Queen of the Conquered | Review // Getting B****-Slapped by the Final Twist, Greatest Reading Pain Ever.

Greetings readers!

I’m reviewing my first book snek cover! *three cheers for Rendz for finally getting parts of her life together* I took a huge break in between reading this book because exams literally tried to end me. But I surpassed and hopefully passed my exams, so now let’s focus on the books!

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

Queen of the Conquered
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Nov 12, 2019
Publisher: Orbit
Goodreads

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.


*Thank you HBG Canada for the ARC*

The Likes

Sigourney…was well an unlikable character to say the least. I mean it and yet I really enjoyed reading her character. She is angry, unsympathetic, and full of hatred. Don’t get me wrong, I was frustrated with her every step of the way. She makes horrible decisions and spends most of the book trying to convince  herself and the reader that she’s not such a terrible person like the elites. Which she’s not…entirely a bad person. And yet she has her really bad moments, but when you look at the big picture could she really have followed any other route? Simple answer: Yes, but it would have made her life 1,000,000x more complicated, the next question is whether she found it was worth the trouble.

Marieke is a boss. Totally amazing. I loved everything about her. She was spitting the truth left, right and center!

Løren was also pretty amazing. He was a little late to the game, but I still really enjoyed his character and the huge development he contributed.

Others…gosh. All the Fjern/Klongelig, I don’t remember exactly what the race was called, but basically all the white people were horrible. Yes, all of them. Were they all on the same level of horrible? No, some were better than others, but still arghhh I couldn’t help but get angry whenever they walked onto the page

This is not-so-fictional

The countries and geography may be fictional, but the stories were very real. The depictions of slavery, abuse and genocide were very much real. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, it makes you feel uncomfortable, it is a bloody, tragic and angry story. Callender did not hold back and you can definitely read their anger in every word on the page. There is an absolute horror in this fictional story that has so many ties to a real history.

It’s a hard-hitting story and very relevant to the times we are living in, particularly the history and present of discrimination against black people. The entire concept of colonialism and how it has tried to destroy the spirits of so many cultures, but the strength of the people to rise up against it. Yes, it’s a hard story to read, but what is your discomfort to the reality of these truths?

The Magic

It was such an interesting addition to the book. I like how it was unique to the individual, although I felt like some of the powers that were presented were a little too similar that I was confused at one point about who had what kind of power. Sigourney’s mind-reading power really was interesting, although it did have it set backs. I mean having the power to know what others are thinking sounds great, until you actually know what everyone is thinking and things get difficult. Other powers, I can’t talk about because spoilers, but still it really was a cool addition.

The End

I was having this horrible feeling in the last four chapters that I had not gotten that BAM moment of just when everything hits the fan or when this huge revelation pulls through. There was all this build up, build up, build up and it sort of fizzled out at one point and I was feeling deflated. But then we get to the third last (?)/second last (?) chapter and ahhhhhhhhhhhhh the revelation. THE REVELATION. I couldn’t believe it and at the same time I could, I ignored the signs just like Sigourney. Then we get to those last two chapters and ahhh it is all high stakes! I totally think it was worth the wait.

The Questionable

Lots to take in at a time

The book takes several tangents basically every 2 pages. Since Sigourney has the power to read minds, so it’s not exactly a story told in first-person. It’s almost as if she is an omniscient narrator because she reveals everybody’s thoughts and tells lots and lots of stories. And while I liked this loophole in the narration, I also felt like it was so much information to take in, back stories I didn’t really care about and I would have rather just not known everything people were thinking. And I feel like thinking this is not exactly fair because this is something that Sigourney struggles with herself and revealing these stories has the reader experience what she is experiences. But my goodness is felt like it was a lot of useless information to take in. It also made getting through this book a whole lot tougher because I didn’t care for these characters yet or at all.

It’s not a huge fault and it does serve a purpose, but I felt like it made this reading experience longer to get through.


Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It does take a while to get through (took me longer because I accidentally started it before exam season and didn’t finish until after). On top of the fact that it is a poignant and truthful tale, it is entertaining, heart-pounding and intense!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Oh yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you like it? What are your favourite rage-inducing books? If you could have any kind of power, what would you choose?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Romance Reading Round Up | Part 1 // Who is this new Rendz?

Greetings readers!

So a while ago I posted about the recent Adult contemporary romances that had been calling my attention. It’s so unlike me. I mean, I don’t really read pure-romance and if I do I have a specific type…but I decided to give it a go this fall and well it was an adventure.

Unfortunately, I only got to a few of those books on my list because most of them have very long wait lines on my library’s ebook website. So instead I went on a perusal and found some other romance books to read while I wait and I have to say, some were good choices and some missed the mark.

So here’s a little wrap-up because if I’m not sharing my awkward romance reading experiences on the internet then why am I here?

I AM A HOANG-STAN

Let me tell you!!!!

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)
via Goodreads

 

My Goodreads Review:

Well that was fun. This is my second ever contemporary romance read…no it’s the third. Possibly 4th?
Whatever, the point is that I don’t have much experience with this genre and I think I liked this one the best! It was super cute, heart-warming, steamy (really steamy–did not see all that coming lol), and DRAMATIC. And I love drama.

Will definitely be reading the next one!

I have to say, that I absolutely loved Stella and Michael, both as individuals and as a couple. They were both so interesting and had such incredible stories to tell. The story itself was hilarious, I was laughing the whole way. But it was also steamy hothothot. Like I was not expecting THAT and let’s just say I looked like a tomato because I am who I am.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

Ok. So. I loved Esme and Khai. I did. Like girl loves boy love girl 😭
But QUAN 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Can’t wait for his book.
And The Authors note really made me cry hot dang.

This was a lovely follow up. Very different from TKQ, but I still had a great time with these characters. I think that Esme and Khai made such a great couple, but their individual journeys took precedence and were really inspiring! HOWEVER, QUAN STOLE THE SHOW FOR ME. HE IS AMAZING OMG. I LOVE HIM! I know we are gonna have to wait a bit for his book, but I am over the moon excited for it!

Also the Author’s Note in this book had me in tears! I super related to it as the child of an immigrant and I think that people should read it if they pick up this book! It adds much needed perspective!


I GOT MY LIFE TOGETHER AND READ THIS AMAZING BOOK

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

This was absolutely lovely. Adorable. Funny. A phenomenal cast of characters. So much wit and banter! The right HEA. Feeling very gushy rn ♥

Ugh, I loved this one. I mean, I’ll be honest it took me a bit to get over his name “Red” but eventually I warmed up to it. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, these characters were phenomenal. So much personality and pump, I loved every second of reading this. I am so looking forward to reading about the rest of the Brown sisters. There are three of them so I am hoping for lots of fun!

 


THEN I TOOK A TURN FOR THE MEH…

One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

Really good first half and then like an okay middle and then the last 30% was meh/ugh.
I didn’t love anything or anyone by the end.
Will I still read the next one…. Probably.

This series had a lot of promise at the beginning and it just dwindled into meh. I was super surprised when I first started reading and found out that this entire series was set in TORONTO. HELLO, PATRIOTIC RENDZ! And I think that’s the thing I liked the most about this book. The characters had promise but fell really flat in the latter half of the book. There was one character I just could not stand and like I didn’t buy any of the excuses the other characters gave for her behaviour, Sorry, not sorry. The cover is cute, but it doesn’t do justice to Jane’s story, I think.

…AND THE WORST

The Good Luck Charm
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

DNF @ 67%
I CANNOT.
I SIMPLY CANNOT ANYMORE.
Enough with the stupid finger on the nose
Enough with sacrificing your goals for quality time
All y’all do is have sex, what is even your relationship.
I can’t. NOPE.

This was such a struggle. I hated the characters. At first they were alright and then I found them downright stupid. He was a douche bag and she was an idiot. It was also a second chance romance story so we didn’t get any of that bond-building, but if I’m being absolutely honest, these characters had no chemistry. They had a history of hooking up and they just picked up where they left off. I couldn’t finish this book. Not to mention, I listened to the audiobook and since all they did was have sex…it was a little too much for me.


AND THEN I WAS SAVED BY A NOT-SO-ROMANCE

The Matchmaker's List
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

3.5-3.75…maybe the full 4.

I went into this book looking for a pocketful of sunshine. And while I did get a rainbow it came after this gigantic storm of drama and bad decision after bad decision.
To say I enjoyed myself would be accurate.
To say I was close to pulling my hair out from sheer stress and frustration would also be accurate.

It’s really a story about family, community and self-discovery. It takes some WILD turns, but was still a lot of fun. This was not the fluffy romance I was hoping for, but I do love family stories and this was a wonderful one!

FUN NOTE: I listened to the audiobook and I could tell the narrator wasn’t Canadian or Torontonian for that matter. Hearing her pronounce the 2nd T in Toronto instead of Torono was one thing, but hearing her pronounce Yonge as y-unj instead of like young was eeek! It gave me a little laugh too.

I pretty much said everything I needed to say in my review. This wasn’t really a romance-romance, it was a contemporary story about family dysfunction and expectation, that I really related to. It was also set in Toronto SOOOO 🙂


AND BACK UP TO THE GOOD!

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
via Goodreads

3.75
This was cute, funny and wild. Definitely missed that moment of total meltdown, but I actually didn’t mind too much. The characters are what really make this and I loved them to pieces. I felt like the end was a bit too rushed and I would have liked to delve into that drama. But it’s a solid read.

I had a fabulous time reading this! It’s my first Christina Lauren and I know they are a huge name in the romance world and I am very glad that I enjoyed it so much!

Again, the characters were what sold this book to me. They were wonderfully crafted and had such great chemistry. The plot was cute if a little out there, but I really enjoyed it!

Now, I listened to the audiobook and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrators. I feel like she was a little too monotone and didn’t have enough of that exciting bubbliness of Hazel. And he…well his “feminine” voice was a little too eeek. Ummm not to mention the fact that I sped it up so he kind of sounded like a chipmunk XD



So for round one I’d say it’s pretty successful! I had lots of fun even though there were some setbacks with some of the books.

I think this will be the end of my romance phase for now though. I’ve been missing fantasy and I have lots of ARCs waiting for me!

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite romance books? Have you read any of these? What kind of love stories do you like the most? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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November Wrap-Up & What’s Left of December TBR | OMG THIS BLOG IS STILL A THING!

Greetings readers!

disney GIF
giphy.com

Welcome one, welcome all! I am back!!! I just finished an intense exam season that had me neglecting this website for at least three weeks and it feels so amazingly wonderful to be back! I missed you all so much, I know I have so much catching up to do and SO much to read, but I am so so ready for it all!

I feel like I wrote maybe one or two posts between my last wrap-up and this one. *checks to see*

The actual number is 3.

OH WELL! Here’s another wrap-up posts that is being posted half-way through the month! These are always my more popular ones and the ones I have the most fun writing so here we go!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read!

I got a few books in in November before I started to get crushed by school and had to take a step back and reassess my entire life, so this will not be a long list.

Interestingly enough, for some mind-boggling reason that I still cannot quite comprehend I was in the mood to read Adult contemporary romance these past two months! What? EXACTLY. I, Rendz, reading a pure romance novel is so so rare and the fact that I was actually wanting to read these kinds of books is nothing short of a miracle! I have to say though I have been having some really good, some meh and some terrible encounters with my romance adventures, but all that will be coming in another post so stay tuned!

November:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

December:

One and Only by Jenny Holiday
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

So I didn’t have bad reading months…I just didn’t read any of the books I was supposed to LOL!


The OVER-Haul

Ummmmm. So I found out that when I get stressed and anxious and overwhelmed in general…I tend to maybe buy/request all the books. These past months have been tough on me, my mental state has been so worried about school (this semester really came to slap me) so I may have sent one too many emails out and my publishers have been more than generous with me.

Raincoast Books

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Diamond City Francesca Flores
Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal
The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter

Hachette

Goldie Vance and the Hotel Whodunit by Lilliam Rivera
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso
Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

Thomas Allen & Son. 

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Penguin Teen Ca/ Tundra Books

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
Me and Banksy Tanya Loyd Kyi

Netgalley

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Giveaway Win!

The Resolutions by Mia Garcia
Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

Purchases

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I really don’t deserve any of this.

What makes this worse is that I just feel more worried and anxious about having to read all of these books before their due dates. I AM MY OWN WORST ENEMY!!!!!!!!

And yet…I’ll take this challenge.


Other Going-Ons

Mexican Gothic Cover Reveal –  MIND MUTHER F*KIN BLOWN

Mexican Gothic
via Goodreads

Excuse my French. But my mind was thoroughly blown away by this cover! The colours, the dress, the lip colour…I just everything about this cover is too gorgeous for words! I cannot wait to finally get my hands on it! You all must know how much I love Moreno-Garcia’s work, I am so ready for more!

My Eldest Sister Read An Ember in the Ashes!

Alert GIF by memecandy
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She was bored and had none of her own books to read so she finally TOOK MY ADVICE AND READ IT AND LIKED IT!!!!! I mean she is not as obsessed as I am, but I feel that’s more her being stubborn and sticking it to me. It might take many more months of convincing for her to pick up the next book, but I have lots of hope she’ll continue to love the books!

Last Month I did An Unhaul!!!

I finally stopped being a hoarder and did some de-cluttering of old ARCs! I gave some to my old middle-school teacher and others went off to charity! It felt good letting them go although by now I’ve requested enough to refill the shelf space I had originally made XD I’m going to be doing another unhaul soon so hopefully I can make more room!

The Mulan Trailer

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly excited at the fact at how much they were going to change it…but after seeing that trailer, after hearing Reflection as the background music…I am very much looking forward to seeing the full thing now!

I am an Audiobook Fanatic Now?!?!?

Me. Rendz. Is. Becoming. An. Audiobook. Reader/listener? Believe it friends, I’ve been having a lot of fun! I’ve been using them to get through these romance books faster and I have to say listening to sexy scenes being read to you is a totally different experience from reading them yourself. And if you’re like me, who blushes at everything, you can imagine how red I get when I listen to these XD!


Posts of the Month

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

Popular Disliked Characters that I Like

TBR

Oh god. Um EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE SITTING ON MY NIGHTSTAND AND DRESSER RIGHT NOW!

I won’t even bother making a list, friends. It’s gonna be a marathon of books for me this holiday season and while I am a bit overwhelmed thinking about it, I am also really excited about it!

How was your November? What were your favourite reads? What do you have planned for the rest of December?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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