THEME THURSDAY |TWINS

Greetings readers!

Welcome back to our regular biweekly Thursday post! I missed the last prompt, but I am back stronger than ever. This was an interesting prompt to think about…I don’t think I’ve read many books with Twins in them. I’ll have to think hard about it and do my fair share of googling.

Theme Thursday is a new weekly feature created by Sophie @ Blame Chocolate where bloggers can share recs and newly found books featuring that week’s theme.

  • There will be a different theme (genre, trope, etc) every Thursday. You can check the theme calendar and official rules here.

*All images via Goodreads*

🍫 Books I’ve Read/I’m Reading:

Fangirl A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1) Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

~~~

🍫 Books I Want to Read:

The Rule of One (The Rule of One, #1) The Diminished One

~~~

🍫 Other Books That Fit The Theme:

Gemini The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)


Well that was quite an interesting search! It turns out I’ve read more twin books than I first thought! I definitely added a few more to my shelf. Oh geez this tag just serves to make my TBR bigger and bigger. (I’m not really complaining)

Let me know what you think! Do you have a favourite twin book? Are you interested in any of these twin books? Are you a twin? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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We Rule the Night | Review // What an absolute pleasant surprise!!!

Greetings readers!

Here I am with another long overdue book review. But I am happy to say that this was quite a surprising read! I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting this much fun. I feel so bad for taking so long to read it!!

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

We Rule the Night

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Price: $23.49 CAD
Goodreads

Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds


BUY IT

Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA


*I was provided an ARC by HBG Canada!*

We can all agree that this cover is absolutely stunning. Look at that phoenix, all that fire and grace…ooooooooh I love it! And I can honestly say that the insides are pretty darn amazing too!

What I Liked

These Rock-Your-World Ladies were everything

Revna and Linné were fabulous, fabulous characters! They were polar opposites, but I still loved each of them so much. Revna comes from a impoverished family with a tainted name and she has wondrous control over an illegal kind of magic which just spells all kind of trouble for her. She is a keep your head down kinda girl for the most part, but that doesn’t mean she’ll let anyone trample on her. She’s tired of people seeing her prosthetic leg as a liability and she proves all these rats wrong!!! Ahhh did I mention how much I loved her???? Because I adored her!

So then there is Linné who had a little Mulan escapade until she’s found out and gets her second chance in this female air force. She comes from a privileged background which gives her some perks but she definitely has different kinds of battles to face compared to the other girls. I really enjoyed her growth in this novel, even though half the time I was yelling at her for being so stubborn all the time!

Other characters…

The dudes were pretty much trash. trash. trash. Sorry buds, but I was having it with none of you. Yup.

The Action and The Magic!!!

I have only read one other book that deals with like planes and war craft, and that was a while ago. But it is such an interesting setting and I would love to see more books revolving around it. There is so much risk that comes with flying, so many skills you have to be prepared with. And what is special about this book is that the metal was alive, and it absorbed the feeling of its pilot and navigator. So if you are nervous then the plane is nervous too and I thought this was an incredibly enriching detail. It added so much more…uhh…life. XD

The magic really worked well to create this immense amount of action and suspense. There were so many risks, so many high stakes and I was quite nervous in the latter half!

It’s All about the Ladies

Remember how I mentioned the men in this book were trash trash trash? Well it’s because it’s true!!!! They did things that I just wanted to arrrrggghhhhhhh. *huffs* These ladies were living in a sexist society that was all about having the men at the front and the women at home. It was that BS. Where women on the front would be considered distractions to the men. UGH. I just…I got so mad, because that is still a reality in different places. SO I loved watching this get tackled in the book. There was I think maybe one cute interaction with the male pilots but other than that, I didn’t care for them it was all about ma girls.

There was no romance…I mean the men were trash so no prospects there anyways and I didn’t get any f/f vibes either *shrugs*

It was all about the friendship and boy did it take a while. And I was completely happy with this. Girls makes friends with each other at different paces, some quite fast and some quite slow. So I loved seeing the range of types of friendships. I know girl on girl hate is a no-no for some of y’all, but it happens and we can’t deny that. It just has to have proper foundations and preferably not be over a trash boy, which in this case it is not.

The Questionable

A little slow in the first half. It takes a while for these girls to get in the air and I felt like we were getting into a tedious cycle. I think the second half of the book makes up for the slowness of the first half.

But lets talk about this ending that was left wide-open. Literally nothing was resolved. Like I didn’t expect them to save the world…but I still wanted maybe some kind of resolution. Some kind of closure. I totally see where the author was going with the ending and I appreciate it that it shows a cycle of oppression, but I want more!! And I wouldn’t mind a sequel, but I don’t think we are getting one.


Overall, I really enjoyed this read. It was all about the experience. Flying through the sky with these girls, enduring the backlash they face with them, growing in friendship even if it is not always harmonious. This novel is rich, fun and intense!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Yeah!! You will love this feminist, fighter pilot read!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading it? Have you read any air force books? Would you want to fly a plane that experiences your emotions?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel! | Meeting Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne & Victoria Aveyard // Turns out I am not as cool as I try to be…

Greetings readers!

Wow. It feels like I haven’t written a recap post for an event in ages, especially for an author event. And you know why?? It’s because I haven’t been to an author event in months. Seriously, I cannot remember the last one I went to. And due to this…I’m a little rusty on my social skills…yeah I’m already making excuses.

A couple of weeks ago, HCC Frenzy hosted a big author event in honour of three fantasy authors! That’s right I got to meet Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne and Victoria Aveyard this month! It was a limited ticketed event so I didn’t think I was going to get a wristband, but my darling, darling friend, Rezanne @ The Wicked Reader got the first two wristbands and handed one to me! *sobs* And it came with reserved seating and early access in the line!!! *SOBS harder*

To make my story short: The event was amazing. The authors were super nice. I made a fool of myself naturally. I got my books signed.

But to really understand this story we have to start from the beginning.

Getting There!

My family agreed to come along with me to the mall where the event was to be held. It’s pretty far from where we live so they would go off shopping while I would be in the event. It was a lovely plan.

But the drive there was a little bumpy.

My dad hadn’t been to the mall in a while and so we needed a GPS to get there. Unfortunately, we took the longer way to the mall and there was an accident on the way there which slowed us down even more. Then when we finally got into the mall, finding parking was a challenge, it was as if it were boxing day! There were so many cars and the entrances to the lots were full! But finally we found a spot and although we were all a little flustered, we finally got in.

scooby doo GIF
via giphy.com

The Event!

Before the event, I was hoping to snatch myself a signed copy of Stephanie Garber’s FINALE. I didn’t know Indigo was carrying them, but to my surprise they were! BUT TO MY EVEN BIGGER SURPRISE, the only copy that the Indigo in the mall had was NOT signed! *hangs head*

Okay so the actual event. The authors came in and they were pretty amazing. Ashley, Frenzy’s rep hosting the event, asked all three of them super interesting questions. We learned about their varying writing processes, their inspirations, their favourite books/shows and it was all so incredibly interesting!

I, unfortunately, didn’t take any notes so I don’t remember all the details, shame on me. But if you look up Frenzy on twitter, I’m sure you’ll find lots more on what was talked about during the event!

Let’s just say chickens, sandwiches, maps and notebooks were some of the highlights of the night!

The Signing!

I was nervous.

excited teyana taylor GIF by VH1
via giphy.com

Like incredibly nervous.

I wasn’t prepared to make conversation that night. I simply wasn’t. My author-meeting skills were super rusty, plus I had never read Tahereh’s books, I really enjoyed Maya and had a card for her and well I didn’t really know how to approach Victoria!

So I was nervous.

First up was Tahereh.

Basically I talked about my cousin the whole time who actually did read her books. I told her about how much my cousin loved the characters and the story and how she unfortunately couldn’t be there that night. Tahereh was super sweet and told me to tell my cousin “Hi” and that she was so honoured to hear about her. It was great. I made it through my first meeting without a hitch.

Then came Maya.

I said “Hi.” I handed her a little card I wrote for her. I said ‘Hi” again and then started my spiel. It started out great. It didn’t end great. Here is how I remember how it went down:

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. I made you this little card to tell you about your book. I absolutely loved Nocturna. I thought it was so incredible and the characters were amazing.”

*she responds with many thank yous*

“You’re welcome. It was so great and…and…and….”

*my throat gets tight*

*Feels a lump growing*

“And I…”

*Eyes begin to tickle*

Inner me: Wait…wait..wait..am I tearing up??? Am I about to cry. No!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE Rendz. Do not cry. Why are you going to cry? There is literally no reason that a tear should fall out of your eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But they did. The tears leaked out and I while was not exactly crying, my eyes were leaking in front of Tahereh, Maya and Victoria…

*tears up more at the embarrassing fact that I am tearing up.*

*laughs like a child at the ludicrousness of tearing up in this scenario*

You know how in YA books, characters sometimes want the earth to open and swallow them up. Yeah. That was me.

“Ohhhhhh” –said the authors

“OMG. I don’t even know why I am crying. I feel like such a loser right now. I’m sorry.”

The authors: “No, don’t feel bad. It is so sweet. You’re Maya’s first crier. It is a special moment.”

Inner me: WELL I DON’T FEEL SPECIAL. I FEEL LIKE A FOOL. 

Turns out I said the last bit out loud, but they laughed it off.

My episode ended with Maya thanking me again while I dried up any remnants of salty water. She was so nice about it and personalized my books in Spanish.

But I was soooo embarrassed.

face palm GIF
via giphy.com

Lastly came Victoria.

She was super sweet after my whole fiasco. I was still feeling super flustered, but I got through another convo. I told her about how much I know she likes Narnia and she told me how she used to write fanfiction for it. It was a quick convo because I really wanted to get out of there after that, but she was really nice about everything.

Then I walked off the stage with my signed books and breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, I had made a fool of myself and it was great. Yup.

The After!

I waited for eyes to look less puffy before I went out to meet my family. No way would I ever tell them about my break down. Which I attribute to many things: nerves, excitement, social anxiety and stress from earlier that day. Still I would have been mocked and dragged through the mud by them. So if one of them reads this post, I accept my ridicule.


Overall, it was a fabulous event. It was fun, the questions were great, I laughed, I–uh–cried. I got my books signed! Both my ARC and finished copy of Nocturna were personalized and signed. It was great.

But maybe next time I should prepare myself a little bit better mentally to keep myself in check. XD

Let me know what you think! Did you attend the event? Have you ever gotten emotional in front of an author? How do you prepare to meet authors? What authors would you love to meet? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Sisters of the Winter Wood | Review // A 5 STAR PHENOMENAL READ

Greetings readers!

This book has been sitting on my bedside table since before it was released. Just letting you know how long I have been putting it off. I’ve been putting it on my TBRs every month ever since, but finally–finally–I was able to get to it and I only have one word to describe it.

Glorious.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

The Sisters of the Winter Wood
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 25th, 2018
Publisher: Redhook
Price: $35.50 CAD
Goodreads

Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.

But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.

Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…

The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA


*Review copy provided by HBG Canada!*

The Likes 

These two amazingly complex sisters.

Liba and Laya are phenomenal characters. PHENOMENAL. Almost polar opposites but with so much heart. I have to say, I was so impressed by them.

Liba is the older sister and was the more protective, motherly type. She is stubborn though, she has so much heart, she is curious, timid, thoughtful and dedicated to her family and faith. I definitely saw myself in her a bit even though I am not the oldest child of my sisters hehehe. But I truly did love her.

Laya is definitely an interesting character too! She is definitely more spunky with her curiosity. I was yelling at her a lot throughout the whole book too, but I definitely understood where she was coming from. Her need for adventure and freedom is very understandable and I am truly impressed with her bravery.

They’re both definitely flawed, Liba is controlling and Laya is selfish, but they would literally go to the ends of the world for each other and that is what I loved reading about.

I loved the switching between prose and verse.

It fit this story perfectly. Liba’s POV is written in prose and the full sentence structure worked with her thirst for knowledge and her desire for a well-structured, safe life. In contrast, Laya is just as wild as the verse used to present her voice. It is free, blunt, cut off in different places. I loved it. It also made this read go by fasssttt. And let me tell you I flew through this book.

I loved the folklore.

I have not read Goblin Market by Christna Rossetti, but I definitely can see where it might have influenced this book. It had such a curious and odd magic. It was incredibly beautiful and yet totally haunting. Very haunting. It was seriously incredible, I had stars in my eyes the whole time I was reading.

It also held a hefty amount of Jewish folklore and mythology. I have pretty much no experience with this, so it was my first exposure to this kind of story telling and I can say that it was incredibly interesting. The people and the forest had such a magic to them…it was wonderful!

Plus I have a newfound appreciation for bears and swans. 

I loved the drama and suspense.

I read this book in two nights. That’s how fast it goes because it is so engrossing. Every chapter amps up the stakes, the drama, the INTENSITY. The backstory of this novel had me y e l l i n g!!! I tried my best to pace myself to really soak it in but ahhh I couldn’t. I DEVOURED this book. Utterly and completely swallowed. AND YOU KNOW WHAT. I STILL SAVORED EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER.

I loved the family dynamics and community complexities. 

As a Jewish family in a mixed community (some Jew, some not) we definitely got to see a lot of the complexities that come with a life in these groups. All come with their prejudices and it just goes to show that no community can ever truly be perfect no matter how much we try and its okay so long as we continue to recognize and strive to fix our wrongs. The novel takes place around the early 1900s and the author included actual anti-Semetic events that happened in history. But she also included some Jewish legends that I thought were really interesting, especially the dancing bear men! I think it enriched the historical aspects of this story and brought awareness to events probably none of us have heard of.

I loved the languages!

Three languages were used by the characters. Yiddish, Hebrew and some Ukranian. Now imagine me, not knowing any of these languages while reading this book. I had to flip to the glossary quite a few times, but thankfully it is beautifully organized and I had a wonderful time learning new words. I’m not sure this is a pro for many, but I am a language student so it’s a pro for me!

The Questionable

Nope.


Overall, I am still shaken by this novel. As soon as I finished I wanted to read it again, so you know that is always a good sign. I feel like I want a sequel, but I know it doesn’t need it. It is a perfect whole and the wanting I have just goes to show how amazing this author and this book truly is.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars 

Recommend?: YES. YES. YES. 

Let me know what you think! Have you read this one? Are you looking forward to reading it? What cultural folklore would you love to see represented in books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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My Mismatched Series | A Discussion

Greetings readers!

Since I decided to read more from my shelves this year, I decided to do a little rearranging the other day and I noticed that a system of organization for this is not my strong suit. How I organize my shelf is rather complex: favourites, author and size are all taken into account when choosing how to fit my books on the shelf. And sometimes the system really lacks efficiency.

But Shelf Organization is a topic for another day, today I want to talk about my mismatched series. Series of books that I have on my shelves that just do not match (and thus mess up the organization of my books). It ranges from size to cover changes to just having completely different editions.

So let us begin:

Size: Too Big, Too Small, Too Fat, Too Thin:

This category takes up most of the mismatched-ness of my shelves. I am the person to buy the first couple of books in a series in paperback because they have been out for a while and then I buy the final books in hardcover because I am too eager to wait for them all to be out in paperback!

Size especially sucks when you are trying to organize because super short paperbacks don’t look the greatest next to giant hardcovers.

The Following is a list of my mismatched series by size:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (4 paperbacks, 2 hardcovers)
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (3 paperbacks, 2 hardcovers)
The Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch (2 paperbacks, 1 hardcover)
The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
Ruby Red Trilogy by Kiersten Gier (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (This is the worst case because paperbacks are like half the size of the hardcover.) (2 paperbacks, 1 hardcover)

The Different Editions: Colour is all wrong!

I have only a few series where the covers are off. This doesn’t bother me too much but again it makes my organization much harder to do.

The Legend series by Marie Lu
I am actually okay with this series since the the cover edition of the first book I have is very similar to the original version, it’s just a little more muted in colour and smaller in size obviously because it is paperback.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir in the Ember Quartet
I’m not mad at the cover change. I thought the change was really important especially for the message Sabaa wanted to send. I actually am very please that it is the same size as the previous hardcovers which is *blessed*

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Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh in the Flame in the Mist duology
I think both covers are stunning so…I’m good. Plus I have an ARC of the second book so this one is really mismatched hehehe

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The Biggest Disaster I Own:

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

(A disaster in more ways that one and that’s my tea)

I have the first three books (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire) in the UK edition which are super petit and white and then I have the sixth book (yup I skipped, four and five) Tower of Dawn in the Indigo Hardcover Exclusive Edition. And I’m never going to complete my collection…

So in short, it is a mess.

tod2


Let me know what you think!

How matched are your book shelves? Do you own a lot of mismatched series like I do? Are you a stickler for having the same editions of books?

I love my books in any shape they come in, the story is what really matters to me. But having a beautiful set of all matching covers in size and shape that fit perfectly in one spot on the shelf is a really pleasing feeling.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Even the Darkest Stars | Canadian Dragon Tales Buddy Read Review // We Have Questions!!!

Greetings readers!

Sha and I are back with a long overdue review! We read this book back in *checks calendar* March. Then we created a Google doc, but we didn’t finish writing in it until this past month.  Let’s just say that life got in the way…but we are here now!

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)
via Goodreads

Author: Heather Fawcett
Pages: 432
Release Date: September 5 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 3.93 (of 2,310 ratings)

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister, Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means cimbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and other dangers at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth about their mission and her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.


THE PLOT

“A few yards from where I lay, the snow began to move. Something was rising out of it, something with an enormous belly, round head, and an absence of limbs. A snowman.”

SHA: This book had a plot, but it was so scattered with the most obvious foreshadowing scenes thrown in that I kept stopping to ask myself what the end goal could possibly be. I wanted to shout “have you ever heard of Chekhov’s gun?”. Characters came on the scene, introduced emotional backstory, and were never heard from again. Like, whyyy. (*There is indeed a sequel but this does not relate to that.)

RENDZ: So she’s gotta climb a mountain to find a..a..uhhhhh. To find something. And things go downhill a couple of times (literally). But. Yeah. Mountain climbing. That’s the gist of it. And snowmen soldiers. But Sha is super right we get decorative characters that don’t serve much of a purpose but they COULD HAVE, if they were given the proper attention.

THE CHARACTERS

“ […] everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known […] ”

SHA: *heavy sigh* Somehow, I needed to believe River was this great explorer (chosen by the emperor himself, mind you!) while River makes nonstop novice mistakes on the journey and has the behaviour of a fourteen-year-old. I have never been climbing but I have seen mountain trek documentaries and know more than him. (Yes. He’s a character. But if you’re writing a character as an expert, they need to show knowledge in such-and-such area.)

RENDZ: Do I have a favourite? Mhmmhmhmhmh not really. River was not it for me. Kazmin was there and I was trying so hard to root for her but at the same time I was like GIRL. STAHP. Then there was the best friend and his name escapes me and he was this great mage but his arc isn’t explored that much either. And this old guy. None of them stuck out for me. And I am a character person…so you can already see how this is not going well.

SHA: Basically, I didn’t like any character because they weren’t intelligent. They made dumb mistakes (not “I didn’t think this through” but “I have no knowledge in an area I boast about having knowledge in”), they judged others, and they had no real characterization. I only somewhat liked Tem, Kamzin’s best friend, because Tem saved their lives maybe ten times (didn’t ask for thanks) and stayed humble. THANKS TEM.

RENDZ: Ah yes Tem. That’s his name. Tem. AND DO THE OTHER CHARACTERS APPRECIATE TEM. I think the f*** not. And then there was the sister…who…Sha what happened with her?

SHA: Oh wow, just realized I have NO CLUE. To paraphrase our heroine’s favourite motto: “We can’t do anything about it now, let’s just move on.”

RENDZ: *cackles*

THE GOOD

“Trust me?” [River] shook his head, bemused. “You’re worrying about the wrong thing. Trusting me is not something I recommend to anyone.”

SHA: I kept reading. I wanted to know if all the foreshadowing I guessed at was true. The culture.

RENDZ: Same. I kept wanting to read. Which is a good sign. But this could have been something better if the characters had been different. And if River wasn’t in it entirely.

SHA: Yes. Removing River would have been nice.

WE MUST APPRECIATE THE YAK AND LIGHTBULB DRAGONS

RENDZ: The characters that held this novel up to be honest.

SHA: The yak is basically like Scrat in Ice Age, in the sense that no matter what deadly, dangerous thing happens, the yak is still there. Unscatched. Just being a yak. Same for the lightbulb dragons. Quietly being amazing without any appreciation. (Rendz and I appreciate though. We see you.)

THE RATING

2.5 / 5 Stars 



Let us know what you think! Did this book work out better for you? Have you read the sequel? Have any recs for our buddy reads? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Nocturna | Review // There is much fun to be had!

Greetings readers!

First of all, I need to shame myself because this review was supposed to be published way before the release date, but life got in the way and I didn’t get around to it. But it is here now so at least there is that!

I also had the lovely opportunity to meet the author this past weekend, but more on that will come in a later post!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Baltzer & Bray
Price: $23.99 CAD
Goodreads

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.


Buy It

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*I was provided an ARC by the HCC Frenzy team!*

OKAY so here is the deal. This is the first ever Latinx YA that I have read written by a Latinx author. So expect my expectations to be mighty high. The novel is inspired by the author’s Dominican heritage, so while it might not be my specific culture, I was still jumping off the rooftops so excited for this book!

The Likes

The Characters:

These trouble makers were the #1 reason I was so enchanted by this book. I absolutely adored them.

First and foremost there is Finn. Our fierce and mighty faceless thief. You might be a little ??? like I was when you read the faceless bit, but trust me it makes total sense. After after years and years of changing your face you seem to lose yourself in it. But yes. FINN. I truly did enjoy her. She was not a *good* person and she did a lot of shitty things, not all that she regrets. And I loved that we got to see why she was who she was. I loved reading about her backstory and the pain that she went through. I loved that she was incredibly unapologetic and yet she still had room for remorse. She was a walking, talking contradiction and I really enjoyed reading about her.

Then there is Alfie. Who is a Soft Boi™ even if he’s got issues. (I guess his issues add to his soft boi-ness) I really enjoyed reading from his POV too. His grief from losing his brother really tore him apart and he–omg–he makes so, so many mistakes!! Half the time I was like Alfie–please think!!!!! But no character ever listens to me! *shrugs* And yet there was something so evidently interesting watching him fumble and put his heart and soul on the line to mak things better. I loved reading about his growth from this boy with no future, the spare to the throne that all of a sudden has to grow up. And he doesn’t grow gracefully, he is challenged by others and himself each step of the way and I just thought his journey was really interesting

Others…

All the characters, even the side ones, had so much heart and soul and dimension in this book. They weren’t stock characters that serve one person but they had all these layers to them that I really enjoyed watching come apart. I have to shout out umm…a certain…uhh…*father figure* because holy cannoli whenever he came onto the page I got major heebee geebees.

There was Light and there was Dark:

This book is not what I consider a Dark fantasy. It really didn’t strike me as such, but there were definitely some heavier themes in this book that struck our characters lives deeply. Physical, psychological and emotional abuse played such a critical role in one of our character’s lives and journeys that it was really heart-wrenching to read about sometimes. Grief was also a huge factor in the lives of these characters as they have both lost so much and continue to lose so much throughout the story. So alongside this general mischievous and snarky dialogue and plot, there are shades of gray that these characters have to face along the way.

The Writing:

I really enjoyed the writing. You’d think because this book deals with some heavy topics that the overall tone would be a lot more somber. But these characters and this world had so much heart. There was this constant humour that had me giggling here and there and the characters sure knew how to crack a joke and a comeback–something I cannot for the life of me do.

Can we call this a romance?:

It is technically a play on my favourite trope. Enemies to lovers. But you know how people like to extend that to: enemies to reluctant allies to reluctant friends to friends to maybe more than friends to I would die for you friends to lovers. Well this book stops about when they get to Maybe more than friends and I was left wanting so so much more. But I really did like the fact that there growing feelings for each other took a back seat and that it festered quietly sneaking up on both of them at the end. And the ending is really sweet. But yeah I want MOAR.

This oh so magical world:

This was really cool magic. Alongside your regular elemental powers, everyone has their own propio magic.  A personal magic that is unique to the one person and I absolutely loved this part. As much as I love elemental magic, the propio magic just gave this world a richer character! I could definitely see some of the Dominican influences in the food, the music and obviously the Spanish that was used!

The Questionable

I really did enjoy myself while I was reading but I still felt like something was missing. I mean the action was there, the magic was there, the great characters were there…but I can’t say it’s the perfect five stars. I know I wanted more from their relationship…but it’s not that either. I know I was left with a lot of questions about the plot, but there is a sequel so I think more of those will be answered with the books to come.

There was also a lot less Spanish than I expected too. I have to say that I am a little disappointed with it and the times it was used felt a little awkward here and there. (Although I did love the Sana sana colita de rana-bit) I think the Spanish verbs would have worked better conjugated when using magic, but that’s just me *raises hands*
BUT there is a big historical reason behind the lacking Spanish so yeah–let’s just say that colonialism sucks.

So the thing is I can’t really tell you what it is that I feel is missing. Maybe the darker undertones needed a little more exploration or maybe not. I really can’t say. I just can’t put my thumb on it and it is really frustrating!



Overall, despite not knowing what exactly is making me question my love for this book, I DID TRULY LOVE THE EXPERIENCE. There is a lot of action to be had and the magic is one you will envy to have. I loved the characters the most, they are what really made this book for me and I hope to see more of them in the sequel!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars 

Recommend: YEAH! Yeah! YEEAAHHH!!!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to reading it? What kind of elemental or propio magic would you want to have?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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April Wrap-Up & May TBR | I will forever be known as the blogger who posts wrap ups late late late UGH

Greetings readers!

April was a month. I already gave you kind of a round up in my last wrap up since it was posted half-way through April. So I guess I can update you on the last half.

It was a blur.

I don’t know what I did for the two weeks I was at home alone.

Literally I slept, woke up, ate, watched YouTube vids, ate, read, ate, TV, snacked, read, slept.

But all in all it really was a blur…

So let’s see what I actually did.

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What Rendz Read

The Shadow Breaker by Steven Rivers
This book was so incredibly adorable! It is a fun, fast and cute MG read! My Review

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
I was so happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for this book! It was incredibly action-packed! My Full Review

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
I absolutely loved this book! So magical, so beautiful! My Full Review

Nocturna by Maya Motayne
This was a hit or miss for many…but I enjoyed it!!! Loved reading this Latinx YA fantasy! Review Coming Soon!

Four books in the two weeks. Not bad…but I can do better hehehehe

The Haul

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

The Girl who Sailed the Stars by Matilda Woods

Q: What children's books will you be reading into your old age? I've got lots of answers for this one. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall takes the number 1 spot. (yeah yeah Narnia is in 2nd let me live) There's just something about the Penderwicks that completely fills my heart with joy. Pure, good hearted happiness. And there are so many overtones of sadness in those books but I just can't help but feel happy when I reread them! THE GIRL WHO SAILED THE STARS is said to have Penderwick vibes~~ so you know I had to pick it up! Many thanks to @penguinteenca for the advanced copy! Day 6 of #flbmythicmay | Illustrated Cover #thegirlwhosailedthestars #matildawoods #bookstagram #reader #books #fantasy #mgbooks #middlegrade #kidlit #bookstagram #illustratedcovers #magicalrealism #bookishcanadians

Posts From Last Month

THEME THURSDAY | MERMAIDS

ttm

Other Going-Ons

*tweedles thumbs*

Let’s see

I got into Nature Documentaries. 

For like the first week of my vacation I watched like three different documentaries on Birds of Paradise. Then I went down this rabbit hole where all I did was watch videos of birds–specifically the paradise ones and they were just so interesting. Freaky but interesting, I highly recommend you watch the doc made by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

beauty and the beast bird GIF
via giphy.com

Then I went down this spiral of lion videos that were very unconventional. If you Google/Youtube “The Lion Whisperer” you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

And then I watched a doc on tigers in an Australian zoo and it was really cute and fun and messy–in a good way!

I–like a billion other people–watched Avengers: Endgame

I liked it. I know there are problems with it and I see all the threads on Twitter, but frankly I had a really good time that night. The dudes sitting in front of me were super tall so for like the first ten minutes of the film I had to stretch my neck to see the whole screen but soon enough they sunk into their seats and I relaxed. But yeah I liked the movie.

avengers endgame GIF
via giphy.com

The night before my Spanish Exam I plotted an entire YA contemporary series. 

Three whole books briefly plotted in a single night of insomnia because I was nervous for my exam the next day. Turns out I really like the idea and maybe one day I’ll take myself up on it. But yeah me and contemporary…this should be fun.

I’m back in school

It’s an online summer course and I really should be doing that now instead of this, but future-Rendz can hate me later I guess.

tired back to school GIF by Originals
via giphy.com

TBR

May TBR

I feel like I just want to go with the flow this month. 

Don’t get me wrong I have pressing reads and I will hopefully get to them, but I am tired of being tied down with release dates…and my shelves miss me. So May will be the month of ME. Maybe I’ll do some Twitter/Insta polls so you guys can help me pick out what I should read. There are many options to pick from and I am a bit overwhelmed, but so far this is what I’ve gotten to:

Q: What will be your final read of April? If everything goes according to plan, I should be able to squeeze in one more book before the end of the month. I'm hoping to get to We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett which was published at the beginning of April so it's fitting I should read it in its debut month! The cover is so stunning I hope the inside it much the same! #WeRuletheNight #ClaireElizaBartlett #LittleBrownBooks #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #scifi #fantasy #youngadultbooks #igbooks #bookstagramer #aprilreads #mysisterisfinallydoneschool #iaskedherforahashtagandthatswhatcametohermind #todaywasherfinaldayofschoolforreal Q: What was the last book that took your breath away? Last night I finished this book. And it blew me away. Completely out of the water. I've never read anything like this. Ever. It was so incredibly thrilling and enchanting and heart wrenching and absolutely MAGICAL. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by @renarossner is a beautiful, haunting read based on Jewish folklore/mythology and inspired by the Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. Written both in prose and verse, this book was a wild ride!  I highly recommend this book. It has so much to offer. I still have stars in my eyes! Day 8 of #flbmythicmay | Magic #TheSistersoftheWinterWood #RenaRossner #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #adultfantasy #jewishlit #magicalrealism #greatreads #fivestars I'm 3 days late in starting this tag but it is Day 3 of #flbmythicmay |  Quests (I'm pretty sure this book has quests in it lol)  I'm sure many of you saw on my stories that I'll be buddy reading The Cruel Prince with my sisters this month. This will be our second Sister Read and I think it will be very interesting as we tackle this very popular book. My oldest sister is already half way and she has ~~thoughts~~. Meanwhile my second eldest sister and I have yet to start bc we are finishing our current reads. I would love to know your thoughts on this book! #TheCruelPrince #HollyBlack #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #faeriebooks #igbooks #bookstagramer #maytbr #mayreads #LittleBrownBooks

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black *Sister Reads Review coming soon*

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George *CR*

Hopefully I can get to The Grief Keeper and Spin the Dawn this month!

Recent book mail from @penguinteenca!! I got this is in the mail a couple of weeks ago and finally found the time to take a picture.  Just look at the cover. STUNNING. The book is said to be a cross between Project Runway and Mulan. AND I AM HERE FOR IT.  I am so excited to dive into it soon! What's been in your bookish mail box recently? #SpintheDawn #ElizabethLim #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #yafantasy


Let me know what you think! How was your April? How are things looking this month? What book(s) are you most excited about? What is your current read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Kingsbane | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

I would like to send many thanks to Raincoast Books for inviting me to a part of this book tour! Kingsbane is the sequel to Furyborn, which took the book world by storm last year and I am sure Kingsbane will be no different. It has a lot to offer and I’m positive that it will knock the socks off its readers!

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 21st, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Price: $26.95 CAD (hardcover)
Goodreads

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.


BUY IT

Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA


The Likes

The Characters

Eliana is my favourite of our two queens. Fiercely passionate. Stubborn. Sometimes I would just sit there reading her POV and I would be like: Girl. What are you doing?!? And then there are other times where I would be like: YEah YUS YESSSSS Girl!!!!!!! To make more sense: This girl is wonderfully flawed, she has had this destiny thrust upon her and she has been sorted into a dark history, but she takes it like a champ. She falters here and there, she stumbles like any one would and what makes her so remarkable is that she keeps going.

Rielle…I will be honest I had a tough time with her in this book. I don’t outright hate her. But Legrand wanted to craft unlikable characters and she did it with Rielle for me. Half the time I was like GURL. STAHP. And I struggled reading her chapters because I was frustrated, yet intrigued, yet hopeful, yet terribly pessimistic because we kinda know how she meets her end….but then again we do not know any of the true details and context. Nonetheless her POV was incredibly interesting, watching her succumb to this power and embrace it and her flaws and something to behold was quite…quite something.

Others…

Ludivine….I still find her super questionable in her motives, but I like her.

Remy we gotta protect him at all costs. Don’t mess with my baby. He deserves the world.

Simon…oh my god. I love him I do. I do. And he is as elusive as ever. And OMG *dies* (I die, not Simon)

Audric deserves better and that’s my tea, but he wants Rielle but *things* happen so I have to deal with this and I went a little insane. And I’m being so vague but ahhhhh.

I f***ing hate Corien. Hooo I can’t. My blood pressure just went up.

angry peter pan GIF
via giphy.com

The Magic

The magic in this sequel was a lot of fun. Both Eliana and Rielle have there go at it and the way in which they use magic—and the situations in which they use it—make up a lot of intrigue. I still have a few questions about it, but I feel like I might have just forgotten some of it’s rules since I read the first book a year ago.

The twists and turns

Seriously they come at you so fast. It’s surprising I didn’t get whiplash from all the turning and shock I went through! I was literally the blinking white guy meme while reading some of these twists and turns. But the Neymar meme works better. The twists were simply unbelievable at times! Not to mention hella stressful.

shocked champions league GIF
via giphy.com

The romance really was a lot of sexy times.

All that sexual tension!!! (*coughs* ) Yeah. And descriptive. Which I don’t have a problem with, except I am one for the soft tender moments. Like the forehead kiss. PLUS I am super awkward. XD Like it’s actually funny XD But I also expected this seeing as the first one was quite hot too. So just so you know this is definitely upper YA, not to mention the characters are like 18-19 years old.

THE ENDING AHHHHHHHHHHHH

WHAT THE ACTUAL FLYING CHEESEBALLS!!!!!!!!

THIS ENDING WAS SO WORTH EVERYTHING. IT IS THE REASON I WAS UP THAT NIGHT STRESSING AND REGRETTING MY DECISION OF READING THIS BOOK EARLY BECAUSE IT JUST MEANS A LONGER WAIT FOR THE FINALE.

THERE IS A STORM HEADED YOUR WAY PEOPLE.

BE PREPARED.

work boss GIF
via giphy.com

The Questionable

Filler, filler, Plot Stiller

As much as I love big books, I felt like we were at a stand still a lot in this one. Like I think back and many things happened, were all of them incredibly necessary and useful to moving forward…no. In my humble opinion because *I* know how to write. But in all seriousness the book could have had the same impact if it cut back on a few scenes and even though I liked that more people other than Rielle and Eliana got POVs…I just don’t think they were necessary.


Overall, this was a wild ride. A  big book, with big characters, big twists and an ending that left my jaw on the floor. Like it’s still there and I finished this book ages ago! I thought it was even perhaps better than Furyborn with all the characters headed down different paths! I cannot wait to see where Legrand takes us in the finale!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars!

Recommend: If you want a high fantasy series, then YUS!

Let me know what you think! Have you read Furyborn? Are you looking forward to reading Kingsbane? Who do you prefer: Rielle or Eliana or both?

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ALONG THE REST OF THE BLOG TOUR FOR MORE REVIEWS AND FUN!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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THEME THURSDAY | PIRATES

Greetings readers!

I’m back with another Theme Thursday post! This feature was created by a very amazing blogger, Sophie! If you have been looking for a biweekly post to rave about some books I highly recommend this one! It’s short, sweet and to the point!


Theme Thursday is a new weekly feature created by Sophie @ Blame Chocolate where bloggers can share recs and newly found books featuring that week’s theme.

  • There will be a different theme (genre, trope, etc) every Thursday. You can check the theme calendar and find out more about the feature here.

I’ll be honest Pirate YA has boomed over the past couple of years…but I have not actually delved very deep into this subgenre. They are all practically on my TBR, but still haven’t actually got into them XD

I think it has a lot to do with me and my extreme dislike of seafood. Maybe I don’t like reading about characters who have to eat fish(?)

🍫 Books I’ve Read/I’m Reading:

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2) Song of the Current (Song of the Current, #1)

*Neither of these were particularly great for me…

~~~

🍫 Books I Want to Read:

The Beholder Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1)

*Look at these ship covers!!! *heart eyes*

~~~

🍫 Other Books That Fit The Theme:

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1) Blackhearts (Blackhearts, #1)

*Boats on black covers…oh look at that they match!

*Book images via Goodreads*

These are only some of the more recent Pirate YA books that have taken the world by storm. I would love to get into the genre more and I really am looking forward to reading The Beholder! Just look at that cover! I’m not even 100% sure it has actual pirates…I might have just put it on because of the ship on the cover XD (Look how beautiful it is!)

Let me know what you think! What Pirate YA books have you read? Which ones are you looking forward to reading? Any recommendations for me?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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