All the Wind in the World | Review

Greetings readers!

One morning, I woke up to a lovely email from Netgalley that said my first wish had been granted. I had a mini-celebration with myself because luck had finally struck me! It was a rather groggy celebration since I had just woken up and I might have curled back to sleep afterwards, but still it was a momentous occasion for me. I was really looking forward to this one because it is written by a Latina author and it has elements of magical realism which I don’t get quite often!

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry

All the Wind in the World

via Goodreads

Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.

When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.

*I was provided a free digital ARC from Netgalley and the publisher!*

Just look at that cover! *Swoons.*  It’s absolutely gorgeous and the colours and silhouettes totally encompass this book perfectly. But I’m not here to solely critique the cover and as much as I want to say that the cover and the story go hand in hand as one blend of total epicness…I can’t. This book was good, don’t get me wrong, it just lacked that final oomph. It fell flat to me in some areas, but there was never a moment where I didn’t want to continue reading. It’s kind of complicated, me and this book.

What I Liked

Characters:

Sarah Jac: Okay, Sarah Jac and I have a bit of a bumpy relationship. On one hand I’m like “Yes, go girl! You do you. It’s a game of survival be prepared for anything!” On the other hand I’m like “No stop. You’re being stupid. No. No. Please, stop. Think girl. Think!” She was a very complicated gal, in a very complicated situation. She had to act tough, be ruthless, think about no one but herself and James, but having hard hearts leads to big trouble in many ways as having a soft heart does. She wasn’t exactly the most “likeable” character but she was and interesting one at that!

James: Well..I liked him in the first half of the novel. He seemed like the endless flirt who just wanted everyone to feel good. To be even just a little content in time of hardship. Then the second half of the novel came and my feelings changed. He wasn’t very present in the novel but his actions are known, acknowledged and not appreciated by me!

Leo: I wish there was more of him in this book because he was a really funny and charismatic person. He fades off into the background about halfway through but for *reasons* so I guess it’s okay.

Bell: What a fun creature she was, indeed.

Other characters…there were plenty other characters like the ranch owners, the other maguey laborers and foremen but none of them took a prominent position.  They did however make a big impact on Sarah Jac and her journey, Bell being the biggest factor of them all.

Atmosphere: The best aspect of this book is the atmosphere, the setting and descriptions. Just beautiful. You really get the sense of the hot desert sand, the blazing sun, the relentless heat that is beating on our characters day in and day out. Mabry does a superb job creating the atmosphere and the tension of the characters nerves, motives and actions. Very well done.

Magic Realism: So I may not be an expert or know the exact definition of what magical realism is, but I’m 100% sure this book has it. And it was beautiful. The use of magic to makes the reader understand the desperation of Sarah Jac. Her experience working in these fields and the memories from her past that plague her. I enjoyed the use of magic to explain the going-ons in Sarah’s head and her emotions. It just added to the beauty of the story and I really enjoyed it.

Though I do propose a question: What does the YA world have against bees??? This is the second book I’ve read that uses bees as a source of corruption and death…like hello? Did no one ever watch The Bee Movie, our little friends deserve justice!

Romance: Stress. So you go in with a pre-made ship you don’t have to worry about all that tension, right? No. This ship had its problems in the beginning, but I was okay with it. That’s what couples have to do, work through their problems. Survive against the toughest of circumstances. Still. *Rendz, why is this under the liked stuff if you didn’t really like it?* The drama, obviously! I lived for it and it’s one of the few things that kept me well entertained.

What I Disliked

It could be slooooww: It got boring really fast and I just couldn’t keep myself glued to the pages long enough. I would have no motivation to pick it up because I knew that I was going to have to endure endless pages of Sarah Jac in her head, just thinking. That’s not to say that all her thoughts were boring, it’s just that sometimes things got repetitive and I wasn’t into it.

I was also a little confused about the time period! Was it set in the old west or in some twisted dystopia based on that time…I was very confused….it came off to me as a mix of both.

The Quick-Fixer-Upper Ending: This is a really big pet peeve of mine. Sometimes authors just end their books, they don’t conclude. This is one of them. If a book is a stand alone and the character’s journey is ending then they at least deserve a good, solid portrayal of what their lives after will be like after. I feel like this book ending too fast, there was no look into the post-trauma, just a “well they sort of lived happily ever after on their farm and they still have some issues dealing with the past. The end.” Ummmm could you expand maybe, just a little please? Like their issues were kind of big!! Really big actually, I’m still not over it!


Overall, it was a lovely story. I really enjoyed the more dramatic and entertaining bits and the hint of magic made the atmosphere even more beautiful to be in. The interesting characters and their dark pasts and motives made this a real roller coaster of emotions. Even some of their good intentions weren’t all that “good”. Interesting, I feel is the just the word to describe it.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes! If you want to start out reading some Magical Realism, this could be a start!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Can we gush about that cover? What genres are you looking to get into/try out? I definitely need more MR recs!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Tower of Dawn | Review

Greetings readers!

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I have long awaited this book. Not because I have been dying to read more SJM, not because I want to know more about that super important revelation she mentioned. No. I read this because I LOVE, I repeat I LOVE Chaol Westfall. And if you disagree or are completely perplexed at this little confession of mine, well I don’t really care. 🙂

What can I say? I’m going to start with stating the obvious:

  1. My life would have been much easier had I not read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
  2. I’m in love with Chaol Westfall, so I go forth for him.
  3. I am Petty when it comes to this series. P. E. T. T. Y.

I will in advance warn you about my pettiness.

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Books stress me out guys, this series just makes me plain angry and argghhhhhh! I hold unpopular opinions in this fandom that would have me incarcerated by others. Just kidding. I just have a lot of arguments with a lot of people who try to “change my mind”. News flash: it ain’t gonna happen! I just can’t.  Thinking about *certain* characters raises my blood pressure and I get frustrated with everything!

If you haven’t read this series (I applaud you for staying away. Honestly save yourself the trouble) well I can’t protect you from spoilers of books 1-5 anymore. I will highlight the spoiler stuff from this specific book, but I cannot guarantee you not getting spoiled about anything else in the series. So sorry.

I feel like this review is going to be full of unpopular opinions…but not in the way you might expect.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

tod

via Goodreads

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

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I love Chaol. Plain and simple. So many people fight me over why and all I do is point out that he is one hell of a flawed human, who makes mistakes, who has regrets, who is loyal, who sacrificed everything he had for his King, and tells it as it is. Did I mention this guy is 🔥🔥🔥?! Well, I’m shouting from the rooftops! CHAOL IS 🔥🔥🔥!!!!!! He gets so much hate and I can’t stand it, but I deal with it. Guys, I’m cool, okay? I deal with it. I disagree 1000000% and may get a little (very) flustered but I’m cooooool! I’m cool. *she said not very cool-like*

So yeah, if your an anti-Chaol kind of person, your reading a review by a pro-Chaol-anti-the-main-characters kind of gal. Just a fact.

I’m writing this in public and trying not to look like a flustered and obsessive fool….

*actual footage of Rendz*

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It’s so not working!

Okay, let’s get to it.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Chaol: *just gushing and swooning in public here* Ummm yeah. For all the reasons highlighted above. Flawed and human and hot and loyal and the total package! *at least one of you out there rolled your eyes…I sense you.* So Chaol, currently paralyzed waist down with a working manhood. Just facts guys, just facts. Don’t get weird on me. But yes, he travelling with Nesryn (friend w/ benefits?) to go and find the famed healers of the Southern Continent in hopes that he might be able to walk again. Chaol grows immensely in this book. He is a natural pessimistic so trying to see the bright side in things isn’t exactly his forte. He knows that the likely hood of him getting up again is slim so he learns to find hope. He is also trying to get together some allies to help aid them with the huge war brewing in the North. Neither tasks are easy and he goes through so many struggles, especially having to deal with the cunning and stubborn Khagan court.  But most importantly having to deal with his own inner turmoils.

Let’s just say…

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Nesryn: Yeah so our dear Nes here was brought into this series as a love interest really, it’s that obvious in Queen of Shadows. She isn’t so up front in that book, like she is in this one: so if your complaint for “not liking her” is equivalent to “not knowing enough about her” then I suggest you read this book because she is a pretty great gal!  She does have family from the Southern Continent so going back was like having a grand reunion with people she hadn’t seen in a while! I love how important her family is to her. And not just her immediate family, but all her relatives and people of the South. She is a resilient character, keeping her head up despite the many struggles she faces. I love how she found a sense of kinship even though she hadn’t seen her home in years, it’s so precious! Suffice to say that I loved that her character was explored in this book, that we got to see more than one side to her!

Yrene: I loved Yrene in the novella The Assassin & the Healer, I thought she had potential to move on to be a great character! I mean she was a healer in a time when magic was banned and she was going on an adventure to the south. Low and behold here she is in the midst of her adventure!!! I honestly fell even more in love with Yrene in this book. She was sassy and smart but still the gentle, kind and curious soul I remember her to be. She is fully fleshed out in this book, her past gets delved into deeper and some of the prejudices she harbours change too! Plus her bickering and teasing with Chaol always made my day!

Different World: Instead of it always being cold now it’s just tremendously hot. And you know what that means, Chaol has his shirt off all the time and that, ladies and gents, makes me very happy. As mentioned, this book takes place in the Southern Continent and the Khagnate which I believe was inspired by the Mongol Empire. So every character was pretty much a PoC, save those hailing from the North. I loved the change of setting a lot, I enjoyed this new built in world which had new laws and different societal norms. I liked that SJM really emphasized the differences between the north and the south and how it would come to affect Chaol’s goal in retrieving allies.

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Diversity was Better: This is true. In terms of different characters there is a wider variety. Most of the character are PoC seeing as it takes place in the south where skin colours range from light to dark brown. There are gay characters, one of the more principle royals is lesbian, and of course there is Chaol and his disability. Now I hesitate to comment on the disabled rep because I am not the person to say if it was done good or badly. I will however mention that Chaol did say that he hated people who said he would be “fixed” because he is not “broken”. So I appreciated that at least. Otherwise, I would have to look into someone else’s views on that particular rep. This is a step up from SJMs usual white washed world so pat on the back for that.

Suspense: I will be honest there is not a lot of action in this one. It’s mainly talking and healing and some more talking. There are most definitely action scenes! Nesyrn can be thanked for that! A new type of magical creature is introduced which was so much fun to explore!! But action I think really takes a back seat. What really kept me glued to the pages was the political circles that the Great Khagan and his Court were making Chaol and Nesryn run around.  So many twists.  So many moments where I was left a little perplexed as to how difficult they were making this journey for him. But it kept me glued and that is what I want people! To be glued. Not to mention Chaol’s journeys into himself and fighting whatever was brewing in that wound of his also added to the suspense and mystery of the story.

Romance: My baby is happy and that’s all that matters to me. Not going to lie though. This romance plot had me stressed to the highest levels and we had to revisit his last nasty break up which just hurt my soul. Y’all have no idea how affected I was when Chaolaena sunk. Sad doesn’t even cover it. Devastated. Distraught. Anguished. But now he’s happy and that’s the most I could ask for.  The sexy scenes were still more NA then YA, but I ship the ship so I was cool with it, not sure it’s appropriate for the 12 yr olds out there, though. However, I think they were less intense than EoS.

*might be spoilery*

Chaol’s face: I loved it before and now it’s just 10000000x better.

*end of might be spoilery*

What I Disliked

*Pettiness to come*

Slow Beginning: It took five-ever to get this going. Look, I appreciate a 600 page novel on my baby, but at least let there be something happening. I totally understand why people were kind of complaining because literally little to nothing happens in those first 100 pages! Still I stuck through because Chaol! And I hope you stick around too because it gets 1000x better!

The Cover: I.  WILL. NEVER. GET. OVER. IT. NO. NO. NO. CHAOL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE COVER. FIGHT ME! I did rant about this in a separate post however so you can see more of my anger there: Tower of Dawn Cover & My Thoughts

The fan made one is still 100000000x better.

The Idolization of Rowan and Aelin: *pitch forks and torches suddenly surround Rendz* I hated this with a passion. *pitch forks get closer to Rendz* This book couldn’t go three pages without mentioning the mysterious Queen of the North, the Fireheart, the Queen and her Fae Prince, the….I DON’T GIVE A DAMN! Aelin is in no way a saint and this book honesty paints her as one every three pages. I literally counted how many times Chaol was mentioned in EoS; 13! 13. This is a 600 page novel and I have to endure her being talked about like a saviour every three pages! Sometimes twice on one page! There was however, one page where Chaol was going through a tough time and he said he hated Aelin and everything she did to ruin his life, I applauded. That was the best page ever. Things obviously change in the next page and we are back to praising her, but bless that page for saying the damn truth!

As you can see my pettiness with this series is strong and I’m not afraid to show it off!

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The Ending-Ending: I could have done without it, tbh. I know most others will however appreciate it.

Warning…More pettiness…..

Indigo (my big book retailer) had an Exclusive Edition…so of course I snatched it up! But I when I was thinking about a dust jacket poster, I was envisioning a beautiful scene from the book with my baby and perhaps Nesryn and Yrene at his side.

No.

Gorgeous finished copies of the special editions of Tower of Dawn just landed on my doorstep!!! 😍😍😍 Can't believe I'm finally holding this book in my hands (don't let its size deceive you: this baby clocks in at 660 pages)! Thanks so, so much to the amazingly talented artists who so graciously let us feature their work!! From top left: Nesryn and Chaol by @taratjah in the Target edition (the back pages of this book feature pieces by @merwildandco and @charliebowater); the @barnesandnoble edition that features some sample pages from my notebook while writing ToD (not featured here bc of spoilers!); and the beautiful poster of ToG characters by @merwildandco, which will be available at @chaptersindigo and in Australia & New Zealand! Only one month left until ToD is out in the world!! #towerofdawn #chaolwestfall #yrenetowers #nesrynfaliq #throneofglass

A post shared by Sarah J. Maas (@therealsjmaas) on

Instead, I got Aelin & Co. ft. Chaol on the back flap. The back flap. I’m going to be honest, I was (extremely) mad when I first saw the poster, I was yelling a lot. I was angry for a good two hours, I just kept on repeating the words “disrespect” and “horrible” and making roaring noises. I laugh at myself when I think about my reaction now, since it is a pretty nice poster but still….I could have done without Aelin & Co. I would, however, keep Dorian and Manon!


Overall, I liked it. Will it top my love for Crown of Midnight…no. But it came close and I appreciate a whole book dedicated to my baby, Chaol despite it having a heavy mention of you know who. The info in this book is really important to the rest of the series so I obviously see why you have to read it and I am happy that I did!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars (I would give Chaol all the stars though…anything for one of my book husbands!)

Recommend: Well duh! If you are gonna read the finale you kind of have to know what went down in this one. Plus, I need to find more Chaol-supporters out there!! Find me!!

Well, this is the end for now. The finale comes out next fall for all those wondering. I honestly am fine with this, I need a break from all this SJM. Who knows what I’ll do when I get to her other series, it won’t be for a while!

Let me know what you think! What did you guys think? Where my Chaol lovers at? Did some of the twists surprise you? If you want to rip me a new one about Chaol, go ahead, but I will always disagree. Just stay civil, no pitchforks!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Warcross Review

Greetings readers!

There are some moments that just stick with you forever. Those moments that either truly traumatized you or just leave you feeling good inside.

I have a lot of traumatic memories, most of them are embarrassing but hey, that’s just me and my awkward self.

One of those special moments is a mixture of both traumatic and happy! I was lucky enough to meet Marie Lu almost a year ago, in October when she was on her The Midnight Star tour. Meeting her left me shaking, if you don’t know, MARIE LU IS MY IDOL!

*Read more about that fateful day here*

Her books have left me mostly traumatized since I was 12 (but traumatized in a good way!)

So earlier this summer, I, for some odd reason, got a magical stroke of luck and won my first Goodreads giveaway! (It was the first one I ever entered!) AND I WON A GALLEY OF WARCROSS!!! Just imagine loud screeching and jumping up and down, that was basically my reaction! Then I actually received the book on Book Lovers Day!! I can’t even explain how over the moon I was!

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross, #1)

via Goodreads

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

*I received this galley from a Goodreads giveaway, which doesn’t affect my opinion in any way.*

I’ve been waiting for this book since she first announced it! I will gobble anything written by Marie Lu. Even though I am not a video game kind of gal (I’ve never played a real video game in my life….it’s true!) I was still super excited for this! Virtual reality and a hot swoony billionaire, Y A S! So after having read it, I can happily tell you that it is classic Marie. Fun, stressful, and a hell of a lot twisty. PLUS THAT ENDING! I almost died.

What I Liked

Characters:

Emika: I love her, rainbow hair and all. (Not going to lie though, I would sometimes forget her colourful hair in my imagination and have to fix up my visual image!) But yes, Emika! A super talented hacker and incredible Warcross player with a tragic life story. She lives day to day just thinking about the amount of money she owes and scratching up just enough to get by, but time ran out for her and she had to make some big decisions. One of those obviously including hacking into the biggest game in the world! Perhaps not the most well thought out plan, but she is crazy smart and so brave considering how alone she has been her whole life. She is no Cress (the hacker-love of my life) but she knows what’s she’s doing and she does it well!

Hideo: Oh my God, *swoon*. Marie always makes up such great complex and broody book boyfriends that I just cannot! And he is a young, successful billionaire! Plus insanely hot! *I’m not saying I’m a gold digger, but billionaire is a pretty attractive word 😂* He is a rather elusive character, but slowly he is revealed to the reader. His own tragic past and his plans for the future: to make it different, make it better. He is as I mentioned a very complex guy.

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Other characters…Marie never fails in the diversity factor! Long before it was even a hot topic in YA (though it should have always been) There are all kinds of characters in this killer novel. Disabled, gay, various different races including a Latina (yay!) not to mention Emika is Chinese-American. I loved all the side characters of course! They were so much fun to explore and added an extra richness to Emika’s life and story!

Setting: Hello Japan! A country I have actually never visited, but I would love to some day! Though the Japan in this book is very, very different from Japan today! I don’t know the exact year, but I am pretty sure this book takes place in the future where technology has reached levels so incredible that only books likes these know of them! The descriptions of the tech and scenery really gave a beautiful distinction between the reality and virtual world, which I will talk about next!

The Virtual Reality: Since tech is so advanced in this story, people can live in Warcross basically all the time. (Which while I think is cool, is also pretty scary!) I loved every moment of playing the Warcross game and exploring the worlds within it. I loved the use of the characters’ knowledge in coding and all things computer science! I think it added authenticity to the story instead of the characters just knowing how to do all that crazy nonsense!

Action Packed!: Marie also never fails to keep me on my toes. When I was reading I wouldn’t leave the couch because there was always something next. Another game to play, another hacker to stalk, another secret meeting with Hideo. It was a constant pull to just keep reading, keep going. Plus the actual Warcross games themselves were like actual video games, so they were very action packed and suspenseful! Not to mention those that went downhill!

Romance: Slow burn! It’s always a slow burn with Marie, nothing ever happens in the moment, it happens with time. Emi and Hideo build a relationship. One that was supposed to be strictly business, but it leads to more. As they interact they find their commonalities, they find their differences and everything in between. Emika has looked up to Hideo since she was 11 in foster care and he was a 13 year-old genius. She might have idolized him just a tad, but who would ever think that they would get to meet and find more to love in their idols?! And find out that their idol is secretly impressed with them and begins to open up about himself to them. The chances of that happening is like 0, but this is a one in a million romance guys and I SHIP IT!

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Those Legend & Young Elites Easter Eggs: I just about died, when I read “Daniel Batu Wing”. I highly doubt he has any relation to my precious Daniel Altan Wing, but still! And then the one-eyed white wolf showed up in a Warcross game and I just about died again!

The Ending: Welp. I saw it coming and at the same time I didn’t. If that makes any sense. You see I predicted it but usually my predictions are never spot on…and while I wasn’t exactly spot on, I still got it!!! Was I a little upset that I guessed it? Yes and no. Yes, because darn it! I like to be surprised. And no, because darn it that was a great ending! THAT TWIST! It makes you seriously questions your morals and what you think “saving the world” is all about! Magnifique!

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What I Disliked

It Took A While: As much as I say there was Suspense! Suspense! Suspense! There was that little section of the beginning where I felt like Emika was just drawling on and on about her tragic past. Which was very tragic…but I got tired of it a little too soon…Awesome things did happen at the beginning, but there was no effortless connection to the characters. Everyone was a stranger to me until things finally started to happen!


Overall, I loved it! This book has had some intense amount of praise and hype because it deserves it! I’ve never read a book half set in a VR and it was an incredible experience! Trust me, once you let the characters grow on you a little bit you’ll be sobbing, panicking and cheering right along with them. Until the end of course, then you’ll just be sobbing!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: HECK YEAH! It’s Marie Lu people, MARIE LU!

Let me know what you think? This book came out last week so if l would love to hear your thoughts on it! What’s your favourite Marie Lu book? Does she always make you sob? (The only answer is, yes.) What are some of your favourite video games?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Colorless | Review

Greetings readers!

With school starting, blogging and I have been very far from each other, writing reviews is almost at a minimum. Still I have responsibilities so I must meet those!

First, let me tell you about the #struggle in writing this review. If you didn’t know I’m Canadian and in Canada we spell colourless with a U! And writing this entire review was tough because I would try to spell it the American way, forget and then remember and well I just gave up altogether in trying! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So if you see a mix of both….oops.

Colorless by Rita Stradling

Colorless (Colorless, #1)

via Goodreads

In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colourless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

*I was provided a free digital copy from the Publisher via Net Galley. This in no way affects my opinion!*

First of all: Cover = Gorgeous. Secondly, the synopsis of this book really intrigued me. I mean a person who had no colour, who was invisible, but still very much alive! Hello intrigue. I liked this book, it was not what I was expecting especially with the whole magical system and religion, but there were a few things that I felt it was missing.

What I liked

Characters:

Annabelle: She was a good MC. She had to learn how to navigate herself in a society that couldn’t see her but was desperately trying to hunt her down. She was tough and a thorough thinker in her plans….they might not have always gone as planned but at least she thought them through! I liked that she was stubborn and a hard head but still believed she was ever so patient and what was “lady like” in her time. She was not outstandingly amazing, but she wasn’t completely annoying either. And easy medium really.

Dylan: Again nothing utterly amazing about him, but he did add a lot of humour and mystery as well. I don’t know exactly how I feel about him in terms of putting him at boy toy level…or just not. He was a renowned “rake” to many of the maids of the stable, but he wasn’t a complete asshole. How do I put this into words…he was tired of being perceived as solely a sex object and wanted to he treated as someone who has feelings and wanted a real relationship. Yeah….something like that. Well he fought his “rake” title, but good reputation is hard to build!

Other characters… There were Dylan’s brothers who added more mystery and intrigue. As the only people (plus their grandmother) who could see Annabelle without her colour they had to figure out ways to help her. One brother was slightly less inclined to help and often caused a hard time for our poor, colourless Annabelle. There was also Tony who actually was an asshole but for *reasons* so we kind of forgive him…?

Descriptions & Settings: The world that Annabelle lived in was really set out. Despite the fact that she was colourless, everything else was filled with colour and there were very beautiful descriptions of the scenery and people. Even when she became colourless I could clearly visualize the colour melting off of her as it was described so I really enjoyed that.

Those Snippets of Religious Text: What I really liked is that there were mini paragraphs every few chapters that explained some of the gods that were mentioned in this book. It gave insight into exactly what was being dealt with which I liked, especially since the gods aren’t really present in the story so we get to know them through other means. It also added more structure to the society that the characters were living in and what the beliefs of the people were.

What I Disliked:

A Whole Lot of Confusion: I was thoroughly confused at some parts of the story. I knew that the monks were bad and that they had the people very controlled with the magicians and fear of the gods. Still why did the author need to add in these wolves? *But Rendz they are mentioned in the synopsis* BUT I DON’T GET IT! Where did they come from? How is it that you are chosen to become a dire wolf? Like why are they relevant? To chase down the iconoclasts? Okay…and…? My second complaint. These iconoclasts, so they lose colour…okay. I’m following. How come only some can see them? Annabelle’s transformation into being colourless still confuses me!! I still don’t get why they are so evil in the eyes of the magicians. I know why the magicians are evil but still their motives for targeting the colourless confuses me.

And don’t even get me started with the printing press. I didn’t get that, not at all.

Memorability: Even though the story was super cool and there were some intriguing elements, the story fell flat in being memorable. Like it’s been a few days and I’m already starting to forget character names,  events that are important parts of the plot. Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time answering those questions! It’s just not sticking to me and I wish it would because the ending was left open for a possible sequel….but I don’t exactly recall the actual ending of the book.

Yikes.


Overall, I did enjoy the book in the moment. It was magical, mysterious and very twisty. I did enjoy the magical elements and some of the more suspenseful events. Not to mention those monks were insanely creepy, but if I’m honest this book had me hooked in the moment not the moments after…sigh.

Rating: 2.75-3 / 5 Stars (In the moment 3…in the moments after 2.75)

Recommend: Sure. (Actually can someone read it and then explain things to me? Thanks)

Let me know what you think! How good are you at remembering stories? If you read this one, what did you think?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Bride of Glass | Review

Greetings readers!

I am not much of a thriller, horror kind of person. I’m just too much of a scaredy cat. Literally, I am weak. I am however, a fantasy kind of person. If the two are mixed…well that spells a whole lot of fun for me! And if the story is super intriguing, a little bloody and perhaps some kissing here and there: I’m all for it!

The Bride of Glass by Candace Robinson

The Bride of Glass (Glass Vault, #2)

via giphy.com

Perrie Madeline is trapped in Vale’s clutches as the Bride. Can Perrie find a way to escape her mental prison?

Maisie Jaser is on a rescue mission to retrieve her cousin and best friend, Perrie. Together, she hopes to bring down Vale and rid the world of the destruction he has caused.

Will Vale prevail?

*I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review*

 

So back at the end of the first book, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, I was immediately like: there better be a sequel…no way in hell it can end like this!!! Thankfully, Candace fulfilled my wish and wrote a sequel! Hoorah! Luckily, it was just as entertaining, fun and spookalicious as the first one!

What I liked:

Characters:

Perrie: I really liked Perrie in this one, she was fighting for her own conscience which I found very intriguing for the first half of the book. She doesn’t have it easy and a lot of bad stuff happens because of her. She has to accustom herself to a completely new life, without some of the old comforts she had. She has to forgive herself for some of the evil she herself unleashed. Yet, despite all this she is thoughtful and brave!

Maisie: Stole the show for me! She was the best! Very quirky, funny and oh-so courageous. She had a minor role in the first novel, but this book really showed off her best self! She doesn’t always think twice about her decisions, but since her gut is right a lot of the time, we’ll allow it!

Vale: Oh so intriguing. Another character fighting for conscience and moral. His back story was very interesting, though I wished a little bit of it had been established in book one. That would have elevated it so much more in this one.

And Neven, sweet Neven. He just got a lot of “awwww”s from me!

Plot: I thought the overall story itself was done well.  It connected well with the first book and closed all those hanging moments very nicely. I liked the backstory chapters in between the present day chapters because they really helped to give insight into the characters motives and actions. It also brought in those historical and mythological figures that were featured in the first book, which I loved.  It focuses less on being inside a traditional fantasy setting and brings the problems and the evil outside to the real world.

That Cover: Glorious. Symbolism is like used to the max on it and I love it! Plus it’s purple!!!!!!

Romance: Ship! Ship! Ship! TWO SHIPS! The first ship was a little scary. It started out as abusive….but changed because *things happen* and though this book does not in any way promote the abuse as romantic, it was there and I was a little hesitant to cope after it in the second half. The other ship however: SHIP SHIP SHIP!!!!

What I Disliked:

The Flow: My biggest complaint. All the good drama as battle stuff doesn’t happen until the very, very end. I’m talking last chapter. There was not enough time put into that drama which was what I wanted. The first 80% of the novel was just the characters walking, talking and some small backstory bits. Not to say that they weren’t entertaining and had some suspenseful elements, it’s just that the end was super squeaky clean!The big epic finale didn’t happen. The part where I was supposed to be biting my nails and going OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG didn’t happen and I was very disappointed!

What did happen wasn’t even that intense. The author opened up a great window, but didn’t use it! I was hoping for a little more on that factor!


Overall, I did enjoy this book! It was fast and when I did read I couldn’t put it down!! The characters are what made this book great, so if your a character kinda person like me, definitely check it out!

Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Like your books a little bloody, a little spooky, and a whole lot of intrigue? Perhaps with a little fairy tale elements here and there? Then yes!!

This book came out September 1st, yesterday! Please go out and support out fellow blogger author Candace @ Literary Dust by giving her book a read! (But read the first one first!! Obviously!)

Let me know what you think. What are some of your favourite historical figures you would love to see get YA twists?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Black Birds of the Gallows | Review

Greetings readers!

There are lots of reasons books attract me. There is the pretty cover. The promising synopsis. The one little element that has me going: YAS! This one had all three. I mean just look at that cover! The synopsis, oh my! Harbingers of death! And that “YAS” element: Black birds. I don’t know why, but Rendz was instantly intrigued by that ominous title!

Black Birds of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Black Bird of the Gallows

via Goodreads

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

*I was provided a free digital copy from Entangled Teen via Netgalley, which in no way affects my opinion!*

Um…yes! That synopsis just spells intrigue all over it! Harbingers of death!! This novel was very fun. It had a lot of ominous and spooky elements that payed homage to the death themes, the characters were funny and quirky and the overall story moved quite well! It was also a very quick read, which I appreciated!

What I liked:

Characters:

Angie: Angie was a very interesting character. She was the shy, meek girl who stayed in the shadows, she was also a girl with a difficult past and a girl with an opportunistic future. She had an alter-ego and everything! I liked her character a lot, she was quirky and curious. I mean that opening scene had me laughing out loud. Her curiosity gets her into some trouble, but when does curiosity ever lead to anything but trouble?

Reece: Reece is your typical YA kind of guy. Hot? Check. Broody? Check. Swoony? Double check (He is from Spain, hello!…..well “from Spain”) Has a difficult past that he can only share with the female main character? Check. Bonus: He can shape-shift. He’s not an unlikable kind of guy, but he just wasn’t very outstanding! I needed a little more meat to his character to really cement some feelings. But definitely Boy Toy material.

There several other characters in this book like Angie’s friends, who brought a lot of comedy! Angie’s relationship with her father was absolutely precious. It wasn’t distant or distraught, but very strong and fortified! So kudos to Kassel for skipping that absent-parental YA trope!

The Birds & the Bees: No not that kind of birds and bees, I literally mean the birds and the bees. Two beings that coexist in this book in order to bring death. It’s not exactly team-building kind of work and it’s not a pleasant symbiotic relationship but wherever one is the other will be! And it was creepy as hell. I will never look at bees the same, or crows for that matter. Neither of which have a prominent presence where I live. However, I did like how these two creatures held their own little mythology and magic. It was a great way to stir up trouble in the town, without it being obvious.

The Atmosphere: It’s cold, it’s chilly, it’s darn right creepy! The isolated town in the mountain where supernatural things are bound to happen was the perfect  setting to this novel! Kassel did a great job of setting up all those mysterious tones and the mood was always paranoia. What was going to happen next? A perfect, perfect setting!

Not to mention the “villain”, who can also be argued as a “victim” was super odd. He was borderline stalker creepy! With faces that changed and bees that literally pour out of his mouth! EW! But his reasoning for his intentions was great. It is something you want to sympathize with, but at the same time negate because he is doing horrible things!

What I Disliked:

Backstory Could’ve Been Stronger: Backstory was a huge element in this book. HUGE! And it totally fell for me. 😦 I felt like Angie’s and Reece’s stories needed to be focused on more, to really understand how they came to be who they are. Although Angie did have her story touched upon various times in the book, I felt like it needed just a little more. As for Reece, there wasn’t really any of that broody backstory to reference.

Origins of the magic that dwells in the bird and bees also could have been further explained. There was no clear story as to where these beings came from other than that there was a curse and more powerful beings controlling them!

Resolution: It was just too squeaky clean. Kassel does this thing (which I don’t always appreciate) where a vast amount of time passes between the end of the conflict and now the characters are back to their regular lives, but it’s not an epilogue. There is no post-struggle drama…everybody is just cool with what passed. And though I don’t want to spoil, Reece’s resolution to his little bird problem was in no way satisfying. I had a lot of “whys” and “hows” by the end of the book.


Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was fun and creepilicious. It has some of those typical paranormal tropes and it’s rather predictable here and there. Still, I liked it. It grabbed my attention and it was a solid story!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes! For my lovers of Autumn who want a deliciously creepy read!

Let me know what you think! What elements of a book really make you want to pick it up? What’s your favourite tropey paranormal read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Mini Reviews | Sabriel & I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Greetings readers!

Library hauls call for lots of books. Lots of books call for lots of reviews.

Lots of reviews make Rendz lazy, so she pushes them off for weeks!

Then full reviews turn into mini reviews and multiple mini reviews take up one post!

Making Rendz’s head ache!

But I’ve read so many good books that I just need to share them with you guys, so multiple mini reviews it shall be!

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)

via Goodreads

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

This is a classic fantasy book that I have been wanting to read for a while!

The Likes:

  • Wow…..what a prologue of intrigue!
  • Sabriel = funny, smart and so, so, so brave! I loved every minute of her adventure!
  • WOW NECROMANCY MAGIC WOAH!!!! YES. YES. YES. With BELLS, how cool!
  • Travelling through the Nine Gates of “Hell”, WOAH!
  • Sassy talking cat!!! Mogget was the funniest character and honestly made the whole book for me!
  • The fantasy world itself was so magical! There was a lot of mystery and so much exploring to be done in the realm
  • Literally cannot pronounce any of the fantastical words.
  • The bad guys were on point!
  • Why….Hello Touchstone. Broody, smol, funny bean! *bats eyelashes*
  • The adventure itself was fun and very twisty. There were a lot of things that went wrong and the final battle held a lot of heartbreak! Right up to the last page!
  • The epilogue saved my soul.

The Dislikes:

  • I was confused quite a bit, there were so many different clans and types of magic that didn’t fully click in my mind!
  • It was a little slow sometimes…I kind of got tired of reading. And the beginning chapters when Sabriel was alone were the most grueling!
  • Despite there being so much magic, I needed more. I needed clarification. (Do I even make sense??)

Overall it was a good book. I look forward to reading the next book, but I’m afraid it focuses on other characters in the realm! Hopefully Sabriel’s story isn’t completely finished!

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: For the classic Fantasy lovers!



I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl  by Gretchen McNeil

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

via Goodreads

From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff  and Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

Another summer contemporary read that I have been eyeing for a while!

The Likes

  • Beatrice is fun and quirky! A half Filipina MC! She is definitely flawed, but she does have a super amazing brain that can work things out so quickly. Things that are math related of course….things like relationships need more time in the processor for her!
  • Spencer…broody, moody artist! Très wow!
  • Gabe! The heart and soul of the book! Awwwwwwwwwwww!!!!
  • It took a bit, but I finally understand what a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is!
  • Although I was very #TRIGGERED by all the calculus that was in this book, I enjoyed it and it even made some sense! (not a lot though…)
  • Drama. Lived for it.
  • Second Hand Embarrassment is at an all time super high in this one.
  • I laughed A LOT. I love that French part XD
  • The ending: Millions of heart eyes!!!! Awwwwwwwwww!!!!
  • Romance: IT TOOK FOREVER *did I mention that Bea was not great at analyzing relationships?*

The Dislikes

  • Not a lot of girl friendships until the very, very, very, very end and it was super super minimal, it’s actually a lot of girl on girl hate because Bea has such a hard time relating to others.
  • It was super mellow! Even the most suspenseful or heart-stopping moments didn’t make me budge.
  • Maybe a little more detail in Bea’s messed up parents life?? (This is mainly me just wanting to know more because honestly her mom and dad are nuts. Locos.)

Overall, it was a cute solid contemporary. It wasn’t as heart warming and intense as I was hoping but it was very, very funny! A perfect summer read, even though it takes place during the school year 🙂

Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars

Recommend: For the lovers of contemporary who want to laugh!


*wipes forehead* Phew! That was something! Two of my okay reads this past month! I look forward to reviewing some of my higher rated books later this month!

Let me know what you guys think! Have you read these? What classic fantasies do you have yet to get to? Any other humour filled contemporary recs?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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House of Ash | Review

Greetings readers!

It feel like it has been forever since I have written a review. The mood has just not struck me lately. While I have read a lot, I have been slacking on turning on the laptop and typing away. But here I am today, tying away at a review that I hope you will enjoy!

House of Ash by Hope Cook

House of Ash

via Goodreads

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.

But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.

*I was provided a copy via Netgalley & the publisher, but all opinions are my own!*

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this book. Was this going to be time-travel-y, horrorish, fantastical? Like, I didn’t know! It definitely turned out to be a mix of all of those. With a whole lot more just thrown in at you. The synopsis really does the bare minimum to prepare you for the novel. I’m not saying that it was unpleasant, but very different from what I didn’t even know to expect! (Rendz, you make no sense sometimes…)

What I Liked

Characters: 

Mila: While I felt she was just a tad underdeveloped, I enjoyed her character. For a woman living in the 1800s she was rather scandalous. She rode horses and didn’t like to conform to the typical role of a woman in her time. She was far more advanced in her thinking. She was most definitely not perfect, she had her flaws especially her tendency to run head first into trouble. But she was undeniably brave considering the struggles she went through.

Curtis: I found he was the bigger focus of the novel. He had a tough life, grieving his dead mother having to protect his younger sister and somehow manage their mentally ill father. It is clear that Curtis did not enjoy his life and would have rather been born in a different family.  Now that his own sanity is at risk with the whispers, he finds himself in even more troubles and things get a hell of a lot worse. He was a very complex character. He had his rough side, his tender side, his defeated side and his fighter side. A lot of different faces for different situations.

Switching Between Times: It was smooth and not confusing. Sometimes the story gets all jumbled when it keeps being switched back and forth, back and forth. I thought that it was great in this book. There was never really a dull moment in either. I would get engrossed in the Curtis’ time and then switch to Mila’s and still be engrossed because things were always changing!

Setting: *IN CANADA* You know, patriotic Rendz brought out her flag and timmies XD

But seriously, I enjoyed the haunting and ominous setting. It was very creepy and alluring, and went perfectly with both time lines. As much as I like to say that it was very haunting, I will say that maybe a little more detail to just complete the atmosphere would have made this book even better.

THIS IS MONSTER HOUSE BUT WITH TIME TRAVEL: If you don’t know what I’m talking about…I’m talking about this:

Image result

via google!

*I don’t know about you, but this movie freaked me out as a small person!*

The element of the living house is what I found common between the book and the movie! It was what gave the extra little creep factor! While I was reading and this image of a creepy house that lives popped up into my mind, THIS MOVIE came to me in a huge flashback! The stories are very different but the whole haunted house thing is similar!

It eats people….

What I Disliked:

Serious Issues That Are Just Kind of Thrown At You: By page 40 or so in this book I was exposed to several serious topics. You have parental abuse, mental illness and suicide. I was anticipating MI, but the other two just came at me. The parental abuse was very minimal…but I found that it was also addressed minimally. Suicide went hand in hand with the MI aspect…but again, I felt like it was dealt with too simply. Again, I don’t know. I am no expert in any of these topics, so I cannot really be a judge.

Abrupt Ending: This was the ending: Mystery solved. Dusts off hands. The End. There was no final ta-da or wazam! I kept flipping to see if there would be more after, but no. There was a big *thing* at the end that I think needed some explaining because I found it hard to wrap my head around!


Overall, I thought it was a good story. It did keep me on my toes and had some great creepy feelings to go alongside the time travelling mystery. I liked how the story flowed and came together overall, despite those minor issues I mentioned. It didn’t leave room for a sequel, but like…a sequel could be useful to explain that *thing* I mentioned at the end! I almost forgot! This book has a few images! They aren’t full colour and kind of look like X-rays…but not! But again, it added to the creep factor!

Rating: 3.75 Stars

Recommend: A Monster House-esque tale, with creepy Victorian and Present Day Canada! Oh yes!

I’d like to know how you fare in a haunted house! Can you make it to the end? Would you break down in the middle of it? Or never dare go in?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Bridges: A Daphne White Novel | Review

Greetings readers!

There are a few genres that I pick up rarely. And when I mean rarely, I mean like once a year, maybe twice? It’s usually a genre that I have very little interest in or think I will just not enjoy.

That is of course not always the case.

Women’s Fiction is one of those genres. I have picked up WF before and enjoyed some of my reads, but I could never really relate to the characters. It was always about middle-aged women who were recounting their lives and trying to find a way to begin anew. Whereas, I was barely a woman when I was reading them.

But now, that I am a little older and more understanding of a woman’s struggle in life, I find myself enjoying them a bit more!

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel by Maria Murnane

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel

via Goodreads

 

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

I enjoyed this read. It was really cute and fun. Following a very close friend group on their trip in New York was an adventure. Perhaps not magical, but filled with humour, love and drama. And you know me, I love a good bit of drama. But this above all else is a story of friendship and savouring the happy moments in life.

What I Liked

Characters:

Daphne: I liked Daphne a lot. She was fun and creative. She was an aspiring writer, who had just sent out multiple emails to various agents hoping for one to get back to her and make her dream a reality. On her trip to New York things started getting rough when she keeps getting rejected and starts regretting some of her previous life decisions. Witnessing all the success that her friends had in life, she wondered if she made the bad choice of getting married so young and putting her own aspirations on hold. So I totally get that Daphne got jealous. Who wouldn’t be a little envious if your friends were rich, smart and successful and you were just making it. Just. So I really loved reading about her struggle to get out of that mind set. To find value in her own work and progress. To be happy.

Skylar: She was also very charismatic and fun. She was the most successful in terms of money within the trio. She had a luxurious life style, but instead of flouncing about in it and being stuck up (as one would expect, if you watch dramatic movies) she turned out to be quite caring, generous and humble. She was always there for her friends even when things got a little testy. She struggled with commitment and entrusting others with her happiness, hence the amount time it took her to get engaged. She still struggles with the idea of giving her heart out without the worry of it being shattered. It’s the leap of faith she needs to learn to take.

KC: KC was the most humorous character. She was very bubbly and super active. But even the bubbly have their issues in this book. While I felt that her story was focused on the least, I liked that it wasn’t a quick resolution. There was still some substance in her struggle.

Friendship Galore: This entire book is focused on the Three Musketeers friendship. Like many real-life friends these women don’t come without their short-comings. They still bicker and test each other, but in the end the solid basis of their relationships are able to bring each other back together again. I loved how supportive these women were of one another. This NYC trip strengthened the bond between the women and paved the way for them to continue their relationship.

Themes in Perseverance & Self-Worth: As mentioned earlier, Daphne does struggle with finding meaning in her work and writing. She knows that she is good at it but feels as though no one else (but Skylar & KC) feels the same. We all have our moments of self-doubt, but like Daphne we have to learn to not compare our own success to that of others. It’s not about having a perfect life, it’s about having a happy one.

What I Disliked

Super Mellow: It could have been more suspenseful or at least intense. Everything was rather mellow and toned down. There were moments of anger, sadness and rather embarrassing moments but none of them caused enough reaction from me. It was all too sunshine and rainbows! It needed one of those big storm clouds that just make it really hard on the reader emotionally. Where was the intensity, the major melodrama?

I just was not feeling anything for most of the book. My face was blank or I was getting bored. Everything was too predictable. I wished there was just a little more juice and twistiness to amp up the emotions in the story.


Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a cute friendship story. There is a lot of sister power in this one! I was hoping for a little more intensity and suspense, that would have probably brought up the rating a lot more. There was like a smidge of romance, but it was never the focus and I honestly forgot all about it. This was a really cute, fun and humorous friendship adventure!

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: For those looking for #FriendshipGoals!

About the Author

Maria 6.jpg

The way Maria became an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so one day she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years and she’s now the best-selling author of Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, Wait for the Rain, and Bridges. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her mailing list at www.mariamurnane.com


 

More From Maria!

  • Give us an insight into your main character. What makes he/she so special?

Daphne White also appears in Wait for the Rain, and when that book came out many readers wrote to tell me that what they liked most about Daphne was how relatable she was as a divorced woman struggling to find the confident, witty, fun-loving person she used to be. In Bridges, Daphne has regained her old spark and is in a much happier place, but her life is far from perfect, as is she. I guess you could say she’s special because she’s real.

  • Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from Bridges?

I was just asked this question by a small production company that is working to develop Wait for the Rain into a film. Not that they would be able to afford her, but my top choice for Daphne would be Drew Barrymore. A girl can dream, right?

  • What draws you to this contemporary fiction?

I like creating stories and characters that feel like real life, and I’m a woman, so there you go. Plus I could never write mysteries or thrillers or sci-fi. My brain isn’t wired that way.

  • Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? What’s the purpose behind your cover images?

I think every reader has a different relationship with a book’s cover. I view my covers as a still shot, in other words a moment in the story that (I hope) makes a reader want to become part of that world for a few hours or days.

  • When did you decide to become a writer?

I always thought it would be cool to write a funny novel “some day,” but I was working full time so I didn’t think I would ever actually do it. Then one day I quit my job and went to Argentina by myself for what was supposed to be a two-week trip, but instead I ended up getting signed to play soccer for the women’s team at River Plate and staying down there for a year. (I realize that sounds insane, but it’s true.) With my brain freed up from an office job, I decided if I was ever going to write a novel it was time, so I wrote Perfect on Paper, the first of the Waverly Bryson series. It took a while to get it published, but eventually it went all the way to #2 overall on Amazon. (It remained there for just one day, but still! Super exciting.)  

  • What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, the hardest part is coming up with the idea(s). That can be extremely challenging. But once I decide what I want to happen in a particular chapter/scene/etc., the words flow pretty easily. This is what happened with Bridges.

  • What is the easiest thing about writing? 

Dialogue! I seem to have a knack for creating realistic, funny banter among friends—or so I’ve been told. As I’m typing this I’m realizing that there’s no way to answer the question without sounding like I’m patting myself on the back, so I hope the previous question will make it clear that writing is not a piece of cake for me.

  • What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If there’s a book inside of you, just write it! You won’t regret it.

  • What made you decide to bring Daphne, Skylar and KC back for a second novel?

Skylar is based on my friend Annie, who is a huge fan of my books. One night we had dinner and ended up brainstorming ideas for my next novel, and by the end of the evening we had a skeleton outline for what turned into Bridges. It was that quick! The writing itself took much longer obviously, but it was that single dinner that led to the idea.

  • Is Bridges in any way based on your own experiences?

A little bit. In Bridges Daphne is struggling with the pain of being rejected over and over (and over!) while trying to get her novel published. That’s something I know a LOT about. It took me nearly five years to get my first book (Perfect on Paper) published, and for a while there I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. That kind of rejection can take a toll on the self-esteem. Daphne also feels insecure when she sees how wealthy her friend Skylar has become since college. I also know what that feels like. I gave up a solid career in PR to focus on writing novels, and while I’m extremely proud that I’ve been able to make a living off that, many of my college friends now have closets larger than my bedroom.

  • What message do you want readers to take away from Bridges?

No one’s life is perfect no matter how great things might appear from the outside, so don’t be afraid to open up to your friends!

  • Do you currently have anything in the works?

I’m currently in the process of figuring out what to write next. I think I need to have another dinner with Annie! ☺


Thanks for reading everyone! Let me know what some of your favourite fictional friendships are!!! And give a shout out to your besty because…why not?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Hinder Review

Greetings readers!

I will be super honest: the cover on this one had me clicking request before I actually read the synopsis. o_o I mean it is purple and pretty and definitely magical! So isn’t it reasonable to think that the story will be equally as magical and pretty.

Well…it wasn’t too far off.

Definitely magical. And a whole lot of emphasis on this word “pretty”.

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Hinder

via Goodreads

Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.

*I was provided a free copy via Net Galley and the Publisher, but all opinions are my own*

Umm so yeah. I was expecting a lot of magic from this book. I mean elemental magic! YES. Two people having to work side by side to make it work. Yes. Their journey to finding each other and making it work. Heck yeah. A book full of teenager angst and petty characters. No……….. Well they weren’t all that petty, but they were truly vain.

What I Liked

Characters I Sort of Liked

Alex: She annoyed me only for 40% of this book. After living in a locket for sixteen years, with only her family as company, you’d think she would be a little more socially awkward. Not in this case. Yes, she went through some embarrassing stuff but that’s not what bothered me. Since she was so drop dead gorgeous, her family made her go under a glamour to keep the bad guys away and other reasons which I will discuss later. Her new face was very unattractive in many people’s eyes and adopted a sick nick name. And while she tried to stick up for herself, she agreed with people. She was, despite her many attempts to not be, vain. Vain. Vain. Petty and vain. Not always thinking things through. Another thing that made me want to shake her!!! But other than that, she was okay. Nothing spectacular in my eyes.

Ariel: The epitome of cool aunt! She was more of a sister to Alex and I liked that she helped navigate Alex in her journey.

Bender and Wielder Magic Dynamic: One of my highlights of this novel was definitely the magic. Elemental! HOORAY! I love elemental magic! In this book, magic is controlled in pairs! You have the source or “wielder”, who can conjure the magic and the doer or “bender” who can control and do all the wicked tricks! So I really liked that part! I also liked the story behind the villains and that there was mention of other types of magical beings!!! The magic just really made this book for me.

Humour: You hook me, if you can write something funny. This had some very funny scenes a lot of them held innuendos about–you know–*things*. But I liked that I found myself laughing or cringing from second hand embarrassment! And there was quite a bit!

What I Disliked

Ethan: From chapter 2, I thought he was an a**whole. He is the jock/golden boy/suavesmoothtalker/everygirlsdream *rolls eyes*. Plus he has a tendency to associate animals with girls as soon as he sees them. Total turn off. He even admits to the wrongness of it, but continues to do it anyways. Just no. As the novel goes on he becomes *less* shallow by like a millimetre. But he just didn’t cut it for me. I found him rather selfish, kind of irritating and…….umm just a big nope.

The Over-Powering Romantic Plot: So this is what really brought down the book for me. It didn’t help that I didn’t like one half of the ship. The catch with the whole Bender/Wielder thing is that they cannot fall in love because then a whole bunch of bad stuff will happen and they will become the bad guys or die. The bigger issue in these characters case is that they are so drop-dead gorgeous that resisting each other makes up the plot of most of this book. *Hence the ugly glamour*

O_O Okay.

I could have worked with this had there been less emphasis on the drop dead gorgeous looks. While I like to think that teenagers go for more than just looks, I know that I’m talking about a very small demographic of teenagers. To be honest, a lot of the decisions we make are based on appearance. It’s a sad, but true fact. This book showcased that fact a lot, in my opinion.

The Lack of Action: There was action and it could have been so much cooler had the magic been focused on more than the romance! I liked the action, but it sadly over-shadowed!


Overall, I thought it was okay. The ending was fine, it did leave some room open for a sequel, but I have no clue if there will actually be one! I would be interested in reading it though! The author did mention that there would be separate series that follow the other kinds of magical beings mentioned in this story so I am definitely up for that!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Like the romance genre, but want to try a little magic?! Then this one is for you!

Let me know what you guys think! Do you mind when the romance over shadows the rest of the story? I feel like it kind of kills the anticipation of cute moments!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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