The Dreamer Duology | Series Review // I AM IN LOVE.

Greetings readers!

The following review will probably make no sense. I tried my best to be eloquent and we should all know by now that when Rendz tries to be smart she does not sound smart.

ANYWAYS. WELCOME TO A VERY GUSHY REVIEW. I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS ON THIS SUPER HYPED SERIES THAT I HONESTLY THINK IS WORTH THAT HYPE.

It is PHENOMENAL.

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares
by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.


*Many thanks to HBG Canada for sending me finished copies for review! You are the real MVPs in this line of work!*

THIS IS ALL LIKES

Where do I even begin? Gosh. I have had this series in my possession since last fall/winter and yet I had never found the right moment to pick it up. I was always too nervous. Do you know how incredibly hyped this book series is? Laini Taylor is a household name in YA and the first time I read one of her books, it didn’t go as planned. (For many reasons, most of them having to do with my level of maturity)

Well I can safely say that this series is undoubtedly AMAZING. Hella weird, but so, so, so wonderful! This is a story that is so complex and yet 100% comprehensible. Never was there a moment where I was lost or side tracked or doubtful of how things were. I have to applaud Taylor’s amazing writing style and organization. She crafted this story so elegantly that while you consume the words on the page you grow with immense knowledge of the world and it’s history and characters. You get lost in this story and it is a good kind of lost, the kind where you don’t even notice the pages slipping by because you are so incredibly immersed in the story.

The characters were absolutely phenomenal. Lazlo, Sarai and the rest of the gang were incredible. They were fleshed out beautifully, incredibly dynamic and complex. Ruby was hilarious, Sparrow was a sweety pie but also a boss, Feral was clueless but also fun and Minya was the first 6-year old that I called a b*tch and yet wanted to hug close to my chest. Thyon took some getting used to that’s all I will say, but he is also so incredibly interesting and his growth through both books is huge! Eril-Fane, I don’t even know where to start, but his story was so heart-breaking and complex and bitter and seemingly hopeless, but it’s a journey and it’s not easy and it might have spiritually broken my heart. Azareen, was a boss and broken and tough and vulnerable and so so so many more things. My heart ached for her every single time she was on the page!

Lazlo was everything. He is the Soft Boi™. I can’t think of a single other dude who beats his status of softness. I love him. I love him. I love him. I think I might actually be in love with him. Like he is scholarly, compassionate, funny, painfully naive, warm, passionate, he’s got a little bit of a dark side. Truly, I think I’m in love and this is coming from the girl who loves bad bois i.e. Carswell Thorne. Anyways. Lazlo was the perfect star for this series, from his humble origins to his big adventure, every step of the journey was charming and crazy and dangerous with him.

Sarai. People speak of her as if she is a spoiler, but I don’t think so. She was also soft. Like the cutest thing ever, but she can literally make you go insane (?) so like she’s also dangerous! I loved everything about her! From her dedicated love to her siblings to her compassion for dreamers and her love of life! Gosh when things happened to her I felt like sobbing. The end of book one is literally so HORRIBLE (in a good-story kind of way) that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Sarai’s goes through a lot and journeying with her and having to deal with all that she has done is an incredible adventure.

The chemistry Lazlo and Sarai had! *screams* I think it is the only sort of insta-love I will ever accept. INCREDIBLE.

Okay, this world is weird and really intriguing. I have an imagination, but Taylor has an Imagination. I loved Weep and it’s surrounding cities. I loved how complex it’s history was and how much it suffered for it. The creatures of this world are unlike like any others I’ve ever read. When shit gets weird, you know it’s a High Fantasy and this is a prime example of it! Taylor’s exploration of Weep and the world is so amazing and covers a lot of ground. The culture of the people is so beautiful and yet marred by it’s history. Gosh, it is amazing. It actually celebrates a girl’s first menstruation with a tattoo around the belly which is so cool!! And no aspect of the culture is left just to be, it is integral to plot and wow I just LOVED IT.

I keep talking about the history of Weep and I won’t say much because you really have to experience it to get the full meaning of it all. But I will say is that it deals with my most favourite, favourite plot-line ever: Divine Intervention. And let’s just say that the gods are not nice in this one. And they wreak havoc. And the consequences of that damage is so monstrous that both gods and humans don’t know how to move on.

The history and whole plot of the story deal with such hard questions. Taylor did not hold back. If I were more eloquent in these reviews I would do a full analysis, but I’m not so I’ll just tell you that it’s hard. It made me question a lot of the notion of heroes. Heroes who do the unforgivable to win. The trauma they might have after “winning” and the shame/guilt that comes with it. The way sorrow consumes a community as much as it does a person. The prejudice and hate that exists because we are taught to hate and choose to pass it down. How we reconcile the unforgivable to move forward, if that is even possible? How all-consuming vengeance can be and how it drains a person of their will to truly live. It’s an endless series of questions. Not all of them have answers, but I just love the way the book explores these themes and challenges the reader to think. 

The endings to both books are so incredible. Book one ends in a shock, that had me speechless! I didn’t know what to do with myself! Book two has quite an ending too! I did not see it going in that direction and there is one little bit that made me sob inside!

On the more technical side. The pace was perfect. Actually book one was a little heavy and slow in the beginning and it takes a while for the adventure to start, but I really liked that we got this full background so that we were fully prepared to take on the rest of the story! Other than that, the pace is great. The suspense had me going wild, it was just right to keep me intrigued all the time. The writing, as I mentioned before, is stunning. It was absolutely beautiful. The action was less fight-y and more of a ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what the heck are we gonna do now??? kind of thing. Although book 2 has it’s moments and there are lots of flashbacks too!

THE MAGIC. I can’t say much about it. But the powers were quite unique. It gets a 10/10 from me.


Overall, I loved this series. I thought the writing was beautiful. The story was elegant, intriguing, thought-provoking and fun! It’s a story starring a book-nerd and a life-lover. The characters are amazing, the world is lush and horrific and enchanting. Everything about this series is perfectly thought out and wonderful. It’s a thrilling read!

Ratings:

Strange the Dreamer: 5 / 5 Stars

Muse of Nightmares: 5 / 5 Stars 

Recommend: ABSOLUTELY 100% YES.

I definitely look forward to picking up Taylor’s previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and co. I have a feeling I’ll have a better appreciation for it now!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Tell me everything! Who are your favourite characters? Did you like the ending? Do you hope for more? Have you read Taylor’s other work?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

The Brilliant Dark | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

Today I’m very grateful to bring to you my review for the final book in a Canadian YA Fantasy series! The Realms of Ancient series by S.M. Beiko has been a whirlwind of fun to read since book 1! This is one of the few urban fantasies that I’ve read that are set in Canada and well you know how Patriotic Rendz gets!

If you want to know more about my thoughts on book one and two, follow the links!

Scion of the Fox

Children of the Bloodlands (arguably my favourite of the three!)

The Brilliant Dark by S.M. Beiko

The Brilliant Dark: The Realms of Ancient, Book 3

Pub Date: Sept 24th, 2019
Publisher: ECW Press
Goodreads

The highly anticipated final installment in Beiko’s thrilling YA fantasy trilogy

Seven years have passed since the Denizens, people with elemental powers, were unmasked, and seven years since Roan Harken and Eli Rathgar disappeared into the Brilliant Dark.

Marked by Darklings and Death alike, Saskia is a mechanically minded Mundane, raised by Barton and Phae on daring stories about Roan Harken. But the world Roan left behind is in turmoil. The Darklings now hang in the sky as a threatening black moon, and with the order- maintaining Elemental Task Guard looking to get rid of all Denizens before they rebel, Saskia’s only option is to go into the Brilliant Dark and bring Roan and Eli back. But nothing is ever that simple. 

The Brilliant Dark is the final, thrilling chapter in this series about gods, monsters, and the people who must decide if they’re willing to pay the ultimate price to protect the family they found . . . in a world that may not be worthy of saving.


Buy It!

Amazon CA | Indigo


*I was provided an advanced reading copy by the publisher*

The Likes

I did not expect the story to pick up seven years after the events of the last book, and I’ll be honest it threw me in for a loop. It took a while to wrap my head around, but from the very first chapter I understood why it had to be this way. Beiko chose to explore what the world would be like if one day a whole population of magical beings visibly manifested their existence along with the revelation that they had been manipulating how the rest of the world had been working. Us regular folks would find ourselves lost in the balance of the world and having to deal with this “alien race” of people more powerful than us. And as soon as the world “alien” pops up people get scared and then they get defensive. There is fighting, discrimination, oppression all in the name of “peace.” I really enjoyed Beiko’s exploration of this topic and how even perceived to be “peaceful” countries like Canada are not immune to self-destruction.

The magic system in this series is a little complex, but I really like it. It’s animal-based but also element-based with a deity system and we all know how much I love it when the gods come out to play and mess up literally everything. It gets even more complex as the events of the books go by and things gets twisted! I had a lot of fun with it, although I think a diagram or like an index of some sort would have been helpful in keeping track of it all!

The characters were great as usual. Except for maybe Saskia! *hides in shame* She is a super important voice in the story, but I was not feeling her. I couldn’t really connect to her at all and her chapters were really long. The other characters, however, were really great. My poor Phae has had a rough seven years, not to mention the fact that Barton has gone missing. Natti is still a boss and I wish we could’ve gotten more from her.

Now let’s get to the stars of it all. Roan and Eli. Ugh, I love them. Roan is just a great voice through and through. She is a stubborn, lost, unwilling-turned-willing heroine that has sarcasm to last a lifetime. Then there is Eli who honestly started out as a villain in all this and had to work hard to get to where he is now. Together these two create such a wonderful dynamic, a literal force to be reckoned with. They butt heads constantly which is why things take a bad turn during the seven years. There is this one twist between the two that had me shocked, it was fantastic because I honestly didn’t know how they were going to come back from that!

Now the ending has me upset and feeling crushed. But it’s a good kind of crushed that still has me thinking about it which is always a good sign!

The Questionable

Besides the fact that I was not Saskia’s biggest fan, this book is very slow at the start. I think that’s why I questioned the decision to set it seven years in the future. That’s a long time, meaning it’s a new world that has to be built up again which means there are many points of info-dumping. There are also a lot of flashbacks, which some I enjoyed and some I found unnecessary, that stalled the plot further. This book is also in the third person, so we get POVs from anyone and some I just didn’t really care for.

About the Author

SM Beiko credit Teri Hofford

S.M. Beiko is an eclectic writer and artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She also works as a freelance editor, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the trade book and comic publishing industries in Canada and the U.S. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a wonderful conclusion to a great fantasy series that is quite unique in it’s setting and characters. Personally, the original characters are the stars of the show and the conclusion to their journey is a bittersweet one so be prepared!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! It’s very unlike anything I’ve read before!

Let me know what you think! If you could have an animal familiar, what would you choose? If you could have an elemental power, which would you go for? Have you read this series or are thinking about picking it up?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

 

Books I Liked But Perhaps Over-Hyped | We about to get SCANDALOUS

Greetings readers!

Have you ever maybe…lied..about a rating? Okay, perhaps “lie” is the wrong word. Have you ever stretched your rating? Because I’ll be honest I have. Sometimes I go in with the intention to love a book. And I must love it, otherwise I’ll have wasted all my hype on it. And it happens often that my hype gets the better of me and I don’t end up loving the books as much as I had hoped to. Other times I finish reading a book and I like it for the hours, days after I finish. But sometimes love just simmers out for books and you realize that they weren’t as great as you initially thought!

They simply lose their magic and become lackluster!

So I’m talking about those books today! The lackluster ones that I might have stretched their initial rating just a bit!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

C1

Look, I really enjoyed this in the moment and there is great build up in the book, but once you get to the end it kind of just fizzles out. Like I was hoping for this epic and amazing tale of wonder and aw and then the end came around and it was “Okay. I’m done now. No need to wonder.” The same goes for the sequel. They’re really addicting throughout, but fizzle out at the end.

Original rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Revised Rating: *a good* 4 / 5 stars

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Q: What authors have you had the chance to meet? 📙 NOCTURNA by Maya Motayne

New blog post is up today! I recapped a recent event that @hccfrenzy hosted a couple of weeks ago!

I had the lovely opportunity to meet Maya Motayne, Tahereh Mafi and Victoria Aveyard. It was super fun. I made a fool of myself and you can read all about it on my post! 
#Nocturna #MayaMotayne #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #latinxbooks #newbooks #authorevents #signedbooks #igbooks #epicreads

I really did like it while I was reading. But the end kind of just left me feeling meh. Don’t get me wrong. It was good but it is a little lackluster now that I think about it. I was hoping that it would blow me out of the water, but after finishing it I felt like something was off and NOW that I think about it I feel like it was just okay.

Original Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Revised Rating: 4 / 5 *but like a 3.9….*

The Penderwicks At Last by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks At Last by Jeanne Birdsall

Today is my Blog Tour stop for this amazing book! I completely and utterly adore this series. It has everything I've ever wanted! Sisterhood! Humour! Dogs! Heartbreak! And adventure!!! Be sure to click the link in my bio to read my blog post and enter to win a copy! (US only)

Any Penderwick fans out there?
What is your favourite Children's book?

#thependerwicksatlast #bookstagram #jeannebirdsall #mgbooks #childrensbooks #kidlit

It pains me to admit this. Like it physically hurts! But I didn’t really enjoy this book to the level as I did it’s predecessors. Most of it has to do with the fact that the OG Penderwicks are now all grown up and we don’t get their crazy, hilarious antics anymore. Jeanne also made some *artistic choices* that I just don’t agree with and I did not like it! But I wanted to love it so I stretched the rating as far as I could.

Original Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Revised Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes

Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms, #6)
via Goodreads

I had so much hope for this series finale and it really let me down. It was just not it. And I tried my very best to reconcile with it, but I can’t anymore. I have to admit it. It is not the right ending. The darkness and riskiness and suspense really lacked in this one. I didn’t hate anyone intensely which is what I LOVED doing while reading the other books. I just think this could have been better. Better in plot, in structure. In something!!!!

Original Rating: 4 / 5 Stars’

Revised Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Who is you hero?

Queen Meyer's new book, ARCHENEMIES is almost upon us  and I couldn't be more excited! I cannot wait to find out what happens next with these characters!

What are you? Renegade or Anarchist?

#booktoberfest #bookstagram #yabooks #marissameyer #renegades #archenemies #fiercereads #superheroes

We are not holding back today. Even favourite authors aren’t safe. Renegades was just not on the level of TLC at all. And it’s not fair to compare them because they are totally different. Renegades has new characters, a new world and a new conflict way different from TLC. That being said, it’s obnoxiously slow. And the characters were not easy for me to connect to. I just don’t know how to explain it. I was unimpressed. I was hoping for a bang, but I really just got a beep.

Original Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Revised Rating: 3 / 5 Stars


So that’s all for me today. I *know* there are more books out there that I over-hyped but I’ll just them be. From now on, I’ll try to reflect my honest opinions more closely and also try NOT to hype myself up for books that can never reach those limits!

Let me know what you think! Have you ever over-hyped a book? Do you sometimes stretch your ratings? How do you deal with disappointment with books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month |The books I’m reading and the pictures I’m taking

Bienvenidos lectores!

*And that’s about all the Spanish you’ll be getting from me this month…*

Welcome one, welcome all and bienvenidos to my first post celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month or Latinx Heritage Month! The celebration runs from September 15th-October 15th and it’s the month when we are called to celebrate Latinx voices and stories that exist in the real world and in the book world! This month is very important to me because I am of Hispanic origins, so today I thought I’d share some of the things I will be doing to commemorate the month!

Technically speaking, HHM runs for the whole month of October in Canada, but since El Salvador’s (and the other Central American countries’) independence day is September 15th, I figured I’d start celebrating since then.

The Books I’m Reading

I have a set TBR of four physical books and one e-novella prepared for this month! It’s a mix of MG, YA and Adult books. Lot’s of fantasy and sci-fi and magic. A lot of the titles are backlist so I hope that I’m able to knock off some books from my TBR for once!

First up is Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Q: What 2020 books are on your radar? I CANNOT EXPRESS TO YOU GUYS HOW EXCITED I WAS WHEN THIS POPPED UP IN MY MAIL ON MONDAY! I mean... LOOK AT THE COVER! WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by @isabelwriter09 is a a YA Bolivian fantasy about magic, romance and revolución!!! While the announcement for this book came out ages ago and the pub date was pushed we are slowly inching towards its release! I am very grateful for having received an advanced copy and I hope to dive into this #HispanicHeritageMonth! (Because of course!) Many thanks to @mandagroup for the ARC! #bookishcanadiansaug19 Day 30 | Book Haul #WoveninMoonlight #IsabelIbañez #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #latinxbooks #newbooks #2020debuts #diversebooks #ownvoices #books #latinxreads

I am super excited for this one. It’s the only ARC in my pile and it comes out early 2020! You only need to read the tagline to be intrigued: “A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.” I have super high hopes for it and I cannot wait to get started!

Next, we have The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Happy Easter! 🌸 I figured I'd show off a fun and colourful cover today to fit the joyful mood. The Storm Runner by @authorjcervantes has been on my radar ever since it was announced. It's a middle grade novel chalked full of Maya mythology and I cannot wait to finally crack open this spine! What mythologies would you love to read about in books? #Thestormrunner #JCCervantes #bookstagram #reader #books #fantasy #mgbooks #middlegrade #readriodan #latinxbooks #middlegrade #kidlit #mayamythology

How long have I been saying I’m going to pick this one up? Forever! Well the time has come and I am finally going to be able to pick it up! I am very much looking forward to this Maya mythological adventure! I know many people say it reads like Percy Jackson, but I’ve never read PJ so this will be a whole new experience for me!

Then I’ll be reading, Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Aguila

Five Midnights
via Goodreads

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with this one! I am not the biggest horror reader, but I am super intrigued by the mythological aspect of it! I’m only willing to put up with monsters if they’re Hispanic though 😉

Then, Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic, #1)
via Goodreads

This is a book I am very excited about! It sounds absolutely adorable! It has magic and witches in it! It has an Easy-Bake-Oven-like machine in it! It’s set around the Dia de los Muertos! So you know this is going to be fun, fantastical and fierce!

And finally, Prime Merdian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Prime Meridian
via Goodreads

This is a novella that I super pumped for! Not only because it is about a Mexican woman dreaming of getting to space but because it’s by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! She’s my fave Latinx author and I’ve loved her last three novels so I have great hopes for this one!

Instagram Take Over

Happy #HispanicHeritageMonth! Let's celebrate by reading Latinx stories by Latinx writers! There are so many voices out there to explore and it's the perfect time to discover them. Q: What is your favourite Latinx read? Who is your favourite Latinx writer? Also Happy Independence Day to the home of my heart, El Salvador 🇸🇻 and the other countries, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica!  #latinxheritagemonth #latinxbooks #latinxfantasy #latinxYA #latinxmg #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #adultfantasy #youngadultbooks #yafantasy #igbooks #bookstagrammer #epicreads #fiercereads #leer #libros

It is as the title says. I’m really going to focus my IG feed this month on featuring the Latinx books in my collection! I hope to acquire more over the month, if the budget permits, but I do have a wish list set up to remind me exactly what I want to get!

I’ve already started, so please head on over and like/comment on my posts! I’m really curious to see what you all think!

Q: Who is you favourite Latinx author? Or which Latinx author are you looking forward to reading from? If my answers isn't obvious, it's Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I haven't read all her work, but I have read the three pictured above and I can safely say she's my fave. Not to mention the fact that she's based in Canada so the  Canadian me feels ~honoUred~. But if I had to say why, it's that Moreno-Garcia really knows how to weave magic into her words. The books are starkly different but in each of them the writing has that sense of delight, danger, wonder, wit, horror, happiness and so on and so forth. I just love it! CERTAIN DARK THINGS is about Mexican vampires and narcos - - AMAZING GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is about Mayan gods wreaking havoc in 1920s Mexico and the girl from the puebla who changes her world - - INCREDIBLE  THE BEAUTIFUL ONES is a quite romance that honestly fills your heart with joy AND has a little magic in it - - PHENOMENAL Yes I recommend all her work. Even the ones I have yet to get to but will hopefully soon! #SilviaMorenoGarcia #GodsofJadeandShadow #CertainDarkThings #TheBeautifulOnes #HispanicHeritageMonth #LatinxHeritageMonth #CuentosUnidos #bookstagram #reader #books #fantasy #adultfantasy #adultbooks #bookishcanadians #canadianauthor #canlit #favouriteauthors #leyendo #libros #igbooks #bookstagrammer #scifi

Maybe I’ll even make an appearance on Bookstagram one of these days! Who knows? *wags eyebrows*


Let me know what you think! How will you be commemorating HHM? What Latinx books are you looking forward to reading? Do you have a favourite Latinx book and/or author?

Feliz lectura! *Oh look more Spanish*

~ Rendz

read

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee | Review // This is laugh-out-loud funny, it’s truly great

Greetings readers!

Middle school happened a long time ago for me. Maybe not that long, but it’s a while and I don’t think about it often. It’s not that I had a horrible time there, but middle school is tough and sometimes embarrassing stuff happens/did happen and I block those memories out. Still sometimes I reminisce about what it was like and I cringe and laugh at the same time.

Well cringing and laughing was all I did while reading this book and honestly I had an amazing time!

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee by Beth Vrabel

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee

Pub Date: Sept 17th, 2019
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Goodreads

The first eight years of Penelope McGee’s education have been a curriculum in humiliation. Now she is on a quest for redemption, and a little bit of revenge.

From her kindergarten self-portrait as a bacon with boobs, to fourth grade when she peed her pants in the library thanks to a stuck zipper to seventh grade where…well, she doesn’t talk about seventh grade. Ever.

After hearing the guidance counselor lecturing them on how high school will be a clean slate for everyone, Pipi–fearing that her eight humiliations will follow her into the halls of Northbrook High School–decides to use her last year in middle school to right the wrongs of her early education and save other innocents from the same picked-on, laughed-at fate. Pipi McGee is seeking redemption, but she’ll take revenge, too.


*Many thanks to Hachette Canada for sending me an ARC*

The Likes

Pipi was an absolutely phenomenal character. I loved almost everything about her. From her tragic, self-pity to her rock hard determination, her guilt and shame to her newfound confidence. She had such a grueling time growing up being *that kid*, the one that everyone either tries to avoid or makes fun of. I just wanted to cuddle her and tell her it’s going to be alright, but obviously that couldn’t happen! Besides all that, Pipi is such a wonderful, authentic voice for this story. She is funny, self-deprecating, selfish and sweet, all in one. Perfectly flawed because she’s still just trying to figure out who she is.

There are lots of other character to talk about. Pipi’s family is one colourful bunch. They are far from the conventional nuclear family and I loved them! There is a lot of hilarity to be had from them and also some really heartfelt moments. Then there are the characters from Pipi’s school and THEY are QUITE and INTERESTING bunch. There are so many antics that happen at school, it is truly cringe-worthy and laugh out loud funny.

The actual plot itself is a revenge story. And like all revenge stories there are some major scenes of “Oh SNAP” and trust me you get those kinds of scenes in this book! Are they perhaps to the same degree as other revenge stories? Maybe not. They are on a whole other level of fun and frenzy. I loved every step of the way as Pipi tried to seek out vengeance for all the embarrassment she has suffered over the years, but of course not everything goes as planned. 

But if we get down to the nitty-grittiness of it all, this is a story about bullying. The cause-and-effect of it and what happens when you try to forgive. Middle school is rough and Pipi goes through some harsh stuff. Like we’ve all had embarrassing episodes, Pipi’s are on another level and Vrabel perfectly captures the brutality of being laughed at for messing up. It’s not funny when it’s you who is being laughed at. It’s hard and I empathized with Pipi and all the she went through. Especially the tragedy of 7th grade, but we don’t talk about that. If I’m being honest though, I experienced something similar to that too although mine was very low-key.

I can’t say for certain if I learned my lesson in forgiveness after reading this. It’s a shameful confession I know. I still wanted to exact vengeance at the last moment there (because it was one of the cruelest things done to Pipi!) But forgiveness and moving forward is a lesson that is constantly being reaffirmed throughout the story which I think is super important for kids to read so they don’t become cynical adults (like me). 

The story is also one of identity. Lot’s of characters in the book are struggling to find out who they are and where they fit in this dysfunctional world. I think a lot of the identity stories will resonate with all kinds of kids who are just trying to be comfortable with who they are.

And the book is just funny okay! It is freaking hilarious. I had the absolute best time with it. (How many times do I have to say this?!) If I had to mention the one questionable thing is that it takes a while for things to get moving, but you almost don’t notice because you are either laughing or cringing from second-hand embarrassment!


Overall, I loved this book! I highly recommend it for anyone really! For those readers in middle school and those who have already past that stage. It’s a heart-wrenching and heart-warming coming of age story. It’s funny, kind of outlandish but also so, so important because bullying sucks and this book politely gives it the finger.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely!

Let me know what you think! How was your life in middle school? Do you like reading Middle Grade books that combat themes like bullying? Have you ever had something so truly embarrassing happen to you in school? No need to share if you don’t want to! 😉

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart | Review // Just in time for Spooky Season!

Greetings readers!

It’s September, so you know what that means? We are approaching Spooky Season! I know some of y’all have been celebrating spooky season since August, but I don’t officially start until the weather has chilled! And basically that’s today!

Last year, I read the first book in this MG series and honestly had the best time with it. So I am very glad to be bringing you my review for the sequel today!

The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart by Jack Henseleit

The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Aug 13, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Goodreads

The second book in a spooky new series for only the bravest of readers–perfect for fans of The Spiderwick Chronicles!
After their adventures in Transylvania, Anna and Max just want to stay out of trouble. But trouble has other plans…
The Professor takes them to the foggy fields of England, where a new mystery is already afoot: a small boy has vanished near a strange and mysterious river, lost without a trace. Armed with her magical white knife, Anna is convinced that another monster is behind the boy’s disappearance. But when the sinister secret of the river is finally revealed, will she and Max be able to save the missing boy–and themselves?
A deliciously scary modern Brothers Grimm tale, The Troll Heart will keep readers turning pages long after things start to go bump in the night.


*I was provided an ARC by HBG Canada!*

The Likes:

The characters were phenomenal, just like in the first book! We have the lovely, spunky and curious Anna and the ever-so-loyal, mischievous Max! They make such a wonderful pair because they act like real siblings! One minute they’re annoyed with each other, the next minute they are joined at the hip ready to conquer the shadows that lurk in the corners.

There were other quirky characters to be had in this book, like their Professor/father, the hotel owners, farm animals, the creepy and horrifying creatures and others who make this story a lot more interesting. I wish we could get more time exploring who they are, but these are adventures all about Anna and Max!

I thought the setting in a cold, isolated foggy English town was perfect for the story. Much like the first, the atmosphere was perfectly chilling and smoggy. There were so many shadowy corners and very creepy corners. I was so invested in the town and characters that I felt transported!

The plot was very interesting. I liked that despite the fact that it was a new setting, a new fairy tale that the repercussions of the previous novel were still very much pertinent! Anna and Max are still reeling from their previous adventure and have to garner up enough courage and cunning and wits to face a new foe. They’re adventure is a spooky one no doubt, but also full of little funnies, suspense and is fast-paced. The troll was absolutely remarkable! I loved the way he was depicted and the fear he instilled in the characters.

The illustrations, while sparse, were perfect for the book. I loved the scenes that were depicted and obviously wish for more!

The Questionable

It’s a minor one. I think this book was less horror and more mystery. It was scary in some parts, but I felt like throughout the whole story revolved around a riddle to solve that required more wits and brains. I still liked it, I just didn’t get those intense horror-vibes.


Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. It was the perfect follow-up to The Vampire knife and I think lots of middle grade readers will love the series. It’s fun, fast-paced and perfect for the oncoming spooky season!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What spooky books are you looking forward to this fall season? Would you be brave enough to face a troll?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

6 Series That I’ve BEEN Meaning to Read (and very much feel the need to do so…like…NOW) | The Power of Fan Art

Greetings readers!

I am in a limbo right now. I want to read, but not what I have to read. Actually that’s a lie. I do want to read what I need to read, but I also want to read books I don’t even own yet.

I am having reading-urges. Moments where I just want to drop whatever I’m doing (usually school work) and just pick up a series I’m thinking of at the moment. I have 6 series in particular right now that are fighting for attention.

The #1 instigator for why I have the desperate need to read all these series right here, right now?

Fan Art.

Every time I open twitter or Instagram, I’m faced with a gorgeous illustration of a character/scene from a book I haven’t read and I immediately lament the fact that I haven’t experienced it yet! Which then leads to these reading-urges.

So I figured I would show you exactly what I mean and list the series that are begging for my attention right now when I have absolutely no time to read them.

1. The Folk of Air Trilogy by Holly Black

I actually already read The Cruel Prince so we can mark one of three of these books done. Hooray! I can’t say I loved it, I can’t say I hated it either. I am actually really intrigued. I’ve been thoroughly spoiled for it, by fan art among other things. But it is the art that really wants me to finish the series, when the last book is released. (Not to mention Holly will be in Toronto in December!) People are dedicated to this series and they are also TALENTED! Holy! I have seen some things y’all. And I really want to read those things now too. But I also question my morals…I mean look at this stunning piece. Feast yer eyes!!!!

2. The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

Okay…maybe this one is not THAT urgent of a need right now, but I get the feeling to read them every now and then, especially since the last book just came out. And again. People in this fandom are talented and it looks like a complicated, dark read that I am totally up for. I hesitate though because I feel like it is so over-hyped, but at the same time I know it’s my kind of read. Then I recall this piece of art and I just AHHHHH. Does she not look so epic? Everything about this screams YES, YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW.

3. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

Some years ago I read the first book of this series, but I’ll be honest I don’t remember much about it other than that it was a cool kind of weird. WELL I recently started reading Laini’s other series, Strange the Dreamer AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I already finished the first book so I started the second one and OMG there is so much goodness to be had. But back to talking about DOSAB…I have seen so many amazing illustrations for this series, a lot of them depicting Karou and I LOVE IT. I MEAN LOOK AT THE IMAGE BELOW. My jaw dropped when I saw it! I had actual hearts in my eyes. It seriously inspired me to try this series again and I cannot wait for the moment I get to pick them up again!

4. The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Besides the fact that I have heard so many amazing things about these books, the little snippets that I’ve sneaked at and the works people have done (see below) are really feeding my need to pick up this book like yesterday and already have the privilege of having experienced this book! I love how magical it all looks!!!!! And I really wanna meet this guy. Yup. Tattoos and green eyes and magical…*wags eyebrows*

5. The Poppy War trilogy By R.F. Kuang

People are always yelling about this book on my Twitter timeline and I cannot help but be so intrigued. Then the other day this masterpiece dropped and another work that had my jaw on the floor and I JUST NEED TO READ IT NOW. I NEED IT. (Also, I wish I could draw like this!) I have this feeling that this series will crush my soul and completely sweep me off my feet! PLUS read the caption under the photo…I JUST—I….

View this post on Instagram

"He really was pretty, impossibly so, with large , almond-shaped eyes and a sculpted mouth that looked good even twisted into a sneer." …untill he opens his lovely mouth and starts speaking. Yin Nezha from "The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang, this book is one of very very few books that got a 5 stars from me, and if you're not new here you know I don't give 5 stars easily, you can check my thoughts on goodreads, follow my twitter nanfe178 for more random stuffs I post. So, with that ratings, no need to ask if I should recommend you or not, but a fair warning, the book is pretty brutal and graphic, especially the massacre of Golyn Niis city. I'm currently waiting for "The Dragon Republic" (that just released 2 days ago) to come home, my tits cannot calm down man. #nanfeart #books #bookcharacters #characterdesign #bookseries #thepoppywar #thedragonrepublic #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #readers #readersofinstagram #booklovers #beauty #beautifulboy

A post shared by Nan Fe (@nanfe1789) on

6. Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

This series is the whole reason why I wrote this post today. The final book released today and I just I WISH I HAD BEEN A PART OF THIS ENTIRE JOURNEY! On top of the fact that the plot seems so intriguing (murder mystery-ness), the fan art for this series is TOP NOTCH. One example is below, but there are so many examples I could have put here. And to add to that the Love Interest’s last name is Cresswell. CRESSWELL. How have I not read the books with the character that shares the name of my favourite ship EVER??



Let me know what you think! Do you get sudden urges to just read a certain series? What series are you hoping to read sometime soon? Do you love to look at fan art? Do you dabble in fan art? Would anyone like to purchase any one of these series for me? 🙂 Thanks.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

*A Note on the fan art: I used the direct IG URL to feature each piece of art. I hope this still properly credits the artist and that you all go check them out. If there is a problem, I have no problem taking down the photo and just installing a link!*

read