The Wicked Deep | Review

Greetings readers!

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

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

You throw it onto your TBR without a second thought.

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

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

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep

via Goodreads

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

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

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

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

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

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


BUY IT!

Indigo |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

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


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

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

What I Liked:

Hook-Line Delivery:

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

via giphy.com

Spooky and Perfectly Haunting Atmosphere:

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

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

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

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

confused big brother GIF by Big Brother After Dark

via giphy.com

*Thanks for being vague, Rendz*

The Legend Snippets:

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

The Twist and Then Some:

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

What I Disliked:

One thing that really messed me up, The Romance:

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

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

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

via tenor.com


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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Forest of A Thousand Lanterns| Mini Review

Greetings readers!

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

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

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

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

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

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

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

The Likes:

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

The Dislikes:

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

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Little Dog | Review

Greetings readers!

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

The Little Dog by Leslie W.P. Garland

The Little Dog (A Red Grouse Tale)

via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

 


Buy It!

Amazon US | Amazon UK


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

What I Liked:

Characters:

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

The Setting:

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

The Discussion of Good vs. Evil:

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

What I Disliked

Pace:

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

The Little Dog:

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


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

Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars

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

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

 

Broken Beautiful Hearts | Review

Greetings readers!

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

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia

Broken Beautiful Hearts

via Goodreads

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

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



Buy It!

Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository



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

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

What I Liked:

Characters:

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

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

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

The Setting:

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

The Fluff:

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

The Hard Stuff:

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

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

What I Disliked:

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


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

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

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

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

Which I definitely experienced.

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

S.T.A.G.S.

via Goodreads

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



Buy It!

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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



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

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

Goal achieved.

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

What I Liked:

Characters: 

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

the croods doom GIF

giphy.com

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

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

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

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

The Blood Games:

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

The Narnia References are in Full Force:

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

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

film love GIF

via giphy.com

The Narration:

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

The World:

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

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

The Ending:

The gif is enough to summarize.

modern family GIF

giphy.com

What I Disliked:

It Was Not As Twisty As I Was Hoping?: 

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


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

Rating: 4 / 5 stars 

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Blood and Sand | Review

Greetings readers!

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

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

And then comes the jerk.

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

The RUSH.

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Blood and Sand

via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy It!

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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

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

What I Liked:

Setting:

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

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

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Characters:

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

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

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

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

Action and Intensity:

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

Everything was on the line.

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via giphy.com

Historic Elements & Events:

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

Romance:

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

The Ending:

It killed me.

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

What I Disliked:

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


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

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars!

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

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Renegades | Review

Greetings readers!

Well…I…did…it.

I read my most anticipated book of the year. My Queen, Marissa Meyer came out with the highly hyped, totally intriguing superhero novel that I had put on hold after I received it in November.

Well, I finally read it.

And I’m…I’m…

Underwhelmed.

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via giphy.com

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades IG

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.



Buy It!

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository



Don’t get me wrong. This book was definitely not a bust for me…but it really lacked the BOOM! too. I just…I just…I was hoping for so much, much more. And I didn’t get that. Maybe I was hoping for too much and I over-hyped myself because ladies and gents the Lunar Chronicles is my life, Marissa is my Queen, but this book just did not reach that bar.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Nova: My amazing Nightmare. Gosh I really liked her character for many, many reasons. A) I love a good tragic/sob story and since we actually (sort of) experienced what happened to her at such a young age, it was even more tragic. (That prologue really hurt my soul) B) I love an inventor. And my goodness is this girl nifty and thrifty! I was not one who could pursue a career in all the sciences (I was an excellent science student, but passion lies elsewhere 😉), but geez the things you can create with that kind of knowledge is priceless! Nova’s abilities and creativity is amazing, it’s like a second super power she has. C) Snark. Snark. Snark. I love it when characters can come up with a good comeback!

Adrian: I liked him well enough, I just feel like I don’t know enough about him. He’s cute, I totally admit. A) TATTOOS and for that matter SUPER POWER TATTOOS!!! This all points to book boyfriend status! B) He is incredibly sweet. Especially when he is with his brother!!! I was aww-ing perhaps a little too much for my own good. C) His super power is making his drawings come to life. YES!YES!YES!I NEED THAT!!! Still, I feel that I don’t know enough about him. That connection is still very loose.  So whoever said that Adrian tops Carswell Thorne, you are incredibly wrong.

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via giphy.com

Other characters…I loved reading the varying characteristics between the Renegades and the Anarchists. Seeing how their stories related and clashed with each other. I would have so many conflicting emotions because while I sided with one, I also saw the reason of the other side. I was one reader full of contradicting feelings! There were characters of different races, mixed races, disabilities, sexualities and beliefs. So you know, a regular world….but with super powers. :))))

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via giphy.com

World:

I liked that it wasn’t too sci-fi and still stayed true to the current technology that we have today, but ever so often mentioned the more advanced mechanics and structures functioning within the city. I loved the story of the Battle for Galton and how this story is not set too far in the future from that event, so the wounds are still fresh!

The Super Powers:

There were all kinds of super heroes in this book with all kinds of power. I loved that Meyer used a variation of powers. Of course the classics like “flying”, “fire” and “invisibility” were all still present, but adding in more non-conventional powers into the mix created a more interesting dynamic. Having characters with powers that were different, fun and even silly made the characters and the story better.

What I Disliked:

Mellow, mellow, marshmallow: 

Where was the intensity? The action? The nail-biting suspense? The high stakes? I did not feel any intense emotion while reading this. It was all so mellow and just….I felt nothing! And I wanted to feel like I was being crushed by a building! Like the sky was falling! Like waiting a year would tear out a piece of my soul. But no, I did not feel those at all. This book should have had so much more. More conflict. More drama. More fighting. Higher stakes! Something! THERE WASN’T EVEN ONE LOUSY KISS!!! COME ON!!! THE SMOOCH FACTOR WAS THROWN OUT THE WINDOW!

more GIF by Shorty Awards

via giphy.com

Predictable:

Oh gosh the ending. The ending. The ending! I saw it coming from the very beginning of the novel! Heeesh………..really! It was so cliche and just no. There were perhaps, a few things I didn’t see coming. But the ending was a dead giveaway. Sighhhhhhhh. After finishing I actually said I could wait the year. Hopefully she makes the next one more epic.


Overall, I feel underwhelmed. It’s as if Meyer lost her focus on this one. What was the point of it? Still…the novel is incredible in other areas. Like making you question your own allegiance to the Anarchists or the Renegades. Seeing the greys between good and bad. That is all wonderful and the characters are amazing, but I just felt that this one did not meet the high, high expectations I had going in. Never fear, Marissa Meyer is still my Queen but this book just did not meet the levels of fangirl like TLC and Heartless created. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Rating: 3.75-4 / 5 Stars (This is what I call a “good four”, not a “great four”)

Recommend: Well yeah, but don’t go in with the highest of expectations. The next one should have bigger things in store.

I feel like this was one giant negative review, but trust me it’s not! I really did enjoy most of the book. The characters were cool, the last hundred pages or so had me flipping. However, I cannot say that it met the standards I was hoping it would set off.

Let me know what you think! Have you read it, what did you think? Any favourite characters? What super-power do you want to have? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Between the Blade and the Heart Blog Tour | Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

Greetings readers!

This is my first blog tour and I am very excited about it! I had the wonderful opportunity to read a new release, and share with you some fun treats, including an excerpt and a giveaway!

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Cover Between the Blade and the Heart

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Buy It!:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Books-a-Million |IndieBound | Powells



Review

What I Liked:

Characters: 

Malin: Malin was an interesting character to follow. She was born to kill immortals as her job and she’s trained her whole life for it. Raised by a mother who really did not come off as “motherly”, Malin grew up to be thick skinned. She was definitely flawed, I’ll tell you that. Tough, angry and would-not-take-any-kind-of-BS are just a few ways to describe her. Her biggest flaw was believing she could not fall in love, just feel surface emotions which evidently led to many problems in the rest of the story!

Other characters like Malin’s best friend Oona, her ex-girlfriend Quinn and her new ally Asher brought in fun, quirky and intense moments to the story. They guided and supported Malin on her journey to revenge and you know, “save the world!” My personal favourite was Oona, she was the human of the group with no real physical strength to fight, but she had really amazing sorceress powers that I would love to find out more about!

Norse Mythology: I love all kinds of mythology and Norse Mythology is one I would really like to know more about. Although this book does not focus too much on the mainstream gods that most people know of, this book dives deep into the creatures and other immortals of the Norse. Hocking did a great job of introducing all these types of immortals and describing how they would come to influence Malin’s journey. Plus, I love that the names of creatures, weapons and immortals are written in an old Norse language, which gives it a little more authenticity!

Pace: It was fast, it was head first into the battle and there was never really a dull moment. After things would begin to calm down another event would come up making me just continue to read and read and read!

What I Disliked:

The Love Triangle: This is not your typical triangle because it’s not centered on two straight relationships. Malin is bisexual, so contending for heart is her gorgeous and ferocious ex-girlfriend Quinn and the New Guy with stunning blue eyes, and yep you guessed it, very muscular build, Asher. So while this triangle was more interesting than others….I still could have done without it! It added a whole lot of angst where there was no need and the romance tended to overshadow some more important things like fighting the evil monsters!

Confusing World: So I think this is really my fault, but this setting was not exactly what I was expecting. It is set in our world, but the Norse gods, creatures, and immortals live “peacefully” among humans and some schools are focused on teaching Norse history and magic and fighting and……yeah. I was just really confused about whether the world in the book was like the world today, or if it was set in another dimension or…I don’t really know…..


Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was fun, fast, adventurous, perhaps a tad angst-y, but we are dealing with young adults here! XD I look forward to the sequel, which I think will dive even deeper into the mythology and history of the gods and the worlds they inhabit!

Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Recommend: Looking for a new kind of mythology to get into, then try this one for a start!



Giveaway!

One lucky winner will get one finished, paperback copy of Between the Blade and the Heart!

This is only open to my lovely US friends (sorry, my other lovely friends!) Please fill out the rafflecopter form below if you are interested! This giveaway will run for a week! You have lots of chances to enter, so enter! Enter! Enter!

Enter Here

The winner will have 48 hours to respond to me with their information or I will choose another winner! Please note: I will need your consent to share your mailing address with the publisher to get the book to you! 



Author Info…

Amanda Hocking NEW--credit Mariah Paaverud with Chimera Photography

Author Bio:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

 

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/

Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking

Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans

Author Blog



And some final fun….

Excerpt!

ONE

The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.

The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf, thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside from the shock of dark red lipstick.

My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.

The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.

My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-made from an army supply store, to match her own.

The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been glowing dully on my hip.

The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.

It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.

The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to the club door as it groaned open.

Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-aged man if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable limp favoring his right leg.

He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the day he died.

I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.

I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green eyes flashed with understanding.

“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.

“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you came.”

“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can work this out.”

“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.

His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere to go.

My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.

“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well, Malin.”

Copyright © 2018 by Amanda Hocking in Between the Blade and the Heart and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

Let me know what you think! What is a mythology you would like to read more about? Are you interested in picking this one up? The sequel is coming in March so it is not too long a wait to read the finale!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Prodigy Prince | Review

Greetings readers!

I accidentally took another mini-hiatus these past days and I am just getting out of my Christmas coma. Let me tell you guys, the Christmas parties were never ending within my family, but I enjoyed it all so I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate. If not, rest up well my friends, the New Year parties will start coming up soon.

Anyways, before I left on hiatus I began a cute book that I was finally able to finish a while ago. Thank you very much to the author who reached out and offered me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza

Prodigy Prince (The Seven Covenant Book 1)

At seventeen, all Prince Nuelle had ever known was safety and peace while living in the Supreme Palace of Zephoris.

But one night, his older brother, Tane, defies their father by traveling to a cursed land. Now Nuelle holds the signet-ring and carries more responsibility than even Tane bore. Thrust from the palace and sent to a knight-building academy, Nuelle must discover his purpose for the entire kingdom’s sake.

From his place of banishment, Prince Antikai has been exacting revenge through fear and rebellions. Nuelle has the potential to defeat him, but he needs the help of a powerful book and six gifted youths.

Summoned by Antikai, shape-shifting beasts and other enemies hunt Nuelle and the Acumen. If either is destroyed, the faithful citizens in Zephoris will perish, and darkness will rule forever.

Buy It!

| Amazon | Book Depository |

A stunning cover and an intriguing synopsis had me all over this book! I enjoyed it, although it has its flaws. It was full of magic, adventure and fun that I think a lot of readers might enjoy!

What I Liked:

Characters:

Nuelle:

A.K.A Nu was a good character. He was someone who believed in honour and cherishing the relationships with the people around him. He idolized his father who was a rather mysterious character, but a really big influence on Nuelle and the decisions he made. He was worried about not living up to expectations and having to make difficult choices and worst of all failing. Following him on his journey to discovering his full potential was an enjoyable ride.

The Sentinels:

These characters basically made up Nu’s whole gang. His friends that he had to depend on to get him to his destination and fight the bad guys. They were all really fun to follow. Ave was the jokester and heart of the group. Sophana was the tough-as-nails girl who had the best comebacks. Elisena was the cinnamon roll and glue that kept the group together. There were lots of others along the way that helped out too, like Surta, Javin and the Gavrilian (His name escapes me!)

The Creatures:

The addition of the creature guide definitely helped because there were a lot of creepy-crawlies and monstrous things that popped up. As a fantasy lover, I cannot help but love a good made up creature. They added a lot of adventure and danger to the story. Perhaps, there were slightly too many to remember them all.

The World & Magic:

Very Unique! With so many magical kingdoms came many different kinds of magic and politics that made for a great read. I have to say, I have read a lot of magical books. Most of them stemming from the elements. While this magic does sort of come from the elements the actual powers themselves were quite astounding. Coral for arms, leaf blades popping out of ones skin, being able to literally show your inner thoughts, talk to animals and read peoples hearts. Yeah, count me in.

Yeah, It’s Chosen One, but It’s Cute:

As the second born prince to the Supreme King who really only needs one heir, Nuelle’s role as royalty was not that important. But this is YA people, and we all know that when someone is destined for nothing, it actually means they are destined for greatness and they are going to go on this epic journey to figure it all out. Cliché yes, but it’s one of my favourites: The Chosen One. It’s so familiar and yeah, it’s a way overdone, but I love a good adventure, with great characters that support our chosen one and take him to his final destination.

What I Disliked:

Awkward Pacing:

The chapters really had me frustrated. First of all, some of them were very long so I think that’s a sign that it could either be split or some things need to go. In addition to being so long, some chapters had so many events. Just hit after hit after hit after hit, while other chapters just dragged on and nothing really happened. So while some parts of the story had me flipping and flipping others just couldn’t keep my attention long enough. Sigh.

Give Me Longer Trials:

In order to be a sentinel, there were trials that needed to be faced. I LOVE trials, tests, contests anything that has to do with showing off powers and performing one’s best. I thought that picking Nuelle’s sentinels was going to take up a large chunk of the book. I mean there were many factors to consider and six kids had to be chosen. However, the trials lasted about one or two chapters and were not that very exciting, so I was fairly disappointed.


Overall, this was a fun book. It had a great cast of characters which is always fun. The world was big and had crazy-yet-pretty-awesome magic. I did have my bumps with it, but I am looking forward to a sequel. Which I believe is happening considering the ending to book one was not an ending rather an opening into a whole new set of problems!

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars 

Recommend: Maybe you’re in the mood for something light and fun or you have a young fantasy reader around who needs a recommendation!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Who was your favourite character? If you could choose any of the elements to be in control of, what would you choose? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Scion of the Fox | Review

Greetings readers!

There are certain things I wish for in my bookish dreams. Some of them are more easily fulfilled and others have yet to be fulfilled or I have to scavenge really hard to find them. They exist, but not in a large amount. Books, specifically YA, never take place in or have characters from El Salvador (id est. Rendz’s family’s place of origin). I may be wrong, though I doubt it. So that’s a dream still not fulfilled, but perhaps someday.

Now YA set in Canada is another dream. It’s a lot easier to find books set in Canada/with Canadian characters! There are lists on Goodreads that I can scroll down and so on!

So pretty much all books set in Canada get put into my TBR, no questions asked. This was one of those books, so when I saw it on NetGalley you I snatched it up fast!

Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko

Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient, #1)

via Goodreads

As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds — all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . .

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.

*My deepest gratitude to the publisher for providing me with a copy! This does not affect my opinions!*

Well this was definitely an interesting read no doubt. It was a little bit of a roller coaster ride in terms of how I felt about it at times while reading, but overall it was a pretty fun read! With an added bonus that it’s set in Canada!

What I Liked

Characters

Roan: Our lovely chosen one. (As she so warmly names herself) Um…I actually have some mixed feelings about her. She was a very entertaining character to follow. She definitely wasn’t the perfect hero! She felt like giving up multiple times (she almost did), but like the good heroine she is, she pulled through. She made not so intelligent decisions, some of them more mind-boggling than others (more on that later). I wouldn’t label her as my fave character, but she was alright.

Sil: Sil was an interesting character to follow! She was the not fairy god mother but still the wise figure in Roans adventure. Wise and very sassy. I really enjoyed her banter with Roan as it made the book a whole lot more entertaining.

Eli: Very interesting. Very troublesome. Not exactly a villain but definitely possesses some evilish qualities. Not exactly the most romantic hero for Roan either (like they have issues)….but unless I read into it wrong he’s feeling something! (There wasn’t any romance in the book, I’m just pointing out from observation!)

Other characters…Roan had a great cast of friends by her side. Phae, Barton, Natti and more who helped her survive her journey. There were secondary characters that were less likeable, but that I liked to hate so I had fun following them too.

Setting: Le duh! Set in Canada, specifically Winnipeg (a city I be never actually visited…I haven’t visited a lot of Canada FYI) The story takes places during the winter so the atmosphere really contrasts with Roan and makes her stand out! Where she burns bright with fire her surroundings are very cold, ominous and chilling. And then as the story melts into spring, her fire gets more intense and the big show down happens.

Magic System: While I liked it, it was also kind of hard to wrap my head around. I liked the use of the elements and the Ancient system that passed down their powers from generation to generation. It was classic so I enjoyed it. What stumped me were the animal familiars. I didn’t have a problem with the Owls, Fox, Seal or Deer….what stumped me was the Rabbit, representative of the earth element. It was just funny to imagine because I see earth as a strong and fortifying element but envisioning cute little bunnies kind of threw me off (and it didn’t help that the people descending from this line looked jittery and scared). I don’t know, it just didn’t work for me. Otherwise, I really like the Magic and its ties to humanity and the villain.

What I Disliked

Predictive: I saw a few things from a mile away, that were really no surprises or shocking revelations. I felt that the intensity of the novel was low, there weren’t any really OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG moments, but it wasn’t completely flat either. I think this was a little juvenile for me despite some of the more mature themes.

Trope Talking: This book had some tropes in which I was like, whatever *shrug* But then the author goes and makes fun of the tropes within the book…in which I was like okay….? The obvious one is the Chosen One trope, ie Roan. She actually poked fun and makes jokes about being the Chosen one….and continues to do so throughout the story. It was funny at first, but then it gets annoying so I really could have done without it. The author does this with a few other tropes too: the white saviour w/ a diverse side cast and the old wise person, dead parents are some examples. It’s kind of like saying “these tropes kind of suck, but I’m going to use them anyways!”

Roan’s Idiot Mistake, for being an Idiot Chosen One: I read about 400 pages of Roan trying to stop Eli from being evil. She helps him get through some intense struggle and y’all, they pull through. And then in the final chapter, she made the same damn choices as evil-Eli so now she is at risk of becoming evil! Was she not present for the earlier chapters of the book??? Did she not realize the consequences of her decision??? Apparently this book is a cycle, and we are going to get right back where we started.


Overall, I did enjoy most of the book. It was fun and magical. A little flat in some areas, but it was a solid read.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: I think this would work well with younger YA readers

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite tropes? What are some of your least?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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