Empire of Sand | Review // This book was…it was…*incoherent gushing noises*

Greetings readers!

I really should be doing other work right now, but I am tired. I just finished my last midterm, printed my last assignment (for like the next five days at least) and I need a respite!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So here I am in my favourite place. 🙂

Sometimes you just know when you are gonna click with a book. Sometimes it only takes the first page to really get you going. That inkling of a feeling that settles in you as soon as you start reading. The instant connection. That spark. WELL THIS BOOK HAD IT OMG. My very first Goodreads update was that this book was going to be a RENDZ™ book and boy oh boy was it!

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand

Publisher: Orbit
Pub Date: Nov 13, 2018
Price: $20.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780316449717
Goodreads

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.


BUY IT!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


*Many thanks to HBG Canada for sending an ARC my way! This is no way influences my opinion*

I literally had the best time of my life with this book. Everything about was simply and utterly fantastic. I can’t even come up with eloquent words to talk about it because I am just sitting here at my desk gushing and gushing about how amazing this book is!!!!! My adult fantasy readers are definitely going to want to get their hands on this.

What I Liked:

Characters: BECAUSE THEY WERE EPIC AND SO WELL CRAFTED!

Mehr: A QUEEN. A FRICKIN GODDESS. UGH I LOVED HER. LOVE LOVE LOVE HER. *Okay, tone it down Rendz and try to make some sense.* Mehr is an outcast from a sheltered, privileged home. She may have noble blood, but her “barbarian” half is quite defining and she is demeaned for it. Like all lovely main characters, she makes a huge mistake (she had good intentions) and sets path on a new scary, daunting adventure. Serving a man-god, the Maha, despite her lack of faith. Her characterization was spot on. She goes from being this sneaky noble outcast, to a defiant prisoner, to a defeated prisoner and so on. I loved how cunning she was, she was smart and always, always hopeful. She had such growth, it’s not linear and she goes through many setbacks in her journey. And I love the fact that she embraces her mixed heritage whole-heartily and didn’t give one single crap about what  people think of her appearance or status. Her voice was impeccable and wow I just CAN’T. IT’S TOO MUCH AMAZINGNESS.

Amun: PROTECT HIM AT ALL COSTS. Seriously. He was almost like a polar opposite of Mehr, where she had the self-love he had a lot of self-hate. His life was tragic and he has reasons to be *that* broody. But he is such a softy and I loved how the author chose to explore his softness (and I don’t know if that sounds dirty, but it’s not I promise XD). His own personal growth made me so happy, I JUST CAN’T.

Other characters…Lalita was fabulous™. Her little chapter snippets were always exciting and held much needed info to understand what was happening outside of the temple where Mehr was. The more antagonistic characters were also pretty great. The Maha was frickin creepy and nasty and ewww, but like he was a great villain. Also, can I just mention Kalini. I won’t spoil…but damn.

The World:

Everybody is calling it lush WITH GOOD REASON. I was transported every time I opened the book. I was in the palace with it’s enclosed walls and veiled women. I was in the desert with sand getting into everything. I was in the temple where life was a constant repetition of the day before. The politics. The mythology. The history. It was all so well done. Suri created this amazing atmosphere with her words. It was just so rich and full of amazing wonders. It is inspired by Mughal India and all my knowledge about that period comes from having watched a drama series called Jodha Akbar, so I don’t know much. But what I can tell you is that it is so interesting and  beautiful and I would love to learn more.

The Magic:

The Daiva. The dancing. The dreamfire. The storms. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING WAS SO WELL DONE. I mean the magic system comes from the dreams of sleeping gods, how much more epic can it get?? I loved the rituals of the rites, the way the actual magic was performed. It created such beautiful images (you know I will be breaking out my pencils and paints soon).

The Writing:

Wonderful. Atmospheric. Dramatic. It was perfect for the story that it told. I will say I noticed quite a lot of uses of “-Oh” as an interruption, which I just found funny I don’t know why!

The Romance:

It was more than just shipping the two. It was a forced marriage that started distant until the characters befriended each other, supported one another and finally found their love. (It’s not enemies to lovers though…just setting the record straight) It has a powerful message about consent and choice. The importance of allowing people their moment to choose and let it be a decision made from their own heart and mind and not just because of the situation they were in. It was beautiful, like I almost cried.

It’s a RIDE:

It’s action packed, twisty, turny and has all the good stuff! I read this on my commutes to school and tried very hard not to make faces of shock and excitement, but I couldn’t help myself. When I got to a very big twist, I said “oh shit” on a very full bus. Yes, people stared at me. This book was a ride and just when you think things will go as planned, think again.

What I Disliked:

Why did I take off 0.5. Well, I just missed a big moment of shitake (noun: Everything went to shit and the characters are literally not gonna make it. pronounced: shit-aw-key). Like there was moments of really intense despair and sadness…..but it just lacked the OMGWHATTHEHELLAREWEGONNADONOW moment. For me at least. I don’t even know if I am making any sense, I just described myself by using a made up word!


Overall, this book was amazing. I was hooked from page one and was reeled in with every turn of the page. The world is lush, the magic is enchanting, the politics are deceptive and the romance is sweet. But it is undeniably a tale of hope. Hope even when the gods themselves are angry.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: To my Adult Fantasy readers!!!!!!!!!! (Even YA fantasy readers will find something to love in this!)

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking to pick it up? What fantastical worlds would you love to visit?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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October Wrap-Up & November TBR | Where I explain my unannounced disappearance and try to recall how on earth I made through the past week.

Greetings readers!

It has been quite a while hasn’t it? My last post was from Halloween and that was over a week ago! By now the Christmas/Holiday season is starting to establish itself (and I couldn’t be more excited) which means I’m about to head into Hell before finding the joy of Christmas.

It’s the end of the term and that means exam season. And like all wonderful university profs, they like to pile all their assignments within the few weeks before exam sessions start so naturally I have been drowning in papers and quizzes and tests. Technically, I should be writing something far more academic right now, but I honestly need to take a breather.

exams GIF

This past week has been Hell. I’ve had papers due and two tests (neither of which I allocated enough time to study for). AND I still have more papers and tests coming next week so I really am gonna need to get my focus on.

ANYWAYS you’re not here to simply hear me whine and cry about my education, your here for books! So let’s get on with it and get bookish (not school bookish though, not yet).


October was pretty fabulous! I have learned to optimize my time spent on commutes to and from uni to read. I can read approx. 30-40 pages of a book on one ride which means I’m reading about 60-80 pages a day, five days a week, four weeks and a half per month, eight months of school per year, six yea—ENOUGH MATH RENDZ, GOSH.

I can finish about 4 books per month, 5 if they are short, but that’s where I will stop with the numbers. You get the point.

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What Rendz Read

The Witching Hours: Vampire Knife by Jack Henseleit (Halloween Town)
Very  spooky, very creepy, I loved it! My Mini Review

Lulu the Broadway Mouse by Jenna Gavigan (Dr. Frankenstein)
This book was fiercely fabulous! Loved it! My Mini Review

Spooktober Mini Reviews

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (Mayor of Halloween Town)
My most anticipated book of the month! the post-Narnia adventure definitely gave me all the feels!!!! My Full Review

The Light Between Worlds

Anne Arrives: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables by Kallie George
A picture book that is perfect for fans of Anne or parents looking to introduce Anne to kids! Review to come!

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo (Zero *There are ghost-like figures*)
Charming, cooky and full of wonderful Hispanic and Latinx mythology! My Full Review

Charlie Hernandez

Certain Dark Things by Silvia-Moreno Garcia (The Citizens)
Mexican Vampire Narcos. It was seriously awesome. Review to come!

This month I participated in the Nightmare Before Book Princess Reviews Read-A-Thon and I was lucky enough to get a bingo! (I may have stretched some of these prompts!)

spooktober 2

The Haul

I seriously need to find some semblance of self-control. I mean I guess I should pat myself on the back a little for not participating in that Book Outlet sale *though I regret it* But my problem comes when I request books. I seriously request everything because I want everything and then never read my ARCs on time. Shame on me. Someone send me some self-control tips!

Pre-Orders

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth! I have an ARC but it’s blankness cannot compare to the stunning hardcover! Feast yer eyes!

Here comes the publisher love. For which I am so grateful and yet so unworthy.

PRHC

Anne Arrives: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables by Kallie George
Goodnight, Anne by Kallie George
The Magicians Secret by Zachary Hyman

Three gorgeous picture books that are part of PRHC’s Holiday catalogue! Reviews coming soon!

Raincoast Books

I couldn’t make it to the in-person Teen Blogger event, but they are so amazing and sent me a swag pack AND THE BOOKS THAT I GOT.

EnchanctĂŠe by Gita Trelease *My little French heart sings!*
VOICES by David Elliott (Joan of Arc’s story in verse *my little Catholic heart sings* XD)

Thomas Allen & Sons
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (To satisfy my space opera craving!)

Featured Posts of the Month!

The Representation Book Tag & My very near future Latinx TBR | It’s #HispanicHeritageMonth so it’s time to get the party started!

The Representation Book Tag & My very near future Latinx TBR

Authors That I Want to Meet (In the nearest possible future…like the absolute nearest…)

Tommy

Disney Channel Halloween Movies Tag

booktaghm

Past, Present and Future Tag!

ppf

YA Characters I would Totally Dress Up As!| Halloween Special!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Other Going-Ons

There will be a 4th LEGEND novel by the one and only Marie Lu 

I literally cried that day. I was so elated. I was in shock. I am still in shock. WE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING A FOURTH NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!! All that begging worked! I even asked Marie if she would one day write a continuation as a joke. Past-Rendz you do not know what is headed your way, boo!

The Dragon Prince 

So I was bored and I needed something to watch, so I watched it. It was such a typical fantasy with a little (a lot) of humour in it and the animation is terrible, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the characters, the plot (even though I guessed ever turn) and it was just a lot of fun! It helped alleviate some stress!

Howl’s Moving Castle

Yeah, I jumped on the bandwagon. Just to be clear I watched the movie and I haven’t read the books. What did I think of it? It was….weird, but like I was into it. I would watch it again, maybe. It was good. I was mainly hoping some part of the soundtrack would stick out to me…but no……:(

I found this again…

If you’re a Lunar Chronicles fan, do yourself a favour and feast yer eyes on this!

TBR

I honestly don’t think I’ll make it to more than three considering how torturous the next couple of weeks are gonna be…but I’ll try!

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri (In the middle of it right now and OMG LOVING IT)

The Sisters of Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

I shall not even mention the review requests I’ve gotten since September that I haven’t had the chance to pick up. I am truly sorry and am also such a mess!

That’s it for me! Let me know what you think? What was your favourite read from this month? What was your favourite new release? What books are you looking forward to this month? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

 

YA Characters I would Totally Dress Up As!| Halloween Special!

Greetings readers!

Happy Halloween to my fellow ghouls and ghosties!! It is the most haunting and wicked time of the year! It’s also the best time to eat candy and binge watch all those creepylicious movies. Or if you’re like me and can’t do the creepy, you partake in a Disney Channel Halloween Movie marathon!

Now when I was younger, I used to love getting dressed up and going out trick-or-treating. I was never that creative with my costumes so I was always the kid that went dressed up as a princess, witch or cowgirl! I will say that on my last Halloween I went trick-or-treating I dressed up as a mad scientist and the costume was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Today I want to talk about costumes too! Mandy & Sha @ Book Princess Reviews did a post like this if you want to check it out! I especially want to talk about YA character costumes that I would totally create if I still dressed up! It’s been something I’ve always wanted to do, but I always had this hesitation because I would have to keep on explaining who I was dressed as! Too much work.

Lucy Pevensie

Because I am so predictable! I’ve always wanted to go in her coronation get up! With the little silver-red dress and the silver crown, but I would also want to be in her battle gear with her healing elixir and dagger! But then again I’ve always wanted to wear Susan’s bow and arrow and horn! So many good options!

The point is I would love to dress up as a Narnian!

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Laia of Serra

Because I am–once again–so predictable.

Just picture it! A silver armlet, a painted on “K” scar on my chest. I don’t have gold eyes…I would totally delve into contacts!!! As for my clothing, I’m sure I can find some ancient Roman looking get up with a nice long cloak!

I love Laia so much, I would love to pay homage to her in costume!

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Adelina Amouteru

Adelina is such a rock star and her costume would be sooooooooo amazing!

I would need a nice long white wig. A Venetian style wolf mask or eye patch! Plus a Venetian style dress (which I would probably wear for the rest of my life!) Perhaps I’d add a rose dagger for the ensemble and voila! I am Adelina Amouteru!

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Artist: Marie Lu

 

Linh Cinder 

I AM WHO I AM, OKAY! GOSH.

Cinder’s costume wouldn’t be so hard to make! A messy ponytail, some big work gloves, a simple t-shirt, green cargo pants and some boots! Add a few grey and brown smudges on my face and arms and I’m good to go! OF COURSE if I wanted to amp up the creativity I could make my hand look all robotic! I’ve always wanted to try it when people do those amazing cosplays! It is definitely something I would consider!

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Artist Taratjah

*I know many are shocked I didn’t choose Cress, but Cinder is just more costumeable!*

That’s it for me folks!! If I still had energy I would totally dress up as these characters, but for now I’ll just imagine!

Let me know what you think! Are you dressing up today? Any trick-or-treaters out there? Which fictional character would you love to dress up as?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Past, Present and Future Tag!

Greetings readers!

I was tagged by the lovely, Lorryn @ Reading Paternal to do the PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE TAG! Thank you!!! Lorryn is a great blogger, definitely give her a visit! This tag was created by Bookish Pisces! I always love exploring my Goodreads shelves. Yeah it can be a little stressful and worrisome knowing that I might never get to some of these books, but I like doing it anyway!

Rules:

  • 🔮Find a book published 10 (or more) years ago
  • 🔮Find a book that will be published THIS year.
  • 🔮Find a book that will be published next year (or further in the future)
  • 🔮Tag 3 people
  • 🔮 These should all be books that you would want to read and that you could add to your TBR if they aren’t already and if you need help finding older books Goodreads does give comprehensive lists✨

~ PAST ~

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I am always up for a tale about sisters!

Little Women

Anne of Green Gables (the series) by L. M. Montgomery

Well I need to finish the series!

Complete Anne 8 Copy Boxed Set

~ PRESENT ~

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

I can’t wait!! November is almost upon us!

Archenemies (Renegades, #2)

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

I need to read this Maya inspired book!

The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner, #1)

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

I put this one off just because I don’t think I can handle the cliff hanger that will come with it!

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns, #3)

~ FUTURE ~

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez

Bolivian inspired fantasy. Absolutely YES.

Cold Falling White by G.S. Prendergast

I’ve been waiting for this F O R E V E R.

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

More Latinx books that I am 100/10 ready for (NO that that is not a typo)

Dealing in Dreams

I Tag…

Kaya @ afictionalbookworm

Sha & Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews

Shannon @ Shelfish For Books

Let me know what you think! What books have you been meaning to read? What books are you looking forward to reading?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Charlie HernĂĄndez & The League of Shadows | Review

Greetings readers!

I am so excited to be talking about this book today. When I stumbled upon it on twitter, I couldn’t actually believe my eyes! A Percy Jackson* like book but with Hispanic/Latinx mythology, sign me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Given I have only read 25% of PJ novel (I’m working on it), I was still super excited!

That’s why I would like to send a big THANK YOU over to the Simon & Schuster CA team who sent me an ARC!

Also, take a moment to feast your eyes on the amazing cover and then read on for the review!

Charlie HernĂĄndez and the League of Shadows
by Ryan Calejo

Charlie hernandez the league of shadows 9781534426580 hr

Publisher: Aladdin
Pub Date: Oct 23, 2018 (TODAY)
Price: $23.99 CAD
ISBN: 9781534426580
Goodreads

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.


BUY IT!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


I won’t lie the expectations for this book were over the roof. I have never read a book with Hispanic and Latin American mythology–ever–even though I am of both. So like I needed to get on these things!! So yes, the expectations were high. Lucky for me I found it quite charming, funny, a little outrageous and very magical!

What I liked:

Characters:

Charlie: He was quite the kid. He had it rough in the first couple chapters with having to deal with the emotions of his missing parents. He was a quirky kid with a big heart, no doubt. I thought his voice was incredibly well done, even though I’ve never been a 12 year old boy. He was a curious soul and he loved his family and heritage very much which is what I liked the best about him! While I don’t think he went through many dramatic character changes, I still think he learned a lot from the hectic adventures that he was put through in this book!

Violet: She was also a stellar character. She wasn’t Latina so she was new to all these myths and legends that Charlie knew so much about. I still enjoyed her very much. She was fierce and courageous. I loved her journalistic ambition and drive. For a girl so young she knew what she wanted, and knew how to get it!

The Plot:

It was very easy to follow, there was never any point where I was like “What the heck is goin’ on!?” Calejo draws out a nice history and prophecy for readers to follow and guess about along the way. It was interesting and led to some very fun and fast-paced scenes. I would have perhaps liked to spend just a little more time with La Liga, just to get to know them and their motives a little better. The explanation bits were kind of rushed, which I understand was to avoid stalling the story, but I don’t mind a little description.

The Mythology (What we are all here for):

Okay. So……………………..I’ll be 100% I knew like 3 legends from this book before going in. *A little me backstory* My parents didn’t really tell me any myths growing up except like one or two. It was mostly when we travelled back home to El Salvador that I would hear about these legends. The most prominent being La Siguananda (creepy as hell). I feel like I kind of missed out on a lot of these myths because I had no one to tell me, so books like these really help me get to know some of them. (In which I then go down a google search spiral for hours)

Anyways, back to the story! I thought the mythological aspects were great! There was a glossary at the back of the book which I often referred to it when new myths arrived! Every new legend had their own little spotlight and got their history spanned out! My favourites would have to be La Siguanada (since I actually knew her story and find it fascinating….now that I am older and not so scared XD) and Justo Juez because he is apparently super famous in El Salvador, but I didn’t know! (Google search will happen very soon)

Oh but there were so many! They added such fun and creepiness to the story! While some were more comic reliefs others really had major effects on the plot. Not all of the myths were fully evil or fully good. They all had a purpose to the story and I had a fantastic time learning about all these new kind of magical beings!

The Action:

So well done! With so many different beings to encounter there was a lot going on and poor Charlie couldn’t catch a break sometimes! There was always another myth lined up ready to be revealed. It was a great amount of fun and the scenes were super intense, but still funny which is my favourite combo! I especially liked how the author did not shy away from hiding these supernatural phenomenons from the human world. Although, it did make it harder for Charlie to hide his manifestations and bruises from near-death experiences.

Those times when there were phrases in Spanish and I didn’t need the characters to translate for me:

It feels good.

What I Disliked:

Little things here and there. Ummmm….personally I was not the biggest fan of the flow. I mean I enjoyed the action and the direction of the story, but it felt a little choppy here and there. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I felt like there was some connection missing between certain events. Also, there was like one big twist in the book. It was a good one, but still, gimme more.


Overall, I enjoyed this book! Did it meet those super high expectations? For the most part. Frankly, I just enjoyed the fact that I was reading a book where a part of my culture was being reflected, something I have never read before. It was so interesting to read about and I’m sure many Hispanic and Latinx folks out there will find something in this book that will make them go, “Hey! I know that legend!”

I don’t know if there is going to be a sequel…but that ending sure looked like it was ready for a sequel and I am all for it!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars (The good four)

Recommend: YES! Read all the Latinx book you can! Oh and if you have a kid (or are a kid) who loves PJ and adventure stories, give them (or yourself) a new set of myths to explore and discover 😉

Let me know what you think! Are you looking to pick this up? What myths and legends would you like to read about? Have any of you heard of any famous Hispanic/Latinx mythology?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Disney Channel Halloween Movies Tag

Greetings readers!

Continuing with the #Spooktober theme I have been tagged by the amazing Sha and Mandy of Book Princess Reviews to do their very own, original DISNEY CHANNEL HALLOWEEN MOVIES TAG!! I ADORE Disney Channel Movies in general, but the Halloween ones are just so, so, so good AND spooky! I am incredibly excited to do this tag so I will not delay any longer and get right into it!

Rules:

  1. Tag the creator (bookprincessreviews) of the DHM Tag.
  2. Thank the person who tagged who.
  3. Answer the questions.
  4. Tag five more people.

Halloweentown: Where is your favorite place to go for Halloween or a place you want to go?

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On Halloween I usually like to stay at home (since I have outgrown trick-or-treating sadly 😦 ) I love to stay in and watch…well umm…Disney Channel Halloween movies…..BUT I have always wanted to go to an old castle in Europe and stay over night. (They have tours like that, right?) I mean 1000% I would freak myself out, but the experience would totally be cool!

Under Wraps: What’s something that used to be scary to you and then you realized it wasn’t just the mummy in this movie?

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Something that used to be scary for me…hmmm….I used to be afraid of big roller coasters. I only did the kiddie rides until I was about 11 or so and said to myself “Rendz we have to suck it up and be brave” so I went on my first big kid roller coaster and it was THE BEST. Now I LOVE roller coasters! The higher, the better! The faster, the better!

*If you are ever on a coaster yourself and hear someone shouting a “Hail Mary” as you go up the mount, know that that is me.

Tower of Terror: What is the scariest place you’ve ever been?

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I avoid scary places…oh gosh…ummm probably the small auditorium I was in when I did a speech competition in French. I am frickin traumatized. I tried to put my introvert self out there…but nope nope nope not for me!

Twitches: If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be?

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WITCH. GIVE ME ALLLLLLL THE MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t Look Under the Bed: Were you scared of monsters when you were a kid? When did it stop?

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Hell yes. Ghosts especially. I was that kid who would run up the stairs from the basement once I turned off the lights. If there was a dim light in my room, I would NOT open my eyes for fear of seeing something scary in the dark. My arm or feet could NOT hang off the bed for fear of something coming out from under my bed to snatch me. My imagination ran wild and I would hear whispers of my name when I would be in a room by myself.

When did it stop? I still run up the stairs from the basement.

Phantom of the Megaplex: Do you watch scary movies? If so, what is your favorite or the one you got most afraid of?

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Hell NO! I watched one scary movie with my sisters once, gosh I don’t remember what it’s called. *Quick google search* Oh it’s called The Haunting which starred Liam Neeson a.k.a Alsan a.k.a the reason we watched it. Anyways it freaked me the f*** out and NEVER AGAIN. But dumb Rendz tried to watch The Woman in Black once, during daylight and I JUST CAN’T.

The Scream Team: Who would be on your dream team if you went on a ghost/supernatural creature hunt?

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Carswell Thorne so I could hide behind him and cuddle close when something freaky starts happening. And maybe Nedra from Give the Dark My Love because she’s a necromancer and has good control.

Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire: Have you ever witnessed something/someone that could only be explained by the paranormal? If yes, what/who?

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I don’t think so……maybe I have but I am too traumatized to remember…?

I Tag…

Raes Reads and Reviews

Journey Into Books

Ryann the Reader

Emily Kate Reads

This One is for the Books

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Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Light Between Worlds | Review // The book that literally had me in tears since the moment it was announced.

Greetings readers!

It is important to note that this post is being written to two songs on repeat. The first being The Call – Regina Spektor, from the Prince Caspian Soundtrack since it’s literally the theme of this entire book! The second is Lucy – Hanne Hukkelberg, which is also from the Prince Caspian soundtrack and another song that I think really goes well with this book.

Anyways. Here we are.

For those of you who don’t know (which I don’t really understand how that’s possible) I am a huge, HUGE, Narnia fanatic. It started when I was just a kid and the first movie came out and from then on it has just  been a growing obsession of mine.

Then I saw the announcement for this book

Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has acquired at auction, in a six-figure deal, Laura E. Weymouth‘s debut YA fantasy, The Weight of Worlds, billed as Lev Grossman’s The Magicians meets C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. The story follows two troubled sisters, bound together by blood and fate, as they struggle to find their place in our world after spending years ruling as queens in a realm of myth and magic. Publication is set for fall 2018; Lauren Spieller at Triada US Literary Agency did the two-book deal for North American rights.

Do y’all see what I saw. Third line from the top, towards the centre???? That’s right!!! There is going to be a book and it is going to have Narnian influence!!! This announcement was made over a year ago so you can BET that I was dying to get my hands on it!

But the time has come. After waiting so many long months I was able to get my hands on an ARC courtesy of HCC Frenzy!! And while I had to wait a few more months until I could finally pick it up two weeks before it’s release, it was so, so worth it.

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Cover image - The Light Between Worlds

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: October 23, 2018
Price: $21.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780062696878

What happens when you return to the real world after being in a fantastical one like Narnia? This YA debut by Laura E. Weymouth is perfect for fans of Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust.

Ev desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Ev goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Walking the line between where fantasy and reality meet, this lyrical and magical novel is, above all else, an exploration of loss and healing, and what it means to find where you belong.


BUY IT!

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*A big THANK YOU goes out to HCC Frenzy for inviting me to their preview so I could get my hands on this book!*

I’m going to try my best to make sense. This book is many things and it has come to mean many things to me. To be frank: This was an incredible book. From the very moment I started reading, I was utterly captivated. Completely sucked in and attached to the story. It had me tearing up after reading it and what better sign of a book being utterly amazing than salty water pouring out of your eyes and onto your pillow?!?!?

Content Warnings (via Laura’s Website)

The Light Between Worlds portrays characters dealing with depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, illness and disordered eating, and the loss of a loved one. It refers to possible suicide, contains scenes of violence and war, and brief mentions may be unsettling to readers with emetophobia. If you have any questions about these warnings, or require more details, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Evelyn: She was no doubt my favourite character. Her perspective took up the first half of the book and it was so incredibly interesting. Her thoughts and memories are engaging and moving. After returning to a war-torn London from a magical Narnia-like world, Ev is fighting many demons in her mind as she tries to find her way out of a world she never really felt connected to. She is a wondering spirit, but also a fiery soul with ambition. Is she perfect? Absolutely not. She has a tendency to run from her problems and to go to such extremes that she becomes a danger to herself. Her heart lies in another world and she is willing to go to every length to get back to it.

My heart broke many times for her. Maybe it’s because I sort of understand her pain of not belonging. Of missing a world she so dedicated herself to that was suddenly ripped away from her. All in all, her character was beautifully crafted. From her voice, to her behaviour, it was all so intriguing and heart breaking.

narnia GIF

Phillipa: It took a while, but I loved her too. I will be honest…I sort of blamed her for a bit, like Evelyn did when I found out *what she did* and then I kept reading and reading and really came to understand Phillipa. *The Thing that she did* broke her. It broke Evelyn and it broke Phillipa, but the older sister is able to reign in and swallow that guilt until the events of this book came to pass. Phillipa is a passionate character, she loves her brother and sister very much, but she cracks under the pressure of expectation. She goes through a lot of emotions in the second half of the book, she has to relive a lot of her memories and past mistakes, but ultimately has to learn forgiveness.

Other characters….Jamie, who was the oldest brother. I know this is a tale about sisters, but I would have loved to see more bout Jamie and his perspective of life after the Woodlands. Tom Harper…who was such an absolute sweetheart. I adored him. And Jack Summerfield who was also amazing and supportive and such a hopeless romantic, I rate it. This book being set in post-war London meant that everyone has felt tragedy, it’s just a manner of seeing how it has shaped the character.

the chronicles of narnia GIF

The Writing:

Laura’s writing is absolutely stunning. So lyrical, atmospheric and poetic. (Trust me there is a lot of poetry.) I think it fits the story perfectly because it adds to the whismy and magic of the character’s past and present. She knows how to add in the funnies and the hard hitting moments, so that you are both crying from laughter and pure heart break.

The World(s):

(The Narnia-like one first, because I am who I am) SO WELL DONE. *Would I have liked to spend even more time in it? Yes, but not for this story.* The Woodlands was so incredibly well done and it only pops up in chapter flashbacks and small memories that Ev and Phil reminisce on. I absolutely loved the history, the magic, the politics and twists. I can totally see why Evelyn would want to stay there forever. Cervus (a.k.a Alsan) was soooooooooooo magical!!!! Ugh I LOVED IT ALLLL!!!!!

Then getting back to England. Laura really had the atmosphere perfect. From the chattering cities to the whispering forests. It was all so wonderfully done, I don’t even know how else to explain it!

ben barnes narnia GIF

This Book Is Sad:

A lot goes down. Evelyn’s going through a really rough time. She does things that are not safe and it was hard to read about sometimes. Phillipa also has it rough throughout the book. She let’s her guilt crush her with each day forward and doesn’t make the most healthy decisions either.

This book explores a lot. First being the sense of belonging, something that Ev struggles with for years. It made me really think if I’d be able to give up everything I have here on Earth to live in a magical land. While the answer is often “yes”, could I really do it?

The other is the sister relationship. How far is a girl willing to go for her sister and what does it mean when things start going wrong? I loved the exploration of sisterhood. Having two older sisters myself means I can really relate to how these two treat each other and why their actions had such damaging affects.

the chronicles of narnia GIF

Dismantling the Lipsticks and Nylons:

C.S. Lewis was an author of his time so of course Narnia has it’s racist and sexist aspects. One of the most prominent being that Susan couldn’t get back to Narnia because she became too obsessed with boys, lipsticks and nylons. Total BS. I love that Laura took this bit and completely turned it around. Phillipa uses make-up and flirting like armour and weapons. A way to transform herself and bring herself power. Red lips and power pumps. I absolutely adored this!

doctor who narnia GIF

The Narnia References:

Okay, okay. So this can either be totally true or I am reading into this waaaayyyy too much. BUT OMG THE NARNIA REFERENCES.  The opening of wardrobes. The calling out names. The bomb shelter. The beach scene. Uhhh there was one more that really struck out to me, but I can’t remember. The point is it had those Narnia touches and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic!

The Ending:

So bittersweet. I think I went into shock after reading it though. I closed the book, turned off the lights, went on Instagram, went on twitter, closed my phone and went to sleep. Only I didn’t go to sleep because I started crying very big, very salty tears.  Yup!

What I Disliked:

I knew that this was not going to be an adventure book, so don’t go in hoping for full on fantasy. However…………………..would I have liked a little more action and time spent in the Woodlands…….yeah.

So Laura, if you are up to writing a book set in the Woodlands, you can take my money now!


Overall, I loved the book. It was so much more than I expected. It is a poignant tale of memory, sisterhood, and hope. It has its heavy themes and tough scenes, but the characters are absolutely wonderful and you should all have the chance to meet Evelyn and Phillipa!

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yesss!!!! Perfect for the contemporary reader who likes the hard hitting stuff, but with a delicious fantastical turn!

Let me know what you think! Are you thinking of picking this book up? Know of any other Narnia-inspired books? What’s a fantasy world you would live in given the chance? CAN WE ALL TALK ABOUT HOW AMAZING THAT COVER IS?!!

Finishing this book also contributes to the Nightmare Before Book Princess Reviews Readathon challenge! I had first put it down as Jack’s Lament, but it can also cross of Mayor of Halloween Town since there are two main characters! (Really trying to get a bingo!)

spooktober 2

Happy reading!

~ Rendz