The Wicked Deep | Review

Greetings readers!

Sometimes a book’s hook-line just kind of…well…hooks you. And when the hook-line is:

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.”

You throw it onto your TBR without a second thought.

I love, love, love Hocus Pocus. It is one of my favourite Halloween movies. Just enough ghost and creep factor mixed in with humour and fun. I’ve watched Practical Magic exactly once and was too freaked out to watch it again (I was young), but I do recall a well done creepy movie. And well the Salem Witch trials are haunting just thinking about them.

So when a book is a combo of all this witchy and magical goodness, I expect a lot.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep

via Goodreads

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


BUY IT!

Indigo |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

This book releases March 6th! Be sure to check it out!


*Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley. This did not influence my opinion in any way!*

What an absolute ride this was. I do not even know exactly how to write this review. This book made me suffer, but not in the way you might think. By the end I was dizzy and even thinking about it now pulls some heart strings. I was amazed and stumped by this book.

What I Liked:

Hook-Line Delivery:

The Hocus Pocus was there. The Practical Magic was there. The Salem Witch trials were there. They were visible without being too forced, without having to scratch your head and think hard. I loved the influences they were subtle and interesting. I especially love how all three references crafted the sisters and their story. It also added to the creep-factor most definitely.

via giphy.com

Spooky and Perfectly Haunting Atmosphere:

I am amazed at Ernshaw’s writing. It was simply beautifully. Eloquently gothic and just right for this kind of story. She transported me effortlessly into the story’s setting. I was there by the sea, I could smell the salty air, feel the cold wind running in my hair and hear the deadly song playing in my ears. The island setting was perfect. I don’t know about you, but water ghosts are really creepier than land ghosts. At one point, early on, I kind of had to stop reading, things got a little too creepy for me and reading this book at one a.m. when my imagination runs wild, would have probably given me nightmares. Eerie and beautiful are what this book was.

Characters: (To be 100% honest, I have no idea how to talk about the characters without spoiling major things, but I’ll try.)

Penny: Okay….I really enjoyed Penny’s character. She was interesting and yet still very mysterious. You think you know her and yet you do not know much. She really was a tricky character to follow. Yeah….

Bo: He felt a little one-dimensional. I never felt a super close attraction to him and he is also a mystery for most of the novel. Then the end comes and I just don’t know if I liked him as much…but I also sympathize with him…..???

confused big brother GIF by Big Brother After Dark

via giphy.com

*Thanks for being vague, Rendz*

The Legend Snippets:

They were perfectly placed and well balanced. They gave just enough context without giving away too much or becoming confusing. They often revealed a lot of details that made the story the characters were living in make more sense. Still, they wouldn’t give everything away and sometimes brought in more mystery to the story that led to more revelations and secrets being kept by characters.

The Twist and Then Some:

Right at the beginning of the book, I guessed one possible twist and doubted myself the whole way. The author wrote it out in a way that made me forget my theory quite often and then it hits you with a full force. I was shocked and yet proud that I had been right. I was whisper yelling in my room at midnight. At just when you think that it is all the author has to reveal, more and more revelations follow and my heart could not take it…I was beyond stressed.

What I Disliked:

One thing that really messed me up, The Romance:

1. It was Insta-love. I never really understood exactly why Penny and Bo fell for each other. Other than that they were following the same mystery, what did they have in common? And as for getting to know each other, they each kept their secrets…so what exactly was the basis of this deep love for one another?

2. I am conflicted beyond belief. I am stuck, stuck, stuck. The twists really messed up how I saw this ship. I want to believe that the ship is true, but I don’t. I do not think that either had sincere feelings for each other. By the very end, I pitied Penny because I felt like she got the short end of the stick and I felt that Bo didn’t really have genuine feelings for her. And I don’t like this “he eventually learned to love her” nonsense. That does not work for me. No, thank you.

Should you guys read this, I think some of you would disagree with my view. But I cannot help but think that this ship is not genuine.

via tenor.com


Overall, like the song a siren, this book captivated me. It hardly had any dull moments and I was reading it for long periods of time, completely focused on nothing but this book and the going-ons in it. Shea Ernshaw did a wonderful job with her debut! I know I had that one issue that I cannot get over, but I think a lot of you would still enjoy this book despite that bump.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars (It’s a “good” 4)
Recommend: Uh, yeah. I need to talk to people about this now.

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite paranormal reads? Which books definitely delivered their hook-lines? Are you thinking of picking this up?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Forest of A Thousand Lanterns| Mini Review

Greetings readers!

I was in such a good reading track this past January that I read a lot faster than reviewing. Which doesn’t happen too often, so I cherish these triumphant moments. During that time, I read this very dark tale and I’ll be sharing with you a mini review just to sum up my thoughts and feelings.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

This was so dark. Going in I knew it was going to be pretty rough, this is the origin story of the Evil Queen, after all. But man…. I really enjoyed this book, the world was lush and the characters were amazing. I loved the Asian mythology and culture that it was set in and it just wowowowow.

The Likes:

  • Xifeng: Girl you’re kind of crazy, but I love you. I mean your twistiness is alarming, but hun I was rooting for you.
  • The Empress…my heart.
  • Myths, fate, destiny!!! IT’S ALL IN THE CARDS!
  • The World: Small villages, magical forests, deceptive kingdoms, what is not to love. It was lush (did I mention that already?) Simply stunning, I loved it.
  • Dear goodness the twistiness of this novel. It’s a series of slaps. Left, right, left, right.
  • Julie made me waiiitttt. I knew from the get-go that Xifeng would turn up evil, but my-oh-my there were many times I doubted it and thought she was Snow White, when I knew that this was an Evil Queen origin story!!!
  • My goodness, there were some rather gruesome and bloody elements tucked in there. I literally gagged at one point *shivers*
  • The ending: dark, dark, darkkkk

The Dislikes:

  • *Does not take away from the novel* Emperor is a little B*tch™
  • I’m hoping that the sequel goes into a little more depth about the gods and their legends because I was just a tad confused.
  • It was put-downable. My attention was splotchy with it, especially when the characters were just travelling or it was endless days of just being in the palace.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: It is a fantastic debut, that can satisfy that dark fairy tale lover in you!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? What are some of your favourite dark fairy tales? Know of any other Evil Queen retellings?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Power Couples Book Tag

Greetings readers!

In honour of Valentines Day, which is fast approaching, I found it is the perfect time to fan about my favourite couples from books.

Thank you, Sophie @ Blame Chocolate for tagging me in this epic tag! She has an amazing blog! *Seriously, I demand that you check it out!*

Oddly enough, I found it really hard to answer these questions. Trust me, I ship tons of ships, but having to choose just one to fit the categories was tough! Plus this tag also made my reread list grow even longer because there are so many couples out there that I want to revisit!

Let’s get on with it then. Prepare to swoon.

A couple that share big passions and goals

Prodigy: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #2)

via Goodreads

Day and June

*Infinite crying* At first they each had their own separate lives and goals until they came together and it all merged into one. They just wanted justice, and their journey to it was hard fought with so many sacrifices. My heart cannot handle it when I think about them. I adore them so much!!!

A couple that love and respect each other

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Maya and Amar

They are their own people and literally go to the ends of the world for each other. My heartttttttttttttttttt.

A couple that is stronger together than apart

blood and sand

via Goodreads

Attia and Xanthus

Seriously, they kick major butt when they work together.

A couple that wholly support each other

Kai and Cinder

They rooted for each other throughout the whole Levana debacle even if they thought each others approaches were a little risky. i.e. Kidnapping the groom, Trying to stab the bride at the wedding. They cheered for each other without a doubt. I LOVE THEM.
This piece of fanart makes me literally squeal and cry and yell. Too much cuteness in one.

A couple that advocate each other for others

Cress and Thorne

Cress will literally defend Thorne against himself and anyone else who demeans him heroic-ness and Thorne will always keep his stance on how incredible Cress is even though she has been locked away most of her life. THEY ARE THE SHIP OF MY LIFE. I SUPPORT THEM ENDLESSLY. DON’T YOU DARE FIGHT ME ABOUT IT.

I Tag…

Well anyone who feels like gushing about their favourite ships! Please do it, I would love to see your answers!!

Let me know what you think! Who are your favourite romantic ships? Friendships? Sibling(ships)? Yell out your OTPs I am ready! 

*Quick reminder that I need your votes for my TLC fanart reveal! Details at the bottom of my last wrap up post!*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Little Dog | Review

Greetings readers!

I was contacted ages ago to read this and I am so terribly inefficient that I have only gotten to it now! But I have finally made it! I really have to start working on my time management skills for this blog and my reading!

The Little Dog by Leslie W.P. Garland

The Little Dog (A Red Grouse Tale)

via Goodreads

The Little Dog: A story of good and evil, and retribution.

This tale, told by Bill, a retired forester, takes the form of most of the stories in our lives, namely, that we have no idea that we are living a story until later when previous events suddenly seem to fall into place and make some kind of sense.

Bill recounts a week in his early working life when, paired with an older, unsavoury and unpopular colleague, they find a little dog sitting beside the forest haul-road way out in a remote part of the forest. What is the little dog doing there? As the week progresses Bill finds himself becoming emotionally attached to it while also becoming increasingly concerned about just who is his objectionable workmate, and when he notices that the little dog is no longer present at its usual spot his concerns heighten, as he cannot help but feel that his workmate has something to do with the dog’s disappearance.

Although a troubled Bill has a conversation with his local priest and learns of the nature of sin and evil, he remains blind to that which is right in front of him. However, the very next day events suddenly take an unexpected turn and the young naive Bill starts to learn some awful truths.

 


Buy It!

Amazon US | Amazon UK


This short story was alright. I was not overly amazed by it. It was short, sweet, to the point, but it lacked that “wow” factor. There were definitely parts that made me raise my eyebrows and go “hmmm” and parts where I was put under suspense, but there was never a moment where I could not put it down. I was never sucked in by the plot and the going-ons, it was really just..okay.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Bill: Bill was a good character. I wouldn’t say he was astoundingly perfect or flawed. He was paranoid given the dreadful situation he was in so that was completely understandable. He added a few jokes here and there which gave the story some more life and the fact that he was retelling this story to his friends allowed him to add those comments where he would say “I really shouldn’t have done that” etc.

The Setting:

The world was very rich in descriptions. It was a beautiful piece, I was transported effortlessly into the forests, onto a rocking boat and the bustle of the city. It was my favourite part of reading this story. I was completely submersed into the English wood, I felt the eerie stirrings and the haunting that Bill himself felt. My favourite passages would definitely have to be when Bill travels to the forest.

The Discussion of Good vs. Evil:

This book takes a Christian perspective on this discussion. At least that is what I would assume since Bill does seek advice from his local priest. I, personally, liked how it was spoken of. There was no concrete answer by the end of their conversation and Bill continued to struggle seeing the good in Blackman through the rest of the story. It covers a range from topics, whether humans are born good/evil or their environment changes their nature. It wasn’t overly preachy–if me mentioning the Christian perspective kind of put up some flags. I really enjoyed it, I thought it was well thought out and leaves room for more thinking and reflecting which I liked.

What I Disliked

Pace:

I was bored for the most part I will be honest. I couldn’t quite find myself captivated by the story. All Bill did was talk to himself in his head and it was mostly complaining about Blackman and being all suspicious of him! Like I get it!, he is a really shady dude. It was not until towards the end of the book things start moving and mysteries pop up…their solutions never really occur, but at least something interesting happened.

The Little Dog:

The literal little dog. So…throughout the whole beginning and middle there was a little dog, just sitting all cute on top of a hill. Okay. Then it disappears. Okay. And then it reappears. Okay. And then it has it’s own little revelation…that was A) Kind of weird, B) Matched the moral of the story…but was still kind of odd. It was just so random, I didn’t really know what to think of it. My only reaction was “Okay.”


Overall, it was okay. (Geez quite a repetitive word today) This is a short story of a much larger novel, which perhaps would have given some context to why this story in particular was important. It was short, to the point and the setting was beautifully written. However, it was not a story that caught my attention very well and it was quite repetitive here and there.

Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Ehhhhhh…..errrhhhh….okay(?)

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What books were just “okay.” to you?

Don’t forget to cast your vote in my TLC Character Portrait Reveal! Just Comment! 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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A Holiday / January Wrap-Up! & February TBR *With a Special Update!*

Greetings readers!

It’s time for one giant wrap-up! I’m talking 3 months worth of data that I have to write about! You see I have not done one of these wrap-ups since October, so today I’m going to be covering November, December and January!

Way back in November-December I had to take a small hiatus because school had taken over Real Life-Rendz so I (Rendz) had to back off a bit. *Side note: Real Life-Rendz did super well on her exams, thank you very much* So while I didn’t read a lot in those two months, I did have this huge Holiday TBR that I wanted to get to and I was able to get through *some of it*.

This might be a long post, but there is something special at the end I hope you all partake in!

Let us begin!

wrap-up-3

Wrap-Up:

November:

Ummm… I finished one book in November and that is…

Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko
I enjoyed this one, it was Canadian YA so I was definitely excited for it! I look forward to seeing where the author takes it from here. My Full Review

December:

After my exams were over, I dived into a pile of books! It was a glorious feeling and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more! I started my intense reading with a week left in December so this list is a little short!

Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza
This was a really fun, cute fantasy! My Full Review 

gracetips.co

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Not exactly the epic read I was hoping for…but I still enjoyed it! My Full Review

renegades poster

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking
This was my first blog tour book and I rather enjoyed it! My Full Review

Between_the_Blade_and_the_Heart_blog_banner-

January:

Now January was MY MONTH! I got so much reading done! *The only set-back is that I have so many reviews to write! But I think I will enjoy writing them 🙂

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
This book was so great! Plus it was just announced that The Hunger Games writers will making this into a possible movie! My Full Review 

S.T.A.G.S (1)

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
Loved, loved, loved this book!!! A female Spartacus, ABSOLUTELY YES!!! My Full Review

Blood and Sand

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
My heart! This one is soft and hardcore! My Full Review

Broken

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Dark and Delicious! Mini review to come!

Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg
Another dark, fairy tale with beautiful art!! Mini Review to come!

The Little Dog by Leslie W.P. Garland
This was an interesting short read. Full review to come!

Haul:

I indulged myself these past months quite a bit…but I deserved it! *Not really…I just like to give excuses…actually YES I deserved these, I wrote four exams! Let me live!*

Book Outlet Haul:

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
WANT by Cindy Pon
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Legend (Graphic Novel) by Marie Lu

Indigo Chapters:

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Wires and Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue  by Marissa Meyer

 

Some ARCs:

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb
A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (e-galley)
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (e-galley)
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope (e-galley)

These past three months have been really, really good to me!


Some of My Favourite Posts from the Past Months! 

Let’s Talk Spoilers | Discussion

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag

The Series that Changed My Life | Part 1

Sunshine Blogger Award Pt 4

New Year Reading Goals

Norse Mythology Book Tag

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Fight Like a YA Girl Tag

 


TBR

February TBR!

I have quite a few things planned for February before mid-terms hit me! I plan on reading:

Wires and Nerve Vol. 2  by Marissa Meyer

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes (A finally I am emotionally not prepared for!)

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Captain Guinevere by Clara Bennett

And perhaps Take Me to the Cat by Bryant A. Loney because I’ve been sleeping on this one for too long!


Special Thing // Fan Art Update:

So if you follow me on Twitter, you may of may not have seen that I finished a character set piece for one of my favourite books from last year, The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! I drew the three main characters and shared it on twitter.

It’s not what I would say my best-best work, but I’m pretty proud of it and I had soooo much fun doing it!

Take a look right here!

An Elite | A Performer | A Witch

  

I also put a lot of work into my Lunar Chronicles character portraits. I have only three characters left! So as a special “Thank for sticking around until the end of this loooong post!” I want to share one of my finished characters on here! 

BUT…I WANT YOU TO CHOOSE WHO I SHOW OFF! 

Your options are:

Cinder or Kai or Scarlet or Wolf or Cress or Thorne

I will do a mini blog post about the character with the most votes! The vote will be open for two weeks! (I’ll give you some time to think and me some time to do touch ups!)

So tell me in a comment….Which character would you like to see?

Let me know what you think! How has your reading fared this past month (or months)? What book blew you away? What books did you buy? What book are you most looking forward to? Don’t forget to vote!!!!!!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Broken Beautiful Hearts | Review

Greetings readers!

So this year I promised to expand my genres, right!? Well the expansion continues, this is the second contemporary novel I have read in 2018 and I was really looking forward to it! So when the ARC showed up in the mail, I was excited to add it to my January TBR and continue my expansion streak! *Huzzah*

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia

Broken Beautiful Hearts

via Goodreads

Before, Peyton was a star soccer player with the perfect boyfriend, Reed. Now, she has a torn knee ligament, a scholarship on the line, and a shattered sense of self. No one believes Reed pushed her, causing her injury, and Peyton just wants to leave the trauma behind. Living with her uncle and twin cousins in their small, football-obsessed town seems like a great escape plan.

There, Peyton meets Owen—high school classmate and local MMA fighter. Though Owen is charming and gentle, Peyton is determined to repress her growing attraction. But when her old and new life collide, Peyton must reclaim the truth of her past in order to save her future.



Buy It!

Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository



*Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an early copy! This in no way affects the integrity of my review*

How can I start this, other than that I really enjoyed this novel. I lost a lot of sleeping time because I had my reading light on trying to flip the pages as silently as possible at two a.m. This book was heavy. Heavy, in that it was over 400 pages, but heavier than what one would expect from contemporary YA romance. It is more than the fluff and mush I was expecting. It had it’s own fire and the feels come from beyond shipping the ship. It was soft and hardcore all wrapped in one.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Peyton: Most definitely not perfect, but I loved her. That doesn’t mean I was not frustrated at times (many times) with her. In the beginning of the book, her dream of becoming the super-star soccer player is put at risk by a horrible “accident,” taking her on a journey of self-discovery, self-destruction and rebuilding the strength to go on. She had it rough and her own stubbornness often kept her from finding solutions, thus leading to more trouble. Still, I loved her passion, her determination to get herself back on the field and to take the time to heal herself. (Even though she could be pessimistic about it…like…a lot…she still tried!)

The Twins: I’m a sucker for the “over protective brothers (in this case cousins)” cliché. I cannot help it, I love it. Christian and Cameron were sooooo adorable!!!!! My heart!!!!!!!!!!! They were the perfect comic relief and they had their own subplot which was dramatic and hilarious! I just loved them. They were foolish, mischievous and just awwwwww!
*That was just a paragraph of gush, I cannot help it.*

Owen: Our swoony love interest. Total heartthrob. Just a little brood and very, very 🔥🔥🔥. He had his tragic past which was really sad. Like I cried inside a little bit. He had his own mysteries and flaws, there were moments when I wanted to shake him because he was being incredibly stubborn too! He was complex and the situation he was in was a really hard one to handle. How far would you go to chase a dream if it means risking everything? Apparently, he was willing to go all the way and that would not have worked out in his favour!

The Setting:

I have a secret. I like cheesy, small town settings. Like the really small town, with the one high school where literally everyone knows each other. I have a thing for those. Perhaps its the sense of community, the feeling of the small world….or the fact that there is always so much drama and fluff is what really attracts me. So while I was reading this book, I was having the time of my life.

The Fluff:

There were so many cute moments! My face was literally a heart-eyes emoji. When I come to contemporary romance, I need the fluff. The swoons, the feels, the declarations of passion and the smooch factor needs to be spot on. Needless to say, Garcia really did do an amazing job with the romance. It’s not exactly the slowest of slow burns, but Peyton plays a good game of “just friends.” And we all know how well the “just friends” mission works out. *wags eyebrows* Maybe, it is a little insta-lovey, the book does span over a month, but it didn’t feel like it.

The Hard Stuff:

This was definitely not just a fluff novel. This had a lot of deeper themes that Garcia explores. Coping with getting out of bad relationships, the effects of abuse and grief are really important in this novel. As mentioned, Peyton goes through a really rough time. She is run out of her home, she had a hard time making people believe her “accident” was not an accident, she lost a best friend and her dream was as broken as her shattered knee. Worst of all, she found that she could not even trust herself. This book has a lot to do with managing–or rather–finding a way to manage grief, being able to open up about things your scared of remembering and finding courage to speak and reach out.

I came this close to crying. *pinches fingers together* There was one part, I won’t say which, that kind of just hit me in the gut. It was sad. It was really, really sad. I felt it in my heart, the twist, a downward pull like one of the butterflies fluttering around in there just stopped and weighed me down. Kami Garcia made me feel the pain the character was going through and I’d say that is a success on every level.

What I Disliked:

Not much really. The pacing could drag here and there. I can’t claim lack of action because this isn’t that kind of book, although there was MMA fighting so that definitely does count as action. It was also a tad tropey here and there. The mean, blonde b*tch who ruled the school was in this one. I think she didn’t really need to be in the book, she was literally only present to stir background drama. Then there was the unspoken-of situation between Titan and Owen that was teased at but never developed, so I was simply left hanging.


Overall, I enjoyed myself immensely. I cannot strictly recall the last time I enjoyed a contemporary YA romance this much, but I sure did love this one. I could not put it down. This book is not short either, it is quite long, but I flew through it. This is more than fluff, it’s a story that relates to many experiences of many people, including Kami Garcia herself. I beseech you to read the Author’s Note at the end, it’s incredibly important.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Oh yes! It is more than it’s fluff!!!!

Let me know what you think! Have you had the chance to read this? What are some of your favourite hard-hitting novels? Any other deep contemporary recommendations?

THIS BOOK COMES OUT FEBRUARY 6TH, BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Fight Like A YA Girl Tag

Greetings readers!

I’m forever going to be late with all these amazing tags! Krysti over at YA and Wine created this incredible tag that features and recognizes the various strengths of all our favourite YA Heroines! I absolutely adored reading through this tag and answering the questions myself, I hope you all enjoy!

Thank you to the three epic bloggers who tagged me ages ago! Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews, Eva @ BrilliantlyBookish, Joana @ BookNeeders They each have such incredible blogs and I hope you all take a trip to their sites one day! You’re missing out on some amazing content!

THE RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS

Attia – Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Helene Aquilla – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

June Iparis – The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND

Kestrel – The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Adelina – The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Literally fights with her mind)

Cress – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART

Winter – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Maya – The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Lucy Pevensie – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS

Attia – Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Inej Ghafa – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Helene Aquilla – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR

Inej Ghafa – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Laia of Serra – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Iko – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE

Laia of Serra – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Cinder – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Shazi – The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Cleo Bellos – Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS

Inej Ghafa – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Nova Artino – Renegades by Marissa Meyer

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES

Attia – Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Scarlet – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Lada – And I Darken by Kiersten White

GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS

Nina Zenik – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Yrene Towers – Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Meira – Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS

Charlotte Holmes – A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Starr Carter – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS

All of them.

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY

Furyborn by Claire Legrand will have TWO fierce ladies front and center, so I am pretty stoked for this book!

Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy, #1)

I Tag…

Anyone who has not had the chance to have a go at this! (But I think literally everyone has already done this and given amazing answers!)



That’s it for me! I know there are a lot of repeats on my list! Frankly, I just have not read enough! There are so many ladies from books on my shelves that I wanted to add, but I haven’t read their story yet, so really I can’t judge their ferocity just yet! But I look forward to it!

As someone who has never been particularly physically strong, or snarky-strong, it’s so important that this tag was created to showcase the other strengths! So thank you again to Krysti!!

Let me know what you think! What is/are your strength(s)? Who are your favourite YA Heroines? What fierce lady inspires you? (Real or fictional)

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

S.T.A.G.S. | Review

Greetings readers!

I do love a thrill. I love an adventure. I love the high-stakes, the heart pounding panic of what will happen next! What?! What?! What?! I get a lot of that from fantasy. Lots of epic battles and plans that go awry!

Now, I don’t usually expect thrill from contemporary. I usually look for the warm fuzzy feels and drama. But when reading a contemporary-thriller you have to expect less warm fuzz and more of that heart-pounding-my-goodness-what-is-going-on???? feeling.

Which I definitely experienced.

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

S.T.A.G.S.

via Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Greer, a scholarship girl at a prestigious private school, St Aidan the Great School (known as STAGS), soon realizes that the school is full of snobs and spoilt rich brats, many of whom come from aristocratic families who have attended the institute throughout the centuries. She’s immediately ignored by her classmates. All the teachers are referred to as Friars (even the female ones), but the real driving force behind the school is a group of prefects known as the Medievals, whose leader, Henry de Warlencourt, Greer finds both strangely intriguing as well as attractive. The Medievals are all good-looking, clever and everyone wants to be among their circle of friends. Greer is therefore surprised when she receives an invitation from Henry to spend a long weekend with him and his friends at his family house in the Lake District, especially when she learns that two other “outsiders” have also been invited: Shafeen and Chanel. As the weekend unfolds, Greer comes to the chilling realization that she and two other “losers” were invited only because they were chosen to become prey in a mad game of manhunt.



Buy It!

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

This book releases January 30th! Drop by your local bookstore or library to check it out!



*I received a free digital copy from the publisher on Netgalley, which does not in any way influence my opinion!*

Well. Well. I enjoyed this book very, very much. You guys know that thriller (like scary-dark thriller) is just not my thing. (I am a scaredy cat) But when I do make an exception and brace myself for some good ol’ thrill, I hope that it will crush my expectations and make me crave more of this genre.

Goal achieved.

**Plus this had the most gorgeous cover I just had to request it!! **

What I Liked:

Characters: 

Greer: I found her to be a very interesting. She had spent the first half of the school semester as a misfit and shunned, scholarship kid. She basically had zero friends, meaning social life was at an all time low and getting an invite to an exclusive vacation at the richest/most beautiful popular boy’s house was the best thing that happened to her in a long time. Or was it??

the croods doom GIF

giphy.com

Anyways…I really did enjoy Greer as a narrator and MC in this book. She was quirky and intuitive. She was also foolish and at one point I really want to knock her outside of the head. But she redeems herself! I absolutely loved that she brought up references to the films she and her dad loved to watch and how she inserts her personality and likes into the narration of the story. It really showed off her nerdy and quirky self and her grand ability to make connections and put two and two together!

Shafeen: Although he is not in most parts of the story, he is still very much a present. And when he is there, he is there. He shut down those racist, rich white kids so many times with such class. *applause, applause* Every word that came out of his mouth, priceless. Every move he made turned tables.

Other characters...There was also Nel, who had it pretty rough in a Gatsby style. She was of new money and the white rich kids did not appreciate people who were not of old money!

So then there are The Medievals a.k.a the white, rich (psycho) kids who brought down their wrath on the previous three characters mentioned. I wasn’t thinking of mentioning them because I really hated them, so let’s just say I enjoyed hating them very much.

The Blood Games:

I have never been hunting, shooting or fishing. Blood sports are really just not my thing. The Medievals version of Huntin’ Shootin’ Fishin’ really is not my style either…let’s emphasize the blood shall we. I’m not meaning to intend that this book was filled with gore and washed in blood every few pages because it wasn’t. It was a very bloody book in that these sports fostered danger, elevated the stakes and made the characters act in ways that were feral and wild. I really enjoyed the twist of the games and how they brought characters together and wreaked havoc too.

The Narnia References are in Full Force:

Okay so this isn’t really about the book, but hey! It’s important to me. I got like ten references to Narnia. First it was just a comparison to Prince Caspian then it was full blown, referring to the movie and talking about discovering secret worlds, finding magical apartments and…and…and.. I freaked out a little. I was just so excited. Trust me this book references lots of films, as that Greer’s favourite thing, so seeing my favourite movie/book referenced  gave me all the feeeeeeeeellllllllllssssss!

*Plus LWW ends with the Pevensies chasing a White Stag…so it’s fitting that the movie be referenced :)*

film love GIF

via giphy.com

The Narration:

Greer was retelling the story to us. It’s that kind of thriller, where the reader goes in and they are given this mini-introduction, so they have a foggy idea of how the book is going to end or where the direction of the story it headed. Then as Greer tells you the story you start picking up on things, connecting some dots and predicting events that just might happen. I especially loved it when Greer would add in her own little comments about what was happening and how she should have acted differently. Especially when she was in her more foolish nature, narrator Greer would take a side note just to point out how dumb she was being.

The World:

Perhaps “The World” is the wrong title, because this book took place in England. Not some foreign fantastical land. Still…the world was very different. We get a glimpse into the white, privileged, upper class life with a medieval twist. A literal medieval twist, these kids not only called themselves Medievals, but lived through that mantra. They avoided having too many modernities like the internet, phones, and most other electrical appliances and they engaged in traditional sports; hence Huntin’ Shootin’ Fishin’.

What really struck me about this world though, was experiencing the consequences of the power and privilege bestowed upon these teenagers that were almost lethal. They controlled everything and everyone. They got away with everything they did. And it’s not a far fact from how it is in real life. How far money and power can take you. How much money rules the world and the extent to which it can bend the will of a person. Scary stuff.

The Ending:

The gif is enough to summarize.

modern family GIF

giphy.com

What I Disliked:

It Was Not As Twisty As I Was Hoping?: 

There were twists trust me and some of them I saw coming. This really stems from the very beginning of the book and how Greer introduces the problem. I already knew going in that deaths would be inevitable and I was kind of thinking that everyone was going to die. And while I don’t mean to sound sadistic, one person died and it was a little anti-climatic. You have an idea of who dies and why they die and who kills them. So I felt that the intro given by Greer gave too much and it took away from the reader.


Overall, it was a great book. For a non-thrillerish gal I thoroughly enjoyed it very much. It was fun, fast, and quite a ride. It makes you think about the consequences of money and privilege and also the effect of living in a world where everything is on the internet. The ending was a bit cliff-hanger like. I mean it did open up the possibility of a sequel, but I think it would be best to leave this as a stand alone and let the readers wonder and imagine how that could possibly be resolved.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! Especially if your not always that into the thrills, but your in the mood for a little thrill!!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you good at guessing endings? What are some of your favourite thriller/mystery books? I need recommendations after all!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag!

Greetings readers!

I was tagged by the lovely Sophie @ Blame Chocolate to do the Ringing in the New Year Tag! Sophie is a wonderful friend and blogger! She has tons of great reviews and posts, so make sure to drop by and pay her a visit!

It is still January so the idea of setting goals is still applicable. Especially if you have already broken some resolutions, it is not too late to set some more!

RULES:

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Link to the creator of the tag (Bookmark Chronicles)
  • Share the tag image
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag friends (or not if you don’t feel like it)

Best book and/or series that you’ve read in 2017

*I say rereads count!*

I reread The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer in the summer of 2017, which was the best decision I have ever made. Reliving all those emotions and revisiting the characters I adore was the most amazing experience!

eae6b-16230724_309853976078983_582364300815892480_n

I wrote four fangirling posts along the way which was also pretty fun, so if you want to check those out, be my guest!

A Moment of Fangirling: Cinder A Moment of Fangirling: ScarletA Moment of Fangirling: Cress A Moment of Fangirling: Winter

Authors that you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year

Roshani Chokshi, Stephanie Garber, Kendare Blake, Lilliam Rivera, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

***And clearly in 2018 I have to go about finding some male authors of interest too! I hear Jay Kristoff and Neal Shusterman are ones to look out for!

 

 

Most anticipated book turned movie/tv show?

I’m pretty excited to see The Hate U Give movie…I believe it comes out this year! There are so many other YA adaptations coming to the big screen, but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet!

Name a character that you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight (if there is one)

CARSWELL THORNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHAOL WESTFALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BUT MOSTLY CARSWELL THORNE!

*Artist: Taratjah*

What’s on you TBR for 2018? (Top 5-10 will suffice if it’s an extremely long list!)

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3)

via Goodreads

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes

Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms, #6)

via Goodreads

Wires & Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer

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via @marissameyerauthor

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles (The Belles #1)

via Goodreads

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)

via Goodreads

Wacross 2 by Marie Lu

Furyborn my Claire Legrand (I got an ARC, so I get to read it early! *gloats*)

Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy, #1)

via Goodreads

How many books do you hope to read in 2018?

60 is my plan. 25 Debuts and whatever I find on my shelves or the library!

Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or any others (PopSugar, Down the TBR Hole, etc.)

Yes! As stated above I plan on reading 60 books, so I have Goodreads to keep me on track! It is the same personal goal I had from last year and I got close but didn’t exactly achieve it. Here’s to hoping this year turns out better!

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish, blogging (or vlogging), and otherwise)

I do! I even wrote a whole blog post so that they would be written out meaning I can’t opt-out anymore!

New year reading goals

  1. Read my shelves
  2. Read 25 Debuts of 2018 in 2018
  3. Get to 1000 followers (I’ll kind of need your help for this one)
  4. Manage my book money
  5. Expand my genres

You can check out my full post here!

In terms of life goals….I’m trying to get Real Life-Rendz together. We have important decisions to make and she has to not be afraid of change and taking risks. So hand me your most inspirational quotes, please!

I Tag…

If you’ve already done this tag, feel free to just tell me your goals in the comment! ❤

Abigail’s Books

Darque Dreamer Reads 

Pages Unbound Reviews

Let me know what you think? Do we have any common goals? What were your favourite books of 2017? What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

 

Blood and Sand | Review

Greetings readers!

I have felt something I have not felt in a rather long time. I have felt the RUSH. You know that a book is great when you experience the RUSH. It’s not a simple thought, nor feeling. It is a full body sensation.

It’s a tingling in the toes and fingers. It’s a buzz in the brain. It’s slightly blurred vision. It’s a shake in the shoulders. A shiver down one’s spine.

And then comes the jerk.

Your whole body just quivers, your jaw has been on the ground for the past ten minutes, your eyes are bulging out of your head in disbelief and weird screeching sounds are coming out of your mouth.

The RUSH.

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Blood and Sand

via Goodreads

FORGED IN BATTLE…
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA…
A LEGEND WILL RISE

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus…

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.

Buy It!

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Thank you so much Torteen for providing me with a digital copy via Netgalley. All opinions are my own!*

So everything stated above about the RUSH is true. I experienced all those emotions at 1:30 in the morning when I finished this book. So my screeching noises were actually more like whispers. I enjoyed this book immensely. I cannot recall a moment during my read where I was waning and teetering on the edge of boredom. That didn’t exist for me. It had me engaged from page one and by the end I was rendered breathless.

What I Liked:

Setting:

When I think about the Roman Empire, I think sand, Colosseum, those leaf crown thingys and togas!! But really there is so much more into that grand empire that this book explores wonderfully. I loved how the author let us into the history of Rome without bombarding us with facts. She just slides in the details, like the kingdoms and peoples the Romans massacred, the structure and layouts of the markets and palaces. The politics was one of the more trickier things to follow, but the author presents it to the reader in a simple way.

It’s Rome in all it’s sandy, bloody, brutal glory.

commodus GIF

via giphy.com

Characters:

Attia: Princess. Warrior. Thracian. All add up to make one hot-headed gal. She was fiercely stubborn, angry and she would literally cut (you down) if you got in her way. She had every right to be all those things. I mean, I think we would all be pissed if anyone rose up, massacred our people, enslaved the survivors and sold you as a nighttime companion. Yup. I loved Attia. I loved that she was unconditionally and un-apologetically herself and still admitted that she was no where near perfect. She was courageous, loyal, and intelligent. She acted impulsively perhaps too much for her own good and that got her  into many, many sticky situations, but she was no doubt an amazing character to journey with.

Xanthus: Gladiator. Champion. Survivor. Add up to make one broody, and oh so sweet hero. He has all the things to check off as a broody warrior book boyfriend. Tragic past? ✔️ Killer body? ✔️ Sweet and sensitive? ✔️ Loyal? ✔️ Protective (even if our girl is perfectly capable of taking care of herself)? ✔️ Swoon Factor? ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️

The list goes on. Xanthus was a character that didn’t expect forgiveness for his sins, but asked for it anyways. He knew he was slave being controlled by a master puppeteer, but he didn’t let his humanity go. He kept a great deal of good, after suffering a great deal of bad. He sacrificed himself for others and he would rather lift others up, than be the glorified Champion of Rome.

russell crowe no GIF

via giphy.com

There was a great cast of supporting characters. There were so many it’s a tad difficult to name them all. I loved Xanthus and his brothers. A loyal pack that supported and saved each other. Attia found friendship in Sabina, Lucretia and little Rory. They gave her strength, support and guided her in her weaker moments. The side characters brought to life the moments of cruelty so many experienced under the Romans. It was heart breaking and inspirational because you root for each of them to exact the revenge they deserve.

Action and Intensity:

Now this book was bloody. The history of the Roman Empire itself is surely drenched in red and this book exemplifies that perfectly. Considering this book deals with gladiators, a warrior princess, and the oppressive Roman Empire there was never a long period of time before someone died. Tragic, but true. The action of this book keeps you on your toes, no characters were invincible and the stakes were very high.

Everything was on the line.

are you not entertained russell crowe GIF

via giphy.com

Historic Elements & Events:

Actual recognizable events happen in this book despite it being top-notch fiction. There was of course the Colosseum and the bloody games that went on in there. Readers get to be in the ring, facing off against an enemy who had just as much to lose. Maybe readers even get catch a glimpse of the mysterious Spartacus…….? It’s thrilling and nerve-wracking. I won’t give anything else away because it might be a little spoiler-y, but people, Rome had it rough! Especially towards the end there.

Romance:

It’s not exactly enemies to lovers…rather it is an “I don’t like you, I don’t trust you” to “You’re okay, I guess” to “You belong with me–eee–eee.” Also known as my favourite kind of romance. It’s a tender slow burn. Where our two love-birds have to get over themselves and their fears (and all the other angst) before they finally see clearly. That is when the magic happens. That is when the squeals come out. I really liked the ship. I especially loved how they tried to protect each other when they were both spectacularly capable of watching their own backs! But it’s just so precious and my hearttttttttttt………

The Ending:

It killed me.

But there is a sequel….so maybe (I pray) that those last events weren’t exactly 100% accurate.

What I Disliked:

Just one tiny thing. There were so many side characters and they each had their own past that I would have loved to read more about. However, that would have made this book ten times longer and despite the want to know more, I know it would have been too much. Plus, keeping track of all of them was pretty hard too. Don’t ask me to name names, there were a lot.


Overall, I am delighted. The RUSH came and still lingers. This book was true to its title. Bloody to the last page and sandy because it’s stuck in every corner of my mind. The author takes you on a ride in this brutal history on the backs of two people seeking revenge and their realization of just how hard that fight is. It’s suspenseful, it’s heart-breaking and I am begging for the sequel!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars!

Recommend: Absolutely! Grab a sword and feel the RUSH!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Would you like to go back in time to visit the Roman Empire? What are some of your favourite physically fierce characters? Any Historical Fic recommendations? 

This book debuts today, January 16th! So be sure to check it out!!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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