ARC Review: Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Starry-Eyed Love (Spark House #2)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: 10 May 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Charming, hilarious, and emotional, Starry-Eyed Love is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Having just broken up with her boyfriend, London Spark is not in the mood to be hit on. Especially not when she’s out celebrating her single status with her sisters. So when a very attractive man pays for their drinks and then slips her his number, she passes it right back to him with a ‘thanks, but no thanks’. As the business administrator for their family’s event hotel, the Spark House, London has more important things to worry about, like bringing in new clientele.

As luck would have it, a multi-million-dollar company calls a few months later asking for a meeting to discuss a potential partnership, and London is eager to prove to her sisters, and herself, that she can land this deal. Just when she thinks she has nailed her presentation, the company’s CEO, Jackson Holt, walks in and inserts himself into the meeting. Not only that, but he also happens to be the same guy she turned down at the bar a few months ago.

As they begin to spend more time together, their working relationship blossoms into something more. It isn’t until their professional entanglements are finally over, that London and Jackson are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship. But between Jackson’s secretive past and London’s struggle with her sisters, London must question where she really stands – not just with Jackson, but with the Spark House, too.

TL;DR: I genuinely enjoyed this so much more than the first book! Although it was slow at the start and there were communication issues that I wished had been handled better, London and Jackson had great chemistry and I liked how their romance played out. They had sweet moments with just the right amount of cheese to make it cute and I really liked how they supported each other. I also loved the sibling dynamic between the Spark sisters and although I’m not sure if Hunting’s books are 100% for me, I’m looking forward to Harley’s story because she’s my favourite sister so far!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting”

Birthstone Book Covers: May Edition 💚

Hello friends, I’m back today with another month’s edition for The Birthstone Book Covers series created by one of my favourites, Leslie @Books Are the New Black. This is a series she created at the start of 2022 and was born out of her curiosity about birthstone colours and it’s a fun way to show different book covers/titles corresponding to that month’s birthstone.

Check out my Birthstone Book Cover: April Edition!

So far, I’ve only managed to participate in this monthly meme once but I’ve been excited to share my post this month because it’s my birthday month (and Leslie’s too!) and I do love the shades of my birthstone: Emerald! I’ve tried my best to pick covers from my read and unread shelves that fit the different shades of green and found it surprisingly difficult. I really thought I had more green covers but I was kinda wrong! 😂 But without further ado… Let’s get to it!

Continue reading “Birthstone Book Covers: May Edition 💚”

First Lines Friday – 13 May 2022

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“The myths of my people say only a true bride of the Sea God can bring an end to his insatiable wrath. When the otherworldly storms rise from the East Sea, lightning breaking the sky and waters ripping up the shore, a bride is chosen and given to the Sea God.
Or sacrificed, depending on the measure of your faith.”

Do you recognise the book these first lines come from?

Continue reading “First Lines Friday – 13 May 2022”

Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Goodreads: A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 13 July 2021
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend.

Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a 
lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter? 

I asked Jess @ Jessticulates to buddy read this with me so I would actually pick this book up. I’m so glad that I finally read my first Becky Chambers book because the hype is real, friends!

TL;DR: It took no more than one chapter for me to realise just how much I would enjoy this book. The characters rapidly grew on me and the story was a soothing read that asked questions that really hit a mark with me. I followed along with parts of the book with the audio, which I would also recommend, and I have a feeling I’ll return to this book often when I’m craving a comforting read.

Continue reading “Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers”

#WWWWednesday: 11 May 2022

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?

Post divider: What did you just finish reading?

Since last week I’ve managed to finish eight books. I’m back on that romance kick and I’m loving it! My fave was Everything for You by Chloe Liese though—a sweet, emotional, heartwarming MM romance ft. some soccer. 💜

(ARC) Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley ★★★★½
This had a bit of a slow start but once I got into it I flew through in one sitting! The banter was fantastic and the chemistry was f-i-r-e! Jada and Donovan were well-developed characters and had such a fun/playful connection. The cupcakes also had me salivating! 🧁

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1) by Becky Chambers ★★★★★
I did it—I finally read my first Becky Chambers book and wow, I loved it so much?! Dex and Mosscap so quickly won my heart. Their friendship was incredibly heartwarming and sweet and they had me laughing and even tearing up by the end. Fantastic. I want more!

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 11 May 2022”

#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!

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: All the Bookish Characters”

ARC Review: Everything with You by Chloe Liese

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

Goodreads: Everything for You (Bergman Brothers #5)
Publication date: 10 May 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)


Gear up for an all-the-feels, steamy slow-burn in this enemies-to-lovers sports romance about fighting for love when life’s taught you it’s a losing game.

Gavin
We’ve been teammates for two years, but it feels like a lifetime that Oliver Bergman’s been on my last nerve. A demanding captain and veteran player, I’m feared and friendless, while he’s the beloved rising star, all sunshine smiles and upbeat team spirit. To make matters worse, he’s obscenely attractive. In short: he’s genetically designed to get under my skin. Avoiding Oliver has been my survival tactic on and off the field. But when Coach drops the bomb that we’re now co-captains, avoiding him becomes impossible, and keeping the truth from him–let alone my distance–is harder than ever.

Oliver
Life was great until soccer legend Gavin Hayes joined the team and proved he’s nothing like the guy I grew up idolizing. Instead, he’s a giant–albeit gorgeous–grump who lives to rain on my parade. I’ve sworn off pranks since entering the public eye, so rather than settle our differences the Bergman way, I’ve had to settle for killing Gavin with kindness. There’s just one problem: killing him with kindness is killing me. To make matters worse, Coach gives us an ultimatum: put an end to our enmity or say goodbye to being captains. I’m prepared to be miserable while we meet her demands and make nice, but the last thing I expect is to discover an explosive attraction we can’t help but act on, and worse yet, to realize the man hiding beneath Gavin’s gruff exterior is all I’ve ever wanted.

‘EVERYTHING FOR YOU’ IS OUT TOMORROW SO…

Continue reading “ARC Review: Everything with You by Chloe Liese”

Red (Taylor’s Version) Book Tag!

Hi, friends, I’m back with another fun book tag today! Although I wouldn’t consider myself a diehard Swiftie, I’m still a big fan and according to Spotify, she’s my most listened to artist for the last three years and I find that totally unsurprising because of how completely obsessed I am with her lover, folklore and evermore albums. Prior to 1989, I’d never actually listened to any of her earlier albums in full but I enjoyed Red TV so much more than I expected, so I’m so excited to do this Red (Taylor’s Version) Book Tag!

I first saw this tag on Cielo @ Bellerose Reads‘ blog back in February but forgot about it until earlier this week, and then I saw Andge @ Down the Rabbit Hole post it and took that as a sign that I should finally do this too—so here we are! 😉

This particular Red TV tag was created by booktuber A Paige in the Chapter.

State of grace:
best opening book in a series

jade city by fonda lee


RED:
A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL A WHOLE SPECTRUM OF EMOTION

goddess of nothing at all by cat rector

my review


TREACHEROUS:
A SLOW BOOK YOU ENDED UP LOVING

gods of jade and shadow by silvia moreno-garcia

my review


I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE:
A BOOK YOU KNEW WOULD BE BAD AND ENDED UP BEING BAD

den of vipers by k.a. knight

i knew it was gonna be bad but wow, it was *really* bad like, wash my brain kinda bad (sorry if you loved it…).


ALL TOO WELL:
THE BOOK THAT HAS STAYED WITH YOU MOST

pride and prejudice by jane austen

this one was a bit tough to answer but i come back to this book time and again ever since i first read it so…



I ALMOST DO:
THE ONE YOU KEEP ALMOST READING AND DON’T

the invisible life of addie la rue by v.e. schwab


WE ARE NEVER ever GETTING BACK TOGETHER:
A BOOK YOU want to reread

mistborn series by brandon sanderson


stay stay stay:
a book everyone dislikes but you love

verity by colleen hoover

okay, I’m not saying everyone dislikes it but i know a lot of people dislike it but i loved it!

my review


the last time:
what was the last book you read?

a psalm for the wild-built by becky chambers

my first becky chambers book and a 5-star read! so good, cosy, and comforting!


holy ground:
A fan favourite book

the cruel prince by holly black


sad beautiful tragic:
A BOOK WITH ANY OF THESE WORDS IN THE TITLE

the chosen and beautiful by nghi vo


THE LUCKY ONE:
A BOOK ABOUT FAME

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo by taylor jenkins reid

it’s not really *about* fame but sure it counts!

my review


EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED:
A BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED HOW YOU SEE SOMETHING

the mountains sing by nguyen phan que mai

my review


STARLIGHT:
A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL WARM AND COSY AND MAGICAL

heartstopper series by alice oseman


BEGIN AGAIN:
A BOOK YOU’D READ ON A WEDNESDAY IN A CAFE

legends and lattes by travis baldree

my review


THE MOMENT I KNEW:
A BOOK THAT LOOKS HAPPIER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS

instructions for dancing by nicola yoon

*sobbing*

my review


COME BACK, BE HERE:
A BOOK SERIES YOU WANT TO MAKE A RESURGENCE/BOOK SERIES YOU WANT TO BE FINISHED

the kingkiller chronicle by patrick rothfuss

just waiting here forever…


GIRL AT HOME:
A BOOK THAT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE BETRAYING YOUR FAVE BOOK/AUTHOR/CHARACTER

conversations with friends by sally rooney

i mean, rooney isn’t my favourite author ever but i did love normal people so conversations with friends was an absolute betrayal cos i hated it!


BETTER MAN:
A BOOK WITH A DARK/MORALLY GREY LOVE INTEREST

sands of arawiya duology by hafsah faizal

seriously, why don’t people talk more about how amazing nasir is and how swoony this dark assassin prince is?


BABE:
A BOOK WHERE A CHARACTER GETS CHEATED ON

hometown troublemaker by brighton walsh

note: the character doesn’t get cheated on in the story but her experience is recounted. i hate cheating and i don’t read books with it

I won’t be tagging anyone on this tag but if you’re keen on doing it, I’d love to see your answers! Have you read any of these books or could you think of fitting books for some of these prompts? Also, which is your fave Red TV track?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Buying vs Borrowing Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join in the bookish discussion fun, check out the May 2022 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

How do you decide what books to borrow or buy?

(SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ JILLIAN THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY)
Prompts: Do you buy a lot of books? Do you borrow books from a library, or from friends? What do you look out for in books you buy? Are there any book genres you typically buy more of? Do the types of books that you buy differ from the types of books you typically borrow? Do you prefer to borrow or to buy books?

DO *i* buy a lot of books?

Well… *side-eyes the small stack of books I just bought earlier today* Sometimes, I guess? Hah, who am I kidding! Yes, I buy pretty much 95% of my books. The other 5% are ARCs or books I borrow from Kindle Unlimited, which is the only platform I use to borrow books from. I don’t have access to a library where I’m from (Indonesia) and so if I want to read anything, whether it’s old or new, I have to buy it myself.

KINDLE UNLIMITED OR NOTHING

The only borrowing of books that I do these days is through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Most of the books I read on KU are romance and since it’s a genre that I’ve been reading more of over the last two years, it’s been a really great resource for me since I tend to read pretty quickly. If I had to buy all of the books that I read through KU I very likely wouldn’t read half the number of books that I do and I would also be a very very poor panda! 🥲

BUYING VS BORROWING GENRES

I never actually thought about the differences in genres of the books I buy vs the books I borrow. As I mentioned, most of the books I read on KU are romances, so that’s obviously the main genre of the books I borrow. That doesn’t mean I don’t borrow other kinds of books—I’ve found a few indie fantasies and some graphic novels on KU but they’re not as common finds for me. This also doesn’t mean I don’t buy any romances because I still very much do and there have been times when I’ve loved a book I read on KU so much that I went and bought myself a copy! I think for the genre of eBook I buy the most, it’s still gonna be romance because it’s just harder to find physical copies locally and most of the time I don’t have the patience to wait for international shipping (especially not with the panini).

Now that I’ve thought about the genres, I’ve noticed that most of the books that I buy physical copies of are contemporary fiction or fantasy (usually YA). I try to buy at my local store as much as possible and these are the genres that are most commonly found in store. When I buy special editions they also tend to be fantasy (either YA/Adult) but I think that’s mostly because they’re the ones that are offered through the sub boxes that I know of.

MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE

As it is, I don’t really have much of a choice whether I borrow or buy a book! I think if I had access to a library I would definitely prefer borrowing books over buying them because I do spend a significant amount of money on books—and I realise this is very much a privilege because I don’t have any other adulting responsibilities aside from a few monthly bills! Again, it’s a choice to buy books because it’s not like I don’t have any reading material or an empty existing TBR… 🙃 But I think being able to borrow books would also help me be more discerning with the ones that I add to my shelves because then the books I choose to buy would be the ones I know I love, would probably re-read and I want to keep forever.

So, what about you friends? Do you mostly borrow or buy your books? Do you notice a difference in the books you buy vs borrow? Do you prefer to buy or borrow?

Did I Pass My Classes? The Magical Readathon: Orilium Spring Equinox 2022 Wrap Up!

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all doing okay as we move into May. Last month, I participated in The Magical Readathon: Orilium Spring Equinox 2022 and today I’d like to share a wrap up of the books I read for the readathon. Did I pass my classes? Did I manage to complete any additional quests to help my guild gain points? Read on to find out!

My The Magical Readathon: Orilium Spring Equinox 2022 Introduction Post

Again, I’d like to give a shout out to the creator of this amazing readathon: G @ Book Roast who did an incredible job preparing everything for us. I’m still in awe of all the effort that she’s put into this and I find it very inspiring!

Character BACKGROUND:

  • Name: Meeska
  • Guild: House of the Arcane
  • Calling: Illusionist Rogue
  • Background: Urban
  • Province: Kerador
  • Heritage: Earthling (Fire)
  • Conduit: Staff
  • Legacy: Pocket Dimension

Orilium Spring Equinox Class Prompts

Luckily for me, as an Illusionist Rogue, I only had to attend three classes: Shapeshifting, Art of Illusion, and Psionics & Divination. This means that I only had to read three books and although it was a close call because I kept putting off my reads until the very end of the month (meep, truly accurate to how I was as a student IRL!), I managed to successfully pass the term! WOO!!! 🥳 I also managed to complete a few quests from the noticeboard. On that note, here’s what I read for the readathon:

SHAPESHIFTING: CREATURE WITH CLAWS ON THE COVER

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Genre
: Adult SFF
Rating: ★★★★½

I’d heard so much about this one and I was scared that it’d go over my head but it didn’t and I totally get the hype. This had me captivated from the very beginning. Vo’s writing was lyrical and flowed off the page. The setting was also magical and the story was fantastic!


ART OF ILLUSION: BOOK WITH A TROPE YOU LIKE

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★☆

This had the rivals to lovers trope and I really enjoyed it. The first-love romance was sweet and I ended up really liking Bel and Teo and rooting for their romance! I buddy read this with Leslie & Julie and we also had great discussions about what we loved and disliked. It was an empowering story!


PSIONICS & DIVINATION: BOOK SET IN THE FUTURE

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
Genre: Adult SFF
Rating: ★★★½

This was my first book by de Bodard and I’m afraid this book was a little too smart for me? 😂 I liked the Sherlockian inspired characters and mystery but the world-building was disorienting and I didn’t fully connect with the characters. I enjoyed the writing though!

additional quests:

I managed to complete more quests than I thought I would! These were all unlimited quests as the time difference meant that I always missed out on the limited quests when they were posted but that’s okay. Each quest was worth 10 guild reputation points so I was rewarded 60 points total!

Letter D in the title

New-to-me author

Steal a book from someone else’s TBR

5-star prediction

Borrowed from the library

Book with multiple POVs

From Initiate to Assistant

I started the Spring Equinox as an Initiate and by the end, I earned 50pts for successfully passing the term and another 60pts for each quest that I completed. With 110 guild reputation points tucked away, I’ve managed to move up on the guild tier to become an Assistant, which means my character’s face is recognisable within the guild. Exciting times! 😃


That it’s from me, folks! Did you join The Magical Readathon too? How were your spring classes and did you pass them all? Did you manage to do any additional quests? I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for next term! 😍