Review: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Goodreads: Sourdough
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism
Panda Rating:

(Review posted from 2018)

Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighbourhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her – feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.


When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

If Vietnamese pho’s healing powers, physical and psychic, make traditional chicken noodle soup seem like dishwater—and they do—then this spicy soup, in turn, dishwatered pho. It was an elixir. The sandwich was spicier still, thin-sliced vegetables slathered with a fluorescent red sauce, the burn buffered by thick slabs of bread artfully toasted.

I really enjoyed this book! Sourdough is full of quirky and endearing characters and situations that make you laugh and fill your mind with wonder. It also made me insanely hungry (2020 edit: reading that quote above already has me salivating!) and brought to life a craving for sourdough – although I’m sure the loaf that I dug into is nothing like the legendary Mazg one (unfortunately). What I liked about this book is that you can take it as lightly as you want to, but if you want to give it a bit more thought, there’s also some meat for you to chew on. It doesn’t go into very fine details, which I didn’t mind because in a book like this, you can easily over-describe situations, events and processes until you bore your reader to death. Robin Sloan definitely doesn’t do that!

I have come to believe that food is history of the deepest kind. Everything we eat tells a tale of ingenuity and creation, domination and injustice—and does so more vividly than any other artifact, any other medium.

Lois, the main character, is so full of life and energy. I could really relate to her thoughts in terms of wondering at being a part of something more; something significant and important. I think that’s what we all go through in our 20s, 30s (and well, some even longer), especially as we finish university and start looking for a job and try to find more meaning in our lives. To find that purpose and to chase after what makes us tick – what gives us life. Lois is so passionate and just dives into situations that come at her – which is the complete opposite of me and probably why I find people who can do that so admirable. That energy of hers was palpable and as I read the book, I happily soaked up her enthusiasm for everything that she was doing. It made me think about what I’m currently doing and whether I am just living in my own version of “General Dexterity”? It’s a big Maybe.

Here’s a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.

Of course, there’s also some magical realism sprinkled throughout the book, especially as you come towards the end when you’re kind of doused in it all at once. As someone who is very picky when it comes to magical realism, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it but I absolutely loved it! It’s another element of Robin Sloan’s writing that I loved because it’s not entirely out of place or unbelievable in stories where the characters and events are so full of quirkyness.

I read someone’s comment about his books that summarised them in a really simple but accurate way – just as Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was about a secret society for book lovers, Sourdough is about a secret society for food lovers. And who doesn’t love food (and books and secret societies)?! After reading this, it’s pretty safe to say that I thoroughly enjoy the way Robin Sloan writes and he has got a fan in me! Can’t wait to read more from him 🙂

Have you read Sourdough or is it on your TBR?

Review: Donut Disturb (Donut Disturb #1) by Melissa Williams

Goodreads: Donut Disturb (Donut Disturb #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

A STANDALONE romantic comedy from author Melissa Williams. A hot cop and a donut baker, what could go wrong?

It was a donut emergency. A dough or die moment. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. It would explain why, from the moment Baxter DeCavhalo comes crashing into my kitchen, I’ve been acting out of character.

Why I’m sharing secret donut recipes, licking frosting off fingers that aren’t mine, and falling for the off-limits neighbor. I know better, I need to be focusing on my bakery and my next donut creation…but there’s just something about Bax that keeps me coming back for more. It’s not the heat of the kitchen that’s getting to me, it’s Bax. And this slow burn is about to combust.

I was looking for a light and fluffy romantic comedy when I came across this book and it sounded just like what I was looking for. It didn’t hurt that it also has such a colourful and eye-catching cover! I was sold. Unfortunately, this book was not it and it didn’t work out for me.

The plot and character arcs felt very underdeveloped because everything seemed to happen off-page. There were many allusions to “something not being right” with the friendships and sibling relationships, and that’s even before we get into the police drama that stems from Bax’s work as a police detective. It felt like there was a lot happening in the story but at the same time, not much either, if that makes sense. There were no discussions to try to solve those “not right” feelings with her brother and her best friend, although something was clearly up. It all came across as very vague.

I also didn’t connect with our heroine or hero. Cassidy seems to have a history of being hurt and so has built up her walls; however, we never really learn about what made the walls go up in the first place. Again, hints of her history are dropped but we don’t get any details. Of course these walls end up being a barrier to whatever is going on with Bax, but after some not-very-nice hints from her best friend about her inability to trust anyone, Cassidy simply decides that she’s going to let Bax in… And she does it. Despite a rough meet-cute for our characters, Bax became very quickly “all-in” with Cassidy. He decides at one point during their second interaction that he wants all or nothing, and he’s going to make Cassidy realise that he’s serious about them. I didn’t get it. Yeah, she’s quirky and makes delicious donuts but… That’s it? Don’t tell me he’s all in, show me why! I felt very little chemistry between them and that made their steamy scenes also fall flat for me.

Overall, a fairly disappointing read. It just never clicked for me and that’s disappointing because I was expecting more… Even the part about the bakery, which I thought would leave me with endless donut cravings, didn’t even really do that… I’m glad that I did give this a try though–I don’t think I could’ve resisted such a cute cover for very long, but I’m also glad it was on Kindle Unlimited!

Have you read Donut Disturb or is it on your TBR?

Review: The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs #2) by Kate Stewart

Goodreads: The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs #2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Panda Rating:

It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student. I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.

I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.
Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.

The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.

It’s time to set the record straight.
For my son, I‘ll find the strength.
In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.
I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.

YOU GUYS!!! I didn’t think I could love a character in The Underdogs series more than Theo… BUT I WAS WRONG!!! And who would’ve thought it’d be TROY to win me over?! Ugh, mY HEART, Kate Stewart!

Continue reading “Review: The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs #2) by Kate Stewart”

Review: The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs #1) by Kate Stewart

Goodreads: The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Panda Rating:

Strike One – My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.
Not cool, Mom.
I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work. Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.


There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.
Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.
That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams. Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.
I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.
I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.

Brace yourselves for another gushing review friends because I LOVED EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE of this book! The itch to read this has steadily built since last week, so I finally caved and of course I have zero regrets. There were a few moments towards the end that frustrated me and made me angry because wow, talk about being very intense and out of character, but I can’t honestly say that it affected my overall enjoyment of this book. I literally devoured this in the span of a few hours and it was by far the best way to spend a Sunday cozied up under the covers while the rain poured steadily outside!

Continue reading “Review: The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs #1) by Kate Stewart”

#TopTenTuesday: The Dreaded Book Hangovers!

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: the last ten books that gave me a book hangover!

This is a toughie because I really can’t remember the last time I had a book hangover? I don’t think I have them that often and most of the time it’s because I try to push through those feelings (and I guess I’m pretty good at it)! 😂 When I think about books that have given me hangovers, they’re usually the ones that leave me so emotionally devastated and thinking “what in the actual f did I just read?!” They’re the ones I can’t get out of my head when I want to try reading something new; the ones whose stories and characters play on an endless loop because I want more of exactly that kind of emotional devastation (such a masochist but it’s true). Some books I’ve read lately have high book hangover potential, namely Love Lettering, but I refuse to allow myself to dwell too long on the feels because I have book deadlines! But the characters are definitely lingering in my mind.

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: The Dreaded Book Hangovers!”

#TopTenTuesday: Romancing my TBR!

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: a love freebie!

Is it merely a coincidence that I am in a romance mood when it’s Valentine’s Day this week? Absolutely. I’ve never been big on the ‘holiday’ and not because I’m single–I just feel like it’s an unnecessary way to spend more money (lol ok grinch) but of course I’m happy to receive chocolates from friends and colleagues (I’m not kidding anyone about having a secret or not-so-secret admirer lmao)! 😉 This past weekend I binged a new favourite romcom series and now my heart is ready for more laughs and loving feels. Since this is a love freebie, I’m going to share ten contemporary romances that I’m going to try and read this week (kidding! …maybe).*

*Sorry I’m boring and not sharing cool favourites or recs lists! 🤣

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Romancing my TBR!”

#TopTenTuesday: Brand New Christmassy Books!

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: a freebie! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this freebie, but after some thought I decided that I would try injecting a little bit of holiday cheer to my blog, so I’m looking at the brand new holiday titles on my shelf. I’m not much of a holiday or seasonal reader so I don’t have any Christmassy books, but that is all changed today, friends! Early this morning I read Jana’s ‘A Bookish Little Christmas’ post and couldn’t help getting sucked right into the holiday mood, intense tropical heat notwithstanding! I mean, everything about the post screamed CHRISTMAS BOOK BUYING TIME…and what do you think I did? 😅 If you guessed that I went and bought all the Christmassy books then you’re spot on! Okay, I’m kidding (only a little bit). I did buy some but there are quite a few options available on Kindle Unlimited, in case you’re looking for a holiday read! I’m going to go ahead and say that pretty much 100% of these were cover buys 😍

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Brand New Christmassy Books!”