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!
Goodreads: Fangs Publish date: 01 September 2020 Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing Genre: Graphic Novel Panda Rating:
A love story between a vampire and a werewolf by the creator of the enormously popular Sarah’s Scribbles comics.
Vamp is three hundred years old but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets a charming werewolf. FANGS chronicles the humor, sweetness, and awkwardness of meeting someone perfectly suited to you but also vastly different
I’m a big fan of the many Sarah’s Scribbles comics that I’ve seen online although I’ve never actually read through or purchased one of her books, and after reading Fangs I’m really questioning why! This was such a cute/weird/sweet love story between a vampire and a werewolf that had me laughing out loud and ‘awwing’ constantly. Talk about them feel good feels!
Holy wow, I honestly can’t believe that it’s already mid-year. Time is a funny thing normally but in 2020 it’s just outrageous, as the year itself has been! The year got off to a pretty strong start despite quickly falling sick towards the end of January (it wasn’t corona!) after which everything basically spiralled downward and that’s when my reading really tanked. With all the negative energy that has been projected worldwide, it’s a miracle I managed to read anything at all, but I’m thankful I had the blog tours (the majority of which will no longer be mentioned!) to keep me motivated and reading. This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 100 books and despite it all, I think I’ve done quite well and I’m even 27 books ahead of schedule.
I’ve been seeing a lot of people do this tag lately and so of course I’m hopping on board too albeit a little late. I did my first mid-year freak out tag in 2019 and it was fun to look back and see what was and wasn’t making my hit list last year. So before I go off on another long-winded spiel, let’s check in to see what my 2020 reading is looking like right now!
Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?
This is probably (obviously) the hardest question. I am really torn because I’ve had a surprising number of amazing reads so far, but I think I’m going to pick Words in Deep Blue. This sent me on a wild rollercoaster of emotions and it was endlessly quotable. I think this is such an underrated gem and you can read my review here. Now I’m going to cheat a bit and mention my other top contenders: The Kinder Poison, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, Nevermoor and Vengeful.
Best sequel so far of 2020?
Surprising no one, I haven’t read many sequels so far this year but of the ones I’ve read I’m going to have to pick this great contemporary romance: The Guy on the Left. Let’s just say that after completely loving book one but really not loving the character who would be our hero in book two, I was shooketh to read it and love it perhaps even more than the first! If you like romance, second chances, slow burns, and some deliciously steamy encounters, do yourself a favour and pick this up!
new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
Eherm… Now where do I even start? (I’ve got those *shame bells a la GoT* ringing in my head!) This hasn’t been a super great year for me reading outside of my blog tour reads so there are plenty to choose from, ha! But I’m going to go for Beach Read because 1) It was released on my birthday, 2) I’ve heard countless praises for it and 3) I’m hoping to read it this summer (loose use of the term as it’s perpetually summer in the tropics)!
Most anticipated release for the second half of 2020?
Another one that’s super difficult to narrow down because there are so many amazing releases and I can’t choose? But also, my latest TTT post was about this so you can check out my list of top ten most anticipated releases (although in reality there’s obviously plenty more)! I’m currently reading an eARC for one of my most anticipated reads: Unravel the Dusk, and though it’s still early days I’m loving it!
It hurts me just as much as it might hurt you for me to say this but my biggest disappointment was The Toll, the third and final book of the amazing Arc of a Scythe series. I was just… Expecting more and it really fell short. While I did still enjoy what we were given, it wasn’t the series ending that I thought we would get and I feel the story deserved to end on a much better note! But anywho, those are just some of my thoughts but you can read all my thoughts in my review!
It’s for definitely going to be the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I wasn’t expecting to fall head over feet in love with a MG fantasy this year but wow, I loved the books in this series so much! If you’re looking for something that will make you nostalgic for your days reading Harry Potter as a kid this is the book you should read! But it also has so much more to offer. It has an incredible world, quirky and hilarious characters, a feisty MC in Morrigan Crow and a villain who I feel falls more on the morally grey scale (albeit the darker side) than on the pure evil scale? (maybe that’s just me though) TL;DR: Read it! You won’t regret it!
Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)?
I’m so torn! It’s so hard for me to choose because as I’m going to be repeating over and over again, I’ve read so many great books so far in 2020! But… If I had to choose I’d pick Jessica Townsend because her Nevermoor series is seriously going to be one of my all time favourites. Funny that, last year I picked Jane Harper, who is also an Aussie author like Jessica! The Aussie’s are hitting it big 😍
newest fictional crush?
Ugh why do I torture myself? Hmm… I can’t decide so I’m going to cheat and give you three of my new fictional crushes. I’m choosing Ryder from Only When It’s Us, Reid from Love Lettering, and Zach from Let’s Get Textual. If you’ve read any or all of these, I guess you might figure I have a type 🤣 All three had me swooning throughout these reads and I loved every minute of it!
newest favourite character?
I going with Maia Tamarin from Spin the Dawn for this one. I love her spirit and her fierce determination to see that her family suffers no more loss than they already have. She puts family first and works countless hours to achieve her goals and honestly, she’s such an admirable character. I’d often forget her age because she has a maturity to her that made her relatable to me.
I kind of want to cheat a little and given an honorary shout to Zahru from The Kinder Poison because she’s feisty, full of snark and although her naïveté sometimes drove me a little crazy, she was a fierce character (who can also talk to animals!) that brought me so much joy!
Book that made you cry?
The question should be: what book didn’t make me cry?! Hah. Kidding… Sort of!
No, but in all honesty the book that really hit me hard in the feels and made those angry/sad silent tears stream down my face was The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones. So relevant with everything that’s happening in America right now and I think a good introduction to difficult topics for younger readers written by an own voices author. Don’t let this one pass you by, friends! If you’re curious to know more, check out my review.
Book that made you happy?
Okay but all of the books I enjoyed made me happy in some kind of way? I’m a ‘laugher’ so it really doesn’t take much to make me laugh. I’ve laughed through a lot of the books that I’ve read this year but the most recent one was Walk of Shame. Although it wasn’t my favourite romcom I had a really good time laughing at and with our characters.
favourite book to movie/tv adaptation that you saw this year?
Okay this is kind of weird to admit but… I don’t think I’ve watched any book/movie/show adaptation this year? I actually can’t remember the last time I watched a movie/show I read the book of and it has also been a while since I’ve actually sat and watched something thanks to books and ACNH. But if there’s one show that I think will be a favourite (if I do get to watch it!) and it’s Normal People. The book has weirdly and unexpectedly become a favourite and I really like the look of the show!
favourite review you’ve written this year?
Hmm… This is tough but I think I’m going with my review for The Silence of Bones because I loved this book. It makes me sad that it’s one of the more underrated releases of 2020 because it honestly deserves so much more love and attention. You can tell how much work Hur put into that book with all the details about this dynastic period and it was fantastic! Check out my review for more about it but I really recommend it 😉
most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?
I actually have a few new gorgeous books on my shelves but I’m going with The Mountains Sing. I got my copy personalised and signed by the author as she was living in Jakarta at the time of the release, and that’s always a treat! This story felt like non-fiction and I felt as if I was hearing it being told to me first hand. Immersive and powerful! Check out my reviewto learn more about it.
what books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Omg if I actually listed what books I “need” to read by the end of the year we might be here forever. So I’m just going to mention a few (cough*twenty*cough) that I’m very excited to get my grabby hands on and that I’m really hoping will get read by year end!
I had a lot more fun doing this post than I thought I would. Granted I didn’t give myself too much time to dwell on my answers and I think that made it easier for me to do! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2020 goes… Have you done a mid-year freak out tag? How are you doing with your reading? At the end of the day what matters most is that you’re enjoying yourself!
Bookbinder Quinn finds herself in trouble when her ex’s fiance turns up dead and if she’s not careful, her days might be numbered in this debut perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Eva Gates.
Quinn Victoria Caine is back in her quirky town of Vienna, Virginia, starting her new life as a bookbinder in her family-owned, charm-for-days bookshop, Prose & Scones. With her trusty German Shephard RBG-‘Ruff Barker’ Ginsburg by her side, what can go wrong? Okay, sure, bumping into her ex, Scott, or her former high school nemesis, Tricia, is a drag. It certainly doesn’t help they have acquired the new hobby of shoving their recent engagement in her face every chance they get. But that doesn’t mean Quinn wanted to find Tricia dead in the road. So why does half the town think she may have done it?
Quinn is determined to find Tricia’s killer, even if it means partnering with her cousin-turned-nun, Sister Daria, and Detective Aiden Harrington, her older brother’s too-movie-star-handsome-for-his-own good, best friend. They believe she’s innocent, but of course that doesn’t influence the police, who peg her as their prime suspect. Or, at least until she’s poisoned.
But there is no way Quinn is going to stop now. Vienna is her town and-for better or worse-Tricia was one of their own. Someone may have killed the mocking girl, but no one’s going to stop the notorious QVC.
This is my first cozy mystery and I’m wondering why I’ve never read one of these before because what didn’t I like about it?! Right now I’m coming up blank because I enjoyed every single moment of this fast-paced murder mystery set in the small close-knit community of Vienna, Virginia. I can’t believe this is Kincaid’s first cosy mystery because she had me reeled in from the first page! Is it too early to be chanting for more when this book hasn’t even been published yet?
Goodreads: Eat, and Love Yourself Publish date: 21 April 2020 Publisher: BOOM!Studios Genre: Graphic Novel Panda Rating:
A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.
In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…
Trigger warnings: Eating disorders, body dysmorphia, body shaming, binge-eating, purging
I got extremely excited when I saw this cover and read the synopsis. The comic covers an extremely important topic that is such a personal issue for so many people who have struggled with their weight, and loving and accepting themselves. So I’m pretty sad to say that the story gave me pretty mixed feelings and that ending was especially disappointing because it was so abrupt. I checked to see if this was a series but I couldn’t find any information on it. I’m kind of hoping that Mindy’s journey will continue but I have a feeling it won’t?
Goodreads: The Sunday Potluck Club Publish date: 31 March 2020 Publisher: Kensington Books Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance Panda Rating:
(actual 2.75 stars)
New friends can be found in unexpected places. For Bridget and Amy, that place was the cancer ward of an Anchorage hospital. Now, as each struggles to overcome loss, they lean on each other for support—sharing suppers, laughter and tears.
Bridget and Amy aren’t about to let hardship knock them down—Bridget plans to return to her veterinarian school studies, Amy to her position as a second-grade teacher—but neither feels quite ready. And so the Sunday Potluck Club is born, a way for Bridget, Amy, and other women who have lost a loved one to find solace and understanding. Savoring favorite dishes while sharing memories and the comfort of connection, the members of the Sunday Potluck Club nourish body and soul.
As weeks go by and the group grows in unforeseen ways, both Bridget and Amy are inspired to find greater purpose. Amy reaches out to a student whose father bravely faces his own struggle. Bridget volunteers at the local animal shelter, rehabilitating dogs whose unconditional love will bring others a chance to heal. And with the help of a very special man, Amy is realizing that there’s always room at the table for love and rekindled joy…
This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The cover caught my eye, and I liked the idea of a group of friends who meet under unusual life circumstances celebrating their friendship through Sunday potluck get togethers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the story that was delivered. I think there were maybe two potluck gatherings in the whole book, and the friends didn’t spend any time talking. There was none of that ‘savoring favorite dishes while sharing memories and the comfort of connection’, and also none of that ‘nourishing body and soul’!
Ryder Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life. She’s the next generation of women’s soccer. Wild hair, wilder eyes. Bee-stung lips that should be illegal. And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly. She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word.
Willa Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal. Mangy beard and mangier hair. Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes. And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence. I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.
Holy slow burn and sexual tension, batman! *phew* I’m a big fan of slow burn romances especially when they’re done right and this one does not disappoint! I loved that this gave me so much more depth than I expected from a romcom! There was so much to both characters and oh mans, Ryder the lumbersexual is absolute PER-FEC-TION! I know I’m gushing but he made my heart all melty and my feelings all gooey and yep, I’m crushing hard on him and if you read this book, you’ll definitely get why!
Liese brings rep to her romance with Ryder, a character who lost his hearing after contracting bacterial meningitis as a college freshman. I’ve already mentioned how much I loved his character but really, his arc was so well done. He’s a bear of a man but with the softest and sweetest heart just looking to find his way back to “normal” after losing his hearing. I can’t even imagine how devastating it would be to lose your hearing because of an illness. In a way his hearing loss does define a big part of his life, but it’s not just who he is and the author did a wonderful job of showing his many sides. And as if I wasn’t already fully in love with him 30% through the book, the author had to have him reading JANE AUSTEN and that’s me 100% gone!
I was on the fence about how I felt for Willa. She’s physically strong as an athlete, she’s incredibly hardworking, and her love for her mother was so heartwarming. But Willa does literally everything to avoid opening up and being honest about her life with people she’s afraid to get close to. Her fear of confronting serious issues, while understandable, also became a bit too much for me at a certain point. I want to say that Ryder deserved better and for a good chunk of the story I did think that. In reality though they were perfect for each other because his patience, understanding and ability to be vulnerable with her was exactly what she needed to balance out and do the same. And as much as he balanced her, Willa’s acceptance of him as he is with no hesitation, disability or no, was exactly what he needed to feel normal. There were some pretty emotionally raw scenes that had me tearing up! Also, if it isn’t obvious by now, the chemistry between these two was absolute FIRE! It’s a (really) slow burn, but the way the connection builds between Ryder and Willa is SO good and it’s SO worth the wait! I’d put this at a 4/5 on the steamy scale.
One of the best things in this book was the family relationships. I loved the Bergman family and how they ribbed each other but how they were so openly affectionate and caring with each other. They’re a beautiful family and I can’t wait to follow the stories of the other Bergman brothers as the series continues!
Overall, this was a surprisingly deep romcom that had me laughing, squealing, swooning and cheering for both characters as they fought for a wonderful heart-stopping love. Also, I really liked that this came with a playlist for the book and songs per chapter. I enjoyed listening to some of them while reading! I can’t wait to continue with this series and I’m looking forward to checking out the other books the author has written. I’d highly recommend it!
Thanks to NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.The book is out 01 April 2020! Have you read Only When It’s Us or is it on your TBR?
Goodreads: What the Other Three Don’t Know Publish date: 03 March 2020 Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, LGBTQ+ Panda Rating:
Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am? Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.
If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.
A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.
One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.
Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.
I requested this book because of the strong Breakfast Club vibes that I got from the synopsis but I was a little underwhelmed by the story. I really appreciated the author’s note at the start but I found it difficult to connect with the characters and I wasn’t all too sure about how I felt about the writing style.
Goodreads: How to Build A Heart Publish date: 28 January 2020 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Panda Rating:
All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.
How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.
There were elements to this that I really enjoyed and really didn’t enjoy. The start hooked me in quickly but around the 30% mark I started to struggle with our main character Izzy, and I found myself only wanting to read the story in small doses. I’m glad I pushed through though because I ended up really liking the new characters that were introduced further on, and most importantly how Izzy’s story ended. I obviously knew that this book wouldn’t have an unhappy ending but it was, for the most part, a very satisfying end to a story full of teenage angst and struggles. Padian delivered a sincere story about family, friendships, finding yourself and understanding where your heart belongs. Some content warnings include: (cyber) bullying, depression, racism, and physical abuse.
Surprisingly, what I enjoyed the least was the portrayal of one of the main friendships. Also, the character that I started out liking the most, ended up being the character I felt most frustrated towards for the majority of the story, and unfortunately that was our MC, Izzy. To me it was clear as day from early on how Izzy’s actions would spiral and end up exploding into exactly what happened in the story, and it filled me with such angst. I couldn’t help wanting to shake sense into Izzy and to tell her to stop lying and digging an even bigger hole for herself. I didn’t like Roz at the start and thought she wasn’t a great influence but I also felt that her character deserved better considering that she also didn’t have it easy (something that even Izzy attested to). While I’m not saying what Roz did in the story was okay, I really didn’t like how Izzy ended up treating their friendship; especially as she claimed Roz was the only one who knew the truth about her and was the only person that understood the “real” her. Although their friendship was more or less mended at the end, I personally didn’t think it was a very satisfying resolution and I felt that Roz deserved better than Izzy’s lack of apology and brushing over for her own selfish reasons.
That said, I thought the cultural representation was very well done. That’s the aspect I related to the most in the story and it’s the reason why I requested it in the first place. I appreciated the author’s note at the start about how she came to write this story and how much of her own experiences went into forming Izzy’s character and relationship with her mixed heritage. Although I’m not of mixed heritage, growing up outside of my own country made it difficult for me to connect and relate to a lot my Indonesian heritage and extended family. Izzy’s limited understanding of her Puerto Rican heritage and the language was a struggle that hit close to home. The most satisfying part of ‘How to Build A Heart’ was the growth that Izzy experienced in regards to her identity and when she finally stood proud of who she is.
I also have to mention that there were some really great side characters like Mark and Betts who I adored, not to mention the warmth of the Shackleton family, and the rallying support behind the Habitat for Humanity house building. There were only a few Habitat scenes and they were mostly at the end but they filled me up with such warmth and happiness. I used to volunteer for Habitat in high school and it’s such a truly rewarding experience!
The more I let this story sink in the more satisfied I am with how it went. There was a lot more depth in many aspects of the story than I expected and it was such a pleasant surprise. Yes, Izzy made some very questionable decisions throughout but then again I have to remind myself that she’s a teenager. and I’m certainly no stranger to making similarly bad decisions when I was her age (and even when older–oops)! It’s all a part of growing up and her character certainly did that at the end. I think many young adults who read this will be able to relate to and enjoy it!
Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.This book is now available! Have you read How to Build A Heart? Is it on your TBR?
She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.
In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.
Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.
In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?
Bitter Falls is just as intense and action packed as the first three books in the Stillhouse Lake series. Once again we’re swept up in a high-stakes thrilling drama as Gwen and her family face harassment from a town that shuns them, harrowing messages from trolls that want to see them grievously harmed, and getting caught in the cross-fires of the latest case that Gwen has been assigned in her new job. I’ve been a big fan of this series ever since I read the first book and I’ve truly come to appreciate all the main characters (Gwen, Sam, Lanny and Connor), as well as the recurring side characters in the series (Javi, Kezia, Agent Lustig etc.)