Blog Tour Review: At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for inviting me to be on the blog tour and for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: At the Edge of the Haight
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Panda Rating:

(actual 2.75 pandas)

Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She knows whom to trust, where to eat, when to move locations, and how to take care of her dog. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw. As adults pressure her to give up her secrets and reunite with her own family before she meets a similar fate, Maddy must decide whether she wants to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.

As judge Hillary Jordan says, “This book pulled me deep into a world I knew little about, bringing the struggles of its young, homeless inhabitants—the kind of people we avoid eye contact with on the street—to vivid, poignant life. The novel demands that you take a close look. If you knew, could you still ignore, fear, or condemn them? And knowing, how can you ever forget?”

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Blog Tour Review: The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for inviting me to be on tour and for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Fortunate Ones
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 05 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

When Charlie Boykin was young, he thought his life with his single mother on the working-class side of Nashville was perfectly fine. But when his mother arranges for him to be admitted as a scholarship student to an elite private school, he is suddenly introduced to what the world can feel like to someone cushioned by money. That world, he discovers, is an almost irresistible place where one can bend—and break—rules and still end up untarnished. As he gets drawn into a friendship with a charismatic upperclassman, Archer Creigh, and an affluent family that treats him like an adopted son, Charlie quickly adapts to life in the upper echelons of Nashville society. Under their charming and alcohol-soaked spell, how can he not relax and enjoy it all—the lack of anxiety over money, the easy summers spent poolside at perfectly appointed mansions, the lavish parties, the freedom to make mistakes knowing that everything can be glossed over or fixed?
 
But over time, Charlie is increasingly pulled into covering for Archer’s constant deceits and his casual bigotry. At what point will the attraction of wealth and prestige wear off enough for Charlie to take a stand—and will he?
 
The Fortunate Ones is an immersive, elegantly written story that conveys both the seductiveness of this world and the corruption of the people who see their ascent to the top as their birthright.

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First Impressions Spotlight: Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

So it turns out that I noted my date incorrectly for this Algonquin tour and I didn’t bother to recheck it like I usually do because it’s been so busy… and I feel terrible about it! 😰 I have read 30% of the book though so this will be a “First Impressions” review but I will follow it up with a full review ASAP!

Thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Big Girl, Small Town
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Irish Literature

Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up during the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, and watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed. But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s seemingly mundane existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town. 

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#5OnMyTBR: Books with (Great) Friendships

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Friendships

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#5OnMyTBR: Books about Death

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Death

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Inside Voices by Sarah Davis

I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for Inside Voices by Sarah Davis. Thanks to Rachel for organising this tour, and to the author for providing the book in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the other bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Inside Voices
Publisher: Darkstroke Books
Release Date: 23 June 2020
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Fiction
Panda Rating:

The mind is a strange beast…extraordinary, unpredictable, protective.

Penny Osborn’s mind is no exception. In High School, Penny witnessed a massacre and lost her father to the same killers. She had seen it unfold before it happened, in a premonition, but could not prevent it.

A college research project at the edge of the Arctic is her chance for a new beginning. Struggling with PTSD, Penny’s therapy includes running, dogs, and guitars. Yet her fresh start is plagued by new premonitions, dark and foreboding, that coincide with a rising number of murders in the community. Her visions are vague, offering little to identify the killer.

When confronted with an orphaned polar bear cub, Penny risks everything to save its life. The deepening mystery of the murdered women, coupled with the exhaustive duties of caring for the small cub, draw her closer to her friend, Noah, and further from her sister.

Fearful for the serial killer’s next target, Penny discovers where her physical abilities can help her. Will letting go of the past lead to healing? And can she stop the murders? 

BUY NOW: Amazon (US)

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Blog Tour Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for this gem of a debut: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: His Only Wife
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, African Literature
Panda Rating:

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world.

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#WWWWednesday: 26 August 2020

Can someone please tell me where August went because… Is it really already the final full week of August?

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 my last WWW check in I’ve managed to read these five books. I feel like I’m missing books that I’ve read and just didn’t mark on Goodreads but if that’s the case then… we might just never know LOL My brain has been shrouded in a fog of lethargy lately and it can get really frustrating when this happens!

Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard ★★★☆☆
This was an enjoyable, fast-paced and adventure filled story with lots of our favourite magical creatures. It’s the perfect read for fantasy newbies or fantasy lovers who aren’t looking for anything complicated or for anything “new”. Read my review!

Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow ★★★☆☆
This was a fun and easy read about mistaken first impressions, community and good friendships that left me feeling hopeful and warm. Our protagonists are older in this romance and I liked that focus as it’s rare to read about people above the age of 30/35 finding love! Read my review!

The Heart of a Peach by Jess B. Moore ★★★½
With such an adorable cover, I was surprised by the darker themes in this book. CW: abuse (emotional/mental), gaslighting. There’s also insta-love (a trope I hate), but I was able to look past that and rooted for the characters and their HEA. This was a surprising and enjoyable romance. Read my review!

The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot ★★★☆☆
I’ve mixed feelings about this one. I liked the story, most characters and even the slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance, but as the story went on (and it really rolled on for quite a while) I found myself getting too irritated with our MC, Poppy. Still, it’s a sweet story set in a cute town and I wouldn’t mind coming back to read more around the wedding shop. Review coming soon!

Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen ★★★★☆
This was the romance I didn’t know I needed this weekend. I love me a strong heroine who knows what she’s worth and what she wants out of life and goes for it 100%. Katharine was a great heroine and Kit is a hero that will steal your heart (although he could be immature at times). Loved the family relationships, especially the bond between Katharine and her brother, and the banter had me laughing out loud multiple times! Would definitely recommend it. Review coming soon!

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#WWWWednesday: 05 August

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 a surprising five books!

The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Duology) by A.J. Vrana ★★★☆☆
As The Ultimate Chicken™ this book was completely out of my comfort zone but I was pleasantly surprised by it. Apparently all the horrifying things happen in small towns, right? The small town secrets and folklore were definitely terrifying in this one! If you like a dark fantasy with paranormal elements this will definitely be up your alley. Read my full review!

Frostheart (Frostheart #1) by Jamie Littler ★★★½
I absolutely loved that the whole story was illustrated because it helped bring this ice covered world to life. My heart really felt for Ash and his longing to find a place where he belonged and the people who would accept him in spite of his dangerous legacy. It was a heartwarming and sweet read full of adventure that I think many young readers will enjoy. Review coming soon!

A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens ★★★☆☆
This was very different to what I expected. Laurens does paint a very eerie small town atmosphere but it didn’t end up being as scary as I thought it’d be. It was also a much heavier read that covers intense and difficult topics that can be potentially triggering for many. Read my full review and see the full list of content warnings the author shared on her website!

The Good for Nothings by Danielle Banas ★★★★☆
To steal Emer’s term, this was a fantastic popcorn read. It was a space opera reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, Aurora Rising and Illuminae Files (imho). I loved the awkward, quirky and dry banter between our found family crew and the story left me feeling extremely comforted. It was such a fun and fast-paced story 💙 Read my full review!

Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2) by Chloe Liese ★★★★★
I absolutely adored this romance and it had me swooning through the whole read. Give me more empowering couples who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and open with each other, who don’t suffer from the typical miscommunication issue in many romances and don’t devolve into immaturity. Frankie and Ren were the romance couple I didn’t know I needed. Read my full review!

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Top 5 Saturday: Books I Need to Finish!

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: books I’d give a second chance.

But as we know by now I don’t normally DNF books for a number of reasons but mostly guilt. Most of the time I power through that baddie and just “get it over with” (which also doesn’t sound great), but that’s also a longer discussion for another time! So since I don’t have (m)any DNFs to choose from, I decided to dig deep into memory banks and recall the books that I have put to the side but am determined to (eventually) finish!

As a mood reader, it can be pretty tough to stick to a book when my mood is swinging wildly all over the place. It doesn’t happen often because most of the time I settle into a book/story and I end up really enjoying the read and my moods quickly “calm down”… But when my moods are particularly erratic, I usually end up jumping through at least 5-10 books until I find one I can handle (this is making me sound insane, right? Lol). Most of these were put down because my mood just wouldn’t comply and I ended up repeatedly re-reading passages until I decided it’s not for now. Without any more waffling, here we go:

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