The Calculus of Change | Review

Greetings readers!

Another contemporary for my records! *Lots of huzzahs* This book attracted me really for one grand reason: calculus. I took calculus in my last year of high school and it was my most hated, yet beloved class of the semester. (Art tops all) It was a really interesting to learn yet boring at the same time (I fell asleep a lot….oops). It was nonetheless taught by one of my favourite teachers and alongside math lessons he also gave out great life advice. (And let us watch Gladiator on the last day of classes and bought us pizza twice).

So yeah…really I saw “calculus” and pressed want-to-read, but this book held a lot more than just that.

The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb

The Calculus of Change
via Goodreads

A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one’s own skin.

Aden isn’t looking for love in her senior year. She’s much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike’s and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden’s heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom’s faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden’s brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.



Buy It!

Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository



*Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

This was a solid read. I was expecting a really light, fluffy read about falling in love and crushing really hard. And you know what? I got hit by a ton of bricks. Blow after blow after blow. This book was surface level fluff with much deeper and heavier problems hidden underneath. To quote people from Goodreads it was “realistic” story about a teenage girl with many teenage problems and her struggle to not fall apart.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Aden: A teenage girl. Living la vida loca. Just kidding. (I mean her life is a little loca) I enjoyed Aden. I thought she was really funny and blunt. She made mistakes (a lot of them) and she had to own up to them (as one should). She had to grow up as the “mom” figure in her home after losing her own mother at such a young age. She did some pretty amazing things in the novel (like write a whole song)! She also struggles in finding comfort in her own skin. She was always comparing herself to others girls who were “trademark pretty”. She didn’t out right hate them or shame them, but envy thrived strongly in Aden. Her self-image problems came into conflict with other aspects of her life, especially on her new found crush with Tate.

Aden’s story was also one of finding the courage to let go. She was always so focused on mothering, on being there for her friends, her brother, her father and Tate that she kind of lost who she was in the midst. But I love the fact that her music and connection to her mother, however minimal they were, kept her grounded to her reality.

Self-image Issues:

At first I was a little ummm…yikes about Aden’s views on beauty and sexual attractiveness. She would equate beauty and sexiness with being skinny and fit, wearing tight jeans and oddly enough smelling like something as pleasant as vanilla. However this story is an evolution. It’s a journey of getting out of that mindset, of not taking the bullshit to heart and finding it within herself to love who she is. It’s not an easy habit to quit, but it’s one that is important in finding the confidence and strength in yourself to face the world as you are.

Grief and Family:

Aden lost her mother at a very young age and her death really took a toll on everyone in her household. Her father lost himself to grief and it resulted in a bipolar nature. Her brother looked to Aden as a mother and Aden gladly filled that roll in as best as she could, even though she thought she didn’t know what she was doing. This book greatly shows how grief is not something gotten over within 300 pages or less. It endures before the first page and after the last page, the point is to not let it consume you. To live a life worth living.

Romance:

I didn’t realize this was a story about unrequited love until I was doing my  “inspect the book before I read” ritual. This was killer. There were so many times were I literally wanted to slap Tate upside the head! How could he not see how perfect he and Aden could be? And then there were times where I just wanted Aden to get over him. Just leave him be, but it’s not that easy to do especially when you fall hard and fast. Despite all this, there moments together were cute. They bonded over music, family, seeking their roots in Judaism and life. It was all so heart-warming and heart-wrenching too.

What I Disliked

No calculus:

I went in this for the calculus and there was no calculus. Hello? I mean I wouldn’t actually like to read a book on calculus because that would really be a snooze-fest, but the references to the math were weak and minimal. I thought music was the bigger motif than calculus. It’s a very misleading title.

It was good, it just wasn’t wow:

I had no  intense emotions towards this book and this deals with some intense stuff. I just think I wasn’t invested in this enough emotionally, there was no real connection with many characters and everything felt meh. I was expecting a lot more feels, but it barely grabbed at them.


Overall, it was a solid story. It was a fast-paced read. The chapters are nice and short and the story itself is very easy to follow. There is a lot of drama, some things definitely shocked me, but it is ultimately Aden’s story to self-discovery and acceptance. I think the ending was one of my favourite bits.

Rating: 3 / 5

Recommed: Solid, cute and slightly heartbreaking. So yes.

Let me know what you think! Have you ever experienced unrequited love? How is your journey to self-acceptance/discovery going? What are some of your favourite YA romances?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag: Day 3

Greetings readers!

Today is the final day of this super cute tag! I have had so much fun finding these quotes and I hope you choose to participate whether you are tagged or not!

This final day I have dedicated to you all…

Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)

• Nominate three new bloggers each day

Quote 3:

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Be Brave
via Tumblr

I wanted to use this one very much because I have found so many Kindred Spirits through this blog. I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends I have made through this new bookish journey, you are all so kind and incredible! You are all Kindred Spirits, Anne would be overwhelmed by all this love.

I Tag…

Rimpy Reads

Books Teacup and Reviews

Jasmine’s Reading Blog

*Feel no pressure to participate*

Let me know what you think! How many kindred spirits do you have in your life? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag: Day 2

Greetings readers!

I was tagged again the other day by Kyera @ Kyera’s Library! She too has an incredible blog with so many fantastic reviews and bookish posts! Drop by and giver a visit soon.

Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)

• Nominate three new bloggers each day

Time for the second round of epic quote-sharing! This is from one my favourite series ever. Seriously. If you guys need a feel good, fast, light read. READ THE PENDERWICKS BY JEANNE BIRDSALL!

Quote 2:

“Am I odd? Is there something wrong with me, like Mrs. Tifton said?”

Skye knelt down on the wet grass and looked straight into Batty’s eyes. “No you stupid idiot, there’s nothing wrong. with you. You’re perfect.”

― Jeanne BirdsallThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Related image
via Goodreads

I adore this book. I adore this line. In context it would have made much more sense, but just trust me you would love it too, if you read it. Growing up with two older sisters, I relate a lot to these characters. I have that sister bond, it’s like being in a super cool club and am yet simultaneously excluded from the cool older sister club. Skye Penderwick reminds me a lot of my sister Kez and her relationship with Batty reminds me of my bond with Kez many years ago. In our eyes, we were both stupid idiots yet perfect at the same time. Ahhh…the good times.

I Tag….

Angelica @ Book Cover Girl

Darque Dreamer Reads

Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm

*Feel no pressure to participate*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag: Day 1

Greetings readers!

I was tagged by several bloggers now to do this really cute and easy tag! The 3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag let’s you share some of your favourite literary quotes with a tiny explanation as to why they mean so much (or don’t explain…but I like to hit high word counts)! Stay tuned because this is a three day feature!

Thank you to:

Kate @ Melting Pots and Other Calamities
Kate has an incredible blog filled with amazing discussions, book reviews and webtoons and more! She is so kind and very friendly! Do not be shy to pop up into her space.

Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews
Trust me, you know Mandy. How could you not? If you don’t seriously go check out her site. It is filled with such epic wonderfullness that you cannot miss. Plus she is super nice and will gladly interact with you!

Kiersten @ Once Upon A Spine
Kiersten has such a great blog! It is filled with incredible posts from tags to reviews to writing updates! Give her a visit as well, I’m sure you will find something very interesting to read!

Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)

• Nominate three new bloggers each day

Quote 1:

“Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny.”
— C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Best drawing of the Pevensies I've ever seen
From “Always a King or Queen” by Deb J. Lee

How can I talk about quotes and not feature this peace of wisdom? The Chronicles of Narnia have been such influential books and movies over the past 12 years of my life. It was my first fantasy series that really made me want to go on adventures, fight battles and want to be more than a princess in a pretty dress. It made me want the high stakes, the magic and the sibling bond.

I will forever be grateful.

I Tag…

Taiwo @ Stuffed Shelves

Sophie @ Blame Chocolate

Kester @ LILbooKlovers

*Feel no pressure to participate*

Let me know what you think! What is a favourite quote you have been hanging on to for a while? What words to you always look back to for some advice?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Wicked Deep | Review

Greetings readers!

Sometimes a book’s hook-line just kind of…well…hooks you. And when the hook-line is:

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.”

You throw it onto your TBR without a second thought.

I love, love, love Hocus Pocus. It is one of my favourite Halloween movies. Just enough ghost and creep factor mixed in with humour and fun. I’ve watched Practical Magic exactly once and was too freaked out to watch it again (I was young), but I do recall a well done creepy movie. And well the Salem Witch trials are haunting just thinking about them.

So when a book is a combo of all this witchy and magical goodness, I expect a lot.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep
via Goodreads

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


BUY IT!

Indigo |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

This book releases March 6th! Be sure to check it out!


*Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley. This did not influence my opinion in any way!*

What an absolute ride this was. I do not even know exactly how to write this review. This book made me suffer, but not in the way you might think. By the end I was dizzy and even thinking about it now pulls some heart strings. I was amazed and stumped by this book.

What I Liked:

Hook-Line Delivery:

The Hocus Pocus was there. The Practical Magic was there. The Salem Witch trials were there. They were visible without being too forced, without having to scratch your head and think hard. I loved the influences they were subtle and interesting. I especially love how all three references crafted the sisters and their story. It also added to the creep-factor most definitely.

via giphy.com

Spooky and Perfectly Haunting Atmosphere:

I am amazed at Ernshaw’s writing. It was simply beautifully. Eloquently gothic and just right for this kind of story. She transported me effortlessly into the story’s setting. I was there by the sea, I could smell the salty air, feel the cold wind running in my hair and hear the deadly song playing in my ears. The island setting was perfect. I don’t know about you, but water ghosts are really creepier than land ghosts. At one point, early on, I kind of had to stop reading, things got a little too creepy for me and reading this book at one a.m. when my imagination runs wild, would have probably given me nightmares. Eerie and beautiful are what this book was.

Characters: (To be 100% honest, I have no idea how to talk about the characters without spoiling major things, but I’ll try.)

Penny: Okay….I really enjoyed Penny’s character. She was interesting and yet still very mysterious. You think you know her and yet you do not know much. She really was a tricky character to follow. Yeah….

Bo: He felt a little one-dimensional. I never felt a super close attraction to him and he is also a mystery for most of the novel. Then the end comes and I just don’t know if I liked him as much…but I also sympathize with him…..???

confused big brother GIF by Big Brother After Dark
via giphy.com

*Thanks for being vague, Rendz*

The Legend Snippets:

They were perfectly placed and well balanced. They gave just enough context without giving away too much or becoming confusing. They often revealed a lot of details that made the story the characters were living in make more sense. Still, they wouldn’t give everything away and sometimes brought in more mystery to the story that led to more revelations and secrets being kept by characters.

The Twist and Then Some:

Right at the beginning of the book, I guessed one possible twist and doubted myself the whole way. The author wrote it out in a way that made me forget my theory quite often and then it hits you with a full force. I was shocked and yet proud that I had been right. I was whisper yelling in my room at midnight. At just when you think that it is all the author has to reveal, more and more revelations follow and my heart could not take it…I was beyond stressed.

What I Disliked:

One thing that really messed me up, The Romance:

1. It was Insta-love. I never really understood exactly why Penny and Bo fell for each other. Other than that they were following the same mystery, what did they have in common? And as for getting to know each other, they each kept their secrets…so what exactly was the basis of this deep love for one another?

2. I am conflicted beyond belief. I am stuck, stuck, stuck. The twists really messed up how I saw this ship. I want to believe that the ship is true, but I don’t. I do not think that either had sincere feelings for each other. By the very end, I pitied Penny because I felt like she got the short end of the stick and I felt that Bo didn’t really have genuine feelings for her. And I don’t like this “he eventually learned to love her” nonsense. That does not work for me. No, thank you.

Should you guys read this, I think some of you would disagree with my view. But I cannot help but think that this ship is not genuine.

via tenor.com

Overall, like the song a siren, this book captivated me. It hardly had any dull moments and I was reading it for long periods of time, completely focused on nothing but this book and the going-ons in it. Shea Ernshaw did a wonderful job with her debut! I know I had that one issue that I cannot get over, but I think a lot of you would still enjoy this book despite that bump.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars (It’s a “good” 4)
Recommend: Uh, yeah. I need to talk to people about this now.

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite paranormal reads? Which books definitely delivered their hook-lines? Are you thinking of picking this up?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Forest of A Thousand Lanterns| Mini Review

Greetings readers!

I was in such a good reading track this past January that I read a lot faster than reviewing. Which doesn’t happen too often, so I cherish these triumphant moments. During that time, I read this very dark tale and I’ll be sharing with you a mini review just to sum up my thoughts and feelings.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

This was so dark. Going in I knew it was going to be pretty rough, this is the origin story of the Evil Queen, after all. But man…. I really enjoyed this book, the world was lush and the characters were amazing. I loved the Asian mythology and culture that it was set in and it just wowowowow.

The Likes:

  • Xifeng: Girl you’re kind of crazy, but I love you. I mean your twistiness is alarming, but hun I was rooting for you.
  • The Empress…my heart.
  • Myths, fate, destiny!!! IT’S ALL IN THE CARDS!
  • The World: Small villages, magical forests, deceptive kingdoms, what is not to love. It was lush (did I mention that already?) Simply stunning, I loved it.
  • Dear goodness the twistiness of this novel. It’s a series of slaps. Left, right, left, right.
  • Julie made me waiiitttt. I knew from the get-go that Xifeng would turn up evil, but my-oh-my there were many times I doubted it and thought she was Snow White, when I knew that this was an Evil Queen origin story!!!
  • My goodness, there were some rather gruesome and bloody elements tucked in there. I literally gagged at one point *shivers*
  • The ending: dark, dark, darkkkk

The Dislikes:

  • *Does not take away from the novel* Emperor is a little B*tch™
  • I’m hoping that the sequel goes into a little more depth about the gods and their legends because I was just a tad confused.
  • It was put-downable. My attention was splotchy with it, especially when the characters were just travelling or it was endless days of just being in the palace.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: It is a fantastic debut, that can satisfy that dark fairy tale lover in you!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? What are some of your favourite dark fairy tales? Know of any other Evil Queen retellings?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Power Couples Book Tag

Greetings readers!

In honour of Valentines Day, which is fast approaching, I found it is the perfect time to fan about my favourite couples from books.

Thank you, Sophie @ Blame Chocolate for tagging me in this epic tag! She has an amazing blog! *Seriously, I demand that you check it out!*

Oddly enough, I found it really hard to answer these questions. Trust me, I ship tons of ships, but having to choose just one to fit the categories was tough! Plus this tag also made my reread list grow even longer because there are so many couples out there that I want to revisit!

Let’s get on with it then. Prepare to swoon.

A couple that share big passions and goals

Prodigy: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #2)
via Goodreads

Day and June

*Infinite crying* At first they each had their own separate lives and goals until they came together and it all merged into one. They just wanted justice, and their journey to it was hard fought with so many sacrifices. My heart cannot handle it when I think about them. I adore them so much!!!

A couple that love and respect each other

17931978_174350226419164_5618374709923020800_n

Maya and Amar

They are their own people and literally go to the ends of the world for each other. My heartttttttttttttttttt.

A couple that is stronger together than apart

blood and sand
via Goodreads

Attia and Xanthus

Seriously, they kick major butt when they work together.

A couple that wholly support each other

Rainy Day by taratjah
Artist: Taratjah 

Kai and Cinder

They rooted for each other throughout the whole Levana debacle even if they thought each others approaches were a little risky. i.e. Kidnapping the groom, Trying to stab the bride at the wedding. They cheered for each other without a doubt. I LOVE THEM.
This piece of fanart makes me literally squeal and cry and yell. Too much cuteness in one.

A couple that advocate each other for others

Cresswell Snow by taratjah
Artist: Taratjah 

Cress and Thorne

Cress will literally defend Thorne against himself and anyone else who demeans him heroic-ness and Thorne will always keep his stance on how incredible Cress is even though she has been locked away most of her life. THEY ARE THE SHIP OF MY LIFE. I SUPPORT THEM ENDLESSLY. DON’T YOU DARE FIGHT ME ABOUT IT.

I Tag…

Well anyone who feels like gushing about their favourite ships! Please do it, I would love to see your answers!!

Let me know what you think! Who are your favourite romantic ships? Friendships? Sibling(ships)? Yell out your OTPs I am ready! 

*Quick reminder that I need your votes for my TLC fanart reveal! Details at the bottom of my last wrap up post!*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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