it’s very light on the steaminess with fade-to-black scenes.

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ARC Review: The Last Secret You’ll Ever Keep by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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

Goodreads: The Last Secret You’ll Ever Keep
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 16 March 2021
Genre: Young Adult Thriller/Mystery

Panda Rating:


Four days…
Trapped in a well, surrounded by dirt, scratching at the walls trying to find a way out.
Four days of a thirst so strong, that when it finally rains, I drink as much as possible from the dripping walls, not even caring how much dirt comes with it.

Six months…
Since my escape. Since no one believed I was taken to begin with – from my own bed, after a party, when no one else was home…
Six months of trying to find answers and being told instead that I made the whole incident up.

One month…
Since I logged on to the Jane Anonymous site for the first time and found a community of survivors who listen without judgment, provide advice, and console each other when needed.
A month of chatting with a survivor whose story eerily mirrors my own: a girl who’s been receiving triggering clues, just like me, and who could help me find the answers I’m searching for.

Three days…
Since she mysteriously disappears, and since I’m forced to ask the questions: will my chance to find out what happened to me vanish with her? And will I be next?

TL;DR: An intense young adult thriller told through alternating timelines that often had cold chills running up my spine throughout the read. This book has a very unreliable narrator that honestly confused me a fair bit because I really had no idea what was happening at times–the confusion and daze that engulfed Terra was palpable! While the story really reeled me in from the beginning, it kind of lost me in the middle and I felt the resolution of the mystery was a little underwhelming. Overall, I liked how the author explored aspects of trauma and healing but sadly found the execution lacking.

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ARC Review: Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg

Thanks to NetGalley and 47North for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology #2)
Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: 09 March 2021
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:


England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.

*Note: There might be minor spoilers for book one if you haven’t read it yet!*

TL;DR: Spellmaker was an action-packed sequel to Spellbreaker and a satisfying conclusion to this historical fantasy duology with a little bit of mystery and romance. I was a little worried when I got to the 80% mark and felt that a lot still had to be resolved, and although I thought the climax was a little too simplistic for the build-up, I was still enthralled by the story and characters, and ultimately thought the conclusion was done well.

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#WWWWednesday: 03 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 finished five books. Three of these five reads left me with some pretty mixed feelings but it wasn’t an awful week of reading!

Aether Ones by Wendi Coffman-Porter ★★☆☆
The first book that left me with mixed feelings last week. This was a pretty interesting sci-fi read that had one of the most kick ass heroines I’ve read about in a while! Leilani is someone you don’t want to mess with, especially when she technically has the “UN of space” on her side as she does whatever it takes to get the job done! 😉 That said, the world building and time jumps often had me re-reading and getting confused. Check out my blog tour review!

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi ★★★½
This was an incredible and heartbreaking story about the complexities of love, sexual and gender identity, and self-acceptance in a society that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your existence. It’s about loss, grief, fear and secrets. It’s a stunningly written book that I would highly recommend! Check out my review!

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Blog Tour Review: Mr. Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman

I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for Mr. Right Across the Street. Thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter 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: Mr Right Across the Street
Release Date: 22 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

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

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February Monthly Wrap Up!

Two months down and we can already start counting down the months left in 2021 on two hands! 🤯
Also, does anyone else love the fact that March starts on a Monday? Is it just me that finds that oddly satisfying? 😂

I know February is the shortest month of the year but wow, it really passed by in a blink! Other than work, reading and blogging I’m not even quite sure what I can tell you about what I got up to this month? Like January, half the time I didn’t even know what day it actually was! The only days I was certain of were Wednesdays because as a part-timer that’s my Friday. My parents left to Bali to sort out our house there earlier this month, so the responsibilities here have fallen to me, but other than doing all this adulting stuff it’s been a pretty quiet month!

I’ve been spending a fair chunk of time especially in the last week playing Animal Crossing and honestly, life on my in-game island is probably more exciting than IRL. 🤣 I’ve been doing a lot of terraforming and redecorating and it’s all coming together quite nicely and I was more than happy to kiss the snow good-bye, too! I’m excited to see what the updates this month bring. I saw the Mario x ACNH update has already appeared and the items are so cool! 😍 I don’t know how I’m going to incorporate them on my island but I want to try as much as I can.

Despite the short month, I think I managed to get in quite a few reads in February and I ended up reading 20 books. All save one of my reads were 3-stars and up but I did have one DNF this month and that’s also my first for the year! February was unsurprisingly heavy on romance and I ended up reading a lot of NA sports romances on a whim 🤣 I haven’t read many sports romances and although the jock vulgarity at the beginning of each book is always slightly off-putting, I think I definitely want to try more sports romances. They’re very white though, aren’t they? 🤔 I also had my first re-read(s) of the year this month and deciding to re-read with the audiobooks for The Illuminae Files and Aurora Rising was a really good decision! These audios are fantastic and I would highly recommend if you want a fun and full-cast listening/reading experience!

All my re-reads were 5-stars but my only 5-star first-time-read this month was Take A Hint, Dani Brown but I also have to mention The Death of Vivek Oji, which ended up being 4.5-stars for me but I’m in no doubt that this book will stick with me for quite a while! 🥲

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ARC Review: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Death of Vivek Oji
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 20 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Panda Rating:


What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

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

TL;DR: This was an incredible and heartbreaking story about the complexities of love, sexual and gender identity, and self-acceptance in a society that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your existence. It’s about loss, grief, fear and secrets. It’s a stunningly written book that I would highly recommend, although I will say it might not be for everyone as it does involve taboo relationships (sexually explicit) that some readers might find uncomfortable or disturbing. There are still months left to go in 2021, but so far, this is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

Continue reading “ARC Review: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi”

#WWWWednesday: 24 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 finished three books. Two of the books were re-reads that I did following along with the audiobooks and I’m so glad that I did that!

Illuminae & Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1 and #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff ★★★★★
These were my two re-reads and I absolutely LOVED them. I rated them both 4-stars the first time I read them (although I’m not sure why) but after reading along with the audiobook, I’ve bumped up both ratings to 5-stars. This series is *chefs kiss*. Maybe Gemina isn’t all that different in plot compared to Illuminae but did I care? Absofreakinglutely NOT! They were such fun reads and I loved the couples and the side characters. Seriously, if you love full cast audios and want something fun to read, definitely check these out! 😍 10/10 would recommend!

The Locker Room (The Brentwood Boys #1) by Meghan Quinn ★★½
Legit sad that I didn’t love this one more especially when it started out strong for me. Knox was such a great hero and might be one of my new sports hero faves, and while Emory started off really fun and relatable, she became increasingly irritating as the story went on. And then that time-jump at the 80% mark happened and… NOPE. Nuppity nope. Just why? Super sad panda times. 🐼 Check out my review!

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 24 February”

#WWWWednesday: 17 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 finished six books and I’m happy to say that I’ve written and posted a few of these reviews already! We’re ignoring the fact that I have weeks of “I’ll be posting my (mini-)reviews soon” that I still need to tackle but something is better than nothing, right?! More reviews to come 😉😂

Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney ★★★★
This was so different from what I usually read but I absolutely loved it. It was hilarious, it had a strong message and it’s a book that I really wish younger me had access to–although adult me still really appreciated it and I think so many readers of all ages can get something great out of the read. Check out my review!

Enjoy the View (Moose Springs #3) by Sarah Morgenthaler ★★½
I was so looking forward to Easton’s story so I’m quite sad that this ended up being my least favourite of the series. Easton is still my kryptonite but our heroine really set my teeth on edge in this one! I tried to be understanding of her drive and the adventurous thrill but… Nope. Morgenthaler’s signature humour was still enjoyable though! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Check out my review!

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ARC Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

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

Goodreads: The Project
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 02 February 2021
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Panda Rating:


Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

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

TL;DR: Ever since I was blown away by the gripping mystery of Sadie, I’ve been keen to read more by Courtney Summers and so I was thrilled to get my hands on The Project. A book about sisters and a cult? Didn’t know I needed it but I definitely wanted to read it! I’d seen some mixed reviews about the book prior to picking it up so I went in with tempered expectations and I’m glad that I did because if I went in hoping for another book that’d give me the ‘Sadie vibes’ I would’ve been so sorely disappointed. As it is, the pacing ended up being a bit more of a slog than I anticipated but I’m glad that I kept reading and finished it. Also, the cover is STUNNING and I’m loving all the promo artwork and creative content that’s being shared for it!

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