Ugggghhhhhhhhhh….I am saddened to say that I have to take leave for a while. I really don’t want to, but life is getting in the way of things.
August is supposed to be one of my popular months, but I just cannot do it this year, my friends. Real-life Rendz has lots of things going on and it is cutting into to Rendz’s time. And my brain cannot handle so many things at once!
I really wish my time were free right now, but it isn’t! To anyone who is waiting on a review from me, it might take some more time because things are just crazy right now, but I promise I will get to it!
To my regular readers, I will see you at the beginning of September. Not too far off, but still. If any of you have a post you really want me to see while I’m away let me know in the comments!
For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.
But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.
Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?
With a fun blend of historical fiction, true love, castle intrigue, and family dysfunction, The Order of the Crystal Daggers is the latest adventure series from C. S. Johnson.
*Thank you Prodigy Gold Books for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for a review!*
What I Liked:
Eleanora was a lovely character to follow. She lived in a sort of Cinderella story with a wicked step mother and two wicked step siblings that enslaved her in her own household after the death of her father. Unlike Cindy, however, Eleanora has a brother, Ben to keep her company. I liked Eleanora well enough, she had a resilient personality. Always had a quick comeback in her mouth. She was fiercely devoted to her family and the memory of what they once were. Once she was thrust into this secretive society, full of intrigue and danger, I could definitely tell that her life became much more colourful. That is to say I did find her character lacking just a little. I would have liked to see a little more growth in perspective of the world and her willingness to go along with her new society’s ways.
Every other character was a little flat. Don’t get me wrong, there were some very colourful characters to be had and some of them I quite enjoyed. Especially Ferdy who was all suave and charming. Still I would have liked to have seen more complexity in the characters that surrounded Eleanora. They had their secrets, but they didn’t really bring any moments of personal change. You know what I mean?
I loved the setting. It’s Victorian and of course every Victorian book I read has some sort of political strife that is the cause of all these secret clubs that are building up! This book touches upon many of the political antics during 1870 Prague, such as England’s empire of colonies, the ghettoization of the Jews and much more. Quite a problematic time in history, but then again what isn’t.
I enjoyed the direction of the story. It was a mystery and while I knew things were not the way they seemed, I couldn’t help but fall into some of Johnson’s traps! Johnson’s writing is easy to follow and quite appropriate for the setting. She even knows how to add in those bits of humour that I love reading! Some of it was a little predictable, but I was not expecting the ending that we were going to get! And while I felt it ended in an awkward position, I am very much intrigued to find out what happens next!
What I Disliked
The romance was okay. Very much insta-love and while the characters admit to it–therefore Johnson admits to it–they still go ahead and proclaim their love on their second or third time meeting. While I shipped the ship, I’m really hoping that the next book fleshes out these feelings and that it brings it to better light with a better basis for chemistry.
Also, I feel like the whole idea of the secret society needs more fleshing, I need more information on how it works and why we need it. I know that it is top top secret and we are supposed to be naive like Eleanora, but I still need to know more about it and how it functions and why it is needed.
Also, the crystal dagger??? It was mentioned for two seconds. More information please.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It was a quick read and it had some great scenes of action, political intrigue and quite a few balls! I still think that the characters need more oomph to have really made this pop, but they were still quite nice and I wish them the best after that ending!
Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars (Like a good 4)
Recommend: Yes! Historical fiction and secret societies, you gotta love ’em!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite historical fiction books? Have you noticed the trend of secret societies in HistFic?
Feels. We are always talking about feels. As readers, we become emotionally invested in everything revolving books. Whether it be characters, plot twists or even just news about books/authors you love. You have feels and you feel them. And sometimes those feels just kind of stick with you. They plague you whenever something remotely reminds you of a scene/character or whatever. The feels come back in full force and you can’t help but…well feel them!
I decided to talk about some of those feels. I was gonna make this like a whole segment, but I don’t know if I have enough material for that lol…then again I have endless amounts of feels!
To kick off this feature, I am gonna start by talking about books that make me mad. From a mild annoyance to a raging fire that makes me want to unread a book. So I figured I’d give you a little insight into what books make me upset or go through some brash hard set of angry feels. I promise next time I do this it will be much happier.
But for now, let’s get angry.
Characters that Make Me Fizzy with Fury
The Grant Siblings ~ Save the Date by Morgan Matson
I actually really enjoyed this book. It was fun and quite ridiculous, but there is one thing I cannot forgive and that would be how terrible the main character and her family are. They are literally assholes. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It just got me so annoyed whenever the MC would praise her family for being the best when they were literally the worst. And yes, this is a direct call out on the older brother, Danny, who was literally the worst.
Mr. Sanchez ~ Education of Margot Sanchez by Liliam Rivera
Again, I really liked this book. I had so much fun and related to the main character a lot. But there is one character I cannot forgive and that is her dad, Mr. Sanchez. Whenever I think about what he did it makes me just rage a little. I claw my hands and shake my head because he is the woooorrrsssttt and I hate him. But I do like the book.
Joseph Saudrin ~ Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Yeah….I just really hate Joseph Saudrin. I hated him with every fiber of my being and wished him the worst. I also made my sisters read this…so I am not alone in this wild rage whenever I think about how much I hate this character. It’s a ridiculous amount of hate, but OMG ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Simply The Unforgivable in the Romance
Bo x Penny ~ The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
PENNY DESERVED BETTER. SHE DESERVED BETTER THAN BO. I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read the books, but I just cannot think about this book and not get angry over the resolution in the romance. The final scenes that just tick me off. No. No. No. No. Penny deserved more and I can’t believe she got stuck with Bo.
Sarah Jac x James ~ All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry
This had so much potential. But the ship just sunk for me sooooooooo bad. And it’s not like they don’t end up together, but once again the stupid dude can’t keep it together. And I hated him. Hated him with a passion. But maybe it’s because I am a bitter, bitter, bitter bitch that I couldn’t find it in me to forgive him!
The All Time Rage Trigger
The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
This comes as a surprise to no one, I’m sure.
I have come to hate this series more and more with each book. I just cannot with this series anymore.
Listen, I liked the first two books. They were fun, fantastical and action-y! But then book 3 rolls around and I thought it was meh. Then book 4 and 5 come about and I legit vomit at the thought of them. Then book 6, which I accept despite my clams with it.
And yes, yes, yes this does revolve around mainly my love for Chaol and everyone’s disdain for him. His character, which I find, complex and intriguing while most others roll their eyes. But the rage also comes from my absolute disgust of Rowan and everyone else’s fawning over him. And let us not forget how far Aelin has fallen in the my books. It’s no secret that she is at the very, very bottom.
So yes, this series triggers a lot of emotions in me. Not all negative, but definitely the most prominent when it comes to negative feels.
I look forward to reading the end, solely because it is the end and I do not want to suffer anymore time with characters I dislike. So cheers to a finale.
I could go on about my raging feels, but I shall cut it off here. It was fun getting to vent so I hope you all enjoyed my tantrum in the form of the blog post! If I in some way offended you, oopsie(?) These are just my opinions, so I’m not sorry that I hate Throne of Glass—uh—I mean–it’s okay to have differing opinions 🙂
Let me know what you think! What books or characters bring up raging feelings in you? What do you do to cope with your rage? How do you keep from making angry faces in public when you start feeling them feels? (<–I am not joking, I make weird faces on the bus, oops)
I was tagged by the lovely Catherine @ This One is For the Books to do this tag! Thank you ever so much, Catherine! As much as she is lovely, she is also quite a wonderful blogger, so you should definitely give her site a visit!
I am one who loves and hates clichés. There are those that I live for and some I can honestly live without. This tag made me go through lots of emotions, made me really think about which ones I like and don’t, so I hope you enjoy!
Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
A Book That Wasn’t Or Couldn’t Be Better Than The Movie.
Every Disney Adaptation over the Grimm of Anderson fairy tale….? They may be really sugared up and kid friendly compared to the original tales, but come on who doesn’t love a good Disney film!
The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side.
A Rags To Riches Or Riches To Rags Story.
Is it cheating if I say Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles because she is literally living the most iconic rags to riches story as a Cinderella retelling??? I don’t think so….soooooo CINDER!
The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.
A Parent Child Relationship That You Love
Mr. Penderwick and his four (and then six) children.
He is literal dad goals. All dads should aspire to be as kind, generous, funny and intuitive as Mr.P is with his kids. I literally just get all happy and sunshiny when I think about this family and the father-daughters relationship development in book 2! Ugh I just love them!
You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover.
A Great Book That Needs A Better Cover.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
CHAOL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE COVER. NOT A STUPID SHIELD WITH AN OWL. THE DISRESPECT IS REAL. YES, I AM STILL MAD ABOUT IT.
You Can’t Please Everyone.
A Book You Hate That Everyone Loves.
Queen of Shadows/Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I hate (and yet enjoy) the series in general, but a strong hate for these two books is most prevalent.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.
What’s A Book That Made You A Better Person For Having Read It.
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
Confession: I am a reader who usually avoids the hard hitting books. The ones that are emotionally raw and have heavy subjects. I use the excuse that I don’t want to cry, but I think I’m just scared of reading about events that could have or have happened to people. And realizing that the world is terrible and that people have to go through things that are so much worse. I hate feeling uncomfortable. But like what is me being uncomfortable? Nothing. So I have to suck it up and read these books, which are important.
Reading this book was hard, it was gut wrenching and emotional. And it was at times very uncomfortable. But in the end I feel like I can understand what people who have suffered like the characters a little more. That they deserve their stories to be told and that they deserve happiness. And it’s my job to not stay ignorant about it.
Love Is Blind.
A Book With A Disabled Character Or Actual Blind Love.
The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
The MC in this book, Oree is actually blind! Reading from her perspective was actually really entertaining! There were still plenty of descriptions to be had! I really enjoyed the first two books of the series so I’m hoping to one day get back to the third book!
Ignorance Is Bliss.
A Book That Is Bad But You Just Don’t Want To Admit It.
Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes
This really hurts to admit it, but I was unimpressed by this ending. I loved every single book prior to this one, but you can tell that Morgan struggled to find the right finish and to be honest it could have been better. *cries*
There Is No Time Like The Present.
What Is Your Favourite Contemporary Book?
I don’t think I have one really. Contemporary is not a genre I reach to regularily (only in the summer) and from the books I have read…none of them I can really claim as my favourite.
Better Safe Than Sorry.
A Book You Don’t Want To Read In Case It’s Bad
Anything by V. E. Schwab. I haven’t read any of her books and yet I own her Shades of Magic trilogy and Vicious. I want to read them really badly, but with this slump I have going on I’m afraid of not finding the magic in her work like others have! But like I’m gonna read them…eventually.
YOU! I would love to see all your opinions on these cliches! Feel free to tag me so I can see your answers!
Let me know what you think! Do you agree or disagree with my answers? What is your favourite cliche? Which one can you not stand?
Historical fiction is always an intriguing genre. Unlike fantasy, the world which the characters wander through is–or rather was–real. Sometimes real historical figures are taken into account and we get a little educational at the same time as being fictional! Victorian settings are often popular in HistFic, so when I saw this Canadian YA Historical Fantasy, I knew I wanted to pick it up right away!
Felicity Cole sells flowers in the streets of Victorian London to feed herself and her young brother. But she has a close-guarded secret–her brother is a Tainted, born with special abilities that society fears and a shadowy organization called the Hunstsman scours the country to eliminate. When Felicity becomes the target of one of these individuals, she discovers something horrible: she’s Tainted, too.
Rescued by a mysterious gentleman on the eve of execution, she’s whisked away to a school funded by Queen Victoria, established to train selected Tainted into assassins in service of the crown.
Struggling to harness her incredible strength, speed, and agility, and despised by her classmates, all she wants is to use her new position to find a cure so she can be normal and reunited with her brother.
But with the Golden Jubilee fast approaching and the discovery that there’s a traitor in their midst, she has no choice but to embrace the one thing she’s been fighting all along.
*My gratitude goes out to Thomas Allen & Son for providing me with a copy for review!*
What I Liked:
I liked Felicity. She was headstrong and yet afraid of the new world she was thrust into. She comes from a lowly background which is much unappreciated by her new peers. She is one who looks for loopholes to get out of the world until she finally becomes a willing part of it.
None of the other characters really stood out to me. The love interest was really–in my opinion–bland. He had some substance but it was more like water. You can hold it for a while, but then it slowly slips away leaving just a wet feeling that lasts only until it dries. And yet I need him in the story to add in some interest. (How poetic, Rendz)
The magic was very cool and I liked how well it fit into the Victorian setting. All these Victorian books I have been reading always include a secret society of some kind and I honestly love it. It leaves room for mystery and adventure in an otherwise pristine and aristocratic era.
The plot was fine. It was not utterly astounding, not too complicated in terms of following and keeping up with all the secrets, but it lacked that bit of oomph. It had some great action scenes, but not nearly enough. If this is a secret society of training assassins, how come there is so little action????
It is an evenly paced book. The writing is very smooth and I sped through it rather fast. I will say that the chapters were very short, sometimes where they paused was a little awkward. I felt like some could have been combined, just to keep up a better flow.
What I Disliked:
Most of my dislikes comes from the fact that this book is tropey. You have the special snowflake MC. With powers that are better and more magnificent than all others. I would have been fine with this if there was a solid reason as to why she was so crazy amazing. And don’t spring up this “one in a million chance” thing on me. That’s not a solid origin. There was also some girl-on-girl hate. Not as terrible as other books I’ve read, but it would have been nice to see the girls not be competitors and instead allies in this mans world.
The book was not boring per se. I just thought that it could have used more excitement, more risk and more twists to make this something that really grabbed at my attention. It held it while I read, but I could close it to easily. There was never a need to read it. That’s what I found quite disappointing.
Overall, the book was okay. It was neither utterly amazing, nor terribly awful. It holds your attention, the MC is quite fun at times, there is some drama and the few action scenes are ones to look forward to. And the author does bring up quite a mini twist at the end, which I found wrapped this historical fantasy quite good.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Like Historical fiction but want a fantastical twist? Then sure.
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite Historical Fiction books? What historical setting would you love to read about?
Well here I am again. Another month gone by. Another TBR that I didn’t finish. But what else is new?? How about all the good books I got? All the great posts I wrote? How about the fact that this was my birthday month?? Well…bother.
I had a major reading slump this month. Everything I read had a greyish feel. It was all three stars, three stars, three stars. I mean some of the reads were not all that bad, but nothing blew me away this month. And do I even mention how sad my book mail was this month. Because it was ever so sad.
In relation to how I am personally doing. I’m great. The birthday was actually pretty fun and I made the $$$ so I will be treating myself to some books! YESERY.
What Rendz Read
Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff
A fun sci-fi read with such a twisty ending that saved it from being a 3 star. My Full Review.
When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn
This was quite fun and I enjoyed it. Not my usual read, but sometimes you gotta step put of the box. My Full Review.
Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
It was okay. Not as epic as I was hoping though. My Full Review.
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
This was actually a 4 star! I had fun with this and am looking forward to the next one! My Full Review.
Game of Secrets by Kim Foster
Okay so this suffered from its tropes, but it was a nice historical fantasy. Review to come.
Kingdom of Ash and Sootby C. S. Johnson
I had a good time with it for the most part. Review to come.
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
This was good. Just what I needed to lift my spirits at the end of the month! Review to come!
Did I mention how I got like zero book mail this month??? It’s not that I am no longer getting any publisher love, it’s that I realized how much I need to catch up on, so my requesting game has gone down a bit.
The only thing I can haul this month is Vicious by V. E. Schwab which I bought as a b-day present to me!
Do you know how much I have suffered these past couple of weeks with nothing to look forward to in the mail?! Le sighhhhh
It’s a comic strip of one of the excerpts Sara has published!
I am honestly at a big loss here. I have soooooooooo many things to get through in August. Lot’s of ARCs that need my attention are clamouring at me, then there are books that I have that I want to read for my own pleasure as I feel like I haven’t read a book solely because I wanted to in a long time.
That being said I’ll have two TBRs this month. One for “work” and one for “pleasure”.
Mirageby Samaiya Daud Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little Open Mic Night at Westminister Cemetery by Mary Amato The Magic of Melwick Orchard by Rebecca Caprara Give the Dark My Loveby Beth Revis A Mark Unwillingby Candace Wondrak
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers
Wow I am literally gonna get none of this done because I have so many other things going on in August. I have school, a wedding, family coming over and if my slump goes on further…I will find myself with zero motivation again. Wish me luck.
That’s it for me! Let me know what you think! What was your favourite read of the month? What books did you get? What book are you looking forward to this month?