Author Guest Post // Thank you, Elizabeth Acevedo by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Greetings readers!

I’m so excited to share this post today! Tonya Lloyd Kyi has written a series of mini essays about her writing process for her most recent novel, Me and Banksy and I get to share one with you today!

I love knowing more about an author’s writing process, especially hearing about the things that inspired them and challenged them as they were coming up with there stories! Be sure to grab your copy of Me and Banksy, on sale now!



Thank you, Elizabeth Acevedo
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

I’d written a few chapters. I liked my characters — an artist, a prodigy, and a jaded child star. I liked the setting, and the focus on privacy and security. But my novel needed something more. Something big.

While I pondered, my deadline loomed. I began to hyperventilate. Probably I wouldn’t manage to write anything. I’d have to cancel the project. Maybe I could retrain as a barista. Then my teenaged daughter came home from school raving about the novel she was reading. I caught a glimpse of the cover: The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Immediately, I guessed what was inside. The book was OBVIOUSLY about a guerilla poet who spray-painted her verses onto abandoned buildings, signing them with an X. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Graffiti would have been perfect for my artistic main character, Dominica. And I loved the street artist Banksy. If only Elizabeth Acevedo hadn’t already written it!

I continued to wring my hands instead of writing.

My deadline continued to loom.

Eventually, my daughter deposited her book on my end table.

“It was great,” she said. “You should read it.”

So I did. And of course The Poet X is excellent. Also, it has NOTHING to do with graffiti. Absolutely nothing. My scattered brain had filled in all the right gaps… for the wrong book.

The realization left me free to have Dominica spray-paint as many squirrels as her rebel heart desired. And that’s how Me and Banksy came to be.



About the Book!

 

Me and Banksy

A Banksy-style protest against cameras in classrooms brings a group of middle-grade students together. For fans of Rebecca Stead, Susin Nielsen and Gordon Korman.

Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Like Ana picking her nose. When Dominica quickly changes her shirt from inside out in what she thinks is the privacy of a quiet corner in the library, she’s shocked — and embarrassed — to discover a video has captured this and is currently circulating amongst her schoolmates. So mortifying, especially since over the past three years, they’ve had a half-dozen school talks about social media safety.

Who has access to the school security cameras and why are they doing this? Dominica and her best friends, Holden and Saanvi, are determined to find out, and in the process start an art-based student campaign against cameras in the classroom.

Check it out! AmazonChapters-Indigo | Goodreads


Let me know what you think! Do you enjoy learning about an author’s writing process? What inspires you to write? What is your favourite Elizabeth Acevedo book?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

The Ten Thousand Doors of January | Review // This book was pure magic!

Greetings readers!

Portal fantasy is probably my favourite type of fantasy and I don’t read it often. Hypocrite much? I know. The Narnia books were my introductory novels to this genre and…well we all know how obsessed I am with that series. I just love stories that go beyond this world and yet keep that connection alive. They are literal stories of escape from this world, just like books are the metaphoric escape from our real lives. I am sure if someone were to pop-psycho analyse me then I would fully understand this inner wanderlust and desire to leave this world for something different, but I’m not sure I want to know those answers yet.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

43521657
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 10, 2019
Publisher: Redhook
Goodreads

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

*Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the review copy!*

The Likes:

I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into this book, but I didn’t actually think I would love it this much. I was absolutely enchanted from the very first page and all of it has to do with Harrow’s writing style! First we have to talk about the narrative voice. I don’t know what the technical term is, but it is when the narrator directly addresses the reader as the story goes on. It’s as if we are sitting side by side and actually being told this story over some cookies and drinks. It is a personal, intimate kind of story telling that I absolutely love.

The actually writing style itself was incredibly whimsical. It’s a flowery, purple prose that has its wild, metaphoric phrases that still surrender you completely under the book’s enchantment. I LOVED IT! The study of the actual physical shape of words and letters was so interesting. I think I may have made it sound too ~scientific~, but I promise you it was delightful! It’s a careful and, again, intimate kind of story telling that just hits you in the feels. Other than that, I think the story flowed wonderfully, it’s not hard to follow along and every turn of the page just gets more and more interesting.

Now we have to talk about these characters because they are incredible! The first shout-out goes to my girl January, who is one of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read. She was a lonely girl, with a big imagination constantly being told to reform, conform and endure a society that didn’t exactly know what to make of her. As much as she loved the fact she was being taken care of, she couldn’t help but hate the suffocation. As much as she hated the way she was left behind, she couldn’t help but love the people who left. She lived a life full of mysteries and curiosities that never gave her the right answers. And while she was incredibly curious herself, she had to find a way to let that adventurous side of her free after years of being told to keep it down. She was naive, but also intelligent. She was sheltered, but courageous enough to face the horrors of her life. She was angry and she learned to harness it to get out of trouble. I loved everything about her if you can’t tell.

Honourable mentions go to Jane, who was seriously fierce and angry! I think that she deserved a lot more than what she got and I felt so angry for her! Shout out to Samuel for being incredibly sweet with a total white knight complex that made me want to melt. To a certain pair of characters whose story made me SOB—I just wanna say #couplegoals…but also maybe not XD

The magic of the doors was marvellous. I loved the history behind it, I loved that we got to explore how these portals are constructed and destroyed. How they bring out the best and the worst of people. With magical doors comes increasingly new and magical lands! The way in which Harrow imagined these other nations with totally different cultural practices and ways of life. I mean…I can barely survive on my own in this world, and there was definitely one world in this book I would not survive in…but I would love to see books based solely in these other worlds.

The book has an incredible conversation about colonialism. There was almost an anti-museum rhetoric to this book. It’s not denying the importance of understanding a people and its culture, but this book is arguing that a culture is not a collectible. An artifact is not something that can be taken from its home and charted across the seas to be locked up and stared at. It is stripping that object of its real purpose, to serve the people it was created for. The book tackles the deeply problematic private collections of stuffy rich people who bought up–stole–precious cultural items (see the British, Spanish, French and basically all other European colonizers) for their own selfish wants. It’s important that we understand how deeply problematic our modern museums are. They are full of items that are labeled as belonging to “collectors” but they don’t. Those pieces belong to people and nations that still exist, that are not extinct and of the past, but increasingly labeled as history long gone.

The plot itself is charming yet wildly fun too. It is more contemplative than action-y although I will say that there is a fair share of blood that is shed and there may or may not be a vampire character? It’s not really a spoiler, but a treat to intrigue you with. I was never bored and I always wanted to keep going! There is also a story within a story being told and let me tell you that inner story is one that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! Plus since its a story within a story, you are technically getting two books for the price of one!

The ending…how do I even explain the ending. It was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes from the feels that just overtook me in the moment. Not only are the final words so preciously gorgeous and ripped my soul apart, they explain the reason why this book is told the way it is and it makes so much more sense AND OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I WANTED TO CRYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

The Questionable:

Nothing. It was amazing.


Overall, I enjoyed this book so much! It was heartfelt, charming, suspenseful and absolutely magical. It is a perfect book for readers like me who are constantly being struck by wanderlust, but don’t have the guts to get out there just yet! It’s also perfect for general fantasy readers, historical fiction lovers and people who just love books about books!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! Open the doors this book has to offer!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Do you like portal fantasy? What are some of your favourites? If you could open the door to another world, would you go in?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Cover Revamps! The NEW Lunar Chronicles paperbacks | I have thoughts so let’s discuss

Greetings readers!

So Cyborg Monday happened a while ago and for those in the Marissa Meyer Universe should know that her Lunar Chronicles books are getting new paperback covers! I am here to discuss them because that is what we do in the bookish world!

Now, I already own the entire series in the original covers so I have no reason to truly buy these, but I’ll be honest these new ones are very tempting!

via Fierce Reads

Cinder

Cover: Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!! I love the pink and the purple colour scheme. I love her pose and her expression, the way she is dressed and her shining prosthetic that’s all patched up with duct tape and all the spare parts and metal bits! I think she looks amazing! Everything about the cover is wonderful! I have zero complaints.

Inside: STUNNING! My jaw totally dropped when I saw it! I pretty much love everything about it! The dress, the gloves, Kai flying down the stairs, Levana looking down at the, both and just the whole movement of the scene. You can feel the urgency of the run and chase! I do think that Cinder’s skin is too light and flat. There is no real depth without any shading to the skin.

Scarlet

Cover: Again, the colour scheme is phenomenal! The orange/green for some reason just feels very French to me! Not to mention the fact that it goes great with Scar’s hair! Her outfit is so cute, I would totally wear it if I could pull off the hobo chic, but I can’t! The wolf! I mean the wolfffffff. Her expression is so Scarlet! She literally looks like she gives absolutely zero fucks and that is amazing! I guess the only complaint I have is that Scar is supposed to be on the chubbier side (right?) and that would have been nice to see on the cover.

Inside: One giant YES! Wolf is looking fly as fuck (pun intended) and again you can really feel the movement in the picture! The colours really make the figures stand out! I don’t have much to say other than I love it! (Okay…maybe her hand is kind of awkward but still it is very cool!)

Cress

Cover: I really love the background. It is so high tech and the white/beige paneling next to the blue space sparkled with stars and the Earth in the background looks stunning. Now Cress….oh god. She looks not great, like I don’t like how she looks at all. I feel like her body is so disproportionate. Her arms…I mean look at them, they are so long, freakishly long. And her hair…not cute, it is just not cute. And the hair does not help the fact that her forehead looks kind of too big. I’m so disappointed in this cover to be very honest and it just makes me even more sad knowing that I love this character and this book! But the cover just does not do it any justice!

Inside: So Cress looks so much better. Her forehead is less…just less. It looks like it is proportionate to her body. I love how she is posed and the lost and wonder-filled expression peaking through her wide eyes. Now Thorne…I mean, I’m happy he’s at least there…but this is a no for me, unfortunately. It’s the chin and the hands. The chin is like all scrunched up and angry looking whereas I was kind of hoping for a trademark smirk. He looks almost a little too serious and not like my charming Captain. His hands are way too big XD I mean I get that they are supposed to appear bigger because they are in the foreground, but they are a bit too big. The rest of the body though…truly great 😉

Winter

And behold - my personal favorite of all four stepbacks! It's just so… so… STEAMY. Thank you @tropical_toxic for your incredible work, and thank you to all of the bloggers who helped reveal the new art for WINTER and the rest of the series! 	#LunarEverAfter https://bit.ly/2RahZoe 

Cover: Oh I love it. The purple and white is incredible! The animals!!!! RYU!!!!!! This is great symbolism people! Winter herself, looks quite fabulous although again her neck looks quite exaggerated, but it might just be the angle it is at. I love her dress, 10/10 I would try it on if I could! I think this cover ties in really well with Cinder considering the colour scheme and it is a perfect way to tie up the series!

Inside: First of all, I love this scene. It is one of my favourite dramatic moments of Winter and I love how it was staged. Winter looks FABULOUS, once again and she looks like she is really enjoying that kiss. Jacin looks INTENSE. The way he is looming over her and the hand on her waist contrasted against the one holding the ladder, soft vs. hard, it is really beautiful. I can’t say I like long hair on a guy, I don’t, but hey it works for Jacin!


Overall, I do really like the new covers and I am 100% tempted to buy them even though I know I shouldn’t. I mean I already own the series in paperback and I would never dare replace them for something else! Perhaps if I find them for cheap one day I might purchase them used, who knows!?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these new covers? Did you like them? Love them? or were they so-so? Or god-awful? Can’t wait to read all your thoughts!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

tlcread

A Heart So Fierce and Broken | Review // *chants* Grey-by! Grey-by! Grey-by!

Greetings readers!

I know I don’t read it or talk about it a lot, but urban fantasy is a great genre. I’m not saying that every UF book out there is amazing, but there are definitely some special ones! Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which was a pretty stellar urban fantasy which actually ended up being more fantastical than urban! You don’t hear me complaining though!

This year I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of it’s sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken! I was very excited for this book because while I enjoyed the characters from book one, this book was going to star my favourite! That’s right my Grey-by! (Which rhymes with “baby” by the way).

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

The Likes

GREY-BY! Yes, I still love him. I had my moments before reading where I doubted what I could ever truly like about him, but as soon as I read his first chapter all my doubt flew out the window! Now, I’m not saying my man is perfect, I actually wanted to slap him a couple times in the earlier chapters, but what I admire about him the most is his undying loyalty and his sense of honour. I know, I know–let’s be honest, most of the fictional dudes I like are morally grey (hehehe), but I like to think of myself as a loyal person so I really relate to that I guess. Other than that, he’s broody, secretly charming and does his best to work around the very intense political climate!

Lia Mara, was PHENOMENAL! I loved everything about her! On a personal level, I guess I related to her too. She was very booksy and not at all fiery like her sister (who was tough to swallow for several reasons)! But I think what I loved about her most was her compassion. I feel like people, in fictional worlds and the real one, are constantly trying to portray themselves as cool and tough, with an “I don’t give a shit about anybody” attitude to the world. It’s not exactly the best way to face the world and the book really shows how much compassion is missing in our lives. More importantly it shows how compassionate people see their most glorious trait as a weakness in society. Her journey to finding the strength in her compassion and empathy was truly amazing and I wish to see more of it in other YA books!

Others…Well, the few glimpses we got from Harper were alright. I just think that she was different from the first novel. I missed that sass that she had and instead got this kind of meh character and don’t even get me started on Rhen…I could not with him. And yeah yeah there are *reasons* but ahhh I could not with him. Jake was ugh Jake. I could do without him if I am being 100% honest.

The plot was very politically intense! There were lots of questions that were difficult to answer. Such as choosing the well being of your own nation over the devastation of another. The rift that mistrust causes between a leader and their people. The problem of wanting what’s best for your loved ones but having to go against them in order to achieve it. And most importantly, ignoring the value that you possess when you’ve locked yourself in this box that says you are useful for one thing only. It’s a complex plot, but easy enough to follow. The conflict between nations and people is well drawn out and I liked the suspense that it created between the characters!

The magic was also incredible. I’m still not 100% percent on its origins, but then again my memory is foggy from book one. I still think the exploration of the magic in characters and some special magical creatures was the most fun we had! It was not the most flashy kind of magic, but I really enjoyed it!

It’s a chunky book, but a speedy read. Don’t be intimidated by the size, I flew through this book! The writing is swift and smooth. I’m not saying that its simplicity makes it less fancy, but that is what exactly makes it entertaining. There is a lot of information to get through and Kemmerer doesn’t take up time giving us explanations we don’t need.

The ending was a banger! It hit all the sensitive spots, Kemmerer did not hold back! I totally see why this would be not work that well as a duology. I don’t know who the third book is going to star, but I am excited to find out. I mean, I have a feeling we are going back to Harper and Rhen maybe with some Grey mixed in, but it could also be two totally new characters!

The Questionable

I wouldn’t say there is anything totally terrible that made me knock off the star, but it just wasn’t the full five. I felt like there was something missing. I think it had to do with the magic. There is a lot of history there that is too mysterious. I don’t mind it having an air of mystery, but I am feeling pretty clueless right now.


Overall, I enjoyed this installment immensely, more than the first one. I loved these characters and everything that they stood for! I hope to see them again. If you were hesitant about continuing this series, I highly recommend you do! This book has a lot to offer and we’ve strayed away from the original B&B retelling, so it does offer a new and fresh story line with hints to the old one!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! It’s fun, fast with fabulous characters!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Who is your favourite character? What urban fantasy books do you enjoy? (Let’s be honest though, this one was definitely more fantasy than urban!)

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things | More Rant than Review // Setting myself up for failure

Greetings readers!

Today’s review post is a rant in disguise. Well not really, since I’m telling you exactly what I’m about to do. I just want to warn everyone one that there will be spoilers in this review. I just can’t talk about this book without giving away some big details, so I will be sure to highlight when I get super spoilery!

In the summer, I participated in Raincoast Books’ YA Winter preview. Basically, I drooled over all the books that I added to my TBR right then and there. One such book was a contemporary book based on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, sprinkled with some Narnia references and I was like oooooooooooo. But then the bomb dropped–this book has a love-triangle and I was like nnnnooooooooooo. And yet…I gave it a shot. I thought to myself, I won’t get attached, I’ll enjoy the drama while I can, I won’t get attached, I’ll take in stride the Narnia references, I WON’T GET ATTACHED!!!!!!!

And guess, guess what I did? I got attached and got hurt.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Dec 17th, 2019
Publisher: HMH Teen
Goodreads

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

The Non-Spoilery (Very Short) Review

This was a fairly entertaining book. The characters were well defined, interesting and flawed. Oh were they flawed, they’re also teenagers so we cut them some slack. The love triangle, was a love triangle in more ways than one, trust me. The friendship aspect was a little lacking, which kind of bothered me. It was funny and charming, even though I had my issues with it. I’m sure people who actually enjoy the drama of love triangles will enjoy this immensely. I know that population is few, but it is mighty.

The Spoilery RANT

*BREATHES*

I knew from the beginning that the childhood crush was going to be the one she ended up choosing. I knew, I knew, I knew. I didn’t actually know for sure, but my heart was set. I knew that from the very first chapter the chemistry between them was still very strong and that were gonna end up together. Lord, did I know. But I am a dumb bitch, and I say that in the most loving way to myself, and I stupidly fell for the other guy. BECAUSE I”M DUMB!

Okay let’s go character by character:

Edie: A vert interesting, unique character…..um. Sure. I really liked that she had her passions, she stuck to them, and she stumbles along the way like every teen girl who is still not 100% sure who she is. I really enjoyed her character, and the struggles she went through. Especially living with estranged family who is not exactly the most loving–not that they treat her bad, just differently. Her approach to life was very literary, literally. She would live by her some of her favourite quotes from classic literature. Not the best way to live life, but she does learn key things and I really enjoyed her growth in the novel. To sum it all up, I liked her well enough. Can’t say I loved her, but I didn’t hate her either.

Sebastian: What a fucking loser. AHHHH the freaking childhood crush, that gets the girl despite the fact that he is very much a loser. And I am being very cruel right now. He is not actually (that much of) a loser. Most of my resentment comes from the fact that he is the reason for the downfall of my ship, but if I am being completely honest, he was the better match for Edie. So why did I dislike him so much…well I found that I related to him way to much. The personal identification is strong with this one.

Narnia-obsession? Yeah, boy.
Having writer dreams? I’m guilty of.
Not meeting those familial expectations? Same here.
Having no real solid plan for what they want in life? Hey there, man.

He was so wishy washy throughout the whole novel. I just couldn’t stand him for most of the novel. Bleh. His struggles may have hit home, but my god he was miserable and I didn’t really reading the book when he walked onto the page. He was just so frustrating ugh. So yeah, he’s a loser. Just like me.

Henry: Another fucking idiot, but lord help me I fell hard and fast and I honestly worry about my future self. He was the charming, suave bad boy, who was most definitely a man-hoe. And I can’t believe I fell for him. He is literally the definition of fuck boi, plus he doesn’t have any actual career plans other than spending his parent’s money. Yes, he has a soft more passionate side. And he works for what he wants, but he is still an entitled white, rich boy–and I can’t believe I fell for it. BUT I DID OKAY. And I really enjoyed it whenever he was on the page!

I was so mad when Edie broke up with him! Like ah he was giving her all and she was like you’re fun but I love Sebastian bla bla bla. I just couldn’t.

Now we have to talk about Maria…who…No. Just no. Look, Maria is a terribly flawed character that keeps getting forgiven when she should not. OH MY GOD. I get it she’s a side character she’s not supposed to have that much growth, but her behaviour was not okay and she is absolved for being “family”. Um, excuse me? No. She is constantly talking down on Edie and her humble choice of wardrobe etc. Not having a filter is whatever, but choosing to constantly demean others around you is not cool.  She repeatedly cheats on her boyfriend and blames him for allowing her and when he finally grows the spine to break up with her, she wallows in self-pity with no actual remorse for the hurt she caused. She was sexting Henry while he was dating Edie!!!! If I found out my cousin had been sexting my boyfriend to seduce him and ignored his constant rejections, I would not let that slide on the basis of being family. That is not okay. But you know what Edie forgives Maria cuz they cousins. Her punishment? Selling old clothes for college funds, she doesn’t even ever sincerely apologize. I couldn’t, this was so toxic!

Aside from the romance and Maria, I enjoyed the events of the novel. Was it anything profound and incredibly inspiring? Not really. This was a novel full of rich white people about rich white people problems so I was really here just to poke fun and engage in their drama! I can’t say that it is completely inaccessible and some of the troubles that the kids face do have their moments, especially the struggles in keeping up friendships and relationships. Choosing who you want to be and not letting others or the past dictate who you will become. Those were the heartfelt moments that I really liked reading about. The pacing was good, although I felt like it was dragging towards the middle when things were just kind of hanging on and stalling while we built this lovely relationship just to crush it.


Overall, this book was fine. I can’t say I loved it, but I didn’t dislike it either! It has its ups and downs, it has a love triangle which is a little obvious, but sometimes you still fall for the traps that authors set. The characters are well written even though some are quite flawed and needed some–lots–of growth. I’ve never read Mansfield Park, but I hope it does Jane Austen justice!

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Recommend?: Uhhh I guess its whether you really like the love triangle or want to give that trope a try, then why not!?

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite or not-so-favourite tropes? What are you more into the childhood friend or bad boy/girl?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

From 2019 to 2020!| My best books, my goal achievements, what I am looking forward to!

Greetings readers!

Happy new year to you all! It has been a hectic past couple of weeks with all the celebrations from posadas, to Christmas to New Years. I have been eating non-stop, got cute presents, spent some lovely family time and haven’t read enough at all! But with the end of a year, comes the beginning of a new one and it’s time to look back on the books I’ve read and the things I’ve accomplished! It’s also time to set myself up for the next 12 months! I’m excited and a little bit nervous, there is so much room for opportunity and I finally want to get to some things!

My Best Books

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli | Review

THE LAST NAMSARA by @kristenciccarelli Q: What is a book you wish you had read sooner? The answer to this question is loaded for me. I hardly read books as soon as they're published. Even if I own them, I keep pushing and pushing them. Until the moment comes when I finally do read them and I completely fall in love. That special moment happened with The Last Namsara a couple of months ago. I did a buddy read with @shaniasquires (who completely devoured the book in one day) and it's safe to say we both LOVED THIS BOOK. Not to mention we can't wait to read it's companion novels. Hopefully sooner rather than later 😉 #thelastnamsara #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #canlit #epicreads #kristenciccarelli by @readingwithrendz - Imgtagram

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena | Review

This media created by Rendz 🇨🇦, owner of @readingwithrendz account - Imgtagram

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner | Review

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George | Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Review

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Review

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | Review

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Review

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

A Review in the Goals from 2019

6. Connections. Connections. Connections.

I think I did a-ok with this goal. I’ve been able to reach out to one or two more publishers, I have strengthened the relationships I already have with some. Overall, I am really happy with the connections I have made this year.

5. Make a trademark blog feature and keep up with it

Mmmmmmm….I didn’t get to this exactly. I mean, I have been better with The Bookish Feels posts but not enough for them to be “trademark”. Perhaps, I was too ambiguous with this goal and I had no real plans for it. I think I will try this one again in 2020, but take the rest of this year to truly plan out what exactly I want to do.

4. Get Involved

Uhhh I didn’t do the best with this goal. My blog hopping has suffered, but my Instagram adventures have been very successful! I’ve made lots of new friends on there and have really built my page. So I’d say this was half a success!

3. Read My Shelves (But better)

By the end of 2019, I should have read the following series on my shelves:

A Crown of Wishes and The Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi
Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
The DC Icons series
Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor
The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

I’ve read one of the five series I set out to read. Look this goal was flunked on again! I’ll be honest! Whenever I set time aside for them, I ended up reading something else. I am actually super disappointed I didn’t get to Chokshi’s books or the DC books, but I hope to get to them in early 2020(?) not gonna bank on it though.

2. Read my ARCs on time

Chris Evans Laughing GIF by mtv
via giphy.com

I…I have no excuse. I just suck at reading books on time and it is such a terrible habit. I am doing a disservice to the publisher, the author and to myself. I know I shouldn’t be that upset over this, but I have to to better. I was on a roll at one point in the year which made me a little happy, but I know I can do better if I put my mind to it!

1. Relax on the Requesting Game

the office lol GIF
via giphy.com

I am my own worst enemy. I request que me da la gana, as my mother would say. Whatever I’m in the mood for in the moment, I request. It is a terrible habit because this is the reason I never read my ARCs on time! I seriously need to stop over-requesting. One of my biggest goals is to be less greedy this year. It’s not just about being less greedy, it’s about de-cluttering my life. Becoming more sustainable, reading only what I truly want, when I truly want.


Looking On into 2020

I honestly don’t know. I…hmm…I feel like I want to change in some way. Not total reinvention, but to change in some way meaningful. To bring something new to this blog. I don’t have all my plans set now, but I do know that a re-vamp of the website’s look is in the books. I also know that relaxing on the requesting game will also be very important for this reinvention of myself. Audiobooks, are definitely something I want to get more into this year too. I already started finding my mojo and I am very excited to see where these adventures take me

So these three things are what I do know

  1. New Look
  2. Relax on the Requests
  3. Explore Audiobooks and other reading formats!

Let me know what you think! How did you do with your 2019 goals if you had any? What are you looking forward to achieving in the coming new year?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

read