Blog Tour Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Delacorte Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns #1)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 26 July 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

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Blog Tour Review: It’s All In How You Fall by Sarah Henning

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for It’s All In How You Fall by Sarah Henning and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Poppy for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: It’s All In How You Fall
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: 31 May 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

A contemporary young adult romance about moving on, finding your place, and recovering after life falls apart.

Gymnast Caroline Kepler has three state balance beam titles, a new trick even most elites can’t do, and chronic, undeniable back pain. While she might never be an Olympian, she has dreams of leveling up to elite, making Nationals, and competing in college. But when one epic face-plant changes all that and Caroline’s back pain goes from chronic to career-ending, her dreams are shattered and her life is flipped upside down.

Enter Alex Zavala, a three-sport athlete who’s both incredibly cute and incredibly off-limits. He offers to give Caroline a crash course in all the sports she’s missed, and she has an offer for him in return: For every sport Alex teaches her, she’ll play matchmaker for him. Deal done, Caroline “dates” new sports with Alex for the rest of the summer, which is loads more fun than wallowing in despair. Just as Caroline starts to see herself as more than her past athletic successes, she picks up something she didn’t bargain for: a big fat crush on Alex. Turns out life was way easier when it was just layout-fulls and beam burns….

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Blog Tour Review: Nura and the Immortal Palace by M.T. Khan

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Nura and the Immortal Palace by M.T. Khan and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Nura and the Immortal Palace
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 28 June 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Rep: Pakistani, Muslim

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Aru Shah and the End of Time meets Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away in this mesmerizing portal fantasy that takes readers into the little-known world of Jinn.
Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things—to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas—a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more.

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel forever.

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Blog Tour Review: Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Blood and Moonlight
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: 28 June 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Rising above the city of Collis is the holy Sanctum. And watching over its spires is Catrin, an orphan girl with unique skills—for she alone can spot the building’s flaws in construction before they turn deadly.

But when Catrin witnesses a murderer escaping the scene of his crime, she’s pulled into the web of a dangerous man who will definitely strike again. Assigned to capture the culprit is the mysterious, brilliant, and enigmatic Simon, whose insights into the mind of a killer are frighteningly accurate.

As the grisly crimes continue, Catrin finds herself caught between murderer and detective while hiding her own secret—a supernatural sight granted by the moon, destined to make her an outcast, and the only thing that might save her and those she loves from becoming the next victims…

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Blog Tour Review: The Kaya Girl by Mamle Wolo

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Kaya Girl by Mamle Wolo and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Kaya Girl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 28 June 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Literary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Writing with effortlessly engaging prose, Wolo showcases the interweaving layers of Ghanaian culture to create a prismatic, multifaceted world in which two young girls, against all odds, are able to find each other.
 
When Faiza, a Muslim migrant girl from northern Ghana, and Abena, a wealthy doctor’s daughter from the south, meet by chance in Accra’s largest market, where Faiza works as a porter or kaya girl, they strike up an unlikely and powerful friendship that transcends their social inequities and opens up new worlds to them both.
 
Set against a backdrop of class disparity in Ghana, The Kaya Girl has shades of The Kite Runner in its unlikely friendship, and of Slumdog Millionaire as Faiza’s life takes unlikely turns that propel her thrillingly forward. As, over the course of the novel, Abena awakens to the world outside her sheltered, privileged life, the novel explores a multitude of awakenings and the opportunities that lie beyond the breaking down of barriers. This is a gorgeously transporting work, offering vivid insight into two strikingly diverse young lives in Ghana. 

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ARC Review: Sweeter Than Honey by Joy Avery

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

Goodreads: Sweeter Than Honey (Honey Hill #2)
Publisher: Montlake
Published: 28 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

A talented baker and a small-town sheriff forced into a fake relationship decide whether to take a chance on love in this delectable romance from Joy Avery.

Baker extraordinaire Rylee Harris has a recipe for everything—except love. It’s been five years since she lost her husband, but romance is still a struggle for Rylee. In her small hamlet of Honey Hill, North Carolina, Rylee knows she’ll be the talk of the town when she finds someone new.

To ease her mother’s worries about her love life, Rylee impulsively invents a fake relationship with the only man who’s caught her eye: the town sheriff, Canten Barnes. It’s supposed to be a secret, but secrets don’t last long in Honey Hill. One bit of gossip leads to another, and soon the whole town thinks Rylee and Canten are an item.

As Rylee and Canten embark on a make-believe relationship to save face, they slowly realize that their feelings for each other aren’t fake at all. Can Rylee and Canten keep the charade going—or will the town’s prized baker and respected lawman take a real chance on love?

TL;DR: There was a lot about this small-town romance between the sheriff and the baker that I really enjoyed, but certain aspects made it a little difficult for me to really get into. While I definitely had fun with all of the characters and our main couple, I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this one more; although I do feel like I’m in the minority with this feeling. Sweeter Than Honey had: brother’s best friend/best friend’s little sister, friends-to-lovers, fake dating, and a small-town setting complete with meddling parents and nosy and gossiping elderly folk.

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ARC Review: The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark

Special thanks to Valentine PR for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Devil You Know (Devil #3)
Publisher: Elizabeth O’Roark Books
Published: 23 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

There’s a devil on my shoulder, and every Monday morning she announces herself. She’s this delicious flame in my chest, a flurry of whispered suggestions in my ear. Suggestions I ignore…because every single one of them is about Ben Tate.

Ben—Stealer of Clients, Evicter of Homeless Women, Nemesis. Sitting across from me every damn Monday with his lovely, smug smile and his too-perfect teeth, the living symbol of everything I hate. It’s been my policy to avoid him, but when a case comes into the firm—one that could change his career and mine—I make an exception. It means weekends and evenings by his side. It means enduring his smirk and his smart mouth and never taking the bait.

Until the night Ben says, “Beg.”
And that devil on my shoulder decides to make a few demands of her own.

TL;DR: This was probably my favourite book in the series so far. This is a rivals-to-lovers office romance done so perfectly! I absolutely loved Ben and Gemma’s snippy banter, their insanely hot chemistry that could set the world on fire, and the way they built trust and a relationship together. Seriously, SO GOOD that it will have you swooning hard!

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ARC Review: Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

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

Goodreads: Fake It Till You Bake It
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: 21 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A reality star and a cupcake-baking football player pretend to be a couple in order to save his bakery in this sweet and sexy romance from Jamie Wesley, Fake It Till You Bake It.

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego’s newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell.

When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada’s image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

Fake it Till You Bake It is a sweet confection of a novel, the perfect story to curl up with and enjoy with a cupcake on the side. 

TL;DR: This was such a delightful romance and while I did have some issues with it at the beginning, I’m so glad that I ended up loving it as much as I thought I would! Jada and Donovan were such a great couple and their romance made me so giddy. If you love fake-dating, great banter, fun playful chemistry between H/h, and A FOODIE ROMANCE, I would recommend picking this up. Also, prepare to get hungry and crave cupcakes while reading this because all the flavours sounded *exquisite*! 🤤

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Blog Tour Review: A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!

Thanks to HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: A Little Bit Country
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 07 June 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Emmett Maguire has big dreams. He wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar—a far reach when you’re 17 and living in suburban Illinois. Thankfully, his parents are letting him do the next best thing for the summer: stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, and perform at Wanda World—the amusement park owned by his idol, country music legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.

Luke Barnes, a 17-year-old Jackson Hollow resident, has no interest in country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced country singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, the world of country music has only brought his family pain. But as medical bills pile up at home, he’s forced to accept a job in the last place he’d ever want to work: a restaurant at Wanda World.

With Emmett focused on his career, and Luke blossoming in the kitchen, neither boy is expecting to find romance. But sparks fly when they meet and soon the two are inseparable. However, when a long-lost secret about Luke’s grandma and superstar Wanda Jean comes to light, it threatens to unravel everything. Unless the boys can uncover the truth of what really happened, their dreams could be over before they start, leaving their new relationship to go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song.

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ARC Review: My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Special thanks to Holiday House for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: My Mechanical Romance
Publisher: Holiday House
Published: 31 May 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Opposites attract in this battle-robot-building YA romance from the NYT best-selling author of The Atlas Six.

Bel would rather die than think about the future. College apps? You’re funny. Extracurriculars? Not a chance. But when she accidentally reveals a talent for engineering at school, she’s basically forced into joining the robotics club. Even worse? All the boys ignore Bel—and Neelam, the only other girl on the team, doesn’t seem to like her either.

Enter Mateo Luna, captain of the club, who recognizes Bel as a potential asset—until they start butting heads. Bel doesn’t care about Nationals, while Teo cares too much. But as the nights of after-school work grow longer and longer, Bel and Teo realize they’ve made more than just a combat-ready robot for the championship: they’ve made each other and the team better. Because girls do belong in STEM.

I buddy read with this Leslie and Julie who also had ARCs of the book and I’m so glad that we read this together! The topics and characters generated some good discussions between us that really helped me to figure out my thoughts/feelings about this book!


TL;DR: It took me a while to figure out how I felt about this book but ultimately, I think it was a great YA contemporary debut. This wasn’t just about girls/women in STEM but it covered complex biracial family dynamics and it had a sweet first-love romance between two characters from different backgrounds. Even though this wasn’t perfect, I liked how the author brought up what girls/women and POC in STEM experience, and I think it has the potential to generate some really great discussions amongst its readers.

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