Caraval Review

Greetings readers!

THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF MY TBR HAS FINALLY BEEN ACHIEVED!

The book I had been waiting over a year to read. Has finally been read.

The book that has been staring at me since I bought it in January. Has finally been opened.

The book that everyone talks about! Has finally shown me all its secrets.

I am no longer oblivious.

I know the truth.

The hurt.

The wonder.

I finally know.

I can finally see the light.

 done finally finished its over atlast GIF

via giphy.com


In other words, I finally read Caraval by Stephanie Garber!

ca

Goodreads Summary:

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

I DID IT! *Wooping sound of applause*

It is also the third book I have read this month! Talk about accomplishments! Anyways, after months of avoiding many reviews (due to spoiler mishaps…) I read it. Gobbled it. And savoured every turn of the page. The amount of hype around this book was crazy. People loved it! Others not so much.

And I?

Well I….

 reaction vintage classic sigh lucy GIF

via giphy.com

LOVED IT!

What I Liked:

Characters:

Scarlett Dragna: She is honestly my new fave! A lot of people have complained about her naïvety and bad decision-making, but I saw her as someone else. She lived a sheltered and fearful life. Her father was abusive and controlling, most people wouldn’t come out of those kind of situations all strong and ready to fight. No, she was a girl still learning how to navigate the world and find a way to trust people again. I thought she was great! I adored her endless love for her sister and her courage against all the things that went wrong during the game. She was insecure, yes but she was also intelligent, caring and brave!

Julian: Come to me, sweetheart. My brooding and mischievous man. He honestly brought the best humour and charm to the story. He might not be the most honest and moral person, but he is a good guy. He is, as I like to say a good-bad boy. (Opposite of the bad-good boy, of course) He is also 🔥🔥🔥

Legend: Welp, I was not expecting that.

Colourful Feels: I absolutely loved the fact that Scarlett’s feelings were described in the form of colours. If she was angry or sad or worried, her emotions would take the form of colours. Like a mustard yellow or an angry red. Death is purple! I found it amazing especially because it reminded me of an old documentary where this woman could see people’s words in colour. (It was probably fake, but it was entertaining!) The colours really added to the beauty of the novel as you could associate an emotion or experience with something visual, not an expression but a colour!

Hispanic Influence: Favourite aspect of the novel, right here! There were multiple uses of Spanish words used in this novel, I was so happy! For once I didn’t have to use a glossary or stumble on how to pronounce those words because I already knew how! There wasn’t a lot of cultural influence, but I appreciated the names and people that were touched by it! *eyes Julian, who in my eyes is definitely Hispanic of some sort* EVEN WHEN YOU TRANSLATE THE WORDS IT GIVES SO MUCH INSIGHT INTO THE SECRETS OF THE STORY! See: La Serpiente, Castillo Maldito

Sense of Magic: The whole setting and writing mixed together gave off this wonderful and mystical aurora. Garber did an amazing job of creating the magic in the story that just sucked me right in and made me feel all tingly! It reminded me of the first (and only) time I went to go see a circus and going into the tent and just feeling the excitement, fun and mischief! Also, I need one of those dresses Scarlett was wearing! That is a NEED!

Mystery! Mystery! Mystery!: This book keeps you guessing. You may think you know things, but you don’t. You may think you have it all figured out, but you don’t. Well at least I didn’t! The mystery keeps you in suspense and on your toes all the time!

The Letters: I really liked the letters. 1. I think they added an authentic feel. The images of the letters showed the writing and personality of a character. It was better than just having a whole section in italics, instead it was an actual image. 2. They are misleading little buggers!, OR ARE THEY??? It depends, I guess.

Romance: 🔥🔥🔥 At first I thought it was going to be insta-lovey and while it sort of is, I did not mind it too much. Actually, my first thought was that the sisters were going to fight over the guy and love triangles were going to start popping up. Luckily, that didn’t happen. The chemistry between Scarlett and Julian, was cute and fun. He being so forward and joking and she being more closed off. Although their romance comes to be in 5 days, you could say the magic of Caraval really brought them together!

Action: It’s not a bloody, battle kind of action. It is action that involves running around, getting thrown off course by the plot twists and mysteries that pop up while others have been solved. It is an ongoing suspense that keeps you going and your mind racing!

Epilogue: 😵😵😵😵😵😵 I KNEW GARBER WOULD NOT LEAVE THAT QUESTION UNANSWERED! 😵😵😵😵😵

 shocked shook GIF

via giphy.com

What I Disliked

Honestly, I cannot think of anything other than sometimes the story dragged in places. Not long enough to stop me from reading though!


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was afraid the hype would damage the reading experience for me, but I’m very happy I enjoyed it. I liked the characters, the setting, I mean I don’t think I would ever actually be smart enough to win Caraval, but I’d give it a go! There are many twists and turns, some you might see coming other that you simply cannot! (Unless you have a mind like Legend’s, of course) I achingly anticipate the next instalment, there are so many things that could happen, so many possibilities!

Rating: 5 / 5 stars (It’s on my “Favourites” shelf!)

Recommend: Look people, how could you not read this book? It’s great!

If for some reason you have not read this book and after reading this you feel inspired to, I have one single piece of advice…Remember it’s only a game.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

The Sims Book Tag

Greetings readers!

I was tagged by Ava @ Reads, Rhythms & Ruminations to do the Sims Tag! Confession: I have never actually played Sims before and it took me a while to figure out what it was even about! Virtual games just are not really my thing! Anyways thank you for the tag Ava, I hope you all enjoy!

The Original Sims – the best author debut

From 2017, I’d say Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This book blew up and with good reason I think!

Honourable mentions, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (2016)  [Review] and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (2015)

img_7327-1

The Grim Reaper – saddest character death

*Spoiler…maybe?*

Humberto, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I’m still not over it!

Sims Getting Stuck – a character that just got in the way

Memphis, Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney.  Full review here.

Simlish – a book with amazing writing

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi! It’s so beautiful! Pretty much from the first line, I was stunned as to how amazing Roshani is as a writer!

Expansion Packs – a series where the books keep on getting better

tlc

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, I love all the books, but as they go forth in the series they get more action packed, suspenseful and adventurous!

Sim Romance – the worse case of insta-love

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Nobody

via Goodreads

They literally start making out two seconds after they meet.

Cheats – a book that was entirely unrealistic

Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy, #1)

via Goodreads

Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier. The MC can travel and pass into peoples dreams through doors. Totally unrealistic, but it does make for a great story!

Needs Fulfillment – a character who made all the wrong decisions

17265910_1659266971042365_6353293324220104704_n

Jonas Agallon from The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, honestly he made some bad choices in the first five books. A lot of people died for his cause, but I am slowly forgiving him. Perhaps he will redeem himself fully in the final book!

Error Code 12 – a series that started off great but went downhill from there

togwhite

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I get so engrossed with the action and magic of the story, but lose it as soon as Rowan and Aelin come together, smut-it all up and ruin everything. 🤢

The Sims Vortex – a book/series that completely engrossed you

The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Just ensnared me completely this past summer. Completely. I never felt so wrong about judging a book by it’s cover after reading these books. I loved them!

17439219_378738565853180_5686870689445838848_n

I Tag:

RedHeadedBookLoverBlog
MyBookishBabblings
ReadbyChris

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

Maud (ARC) Review

Greetings readers!

*Fourth book knocked off the TBR!* YES

(No, I haven’t posted about my third book yet…but that will be coming your way soon!)

Okay, so a while ago I decided that I would sign up for Net Galley despite having a baby-blog and a smaller amount of followers compared to the hundreds of other blogs signed up for Net Galley. Like most beginners, I was denied requests and although the first one stung a little, I kept at it. (I knew that it was far too popular for a small blogger like me to get a chance at it!)

But only a few days after my first request got denied, I made a second request and I was APPROVED!

*cheers*

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery

via Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary

For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.

*I was provided an e-ARC through Net Galley and Penguin Random House Canada, thank you so much*

I have been extremely excited about this book ever since I first heard about it. A story based on the teenage years of the author who wrote the Canadian classic, Anne of Green Gables? YES GIVE IT TO ME NOW! Although, I’ve only read Anne once (I am going to re-read it soon, however!) it really touched my heart. It was funny, charming and I absolutely adore it. (Plus I have seen the show many. many times). So reading this story and finding the connections between the Maud’s life and Anne’s life was truly a treasure. However, this is a work of fiction so Maud’s life most likely did not unravel as it did in this book. Still I really enjoyed Maud’s character and the story of her life when she was fourteen.

*Confession*: I know only a little history behind L.M. Montgomery. My fourth grade teacher asked us all to pick an author to write about and since my sister was studying Anne at the time with her teacher, I used Montgomery for my project. So, all I really knew about Maud going in was that her parents died when she was 2 and she was then shipped off to live with her grandparents. That’s about all I remember.

Reading this book gave me a little more insight into what Maud’s life could have been like growing up a teen in the 1890s.

What I liked

Characters: 

Maud: How could I not like Maud? She was charming, caring and ever so studious. She loved hanging out with her friends and helping her grandparents despite their stern demeanour. I really enjoyed her perseverance against the challenges put in her path. She was trying to find somewhere she belonged in a community that only remembered the scandal of her parents. Her father and step-mother situation was probably the most hurtful experience she had to go through in terms of family issues. She faced backlash and denial as she tried to make a career for herself, something women in the 1800s were not typically found doing. Yet, Maud found her way to make her writing dream come true and I really appreciated that about her. She went through a lot of change over the course of the novel which I found relatable because who can really say they are the same person today as they were three years ago?

I feel hesitant to mention other characters for means of spoilers…but I really enjoyed the friendships she made with Laura and Mollie. This is a story of Maud’s life over the course of two to three years. So some people come and go while others stay. It was truly fascinating to see how her relationships with the characters played out.

The Setting: *I will gloat a little here.* FOR ONCE I HAD AN IDEA OF WHERE THE CHARACTERS WERE!

 real housewives canada real housewives of orange county rhoc lydia mclaughlin GIF

via giphy.com

Listen people, a lot of the books I read are set in the US. And even though they say that the character travelled from point A to point B, I have no sense of location when they start bringing up American states and cities. But in this book I could actually picture my Canadian map and I knew where and how far she had to travel. Which was very far, by the way. Anyways, reading about the difference in Canadian landscapes was beautiful. You get to explore the peaceful shores of Prince Edward Island, the dusty and farm-like wild west of Saskatchewan. And the hustle and bustle of the cities in Ontario. I just found the change in setting and travelling very beautiful and exciting!

 love friends smile friendship clapping GIF

via giphy.com

It didn’t shy away from the bad aspects of Canadian History: While there is not a lot of emphasis, there is a very important message about the treatment of First Nation and Indigenous peoples of Canada during the time period. It mentioned their horrible treatment by the first Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald (who makes a brief appearance in the novel, which I found rather interesting). It was not all thanks and giving, it was starvation, assimilation and encampment. There was a Métis character who was an actual person in Maud’s, life that was present in the story. Although she was not in the story for long, I think it was a good thing for the author to use her to represent the struggle of the First Nations in Canada.

It had Anne flair: I think my favourite part about this novel is how the author made the connections between Maud’s life and Anne’s life. At first I was expecting Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert or Gilbert to waltz into Maud’s life. Instead I found the people who inspired those characters. The setting that inspired Green Gables. The life of an orphan-like girl who discovered kindred spirits and the scope of imagination which inspired a certain red-head I know and love!

 green GIF

via giphy.com

Romance: I am not going to mention a who, in case of spoilers but I will say that the romance was sweet and absolutely adorable. It made my heart squish in the good way. (It also broke a couple times) Maud may have not been to keen on finding a husband with her writing dream taking up her thoughts, yet she did have those fleeting romantic moments like most people her age.

What I Disliked

The Pacing Was Confusing: This is usually not a concerning thing if it is an action novel or mystery and you just want to know what is going on. When I consider the pace of this novel, I am talking about the actual time line in the writing. Things went a little to fast sometimes as in the characters would jump from one moment in time to another which was weeks away from the original. How do I put this? It is as if I am talking to you about a concert I am going to attend and in the next sentence, it is already the concert and I’m leaving the show. No page break or anything! I understand that this books spans almost three years, but sometimes the time jumps confused me.


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I thought that it was fun, engrossing and a great look into the life of a female Canadian author. Even though this novel is very fictitious and many of the events and plot lines were made for the sake of the character developments I thought it was a fantastic portrayal of Maud’s life when she was young. Fishbane did a tremendous amount of research for her novel. I’m telling you pages of pages of reading material (all listed at the end of the book) which I think she deserves a round of applause for!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars (I just found it incredible!)

Recommend?: Even if you’re not Canadian and you know nothing about our history, Anne or our geography 😉 I still recommend you to read the coming of age story of an author. I suggest you read Anne of Green Gables first, then read this to find all those Anne connections!

 canada GIF

via giphy.com

This novel could not be coming out at a better time. There is a new Anne of Green Gables TV series on Netflix and CBC (I watched the first episode and it looks great so far), there is always the old TV series you can watch (which I will always think its the best) and Canada is celebrating it’s 150th birthday come July, so why not celebrate all things Canadian!

This book comes out on Tuesday, April 25th! Be sure to catch it! I mean the cover is glorious and so is the story!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Melody’s Key Review

Greetings readers!

Second book down from the TBR! Applause

 happy dancing excited yes victory GIF

via giphy.com

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the author Dallas Coryell to review his novel, Melody’s Key. Since I was in the mood for a little contemporary recently, I finally picked it up! If you read to the end of my review you can catch some cool extras like…an excerpt!

Melody's Key

Release date: June 24th 2016

AsherRain Publications

Page count: 305

Stand-alone book

Synopsis

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she laboured her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no colour, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

*I was given a free copy, in exchange for an honest review*

Okay, so like I said I was in the mood for a little contemporary and since this book sounded super lovey-dovey and fluffy, I decided to give it a try. Here is the thing with me and romance novels. (Now I realize, I should have mentioned that this is a romance novel.) Well Rendz + Romance don’t always mix. Don’t get me wrong I love a little romance in all my other books. It’s kind of like a requirement in a lot of YA, apparently. But me….reading a pure romance novel?…………It’s not always my cup of tea.

I get bored, or flustered or uncomfortable. I feel like for me, reading a book on just romance takes away the magic from those few fleeting romantic moments that I get in other books.

Yet, I found this book quite entertaining. It was cheesy, but fun.

What I liked:

Characters:

Tegan was a fun character. I found her nerdiness and fierceness very interesting. She had a tough past but ultimately survived through it. I love the fact that she would do anything to help her family even not go to college. The amount of sacrifice she preformed for them is admirable. I did find her a little boring sometimes, but it is a minor complaint.

Mason was also a fun character. He seemed very, very hot.🔥 I mean he had full sleeve tattoos. 🔥I don’t know about you,  but I don’t mind the ink on a man. 😍 He was funny and charming, but did he leave an overall book boyfriend impression? Not really. I mean his actions were actually swoon-worthy, but I didn’t particularly take too much interest into his character.

Simon, a.k.a the gay best friend was probably one of my favourite characters. He was funny and out-going, I wish there had been more of him. Plus his story was left open ended.

Tegan’s family. Just a funny, crazy and hard-working group of people that I really admired! Her mother and father were the best. Next to Ryleigh because she was hilarious.

The Rock Star falling for the Small-Town Girl trope: It is cheesy and delicious. Sometimes it got on my nerves, but Tegan and Mason connected really well over their passion for music. Reading about his hate of fame and her fear of it was cliche, but undeniably cute. I know, I am always contradicting myself!

THAT NARNIA MENTION: I bookmarked and highlighted that page. I don’t even remember the exact reference other than that it was there. 😍😍

There were actually numerous cameo mentions from different fandoms like; Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Disney…etc. EVEN THE SOUND OF MUSIC!

The Setting: I will be honest I didn’t realize it was set in London until Mason commented on Tegan’s accent which is 1/3 of the way through the book. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery (a lake-house!). It added to the romantic atmosphere.

The Letters: At first I wasn’t sure I appreciated the letters. In the end I really did. Again it added to the romantic atmosphere and gave a little insight into the history of Tegan’s family which is juicy!

Speaking of juicy…

THE DRAMA!: Ohhhh I love a good bit of drama and suspense. The chapters leading to the ending definitely had a good amount of drama to keep me going!

The Ending: I found very unrealistic…involving security measures. But I really enjoyed it. It was funny, cute and romantic. The perfect ending to the drama that had been in the previous chapters, I just soaked it all up.

What I Disliked

Overuse of the following phrase: His Piercing Emerald Green Eyes: I get it. His eyes are super green, hot and delicious. Let us focus on another body part. Seriously, Mason’s emerald green eyes got annoying after a while. It stopped being attractive…but only a little really!

Sexual Tension Galore: I know that romance comes with sex and above all else, sexual tension. I appreciated some of the sexy time moments…other times I was annoyed of them just thinking about ripping each other’s clothes off…for days on end. Also, this is totally aimed towards mature YA readers, borderline NA (new adult). There are some references to certain things that people under the ages of 13 (maybe even 14) should not read. At least in my opinion.

I’m not sure if certain issues were handled correctly…: This book has its darker themes, it is not all fluff. There is mention of rape, addiction and self-harm. I don’t think it was handled in the best way…but then again, I’m not sure I can judge this correctly since I have never been in any of those situations. However, I did find this as a book that used romance to fix those issues.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Considering I do not read a lot of romance novels, this did keep up my spirits. There were a few bumps in the road, where I felt a little bored or disconnected, but it was a solid novel anyways.

FUN FACT: This novel deals a lot with music! *see title/cover/synopsis* And the author actually wrote all the songs used by the characters. It was so awesome to see that Dallas was truly able to bring together his two passions for music and writing! You can listen to them on his YouTube channel! *Link down below 🙂 *

Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars (It met my fluffy, romantic needs)

Recommend: For those of you looking for a cute story, with a delightful romance give this one a chance!


More FUN!!

Dallas Coryell

BIO PHOTO

About The Author

Dallas Coryell is a musician and author residing deep in the untamed wilds of Michigan, USA, where he desperately attempts to assign meaning to his world through bouts of maniacal creative catharsis and pitifully doomed hopeless romantic fantasies. All of the songs written by the characters in this novel are real and can be viewed on the author’s fledgling YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/DallasCoryell1 Selfies and other assorted randomness can be found on the author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dallascoryell

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Melodys-Key-Dallas-Coryell-ebook/dp/B01HK4DVO0
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30807954-melody-s-key
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DallasCoryell1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dallascoryell
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DallasCoryell/posts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DallasCoryellMusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DallasCoryell

EXCERPT FROM MELODY’S KEY!

“It’s just an expression, I assume you have those in America?” This time Tegan completely intended the playful sarcasm that dripped from the comment. She even ventured a slight grin to put him on the defensive a little, but Mason was quick with his reply.

“Yes, we have them. For example, don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Mason had smiled disarmingly when he said it, but the underlying message to her was clear. Considering what happened at the pub, perhaps she had been a tad hasty in her judgment of his character. Tegan bundled the tools she had been cleaning and attempted to pick them up all at once in order to move them into the shed, but before she could take two steps they began slipping from her hands. Just as she expected to see the entire bunch go crashing to the ground, Mason’s hands appeared and encircled hers, stabilizing the load. His hands were strong, but soft, and their sudden steadying warmth took her completely off guard.

She had been careful to avoid looking directly at him during their entire exchange so far, but her discipline wavered for one instant and she allowed herself to meet his gaze. She immediately regretted it. His eyes were two fiery emeralds that seemed to have already been waiting millennia for her to find them. The depth they held was something she had not expected; there was profound suffering there, but also something wild and passionate and unbridled…like the feeling she got while walking through the estate gardens after a summer storm.

Somehow his eyes burned through the walls of her meticulously constructed defenses as if they were flash paper. She felt as though he was somehow seeing her…the real her, instead of the protective façade she normally projected to people she didn’t know. In that instant of unexpected vulnerability Tegan was surprised to find she was capable of anything. She felt the boundaries and inhibitions that normally constrained her fading like a winter sunset.

A moment after Tegan felt the hurricane begin to stir within her, she smothered it for fear of being consumed. Where in the world is this coming from? She had only been looking at him for a moment, but it felt as though they had been staring at each other for hours. She abruptly pulled her hands free, which sent the tools clattering loudly into the dirt. In truth, she had forgotten they were suspended between their interlocked hands. Grateful for the distraction, she kneeled down and began gathering the fallen load, which he immediately assisted her with. Between them, they got all the tools to the shed in one trip. As the electricity of the moment faded, Tegan began feeling silly for even thinking such ridiculous things. I know nothing about him. She made a mental note not to look into his eyes again. There was a reason so many girls went crazy over him, and he probably knew exactly what he was doing with those eyes…and that crooked smile.


Thank you again, Dallas for letting me read your wonderful story! Please go check him out guys and for my romance readers, take a shot at this one!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Candy Book Tag

Greetings readers!

A while back, the lovely Kate @ MeltingPotsandOtherCalamities tagged me in the Candy Book Tag! Thank you so much for the tag! As for the rest of you I hope enjoy my answers!

Fun fact: I am not the biggest candy fan out there. Lollipops, hard candy, licorice, and all that other stuff you get on Halloween is not really my thing.  I prefer chocolate over all of these! A candy…but not really like those other candies.

On to the tag!

Apples – Ah. Healthy food. It is deep, meaningful, and probably won a lot of awards but, um, it really isn’t your thing.

The Prince

via Goodreads

I don’t know if The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli has one any awards, but I wouldn’t give it one since it was that boring.

Milk Chocolate – This is a book you’d recommend to absolutely EVERYONE.

I don’t know if I can recommend one book to everyone because we all have different tastes. But…

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a great book if you want your life to be destroyed.

The Kite Runner

via Goodreads 

Black Jellybeans – Why do these exist??

*First of all….who would even want to eat candy that is black and smells gross.*

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hilter

Seriously who would want to read this.

Chocolate Kisses – Awww this novel had the best romance.

Gosh I can’t choose!

I will say The Lunar Chronicles as one whole.

4 coming on 5 amazing ships. With such adorable moments that I literally melt.

tlc

Gummy Spiders – Eek! You made sure to check under your bed every night for a week after reading this scary one.

I don’t read a lot of horror, so I’ve never felt this on a personal level. I’m too much of a scardy-cat.

Jumbo Lollipop – This took you forever to get through, but hey! You did it!

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

Not because it was long or boring, but because I realized that audiobooks were not for me and the time at which I was reading it was also super busy! Read my review here.

Cotton Candy – Admit it, you loved this when you were younger (you probably still do). Think children’s or MG fiction.

I have no shame to admit this, but I didn’t read when I was younger so if you think I was going to put Narnia…you are only half right!

Answer #1: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (This will stay with me now, forever and always)

16123357_142463446253664_1327405010568347648_n

Answer #2: The Fudge series by Judy Blume or The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park or The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.

Four series that really made my childhood magical, despite my disdain for reading.

I Tag…

*If you have already done this, don’t worry about doing it again!*

Maya @ Maya Hearts Books

Bella @ Bella Blogs Because Books

Jackie @ Too much of a Book Nerd

Thank you again to Kate for tagging me! In other news I have some exciting reviews coming your way in a few days! I hope you all come back to visit me by then!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

 

The Star-Touched Queen Review

Greetings readers!

First book on the TBR down! *applause*

I have seen this book circulating around for a while. It captured my attention recently when I bought it off of Book Outlet on one of my recent books splurges! Ummm…the thing is is that I read the synopsis once and so going into the book I forgot what it was about completely! I was so in the dark going into this book…save for a few things I had seen on the internet!

SO as an experiment I decided to just not read the synopsis before reading the book. I was going to trust past-Rendz and read a book that I forgot why I wanted to read.

Past-Rendz is good. She knows what I like and yes, the experiment was successful in that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)

via Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

I really enjoyed this book. Like A L O T! It was the perfect blend of fantasy, myth and magic that made me feel…otherworldly! Plus, Roshani is just an amazing story-teller and her words just make you feel magical!

What I liked:

The Writing: Boy, oh boy. Can Roshani write? Yes. Can Roshani capture your attention within the first few lines of the story? Yes. Does she write like magic? Y E S! Seriously people, the first few lines of this novel are so utterly beautiful. The sense of wonder and magic that I began to feel as I went along reading this book is incredible. Roshani is such an amazing writer because it is so visual yet not at the same time. There are some sayings I could imagine like:

“I know your soul. Everything else is just an ornament.” (This I can imagine)

There are others that are still so beautiful but I can’t fully wrap my head around them, like:

I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” (Not very easy to picture, but still so beautiful.)

Honestly, her writing is so amazing, so atmospheric and just blows me away.

The Myth:  This book has a lot of Indian myth that influenced it. I know next to nothing about Indian mythology. Let me tell you: I want to know more. It is so interesting reading about all the creatures and legends of myth that are used in the story. Their descriptions and characteristics are fascinating. They enrich the main story further and bring an extra little bit of magic to Roshani’s already magical prose. This is honestly one of my favourite aspects of the novel.

The Characters: This book does not have a huge cast of characters. Despite this I was never really bored. The few side characters that are involved are very entertaining and add humour and drama to the lives of the main characters.

Maya – I really enjoyed Maya’s character. I loved the fact that her strength doesn’t lie in her physical adeptness but in her passion for knowledge and compassion. I really enjoyed her journey as she travels to discover who she is and where she belongs in the world. Her relationship with her sister Guari is one of my favourite aspects of the novel. They are so closely bonded and reading about them together made my heart melt. Maya is smart, loyal and very curious! I did find her a little gullible at times but it didn’t take away from her amazing character.

Amar – He like most YA boys, has his secrets and darker personalities. Still I found him to be very caring and loyal. I don’t want to give too much away, but his journey with Maya was at the same time heart warming and breaking. There were so many times  wanted to just hug him and other times I wanted to shake him! He is very poetic in his words. *Courtesy of Roshani, of course* Also, he is 🔥🔥🔥 so that is an extra bonus. I want to know more about him and how he came to be who he is, maybe that will require a little extra reading from other sources though!

The Romance: Swoon, after swoon, after swoon. Just one huge giant swoon. I really enjoyed it. At first I though the story revolved to much around their romance and that things were moving pretty quick…then I read a certain passage…which lead to certain things and revelations and I went:

 excited full house flirting michelle tanner GIF

via giphy.com

To be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed their relationship.

The World(s): WOW! Just, wow! There are so many different places that are explored. The descriptions really kept a visual image growing in my mind. The detail in this novel is amazing, I wish I could travel there and see the magic for myself. But to get there would be probably the last thing I do *wink wink*

*Maybe a spoiler…Not really?*

The Fact that AKARAN is NARAKA Spelled Backwards!:  This little revelation of mine had me more shocked than Amar’s big revelation!

What I Disliked:

I Needed A Little More Umph: I don’t know if it was the fact that it was 12:30 am and I had had such a tiring day, but going through the final pages didn’t keep me awake and on edge. My eyes were closing and I had to go back and re-read passages I had already read. Perhaps I was just very tired…but I felt that those final pages were missing a little UMPH and pzazz to keep me awake and tentative. It just didn’t hook me like I wanted it too.

I Want More of an After: I really loved the ending, but I want to know more about what happens after. Also, I just really want to read more Roshani’ work!


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I am very upset that I did not go to her signing when she came up to Toronto last year. Honestly, past Rendz is great at choosing books but sucks when it it comes to deciding to go to signings or not. I cannot wait to read the sequel-not-sequel, A Crown of Wishes which follows the story of Guari and the war hero Vikram! I just recently read Mandy’s @BookPrincessReviews review on it and I am so, so excited to get a start on it! Plus there is going to be a prequel novella and I am very excited to read that backstory!!!!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (A stunning novel!)

Recommend: For those who want to feel magic in the form of written words, read this. For those who want a little myth and legend to touch their bookish souls, read this.

Alright-y people, I’m off to read Caraval! I’m literally so excited! I am finally reading my most anticipated read of the year!!!!

Happy reading!

~Rendz

get-reaidng

One Lovely Blogger Award

Greetings readers!

AGES UPON AGES AGO…I was nominated for the One Lovely Blogger Award by two amazing bloggers! Well at least I think there were only two…I have a feeling someone else may have nominated me for this award too and I forgot to jot down their name….or it could be my ego wanting to be flattered more! 🙃

If you did tag me and for some reason I didn’t get the pingback or I missed your name…I’m so sorry! I still really appreciate you…whoever you are! 🙃🙃

one-lovely-blog

 

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

HUGE THANKS GO OUT TO ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BLOGGERS AND BEST BLOGGER FRIENDS (BBF) Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews. Mandy has such an amazing blog, with amazing reviews, funny tags and other bookishly fantastic posts you should all go explore! ALSO A HUGE THANKS TO Bella @ Bella Blogs Because Books! Bella also has such an amazing blog, I love her reviews and you must all go check her out!!

7 THINGS ABOUT RENDZ…

1.) I started this blog in August of 2016 and honestly did not think I would make it past September. I tend to start things that I know I will not finish BUT working with books. Reading them. Writing about them. TALKING about them with other people is the best thing that I have ever done. I love it, so why stop?

2.) None of my close friends or family know about this blog. I have only told my two older sisters and one friend (who never asked me about it afterwards…so I guess she was not that interested). I don’t really think it would interest them if I talked about it! Plus…my parents would freak about my safety over the internet! Which I do sometimes because this world is honestly crazy.

3.) I don’t book shop online too much because I try to keep my book purchases to a minimum in the eyes of my parents. Having the book arrive at my door or my parents catching the bill would equal ☠☠☠ Meaning, I miss out on a lot of good deals and pre-order stuff never happens here! *cries*

4.) You should all know by now that I am terrible at keeping up with my TBR. I set the bar so high and I miss it every month! It gets so frustrating, but I’m getting better in at squeezing in some more time! (In other words I’m losing sleep!)

5.) My bookshelf has no real system of organization and it bothers me, but I’m too lazy to change it. I have my Marissa Meyer/Narnia shelf at the top and the rest of it is just a mess!

6.) I watch a lot of BookTube! My favourite is Regan from PeruseProject! We are literally best friends…she just does not know it. *not to sound creepy* I mean we like all the same books and I get all my recommendations from her! 🙃

7.) I am dedicating July as my re-read month! More news to come about this event in the coming weeks or so…😉

I Tag…

I feel like everyone has already been nominated for this! I mean you are all such amazing and lovely bloggers! I tag you all! Please do it on my behalf if you have not been nominated yet! Consider yourself a nominee as of now, by me!


Hope you enjoyed these 7 odd facts about me…that are not all that interesting but fun to share!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

April TBR 

Greetings readers!

I know it’s a little into the month, but I completely forgot to put up my TBR for this month! I put it on Instagram but not my blog!

Which by the way you can follow me on IG @readingwithrendz! 😉

Um…so this month my TBR is really just the leftovers from last month. I added a few new books, but who knows if I will actually get to them. April seems like it is going to be a terribly busy month! (For real-life Rendz anyways)

TBR for April

1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choshki : I am actually reading this right now and it is so beautiful! I love the writing and the story is so intriguing.

2. Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell : I am also currently reading this since the author sent me a copy for review! It’s a romance, something outside of my regular genres. So far it’s good, let’s see where this takes me.

3. Maud by Melanie Fishbane : I was approved my first ARC on Netgalley and I am so excited to have this one! It follows the life of L.M. Montgomery-the author of Anne of Green Gables which is a classic I absolutely adore!

4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber : I’m really hoping I can get to this! My most anticipated read of the year…and I’m afraid spoilers will arise soon.

5. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas : This is a very unlikely possibility considering I have so many other books to read. This is just a giant MAYBE!
That’s all for the TBR! I have some blog posts planned for this month that are outside of the ordinary tag/review/award! I’m still planning how it is going to work so stay tuned!

img_7327-1

Let me know what you are reading this month!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

The Assassin’s Blade Mini-Review

Greetings readers!

Fun story….

 xtina GIF

via giphy.com

An accurate sum of time it took me to read this book.

I started reading this on November 20th, 2016.

I finished reading this on April 2nd, 2017.

133 days.

Now I have a perfectly good excuse.

This was the first time I tried an audiobook. I borrowed it from the library in November and I would listen to it as much as I could. Well, from this experience I learned that audiobooks are not my cup of tea. Considering the fact that I don’t even like tea. Or coffee for that matter. It was just odd listening to someone but not actually seeing anyone. The narrator was fine, but listening to the book and not getting to see the words or flip the paged left me feeling blank and I just could not suck in the stories well.

Also, my mind would wander as mentioned in my previous Wrap-Up and thus I found out the struggle of trying to rewind an audiobook.

So, I stopped listening to it and instead borrowed the ebook. Much more suited for me. Still…it took me a while to read because December and January were tumultuous months in my personal life. I had to take some time off from reading and really focus my energy elsewhere. ALSO, other more important books came into my life..so..yeah.

Anyways, I’ve prepared a mini review for this because A) I wouldn’t do it justice with a full length review and B) I’ve already made this post so long with my intro.

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5)

via Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

What I liked

  • CELAENA SARDOTHIEN THE OG! She might be horribly vain and selfish in this book, but regardless I liked her way more than Aelin. She is epic and I loved her in these prequels.
  • SAM CORTLAND, AT LONG LAST WE MEET! He is honestly so perfect. Just perfect. So perfect *breaks down crying* Perfect.
  • Exploring the worlds! We went to so many places!
  • So many characters. Some that come back in the later books of the series!
  • THE DORIAN AND CHAOL CAMEO IN The Assassin and the Underworld literally had me jumping around!
  • I think The Assassin and the Healer was my favourite story next to The Assassin and the Underworld I’m really hoping the healer comes back!
  • Such great villains. So many epic fights. It was a bloody mess *tries not to sound like a creep*
  • The heart-breaking ending I was expecting.
  • “My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid”

What I Disliked

  • Slow parts in abundance. There were some parts that just dragged on and nothing happened.
  • Not always memorable. Umm…this could be partly my fault because it took me forever to read.
  • The Assassin’s Guild is still very vague to me in its structure and hierarchy. I wish more people from the Keep had been introduced or at least I would have liked to know about Arobynn’s other assassins.

Overall, I really enjoyed these prequels. I really wish I had read it before starting Throne of Glass or at least Queen of Shadows, it would have helped clear up a lot of backstory. I finally met Sam, and even through he is perfect on every level, Chaol Westfall still holds the #1 spot from the ToG men in my heart.  Sam is a very close second.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend: Read this either before Throne of Glass or Queen of Shadows! Do not be like me and read it after!

Now…I promised myself I would read Empire of Storms right after this. But I have two review books due very soon to get out of the way so I probably will not start this until May?! Who knows!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

The Midnight Star Review

Greetings readers!

As part of my March TBR, I listed The Midnight Star by Marie Lu as one of my need-to-reads. I have had this book since October. I even got it signed that same month when Marie Lu came up here for her tour. Let me tell you, I’m a huge Lu fan. And when I found out she was coming I literally screamed! You can read more about the signing event here.

The Young Elites is the second Marie Lu series I have read. It is a fantasy series that follows the journey of a villain. It is really dark and gruesome, but I have been enjoying them so far. The first one was great, the second instalment The Rose Society, lacked a little umph for me, but it is a good book over all!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)

via Goodreads

Goodreads summary:There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Okay, so a little note here. Regarding a series end, Lu is a heart-twister. She likes to yank on your feels and make you cry. I fell victim to her “Finale F*** Me Ups” before.(Pardon my language) If you have read Champion, from her Legend Trilogy, you know what I mean. Thus, going into this series finale, I carefully guarded myself, as to not have too much hope for a happy ending. Especially since this is a villain’s story.

What I liked

Characters: This series has an abundance of characters, some that I like and others that are kind of just meh. I shall highlight those of greater importance though!

Raffaele Laurent Bessette : My sweet, beautiful, lovable and dear Raffaele. I really love this guy. He is so kind hearted and caring. Despite his mishaps with Adelina and the struggles he faced, he stayed true to who he was and worked with compassion.

Magiano : My love. After my initial distrust and coldness towards him in book 2, I really came to love him by the end. And in this book I was all heart eyes for him. He is funny, charming and brave. His character was a little vague, he kind of just popped out of no where. But then we get a glimpse of his backstory and my heart breaks for him! Even though he supports Adelina through and through, he understands that he has to push to change and show her that the path she is headed down is dark. However, he loves her regardless.

Teren Santoro : I know he is the bad guy. Like a really bad guy, but I couldn’t help but like him. Not like him as in book boyfriend, but as a paradoxical character. He is a malfetto, who hates, hunts and kills malfettos whom he considers abominations like himself. He is an interesting character and I really enjoyed seeing his descent into madness.

Violetta Amouteru : Although she is barely in the first one and hardly in the third one, she is still my favourite character. I identify with her in many ways. The most prominent is that we are both younger sisters. Although my sisters are nothing like Adelina (you know…evil tyrant queens) , they still mean the world to me and I want to protect them as much as they protect me. All Violetta wants to do is save Adelina. The one thing she failed to do before while their father tormented her. She was voiceless but now she wants to grasp what courage she has to save her sister. Does she? Well…yes…kind of…maybe…no…eh? You have to read it!

Adelina Amouteru : Oh, mi Adelinetta. My troublesome lady. My White Wolf.  Adelina lived through Hell, survived Hell and then became Hell. A hell of an adventure this was to share with her. I loved this girl, despite her many, many, MANY flaws. She is the embodiment of what happens to us when we get angry and let the anger consume us. She is the picture of vengeance at its most gruesome level. And she falls. She falls, but her deep, deep moral saves her. If only ever so slightly. She is not a character you look to to be heroic, you look to her to understand and learn that the path we choose will affect our conscious and that our actions define us.

The World: In this one we get to see more of the surrounding lands, apart from Kenettra. There is one particular setting that I really enjoyed exploring. (Though I wish it had been explored longer) It was thrilling and added to the dark atmosphere that the entire book was set in.

Dark, Gruesome and Scary: Not scary, like thriller scary, but scary in that I know I would not survive ten minutes in that world. The mood is very eerie and dark. It adds to the journey as we see Adelina fall to the whispers’ directions and develop her villainy ways. Reading this story through the perspective of the villain made me feel uncomfortable at times. What she thought and how she justified it made some sense and at the same I agreed with her. That’s what scared me. It made me think like a villain but also retrace my steps and find the wrongness in her thinking.

Romance: Lu has been very open in that she has tough times writing romance scenes. She spends hours on them, but I think she deserves a big round of applause because although the romance is subtle it is swoony. Yes I’m talking about the bath scene. Very steamy, very much appreciated.

The History Snippets: I’m not sure what to call them…so I’ll just call them snippets. Before every chapter from Adelina, there is a short paragraph or line that gives detail into what is happening elsewhere in that world or how the rest of their world perceives the story of the White Wolf.  It is a poem, a letter, a few lines from a history record, or in one case a grocery list and they all give detail about the going-ons in the rest of that world. It shows how Adelina’s villainy spreads, how it affects others and the thoughts of the people. It gives insight on the story of their gods and how they also play an important role.

The Ending and the Epilogue: First of all, I would like to say I didn’t cry outwardly. Inside, I was dying. My eyes did get misty, but no tears shed. The ending had me nuts. So much went down in those final chapters. Some of it expected, some of it not expected. It had me dazed and a little choked up. The epilogue is what really broke me. It left me hopeful and also sad. (A true Marie Lu ending) I like to think of it as the introduction to the story of how the world will interpret Adelina’s story. The story of a tyrant or the story of a scarred girl. Also MAGIANO 😭😭😭😭😭 HE IS PERFECT! JUST SO PERFECT!

The Title Epiphany: I love it when I find meaning in titles. And this title! THIS TITLE HAD ME…

 basketball omg crying kid shocked GIF

via giphy.com

This kid says it all for me. As I explained this epiphany to my friends I noticed how cheesy it sounded. But it was the BEST cheesy I have read!

What I Disliked:

It Was Mellow: This one did not have the same action and thrill as the previous books. A lot of it was just walking and talking, but there were not too many battle scenes or epic fights. I mean this book was about a bloody war, but it focused more on the politics of it. There are bloody scenes, just not enough.*tries not to sound like a blood thirsty maniac?*

I Felt Some Disconnect: There were times in the book where I felt that it was just dragging and the characters were going through the same situation over and over. Even though this book is mostly told in the perspective of Adelina, I felt that she was going through the same struggle every chapter. I don’t even think I’m explaining this right…but I just wasn’t completely enthralled with the story.


Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It has wonderful magical elements and creative world building. There are creepy creatures and gory scenes that will make you flinch and recoil on the inside. I was so captured by Adelina’s story and her descent into villainy. This story really shows that the the face and action you show to the world can be interpreted in any way, good or bad. You may be a hero to one and a villain to another. It is about facing your mistakes and embracing your error.

Rating: 4.5 stars (That title epiphany still has me reeling)

Recommend: For those looking for a really dark, fantasy give this series a chance!

That is all for me! Now I wait for Marie Lu’s new novel WARCROSS which comes out in October! I cannot wait to read it!!!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng