#TopTenTuesday: All the Bookish Characters

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week is actually a freebie and so I decided to do a topic that I don’t think I’ve done before: Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)

I love reading books about books and stories with bookish characters that are so relatable so this prompt wasn’t too difficult for me to find books for. I think I may have done a similar prompt once or twice before but I can’t remember what books I listed for those. 😅 I’ve read all of these books and most of them are even favourites!

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Book Review: The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary

Goodreads: The Worst Guy (Vital Signs #2)
Published: 28 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Eight weeks of forced proximity is a long time to hate someone you’re trying not to love.

Sebastian Stremmel doesn’t need another headache. He has enough of his own without Sara Shapiro, the noisy new reconstructive surgeon, stomping all around his surgical wing with her chippy, chirpy cheerfulness.
But Sebastian doesn’t usually get what he wants.

No one gets under his skin like Sara – so much so a heated “debate” and an exam room left in shambles later, they land themselves in eight weeks of hospital-mandated conflict resolution counseling. Now they’re forced to fight fair…which quickly leads them to playing dirty when no one’s looking. 

They know it’s a mistake.
They promise themselves it will never happen again.
They swear they got it out of their systems.
They didn’t.

Author’s Note: Grumpy/recovering people-pleaser sunshine. Introverts attract. Enemies-to-lovers in the workplace. Banter, bicker, and button-pushing foreplay. Don’t tell the friend group, get jealous when the friend group tries to fix her up.
Heat: rip her clothes off before you get the front door open.
Angst: big laughs, big feels, no ugly crying. 

TL;DR: Just as I was thinking how I’ve never read a grumpy x grumpy romance, enter Sebastian and Sara, two screeching grumpy guts who are just a little fragile and lonely and honestly couldn’t be more perfect for each other. This was so devastatingly heart-swooningly good that it was just rude? Like, the audacity of this author to write something that gutted me the way this did! Anyway, say hi to my new favourite Canterbary romance (now tied with The Belle and the Beard)! If you love an intense enemies-to-lovers workplace romance between two headstrong and amazing characters, I’d highly recommend checking this out. 👏🏽

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#TopTenTuesday: 10 Favourite Dynamic Friendship Duos!

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt is: DYNAMIC DUOS (Submitted by Elley @ Elley the Book Otter)

With so much focus on romantic couples this month, I wanted to stick to friendship duos for this week’s prompt and I have to admit, I struggled (oh, this weak memory of mine)! 😂 I was tempted to go in the same direction as Leslie this week but although it took me *a while* to do it, I eventually managed to come up with a list of ten of my favourite dynamic friendship duos! Without further ado, let’s get right to it…

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#TopTenTuesday: Best Books I Read in 2021

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Best Books I Read in 2021

I’m always terrible at answering prompts that ask for my “best” anything 😂 I know I’ve read some amazing books but it’s also been a very weird reading year? I’ve read a lot but I’ve had a hard time retaining much of what I’ve read but also, I’ve had a hard time focusing on reading, in general, this year! I’ve only had a few 5-star reads this year so it is a bit surprising that I’m having trouble picking a top 10… but in the end, I decided to not include series’ on the list and now, before I keep waffling on, let’s get to it!

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Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Goodreads: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1)
Published: 09 June 2020
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Romantasy)

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

I buddy read this with Julie @ One Book More and I’m so glad because I really needed someone to wail to when shit hit the fan and hit the fan shit really did! 🥺 We loved this first book so much and were so shook by that ending we immediately started the second book!

TL;DR: There’s a lot of hype around this book and it’s definitely for good reason. This was an extremely binge-able read that I had a really hard time putting down. I’d recommend this if you enjoy romantasy, but more specifically: vivid fantasy worlds, slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance, a plot full of deception and heart-pounding action, and a romantasy couple that will have your heart swooning with happiness and weeping with angst.

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Book Review: Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Goodreads: Window Shopping
Published: 19 October 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan, shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.

It’s a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I’m working for that man, trying to ignore that he’s hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past, I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.

I’ll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I’ll work without stopping. And when we lose the battle with temptation, I’ll try and remember I’m just window shopping.

TL;DR: This reverse grumpy-sunshine romance was incredibly adorable, delightful, and so full of positive and festive holiday vibes! I think this is also the first romance/book I’ve read that directly references the pandemic, and while it was admittedly a little jarring to see things being so ‘normal’ when it’s still so not normal (and the pandemic so far from over) IRL, it was also nice and hopeful! I loved Stella and Aiden and despite the insta-love moments of their romance, I was sold on their connection and sizzling chemistry and they more than deserved their HEA! 

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Book Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Goodreads: In a Holidaze
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 06 October 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

TL;DR: It has been a long time since I’ve read a CLo book and now I’m wondering why! This book was such a fun and wonderfully festive holiday romance and it served a good dose of feel-good family vibes, a swoony albeit slightly cheesy romance, and likeable characters that you can’t help but root for and wish you were friends with, too! If you’re looking for a holiday read to lose yourself in for a little while, I would definitely recommend this one.

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Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Goodreads: The Love Hypothesis
Publisher: Sphere
Published: 27 September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough, scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting woman, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when he agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire and Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support (and his unyielding abs), their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.

Olive soon discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

TL;DR: I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book other than to keep gushing about how swoony the romance was and how happy their interactions made me. I’m so glad that I finally shook off the nerves and dove into this romance because it was amazing. The only regret I have is that it’s over and I already can’t wait to read it again at some point because this has fast become one of my favourite romances—and definitely one of my top reads in 2021! All I can say is READ IT! 

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The Count to 10 With Me Book Tag

Hello, friends! I’m coming at you with another fun tag today 😊 I first saw The Count to 10 With Me book tag on Julie @ One Book More’s page and it looked so fun I thought I’d give it a go. The original tag was created by booktuber Alyce @ The Bumbling Blogger.

Most of these books I’ve already read but perhaps one or two of them will still be on my TBR. If I’ve written a review for the book I’ll link it to the book cover if you want to check them out. On that note, here we go!


1. First book in a series

Slippery Creatures is a book that I just finished this past week and I subsequently devoured the rest of the trilogy. The vivid 1920s setting, masterful writing, and charming main cast has made this series one of my favourite historical (queer) romances and I (obvs) highly recommend it! 😊

2. Two or more copies of the same book

I have the ebook and the hardcover for With the Fire on High. I read the physical copy first and loved it so much that I knew I wanted to get the ebook so I could mark all my favourite bits an re-read it whenever I want! It’s such a gorgeous book ❤️

3. Three colours on the cover

The cover of Pride and Premeditation is one of my favourites! It’s so bright and SO colourful 😍 Bonus is that I really enjoyed this mystery re-telling of my favourite classic!

4. Four or more perspectives

This was a little bit tough but I’ve settled on Aurora Burning in the end! Each chapter is a different POV and we get the POV of all the crew members 😍

5. A five star read

Jade City is one of the best adult fantasies that I’ve ever read and I cannot recommend it enough! There’s so much to love about this series from the stellar world-building to the characters who come to feel like family. To say I was invested in both books in The Green Bone Saga would be an understatement. 😂 I cannot wait until the final book in this glorious series comes out because I need it in my life like yesterday already pls thanku!

6. Six (or more) short stories

I’m not much of an anthology reader but I did read Up All Night last month and surprisingly loved most of the stories! These coming-of-age stories are fun, magical, and full of the exciting, scary and hopeful feelings of change.

7. A seven on the cover or spine

I thought this was gonna be much harder than I anticipated but I just had to look at my shelf and I immediately spotted one of my all time faves: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!

8. Eight letters in the title

Oof, this prompt was a little tougher to figure out! Good Talk is a great non-fiction graphic novel, the first I’ve read, and I really enjoyed the conversations this book brought up between me and a couple of friends! 😊

9. Book ends on a page ending in a 9

This one took a surprising amount of scrolling on my GR read list to find! I ended up with: 659 pages for The Crown of Gilded Bones, which is book three in the Blood and Ash series!

10. Ten books in the series

Okay, this one was the toughest out of all the prompts and I was unable to find a series that I want to read that had exactly ten books. It was even hard to find a series that had more than ten books… although counting the novellas, I ended up with The Outlander series. Without novellas there are 9 books, with novellas there are 12 books! I haven’t even read the first book so I have quite a bit of reading to do! 😂


And that’s it, folks! I won’t be tagging anyone specifically so if you feel like joining the fun, feel free to do so! I’d love to see what your picks are for this fun tag, especially for the last prompt! 😍

The 2021 Mid-Year Check-In Tag

I know we’ve already gone well over the mid-year mark by now but as I’ve been away for the last few months I decided that it’d be a good way to catch up on some of the things I’ve read this year!

I started the year off pretty strong in terms of marking what I’ve read and crossing off prompts for one of the challenges for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, but as the months rolled on, the more I read, the less I reviewed and the less I updated my books and challenges. When that started happening is when I decided to take my break and while I’ve been trying to catch up on updating things, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve forgotten a lot of what I’ve read! Oops… I know that a lot of the books I sped through were romances but I read through them so quickly I honestly can’t remember what I thought of them anymore. So I’ve just decided to leave off marking those off for now and I might come back to them later on.

Clearly, we’re off to a good start, right? 😂 All that being said, I don’t have fancy stats, charts and graphs and what’s marked on my Goodreads Reading Challenge isn’t the most accurate record of what I’ve read cos plenty of books are missing but… We’re rolling with it! (I feel like I’ve said that a lot these last few posts, haha!)

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

I thought it’d be a lot harder to choose but I am tied between Jade City and The Ones We’re Meant to Find. They’re both SFF though one is adult and the other is YA, and their stories couldn’t be more different either. But aside from fantastic writing, the characters were just *chefs kiss* — I love them so much!


Best sequel so far of 2020?

I haven’t read a lot of sequels this year but even so, I think Jade War would steal the show. THIS BOOK!!! 🥺😭


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

What haven’t I not read yet? 🤣 So much… So much… But one release I want to read very soon, as in this weekend soon, is She Who Became the Sun. I read these two amazing reviews by Lia and Jess and I’m sold!


Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?

There are so many I don’t even know where to start! I don’t think I have one especially anticipated release but these are some I’m super excited for…

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney
Battle Royal by Lucy Parker
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson


biggest disappointment?

I know my choice for this is quite an unpopular opinion because everyone seems to have loved the book but… I was really disappointed with A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (please don’t come for me)! I was bored for the majority of it and the haphazard world building + info dumps combined with Poppy’s incessant questioning monologue just really got under my skin in the worst way 🙈 It didn’t stop me from reading the third book though and I’m glad I did cos we finally get the strong Poppy we’ve been waiting for and I really enjoyed it!


biggest surprise?

I’m gonna go with the Murderbot Diaries. So many people love this series and I was (often) told that I’d love it too and they weren’t wrong, but I was surprised by just how much I love this whole series! Murderbot is such a well-written character and they have quickly become one of my all-time favourites! I’ve read all six books as a buddy read with Leslie @ Books are the New Black and it was so much fun!


Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)?

I think this cherry goes to Fonda Lee, author of The Green Bone Saga and two of my top favourite reads so far this year. I was so intimidated by the hype around these books but I’m so glad that I finally read them this year because they were mind blowing! I cannot put into words how much I loved them. I think this series is outside my comfort zone in many ways so I was not expecting to fall hard and fast. Fonda Lee’s world building, characters, and plot are just… The ultimate *chefs kiss*! 🤣


newest fictional crush?

This is easy but I’m kind of cheating a bit because it’s a book that I just read last week and obviously, it’s well past the mid-year point! But I honestly can’t think of anyone else right now because I loved Axel Bergman, our hero from With You Forever by Chloe Liese. If you love inclusive, heartwarming, steamy romances with great H/H, and meddling, boisterous and loveable families, you won’t want to miss this series!

Bonus crush: I also have to give a special shoutout to Rafe, our favourite very buff, very tall, and very tattooed male nanny.


newest favourite character?

I can’t choose one! I’ve read so many amazing characters this year but some favourites that come to mind:


Book that made you cry

As an emotional reader, books make me cry fairly often! 😂 Though perhaps out of all the books that did make me cry, the one that made me cry the longest/hardest was The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. This one crushed me!


Book that made you happy?

Just as easily as I cry in books, it also doesn’t take much to make me laugh but I’ll go with Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. I adored Dani and Zafir—their banter was bang on and their chemistry was so fire! 😍 I had so much fun reading this book and it gave my heart all the happy feels 💜


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

So… I haven’t really watched many things this year? I still haven’t watched the popular adaptations like Shadow & Bone yet. I guess the only thing that comes to mind would be Fruits Basket—does that count? 😂 I think it was a manga first, right? I binged the first and second seasons on Netflix super fast!


favourite review you’ve written this year?

I’m really bad at talking up any of my posts on this blog so this was a bit of a struggle to pick… I’m sharing my review for The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. This was a blog tour review but it was also the first review where I made a journal spread and I had so much fun with it 😍

I was also quite happy with my reviews for Silence is a Sense, The Death of Vivek Oji, and Shards of Earth!


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

This has to be the Strange the Dreamer Box Set. Sadly though, the quality of the books aren’t half as good as I expected and considering what I paid to buy them, I was pretty disappointed. Still, the artwork is gorgeous and they’re a beautiful addition to my shelves!

Note: this picture is not mine—I found it on Google!

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

I wouldn’t say I need to read any of these, except for the ARCs of course, but I do really want to read most of this smol sample of my TBR by the end of the year!

Well, that’s done! *phew* This post always takes me longer than I anticipate but I’m glad I did it! It’s made me realise that I haven’t read half as much as I thought I have, even with the “missing” books from my list! 🤣 Oh well… How are your reads going this year? What’ve been some of your favourites? Have you read any of the books I mentioned here?