Penguin Teen CA Social | Event Recap

Greetings readers!

I am so, so, so lucky that I found out about this event. I want to send a big shout out to my friend, Rezanne @TheWickedReader. If it hadn’t been for her, I would have never found out about this event and I love attending these socials with her, it’s so much fun!

I love a lot of publishing houses out there and I have begun to work with quite a few Canadian ones this year. Penguin Random House Canada is one of my favourites. They literally have the nicest employees (Whom I got to meet in person. Hi, Sam!) and they have so far granted all my requests 😭😭😭. I am sending them so much love!!!!!!

Penguin is home to some of my favourite authors and I was so excited to talk about their new titles which they are putting forth and some of the promos they are going to be having this summer and fall!

* I must first apologize, I totally forgot to take good pictures of this event. The office was set up beautifully and they had a lovely food & drink table, plus a photo wall! Alas, I didn’t take pictures and what I did take is not that great! >.< So sorry!

Upcoming Titles I Am Stoked For!

The lovely panelists Vikki and Sam went through lots of titles that will be released by Penguin in the coming months. The books come from all different genres and I’m sure you’ll see quite a few you will want to pick up!

The ones I pick up the most are:

Summer 2018 Titles!

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson ~ May 8th, 2018
This title has actually already been released and you can get it now! It has lots of cool elements like Mexican brujas, zombies and ghosts!

Life L1k3 by Jay Kristoff ~ May 29th, 2018
This is the moment when Rezanne pleaded that I read it. Robots and androids. Colour me intrigued!

LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike, #1)

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma~ May 15th, 2018
This one sounds absolutely adorable and I’m really hoping I can pick it up!

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir ~ June 12th, 2018
Need I say more? Just read this series!!!!

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas ~ Aug 7th, 2018
I need to keep up my DC Icons collection!

My So-Called Bollywood Life A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)

Fall 2018 Titles:

Wildcard (Warcross #2)

Wildcard by Marie Lu ~ Sept 18th, 2018
Again NEED I SAY MORE????

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little ~ Sept 11th, 2018
A Mean Girls-esque book! SIGN ME UP.

Confessions of a Teenage Leper

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White ~ Sept 25th, 2018
Sounds dark, twisty and wholly creepy. I’m ready.

Kingdom of a Blazing Pheonix by Julie C. Dao ~ Nov 6th, 2018
Sequel to the Evil Queen retelling, Forest of A Thousand Lanterns! I am so excited for it!

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein  Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2)

Middle Grade Titles

Clara Voyant

Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney ~ May 15th
I was sold as soon as I read the clever word play in the title!

All of Penguins Titles Coming Soon

Summer 2018:

Fall 2018

Middle Grade Reads

Upcoming Penguin Campaigns!

#HerStoryTeen Campaign
Books about many historical women and girls and their trials of living in a man’s world.

#OneBloodySummer Campaign
Full of lots of chilling reads! Look out for creepy good content and giveaways coming from Penguin this summer!

one bloody summer


Author Q&A and Signing

Sandra Gulland, author of The Game of Hope, was present during the event. She along with her editor had a wonderful discussion about writing her new YA book and the challenges/triumphs of writing historical fiction.

This discussion was followed by a signing! I was able to meet Sandra, who is a very lovely person and she handed out tarot-like cards which have a relation to the story. I got the moon card. It was a very romantic fortune and basically I’m waiting for a dashing man to show up any day now! Tick-tock!


So what books did I get?

Well first of all there was a free ARC station where you could go grab something you liked!

I found an ARC of Royals by Rachel Hawkins and I was lucky enough to snatch an ARC of Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh! I now have both books in the series and I am ready to devour them!

Royals   Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist, #2)  Orphan Monster Spy  We Are All That's Left

Then Penguin was so kind as to hand us goody bags! In each bag came some bookmark swag and two more ARCs. I was fortunate to find ARCs of Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen and We Are All That’s Left by Carrie Arcos!

I am so excited to get to all of these books!



Overall, I had an amazing time at this event. The snacks they had were delicious, the books we talked about sound amazing, the people were also very enthusiastic and kind! It was a room full of bookworms, I couldn’t have asked for a better night!

Let me know what you think! What Penguin titles are you looking forward to? Have you had the chance to read any of these books yet? Did you attend the event?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Golden Road | Review

Greetings readers!

The weather around here is finally getting nicer! We’ve had quite a few nice sunny, warm days with just the right amount of wind to keep it fresh and I have been having the time of my life reading in my sunlit living room!

I took advantage of that sunny time to read this book too. And since it has such a nice yellowy golden coloured cover, it was a picturesque scene of me reading. Except I was probably wearing tattered pjs!

The Golden Road by L. M. Montgomery

Publisher: Tundra Books
Pub Date: Jan 9, 2018
Price: $12.99 CAD
ISBN: 9781101919477

Introduced in The Story Girl, Sara Stanley is L.M. Montgomery’s most enchanting heroine since Anne of Green Gables. Sara was born with a fertile imagination and a strong sense of fun–and she gets her chance to put her talents to good use when she spends the winter with the King family in the old-fashioned town of Carlisle.

On a blustery November day the King children and Sara, the Story Girl, come up with a great idea that will help them endure the dreary winter season. They will publish a magazine of their thoughts and adventures. From “Personals” and “Fashion Notes” to an etiquette column and stories of the most interesting happenings in Carlisle, OUR MAGAZINE is simply the most entertaining and delightful publication anyone in town has ever read. But seasons pass, and nothing is forever–and soon it will be time for the Story Girl to leave her good friends on Prince Edward Island, friends with whom she has walked the golden road of youth.


BUY IT!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo | McNally Robinson


*Thank you Penguin Random House CA for providing me with a copy for review! All opinions are my own!*

This book is the sequel to Montgomery’s previous novel, The Story Girl. It follows the same set of characters only with new adventures and games. I have to say that I enjoyed this one a bit more than the first one. If you want to read more about what I thought of The Story Girl you can read My Full Review!

What I Liked:

Characters:

All the characters had their charm on again. The same personalities from the first book but a little more cheeky and mischievous. Cecily is still my favourite, even though she doesn’t have a lot of parts in the book, she has this quiet kind of sass that I really appreciated. The other characters had their shining moments too, but Cecily is definitely the character I enjoyed the most.

This One Had A Plot:

Let me tell you people. The first book was really just a recount of the summer vacation these kids had. There was no real direction that I could pick up, unless you count the winding down of summer. Which I don’t. In this book, the characters actions revolved around an event, their hand-written magazine! It was a cute plot. Every few chapters Montgomery wrote in excerpts of their magazine which basically recounted what the previous chapters had been about, but the characters would slide in “extra” details that may or may not have happened. Their banter and bickering about these extra added bits added quite a lot of fun.

The Writing:

As usual, I adored the writing by Montgomery. She has a purple/flowery prose yes. But I loved it. It went along with the whole scenario of the story. When you’re a kid everything in the world is your new discovery and since kids are always experiencing things/events for the first time, it gives the author lots of room to add in the wonder and magic into the story. Montgomery has the perfect prose for writing through the eyes of a child and I just cannot get over all the beautiful descriptions in this book!

What I Disliked:

Slow Pace:

It wasn’t all that exciting. Funny things do happen yes, others a bit more tragic and yet I didn’t feel much as I was reading. It didn’t give me that little sentiment of joy or bliss and I just felt kind of bored sometimes. Everything was all mellow and there was no real climax or suspense to pull me into the story.

That Moment When Montgomery Killed A Character Without Actually Killing the Character:

By the end of the book, one of the characters’ fates is to die. I am not lying. While Montgomery doesn’t directly kill him/her on page, the readers know that is it that one of the characters will not make it into adulthood! Who does that!? It was a sad, sad moment people.


Overall, this book was fine. I did like it a bit more than the first one because it had a good direction and I thought the magazine idea was really cute. If you are going to read this book, it is probably going to be for the beautiful descriptions and the character personalities.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Sure. It is a cute read after all.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? What MG stories are you looking to pick up soon? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

 

Furyborn | Review

Greetings readers!

Three months ago I was  blessed with getting a chance to read this anticipated 2018 title early, but because I suck at managing my reading, I totally forgot I had it! WHAT?!? Am I disappointed that I didn’t read it earlier? Yes and no. Yes, because it was quite good. But, no because I have less time to wait for a sequel. Hehehehe.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

9781492673002
via raincoast.com

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pub Date: May 22, 2018 (Today!)
Price: $16.99 CAD (pb)
ISBN: 9781492673002

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world… or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed… unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable-until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world-and of each other.


BUY IT!

 Amazon.ca  | Chapters Indigo  | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


*I was provided and e-ARC by the publisher via Netgalley. This does not influence my opinion!*

This book has a lot of hype surrounding it with very good reason. It is incredibly fast-paced, there are many twists and turns, and the magic is quite a wonder in itself! I love all things YA Fantasy so of course I just had to pick this one up and I was not disappointed!

What I Liked:

Characters & Dual-POV:

I have to say that I was quite surprised at my reaction to the dual-POV. Usually, I tend to care more for one POV and focus on that while trudging reluctantly through another perspective, but with this book I looked forward to both stories. There was never a time where I felt the need to skim just to get back to another character because I *needed* to know about both! I think that had a lot to do with my love for the main characters, Rielle and Eliana.

Rielle started off as my favourite just because she was mischievous and had this “innocence” to her in the first chapter (the prologue is a little something else…). I really did pity her because her life was a lie and a secret, and the people closest to her might have resented her for that. Eliana on the other hand, turned out to be my favourite by the end. She was not a *good* person in the traditional sense. A liar, a murderer, a thief and many more terms synonymous with dread, but I love a good redemption arc!!!!! Both girls had their distinct personalities and mind sets that often led them into deep trouble. The one thing that they do share is that they know what they want, and they do what they need to get it.

Then there other characters like Remy, Zavi and SIMON. Remy is a precious bean, whom I love and needs to be protected at all costs. Zavi is still a mystery to me, I feel like there is not enough yet known about her and she is going to play a bigger role later on. Then we get to SIMON because he deserves all caps. I don’t even know what to say. He’s just really great. Another precious bean. Corien is trash.

The Plot & Writing:

I enjoyed the plot for the most part. Legrand’s direction was quite clear and her writing wasn’t too complicated. I didn’t think the major jump in time/era was confusing, since both societies were quite distinct. I am, personally, a huge fan of “fulfilling the prophecy” plots, it makes the book like a guessing game and I love it when my theories are correct! I also love “trials of magic,” I am such a complete sucker for those and this book has that so…!!! As for the twists, they were very twisty, perhaps not as shocking as I had hoped, but they did still have a big impact on the story that are setting up good things for the sequels.

There were even little history snippets before every chapter, which I LOVE!! It sets up the chapter for you, so you can kind-of-sort-of-not-really brace yourself for what it to come.

The Magic:

I thought that the magic was excellently done! Let’s bring back the age of angels, please!!!! My sister was a super fan of paranormal angel books and it became a guilty pleasure of mine when I was younger. When I first read that this book had angels I was a little hesitant, but I really did like their purpose and history. If you are a fan of the classic elements with a bit of a twist, I think you would enjoy this.

The Prologue: 

Now I’m just rambling, but I really loved the prologue. Let the guessing games begin.

The Romance:

It was fine. I wasn’t really too into it, which is shocking for me. The ships were cute. There was one that evolved much faster than the other and watch out for chapter 41, ’tis quite–quite–steamy. The other romance was enemies-to-lovers and I. Am. A. Sucker. For. That.

******************* Spoiler – Highlight to read!***************

>|Harkan is so not dead, people. And this is gonna come back to bite us in the butts. |<

**********************End of Spolier**************************

What I Disliked:

I have to knock off one star, for the sole reason that I’m having a hard time believing this book to be memorable. The story while I was reading was quite good, but I could spot moments when I could put it down and just stop reading. There was no intense need to get back to reading. It had its fair share of dull moments and this was quite a large book.

The ending was also a bit…meh for me. There was no shock or complete rush of adrenaline. It just ended. I can actually wait for the sequel, despite how much I want to know more about these character. That is never the greatest sign.


Overall, I did enjoy this. I am looking forward to the sequel, although I might be in need of a reread when the time comes for the next book! The characters are what really made this book for me since these girls were just so epic and unapologetic.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yeah! It’s like super hyped, but I’d say give it a go if you love fantasy (and angels!)

Let me know what you think! Have you read it? What did you think? Who was your favourite character? Who was your least favourite character? Rant to me, I am ready!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Saving Each Other | Blog Tour – Q&A and Excerpt

Greetings readers!

I am so happy to bring you a lovely Q&A and Excerpt of a New Adult book, Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell. This book is perfect for the romantic in you! It’s a novel on grief and the strength needed to keep moving on in life. I’ve heard it’s the book to read when your looking to breach those hard to swallow topics and need a good cry!

Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell

Saving Each Other (Saving Series, #1)

Publisher: Create Space
Pub Date: Aug 4th, 2017
ISBN: 1974591719
Find it! Goodreads | Amazon

Two hearts, two souls. Devastated by loss, united through destiny.

The rules: Communicate only through text messages and never reveal our real names or other personal details.

My name is Ean Montgomery. After the drunk driving accident that killed my wife, son, and unborn daughter, I was forced to see a grief counselor. In an unconventional move, she gave me a private cell phone and the first initial of the name of a woman who had been widowed by the same accident. I had no intention of ever texting her but with all hope and the will to live gone, I found myself quickly slipping down the rabbit hole. Desperate, lonely, and unbelievably sad, I reached out to her and she became my everything.

My name is Dani Adams. I was married to my college sweetheart, the love of my life. Together we were raising our four-year-old daughter and running a successful business. Then the accident happened and life as I knew it ended in the blink of an eye. I didn’t want to answer his text but I was barely hanging on by a thread and he was in tremendous pain, so I replied. And once again, my world was forever changed.

Over the course of a year, through texting alone, we bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. We were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans, and in this world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow… But can the passion we’ve found sustain itself with the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?

About Stacy!

author photo

 Stacy Mitchell was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived in the South Bay for 20 years before moving to the Conejo Valley. She lives with her husband of 29 years and is the mom of two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains or enjoying a glass of cabernet.

Find Stacy Online!
Facebook | Pinterest

Author Q & A

Where did you grow up /live now? I was born and raised in Los Angeles, moved to the South Bay when I met my husband, and then relocated to the Conejo Valley when my oldest son, Jason, started middle school.

Do you have kids and/or pets? I have two sons. Jason graduated Rutgers, and stayed there, while my youngest, Brian, is about to start design school. I’ve never owned a cat but may get one. I lost my goldendoodle, Norman, last year, and my labradoodle, Maddie, is lonely. Look for my tribute to Norman in the back of my book.

Who are some of your favorite authors? My son Brian is gay and I wanted to be there for him, to guide him. So I turned to gay romance novels. I’m now completely addicted to them. People who live in the LGBTQ+ community have much higher hurdles they have to scale, so the love they share is much deeper than straight couples. Most of the time they’re better than mainstream books. NR Walker is my favorite M/M author. I also love Riley Hart, Lucy Lennox, Alexa Land, and Pandora Pine to name a few. When I read “straight” romance novels, I tend to lean toward Contemporary and romantic comedy. My favorite M/F author is Sandi Lynn. Other one-click authors are Adrianna Locke, Corinne Michaels, BN Toler, and Kristen Callahan.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I could spend the day writing, and still want to read. My goal with Goodreads is 200 books.  And, when I’m not reading, I can be found being creative in other ways. Brian designs fashion, and I love sewing with him. I also love designing jewelry, scrapbooking, and making gift baskets. Look for some of the fun give-aways, coming in the near future, many of them will be handmade.

What are some things unique to your books?   Aside from adding details that make it seem like you’re watching a movie, I love quotes, or as my husband calls them, Squotes. It’s something you’ll see throughout my book.  You also don’t find many books on the market where the main characters share chapters. Originally, I had five, but, over time, I narrowed it down to two. In the scene where Ean quotes Dani, mimicking her slurring her words, I actually slurred into my phone and let autocorrect do its thing. Also, in my second book, Josh talks with his mouth full. I shoved a bunch of crackers in my mouth and repeated his words. It was both messy, and effective.

Where/When do you best like to write? I have a small deck off my bedroom. I bought an oversized chair from Costco, and spend my days writing with my laptop on a polka dot, pillowed LapDesk. I’m a night-owl, and find I write the best when the moon’s smiling in the night sky.

What do you think makes a good story? I’m a very visual person, I was an interior decorator in my last life, so I love books with a ton of imagery. I also love books with real places in them. It’s so much fun to stumble across one when I’m reading, and I always Google and bookmark them. It’s also why I only include real places in my books.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write? Let’s start with the first question. Until three years ago, I never read a book that I wasn’t required to read.

Eleven years ago, my son Brian went away to summer camp. My husband and I decided to take advantage of our time off, hopped in my car and took a road trip up the West coast, from California to Washington. We were in Oregon, nine hours away, when the call came in that Brian had had a seizure. It was the hardest drive of my life. Thankfully, we got in touch with my mother, so I knew he wasn’t alone. When I got there, I was a basket-case, and that’s where the double-edged sword of having my mother there came into play. She handed me a little blue pill, to calm me. She then gave me a few more. She also gave me the name of a “dirty” doctor and told me what to say. The little blue pill was Xanax.

By the time I ended my addiction, which was eight years later, I was, not only taking twelve to fourteen milligrams a day, I was also hooked on over a dozen prescription drugs. In 2014, I traveled to Ireland and ran out of most of them. The withdrawal was so bad, I spent the entire time there in the hotel room. When I got home, I was in the doctor’s office bright and early the very next day. Six months later, I was back in the same boat. The only difference was, this time I was still in California. That was when I said, “Enough is enough,” and flushed every other pill I had. In hindsight, it was completely the wrong way to quit. Three years later, I still feel the effects, especially when I’m stressed.

So this brings me to the second question. Dani and Ean inspired me to write. Six months after I stopped the pills, I was in bed in that space between consciousness and sub-consciousness when Dani and Ean came to me. The best way I can it describe is…like watching a movie. I felt their pain with such intensity it took my breath away. I got up, opened notes on my iPhone, since I didn’t own a laptop, and my thumbs got to work.

What are some of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?  Keep your ears open and your mouth closed. Ideas can come from anywhere. And it really does take a village. I originally published my book August of last year. When the reviews came in, I not only read them, I got in touch with the people who wrote them. Best. Move. Ever! I got great advice and made a ton of new friends. It’s because of them that I re-opened Saving Each Other and spent the last four months revising it. Look for their names in the acknowledgment page.

And, don’t even get me started on the amazing women who helped me make my book what it is today, Stacey Blake, Judy Zweifel, Francine LaSala, and Sara Kocek.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again? Writer’s block isn’t an issue for me. Saving Each Other is the first in a series of five books. I wrote my second book, Saving Them, a month after my first, and I also wrote it in a month. The last three in the series, Saving Ourselves, Saving Christmas, and Saving Maybe, are partially written and completely mapped out. Going back to “ideas can come from anywhere,” I was in San Francisco last year and met an amazing man, who sadly was homeless. While talking to him, a sequel series, The Finding Series, played out in my mind. It’s all their kids.

Even though I haven’t experienced “Writer’s Block,” I have times when I’m uninspired. My words come from my characters, their voices roll through me. So, for the times I can’t hear them, I found that stepping back usually does the trick. By the time I start writing again, the words are much easier to find. Brian helps too. He’s my official “name” man. Other than the main characters, he named everyone. Talking it out helps too. I bounce ideas off my best friend, Leslie, and after a half an hour, I’m good to go.

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book? You won’t see it, because I’m surrounded by such amazing women, but I suck at grammar! Like legitimately suck!

What is the one book no writer should be without? One word…Thesaurus!

Excerpt

The place D and I have been forced to go for counseling is called “OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center” and is about a half an hour away from my home. My mom insisted on driving me. And while she hasn’t read anything about the accident, she spent the entire ride, before my first session, alternating between trying to force me to read the articles flooding the Internet and trying to persuade me to attend the court proceedings. I’m not going to read what some scumbag has to say about my family and I’ve made everyone promise they won’t either. I’m also definitely not going to the trial. The minute I see the man who murdered my family, I’ll lose my shit and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially me.

“OUR HOUSE” usually holds group sessions, but because our sessions are court-mandated and high profile, D and I were able to meet separately with our counselor, Elizabeth Macintyre, on a one-to-one basis.

Since we’re both barely hanging on by a thread, Beth did something very extreme and very risky. She came up with the idea that connecting us with one another could help us get through the grieving process. Her thinking was that since we’re both going through the same thing, we could potentially help each other. She explained to us—that to her—this was worth the potential loss of her license.

She gave us each a new cell phone that contained only each other’s new phone numbers along with the first letter of our first names. She wanted us to have a dedicated line to one another and her only stipulations were that we only communicate through text message and never reveal our real names or other personal details. This I agreed to because I had absolutely no intention of ever contacting her.

Except today. Today I have to. So I turn on my phone and type:

D, this is E.

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I don’t see how it’s going to change anything but I can’t stand this anymore. I’m at my breaking point. I’m in constant pain. It feels like a huge band is crushing my chest and getting tighter every day. All I do is cry! Everybody’s been trying really hard to help get me through this, I know that. I just don’t have it in me to give a shit.

I lost it with my mom yesterday. Said things no son should ever say to his mother. All she did was ask me to move in with her, and I lost it. It got so bad that she ran out of the house crying with a very mad Riley on her heels. Sure she’s asked me before, but that’s no excuse. My dad laid into me, took Po, and left. I’m now truly alone; being sucked into an inescapable vortex of grief. I’m so lost.

They haven’t been by yet today and I hope they don’t come by at all; this way I can die in peace. I’m falling down the rabbit hole very quickly and that’s why I need to contact D, the only other person who could possibly understand what I’m going through.

So I continue.

I wasn’t planning on contacting you, but here I am. I’m sure you feel the same way since you haven’t reached out to me and I don’t blame you if you don’t respond. It’s been almost a month since my world ended, and let’s just say, unfortunately, suicide isn’t an option. Even though I really wish it were.

I push aside my tears but not my pain; it refuses to leave. I take a deep breath and keep typing.

I’m dying. With each second that passes, I keep dying more and more. I never leave my house, I just sit near the door waiting for their return. So yeah, I’m contacting you. Are you going through the same thing? Why did this have to happen? How am I ever supposed to move on or whatever the hell that even means.

Through my agony I type the plea that just might save my life.

I know I said I don’t blame you if you don’t respond, but at the same time, I really need you to text me back. I’m scared, sad, lonely, and extremely desperate.


Well, well doesn’t that just fill your tear ducts! Let me know what you think? Are you a crier when you read? Share anything in common with Stacy? I can’t wait to see your thoughts on this book if you have had the chance to read it!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Song of Blood and Stone | Mini Review

Greetings readers!

I hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend, if it was Mother’s Day wherever you are! Before jumping into my mini review, I wanted to take some time to address my ability to stick to a blog schedule. Apparently I suck. I mean, I already kind of knew I would fail at it, but so far I haven’t been able to keep track of when I have to post.

Anyways, this post is actually coming to you on the right day! So that is a win at least. This is an adult fantasy that I posted about before and you can read a quick excerpt about it here!

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Price: $34.99
ISBN: 1250148073

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

*Before reading the novel, you should know that there is a scene of attempted rape, just for your awareness.*

The Likes:

  • Jasminda – OH I LOVED HER. She was fierce, but not perfect. She had the courage to stand up for herself, but never found it easy to muster up all that bravery. <–I love that.
  • Jack – Oh my son. I mean, I saw his “secret” from a mile away, but I really enjoyed his goofy character.
  • The magic – It had to do with singing and then there was the classic blood magic. I had so much fun reading the characters use it!
  • The ode to racial tensions. Penelope pays tribute to the historical and modern discrimination many black people face. The magical, black population is subjected to  violence and unfair laws under the light-skinned, non-magical population. It is a very poignant element to the story, but an important one nonetheless.
  • The romance!!! For a fanatsy, it gets a little heavy on the romance between Jack and Jasminda, an interracial couple who has to face the scrutiny of both their peoples. I loved them together and I do appreciate that theirs was a romance well developed and not instant!
  • The Plot: So I was confused at first with the direction of the story. The beginning of the book is wildly different from the end. Many things change and it almost felt like I read two different stories had there not been a middle. Still it was fast paced towards the end. There is a lot of political intrigue which I enjoyed and when you start bringing in gods and goddesses things get a lot more interesting!

The Dislikes:

  • Sometimes the romance did overshadow the bigger picture. Like I love you Jasminda and Jack, but like you had bigger problems to worry about.
  • That is really my only complaint because I felt like the bigger story got lost in their romantic tensions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I thought it’s premise was quite intriguing and I am very glad that the book delivered! If you are looking for some more diverse adult fantasy, I would definitely look to this series!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: YES! It is quite fun and magical!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Do you enjoy Adult fantasy? Have any recommendations? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Penderwicks At Last |Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway

Greetings readers!

I am so, so excited to be a part of this tour. The Penderwicks series my Jeanne Birdsall is one of my favourite children’s series ever! I will one day put up a post describing the significance of these stories to me, but for now let’s stick to my review!

Today I will be presenting to you my thoughts on the long awaited finale of this series! (I waited three whole years for this!) Make sure you head to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy! It is US only, but I do believe there are a few Penderwicks fans in my audience!

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

Pendwicks at Last Cover

Pub. Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 256
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&N,
iBooksTBD

The finale you’ve all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless
installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall!

Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures–these are the things that have shaped Lydia’s journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring.

Now it’s summertime, and eleven-year- old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college.

This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest
sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.

Bursting with heart and brimming with charm, this is a joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best. And oh my MOPS– Meeting of Penderwick Siblings– does Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks at Last crescendo to one perfect Penderwick finale.

*Thank you, Penguin Random House CA for providing me with a copy. All opinions are my own*

This final book revolves around the youngest Penderwick sister, Lydia, who had a minor role in the previous novel, The Penderwicks in Spring. Despite this book being about a new character, we are taken back to the setting of book one and even though much has changed, including the older Penderwick sisters, there is still a lot of fun to be had!

What I Liked: 

Characters: The characters were the most important reason why this series means so much to me. In this book we follow only one sister, but the other Penderwick personalities were definitely present despite being more background characters!

Lydia: Lydia was a spark of pure delight (though don’t tell her I said that because she might argue against it XD). As the youngest of the Penderwick family, this was Lydia’s first trip to Arundel and after hearing all the incredible stories that her sisters told, she was excited to see the actual estate herself. Lydia was quite charming, she was a dancer and found a reason to bounce and twirl and step, whatever the occasion. Contrary to the sassy attitude she evoked as a toddler, the 11 year-old Lydia was quite curious and always found the best in people. She, like all her siblings, had a distinct personality. She was a dancer, free-spirited and quite imaginative, but also stubborn!

Alice: Alice was also quite fun to follow. Much to Lydia’s delight, they became fast friends on this summer vacation and she showed Lydia all the secrets of the estate. Alice herself was also very funny and blunt. Her tendency to say exactly what is on her mind was hilarious and I loved her competitiveness with her brother, Jack. Although we don’t get to exactly walk in her perspective, she always added more humour and mischief to the scene.

The Writing: 

While I wouldn’t say that Birdsall has a purple/flowry prose, she does have a way with words. She knows how to make me feel wonder as I’m reading about the adventures that Lydia is having. But I think where she really wins with me is that she gives everything a personality. She most certainly gives them to humans, but also to the creatures and animals surrounding the characters. There is always, always a dog personality on scene and in this book comes a sassy chicken. I’d like to say that Jeanne Birdsall’s writing is pure joy put in words!

Bringing Back the Old:

Since this book didn’t star any of the original Penderwick sisters, I really enjoyed every moment when Jeanne would remind us of those times. Since she used the same setting from the first book, it was really nostalgic visiting the old gardens where the sisters had had so many adventures before. This was–of course–Lydia’s story and her experience in Arundel is slightly different. However, despite the fifteen year distance between book one and this book, readers will get to see many familiar faces and revisit many familiar places!

The Ending:

Before reading the ending, I knew that Jeanne was going to do something special. She wasn’t exactly going to leave it open (which it is, but also not), but she wasn’t just going to say this is the end. So when I did read the ending, my heart burst. Like it literally burst. She 100% did THAT. It might not even be something many readers notice, but I did and JEANNE, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ll leave a hint for those who don’t catch it after reading it, so please remember: the tunnel.

Honourable mention: Not only does Jeanne throw in many Narnia references, which fulfilled my little fangirl heart, she also has one character travelling to Canada! So you know Patriotic-Rendz came out and was squealing with glee!

What I Disliked:

I am going to knock off 0.5 and I’m not 100% sure why. It was just something I couldn’t fully grasp with this story. I laughed, I teared up a bit, it had everything, but maybe it’s the speed to the finish. Everything moves so quickly (and I’m complaining because I really would have liked to read about the wedding XD).


Overall, I am overjoyed. This truly was a spectacular finale to one of my favourite series. It had all the right humour, the best personalities, the touch of nostalgia and the bittersweet knowledge that this is the end. I absolutely adored this series and this final installment is cherry on top!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (It’s really a 5….I’m being picky!)

Recommend: I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS. IF YOU LOVE SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS, ANIMALS AND ADORABLE FAMILIES THEN READ THESE BOOKS!



About Jeanne:

Jeanne-Birdsall-Photo-214x300

Jeanne Birdsall grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, where she attended wonderful public schools. Jeanne had lots of great teachers, but her favorites were: Mrs. Corkhill, sixth grade, who encouraged her intellectual curiosity; Mr. Tremonte, eighth grade algebra, who taught Jeanne to love and respect math; and Miss Basehore, second and fourth year Latin, to whom Jeanne (and Mr. Penderwick) will be forever grateful.

Although she first decided to become a writer when she was ten years old, it took Jeanne until she was forty-one to get started. In the years in between, Jeanne had many strange jobs to support herself, and also worked hard as a photographer, the kind that makes art. Some of Jeanne’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of museums, including the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Her work can be seen in several galleries, including the R. Michelson Galleries in western Massachusetts.

Jeanne’s home now is with her husband in Northampton, Massachusetts. Their house is old and comfortable, full of unruly animals, and surrounded by gardens.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway!

Details:
– 3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST
– US Only

Enter:

Rafflecopter Link


Follow the Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/7/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
5/8/2018- Christen Krumm– Review
5/9/2018- RhythmicBooktrovert– Review
5/10/2018- Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers– Review
5/11/2018- Reading with Rendz– Review (You are here!)

Week Two:

5/14/2018- Little Red Reads– Review
5/15/2018- Buttons Book Reviews– Review
5/16/2018- Will Read Anything– Review
5/17/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review
5/18/2018- The Desert Bibliophile– Review

THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST


Let me know what you think! Have you read any Penderwicks books before? Which book was your favourite? How excited are you to read the finale? What sibling-hood would you love to be a part of?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Legend Series: Graphic Novel Adaptation | Series Review

Greetings readers!

You should all know by now that Marie Lu is one of my all time favourite writers. She is one of the first YA authors I discovered and ever since that fateful day when I ordered her book from the Scholastic catalogue in my school, my life changed forever.

And do you know what book I ordered that day? Yeah, you guessed it.

Legend by Marie Lu.

For the next two years, I, unknowing, went down a path leading to a life changing moment. The end of the Lu’s trilogy, Champion. That was something I was not prepared for. I have not been able to reread the books since I sobbed and my tears stained the pages of my book.

BUT ENOUGH OF THAT. That is a story for another time.

Now when I discovered that this trilogy that ruined my life (in the best way possible) was going to be adapted into a graphic novel series, I vowed to never read it. Clearly, I suck at keeping my vows because I willingly bought the first one and then the lovely people of Penguin Random House CA completed my set so I could feature this post today. My deepest gratitude goes out to them!

Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu

Legend: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #1)
via Goodreads

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives are not as sinister as they often seem. One day June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. And the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.

So when I picked these up again, I decided to simply rip off the band-aid. I read all three in one day and basically I was destroyed (again).

What I Liked:

The Characters:

Day and June come from two completely different worlds and are fighting on the opposite sides of the “war.” But this is YA people, so of course they come together, open each others eyes to new possibilities and question everything they have believed in. Day is a suave, easy going and talented outlaw. He’s been on his own since he was ten and turned into a sort of Robin Hood character for those on the outer sector. Then there is my beloved June. Fiercely intelligent and quite a quick thinker. She has her loyalties tested and makes many life altering decisions that influence the plot to keep it moving faster.

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

Adaptation vs. Original

In terms of the story, the graphic novels are a very bridged version of the original novels. Despite this, I thought that these books stayed very true to the story. It kept all the really important plot points in and left room for some of the charm that I remember loving so much from the full length story. Of course, not everything can make the final cut and while I did spot things that were missing from the full story, I think that people who read the graphic novels without reading the actual books will be able to understand perfectly.

The Art:
Because how can I not judge it! Unlike other graphic adaptions that I have read that used a monochromatic colour scheme to convey the story, these babies were in FULL COLOUR! Colour is important people! It is an essential element of expression. It communicates mood, conveys a tone and heck it makes reading all the more enjoyable! As for the actual illustrations, I think they were done beautifully. Kaari stayed very true to the characters and I think they all look hot! *wink wink* I was even surprised that some of the backgrounds were detailed so wonderfully. I expected a lot of blob background figures, which there were, but it had a nice balance of detail too!

 

Champion: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #3)
via Goodreads

The Ending:

It still destroyed me. While I didn’t cry this time (I was splotchy and red when I read the actual novel), I was perfectly content and heart broken! It’s, and I quote my sister Maz, a Hopeful Ending. As hopeful as it can possibly get, but I still love it despite the pain it causes when I think about it.

What I Disliked:

Yeah…um not much really. Yes, it’s a little hard to believe that teenagers and kids could have this much power to influence the politics, while adults just kind of stand around. But this is YA people, it teaches us to have faith in the kids who are advocating for justice. Which does happen in real life.


Overall, I really enjoyed the graphic novels of this trilogy that I hold so dear to my heart! It was fun, COLOURFUL, quick and easy to read. While I appreciate the full length novels and all their glory, I can totally see a lot of people loving these shorter more visual versions too!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: I always recommend Marie Lu!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Full novels or graphic? What books would you like to see adapted into graphic novels? Any other apadtation recommendations?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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