March/April Wrap-Up & May TBR | I’ve been busy living my best (Shadow and Bone) life!

Greetings readers!

So it has been a while since I’ve come at you with a wrap-up, hasn’t it? Let’s blame it on the fact that the end of the school semester was quite an end. I won’t go into much detail, but it is the reason I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated and uninspired with some of my blog posts. I hope to come with new material soon. Perhaps a fun tag or two!

In terms of reading though…I have had an incredible time with my reads. No lies detected. I’m at that point where I am reading faster than I can review, but it just means that I’ll have lots of great reviews coming your way soon.

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

~ March ~

Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud 3.5/5 🌟
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira 3/5 🌟
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laeken Zea Kemp 5/5 🌟
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (re-read) 5/5 🌟
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert 4/5 🌟
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda (re-read) 5/5 🌟
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Bouley 4.5/5 🌟
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau 3/5 🌟

Grishaverse Re-Read!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

~ April ~

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner 3.5/5 🌟
Flamefall by Rosaria Munda 5/5 🌟
Make a Scene by Mimi Grace 5/5 🌟
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera 4.5/5 🌟
The Ikessar Flacon by K.S. Villoso (re-read) 5/5 🌟
Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras 3/5 🌟

Grishaverse re-read!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Highlight book(s): Apart from my phenomenal rereads of The Ikessar Falcon, The Beautiful Ones and The Grishaverse reads, the top spots goes to Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet, Firekeeper’s Daughter, and Flamefall!

Lowliest book(s): Nothing was truly lowly. I enjoyed all of my 3 stars they just needed more pizzazz.

The Haul

March

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

April

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso
Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Other Going Ons

New Cover for CERTAIN DARK THINGS

As always, I try to be Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s #1 hype-person and this past March the cover for her re-release of the Mexican vampire novel she wrote was revealed and it is stunning! There is so much symbolism and colour to behold! I loved the original cover, but this one…this one has the pizzazz and spark that I’m sure will intrigue many a reader to pick it up!

Certain Dark Things
via Goodreads

My Grishaverse Re-read Extravaganza!

In preparation for the show, which I talk about below, I decided to do a grand Grisha Reread and it was the best decision. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have. I really need to get focused on those ARCs that I have, but I am pleased to say that I did in fact read the majority of my e-ARCs in time (getting reviews up is another matter entirely) but all will be updated soon hopefully. But anyways. I indulged myself with this reread and I can’t complain. I enjoyed myself immensely. It hasn’t been that long since my last reread of Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows on the other hand…that is a duology I haven’t picked up since I read it the first time around when this blog was just beginning. To be concise. I loved it. I loved everything about reading these books again because 14 year old Rendz was living her best life and I want that girl to have her best!

I Attended to Bookish Events with Publishers!

Let’s just say that there are plenty of books to look forward to! Both HCC Frenzy and Penguin Teen CA had some amazing teen book previews at the end of April and I was lucky enough to attend (virtually, of course!). Wow, friends. We YA Lovers have lots to look forward to in the coming months! Here are some titles I am excited for:

Sisters of the Snake (Ria & Rani #1)
Beasts of Prey

I binged Shadow and Bone & lived my BEST life.

Yes, I really did spend roughly 9 hours in my room Friday, April 23rd 2021 to watch the entire series in one go. Lunch and bathroom breaks were really the only moments of not-watching that I had for most of the day. And I regret ABSOLUTELY NONE OF IT. I have waited how long for this show? Ages. Big question: Did I enjoy it? HELLS YES. MY goodness. I was screeching alongside my cousin as we shared thoughts, predictions and critiques over a series of audio and video messages on Snap Chat XD. This adaptation was definitely not perfect, but it had heart in it. I think it did a great job of melding these two different series together and bringing these beloved characters to life! 10/10 recommend you watch it (mainly because I need high ratings for a season 2! but also because it is really good!!)

As for me…I’m stalking the actors and watching cast interviews like its my job.

Posts of the Months

I’ve been feeling a little creatively dry with blog content as of late. I’m trying to find some interesting tags or discussion topics to tackle so it you have any suggestions, I would love to know about them!

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Tag

This was a really fun tag to take part of! Even as a serial fantasy reader I know I am always lacking or missing out on some sort of amazing story so please direct all your recommendations to me!

Infinite Country | Review // A short, but mighty read

It’s a 200 page book that you all need to read.

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet | HOV Book Tour // Review + Fan Art

I made some fun fan art for this book that I hope you all check out!

5 Reasons to read The Beautiful Ones | In other words…I lived my best life reading this masterpiece again!

I mean the title says it all. 🙂 This is one of my top SMG books, I ~need~ you all to read it. And if you love it, I need you to come yell at me about it.

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras | Release Blitz + Review!

A quick review for the summer romance readers! The sunny days are coming and I anticipate some romcom bingeing in my future.

TBR

TBR

Well as always, I’m going to be slightly ambitious with my TBR 🙂 I will always try my hardest to get to as many books as possible I just need some good luck and good vibes from you all!

I also happen to start my summer semester this month so…le sigh. I need to take that into account as well.

Since it is Asian Heritage Month in Canada and in solidarity with my American friends celebrating AAPI Heritage Month, I plan on reading books by API authors as much as I can 🙂 I’m excited because there are some good ones of my shelf calling out to me! And it should go without saying, but a friendly reminder that we should be supporting API voices 24/7/365 and not only in May!

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
Rising Like a Storm by Tanaz Bhathena

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

And that’s all I have planned for now. I feel like I’m in need of some more romance-y reads especially considering I have some heavy fantasies that will leave me emotional distraught. Any recommendations by API romance authors are welcome!


Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras | Release Blitz + Review!

Greetings readers!

I am so excited to be a part of the release blitz for ANCHORED HEARTS by Priscilla Oliveras which hits shelves today! The Keys to Love series is a perfect set of romance books for those in need of a little summer escape and summer lovin’! I enjoyed the first book, Island Affair, and Anchored Hearts is here to deliver a new set of tropes to love and enjoy! If you want so more Latinx books on your TBR, then get these on your radar!

Stay tuned for my review going up a little later this week!

*Update: Read my review below!*



Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras is now live!



Sparkling with humor, romance, Latinx culture, and the unique island energy of Key West, Florida, the acclaimed Keys to Love Series by USA Today bestselling author Priscilla Oliveras is the perfect summer read. Sparks fly for a second time when award-winning photographer and prodigal son Alejandro ends up back home, forced to face the familia–and the girl he left behind–for the first time in years. Can these two Key West natives learn to put away old hurts and embrace a new future under the tropical sun?

Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning “never to come back” echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia and their beloved Cuban restaurant is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along . . .
 
Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as famillia meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?

“A big-hearted, beautiful book about first love, second chances, and finding one’s place in the world. An exceptional getaway of a book!”
Emily Henry, NY Times bestselling author, Beach Read

“Anchored Hearts has it all: undeniable chemistry between its irresistible leads; believable roadblocks to their happy ending; a heartwarming world filled with familia and comunidad; and a lush Key West setting that leaps off the page. Alejandro and Anamaría’s love story is not to be missed!”
Mia Sosa, USA Today bestselling author, The Worst Best Man



  Download today!
Amazon: http://mybook.to/anchored  
Apple Books: http://apple.co/30p8F4G
Nook: http://bit.ly/3rBSCfS
Kobo: http://bit.ly/3v4s897
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OGLbFt

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/305p51T




Meet Priscilla




Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from O, The Oprah Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, among others. Since earning her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, Priscilla now serves as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devotee of the romance genre, Priscilla’s also a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.
 
Connect with Priscilla
Website | https://prisoliveras.com/
Goodreads | https://bit.ly/3n3bbId
Amazon | https://amzn.to/3bvRvcb
Facebook | https://bit.ly/2OjHqGn
Instagram | https://bit.ly/3cc4VJk
Twitter | https://bit.ly/3epHyyv
Bookbub | https://bit.ly/3qq9pkI
Book+Main | https://bit.ly/2OyfjD4
Newsletter | http://bit.ly/PrisOliverasNewsNNotes


Review

This was a fun read to follow up Island Affair!

I liked that we got to follow a different sibling from the Navarro family and delve into their roots in the Key West! The second chance romance with childhood friends was sweet and understandably a slow burn. These characters simply weren’t ready to make such big decisions when they were so young and rebuilding that connection that has been neglected (but never forgotten) over the course of ten years was going to take up most of the book! But he adored her and she adored him and their mutual pining was lovely. 

The family drama was my favourite aspect! This meddling Cuban-American family is funny and heartwarming and full of hijinks. There were definitely instances that resonated with my own family and their meddling ways. Although, I will say I would have like a deeper look into Alejandro’s strained relationship with his father. It was such a pivotal aspect to his arc and I feel like it needed more attention throughout and especially at the end of the book. 

As for the main characters. I liked them well enough. I cannot say they were my favourite, but for the most part I enjoyed being around them. I liked that Anamaria was very connected to her home and family, while also focusing on herself and her business (we love to see that), but sometimes I felt that she was wishy-washy. She’d put her foot down about something and the next second her thoughts would back track to opposite side. As for Alejandro, he was interesting. He was definitely a heartthrob but he was also slightly–nay–definitely self-centred. Sir, you have daddy issues. We got it. Was there evidence of any character growth by the end? Perhaps a bit, but it was very surface level.

This book is a bit cheesy. I am frankly okay with it. It added to the fluff, fun and flirting that I was hoping to get from this book! Were some of the lines a tad cringey? Maybe, but given that I expected nothing less from it means I wasn’t disappointed. 

Overall, this is a sweet and simple read. If you are looking for a book to enjoy the summer heat and love the childhood friends-to-lovers in combination with the second-chance romance tropes then I think this might be the read for you!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: YES, for those wanting a sweet and savory summer romance!


Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading this? What kind of summer books do you love to read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

5 Reasons to read The Beautiful Ones | In other words…I lived my best life reading this masterpiece again!

Greetings readers!

In 2017, I read my first Silvia Moreno-Garcia book and it was The Beautiful Ones. So to be talking to you about this book again in 2021 is well…MY FAVOURITE PART OF TODAY.

If you want to read my original review, I will leave that link here. My thoughts have remained pretty much the same so for today’s post I wanted to highlight the 5 main reasons why I love this book and why I think you might love this book too!

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones

Pub Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Buy Links Below!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina—and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.


*Thank you to the publisher for the advances reader’s copy!*

5 REASONS TO READ THE BEAUTIFUL ONES…

1. Charismatic Characters!

Love them or hate them, these characters make this book incredibly fun to read! Personally, I love them! They may seem at first like your typical one-sided stock characters, but then they show so much more depth and colour to them! SMG always wins me over with the dynamic characters she writes and this book is no different!

Nina – The hopeless romantic speaks to my soul in every way possible! But she’s also stubborn, curious, dedicated and vulnerable! She wears her heart on her sleeve and I love every part of her! Even if the secondhand embarrassment is real when it comes to her, I love that she doesn’t let it bother her too much!

Hector – The foolish man who endears me with his level of obsession. If I share one quality with Hector, it is definitely our tendency to obsess (and I admit it is not the healthiest tendency to have). In my original review I noted that he was “the tortured, romantic heartthrob” and I stand by it!

Valérie – The prickly and cool socialite who intrigues me with her ferocity but is #toxic! Oooooooooooh Valérie!!!!! I cannot lie that she spills some truths in this novel about the marriage market and how women are bartering chips for family status. But she is also a classist manipulator, so unhappy in her own life that she wills it on everyone else. She is, nonetheless, a very interesting character to read about!

2. Delicious Drama!

This book is really 2-in-1 (the closest we’ll ever get to having an SMG sequel imo) and well let me tell you: they are both wild rides! Book 1 literally has me flushing with second-hand embarrassment with every turn of the page! And I love it! This first section is full of awkward first meetings, secret encounters, deceptions, whispers and revelations! I love it with all my heart, but the second part owns my soul! Book 2 has the second-chance story line that makes hope bloom in every part of me! The characters are changed, much more tender and hurt from the events of book 1. This second section is full of heartfelt confrontations, shy reconciliations, but also more deception, revenge and passionate plights! Most of my favourite scenes happen towards then end, it is just magnifique!

3. An Enchanting World!

This gorgeous world full of manners and wonders is EVERYTHING. I love how SMG develops Loisail as a Belle Epoque-esque world and if you’re running off the high of Bridgerton’s posh social order and policy, then you might find a kindred spirit in this book. The ladies and gentlemen in this book have strict rules to abide by and social convention to uphold and well…some of our characters may or may not be good at following them! Reading about these very different characters from very different backgrounds and histories navigate this socialite world is so intriguing.

4. Sweet Romance!

Emphasis on the sweet! I will tell you here: Don’t go in expecting the sexy times you got from Bridgerton, expect instead a tender and heartwarming fast, fall-hard turned second-chance slow burn of two people hurting and finding themselves back to one another. It is all about the repercussions of falling in love hard and quick at such a young age! It’s about the pain and struggle that sprouts from bitter heartbreak when things don’t go according to plan. It’s about the slow healing process of opening up to possibility of love again and letting it just flow!

5. Just the slightest touch of magic!

This book wins in every category for me because it has that touch of wonder. It’s not really magic per se, but it is that element of sparkle that I think every book needs! SMG explores telekinetic power in Hector and Nina with much intrigue. She tackles how it sets them apart in this very classist society, how it makes them the same despite their differences and what it means for their future! It’s BRILLIANT!


This is a 5 star book for me!

Screw what past me said about predictability, I found that I didn’t mind it in this re-read at all! I just had so much fun reading this book again! I experienced ALL THE FEELS. And I’m sure that you will find similar things to love and cherish about this book when you pick it up!

This book releases APRIL 27, 2021!

Get in your pre-orders and library requests NOW!

For Canadian and American pre-orders, TOR will send you a beautifully illustrated postcard! Read more here!

The Beautiful Ones TPB

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to picking it up (again)? What kind of romance novels do you love to read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

BUY LINKS!

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Buy from GoodReads

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet | HOV Book Tour // Review + Fan Art

Greetings readers!

I am so, so pleased to bring you this post today! Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of the tour for this amazing book coming out April 6th!

Forgive my rambling friends, but there is just so much to say about this book!

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction

Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | Bookshop.org

As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.

Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong — both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community — in order to save the place they all call home.


~ ABOUT LAEKAN ZEA KEMP ~

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicanx grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. Her debut novel, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER & SWEET is forthcoming from Little Brown in spring 2021.

Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads


*Thank you to the publisher, HBG Canada, for an advanced copy!*

~ REVIEW ~

To put it simply, THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE!

Now let’s elaborate on that, shall we?

The writing is EVERYTHING! I know I talk a lot about being “immersed in an author’s writing” and well friends…I am speaking my truth! It was wonderful to be totally immersed in Kemp’s writing! That first kitchen scene! Just wow. I felt the heat and sweat building up inside of me as I read about the chaos that was cooking up. Every written word sprouted emotion within me. Every feeling that Pen and Xander felt, I felt too. It was just such incredibly engaging and heartfelt writing.

The second best thing about this novel was certainly the characters! They came for my heart! Pen was a brilliant and complex character. The ferocity in her coupled with the hardships she deals with on the inside and outside create such a well-rounded and rich personage. Her voice is so raw and relatable. Stunning. And then there is Xander! Honestly, he is perfection! Well, no he is not perfect, but close enough. He is sweet, adorable and so caring but he is also so caught up in the question of who he is and what his past is all about. He does the most for the people he loves and reading his journey to finding himself just crushed me in the best way possible. And I have to do an honorary shout out to the supporting cast! They are dubbed “the most faithful and fucked up family” and it is a very accurate description. There is so much love and loyalty within this Chicanx community and characters and they deserve your attention!

With Pen, comes the portrayal of a teen living with mental illness. Reading about her past and current battles with depression and anxiety gave readers a much deeper understanding of how Pen sees herself and why there was so much tension between her and her family, especially her father. I like how it was imagined as a cacophony of voices in her head. While I cannot comment on the accuracy of its portrayal, it was such an integral part of Pen’s journey.

As with any book that deals with cooking and food, I was a) HUNGRY ALL THE TIME and b) reminded of my absolute inadequacy in the kitchen. Remember that immersive writing? Yeah, immersive writing coupled with the theme of food makes me salivate with every turn of the page! (TMI? Maybe, but I speak my truth) Alongside food, this book covers so many incredible themes like love and loyalty for the Chicanx community, found family, lost family, fighting corruption and seeking passion. Every aspect of this book is full of life. And all of these themes come collectively under the bigger theme of dreaming! This book holds so many dreams, so many hopes. Stunning” is the only way I can put it.

THE ROMANCE HAD ME SO SOFT. I cannot explain it to you friends, you’re just going to have to read it for yourselves. I ship these two so hard, y’all don’t understand! *Breaks down into sobs*

And since I’m already sobbing, I might as well state it plain and clear: This book is very emotional. (See the exploration of depression, anxiety and self-doubt) Past mistakes whether self-made or otherwise really impact how Pen and Xander navigate their lives throughout the story. In searching for acceptance they often face the fear of never being enough and falling victim to false hope. I love how this books talks about facing fears. I love how it dissects the effects of swallowing fear. Avoiding it and thinking about fear like its a game to win will only lead us down some even darker roads. I like that the book really advocated for seeking support from others even though everyone is on their own path. Pen and Xander both have a not so easy time dealing with fear individually, but reading about how they help one another in big and small ways warmed my heart so much!

The title is BRILLIANT and we just have to contemplate it for a second. All in all, the title really encompasses the moments and spaces these characters inhabit. They are literally always somewhere between bitter fears and sweet hopes. And reading about how these characters’ move between these two emotional poles was a tender and endearing experience no matter the flavour.

I cried maybe a little at the end. It was an ending that just *phew* just brought everything together so beautifully! My heart squeezed and I loved that feeling so much!

TL;DR This book is absolutely beautiful and you need to read it.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES, GET THIS BOOK ON YOUR TBR NOW.


~ FAN ART! ~

Please enjoy this illustration of Pen and Xander sharing a very special and sweet moment together! This is definitely one of my favourite scenes from the book! Read it to find out more!!


FOLLOW THE TOUR!

Let me know what you think! What are your favourite emotional reads? What are your favourite books about food? Are you looking forward to reading this?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Infinite Country | Review // A short, but mighty read

Greetings readers!

I’ll be honest, I have very little experience with short reads. I either go for the regular sized novels or the chunky books! But a slim thin read? It’s a rare occurrence in my reading journey! But they are extremely interesting to me. To pack so much story in such a short amount of pages…it takes skill and I am very happy to say that Patricia Engel has that skill!

I want to thank Avid Reader Press for sending me an ARC to read.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Infinite Country

Pub Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Avid Reader Press

For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Colombia is a country devastated by half a century of violence. Elena and Mauro are teenagers when they meet, their blooming love an antidote to the mounting brutality of life in Bogotá. Once their first daughter is born, and facing grim economic prospects, they set their sights on the United States.

They travel to Houston and send wages back to Elena’s mother, all the while weighing whether to risk overstaying their tourist visas or to return to Bogotá. As their family expands, and they move again and again, their decision to ignore their exit dates plunges the young family into the precariousness of undocumented status, the threat of discovery menacing a life already strained. When Mauro is deported, Elena, now tasked with caring for their three small children, makes a difficult choice that will ease her burdens but splinter the family even further.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants and a dual citizen, gives voice to Mauro and Elena, as well as their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia—each one navigating a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to the past, the future, to one another, and to themselves. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred. 


This book is a punch to the gut in the absolutely best way possible.

It may be short, but my oh my oh my is it a powerful and profound read. The intensity and suspense hooked me from the very beginning and didn’t let me go until the final turn of the page. Many people talk about books keeping them on the edge of their seats…and this is one of those books! This book had my heart thumping and blood running! It was a rush and I loved every second of it! Reading about this family’s journey to reuniting themselves across borders where violence and poverty trail them in all corners is incredibly moving. It’s a story that really fastened itself into my heart and refused to let go.

Engel’s writing is stunning and completely immersive! First and foremost, I loved how she wove timelines together. The back and forth narrative was elegant and never once was I lost between past and present. And to add to the beauty, Engel weaves Andean mythology into the thoughts, words and experiences of these characters. Tales of love, escape, resistance, faith and spirit keep these characters connected to each other across time and space. It’s beautiful. It’s a narration that lets us readers be gentle companions as Mauro, Elena, Talia, Karina and Nando experience their joys, pain, triumphs, and worries in their journey to reuniting.

This book portrays the daily plights of undocumented migrants and mixed-status families in a heartfelt and honest manner. It evoked the emotional and physical toll it takes on so many people who leave their homes in the search of more opportunities for their families. It talks about the tolls of distance and time. It takes on the fears estrangement and alienation. It’s a story that is permeated with the sense of fear, resilience, hope and strength it takes for families to make these decisions and take on this journey. And I have to add that it reminded me much of the stories I heard of family members and friends who made similar choices.

My favourite aspect of the novel was definitely how this story comes to question the American Dream. The story challenged whether the idea of a promise land in the US or anywhere exists. This story makes us look at the brutal truths of our worlds and the nations we inhabit. It’s not as simple as one country is horrific and the other is safe. It’s a matter that we live in a world where there are so many histories both past and present that are full of violence and struggle as much as they have their moments of beauty and opportunity! It’s a matter of discovering your sense of belonging in yourself and your family more so than a place.

The ending. Oh, when the final sentence finally clicked, tears burst into my eyes! I’m not kidding, my eyes really did burst into floods at that last sentence! If I could, I would give it a thousand rounds of applause!


Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes!

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite short, but powerful reads? Or short reads in general? Are you considering picking up this book?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

February Wrap-Up & M(ARC)h TBR | Well March, we meet again.

Greetings readers!

Well another month of 2021 down for the books. And I have to say it was both quite hectic and wonderful at the same time. There were so many wonderful stories to tell you about!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read!

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel – 5/5 Stars Review
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – 4/5 Stars Review
Love in English by Maria E. Andreu – 4/5 Stars Review
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – 5/5 Stars
Like Home by Louisa Onome – 4/5 Stars Review
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory – 3/5 Stars
Some Other Now by Sarah Everett – 5/5 Stars Review
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars Review

Highlight Book(s): Oh I have a pretty incredible reading month, but picking a favourite is not too hard because Infinite Country and Some Other Now were simply SPECTACULAR! Absolutely amazing! Both of these reads swept me off my feet.

Lowliest Book(s): I don’t think I have a book that truly fit this category from this month. Even if I had some mid level reads, I don’t think they can be considered lowly!

The Haul:

Oh…my. No physical book mail to report, but…my oh my has my Netgalley been bursting! Seriously *sobs* I have so many e-ARCs to get to…but more on that later.

Other Going-Ons:

A new, powerful Silvia Moreno-Garcia cover – Velvet was the Night:

Oh the power. The power. The power. I cannot wait to read this book *Yes, I have an ARC! Eh!* Just feast your eyes on this! The fashion, the style, the entire vibes! ugh I love it so much!

Shadow and Bone Netflix Teaser Trailer #1

When I tell you I am obsessed, I mean it. I AM OBSESSED. To say it has been on repeat since it came out is exactly what is going on these days. From the looks of it, I think the show is going to be really good! I know that 25% of me will be enjoying the show, another 25% will be comparing it to the books and a full 50% will be obsessing over Ben Barnes. I speak my truth.

Posts Of the Month:

A Sky Beyond the Storm | Review // I will NEVER recover from this book, and that’s okay with me

This was so much fun to write! Even though I relived every painful emotion that I endured while reading the book, this post is probably one of my favourites ever!

TBR

TBR

Two factors have affected my TBR this month:

1. The great Netgalley binge!
2. Yup, the Shadow & Bone trailer

So here is what I have lined up for March:

Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud (Read)
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira (Read)
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laeken Zea Kemp (Read)
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Flamefall by Rosaria Munda
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Bouley
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

And also a very slowly paced re-read of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology!


Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Ikessar Falcon | Review // Literally here without an eloquent thought in my head, I’m just screaming! + My Fan Art

Greetings readers!

Here I am with another attempt at trying to explain how much I absolutely adored a book! This was my first read novel of the new year and AH it delivered. It delivered so hard my friends!

I can only hope my words make enough sense to tell you how much this book ROCKED MY FRICKIN WORLD.

If you haven’t read book one, I highly recommend dropping by my review of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro and as always beware of spoilers below!

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso

The Ikessar Falcon (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #2)

Pub Date: Sept 22nd, 2020
Publisher: Orbit

The stunning sequel to The Wolf of Oren-yaro where the queen of a divided land struggles to unite her people. Even if they despise her. K. S. Villoso is a “powerful new voice in fantasy.” (Kameron Hurley)

The spiral to madness begins with a single push. Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – creatures from the dark, mad dragons, and men with hearts hungry for power. To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen, and everything she could never be. The price of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.


*Thank you HBG Canada for the review copy!*

I LOVED EVERYTHING.

Villoso really knows how to write messy humans. And make it a good time. For me, that is. A good time for me.

Tali – I bow to the queen, but this does not mean that the queen makes good decisions. I love Tali with all my heart. I love that she is fighting twice as hard to find that peace she still thinks she can achieve. But I also see her flaws. She does wear her heart on her sleeve and it is constantly getting her into trouble. She may be ruler but she is still quite naive. She’s a queen, but her status as mother takes over in this book and I really liked this angle. Why wouldn’t a mother fight tooth and nail for her son she loves? But even in that fight there is some naivety. Tali is messy and makes mistakes which in my opinion makes her an INCREDIBLE CHARACTER. It means that she has room to grow, to change, to mess up again and repeat the process! I think a lot of reader’s will be put off by some of the choices she makes (I was too) but, nonetheless, her desire to see things through makes me admire her all the more! And I can’t wait to see if she will ever consider herself more than Yeshin’s daughter? Will she break free of this dead man’s grip? I don’t know, I’m excited to find out.

Queen GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
via giphy.com

Khine – Sweetie, you are doing amazing. My heart aches for one man in this series and it is KHINE LAMANG. He is resourceful, he knows how to make a plan, he has medical experience, he can make a friend out of an enemy, he will tell you as it is, HE IS SIMPLY THE BEST. he was thrown into this political, violent mess and he endures time after time. We love to see it. BUT WE ARE ALSO VERY AFRAID FOR HIS WELL-BEING. OMG but seriously the best character in this series. It goes Khine then Tali. Khine is #1! Never forget.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians Youre Doing Amazing Sweetie GIF by  PeacockTV - Find & Share on GIPHY
via giphy.com

Agos – I don’t know. I sat there after closing the book (whilst reeling) trying to understand my emotions towards this character and all I can is that they are quite complex and not at the same time. Agos is far more fleshed out and present in this book than in the first one. We see first hand how far he goes for Tali and how much his position as her servant, her guard, makes him both a man with less power and yet one who still feels himself entitled to some anyways. Not sure that makes sense, I’m still working him out. There is this reoccurring imagery of Agos as Tali’s dog, obedient to her every beck and call. But can there also be a point where the dog overpowers the chain and drags the master? *shrugs suggestively* This is not say Agos is some poor chap caught up in this mess like Khine. No, no, no, Agos is a hypocrite, overbearing and possessive which is why I can’t say I like him very much even though he spat some truths here and there.

Rayyel – I definitely see how we were supposed to empathize with this man, but the note I wrote to myself in the middle of the night right after closing the book is this: “Rayyel – useless ass mofo. I still hate you.” Which is a little unfair because he isn’t totally useless and again I’m coming from a very biased POV. He is 100% still a bitch (not the cool kind) and yeah I don’t like him, but I can’t deny he isn’t as conniving as I once thought.

So this a chunky book because we go exploring friends. WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD QUEST NARRATIVE?! Thank goodness for the map because I loved tracking where our characters travelled too! I loved that we got to explore Jin-Sayeng in much more depth. I loved that we got to see the differences between the east and west! But buckle buds, because it is a long and winding road we travel!

Adventure Going GIF
via giphy.com

This book is all about the political intrigue! It’s about the divide of a nation no longer split in two, but in absolute shambles. I love that Villoso wove in so many opposing views and voices within a single part of the nation to emphasize just how shattered ties between countrymen are. I also loved that we got to break down the class system! I loved how privilege and poverty, power and oppression were dissected within the characters from their blood down to the very structure of their names! Who gets caught in the cross-hairs of warring aristocrats? How much power is held within a name and title? Can one life replace another? These are the questions that seep through the story, the haunting words that follow Tali as she comes to terms with her own privilege and persecution.

Fantasy elements? You name it, this book has it. Assassins, zombie-like things, DRAGONS, DRAGON FIGHTS, creatures of the dark, gore, blood blood blood. And this only adds to THE INTENSITY OF THIS NOVEL. People this book is so INTENSE. There was literally no break. Twist after twist. Turn after turn. THE BETRAYALS. I, for one, LOVED IT. I loved that I couldn’t catch my breath, I was so invested in this story, so eager to find out what happened next! It’s a suffering fest and I loved it.

once upon a time dragon GIF by HULU
via giphy.com

I can’t even talk about the romance plot because it is so much more complex than I could ever put into proper words that make sense without spoiling anything. On the one hand, it is an element of the story that has sparked so much of the fire that is going on in this story and on the other hand it can be so insignificant because of the even bigger, hotter fires burning around the characters! It is truly just a wonderful level of complex drama that I lived for while reading. So, so much tea was spilled.

The best, absolute best, element of this series is the narration style. I love that future Tali is telling us this story. I love that she is talking to us, the readers. Feeding us her version of the events of her life and nation. Telling us what happens…and holding back on certain details, perhaps? It was subtle in book one, but this book really plays with this idea of what Tali is telling us and what actually happens to her, what she thought then and what she thinks now. I try so hard to read between the lines and I am sad to say I have not yet found the HEA I am looking for *sobs*

So the ending, specifically the last 20 pages, HAD ME ON THE FLOOR. I saw things coming and yet…I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT SEE THOSE THINGS COMING! It was a whirlwind of emotions at the end. So many things go down…and not very happy things *sobs some more* But gosh Villoso really pushed in the knife sheath-deep with this end. The blade had been hovering over me the entire time, inching in little by little, but these last pages were the final painful stab.

Tired King Of Queens GIF by TV Land
via giphy.com

I loved it.

People will critique the book for being too long, but it was such an adventure. You have to accept it and bask in its length.

Final words: K.S. Villoso has brought down the hammer with another incredible installment of this epic fantasy series! If you want to dive into a captivating world of shady politics, fiery dragons, raw, messy characters and tantalizing revelations, then this pulse-pounding page-turner is for YOU. I cannot wait for book 3, we are in for so much trouble!!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES. You all need to get on this series LIKE NOW!


My Fan Art

To commemorate my love for the series, I made a painting of one of my favourite scenes from book 1! If you guys want to find out why Tali is looking fierce in the rain, I suggest you read the books!

Let me know what you think! What fantasy series are you loving these days? Any recommendations for dragon-y stories? Do you have this sequel on your TBR?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Tag

Greetings readers!

As you all know fantasy is my genre! If I had to pick one genre of books to read for the rest of my days, we all know it would be fantasy no question about it! So when I found this tag on Angele @ A Dominique Reads‘s blog, I knew I really wanted to give my shot at it! The fantasy version of this tag was created by  The Book Pusher.


WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY ORIGIN STORY? (First fantasy novel you read)

I think the first fantasy novel I ever read was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Okay, it was read to me in the sixth grade and I had already been OBSESSED with the movie since the tender age of six…but still it definitely was the first fantasy story in my life.

IF YOU COULD BE THE HERO/HEROINE IN A FANTASY NOVEL, WHO WOULD WRITE IT, AND WHAT IS ONE TROPE YOU WOULD INSIST ON BEING IN THE STORY?

Oh my…such hard decisions! Well if we’re going for a magical and mythical fantasy I want Silvia Moreno-Garcia to write me as a heroine with rivals to lovers THAT STAY TOGETHER. I just gotta make that note because SMG does have a track record here and there *eyes two of her novels*

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

WHAT IS A FANTASY YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR THAT YOU WANT MORE PEOPLE TO READ?

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso! Well, first you would have to read The Wolf of Oren-Yaro…so maybe it would be more relevant to say that I want you all to read The Chronicles of a Bitch Queen! It is a high stakes, character driven epic fantasy set in a world that draws from the author’s Filipino heritage. It is an absolutely brilliant series that I recommend to all fantasy readers!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FANTASY SUBGENRE? WHAT SUBGENRE HAVE YOU NOT READ MUCH FROM?

Favourite subgenre is definitely Portal Fantasy! (Hello Narnia obsession) Any and all books that deal with travelling to a different world instantly grabs at my attention. And even though I haven’t read many (I know, I know) it is a subgenre I absolutely love.

A subgenre I have not read much from is Urban Fantasy. There are lots of UF books out there but there is just something that gives me a pause before I pick them up. I want to give them a better shot, so if you have any recommendations I am all ears!

WHO IS ONE OF YOUR AUTO-BUY FANTASY AUTHORS?

Sabaa Tahir. K.S. Villoso. Leigh Bardugo. Marie Lu.

Ahh and I’m hoping to lengthen the list with time. I definitely want to add more BIPOC to the list!

HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY FIND FANTASY RECOMMENDATIONS? (Goodreads, YouTube, Podcasts, Instagram, etc.)

I think mainly Instagram! People just have a way of selling books to me with gorgeous pictures and fun captions. I have gotten so many amazing recommendations from my bookstagrammer friends! I also look through the weekly publishing announcements to find out what books I can look forward to!

WHAT IS AN UPCOMING FANTASY RELEASE YOU’RE EXCITED FOR?

Oh so, so many!

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner
The Dragon of Jin Sayeng by K.S. Villoso
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri 

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)
The Light of the Midnight Stars
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #3)
The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1)

WHAT IS ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT FANTASY YOU WOULD LIKE TO LAY AT REST?

“Fantasy books are all always way too long and complex.”

There are a lot of long and complex fantasy novels. There are some series that just go on and the worlds get more convoluted as you go. There are some books that are chunky and thick that intimidate even me! Can’t deny that, BUT fantasy books come in all shapes and sizes! Using the excuse that they are all long and complex makes you miss out on all the short and concise fantasy books there are to enjoy! Need some recommendations? Here you go:

*These are all less than 400 pages*

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (standalone)
The Young Elites by Marie Lu (trilogy)
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (standalone w/ companion sequel)
Raybearer by Jordan Ifeuko (duology)

Gods of Jade and Shadow
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)
Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)

 IF SOMEONE HAD NEVER READ A FANTASY BEFORE AND ASKED YOU TO RECOMMEND THE FIRST 3 BOOKS THAT COME TO MIND AS PLACES TO STARTWHAT WOULD THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS BE?

Ahhh the pressure is on! Okay top 3…here we go!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown


I’m tagging ANYONE who wants to give this tag a shot!

Ahhh this whole tag has only made me want to drop everything and go read a fantasy novel! I don’t even know which one! But I just want the magic and tension and high stakes of a good book to immerse myself in!

Let me know you think! What kind of fantasy reader do you consider yourself? What is your ultimate favourite fantasy book? What fantasy worlds/stories would you love to visit yourself?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

A Sky Beyond the Storm | Review // I will NEVER recover from this book, and that’s okay with me

Greetings readers!

How do you write a review for the single, most anticipated read of the past year? How do you write a review for a book you’ve been waiting ages for? How do write a review for a finale of a series so near and dear to the heart? How?

It is simply impossible.

But the Commandant beat that word out of my vocabulary.

Or rather Sabaa Tahir wrenched it from my mouth.

So here goes my attempt to describe my love for a series literally EVERYONE needs to read.

Beware of spoilers for books 1-3.

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)

Pub Date: Dec 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Razorbill

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir’s beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.


This book took my breath away.

Plain and simple.

First of all, we have to talk about the characters because the characters are what make this series so amazing.

Laia will forever be my queen. You can all complain about the amount of wrong decisions she makes all you want, it will go in through on ear and out the other for me because in this house Laia of Serra is perfection. We root for the fact that she never stops fighting, that she fights for her people, her family, her love (hello Elaia rights) and herself. She fights with her compassion and her sense of justice. Yes, she gets things wrong and she makes mistakes along the way, but when you have everything to lose, you never stop fighting. And geez Laia has just grown so much over the series, she has struggled with her past decisions, they haunt her and continue to haunt her, but the love that she gives is enough to push her, to keep going no matter what and I’m literally here sobbing.

Elias Veturius will forever be my book husband. Considering how Reaper ended, his chapters continuously TORE OUT MY HEART!

tired al pacino GIF

Fighting the magic that has taken over his consciousness takes a toll on him and I loved the exploration of humanity when it came to his arc. Reading about Elias’ fighting to regain the one thing he promised himself he would never give up brought me to tears so many times! And the things my poor baby goes through in this book!!! The pain and suffering he endures because of the deals he’s made to save those he cares for the most even if he cannot remember them! His white knight complex is next level and that really bothers Mauth XD. Learning to let go of that responsibility and shame he feels, learning to fight the magic that tells him to forget, figuring out how to keep the world from collapsing…it’s a lot. (Understatement of the century) And *tears up* my husband takes it all on because he is just that amazing.

Helene will forever be a roller coaster character. Helene suffers in this one. I mean they all suffered, but she dang she goes through a lot. (Another understatement) While trying to protect her nephew, managing a divided empire, fighting a magical demon and his Commandant-shaped henchperson…she deals with A LOT. But you know what? More than anything, I am thankful for the epiphany she finally has! And yes I’m talking about her finally recognizing the atrocities of the empire she holds in such high regard. In the end she needed it to move forward, for her people to have a future she needed to recognize the humanity in all the people the empire has trampled in its path. Does she still have a lot to learn and a lot to change? Oh YEAH, but getting to the start is an important step.

I also have to note how much I loved the friendship between Laia and Helene. Especially after two books of them hating each other, their easy friendship was so heartwarming!

flattered brittany murphy GIF

Other characters…I would die for Musa of Adisa. I WOULD DIE FOR HIM. I would literally lay my life down for him. (We get it, Rendz.) Yes. We love a sassy, snarky and ship-supporting beekeeper. We love a magician with secrets! And we love that he puts people in his place when he needs to! But oh my poor baby suffers. Darin, my sweet summer child. He is the kind of brother I would want. As he fights the dark memories from Kauf, he does his best to fight for Laia, to keep his family united! He is a star! Avitas Harper, sir you deserve the world. Harper, in his quiet and background way always makes himself known and we stan him so hard. I would really love to know more about his backstory.

The Commandant can choke, as usual. The Nightbringer can also choke. But dang I gotta say I love how Sabaa plotted out this villain/antagonist script in the end. I loved the grayness that she poured into the story. Don’t get me wrong, these two needed to be defeated, but I liked the twistiness that prompted their motivations. No tragic past can ever truly justify the evil they unleashed on the world, but dang I have to say I was impressed. I also like how Sabaa showed how none of the groups were 100% *good* or 100% *bad*. Like the Scholars were terrible to the Jinn, the Martials were terrible to everybody, the Jinn also terrible to everyone, the Marinn were kind of snobby, but there was still some goodness in the individuals of these groups. Enough goodness to rock the lines of divide…which I guess is the point of the series!

Now let’s talk ships because I am here for the ships. But of course I won’t be spoiling anything so all I have to say about the romance in this book is that.
It was torturous.
It was constant pining.
It was hot hot hot.
It was heart-SMASHING.
It was MIND BLOWING.

Tim And Eric Omg GIF

Okay so plot wise, things are intense. Just thinking about all the places and people we visit in order to fight this evil. Personally, I loved it. I wanted to savour this world and ending so I was happy that we got to travel and have so many intense mini battles before the big showdown. That being said, it is a slow read. With continuous POV switches and a million things to fix this story is one you have to allow yourself to simmer in. Because before you know it, you are in a pot of boiling water.

AND I MEAN IT. THE WATER IS BOILING.

THE LAST 70ISH PAGES LITERALLY SHATTERED BY HEART INTO A MILLION PIECES.

I’m telling you I sobbed. SOBBED.

I was sitting in my room at 1:30 a.m. in a boogery-teary state. So so much goes on in these final chapters. I was SCREAMING AT LITERALLY EVERYTHING! Sabaa promised a jaw-dropping ending and she delivered! She 100000% CRUSHED MY HEART IN A MATTER OF PAGES.

SABAA DID NOT HOLD BACK IN BRINGING ON THE EMOTIONAL PAIN. 

What can I say…but be prepared to not be ready. Be prepared to not be ready about what goes down, who shows up, what goes wrong, what goes right. I sure as heck was not prepared for a single thing that happened. These 70 pages were the most intense, the most scary, the most hopeful and the most painful pages I have ever read.

And people, be ready to cry because you are not prepared for the character deaths. You are not prepared. I was on the floor. I was on the fucking floor crying my eyes out. I sobbed for three days straight after putting down this book and a lot of it has to do with the characters deaths: Both who dies and how. I just..I’m sitting here getting emotional again.

And then we up the ante with CHARACTER REVELATIONS THAT JUST AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I DID NOT SEE THESE COMING AND I WAS ONCE AGAIN ON THE FLOOR ABSOLUTELY GOBSMACKED. GOBSMACKED BY MY EMOTIONS.

So yeah these last 70ish pages.

Also the section titles: Iconic.

And finally the ending: When I tell you that I was in my feels. I WAS IN MY FEELS.


And we have made it to the end. How are we doing? Because I just relived every emotion I went through while reading this book and to be honest I want to do it again. My heart will never heal. I literally am never going to get over this series and that is exactly how I like it.

I asked for this, friends. I asked to be emotionally wrecked by this finale and when I tell you it delivered, it DELIVERED.

Sabaa is a master storyteller. She is going down in my books as one of my favourite authors ever. She deserves your love and attention!!!

Rating: ALL THE STARS!

Recommend: HELL YES. GET ON THIS SERIES PEEPS!

Let me know what you think? Have you read this series? Were you also emotionally destroyed? If you could pick an Ember character to get more story from, who would you pick?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

January Wrap-Up & February TBR | This semester came for my neck, but my reads keep my going

Greetings readers!

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!

What’s new for you? How have you been holding up? I can’t say anything new has been happening in my corner of the internet. I know my blogging has been slow this past month and well…it will probably continue to be slow because if you can tell from the title of today’s post, my school work is really trying to end me!

But my dear friends, this has only made me realize how wonderful it is to be a reader! Books have been a major escape for me as I fumble with my school and I am so blessed to have had such an incredible reading month to start off 2021!

So let’s get onto it, shall we!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

A Thief Among the Trees by Sabaa Tahir – 4.5/5 stars
The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso – 5/5 stars
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado – 5/5 stars
The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann – 4/5 stars
Charming as a Verb by Ben Phillipe – 4.5/5 stars
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy – 5/5 stars
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel – 5/5 stars

Highlight Books: Well as you can see they are all pretty much highlight books! I can’t believe how blessed I am to have had such a wonderful January reads! If I had to pick a top book it would be a three-way tie between The Ikessar Falcon, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and Infinite Country.

The Haul

I haven’t been buying much as of late because well…hehe…money is really something I can spend too much on on books right now. I want to lol but it is not in my best interests. That being said I did get Skyhunter by Marie Lu came in the mail the other day! And I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Infinite Country by Patricia Engel by the publisher which is very awesome!

Other Going-Ons

Geez if I could remember I would tell you….

Oh wait, one thing!

Shadow and Bone Netflix News

So we now have a teaser trailer, a release date and promo posters!!! I was screaming for the entire day when I saw these beauties!! I just couldn’t stop staring at them. *sobs for an eternity* I would love to hear what you all thought! What was your first reaction? How many times have you stared at them since? Because I am telling you that I have been looking at these beauties ever since that day!

Posts Of the Month

New Year, New Look, Still all about the Books

Pine Island Home | Review // A sisterhood read!

Most Anticipated Reads of the first half of 2021 | The books this year are here to give me LIFE

The Bookish Feels | Books that are emotional roller coasters

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Review // THE Contemporary book to read this February!

TBR

TBR

I know we’re already half way through the month, but I’m really playing this month by ear. So far I’ve read:

Love in English by Maria E. Andreu
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

For the rest of the month, I plan on getting through some upcoming ARCs! I went on a Netgalley binge…and let’s just say I have lots of reading to do. As for my other reads, I will be prioritizing books by Black authors as it is Black History Month. This doesn’t mean that February is the *only* month we celebrate Black excellence and stories, but it is the month where we can be extra supportive! As for me, some reads I have planned are:

Like Home by Louisa Onomé 
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Make a Scene by Mimi Grace
Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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