Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I spent a good part of the day in bed finishing Words in Deep Blue and I was a silently blubbering hot mess by the time I reached the end. This one basically screamed at me to FEEL MY FEELS (I definitely did that) and who doesn’t love a book about books? There is a little bit of teenage angst in the romance and although one of the characters begged to be throttled throughout the read, I thought all of them were portrayed realistically and well. What I’m trying and failing to say is: READ THIS. You won’t regret it!

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind. 

What are you currently reading?

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#WWWWednesday: 11 March

Can someone please tell me how it’s only just Wednesday when it absolutely feels like it should already be Friday? Anyone? This week fully needs to be over please lol

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 managed to read five books:

Magic Unleashed (Venators #1) by Devri Walls ★★★★☆
This was a fast-paced and action-packed fantasy full of all the supernatural creatures that your heart could ever desire! No, seriously. There are fae, werewolves, vampires, elves, witches/wizards, goblins, giants, shapeshifters and DRAGONS! I was surprised by how quickly I read this and by how much I enjoyed it! My blog tour review post will be up tonight!

The Deep by Alma Katsu ★★★½
I was expecting to be scared out of my wits reading this but thankfully it wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be. It was also completely different to what I expected! Katsu’s writing is atmospheric and the mystery works its way under your skin. Her characters, however, confused me a bit. Still glad I gave this a read though–it was certainly different to anything I’ve read! My FFBC blog tour review is up tomorrow!

The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs #1) by Kate Stewart ★★★★½
I wrote an extremely gushing post about how much I loved this romcom. Theo and Laney and their love are absolute perfection *chefs kiss*. Their banter was spot on and I loved watching their friendship and romance grow. The pot gummy scenes might be one of my favourites of all time! Check out my review.

The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs #2) by Kate Stewart ★★★★★
I didn’t think I could love a hero more than I did Theo but I WAS WRONG. Who’d have thought it’d be Troy to win me over as well? Definitely shook me! This was a wonderful slow-burn redemption love story and ugh, it had me seriously feeling all the damn feels. It was SO GOOD! Review coming very soon.

Enemies with Benefits (Loveless Brothers #1) by Roxie Noir ★★★½
I’m glad I checked out this series because I love the family relationships and banter, but it wasn’t my favourite romcom (I think I’ve been seriously spoiled by the underdogs)! There’s no denying that the physical chemistry between the two was hella fire, but I wanted more of an emotional/personal connection with the characters. Review coming soon.

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February Reading Challenge Update

Can someone tell me where February went? At times it went insanely slowly (probably due to being sick early on) but then as the weeks passed it went in a blink! What a month… Unfortunately as it was quite busy I didn’t manage to do so well on my challenges? There was a little progress but I’m hoping March will be better!

ARC Apocalypse

I managed to read six ARCs and I’m pretty good with that progress! Yes, most of them were for blog tours but I’m glad I had that as motivation to keep reading them. I thought a few were just okay but I really enjoyed some of these and can’t wait for everyone to read them!

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February Monthly Wrap Up!

February was a month 🤯 My health issues continued to plague me but after seemingly endless rounds of medication, I’m starting to finally feel semi-human again. I’ve just felt constantly drained of energy the whole time but I had to push through especially since I also moved houses and did the majority of the cleaning and packing myself. I really need to start taking on Marie Kondo habits into my life and minimise (next time)! But I digress… Despite all the craziness this month I managed to read 22 books, mostly thanks to the crazy romance reading challenge I set for myself during Valentine’s week.

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#WWWWednesday: 04 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 managed to finish four books and three of them were four blog tours!

Jack Janson and The Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh ★★★☆☆
I don’t normally read MG books but I am always keen to step outside my comfort zone. I read this for a blog tour and it ended up being more enjoyable than I anticipated! I can definitely see the younger audiences it’s aimed at really enjoying the story and connecting with the characters. It’s a good introduction to fantasy! Check out my full review.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Adapted & Illustrated by Fred Fordham ★★★★☆
This was a very quick read that I finished in a matter of a few hours. It’s a good adaptation of the classic and really brought the story to life. While the art style wasn’t my favourite kind, it very much suited the era of the book and gave it a ‘old school/classic comic feel’. Would definitely recommend it for those who would like to read the classic but don’t have much time. RTC

Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland ★★★½
This was my first book by Holland but I’m keen to check out her other books now. Due to the mystery element this was a much slower paced fantasy than I expected but it was still enjoyable. I kept second guessing who could be trusted, but I’m glad I got the villain right at least! I read and reviewed this as part of the FFBC Blog Tour! Check out my full review.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai ★★★★★
This book was absolutely stunning. It was such an intimate telling of Vietnam’s history beyond the Vietnam War and from the unique perspective of a northern Vietnamese family. This story is filled with so much tragedy, suffering and heartbreak, but also so much love and hope. The Tran family’s resilience and ability to overcome hardship was inspiring and brought me to tears. I’m part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be coming up (sort of) soon!

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#TopTenTuesday: Characters I’d Follow on Social Media!

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: characters I’d follow on social media! This fun and creative prompt was submitted by Tilly @thebiblioshelf

Wow, this is such a great prompt–following my favourites on social media is something that I would’ve have even thought of but that doesn’t mean that a few names didn’t immediately pop into my head! I loved a lot of these characters because they had me laughing endlessly with their witty banter and cheeky humour. I think following any of them on social media would be so much fun!

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#WWWWednesday: 12 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 managed to finish five books and that’s mostly thanks to my binge reading the rest of the Texting series by Teagan Hunter over the weekend. I may just have discovered a new favourite romance author!

To Kill A Mocking Girl (Bookbinding Mystery #1) by Harper Kincaid ★★★★★
This was my first ever cosy mystery and it had me strongly questioning WHY I hadn’t picked up these types of books before. It had so many things that I love in a book–supportive close-knit communities, a loveable family dynamics, entertaining MCs, a budding swoon-worthy romance, doggos, and an intriguing mystery! I adored this book and I’m gutted it’s not even out yet (and won’t be until May 2020) because I’m already looking forward to the rest of this series. This was Kincaid’s debut mystery too, although she does write romances so I’m tempted to check them out. My full review will be out closer to the pub date!

Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon ★★★☆☆
While the illustrations blew me away (seriously gorgeous art work!) the storyline of Nils was weak and I often found myself confused with what was happening, especially towards the climax. The story felt disjointed at times, jumping too quickly from one fast-paced scene to another, without proper explanations and that was a bit of a let down. Can’t recommend the illustrations more though! If this illustrator put out a book of just their drawings I’d so be down to read it. Check out my full review.

Texting Series by Teagan Hunter ★★★★☆ (average)
I was looking for a lighthearted romcom and this series ticked all the boxes! It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so much reading a romance and I loved every minute of it. The titles are pun-tastic and the cheese is strong in pretty much all of the books but the geeky humor, swoon worthy heros and super sassy heroines make for some deliciously fun (not to mention steamy) times! Check out my full series review.

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January Reading Challenge Update

Yes, I know I’m late to update. Life has been happening and in typical panda fashion, I also started to slack off a little with recording my reads on my challenge spreadsheet! Oops? Thankfully there’s the Goodreads Reading Challenge which has helped me to recall what books I’ve read over the last month and what challenges they’d fit under! So let’s take a look at how I’ve been doing for the *many* challenges that I decided to participate in this year…

I’ve been using many of the same books I’ve read to fulfil the prompts in different challenges and I think that’s OK although sometimes it feels like “I’m cheating” although I know that’s just the nay-sayers I’ve encountered whose voices are ringing in my ears 😂

ARC Apocalypse

I managed to read four ARCs in January and while that’s not a whole lot (at least compared to others) it’s more than I thought I’d read last month, so I’m happy there’s some progress, no matter how small!

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Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon – #eARC #GraphicNovelReview

Goodreads: Nils: The Tree of Life
Publish date: 11 February 2020
Publisher: Magnetic Press/Diamond Book Distributors
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Panda Rating:

A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them.

From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation. This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power…

Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…

As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise…

Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement. More sinister than that, however, is the fact that they’ve used the Ethernum as a means of near-eternal longevity, having wiped out all competitors to their power and resource long ago. And now, they believe they have unlocked the secrets for using the Ethernum to revive the dead…

And for the goddesses, that is a step too far. They intervene, but in the process find one of themselves surprisingly captured by the Cyan royalty… and then killed. The remaining two goddesses are torn by this affront. One vows to wipe mankind off the planet for good, while the other goes to help Nils save the Life Tree.

High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.

This was an interesting graphic novel that had a fascinating mix of Nordic mythology and fantasy elements that shared a story about a dying earth due to corruption, exploitation of resources, and the troubled Goddesses that are affected by the effects of human greed and technological advancement.

I enjoyed how Nils started but as more elements of the story were introduced I became confused with the direction it was going but also the erratic flow of scenes towards the middle and end. There were many scene jumps that made the climax feel disjointed and since there was a lot of action in these parts, it only left me feeling confused with everything that was going on. I did go back to re-read scenes in case I missed anything but I still didn’t get the clarity I was looking for. I had plenty of questions about the whole world and the characters in it — Nils, the goddesses, the Cyan nation and how it came to be, and Alba’s tribe of women hunters and how they survived. I wish that these elements were better explained so that we could have a better understanding of the story. There was also some romantic notions that were hinted at between one of the goddesses towards Nils which seemed unnecessary and didn’t make me feel more sympathetic towards her fight to save him and human kind. It honestly creeped me out a little bit lol…

That said, the artwork is simply stunning and it’s what made me want to continue reading despite not fully understanding what was going on in the storyline. The color palette was well chosen and really reflected the ‘cold tundra’/Nordic feel alongside dying nature and technologically advanced city vibes that the story presented. The details were wonderful and I loved the distinctive look of all the different characters. There were some illustrations, particularly to do with nature and the spirits, that really gave me Princess Mononoke / Miyazaki vibes and I loved it!

While Nils had an interesting and promising premise it unfortunately didn’t follow through for me. The artwork was beautiful and I’d love to see more graphic novels illustrated by this artist however, I wish that the storyline had been more clear and easy to follow/understand!

Thanks to NetGalley and Magnetic Press/Diamond Books Distributor for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This graphic novel is out 11 February 2020.
Have you read Nils: The Tree of Life or is it on your TBR?

January Monthly Wrap Up!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a monthly wrap up (I didn’t do one for December) but here we are once again! The first month of a new year has come and gone already. If you’ve been following my blog (or Twitter!) this month you’ll know that my year hasn’t started off on a very high note. I’ve been facing a lot of health issues and it has impacted not only my work life but my every day activities such as reading/blogging. I didn’t think I was going to read more than 10 books this month but I finished off on an even 12 books and I’m quite happy with that progress 🙂

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