And I Darken Reviewed

Greetings readers:

Today I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this word-filled wonderfulness.

And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) image via goodreads

And I Darken written by Kiersten White is a historical fiction novel based in the Ottoman Empire and follows Vladmir Dracul’s children Lada and Radu and their journey in fighting for their home. Once they figure out where or who home is of course. Lada is a I-take-no-f****-and-give-no-f**** kind of girl. She is tough and will walk right over you if you get in her way. Then there is Radu who sweet, gentle and frightful. The exact opposite of Lada, who has to live in the shadow of his confident and loud older sister. When abandoned by their father and have to figure out how to maneuver in a cruel and unloving enemy empire, these two siblings will be tested in loyalty, love and wits.

What I Liked 

The Characters: I fell in love with many characters in this story. Firstly there was Lada. Lada is the absolute definition of a badass-fighter-determined girl. She is stubborn and has no time for your or anybody else’s foolishness. When she sets her mind to something she gets through to it. I mean it is not always smooth sailing but she makes sure she gets what she wanted. She does not need a man to protect her or order her around, she does that plenty on her own. It is just really cool to see how Lada is confident but still has her doubts and understands that some of the decisions she makes are rash and wrong. Then we have Radu, who is like my spirit animal. He’s all soft on the inside but has his secrets and knows how to use them to his advantage. I can relate to him about living in a shadow. Since I have a friend who resembles Lada, in the way in which she is able to speak her mind, be loud and have confidence. While I am there at the side, not saying much but listening on everything I can. Radu grows a lot in this story. He goes from being a wimpy, scared little boy to a clever grown man. He also goes through some major changes in his life, all so that he is able to be true to himself. Then there is Mehmed who I liked, but he just never really stood out to me.  I understand that he played a big role in the relationship between Radu and Lada. However I never anticipated his arrival in any scenes,  to be honest I was more caught up in how Radu and Lada we going to get out of the immense trouble they were in. I like Mehmed and hopefully as the story continues I can warm up to him more.

The plot: I loved the timeline I went through. Beginning the story with the birth of Lada followed by Radu was very interesting. Seeing them grow up in the circumstances that they did really helped me understand how and why they grew up the way they did. It also saved the time of having to go through back story and flashbacks because we got to see their whole past through the first half of the book. Secondly, I was attracted to this book for the whole Daughter of Dracula idea and I was not disappointed. Although it was mostly set in the Ottoman empire instead of Wallachia or Transylvania, it was interesting to read about Radu and Lada’s life in enemy territory.

The cover: I’m a sucker for covers. I know it is against the code of reader law to judge based on covers, but we all know it’s a dirty little secret some of us possess. I mean look at it! Then look at the UK cover.

And I Darken (Conqueror's Saga, #1)image via goodreads

Ugh! She just looks so fierce and fabulous I just could not handle it. I read the first line of the synopsis and put it on my TBR in a split second. I just love the cover so much!

What I Disliked

The lack of Vladmir Dracula: I know that this story revolves around Lada and Radu. And follows Lada and Radu. And is in perspective of Lada and Radu. But I wanted more Vladmir. Going in I thought that I would get to see more about him and  have more scenes showing his character. But that did not happen, really all we saw of him was the few scenes at the beginning and few flashbacks. I just wanted to see more of him.

Training dragged on but not a lot of action: A lot of this book contained training and practicing, but few scenes of actual battle. There were plenty fight scenes (most of which included Lada-obviously), but it was just not enough action for me. It did however make up with the political intrigue that kept the suspense in the story going.

Final Thought

Over all I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars!  I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to the next one.

Lastly I must share my ultimate favourite part:

I am the dragon.”

I won’t tell which part it is from or who said it, but I will let you know I anticipated this line since the beginning!

Definitely pick up this book if you like historical fiction, badassery, lgtb themes and some brutal, BRUTAL killing scenes. Ce livre est pour vous!

Happy reading!

-Rendz

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Favourites!

Greetings readers:

n3lyz8gsource: giphy.com

Today I have decided to share with you some of my Favourites about reading. Some have been with me for long periods of time or in some cases are recently favourited. Each of these books or people have impacted my life in some way, shape or form. It could vary from being extremely entertaining or inspiring or the “reason I read” kind of book or author.

There a countless books in the world, so many I have yet to read. So while this may be a list of my favourites, know that this list will only grow bigger and bigger.

Genres

#1. Fantasy

I will admit it, when it comes to reading I will always, ALWAYS go to Fantasy first. I rarely read out of fantasy (but I do so no worries my other genre loving peeps). Fantasy (like many who use this cliche) is my escape. When I look around me and see how messed up this world of ours is, I want to leave. But I can’t, so I turn to books, with other worlds, with their own set of screwed up problems, with their adventure and resolution.

I go there for magic.

Any type of magic in the book world, whether it be elemental or witchcraft/wizardry or pulling rabbits out of hats, instantly has my attention. I love to read about magical human beings (or maybe not human), who have the ability to wield forces that are unrealistic. If I had a magical power it would be all magic (don’t you dare ask me to pick and choose).

I could go more in depth and reveal my soul deep love for fantasy and write how it has allowed me to grow, learn from mistakes and have courage. But that will come another time. For now I’ll let you know that most of my points will always lead back to my desire to wield magic.

#2. Science fiction and Dystopia

#3. Historical fiction (I have a sweet spot for Sherlock Holmes spin offs even though I have yet to read a Holmes novel)

#4. Contemporary. I will be honest I am not a big contemporary reader. The stories don’t bore me (at least not usually) but I am always looking for an adventure, something different and outside of realistic element aka fantasy. I do try to read at least one contemporary a month to explore the reading realm.

#5. Paranormal/Supernatural. I hardly read from this genre because I find each story to be the same. Guy is super hot and muscular (not a complaint) and is a powerful demon/vampire/angel who is sent to kill girl who has hidden power or guy spontaneously saves girl from enemy/herself as she discovers her power. Some fight scenes, kissing scenes and cheesy romantic lines later and they all lived as happily as demons can live! But I’m a hypocrite. This is my guilty pleasure genre. Something about the predictable end and well…MAGIC always keep me hooked!

Favourite Books/Series
As I said this is the current list. With time, some titles will change many more will be added but for now I will share the current list. (Note: Eventually each or at least some of these mentions will get their own appreciation post)

#1: The Chronicles of Narnia  by C.S. Lewis

#2: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

#3: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

#4: The Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

#5: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

#6: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

#7: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

#8: Accidentally Fabulous series by Lisa Papademetriou

#9:  The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

#10: Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch

And many more but I will cut the list here. There will be some huge rants about some of the books listed above.

Favourite Authors

#1. Marissa Meyer

#2. Morgan Rhodes

#3. Sabaa Tahir

#4. C.S. Lewis

#5. Leigh Bardugo

#6. Sara Raasch

#7. Marie Lu

#8. Sarah J. Maas

#9. Maggie Steifvater

#10. Marie Rutkoski 

Again there are so many more!

Favourite places to get books!

#1. That one time in a blue one moon when I win a giveaway! Hello free books!

#2. The Library– I am a TPL teen

#3. Overdrive–basically the library for ebooks

#4. Chapters Indigo –my home away from home

#5. BMV stores across Toronto– Hello cheap books!

Favourite places to read!

#1. My room –curtains drawn, window open, warm blanket if needed

#2. Living room couch

#3. Porch

#4. Library

#5.  School

Bonus: Favourite Guilty Pleasure Reads!

#1. The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

#2. The Divinicus Nex Chronicles by A&E Kirk

#3. Anything by Catherine Fisher, especially her Chronoptika quartet and Incarceron series

Well that’s it for this week my friends. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about moi! Feel free to comment some of your favourites and I will write to you again next week!

Happy Reading!

-Rendz

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The Evolution

Greetings readers!

I have decided that this week I would give you a little more information about me. Tonight I will be sharing with you my journey to becoming a reader.

Like many people out there, reading is one of my most treasured pastimes. The ability to read is one of my most beloved gifts and it has opened my eyes to worlds unseen.(Literally because most exist within the pages of a book) There are so many things to discover and learn from reading. It enriches your imagination and makes you witness the impossible.

To be frank I was not always the biggest reader. In fact I disliked reading very much when I was a child, especially as I was just beginning to learn how to read. It was difficult for me to pay attention to the words and so my progress was very slow. Many times I would just end up looking at the pictures and making up my own story and when the time came for teacher student conference, I would sit in front of my second grade teacher embarrassed. I was the girl who said “is-land” for island and “sweeter” for sweater.

Anyways, eventually as time went by and my mom complained that I was spending to much time in front of the T.V., she dragged me to the library. There, I picked out a couple of books, took them home, read half of one, returned them and sat back down on the couch. Clearly her attempts to get me into reading failed. So in one last try she threw this at me:

“Ay, hija you will never be as smart as the other kids if you don’t read.”

I am not a spiteful person, nor was I back then. But this hit home. I tremendously disliked being called less intelligent then the other kids in my class. I was always the smartest in my class because even then I was a nerd. I always did my homework (save reading study) and aced every test. (Now when I look back I see I could be very boastful! Bad Rendz. Show some humility.)

Anyways, I took my mothers bait and at school the next day I went to the school library. I took out one book; Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park. I brought it home, sat down, and read. Perhaps I had finally chosen the right book because I finished it in a week and went back for the sequel. After Junie B. I read the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osbourne. From then on I slowly found my reading interests and visited the library and book fair more frequently. (Too often for my mother’s and father’s sake!) Soon enough next time I went to the library I chose more books that peaked to my interest. I was becoming a better and faster reader.

Yet I was not a book dragon. I still did not find that complete pull towards books. Then one summer my cousin introduced to this famous YA novel. I don’t know if you guys know this book. 😉 It was really popular in 2012. It has nothing to do with hunger, really it was about the game. That’s right I read The Hunger Games. All three, in a total of nine days. I had finally found my calling. YA literature had come to claim me and I have been its loyal subject ever since. From then on while I continued to explore the middle grade section  of the library I slowly transitioned to the teen section.

Fast forward to today and I have graduated to book dragon status. I have never regretting picking up the Junie B. series and it will forever be known as the series that got me reading. Thank you, Barbara Park. If you ask me now, reading is my new favourite hobby, pass time, and job. Reading truly changed my life for the better. It enriched my imagination and showed me worlds that I could explore and learn from.

Well, that is how the journey started. How I evolved into the person I am today, into the reader I am today. I gush inside every time I think about the gift of reading. I sadden at the thought that some cannot read or chooses not to. It’s a GIFT people, cherish it.

That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed this little story of myself. Next week I will be sharing some of my Favourites (books, movies, genres, etc.) so stay tuned.

Happy Reading!

-Rendz

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