Gravemaidens | Review // Disappointed, but not surprised (mostly because I wasn’t expecting anything from this)

Greetings readers!

I would like to thank Penguin Teen CA for the ARC they sent me! I know this review is coming late, but I am finally in the struggle of getting my blogging life together!

Lol, that’s a lie. I’m such a mess right now. Send help. But also please enjoy my rant-y review, it was very cathartic to write!

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Oct 29, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Goodreads

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself. 


Look. I was not expecting much from this book. I had no standards and was ready to have a fun time. BUT I did not have a good time with this book. I almost chose to not finish it for several reasons.

But we shall start off with some positives….

Ummm I liked the concept. I liked the idea of having to deal with traditions of a culture that just don’t make any sense. This book dealt with human sacrifice–although not as bloody as you’re probably thinking. It was a very interesting approach to the topic because of the differing opinions. The MC was very against it and she tries very hard to convince everyone else of how obtuse it is.

I also liked the flashback, a very specific one about the mother, it just gave such great context to the story. It was devastating and I was very into it. Unfortunately it didn’t appear until around 75% into the book and by the time I got to it I was so over it all.

Now let’s just get into how much I did not like this.

I hated the characters. I don’t think there was a single character that I actually liked. I know there are lots of arguments about likability, but let’s be honest if there is not even one character that appeals to you then why read it?

So…Kammani. No. I could not with her. There is flawed and then there is down right flawed to the point I’m tired of your bullshit and Kammani was at the latter level. I just grew more and more frustrated with her as time went on. She always had to be right. Always. Even when she tried to be sorry, she had to be right in some way. The way she treated Dagan was no. I understand that she did not want her worth to be tied to a man and she didn’t want to have to be “grateful” for all his help, but god she was so obnoxious about it all. If Dagan couldn’t be with her, then he couldn’t be with anyone and that is not fair. And she recognizes its not fair, but goes ahead and uses him anyways. Then with her sister. Look, I get that Kammani had a lot on her plate, she felt like she had to do it all herself–that’s the whole point of the book. But I didn’t get that humbling moment where she had to accept help. I didn’t see it. And if it was there, it was not impacting enough.

Dagan. Man, get your head out of your butt and look at the world. See how you are being treated and get some self-respect.

Nanaea. Girl. I get that you had problems too, but gosh you were such a b*tch. Spoiled and needy. And if you complain about your sister being distant, you didn’t exactly try to get closer. It’s a two-way street, love.

I got bored fast. I’ll be honest I skimmed most of the exposition so perhaps this is why I didn’t see the attractiveness of the world. From what I did gather, I did not find particularly special. I know the politics of it all were supposed to be really messy and tricky and they were and I can’t say things are left in a better state, hence the sequel coming.

Stylistically in the writing, I do believe the word “cute” was used and…I just don’t think it matched the style she was going for in this world at all.

There was a fair bit of action and deception, but I didn’t care much for any of it because I did not care for these characters. And for the most part, this was super super slow going.


Overall, I did not enjoy myself while reading this. It was highly frustrating, I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, the action and political plot were meh at best. Nothing is resolved since there is going to be a sequel, but I don’t think I will be reading it.

Rating: 1.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: It’s a NO from me dogs.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? What do you do when you don’t like any of the characters?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

Popular Disliked Characters that I Like | An Unpopular Opinion Post I guess??? // Don’t @ Me please

Greetings readers!

Look people, we all have those characters we cannot stand. Exhibit A, me with most of SJM’s characters. And sometimes we can’t help but speak out on that dislike, see my case with Exhibit A again. But other times we like the characters that others don’t. Sometimes we like the very not popular characters and well…we all need some good drama in our lives.

I figured I’d out myself and tell you all about the popular disliked characters that I enjoyed! I fully recognize that they are not perfect and yet…I still like them okay gosh!

Scarlett Dragna (Caraval)

0b29a-18095833_425628087792075_6588398206210539520_n

Okay, I admit she is not too disliked, but people like to whine about her. They like to judge her for not being as daring, brash and outspoken as Tella which annoys me to a tee!!! Not every single YA heroine has to be fiercely cunning and risk-taking. Is she flawed? Yeah. Do her insecurities and does her shyness get her in trouble? Yeah. But that is who she is! If she grows and becomes more that is amazing, but I truly enjoyed seeing a YA heroine who didn’t have a spark so readily available and that she builds courage.

Alina Starkov (Shadow and Bone)

ce0c6-35319468_1915339788497638_5696788331573018624_n

She is not just a basic bitch people (Have y’all read Red Queen and met Mare???—yup that’s the tea). Look I totally see why people get frustrated with her so easily, I really do. But can a girl catch a break? When you are thrust with all this power and told to be one thing by a really evil attractive dude and at the same time be told to be something else by a whole bunch of other people, you are going to panic! You are going to make bad decisions and that is what happens with Alina. But I really enjoyed her character, her power struggle, and her own battle with her desires.

Malyen (Mal) Orestev (Shadow and Bone)

ce0c6-35319468_1915339788497638_5696788331573018624_n

I fully admit that the man is a fool, but I can’t help it! I really can’t! I know many people do not like him for how he treats Alina, especially in book 2, but he tries his best to make up for it in book 3…! My argument for him is weak, I know. But he’s just a kid as much as Alina is just a kid. He makes poor choices because he doesn’t know how else to compete with all the power that surrounds him. I am fully aware that he was not Alina’s best choice, but he was her choice so…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ll be honest though this is more of me not wanting to be on the losing side of this love quadrangle so…yeah.

Katherine (Three Dark Crowns)

cf3b7-27891807_1149249895211041_8339547593600139264_n

This is mostly in response to a close friend who dislikes Kat very much and me fighting her because I love Kat. My wicked, wicked girl. Bare in mind, I have only read the first two books so I do not know what goes down in book 3 or 4, but all I can say is that I really enjoyed her descent to madness. I loved her evilness!!!! I know what she does is so wrong, but I sense some redeeming qualities, I do!

Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass)

tod2

One of my husbands. And also an SJM character!?! This is a hill I will die on. HE WAS A FREAKIN AMAZING CHARACTER. He was flawed, made poor choices, made great choices. Nehemia’s death was not his fault. His treatment by the other characters is not always fair. Like I get that sometimes he needs a talking to to face the facts, but some times I just wanted to yell at everyone else for treating him horribly for not worshiping the Alien’s ass. He was one of the greatest characters in that series, Alien, Rowan, and Aedion can suck it. *calm down, Rendz* I know he gets a good ending, but I will always–ALWAYS–be bitter. (Especially about the ToD cover)


I hope I didn’t give any of you heart attacks for having some unpopular opinions! But sometimes you can’t help but swim against the current! Now tell me! Who you love that others love to dump on? I want to know all your secrets! Especially with how you deal with the criticism of it all!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

The Beautiful | Review // More blood required. 🧛

Greetings readers!

I cried to get my hands on this ARC. I seriously sent the most lamentable email to the Penguin publicist and begged for a copy. It was dramatic af because I literally had no hope of actually getting one. BUT the people at Penguin are too amazing for words (@SamDevotta) and they sent me a copy!

It is to my shame that the review is coming so late after it’s publication. I seriously am a terrible blogger. So without further delay…

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Oct 8 2019
Publisher: Putnam
Goodreads

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.


*Thanks to Penguin Teen CA for the ARC*

So what I really loved about this book is that we start off with a first person POV and we don’t know who it is. I love it. I love the mystery it brings up, I love that we get to guess who it could be, I love that it adds so much more danger to the story. What I didn’t love so much is that these very sporadic little snippets were the only real vampire moments I got.

Celine was a great character. On the run from her past, on a hunt for a better life, risking it all for a bit of adventure and struggling very badly with some inner demons. Her anger, wit and stubbornness were as wonderful to read about as they were frustrating!

Bastien was….he was a little too mysterious, but I liked him well enough. I liked that we got a little bit from his POV here and there just to see how things were running in his life. I loved that he was such a suave charmer but also a “Bitch, please” kind of man. Good looking? Absolutely. I just hope to see him fleshed out a little bit more in the next book.

Odette? A star. Pippa? A sweetheart. The court? It was also a little too ambiguous and mysterious. I didn’t get quite attached. Michael? Maybe I have a soft spot for him and perhaps shouldn’t.

The New Orleans was très fantastique! (That is grammatically horrible…but you get the point) I thought Adhieh did a wonderful job in creating this lush atmosphere where we get those flashes of the luxurious aristocracy, with the sterility of the convent and the shady alleyways of the city. I loved that we got insight into the strict high society life and also mixed in the magic of the secret court life. The magic was a little more tame than I was first expecting, but still very intriguing.

This book had lots of languages and as a language student this was a HELLS YES. The unfortunate thing is that I read an ARC version, so the French and Spanish phrases were plagued with grammatical errors, BUT I am pretty sure that would have been all cleaned up in the finished copy! Regardless of the fact, I thought that the use of languages was lots of fun and I love how the characters were snarky in any tongue!

Things that disappointed me:

The lack of vampires. I mean they were there but their actual action was so minimal. I felt like I was just reading a regular historical fiction book and totally forgot about the supernatural flair. It wasn’t completely absent, but I wanted MORE. I always want more!

The romance… Look. I like this ship. It is a well established ship. It is going to happen, I don’t really have any doubts about it. So why bring in a second possible love interest only to disappoint a very cute nonna! Just sayin!

The big twists…………………………………………….weren’t that impacting. I just didn’t get that WOW! A lot of it has to do with the fact that we do not get in depth with the court and all it’s secrets. I’m not saying we needed a detailed history, but I felt like we needed a lot more to get why the final actions of the characters led to this disaster. Also she used a trope…that I just don’t like. I feel like it is such a cop-out. Yikes.


Overall, the book entertained me but the hype got to me. It was most certainly a lush, historical fantasy with an amazing cast of characters. A headstrong protagonist who does what she needs to do and is un-apologetically herself will charm your hearts. However, I felt it lucked some luster and that it could have benefited from more detail.

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars 

Recommend: I say yes! I still think this book has a lot to offer even if it lacks some blood…

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you like it? What are some of your favourite vampire books?  

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

October Wrap Up & November TBR | Life’s ruff.

Greetings readers!

Wow. October really did come to hurt me. And I’ll be honest November is not looking that bright either in terms of uni. I am honestly so overwhelmed just thinking about all the things I have to do. The end of the semester is only a month away and then exams! I have so much to do which is why my posting has been so sparse these past weeks. It will continue to be like that and it’s stressing me out because I am so behind on reviews! I promise to take it in stride though and not stress too much!

What Rendz Read

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
I really enjoyed this Mayan MG adventure! Mini Review!

Q: What godly power would you love to have?  As much as my younger self would plead for an elemental kind of power, today's Rendz would really love to handle time and space. I'm fascinated by the idea of time and dimensional travel. Imagine hopping from one time to another from one world to another. Is that not cool???? But great godly power requires great godly responsibility and I think that power would be a lot to handle 😅. But then again gods can do whatever they want 😉, especially the Maya gods!  Speaking of Maya gods (what a great transition, Rendz) Last night  I finished The Storm Runner by @authorjcervantes and I am happy to say that I very much enjoyed it! It was fun, hilarious, outrageous and perfectly blends in Maya mythology. I loved spending time with Zane and the gang (Uncle Hondo is the coolest!) I'm so looking forward to reading the sequel, hopefully sooner rather than later!  #hispanicheritagemonth #latinxheritagemonth #cuentosunidos #bookstagram #mgbooks #octobertbr #books #middlegrade #kidlit #bookishcanadians #fantasy #magic #mayamythology #readriordan #disneybooks #jccervantes #reader #bookstagrammer #igbooks #igreads #fiction

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
I ADORED THIS. Please read it! Mini Review!

Q: What power would you want to have as a witch?  It's almost October and you know what that means? Spooky season! 👻  I love Halloween and all the magic, myth and mayhem that comes with it. I used to dress up as a witch almost every year as a kid and it soon became my staple costume!  I can't wait for the movies to start playing on TV. Since I'm not a horror fan, I really prefer the cheesy, magical movies of Disney Channel 😂 I really can't do scary, I just like the magic of the season.  I'm curious if you have a favourite  Halloween movie?  I'm super excited to pick up this book very soon! A Dash of Trouble features a family of witches, delicious treats, magic and mayhem so I know it will sweep me off my feet!  #lovesugarmagic #adashoftrouble #annameriano #hispanicheritagemonth #latinxheritagemonth #cuentosunidos #bookstagram #mgbooks #octobertbr #books #middlegrade #kidlit #bookishcanadians #fantasy #magic #witches

Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal
A really good Latinx horror novel! Review to come!

Q: What scary tales were you told as a kid?  It's spooky season and it's the perfect time to read scary tales. Although I am not one for much spook I really enjoyed this recent YA horror set in Puerto Rico based around the myth of El Cuco and the mysterious deaths of five friends.  I had a really great time reading this! It had a great cast of characters, very spooky scenes and some shocking twists! FIVE MIDNIGHTS by @anndavilacardinal is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat!  Many thanks to @torteen for the review copy! Be sure to pick up yours today!  #fivemidnights #anndavilacardinal #yahorror #bookstagram #reader #books #igbooks #igreads #spookyseason #horrorbooks #latinxbooks #latinxreads

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
I needed more vampires tbh. Review to come!

Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman
This was fun for a cheesy book! My Review!

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
This was not it for me. Review to come!

Crooked Raven by Talis Jones – DNF

Waiting for the Beast by T. Hayden – DNF

6 read books is not bad considering the month I had!

The Haul

Rebel by Marie Lu
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
The Opposite of Falling Apart by Micah Good
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Posts of the Month!

THEME THURSDAY | Witches // The Perfect Theme!

theme-thursday-witches

The Bookish Feels | Books that make me WEEP // Let’s cry together

THE BOOKISH FEELS weep

Contemporary Romances that I Want to Read| I Am Actually So Ready to be Attacked by Fluff and Fun!

Contemporary Romances that i want to read!

Other Going-Ons

The Grisha Cast Announcement

Ben Barnes Hot Guys GIF
via giphy.com

BEN MOTHER FREAKING BARNES, AKA PRINCE CASPIAN IS GOING TO BE PLAYING THE DARKLING AND I ABSOLUTELY LOST MY SHIT THE DAY I FOUND OUT.
*Breathes*
What can I say, that hasn’t already been said? I am super excited for the show. I stalk all the actors’ Instagram accounts for updates. I even followed some update accounts because I am that obsessed. I love the memes and edits that have already come out!

Do I think they got the casting perfect? No. Am I a little disappointed? Yes. I don’t know how they would fix it, but it’s important to note that they’ve already made some mistakes.

Hispanic Heritage Month Wrap-Up

The first half of October was dedicated to getting my HHM TBR done and I am happy to say I read all four novels I wanted to read! I also put my face (well half of it) on Instagram so go follow my account to see me lol! I have to say of the four I read, A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano was my favourite! It was absolutely adorable and I loved everything about it!

I Bought A Signed First Edition of The Penderwicks

There can be miracles. I knew that the used bookstore I usually visit had a hardback copy of TP and I had no intention of buying it until I talked myself into doing so this month and to my absolute joy IT WAS SIGNED! I lost my shit in the store and my sister and mother were super embarrassed of me, but I was too happy to care. I think this book is one of my most prized possessions now!

TBR

I am in a serious romance mood. Don’t ask me why, this really sprung out of nowhere. BUT I still have a lot of ARCs to get to so I will try and find that balance!

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibert
Cold Falling White by G.S. Prendergast
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Song of a Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyester by Cary Fagan

Q: What is your favourite season?  Since I'm a summer baby, that is obviously my main answer. But I find something appealing about each season, really. I love the changing colours of fall, I love the holiday season and pristine white of winter, AND Spring means winter is finally over which is a blessing in Canada!  Zero Repeat Forever by @gsprendergast takes place in a futuristic-Canada when an alien race invades! It follows Raven, a survivor and Eighth, a Nahx soldier through the many trials they encounter over the course of four seasons. I remember really enjoying myself when I read it the first time around and I look forward to rereading it before diving into the sequel, Cold Falling White!  Many thanks to @simonschusterca for sending me these lovely review copies!  #zerorepeatforever #coldfallingwhite #gsprendergast #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #dystopianfiction #canadianauthor #bookstagram #scifi #yabooks #books #reader #igreads #bookaddict #thenahxinvasions #arc #simonandschuster #bookstagrammer #teenreads


I don’t think it will all get done. I have a tough few weeks ahead with exams and final assignments. I’ll be honest, as I’m writing I’m fighting back against the crushing weight of a horrible day where I failed in more ways the one. I can only try again tomorrow. I’m glad I can find some comfort in my reading!

On that lovely note…Let me know what you think! How was your October? What were your favourite reads? What do you have planned for November?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read