Well here I am wrapping up the month rather early because I am leaving for vacation! I am headed to El Salvador for the next two weeks and I couldn’t be more excited! I haven’t been back in a very long time, so this is a very important trip! I promise to share some nature-y pictures when I get back and if you follow me on Instagram (@readingwithrendz) you will probably see some story updates!
I am pretty sure I don’t have that much to wrap-up this month, June flew by. But I do have some exciting things to share!
What Rendz Read (officially)
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
I absolutely loved this book! I buddy read it with Mandy and it was our first mutually enjoyed book! My Full Review
The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
I LOVED this book! It has a great magic system and the characters are amazing! My Full Review
Strippedby Zoey Castille
This was a surprising read and so out of my comfort zone. I have a whole post planned for this, so stay tuned!
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy The Penderwicks on Gardam Street The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
This was a very spontaneous reread but I still loved them all!!
Purchased: Jade City by Fonda Lee
Raincoast Books: The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson Heart, Strings, and other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young The Grace Year by Kim Ligget Good Luck Girlsby Charlotte Nicole Davis
Hachette: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Penguin Teen CA: Bid My Soul Farewellby Beth Revis Grave Maidens by Kelly Coon
It was short, sweet, to the point and while I didn’t love the books I got in my goodie bag, I did get some Marissa Meyer swag which was a plus!!!! Plus the books they have coming out sound incredible!! I cannot wait to read them!
I Went to the Raptors Victory Parade
Being the huge bandwagoner that I was the entirety of the post-season of the NBA. I stayed up to watch the Toronto Raptors win and then went to their parade on Monday. I stood in the same spot for 4 hours to see them pass by within three minutes. My feet hurt, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere. There was an accident later on in the day, but I got home safely thankfully.
I reread my first ever vampire series
I don’t want to get into too much because I am planning a special post for when I get back from vacay! This was really out of the blue, but it was such an interesting experience, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in about two weeks!
My Spontaneous Penderwick Reread
I had no plans on reading them, but Sam Devotta from Penguin Teen CA emailed me to discuss the books since she recently binged the series. I couldn’t help but get all giddy and nostalgic and I picked up the books instead of one of my ARCs! I only had time to get to the first 3 before my vacay, but those are my favourites so it’s all gooood!
The Vacay TBR
I am taking Vikings to El Salvador! Yup! I am finally going to pick up Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young! And to go along with it, I will also be taking The Girl the Sea Gave Back, it’s companion novel!
The Rest of July TBR
I have quite a few ARCs to get to like Queen of Ruin and The Witching Hours. But I hope to also get to Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology or possible King of Scarsby Leigh Bardugo like I had BEEN wanting to read since it came out! Who knows what the rest of July will have in store, we shall see!
Let me know what you think! What stood out for you this month? What books did you get? Do you have any vacation plans for the summer?
I am so glad to be part of this blog tour for The Storm Crow, a new and highly anticipated read! Many thanks go out to Raincoast Books for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for sending over an ARC!
In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.
Let’s start with Thiawho was such an incredible character! I absolutely adored her. After basically witnessing the destruction of her beloved country, Thia’s grief totally overwhelms her and succumbs her to a several months long depression and it takes her a long time to call it what it is. She carried this exhausting weight with her all the time and it prevented her from being who she was before the destruction. Throughout the story and the challenges she is put through, Thia has to find a way to live on with that sadness that used to keep her under her covers. And as the story goes on, Thia really starts to shine. We get to see her spunk, her extreme curiosity and her passion. Her fears and grief are always near at hand, but she slowly starts to creep out of the darkness that she once found so comforting and confronts the world before her. The struggle is never easy and Jospehson doesn’t shy away from showing how tough it can be to hold on to hope. It’s very rare to see mental health rep in fantasy and I thought that this was an incredibly interesting take on it!
Ericen…hmmmmmmmmmmm okay. So I really liked to hate him??? And then I pitied him??? At one point he is just so terribly horrible and then things happen and other things are brought to light and it’s just a whirlwind of emotions with this guy. I don’t even know exactly what to say. I can’t say we get a completely unbiased portrait of him because the entire story is told from Thia’s POV so we don’t get to go into his mind. But he is very interesting and mysterious. And at the end there I had a lot of questions about him and I honestly don’t know what he is going to do next which is the most exciting bit.
Other characters…Are kind of spoilery if I talk about who I want to talk about. Um, but here are some I can talk about! The best friend, Kiva, was so ferocious and charming I loved her! She was a great, fiery addition to this adventure! The sister, Caliza, is also really interesting. We don’t get a lot from her, but she is in a tough situation, that by no means excuses some of the things she says to Thia, but a little empathy is required everywhere.
BUT THE VILLAIN-CHARACTER…OMG I HATE HER!!!!!!!
Love. Love. Love.
Okay, first off the ARC came with a map and an index with all the countries of the world and it was just amazingly helpful. There’s a lot happening here and not all of it is easily memorable so having those two points of reference was amazing.
Besides that, the countries and people of this world were so fascinating. The ways in which they lived and practiced and fought were pretty, pretty different. The story revolves largely around the threat of one country becoming too powerful and conquering and slaughtering only to swallow their victims into their own body. Thia is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to her country of Rhodaire but things get messy.
The politics of this world were very tricky. Thia gets into a very sticky and messy situation where they are trying to break her and use that depression against her. It was hard to read about sometimes because I wanted to help but there was nothing I could do obviously, so I really had to hang on during this wild ride. It’s not all black and white. There are are shades of grey that really bring a richness to the troubles of these countries.
Giant, magical, elemental, crows. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The index also explained the types of magic found in these birds so that was really helpful too because we get a better understanding of how Rhodaire used to function with them and why they are so pivotal to the characters. I really liked this magic system, I did. It was not exactly what I was expecting and it definitely comes with it’s surprises.
The Action and Intensity
Perfect for this high fantasy! There were lots of moments when I was screaming and yelling at the characters for making terrible decisions, but it was fun! I enjoyed myself immensely while reading this. It has an even pace with the promise of danger always looming and when it finally comes you can’t help but be surprised and completely sucker punched by it!
The ending took me a little by surprise, I was not expecting things to go down the way they did and that is always a wonderful thing because it amped up the risk!
I’m not gonna even spend time on this. Um. What do I even say? Things happened. Then more things happened. Then some things happened too quickly and I was kind of like ??? and then OTHER things happened and I cringed out of second-hand embarrassment. So I will just say that it helped with the drama, but I refuse to get attached for *reasons.* But I think others who’ve read this might already have made an attachment. Who knows?
Maybe I just wanted a little more with the magic. I felt like bigger things could have been done there even though the window for it was limited. I just think that’s what’s missing for me to give it the full stars!
The Quickie Fan Art
This is a very–very–quick sketch of a certain drawing that is actually in the book. I felt inspired when I read it so I took a shot at it!
It’s most definitely not perfect and I plan on doing a much better and cohesive version of it sometime soon! But for now enjoy the quickie sketch!
Overall, I had a wonderful time reading this book! It had all the right action and suspense. Thia is an incredible character with such raw experience and heart. The politics of the world will have you nervous and the magic in awe! I am so excited to see where the sequel takes us next!
Rating: 4.85 / 5 Stars (What is even this rating, Rendz????)
Recommend:YES! Oh yes, oh yes!
Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? Have you ever read fantasy mixed with a mental health rep before? Isn’t that cover gorgeous!?
One of the many, many flaws I possess, according to my mother, is that I cannot sew. Correction: I cannot sew properly. I can do a sloppy job of it, but actually doing a clean seam is beyond my abilities.
Alas, I still read this book which was all about sewing. And it was quite something. Quite something.
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.
*My thanks goes out to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC*
I had the lovely opportunity to buddy read this with my fabulous friend, Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews. Considering our last two buddy reads went less than spectacular, we were pretty stoked knowing that this book came with such good buzz! And we are both so happy that we both actually enjoyed the book this time!
Maia: Ohhhh I loved her. I loved her. She was truly a fantastic MC to follow. She grew up in a house full of brothers who loved and doted on her. She had a mother, who was taken too early, but adored her so much as well. And her father who taught her almost everything she knows about being a seamstress. I loved the way she treasured and practically carried her family in the toughest of times, especially as a woman in a trade meant for men. I loved that she literally risked it all for her family, even if on the inside she knew that she really wanted to risk everything for her own aspirations. I loved her honesty because she literally couldn’t lie to save her life.
Edan: I pitched it to Mandy that he was a Tragic Magic boy and honestly I still stand by it. He was all charm and you guys all know how much of a sucker I am for the charming, borderline annoying ones. He was mysterious and harbored lots of secrets, some of which we get into. He was an interesting character to have around as more than just simple a love interest. His role was pivotal to the politics of the book too, which are quite tricky to maneuver.
Others…There aren’t many. The other tailors in the competition are not at all what they seem at first glance. Trust me, keep yer eyes on them. Then there are the emperor and Lady Sarnai, who were quite, quite not at all who they seemed to be!!!
It was so, so rich. And we go everywhere–well most everywhere. It was incredibly fascinating to explore the different landscapes that the characters live in and journey. You get a sense of the difference in lifestyle between the royal characters and the civilians. The politics of the world are communicated very well. The society is suffering after a war and the court machinations in the palace may not be helping at all. It is a seducing setting no doubt.
I loveeeeeeeeee competition books. And I also adore quest books. And this story was literally the best of both worlds.
The first part was all about Maia making it as a tailor and passing all the tests in order to serve Lady Sarnai as her official tailor. It was soooooo crazy and cool at the same time. It was a cutthroat killer competition about sewing!!! Sewing! I loved the challenges that they got, with materials so unconventional that I applaud Lim’s imagination for creating pretty pieces (even if they are just being described in words 😉 )
Then came the journey which takes up a chunk of the novel. it comes with three pivotal challenges that Maia has to pass in order to A) survive and B) become the Imperial tailor. It was full of danger and intrigue and risk. I know they have a lot of down time during this part of the book, but I didn’t mind. I lived for every moment between Maia and Edan.
It lived up to its selling points
Mulan x Project Runway. Let me tell you. This book is most definitely Mulan x Project Runway in every way that you can think and beyond. Maia had such a moment when she cuts her hair, I actually screeched a little bit to myself. It might not have had dramatic music in the background, but it was no less intense and magical.
I’ve already talked about the tailoring competition, but I cannot stress how Project Runway it truly is! So much talent, trash talking and crazy amazing dresses. The tailor competition is a little (a lot) more umm bloody, but still. Amazing. And the PR vibes run beyond just the competition. Maia’s skill is so wonderfully explored, I would LOVE to wear any of her creations!
ALL THOSE COVER SECRETS
This stunning cover gives a lot more away than you might think. I’m screaming.
I didn’t think we’d get that far with them in this book, but neither Maia nor I could resist Edan’s charm! I loved them together. I truly did. Mandy is right when she says that they goes back and forth a little too much, but I was swooning the whole way there. AND OF COURSE THINGS GET ROUGH TOWARDS THE END. But I still truly love them together!!!
Just one tiny thing. The antagonist(s) were a little lack luster. Um I wanted a little more sleeziness and creepiness and well villain power. They were a little too mellow for me, even though they caused plenty of trouble for our dear characters. So I lacked that drama. However, I think we are gonna get a lot more from them in the sequel!!!
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the ending because it is not at all what I expected and it has been a while since I have been surprised by a book! I also LOVED that Lim put in this little excerpt before chapter one that when I read it again after having read the whole book…it just transformed the whole experience for me.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
Let me know what you think! Are you excited for this book? How easily do you trust comps/selling points? How stunning do you think this cover is? Can you sew, are you any skilled in tailoring?
I would just like to say that when I saw this book was starring a Salvadoran MC I almost squealed! I have never, ever seen my people represented in books and this was my first time reading one so I am super excited to share my thoughts with you today!
This stunning YA debut is a timely and heartfelt speculative narrative about healing, faith, and freedom.
Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.
The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.
*Thank you to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC!*
I really enjoyed reading from Marisol’s perspective. I thought she was so incredibly raw and brave. Her courage to travel with her younger sister from her home country all the way to the US was amazing and to keep that courage no matter how many times she felt like things were going wrong was heart-warming and wrenching at the same time. Fleeing from everything she has ever known for being herself, for loving, she does everything and gives everything she can to keep her sister safe. The love she had for Gabi was so pure, my heart. Throughout the book, Marisol does a lot of self-discovery, of learning to accept herself and opening herself to new love, it’s amazing.
Gabi was a pretty remarkable character too. We don’t follow her perspective at any point, but just the knowledge of what she lived through is terrifying to think about. Don’t get me wrong, she had lots of smiles to share and a bubbly personality which was adorable, but you can’t read this book, or at least I couldn’t read this book without thinking about how much Gabi went through too. The things that she has seen and the things she knows and how she deals with it. She’s a spectacular character.
Rey was another incredible character. One that you kind of have to let grow on you. She has been through a terrible trauma and is living with this grief she refuses to let go of. She is stubborn and could be quite mean but she also had this noble heart to her that I loved reading about.
The Actual Grief Keeping
It was so scary to think about. That this could be a reality. That the way the world is working could actually lead to immigrants choosing to use their bodies as containers of grief to have a chance to live safely in the States. The book explores a lot of this. Of how far someone will go to find safety and freedom. Marisol’s experience as a grief keeper is not easy and it was really hard to read about sometimes. There was a terrible hope in it and as much as it was a chance to *save* lives, it also heavily discounted the lives of others.
The Hard Stuff
Immigration is really the big topic of the book and it’s accompanied by the persecution of LGBTQ+ folx in Central American countries. Which also comes with the discussion on gang violence and extortion. There are a lot of heavy subjects that this book deals with and Marisol goes through so much. While we don’t actual go on a linear storyline from El Salvador to the US, there are plenty flashbacks of her times in ES and the struggles she went through!
Grief was such an important theme in this novel. It was tied to every aspect of each character’s life, not just Marisol. The grief in family, of when you lose family and of when you stop loving your family. There is the fear of being branded illegal in every aspect of your life, in getting caught and stomped and trampled over. There was sadness, but there was also hope. I don’t want you guys to think that this book is just sad, there is so much hope to be had in it too. Marisol is such an incredible character to journey with as she deals with all of this.
On a lighter note…It referenced Narnia twice.
Can I get a high five? *High fives self*
It wasn’t a slow burn…but these girls didn’t click right away. Marisol and Rey both had a lot to deal with before they could factor in a relationship. Their backgrounds were different and their life experiences were quite opposites too. But I really enjoyed watching them grow together, of leaning with each other. Bonding and creating new memories together. Talking things out and accepting the other for everything they were flaws and all.
It was beautifully written. The Spanish that was incorporated in it was seamless and I LOVED the fact that it included actual Salvadoran slang. A+. But seriously there were a lot of quotable moments in the book.
There is a really shocking revelation that made my jaw drop. I mean I was sort of expecting it, but not exactly! A tease I know. But it was…wow.
I’m not 100% sure why I took off the 0.25 in the end. I think most of it is due to the fact that I waited two weeks to write this review so I really don’t remember. UGH. But I think I would have liked to read a little bit more about Gabi and how exactly she copes with everything that happens, but maybe that’s for another book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s not the easiest to read in terms of content, but I really flew through the book so it’s definitely a page-turner. I know this isn’t exactly the El Salvador book I wanted because the country itself doesn’t have a good rep in this particular case, but it needs to be talked about anyways. The toxic culture of a country is one thing, but the people that it hurts, the people like Marisol are the ones who really need the highlight. It is a poignant tale, and an important one too.
Rating: 4.75 / 5 stars
Recommend:Yes! I think it is a great Pride Month read for those who are looking!
Let me know what you think! What did you think of this book? Are you looking to read it?
I feel like I haven’t done a tag in ages, so here I am with one that is long, long overdue. Two of the most wonderful bloggers I know, Mandy and Kyera created this very special tag that combines two wonders of the world: Books and Disney Princess Hair. That’s right: HAIR.
Link back to Kyera’s original post on Kyera‘s Library and Mandy’s post on Book Princess Reviews so we can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, we don’t get notified if you just tag our URLs)
Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
Obviously, come up with your own wonderful answers!
Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!
Princess: I’ve always been enchanted by Jasmine’s jeweled headband. I can just imagine the sparkle it might have.
Book: Hound in the Penderwicks series. If I could ever have a dog, I hope it would be one like Hound.
Princess: I mean. I mean. I MEAN.
Book: THE TWIST in Raging Star by Moira Young. OMG When I went through that twist I…I was left speechless. Like I did not expect that to happen at all. It was amazing!
Princess: I need you all to take a good look at how the mechanics of this bun exactly work. It is difficult to do, trust me, I HAVE TRIED TO DO IT ON MYSELF AND IT IS NOT THAT EASY. Plus the way they draw Cinderella in modern images is just wrong wrong wrong.
Book: Roshani Chokshi hands down.
Princess: Look at that volume at the bottom there!
Book: The Chronoptika quartet by Catherine Fisher. This is a series on time travel after all, so there is quite a bit of jumping.
Princess: Those three little girls did a great job with Rapunzel’s hair.
Book: TLC obviously!!! Marissa Meyer did an amazing job weaving together all these fairy tales.
Princess: I know it’s only a small scene where she has this do, but Tiana’s bob is just so cute!!! And in that dress, hat and boa…perfection.
Book:Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney. This is such a cute read and I loved that I was able to fly through this!
Princess: I believe she is the only princess who actually has a half-up/-down do!
Book: Kazmin from Even the Darkest Stars. Both Sha and I had so much trouble with this girl. AHHH but River from the same book was just a lot of down hill work.
Princess: Two simple braids, always an easy fix for medium hair.
Book:Dealing in Dreamsby Lilliam Rivera. I liked it, but at the same time, I struggled with some of the characters. A review is coming for this one soon.
Princess: Even messy, these bands are still on point.
Book:Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. I am so in love with it. UH.
Princess: There were so many good gifs to use for this one, I had trouble choosing.
Book:Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. It took a while to feel like I made a dent in this book but it was sure was quite something.
Princess: I know she’s not a princess, but I mean look at that pony!
Book:The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner! This had the most interesting POV switching ever!!!!!!!!!!! It is very distinct so you always know who is talking!!
Princess: I mean for her to have been able to slice it off so nicely it has to be silky!!!!!
Book:An Ember in the Ashesby Sabaa Tahir! THIS SERIES IS SO INCREDIBLE AHH. AND EACH BOOK IS BETTER THAN THE LAST!
Princess: Just look at that wild red hair!
Book:A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna is so underrated and that should be fixed!! It is action packed and there are lots of twists!
Princess: I’m definitely a cross between Moana and Merida. All curls, all day.
Book:The Beauty of the Momentby Tanaz Bhathena. I related to the MC a lot in this novel even though we come from different ethnic backgrounds.
I initially picked this book from the list Penguin sent out because I saw on Goodreads that it was compared to The Penderwicks. And I’m sure we all know how I feel about the Penderwicks…I’m talking a minor obsession here that was a decade in the making.
So here I am ready to feel all the gush…but I ended up feeling feeeeelllllzzzzzz
Adventure, friendship, and magical realism come together in this heartwarming, whimsical story. Perfect for fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Penderwicks .
When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a “bold and brave son,” so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona’s birth became a disappointment — especially to her sea captain father, who doesn’t believe there’s a place for girls aboard ships.
But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father’s ship just as he’s about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona’s father is furious. Can she prove to him that she’s worth his love and pride, even though she’s not the bold and brave son he was promised?
Oona was an incredible heroine. She was a plucky, stubborn and curious girl who has been basically shunned her entire life for not being the “prophesied boy” that her captain father was expecting. Her family was so horrible to her. Like this was not Penderwick-like at all, I don’t know who came up with that lie. And still, I found the Penderwick vibes in Oona herself. I saw it in her bravery, her drive and her desire to be loved by the only family she has ever known until she discovers a new one.
As you already know, I hated her family. They were despicable. It was a funny despicable but still…ughjufsn I wanted to take Oona away from their clutches and give her a big hug because she deserved it. I think the dad was the worst of all bleh.
I am not the biggest cat person, but this cat was sure interesting. I really enjoyed how Woods played with his nine lives.
This Incredible World
I felt the cold. I smelled the sea salt. I heard the wind. It was all so incredibly vivid for me. Woods did such an excellent job in explaining how the North worked in contrast to the South. The origin story bits weren’t tedious but very interesting and helpful in understanding the culture of the people. Moreover, I loved how she incorporating the shipwrecks into the village. I would be scared to live in a house made of potentially haunted wood, but still cool! There was a whole mythology that Woods set up that enriched this world with each turn of the page and each risk Oona took!
Then the actual Sailing was Something Else
This is a pirate MG book! And I hated how the pirates treated my darling little Oona, except for one character of course. But wow oh wow this was more than just sailing to go whaling. This was an adventure of myth and fancy. The waters of this world held so many fantastical creatures that brought this story to life and made the title of this book a thing that actually happens. *Is that a spoiler…oops*
There was a lot of twists and turns to be had on sea. (And on land) Oona goes through many trials to try and win the favour of her father, but I loved that she finds something else instead.
The Illustrations were cute
Umm not like drop dead gorgeous Oh ma gosh! but they definitely added some charisma to the story. Especially when the more magical and fantastical bits were designed!!!
I took off one star just because I would have liked a little more risk…If that makes any sense. Things were too easy. Like I adore my precious Oona, but I wanted her to suffer a little bit more (???) Wow I am an evil, evil person and read too much YA.
Overall, this was a gorgeous quick and easy read. I’m sure MG readers will find many things enchanting about this story and will be hopping up and down to go on a nautical adventures themselves!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Yes! It is a fast, fun and magical read!
Let me know what you think! Have you read any of Woods’ work? What are some of your favourite Pirate books? What MG books have you been loving as of late?
Boy oh boy. May was THE month for me. It was the month of MAY. *Read that like how Justin Timberlake sings Me.*
Not gonna lie there was a week where I fell into a slump, but I jumped back from it! Not every read this month was omgomgomgoooood, but I had quite a few good ones and am quite happy with what I got done. To add to this, I read faster than I wrote reviews so I am severallll books behind schedule in terms of reviewing. They will be up…eventually though.
Let’s get started shall we!
What Rendz Read
We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
This was such a great read! I was so surprised by how much I liked it! If you want feminist, fighter pilots then check it out. My Full Review.
The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH. This book was PHENOMENAL!!!!! READ IT! My Full Review.
The Cruel Princeby Holly Black
This was the Sisters Reads of May! My sisters, Maz and Kez, and I buddy read this together and we shared our ~thoughts~. Read Our Tell All.
Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George
SECOND HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH! You all have now idea how much I adored this book. My Full Review.
Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Despite not being exactly what I expected, I enjoyed this Latinx read a lot! More to come in a mini review!
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenixby Julie C. Dao
I have been meaning to read this one for a while now because I loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It was a great follow up for sure! More to come in a mini review!
The Girl Who Sailed The Starsby Matilda Woods
This short, magical MG read is sure to capture the hearts of many! Review to come.
The Snow Witch by Rosie Boyes
I got some great winter and White Witch vibes from this MG read! Review to come!
The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
This was quite an emotional read and it is the perfect Pride Month pick! Review to come!
As usual I went overboard with everything.
My purchases Nocturnaby Maya Motayne (Finished copy)
Penguin Teen CA The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (I KNOW AHHHH) A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy Eve of Manby Giovanna & Tom Fletcher The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
Hatchette Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart by Jack Henseleit
Library: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
If you guys don’t follow me on Instagram, you totally should! (@readingwithrendz). I often put updates on my little art adventures. Not all of them are cool, but I like to share my progress. My latest project was a Pinterest Girl that I did in soft pastel!
The following picture is the finished copy (but the lighting is so horrible)!
Aladdin 2019 was not trash. I repeat it was not trash!
Let me tell youuuuuu. I 100% thought this movie was not going to be any good from what I saw in the trailers, but I was so so wrong. it was actually quite fun and I liked how they retold the story. Even Will Smiths top-knot genie was okay with me. I mean it doesn’t beat out the original cartoon, but still! It was quite good!
I was hoodwinked, bamboozeled and betrayed by a Wattpad story!!!
So I was clearing out my iPod because I want to take it on my vacation and I was deleting all unnecessary apps. I stumbled upon my Wattpad app, which I made with the intention of writing but I never did, lol. So I was going to delete it, but then I saw this story cover which I was fairly intrigued by. I read the synopsis and knew that it wasn’t really my style, but I was curious. So I read this contemporary, arranged-marriage romance novel. And I gotta be honest…I was kinda loving it. Like it had its trashier bits and the grammar was off sometimes, but I really did like the characters and the plot direction. And I got to the end and thought wow this was great, until I read the epilogue. The epilogue ruined everything for me. It turned this happily ever after into a bittersweet end. And before you think what you might think, no. No one died. No one broke up. It was just how the author decided to craft their future in order to write a sequel that made me go: NO NO NOOOOOOOO.
So I was mad. But I haven’t been able to find another arranged-marriage romance novel that works for me. So I continue to suffer.
I Went to the Penguin Teen Social!
Book worms of all kinds gathered at the PRHC HQ a couple of weeks ago to talk all things books. It was more of a mix and mingle than a sit-down thing. (There were not many places to sit at all actually) But I had a lot of fun being anti-social with my best bookish friend, Rezanne! I even got to meet Tanaz Bhathena and she singed my copy of The Beauty of the Moment!!!! I got to meet more authors, but I’m still thinking of writing an event recap for it so stay tuned!
I’m thinking of taking another mood month. I’m just going to pick up whatever I feel like I want to try.
I’ve already read The Beholder by Anna Bright and it was quite the read! I’ll talk more about it in my review!
I will be reading Spin The Dawn this month with Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews! We are hoping this will be our first read that we both actually love!
I will also for sure get to The Storm Crow by Kayln Josephson because I will be part of the blog tour!!!
Oh and I have one special read that’s going to be happening this month. Let’s just say I am really going to step out of my comfort zone.
As for the rest of the month….hmmmmmm…we shall see what I am in the mood for!
Let me know what you think! What was your favourite May read? What books are you looking forward to this June? What books did you haul?
I can’t promise you that the following review will make any sense. I am honestly planning on gushing my whole way down. I would like to send a special shout out to Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews who hyped me up for this book long ago.
Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.
Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.
Okay okay breathe Rendz, breeaaattthhheee. *inhale* *exhale* OKAY LET ME TELL YOU HOW ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THIS BOOK IS AND HOW YOU NEED TO PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR IMMEDIATELY. I AM OFFICIALLY NAMING THIS REQUIRED READING MATERIAL.
What I Liked
These Glorious Characters
There are a lot of them, so I have to be brief, but just know that George crafted such incredibly dynamic, complex and rich characters for her novel. This gang of guys and gals had a lot of magic–not literally XD–but they were incredibly charming and enchanting and I would love to spend more time with them.
Beatrice: My girl genius. She was literally all brains and all snark and I adored her. Her brilliance was one thing, but her awkwardness in social situations was just so relatable XD. But don’t for one second think she didn’t have guts because she had them and more.
Benedict: Oh my charming, tragic writer-in-training. I loved him too. I loved his persistence with his writing, his adoration for his newfound family and his self-sacrificing-ness, (Can’t seem to find the write word there) But he was just so great! A Book boyfriend for sure!
Maggie: Magical. Seriously. She had this charm to her and this willpower within her that I admire so much. Her life wasn’t easy and as a black girl in the 20s she had to put up with so much crap, but she didn’t let any of that hold her back. She had dreams and she worked hard to make them come true.
Hero: Was another charmer (I swear everyone in this book is a charmer). But she was definition of “life of the party.” I absolutely loved her dedication to her family and her speakeasy. Her heart was huge even though she could be a little (a lot) selfish, but if you really look at it it’s all part of her charm.
Prince:My baby. Literally a soft boi who has the biggest heart. He was a quieter more background character, but he had such a pivotal role in this book. His devotion was so admirable, liked I wanted to sob for him because he was so loyal to the end. My heart.
John: Mandy put it exactly right. He was the Kaz of this bunch. Shady but with a soft(ish) heart. He was literally a semi-leader of an Italian mafia—which was dangerous—but also really, really hot. Tell me I’m lying!?! It’s hot and I think his broodiness was perfect addition to this novel.
It is a known fact that the Roaring 20s is probably the coolest decade to set a book in. There was a lot of political and cultural movement. Clothes changed. Music changed. Laws were obviously more strict. The whole speakeasy aspect of this novel was perfect. We spent a good amount of time in it and the plot directed a lot of drama with it which I found fascinating. You can tell George did her research (especially if you read the Author’s Note). She used actual events and people in her story albeit a little bit altered. When I found out that the Italian Mafia family that was involved in the book was actually real…well I’ll be darned that is pretty cool. Scary, but cool.
But anyways, yes. This setting was amazing. It was a perfect blend of fun and danger which is exactly what the twenties is all about.
I Know Nothing about Much Ado About Nothing But I Still Love It!
Yes it’s true, I’ve never read Shakespeare’s play, but I sure do want to know. Of course I didn’t want to go in completely blind when I went into this book so I googled a quick summary of the play and ending up watching a 6 min summary video on YouTube. And you know what! It really helped me hehehe. I found some of the connections and I do believe that the chapter titles are lines from the play which I thought was genius. So while I cannot give you the best comparison of the two, I think fans of the play will like this book! Oh and I just noticed that the names of the characters are from the play too.
Because let’s be honest this was a love story. And I had three ships to ship. And all three were epic. And I want more more more MORE. I mean the amount of banter in this book was so so great. The TENSION it created was perfect. I wanted so badly to yell “just kiss already!!!” And boy did we have to wait for those kisses, but it was so so worth it! The chemistry was perfect. The epic emotions. The drama. The ~scandal~. It was all so great.
Not applicable. I enjoyed myself too much while reading this.
Overall, this book was great. Seriously. If you’re looking to pick up a historical fiction with the perfect blend of romance and risky speakeasy business and Shakespeare then this is the book for you. I am positive you will find yourself in love with each of these characters.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Recommend?: Ay! In troth, thou needest to readeth this booketh!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What Roaring 20s book did you love? Which of Shakespeare’s play would you love to see a YA retelling of? Have any recs for me?
The Time has come my dearest friends. It has been a long while since my sisters, Mazand Kezlast made an appearance on this blog and it is about time that they came back.
After months of begging them to buddy read another book with me, I demanded that they do it. May was to be the month we take on a book. I gave them three options: The Cruel Prince, Flame in the Mist or Sky in the Deep. They ranked them. I took their top picks (TCP (K) and SitD (M)) and then I took to Twitter and Instagram with polls for you, the people, to pick their book.
And y’all picked…well it’s not really a surprise anymore I guess.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Pub Date: Jan 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Price: $24.99 CAD (Hardcover) Goodreads
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
AND HERE WE ARE TO SHARE OUR JUMBLE OF THOUGHTS! This post is basically going to be us ranting to one another. While I cannot ensure proper thoughts, I can ensure funny banter 🙂
Kez…Why did you choose this book?
*Maz whispering mockingly*: She doesn’t know
*K rolls eyes at M*
K: No. I don’t know why. Okay. I just don’t know. I read the synopsis for all 3 book options and I guess that I thought this was gonna be the one with the most romance and boy did THAT backfire on me.
Maz…Why the hell did you go in with your negative preconceived notions?
M: I wouldn’t call them negative
M: But it def wasn’t my first choice. I’ve been reading YA since high school so I’ve had my share of Fae and out of all the supernaturals they are my least favourite. Their drama is another level. IDK if it’s because they are like the least humanish. I mean vampires have better human origins than fae
Rendz…you went in with spoilers so stfu. But why’d you pick it as an option?
You can try your hardest to avoid spoilers for this series…but it’s nearly impossible. But I picked it specifically because I wanted to put in a really super duper hyped book and see what I thought and consequently what my sisters thought.
What did you think of the plot?
K: I liked the subtle hints that all made sense together at the end of the book.
M: I felt like it dragged on for too long
K: Okay I see that happening in the beginning. But if we didn’t get all that info beforehand how would we have gotten to the end
M: It. Dragged. On. Too. Long.
K: Oh I would have liked to see more of the royals.
R: That plot was tricky tricky. Just like the fae should be. I agree with Kez, the beginning needed to be there for us to get to the end. Do I think every scene was absolutely necessary? No. Perhaps some trips to the mortal could have been cut.
M: Yeah I didn’t see the point of Vivi much and she was FAE!
K: It’s THE FIRST OF A TRILOGY
R: I agree with Kez again (A pattern you’ll notice). I think we could have gotten a little more Vivi. I thought she was an interesting character, but I wanted more from her.
M: I get that there are certain things that needed to happen BUT…
K: The fruit drugging bit—geez
M: What was the point of that!!??
K: IT WAS TO SHOW THE IMBALANCE OF POWER
M: I didn’t like the scene bc what I wanted to happen didn’t happen.
K: Which was what???
M: I don’t like a weakling male hero. I wanted a glimpse that Cardan had redeeming qualities.
R: Cardan is no hero, sis. Well, the plot had its dragging moments in the beginning but I thought it was great build up from the start to end.
M: The ending was rushed. Bleh
K: The beginning was slow, the ending was rushed, make up ya damn mind MAZ!
What did you think of the characters? Fave? Least fave?
K: Damn it. Some of the characters I couldn’t get behind.
K: What you didn’t like any of them??
M: My favourite character was Oak and he wasn’t even really in the book.
K: Locke was the red head, I could tell he was sleazy scumbag from the beginning.
M: Same and I almost liked him.
R: Locke is a bitch.
Thoughts on Jude:
K: *inhales* Conflicting emotions. There were times where I wanted to root for her and times when I wanted to punch her in the face.
M: Whiny. Stupid. She was a frustrating character, not easy to like, and I tried really hard to like her.
R & K: I don’t think you tried.
R: Well was she interesting no doubt. I admired her ambition even though I did not get behind many of her decisions.
M: She had to remind she was human every other page. UGH
K: She had to BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT TO BE HUMAN, SHE WANTED TO BE FAE.
Thoughts on Taryn:
M: Dumb B****
R: HOW DARE?
M: Whiny, meh, weak but not weak, but blergh
K: Weak in comparison to Jude? They both went through the same things but handled it differently.
M: All she did was cry?
M: All the time. I hated that she had to hide everything. So much for sisters before misters
K: *shakes head*
R: Well I liked Taryn. Was she flawed, oh yeah. But no one is perfect. I thought there was a strength in her too. It might not have been as ambitious and fire crackery as Jude, but she had her own fight in her.
K: I wasn’t in love with her, but I feel for her and I have hope for her in the next two books. I do.
Thoughts on Cardan:
M: I like a strong hero. He wasn’t it.
R: But. He’s. Not. A. Hero.
K: I bet you he or she will die. *evil face*
K: I also think that Taryn will die.
M: He was barely in the book.
K: *quizzical look* Disappointing, failed my romantic dream tbh.
R: This boy got issues and that doesn’t excuse him. But so far he’s not on my hierarchy of love interests.
How about the writing style?
R: I haven’t read a book that featured the narrator talking back to the reader in a while. And I thought it was cool. I felt like it implicated us into the reading, that we were being told this story, but had no chance to add in our commentary, to stop Jude from making a decision she would regret.
K: I liked it!
M: It was fine. I don’t mind it. But it didn’t help that it felt like she was complaining to me about her life. Yeesh, I don’t need that.
M: Trash trash trash. You’re gonna tell me after one kiss they magically have this chemistry like give me a break.
K: BULLSHIT. This is the girl [Maz] who reads romance novels where they fall in love after one look.
M: I AM NOT CONVINCED OF THE SPARK.
K: But the whole time she’s thinking about Locke she’s thinking about…about whats his name again???
M: See IT WASN’T CONVINCING!!!!!
R: Well I think there is more to see with the forthcoming books. I think theirs is a romance that will have us–ok me– questioning some morals. I don’t think I would want a relationship like that, but I am intrigued to see how this fight for power between them unrolls.
What did you think of the end?
K: Kinda what I expected, it was shocking but it was the final connection of all the dots that had me going Aha!
M: I was wondering how we were gonna get there, and it was interesting enough for me to kinda want to know what goes down in the next book.
R: I too liked the connection of all the dots. I knew how it ended, but not how we got there which was quite a doozy.
Will you be reading The Wicked King?
R: YES! Even though I know how that one ends too hehehehe
K: Maybe, but once we are closer to the release date of the last one.
M: I’ll skim it.
Maz: 3 / 5 stars (And she’s being generous here)
Kez: 3.75 / 5 stars
Rendz: 4 / 5 stars
Let us know what you think! Have you read TCP? Should we have higher hopes for TWK? Any recs for our sister reads (preferably books wither sisters in them!)?