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!

Chapters Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


*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.

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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.

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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!

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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!)

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Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

Lots of people out there know the wonderful feeling of meeting an author in real life. Meeting the person who created a story that they have come to adore. A chance to actually meet some of your favourite heroic figures. I am one of those lucky people.

I have had the wondrous opportunity to meet a few authors in person. Morgan Rhodes, Kiersten White, Lauren Oliver, Morgan Matson, Kendare Blake, E.K. Johnston, MARIE LU!

Still, it is rare that an author–American ones specifically–make a trip across the border for an event or signing. I know that the Canadian market is small, but we still have so many passionate fans and I hope that in the VERY NEAREST possible future, we can have bigger and more frequent author visits! (Maybe even a BookCon…….)

So here I am. Bringing you a post about all the authors I would love to meet in person! I’ve been told over and over that if you want an author to come you have to beg the people upstairs. And by upstairs, I mean the publishers and books stores. So yeah, I tagging the people with the power and hope that they jot down even one name from this note.

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A Note On Privilege:

I am supremely lucky to live in Toronto. Living in the big city means that *most* big name authors pass by here on their signings, which I am very thankful for, but also understand that other Canadians around the country find it frustrating. I would love it if authors went on Canada-wide tours, can you imagine how cool that would be? So I just want to put it out there that as I make these requests to bring authors over, I know that there are people all over Canada who want a chance to meet and greet their literary icons and we cannot forget them!

Now, let’s get down to business…

Authors Who Need A Canadian Debut

Susan Dennard

I am making this request, mostly on behalf of my sister because she is such a huge fan of the Witchlands series! I, however, am greatly anticipating reading those books as well so I would definitely love to meet Susan as well! (Especially since it puts on a lot of pressure to read the books! XP)

Marie Rutkoski (!!!)

If Marie came to Toronto, I would literally be a mess of tears in front of her. Just a blotch of endless feels. She is one of my heroes and I dream of the day I get to tell her in person about the way her books made me feel. She is a huge name and with a new fantasy book to release soon this is the perfect chance for a tour stop across the border!!!!

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Renee Ahdieh (!!!)

Can she do a Canada wide trip with her BFF Sabaa? (She will appear later in this post!) I own all of Renee’s books and I know she is working on something new, The Beautiful, which I am sooo excited for!!!

Jeanne Birdsall

I know. I know. Jeanne is an MG author but her Penderwicks books are such an important part of my life! I WOULD LITERALLY CRUMBLE IN FRONT OF HER AND IT WOULD BE THE BEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE! She is also working on a new book which will not come out for a couple of years, but like I will wait however long!!!

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Sara Raasch

PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. While I haven’t yet picked up her newest release, I ADORED her Snow Like Ashes trilogy!!!! I have my books and fanart all ready and lined up for a signing!!! How about a tour stop for These Divided Shores???

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Rae Carson

I only own The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but have read the entire trilogy!! I am also willing to spend dollar bills on the anniversary editions that will be releasing next summer!! I don’t know what she is currently working on, but I’ll read it if it means tour stop!

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Authors Who Need an Encore Appearance

Marissa Meyer (!!!)

I might have an emotional break down in front of her, but it would be the absolute best day of my life. I’m not quite sure when she came the first time, all I know is that it is high time she makes a return! I will literally be there at 3 AM lining up outside of whatever store/venue to get a wristband if need be. I will do anything to get the chance to meet Marissa. PLEASE!

Renegades IG

Sabaa Tahir (!!!)

Not going to see Sabaa Tahir when she first came to Toronto will always and forever be on of my biggest regrets. Always. Now that I have read her books. Now that I am a devoted Sabaa follower. Now that I have made some fanart. I want to meet her, I want to gush, I want to shower her with compliments that are so rightfully deserved! Just think about it. Sabaa with a few Canadian tour stops for the final book of Ember. How more epic could it get? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD COME OUT?? Again, I’d line up at the first signs of light to get to meet her.

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Leigh Bardugo (!!!)

Part 2 of OMG-I-REGRET-NOT-SEEING-HER!!! I have been a fan of Leigh since her Grisha trilogy and the one time she came to Toronto was for her Six of Crows tour. I, being the fool I was, didn’t go because I hadn’t read the book and tbh no one in my family was willing to take me (I was still too young to venture into the city alone by law of my Latino parents). Now I don’t need my family to take me (I have graduated in status). So how about a King of Scars tour stop?? I am down for literally anything so long as it brings Leigh close by!!!!!!!

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Roshani Chokshi

THE GILDED WOLVES IS COMING VERY, VERY SOON!!! I mean I know she came not too long ago, but it is high time she come back! (And yes I missed her the first time she was here and now that I own all her books…I want her to come!!!)

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Marie Lu

I have more books to get signed 🙂 Kingdom of Back tour??? And ALSO  she is writing a 4th Legend novel so she MUST come on tour here for that!! Fall 2019 I am ready for you!!!!!!!!

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So to my dearest publishing houses and book stores,

I, Rendz, ask thee most gracefully, most politely, most fervently to bring these authors to Canada. I am one voice in a sea of thousands, but they say asking is what it takes. So I ask, I plea, I beg you to bring these authors to me.

This bookworm and many others will forever be grateful.

All my best,

Rendz

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Let me know what you think! What authors would you really love to meet in person? What authors have you had the chance to already meet. Any other Canadian book works willing to make their own pleas with me? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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#Spooktober Mini Reviews |The Witching Hours: The Vampire Knife & Lulu the Broadway Mouse

Greetings readers!

I am glad to say that I have officially finished two books from my list for the the Spooktober/ The Nightmare Before Princess Reviews Read-a-thon! What an absolute accomplishment!

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Okay. Okay. These were quite short reads and had nice big font, but I am still so proud that I’m actually completing books for this challenge! Keep on reading for some mini reviews on these two great middle grade reads!

I would like to send a big THANK YOU to Hatchette Book Group Canada, who provided me with these advance copies! 

The Witching Hours: The Vampire Knife by Jack Henseleit

The Vampire Knife

Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pub Date: Sept 4th, 2018
Price: $12.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780316524681

Stranger Things meets the Brothers Grimm in this thrilling new series for only the bravest of children. After a chance encounter in a dark and stormy forest, two siblings are caught up in the dangerous underworld of fairies and must fight their way free. 

A storm is raging around the forests of Transylvania, where siblings Anna and Max are visiting with the Professor. Left alone to explore a creepy old inn, the children discover that something evil is lurking in the trees – and it just might have a taste for human blood.

When Max goes missing, it’s up to Anna and her new friend Isabella to rescue him. Setting out in the dead of night, with the storm howling around them, the girls will face peril after peril. Only one thing is certain: even if Anna can find a way to rescue her brother, Max will never be the same again …

‘An entertaining book that will have great appeal to ghoulish readers.’– Bookseller & Publisher


BUY IT!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Ebooks.com


MINI REVIEW – Read-a-thon prompt: Halloween Town

  • So so so so good.
  • Also so so so creepy
  • Look people I know that I suck at scary things, but I never thought I would be one to be phased by a kids book and yet here I am, a reader, spooked by a kids book
  • In other words, the spook was real good. The atmosphere was a constant chill and it was set in Transylvania, so it was perfect for this vampire story.
  • Speaking of vampires, the vampire in this book was creepylicious. Not exactly the most traditional looking one, but it had the perfect spook and it was brutally gruesome.
  • It also had the perfect illustrations to go along with some of the pivotal scenes! They were absolutely gorgeous and added to the menacing and threatening vibes I was getting from the plot!
  • The characters were spot on!
    • Anna was a fierce, passionate and mischievous soul! Her loyalty and bravery were such admirable qualities and her sense of adventure led her into some sticky situations.
    • Max was so adorable! As Anna’s little brother he’s used to getting spooked by her stories but he goes through quite the terrific experience in this book and while I feel awfully bad for him, I am also so impressed by his courage to keep fighting!
    • Isabella was a great addition to the story as well. She was a great friend to the siblings and her knowledge of the creepy town made her quite important
  • This book is super fast paced, easy to read and perfect for the spooky season!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes!! A Halloween read for all!



Lulu the Broadway Mouse by Jenna Gavigan

Lulu the Broadway Mouse 

Publisher: Running Press
Pub Date: October 9th, 2018
Price: $12. 99 CAD
ISBN: 9780762464609

Ratatouille meets Broadway in this charming new middle grade novel about a little mouse with big dreams. 

Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway’s Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn’t be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She’s a little girl mouse.

When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne’s guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently than we imagined; sometimes they come with terms and conditions (aka the company mean girl, Amanda). But sometimes, just when we’ve given up all hope, bigger and better dreams than we’d ever thought could come true, do.


BUY IT!!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo |Ebooks.com


MINI REVIEW – Read-a-thon prompt: Dr: Frankenstein

  • One word: FABULOUS.
  • Another word: FANTASTIC
  • So really the word to use is: FANTABULOUS
  • I loved almost everything about this book.
  • Lulu was an incredible MC. She may be little, but she is fiercely sassy and honest.
    • She has a big dream of being of on Broadway and never ever gives up on it.
  • The supporting characters were also great, the other actresses and actors, the stage crew and other mice in the book added a lot of funnies.
  • THE DRAMA was just perfect. So juicy and so, so, so funny.
    • I will say that a few more important things could have gone wrong. It was a little too squeaky clean for me, a little more conflict would have been nice.
  • There was a mean girl/bully, but I am glad about the way the author addressed the situation.
  • I am no theatre geek, but I did appreciate all the other references to other shows. (Most of them are films anyways…;) )
  • It’s a super quick and fun read. Perfect for all kind of kids with big dreams!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes! For the dreamers and make believers!


Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these books? What spooky or not-so-spooky books are you looking forward to reading? Are you a fan of vampires? Of theatre? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Demon Race | Review // A book that made me cry and feel many, many things.

Greetings readers!

You know when you find a gem? You find it when you least expect. When you are ready to trudge through a book (because of an ongoing book slump), but instead find yourself immersed in a story you didn’t think could pull you in. That is a gem.

The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick

The Demon Race

Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Pub Date: Sept 18th, 2018
Price: $14.99 CAD (ppb), $4.99 CAD (Kindle)
ISBN: 9780692068038

BUY IT!!: Amazon

Hidalgo meets An Ember in the Ashes in this Middle Eastern-inspired YA fantasy debut.

A race across the desert.

An unimaginable prize.

It occurs once every thousand years: the Demon Race. A test of will and strength, it is a race across the Saraj, a fight for the prize of a lifetime. And it is the key to Namali Hafshar’s freedom.

When shy, seventeen-year-old Namali learns of her arranged marriage, she flees home and enters the Demon Race for the chance to change her fate. But to compete, she must cross the Saraj on a daeva, a shadow demon that desires its own reward: to infect her soul with darkness.

Namali soon learns the desert holds more dangers than meets the eye. The only person she can trust is Sameen, a kind competitor seeking his own destiny. As her affection for him grows, however, so too does the darkness in her heart.

In this race of men and demons, only one can win. But the price of winning might be more than Namali is willing to pay.


*I was provided a review copy by the author, which does not affect my opinion in any way!*

This was such a surprise read. I will be honest, I expected a really generic fantasy. I’ve read lots of Dangerous Game books, so I felt like I could pin this one easily. And boy was I wrong, wrong, wrong. This book is many things, but above all things it is DEEP. Like it hits you in the soul and you hurt.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Namali: Wow. Can I just say that I love stories where the heroine does not start off snarky or witty or brave or fearless, but finds the courage within herself to chase her dreams and break out of the comfort zone she has been caged in. Do you know how much I love those stories? I adore them and this was definitely one to remember. Namali was incredible. I absolutely loved her growth from a meek, scared girl to a girl willing to take risk after risk, put herself first after years of pushing herself back. She is not perfect, and she makes dumb mistakes and says rude things and does rude things, but that makes her even more interesting. More relatable. Her journey to self-discovery was just wonderful, like I wish I could be half as brave as her to find out who I am.

Sameen: Sweet, sweet, Sameen. The charmer and the noble companion. His growth alongside Namali’s was lovely. He never overshadowed her or undermined her. I mean he said man-things, but he learned about how his actions had consequences and that the lives of men and women were starkly different experiences. I loved that he promised to try harder, to fight harder for a better world. And his loyalty. I C.A.N.N.O.T. *cries*

Other characters…this book is all about grey characters. No one is truly good or truly evil, it’s the way the character makes decisions and reacts to certain situations that paints them in all these shades of grey. The Merchant was honestly a character that intrigued me and scared me. I won’t say much, but wow.

The Writing:

It was incredibly atmospheric. Warwick likes to play a lot with fancy descriptions and she uses those adjectives, people. I thought the style was beautiful, it added a much needed softness to this rather dangerous and emotional journey. It enriched the story by using such wonderful phrases during the deepest of despairs. Sounds like I’m talking too much. Okay, the writing is just spot on, alright.

The World:

It’s a desert tale. You can’t get through the first chapter without already feeling the grittiness of the sand everywhere on your body. Desert settings enchant me. I think it is mainly because I could never live the desert life. Heat. Sand. Barren land. No water. No green. I would lose my mind. But for the plot of this story the desert worked really well.

This world also had a lot of restrictions on females. They were the lesser sex (Not too far from the world we are currently living in *snorts*) So you know that this had feminist themes. Namali lets us know from page one that she is tired of being tied to man’s whim and wants her freedom. And I loved the quote where one female character said that women have to fight twice as hard, to get half of what they want. That hit home with its trueness. But my girl fights and the world is brutal to her, but she fights.

The Action/Intensity:

Present. Present. Present. There was so much going on, these poor characters could not catch a break. I liked the fast pace, I liked the high stakes. It kept me on my toes and I was always intrigued to get back into reading, which is a very good sign. The twists! The revelations! WHAT!!!! There was some kind of magic which I really liked and the story of the deities in this world was 10/10. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, when the gods come out to play, things get interesting.

I Cried:

Yes. I did. I thought I would be able to keep it in, but I just could not. The story explores a lot about of themes. One being the “never enough” and the dynamics of a father-daughter relationship. This hit home. Those final scenes with Namali’s interactions with her father, I was hurttttinnnnggggggg. Throughout the story, I became so connected to Namali that I just could not help it and shed some tears with her. I felt her sadness. I felt her rage. I felt her wanderlust. I was just so connected to her. It was so so so so well done. Like wow.

Romance:

I shipped it to the shippiest of ships. And they don’t even kiss. Which there are reasons for, but like I was soooooooo invested. Like can someone find me a Sameen who will love, cherish, honour and respect me like he does Namali. Thank you.

What I Disliked:

One thing…the action could get a little to repetitive. There were some things that I could have done without and just gotten straight to the point, but no we had to detour.


Overall, I really loved this book. It surprised me in so many ways and I savoured every bit of it. IT MADE ME SHED TEARS and that is always a good sign. It was a fantasy with an adventurous journey tied to a very emotional, self-discovery narrative. It keeps you on your toes and pulls on every heart-string. It was amazing.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YEAS

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What was the last book that made you cry?  What self-discovery tales do you love?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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September Wrap Up and October TBR |Read some books, giving some thanks, trying not to be such a mess after only one month of school

Greetings readers!

This post is coming to you today from a blogger who is currently dressed in week old pyjamas and hair that looks like a wasps nest and who procrastinating instead of writing a French assignment by being here.

Well hi.

This has been a month. For Real-life Rendz it has been a month. I mean it wasn’t bad, I’m just so tired and to be honest it hasn’t been my best blogging month. My stats have been getting lower since I’m posting less frequently and I have had a low track of interaction with other bloggers. The one thing to blame: school. It’s always to blame. It’s just….I’m so tired. I could be more tired and eventually I will be getting way too tired, but it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada so I will be taking this time to relax and do some catching up!

Anyways…you are here for bookish news and I am going to get into that right now.

Reading wasn’t so bad. I have been optimizing my time on commutes to get through books, which even though it sometimes to crowded, I get in some good reading time!

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What Rendz Read

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little
This was part of a blog tour in partner with Penguin Teen CA. This book was a lot of fun. It’s not one of my typical kinds of reads, which is surprising considering how much I liked it. If you are a fan of unlikable MCs, I definitely recommend! My Full Review!

Confessions of a Teenage Leper blog tour

Children of the Bloodlands by S.M. Beiko
This was a really fun read. It’s the sequel to Scion of the Fox which I read last year. I thought this one was a lot better than book 1, so I am definitely excited to get to book 3!!! My Full Review!

CotB BlogTourGraphic

Wildcard by Marie Lu
One of my most anticipated sequels of the year! I had a lot of fun with it, though I did have some *thoughts* about the ending ending. My Full Review!

WILDCARD

The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick
This was such a surprising read. I had such a good time with it! Review to come!

And while I did not finish it, I started reading Le Voleur de Foudre, which is French for The Lighting Thief. That’s right, I’m jumping on this PJ train, while simultaneously trying to advance my French :)! It’s going to be a slowwww process but so far I am finding it quite entertaining!

The Haul

I was lucky enough to get some publisher love this month, courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA and Raincoast Books!

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

I didn’t buy anything (but I really want to…) Since this winter is going to the be the season of all releases and I couldn’t be more ready!!!


Featured Posts of the Month!

Egyptian Mythology Book Tag

Egyptian Mythology Boot Tag

Two Year Blogiversary | Oh my goodness what have I been doing for the past two years???

Two Year Blogaversary

I celebrated two whole years on WordPress and I wrote a nice big Thank You post for all my supporters and that means all of YOU!

Other Going-Ons

Narnia is Going to Netflix

You best know that I flipped my sh*t when I saw the news. Read the EW article.

film love GIF

Kim’s Convenience

Watch it. It’s A) Hilarious B) Set in Toronto C) Set in Toronto, Ontario. D) Set in Toronto, Ontario, CANADA **Patriotic Rendz take over mwahahahas (in Canadian). Seriously though, it is an amazing show and I cannot wait for season 3!

Thanksgiving and I am thankful for all of you!

Yes we celebrate it in October, when it is supposed to be celebrated. Just kidding, it’s a colonial holiday and thus will always hold the dark narrative even though we need to be grateful…so it doesn’t really matter when you celebrate it. BUT STILL I am totally thankful to be a part of this wonderful blogging community and to have made such wonderful friends over these past two years! Thank you!

charlie brown eating GIF by Peanuts

I’m Going to the Ballet!

It has been a life long dream of mine to go to an actual ballet. I mean I watched and re-watched episodes of Angelina Ballerina throughout my entire childhood. My mom indulged me once and put me in a ballet class one summer, which was fun (I was 7 in a room with 4-5 years old so I had the best understanding/coordination of the moves *feels smug*) ANYWAYS, I have been begging my sisters to go to see the Nutcracker ballet in December since A) We all had past love for  ballet B) It’s an iconic show C) Watching Barbie & the Nutcracker will only give us so much feels.

This year they said yes and we are going!!! I am sooo excited. This will be my first time at a real ballet so you best know that I will me an anxious and excited mess!

TBR

It’s ambitious and it probably won’t get done…

I am going to try my best to participate in #Spooktober or The Nightmare Before Book Princess Reviews Read-a-thon. There are 15 prompts but I am going to be completely honest with you…I’m hoping to at least make it to five! Possibly get a bingo? Well anyways, I am excited to get my reading on this fall. I have some spooky books lined up and some not so spooky ones just because I have some ARCs that I need to get through!

NBBPR

The Witching Hours: The Vampire Knife by Jack Henseleit – Halloween Town

Lulu the Broadway Mouse by Jenna Gavigan – Dr. Frankenstein

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadsow by Ryan Calejo –  “What’s This”

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth – “Jack’s Lament”

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – The Citizens 

The Sisters of Winter Wood by Rena Rossner – Mayor of Halloween Town 

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd – Zero (85% sure this book has ghosts?)

The Magic of Melwick Orchard by Rebecca Caprara – Santa Claus

This is all I can fit into this month. Seeing as we are already more than a week in, I don’t know how far I’ll get but I will TRY!!! (Plus TV is going to be really distracting with all the great Halloween movies that are going to be on!)


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? Are you happy that it is finally spooky season?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Wildcard | Review

Greetings readers!

You know that feeling you get when you finish a series and you’re in total denial that the series is actually over. Yeah. Here I am. In that exact state. I have things to say and I’m going to say them down below, so keep scrolling!

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wildcard (Warcross, #2)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: Sept 18th, 2018
Price: $24.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780399548017

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?


BUY IT!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


*Let me take a moment to praise the beautiful people at Penguin Teen Canada who sent me a finished copy! Thank you! I don’t know what I did to deserve this much love, but I think I did something good.*

It’s no secret that I harbour a great love for Marie. She was one of the first YA authors that I actually read out of my own violation and not because everyone was reading her (Yeah, I’m talking about Suzanne Collins and THG) Since the beginning of my teen years, I knew how much Marie liked to rip her readers hearts out at the end. So heading into Wildcard, I braced myself for the worst and well Marie did things.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Emika: WHAT A GODDESS. I don’t even know where to begin. After the events of Warcross Emi–and the readers for that matter–are left in a major moral dilemma. We kind of question how the heck we move on from here? Emika is still reeling from Hideo’s betrayal and is having a tough time balancing her calls from Zero too. Basically she is in a mess, is herself quite a mess and I love her ever so dearly. LIKE SHE IS A MESS. But I love her! *shrugs* Her courage to face each day, to keep reciting her father’s mantra (“Every locked door has a key.”) even when she felt that it was wrong. Her growth from Warcross is incredibly well done and she has such an inspiring monologue to go along with it, so I won’t leave any spoils here. Emi is flawed main character, no doubt, but one who is willing to go that extra mile even when it shouldn’t concern her. She is truly spectacular.

Zero: How very interesting. I won’t spoil anything about who he is, but all I can say is I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. Okay. I held out hope, however futile it may have been.

Hideo: Flawed, most definitely. Hideo also goes through some change in this book. It is his evolution into seeing how far his grief has taken him and how incredibly wrong his actions were despite his intentions being good. He is a man of warring emotions and goals, while he wants to do good his reasons behind it are selfish and his actions are corrupt. And he is swoony. So he is definitely a mix of good and bad, but which in the end will prevail?

Other characters…secondary characters from book one, like Hammie, Asher, Roshan and Tremaine all make a great come back! We delve deeper into some of their backgrounds and they are really essential to helping Emi in her quests and just being great friends in general. Then there are new people!! And boy oh boy do they take us for quite a spin!

The Intensity and Action:

Gosh it was only the third chapter and everything was already going wrong!!! Marie Lu really kept a fast-paced sequel. Poor Emika hardly ever got a breather. From beginning to end, this book is a race. Who will get what information first? Who will learn who’s plan in hopes of getting an advantage? Who is in the lead and who is desperately far behind? It’s a roller coaster of events and emotions. There is betrayal left, right and center. There are twists coming at you from all angles. It was an incredible RUSH.

The Plot & Writing:

I think Marie did a really good job in crafting the continuation of Emika’s journey. After all the turmoil that she put her characters through in Warcross, she followed it up by adding more information, more revelations that really helped piece together this intricate story line. It was not exactly what I expected, which I liked. As for her writing, I am always a fan. It was not too showy or too slangy, but a nice blend. It was clear and descriptive and so easy to follow, which is perfect when your trying to connect so many dots together!

The Romance:

Swoon. We really get more than one romance. Roshan and Tremaine get to be all adorable in the midst of all the action. Seriously, though: *heart eyes everywhere*

Then there is Hideo, Emika and a yacht and I screamed.

Swoon again.

What I Disliked:

Yeah I have a bone to pick. Ummm the ending…….was just not enough for me. I mean I liked how it ended…but it just lacked the drama I hoped for. I don’t want to say too much in case of spoilers…but I will warn you the following is SPOILER-Y-ISH-NOT-REALLY-BUT-STILL.

Read at your own discretion. Potential mild spoiler ahead. 

No tragedy…where is the tragedy!?!?!?!:

Here I am, the fool complaining that there was no tragedy in the book. Well..can you blame me? Marie is known to give sad and heart-wrenching finales. I expected as much from this book, but the final scenes were super light. Which I’m not complaining about, what I am complaining about is that there was no intense moment where I just wanted to break down out of rage/shock/sadness….it went as follows: action, action, action, intensity, intensity, intensity, mellow mellow, light end. Apparently, I was hoping for tragedy. (Even through plenty of sad things happen before hand!!!!)


Overall, I am in denial that this series is over. This book was such a rush. With the perfect action, the much needed suspense, the swoon worthy romance and a final snippet that warmed my heart. I am not ready to let go of Emi, she has so much ahead of her and I couldn’t be more proud. I feel like a proud mom, oh wow.

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Recommend: MARIE LU IS MY IDOL, I RECOMMEND ALL OF HER WORK!

Let me know what you think! How excited are you for Wildcard? If you have read it, what were your thoughts? Are you a general fan of Marie Lu?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

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

Greetings readers!

We are in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) and I thought it would be fun to do a little tag! Now HHM isn’t really talked about much where I am from. It’s not exactly established and to be honest I didn’t know it was a thing until like two years ago when I first joined twitter. So yeah.

I think this month is more well known in the US than Canada just because they have such a larger Latinx and Hispanic population. But there are Latinx people everywhere and I choose to celebrate it even if it’s really just me when I’m not online.

I found this tag on CatFairy Books which looks like a very fun blog. This tag was originally created by Booktuber Iris Moon! If you want to see more, check out their posts! It’s all about representation and how often you feel seen in books!

1. Introduce yourself! What are your identities?

Hi, I’m Rendz…but my name is not Rendz. However, for the purpose of this blog it is. Rendz is actually a nickname I sort of adopted in high school, so I adopted it for this blog of mine. I’m pretty much your everyday Rendz. Female. Cis-het. Introvert.

I was born and raised in Canada, but my parents immigrated here from El Salvador. A small Central American country that owns half of my heart. It’s not exactly the most popular country…or safe. But it is home. (Regardless of my parents saying that I can only claim it so much…yup) I choose to claim it all. It’s home and I ache to go visit.

el salvador GIF by walter_

2. What was the first book/media in which you felt represented?

I honestly don’t know the exact first time. I know it wasn’t in books. When I was young we had access to Latino TV so Univision and Telelatino were parts of my life. And even though I shouldn’t have been watching telenovelas….I did pay attention to some.

dora the explorer GIF

And I wouldn’t exactly count Dora the Explorer as the best rep either. Although she did help keep up my Spanish.

I sort of felt represented in The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson. Mostly because the world and language had Spanish influence, and Elisa was just an amazing character. (I seriously need to reread these books) But Rae Carson is not Latinx and although some words may be similar to Spanish it’s just not the same as reading a book where you actually see your experiences from your culture, right?

HOWEVER, Flor and Miranda Steal the Show by Jennifer Torres had many moments where I went #relate. So I think that is my final answer. Lock it in.

Flor and Miranda Steal the Show

3. Is there a character in your favorite book/genre that represents you?

I’m still looking.

It’s not that I haven’t found characters that I relate to, in terms of like my personality…but I would really like to see my heritage reflected in a book. Which is not gonna be easy to find. Yes, there are many Latinx books out there. But every Latinx country is distinct, we all have our own traditions, foods, customs and yes some do overlap, but I really really want to read a book about a Salvadoran character. (Don’t even get me started how long I would have to wait for a Salvadoran Canadian character, I’d have to write that!)

I don’t know when it will happen. Maybe I will make it happen? Who knows, but I am 1000% dropping all my dollars on it.

jumping el salvador GIF by U.S. Soccer Federation

4. What was the worst representation of one of your identities that you have ever read? 

Not just in books, but I get so annoyed whenever Latinx characters are A) The Sex Object B) The Troubled Kid from the gang C) The Maid/Gardener.

maid in manhattan GIF

I have had enough of that. Give me Latinx royalty. Latinx mythology. Latinx superheroes. Latinx nerds. Latinx anti-heroes. Latinx magic and fantasy.

5. What is the best representation of your identities that you have ever read?

Once again…still looking. I just have not read nearly enough Latinx books to come up with a good answer! But I am so looking forward to one day finding that book, where it hits almost all the points. For now I am just content reading any Latinx book!

6. Do you think your identities are misrepresented or underrepresented in the books that you read?

With the persistence to have an increasing presence of diversity in YA and MG, I am beginning to see the end of what was an under representation in those age categories. Recently, I have been discovering more and more books with Latinx characters and every week I check for more announcements on Latinx books that are to come. Let’s just say I have a long list of books to get to and I couldn’t be more excited. What I am hoping for is a lot more expansion within the Latinx stories told. There are so many Latinx countries out there, so many stories to be told.

I want to see them. I want to read them. I want to write them.

I Tag…

You. Everyone has an identity to share. Everyone has books that represent who they are, and I would love to read about them. So if you do decide to partake, ping back to me so I can see it! There are so many identities out there, I would love to get to know you a little more!

The Very Near Future Latinx TBR

Because so many of my answers were kind of left open since I haven’t read enough Latinx books to really know what’s out there, I decided to list some books that I know I want to get to!

Certain Dark Things and Prime Meridian and Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

Blanca & Roja (and other works) by Anna-Marie McLemore

And basically this entire list come 2019

And more!

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! Are you interested in reading more Latinx rep? Any book recommendations for Latinx rep? What kind of representation would you like to see in books/media?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz