Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit | Mini Review // Grab your magnifying glass!

Greetings readers!

It’s been a while since I reviewed a Middle Grade novel for you all! It is high time that I do, so here I am today bringing you the content you deserve!

Now let me take a moment to drool over this cover. I just love it. Everything about it. From the muted colours of the comic panel in the back to the vibrant and chic illustration of Goldie smack dab in the middle! Just look at her pose, you can definitely tell she is on the move!

Many thanks to HBG Canada for providing me with an ARC!

Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit by Lilliam Rivera

Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit

Publisher: Little Brown Books
Pub Date: March 17th, 2020
Goodreads

Move over, Nancy Drew–there’s a new sleuth in town! Inspired by the beloved comic series, Goldie Vance is ready to sleuth her way through never-before-seen mysteries in this original middle-grade series by Lilliam Rivera!

Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives and works at the Crossed Palms Resort Hotel in Florida with a whole slew of characters: her dad, Art, the manager of the joint; Cheryl Lebeaux, the concierge and Goldie’s best friend; and Walter Tooey, the hired hotel detective. Her mom, Sylvia, works nearby at the Mermaid Club.

While life at the Crossed Palms is always busy, the resort is currently overrun with Hollywood-types filming the hottest new creature feature, and tensions are at an all-time high. Even Goldie’s mom is in on the movie act, doing what she does best: playing a mermaid. Just when Goldie thinks the movie biz couldn’t get any more exciting, a diamond-encrusted swimming cap goes missing, and all fingers point to Goldie’s mom as the culprit. Can Goldie uncover the true thief before it’s too late?

Hope Larson and Brittney William’s critically acclaimed Goldie Vance comic series explores never-before-seen mysteries in this thrilling, original middle-grade debut by Lilliam Rivera. Features a full-color comic chapter that’s essential to unraveling the mystery.


The Likes

I really enjoyed these cheeky and quirky middle grade mystery story! There is already a Goldie Vance comic series out there and this an original novel by Rivera based on the existing characters. I had quite a fun time with it, thankfully! The characters were quite humorous and I loved the Hollywood adventures in this small town! I believe this takes place in the 70s/80s so reading about how movies sets used to be was pretty interesting! Goldie was quite the personality! She had a way of smooth talking herself out of trouble that was a lot of fun to read about! Her relationship with her mentor Walt was golden *pun not-intended…but maybe intended* because she was so much more confident and colourful than his wary tense self, but he is a real MVP too!

The mystery itself was pretty fun! I mean, I guessed it a mile away but its a middle grade novel so I am not going to complain here. I will say that I didn’t see absolutely everything coming, so this still should appeal to many kinds of readers, perhaps those who like soft mysteries the most!

The Questionable

My biggest issue was that Goldie was 16 but she read like a 12/13 year old. It was just not the best. Like I understand this is a book for kids and having them read a language that they will relate to is important, but it felt jarring to know that she was 16 and not acting like a teenager. I’m not saying at 16 I was any more mature or put together than Goldie, it would be hypocritical of me to say that, but I think this book would have worked a lot better if Goldie was 13. It’s a good age, she could of still had a job, not as a valet obviously and her crush on Diane would have still been explored (I actually would have liked to see more of the crush adventure too, but I think there is more to come in another book…don’t quote me on it though). It’s just that her as a 16 year old didn’t work for me.
I don’t know how else to say it 😦


Overall, it was a fun book! I didn’t find anything incredibly amazing about it, but I did have a good laugh and enjoy myself for the most part! I think that this is perfect for kids who want to dive into a funny and quirky story about a girl solving mysteries and taking down adults who are super blah!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars 

Recommend: Yes!

Let me know what you think! Do you like your mysteries super complicated or more light? Did you read the original Goldie Vance comics? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Kingdom of Back | Review // In which I cry my heart out and try to make sense of my love for this book

Greetings readers!

Pinterest is a lot of fun and looking up mood boards by your favourite authors and seeing what kind of stories they have lined up in their WIPs is always fun! Well, Marie Lu has lots of interesting boards including one that was entitles The Kingdom of Back. I remember going through it and quickly falling in love with the whimsical pictures she had saved.

The moment I heard the announcement for this book, I was so ready to drop all my dollars to have it in hand.

THE MOMENT PENGUIN TEEN CANADA GOT IN ARCS, I WAS SO HAPPY TO FIND OUT I GOT ONE FOR MYSELF!

Then I read it. Loved it. SOBBED. And here I am trying to write an elegant and coherent review about how much I adored this. I cannot say if my attempt will be successful, but here we go.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back
via Goodreads

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Putnam
Goodreads

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.


*Thank you Penguin Teen CA for the ARC*

The LOVES

I didn’t know what to expect, if I am being honest. This was historical fantasy, something I have never read from by Lu, but my oh my did she deliver with this book. I was touched body and soul by this story.

These characters were phenomenal. I’ll be honest (again), I had no idea that Mozart had a sister who was also a musical genius, but if book-Nannerl was anything like historical-Nannerl I would have loved to meet her. Nannerl was a wonderfully crafted character in every way possible. She had a passionate spirit and a wicked imagination that kept her company during her most lonely times. She had a fierce love for her family, especially her brother and she had ambition even when she was told to hold it in. But she was not all heart of gold and devotion, she was petty and jealous and resentful of the conventions that held her back. And I loved her for it. I would find it highly unrealistic if she didn’t feel any of those emotions when she never got any credit or was given less than she deserved. But God I loved her. I loved that she was so real and raw.

Woferl…who I called Will Ferrel for like half of the book. He was such a sweet heart. And wow a genius! And his devotion to Nannerl, I am sobbing!!! He was just a kid for most of the book, but he makes mistakes too and I couldn’t help but feel mad at him and bad for him!

The dad. God I hated him. Nannerl is a better person than I am, trust me.

Hyacinth. Well, if a cute magical boy showed up out of the blue and took me to an imaginary world…I would not have acted much different! He was quite something!

The music. Let me tell you, I know nothing about music and composition and I know nothing about Mozart really. But I did not for one second feel lost in this story when Lu explored the musical adventure of these siblings. The descriptions of music were lovely and it is constantly interwoven beautifully in the narrative! I mean if you have musical knowledge I’m sure you will find even more nuance then I did, but even if you are a music noob like me, you’ll find something impeccably beautiful about its role in the book.

This atmosphere was just ethereal. The real-world itself was pretty enchanting. We get to follow the siblings as they tour Europe and play for different aristocrats. Lu crafted three stupendous settings for readers. There was the warm–sometimes harsh–home of the music room of the family home, the glamorous life of the courts the children got peaks of on their tours and then there was the Kingdom of Back! I loved how Lu transported us to the imaginary world, with subtle changes to the atmosphere as it got more whimsical and magical with each word on the page. The creatures and beings of the kingdom were so rich and mysterious for *reasons* and ugh, I loved everything about it! If I could step into that kingdom, 10/10 I would go!

The FAMILY DYNAMICS. I am sobbing. This family was something else. It was loving at the same time it was suffocating. Nannerl and Woferl’s father had high expectations for his children, he wanted them to achieve everything they could with the talents that they had. And he pushed them hard to get them out there. But he wasn’t always that amazing at being a dad. He actually sucked a lot. You can’t help but be angry every time he praised Woferl and critiqued Nannerl. Her constant desire for his validation and praise—I AM CRYING! All she wanted was to make him proud and be on the receiving end of his unconditional love. AND I AM SOBBING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The things this family goes through honestly pulls so much at the heartstrings you cannot help but sob.

The sibling relationship was my absolute favourite part of this book. I loved that it was a complex dynamic between Nannel and Woferl. There was the unconditional love that just existed between them, then there was the utter devotion to each other and finally the resentment, the jealousy, and the pettiness that exists too! Trust me, I know, I have two older sisters and we all sometimes hate each other as much as we love each other!

I am not one to say that this is historically accurate because I just don’t know, but Lu does hit Nannerl’s historic troubles on the nose. She is a girl of the late eighteenth century who has an amazing talent, but knows she will never amount to much because she is a girl. And I felt rage. A lot of rage. Rage at the unfairness that was and is our world. That her greatest wish to be remembered didn’t exactly come true. She is always in the shadow of her brother as much as she tries to fight it. AND I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED AT THE UNFAIRNESS OF IT ALL. Then the Author’s note and acknowledgements did me in because they spit out so much truth and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sobbed!

The ending. I–I was—Marie Lu did that with her words. And I fucking sobbed. I’m writing this now and choking up a little because she did that. And *that* is probably one of my favourite kinds of way to end a book because it is a full circle. None of what I just wrote makes any sense because I am being super vague. Just know that it is amazing and pulls hard at the heartstrings!

There is not one thing I have to critique about it. Marie Lu completely knocked it out of the park. This is a fabulous and incredible love letter to a lost but never forgotten musical genius. I already want to reread it!


Overall, This book is amazing. The story enchants you from page one and you cannot help but love following these two siblings as they grow up and are thrust into the lime light and create their own magic with music. It is a compelling read and makes an honest and heartfelt statement about the historical limitations put on people like Nannerl who didn’t get to have their glory and names woven directly into the fabric of our cultural history. It’s a story about family and forgiveness and self-love. It’s an emotional roller coaster with a sweet yet longing ending.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES. YES. YES.

Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? What is your favourite Marie Lu book? Have you ever cried to books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Wolf of Oren-Yaro | Review // THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!!

Greetings readers!

When I first stumbled upon the announcement for this book, I wasn’t really paying that much attention to what the actual announcement said, I was just happily clicking “Add to TBR”.

So when I saw that the publisher had ARCs available, I reread the synopsis and realized that this book had a lot of promise. I haven’t read an epic, high fantasy in a long time and I was interested the Filipino-inspired world that it promised. Plus the author is based in Vancouver…so this is also Canadian-authored fantasy and we all know I gobble that up.

Stupidly, I started reading before a tense week of uni, so I read very sporadically and in short bursts until the weekend came around I swallowed chunks of this book!

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Feb 18th, 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Goodreads

A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.

But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.


*ARC provided by HBG Canada*

I LOVED EVERYTHING.

I AM NOT KIDDING WHEN I SAY THAT I LOVED ABSOLUTELY EVERY MOMENT OF READING THIS BOOK.

Lets start with these characters. It was sold to me as a character-driven novel and it delivered in every single way imaginable.

Tali, how do I even begin to express my love for her? She was such a witty, snarky and naive character who was just trying to do her best. *sobs* I mean, was she flawed? Absolutely. And I am not talking about the reputation that follows her around because her father was a total mass murderer. I mean that’s part of it, but Tali makes some not so great decisions, and she goes to lots of ends to cover them up. But she is also such an incredible voice. She is a woman in power whose husband has abandoned her, whose rule is constantly questioned and challenged by her countrymen, whose life is always in danger and all she just wants the peace that her birth, marriage and reign promised. She goes from being a feared queen to an unknown, left to the mercy of the streets. It’s a wild journey, and if I am honest, it gave her some much needed perspective. She is physically strong, raised to be a fighter but her emotional strength is definitely not up to par. It is tested and hinders her every step of the way. It was really amazing to read about because my gal struggles reading people’s intentions sometimes. Really, everything about her journey was so incredible to read about. I love her.

Khine. MY SON. WHO IS TECHNICALLY OLDER THAN ME, BUT STILL, MY CHILD. I love him. He was a conman with a heart of gold and honestly really dumb sometimes, but he is a cinnamon roll who must be protected at all times. Basically where he kind of lacked that physical strength, he was better at handling the emotions of others. He was a wonderful foil to Tali, without being too preachy and stiff. Ugh, I LOVE HIM!

Rayyel…I fucking hated this mans guts. I HATED HIM. You all do not understand how much I DETEST this little bitch. *Take a deep breath, Rendz* *Inhales, exhales* He was just a despicable character who was so central to this plot. He is not even a true antagonist. He is just that fucking despicable. I loved to hate him.

Others…gosh there are so many incredible characters in this story. There was complexity and diversity, there were some heroics and some villainous works going on with these side characters. They added to the richness of the tale and kept me entertained every step of the way.

This world was FASCINATING. Sadly, my ARC didn’t have the map with it, but I didn’t feel lost without it. Villoso does a great job of exploring the divisions of these nations, the history of the relationships between these peoples. Jin-Sayeng was such a complex place with the rival Oren-Yaro and Ikessar clans fighting for power. I also loved that we got to see the workings of the neighbouring empire that has lots of power, but poses a lot of dangers. There is so much to explore as Tali roams the streets of the empire. It’s dangerous, it’s comforting, but it’s mostly reallllyyyy dangerous.

The plot was wonderfully layered and laid out. There is the main present plot line which was all high stakes and constant suspense, then there were the snippets of the past that come in and play with your knowledge of what is actually happening. The best part of this whole story is that there is always a missing piece of information, there is always some secret that is being kept from the reader that makes you question what the heck is actually going on. AND WHEN YOU GET TO THE LAST 50 PAGES, EVERYTHING REALLY STARTS TO CLICK. SHIT GETS REVEALED AND I WAS LOSING IT!!!!

This book is also an EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. Tali goes through so much shit and geez we have to experience it with her and it was possibly the best part of this novel. I felt so many things while reading this. Mostly I felt rage like Tali. Rage at the world. Rage at Rayyel. Rage at the fact that I have to wait for sequel! But there was also small moments that were heartwarming, lots of moments of despair and tension. THE SUSPENSE was killer! I couldn’t turn the page fast enough!

I CAN’T EVEN EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW MUCH THE ENDING TOTALLY MESSED ME UP. I was shooketh to my very core and I couldn’t be too loud about my freak out because it was close to midnight. IT WAS JAW-DROPPING GOOD. I mean I had inklings, but I doubted and then everything was revealed and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

After reading, I was left breathless. I was so exhilarated that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself so I just sat on my bed and smiled like a fool. It was a euphoria that I hadn’t felt in AGES. I am so completely in love with this story and its characters (except Rei!).

There is no questionable section because I cannot for the life of me find one single thing to critique. It was perfect for me. Completely and utterly perfect.


Overall, I loved everything about this book. Thrilling. Suspenseful. Addicting. Action packed. This is a high fantasy that you cannot miss! It was incredible!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars 

Recommend?: ABSOLUTELY YES.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading this? What are some of your favourite character-driven stories? What was the last book that made you feel euphoric? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Diamond City | Review // I was less than in love with this…

Greetings readers!

Unfortunately, I waited too long to review this from the time I read it. So be prepared for a really vague review of the things I remember. Or at least try to remember.

It’s always super sucky when you have hopes for a book and it falls flat. I was really looking forward to this book because it is Latinx fantasy and we all know how much I am for thisssssss!!! Alas, things don’t always go the way we hope.

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 28th, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Goodreads

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!


*Thank you to Raincoast Books for the ARC*

It was all Meh and less than Meh

Aina was…girl. She was trying to be this I don’t give a shit about you or your mom kind of girl, but she kind of does. And yet she just rubbed me the wrong way several times. And I mean I was kind of lost with her most of the time. I found nothing profound about her, if you get what I mean. She had a really interesting past and I would have loved to get a little more into it, but it was always a surface level kind of feel with her.

Teo, he was worth it. I mean, his purpose? Being a good friend. And he did his job.

Riyu. Hehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Honestly boring af. He had the personality of a wet towel that could maneuver a gun.

The other girl, I don’t even remember her name, that’s how not important she was.

BUT HOLY the amount of preachy, inspirational dialogues was too much for me. I like a few inspirational moments in my book, but there was this one chapter where everyone was going around saying something profound and revolutionary….I couldn’t take it. I mean…it just felt so shoved down my throat and I hate the expression, but that chapter didn’t contribute anything at all.

Also the chapters. Oh dear. They were so chopped up and chunky. And I don’t mean that they were long. It’s that some were so short that the next chapter would just be the continuation of the same scene. There wasn’t even that much a cliffhanger between them. They just ended and began again on a new page. Stylistically, it bothered, but maybe they changed it in the finished version.

The world was interesting. It was—I believe—a country that had a mix of different nationalities. There was an industrial boom, one that came at the cost of the religious freedom and ended up in religious persecution. I was really interested in that conversation, but again the book only ever really touched the surface of the problems and they were big problems. There was also gangs, which…is it bad that I like gravitate towards gang-ish books? (since I am Latina and hello stereotype much) And yet I can’t help but like the cutthroat workings of a gang. Especially ones that are less found-family and more I-would-kill-you-given-the-chance. I don’t know why, it just fascinates me and we all know I could never make it a group like that. The politics were pretty straightforward so I didn’t have too much of a hard time following that. The giant spiders….I just…Why? WHAT WAS THE REASON? Literally, she just shoved in these (nasty) creatures and I felt like it did not match the world at all. Like I get it spiders can be big, but this addition felt almost too cheesy futuristic movie to me.

The diamond magic. Well. From what I remember we didn’t get much diamond magic. I could be wrong. I know there are some pretty big moments that feature them and I really liked how they work, but I felt like they were still just glanced at this book. Everything is just a skim of the surface with this book. I felt like it never got bone deep.

You wanna know what I did like? The twisted relationship Aina had with her boss! Was it love? Lust? Hate? Fear? Admiration, as she so often claims? I really liked that she almost “addicted” to him in the sense that she knew he was no good for her and yet couldn’t help going back for more. And let me tell you her boss is like Kaz Brekker but like not even remotely redeemable. This was the highlight of the book and the one thing I felt that we got into!


Overall, the book was not it for me. I felt like it was lacking a lot of substance and the characters were not memorable for me. It sucks because I know I wanted to love this so badly, but I struggled with this.

Rating: 2 / 5

Recommend?: I will always recommend Latinx reads, just be aware I didn’t love this.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? How do you deal with disappointing reads? What assassin books do you like?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Romance Reading Round Up | Part 2 // Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Greetings readers!

As you can guess from the title, I am still very much on my rom-com train. I have decided to become comfortable with this side of myself, it’s part of my own personal growth! Also there is much irony in this. As one who used to–shamefully–crap on the romance drama, I am now becoming a binge reader of it….

Animated GIF
via giphy.com

That’s not to say that every book I read is a massive success and it turns out I’m quite picky with my romances. I stick to contemporary, which is odd because I am a such a hardcore fantasy reader. I have the goal to read a fantasy-romance soon though. Once I find the right one. Don’t even get me started on historical or paranormal…I need time to get comfortable okay.

GETTING INTO CLo

My Favorite Half-Night Stand
via Goodreads

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 3.75 / 5

Review: I enjoyed it. I liked the characters, despite the fact that I was calling them both idiots every five seconds. I mean, I think I kind of liked it more for that fact. Could it get a little tedious at times? Yeah, but still it’s a really good modern love story.
The narrators were both really good, I would listen to them again!

Dating You / Hating You
via Goodreads

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 4 / 5

Review: Thoroughly enjoyed this. I feel very satisfied with the ending. This was a great lovers to enemies to lovers kind of thing.
The characters were amazing! I had so much fun!

The Unhoneymooners
via Goodreads

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 4 / 5

Review: The drama….I was living!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look I still have issues with Ethan, but like I guess I can’t totally blame him…
ALSO, the revenge bit. I was living. I mean I get that she would be devastated, but I think it would have fed my hate-fire and since I’m pretty, jealous, and vengeful I would have been feeling glorious in the moment. Other than that this was hilarious! And I liked the laughs!
Her Latinx family was fun, if a little cliche, but I wasn’t expecting incredible rep so meh.
Narrators were good. Still not my favourite voices.


TWO FROM MY ORIGINAL TBR

Faker
via Goodreads

Faker by Sarah Smith

Format: ebook

Rating: 1.5 / 5

Review: This was a big thumbs down for me, sorry. Oh wow.
The characters, I didn’t really like.
The writing was not my fave.
The pacing was so weird.
This is not the enemies to lovers it could have been.
The cheesy bits at the end…ugh
Just not for me.

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered, #1)
via Goodreads

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Format: ebook

Rating: *a decent* 3 / 5

Review: Ummm I liked it but I had some issues.
I think Georgie was a great character and her struggles as a youngest sibling really resonated with me, but with regards to her relationship with Travis… She sort of came off as a little manic pixie dream girl.
Travis was alright. Not horrible, but alright..
The “baby girl” was not working for me. I mean she didn’t want to be seen or treated like a kid but loves being called baby girl?
Everyone has their kinks… And umm I was a little (totally) tomato faced while reading. But then again I’m 10/10 awkward so…

told you so i give up GIF
via giphy.com

The ending was a little no-no-no for me. Um. Yeah. No. Like I love an HEA but I just wasn’t feeling it.
Overall, it was fun. Very funny. And even though it had its drawbacks I think lots of romance readers will enjoy it.

 


THE RANDOS I PICKED UP.
ONE LOVE BETWEEN TWO RAGES.

99 Percent Mine
via Goodreads

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 1.5 / 5

Review RANT: There is a word I used often while reading to describe the characters in this book: Bitch.

Darcy was sold as a boss ass bad bitch but what she truly was was a sad spoiled bitch.
Tom was sold as a good boy with a beast inside, but he was really a little bitch.
Jamie was sold as a bitch and he truly was a Bitch (TM)
Truly was a yasss bitch and I liked her.
And Megan the one and only one who I thought was actually going to be a bitch was actually super nice.
My God I really did not enjoy this experience. I didn’t hate the book, but I couldn’t stand the characters. I couldn’t stand the “Tom is an Animal” imagery and it just ruins everything. It’s like supposed to be a kink but its not. These siblings literally walked over Tom their whole lives and he lets them because he’s a spineless little bitch that is sold as him being super nice, can’t say no kind of guy.
What’s worse is that they recognize this bad behaviour and their moment of “aw man we are actually shitty ppl” spans about one chapter and Tom is back to worshipping Darcy and Jamie.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been walked over like this that I’m on the defense, maybe it’s because I’m not into the territorial/possessive kind of affection or maybe just maybe I hated the fact that she calls him a sled-dog at one point and later on says “fetch Valeska” and I never got over it. 🙃

It’s a hell no from me, dogs.

Moonlight Over Manhattan
via Goodreads

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 4 / 5

Review: This was a sweet book overall. I was mainly here for the MC who I relate to in a lot of ways! It’s a romance between a shy girl and a doctor and honestly…goals. HOWEVER, the drama lasted one chapter and the very last one at that. It had the potential to be great drama too but I was robbed of that tension *sigh*
Still it was very cute!

See Jane Score (Chinooks Hockey Team, #2)
via Goodreads

See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson

Format: Audiobook

Rating: DNF @ 73 %

Review: I couldn’t anymore. This is not worth my time, I’ve got other romances lined up.
Biggest issues:
1) He is such a d*ck. Misogynistic, arrogant, just terrible over all.
2) She (stupidly) falls in love with him despite knowing how awful he is.
3) No one says “aboot” and even if he does, it is not a cute accent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4) I cannot stress how much of a d*ck he actually is. Him having sex with a girl w/ small boobs instead of big ones is not a moment of growth.

I’m done. This is the second hockey romance to go to the trash for me. As a Canadian (who fully admits to belonging to the stereotype of liking hockey) I am disappointed.


Well that’s it for me! This round had both its highs and lows. I don’t think I have a true favourite from this round, maybe Moonlight over Manhattan and Dating You/Hating You even if they didn’t get the full five stars! My next round of romances will hopefully bring me a true 5-star read!

Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? As always, I’m open to all your recommendations!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Untamed Shore | Review // In which I read my first thriller and realize I might be more blood thirsty than I initially thought…

Greetings readers!

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram knows how much I adore Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work. I discovered her a few years ago when The Beautiful Ones came out in 2017 and since then I have gobbled up her novels. And we all know how much I LOVE Gods of Jade and Shadow so obviously all her works are on my TBR from now one!

Her latest release, Untamed Shore is a crime thriller and—

—-Rendz you barely read thriller and you’ve a record 0 crime books

Um, excuse me. This is Silvia Moreno-Garcia we are talking about. If it’s got her name on it, I read it. Plus I always like guessing at mysteries!

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Untamed Shore
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Feb 11, 2020
Publisher: Agora Books
Goodreads

Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, UNTAMED SHORE, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre.


The Likes

SMG has a way of just totally sucking you into a book. I’ve never set foot in 1970s Baja California and yet I felt like I was intimately involved with the town of Desengaño. The words wrap around you until you feel like you’re standing on the beach and looking at the display of shark corpses. You feel it, you smell it, you can hear every sound. And, yeah, you’ve never even been in a setting like that before, but the writing makes it a whole experience for you anyways.

The writing is gorgeous and stellar, but I’ll be honest, what got me reeled in were the characters!

Viridiana, my girl. She was un-apologetically herself all the time. (Although she has her moments of self-doubt, but don’t we all) She was walking paradox. Practical, straightforward and yet dreamy. She fully understood her confinement in her small town, and the limits placed on her because of her gender, religion and economic status, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming. From imagining herself as a movie star, albeit a hopelessly romantic one. She had a love for languages which hello, hi, same. I really enjoyed reading about her journey and the shit she put herself through and had to get out of. I loved that she was not perfectly capable and when she messes up she has to get her hands dirty to fix it up. And let me tell you she messes up. A lot. But she wants what we all want, a life worth having lived. Where she can reach for the stars like anyone else. And she lies, cheats and maybe does more to get that.

The Americans….HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. The mother fucking Americans. (I am talking specifically about the book’s Americans, not you my dear American readers). Viridiana gets caught up in their web and it takes a lot of work to get out of it. If I’m being honest Gregory was a little beeyatch and Daisy was The Bitch of the Group, so I really hated them, but was also fascinated by them. Viridiana and I were both really in the same boat here, except I was better at calling their bullshit.

The twistiness!!!! You know at one point I thought I had it in the bag. Like I knew exactly what was gonna happen and then I got slapped and realized I needed to humble myself. Suffice to say, the twists were really good. There was a lot of suspense to be had and the book keeps you on the edge of your seat constantly. It’s that kind of tense reading where you’re yelling at the characters to do one thing and they do the opposite which only makes you more stressed but also more intrigued! There were a lot less sharks than I initially anticipated (but they are mentioned a lot), but the Americans and ~others~ do have a certain vicious sharkness to them. I’ll be honest though the beginning sets up a lot of groundwork so it takes a bit to get to that first moment of shit-hitting-the-fan. But it sure does and my girl gets her hands dirty!!

Now, it turns out that I am willing to go way farther than Viridiana is to get out of a mess and she goes pretty far. I had to take a minute to question my moral values and reflect on my blood thirst. Viridiana had the decency to feel some remorse where as I was like yasssssssss I like this blood we are spilling and lies we are telling. So yeah. 🙂 I mean we both had self-preservation in mind, she’s just a little more of a thinker whereas I was like, let’s just take them all down!

The Questionable

Why couldn’t this book get the full five stars from me? I guess it’s because it ended almost too smoothly. Here I am complaining that it was a good ending. I’m a terrible reader, I know! But I guess I was hoping for that last minute WTF moment that I thought would come with thrillers, but no it was pretty chill. It was a good ending, satisfying too, but perhaps I was hoping for one more twist.


Overall, I really enjoyed this! It is definitely a thrilling ride and you will love the havoc these tourists wreak on this small town that, let’s face it, loves the drama just like us readers!

Rating: 4.25 / 5 Stars

Recommend: You know the answer is yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this or are thinking about picking it up? Are you a thriller fan? What are some of your favourites?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January | Review // This book was pure magic!

Greetings readers!

Portal fantasy is probably my favourite type of fantasy and I don’t read it often. Hypocrite much? I know. The Narnia books were my introductory novels to this genre and…well we all know how obsessed I am with that series. I just love stories that go beyond this world and yet keep that connection alive. They are literal stories of escape from this world, just like books are the metaphoric escape from our real lives. I am sure if someone were to pop-psycho analyse me then I would fully understand this inner wanderlust and desire to leave this world for something different, but I’m not sure I want to know those answers yet.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

43521657
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 10, 2019
Publisher: Redhook
Goodreads

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

*Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the review copy!*

The Likes:

I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into this book, but I didn’t actually think I would love it this much. I was absolutely enchanted from the very first page and all of it has to do with Harrow’s writing style! First we have to talk about the narrative voice. I don’t know what the technical term is, but it is when the narrator directly addresses the reader as the story goes on. It’s as if we are sitting side by side and actually being told this story over some cookies and drinks. It is a personal, intimate kind of story telling that I absolutely love.

The actually writing style itself was incredibly whimsical. It’s a flowery, purple prose that has its wild, metaphoric phrases that still surrender you completely under the book’s enchantment. I LOVED IT! The study of the actual physical shape of words and letters was so interesting. I think I may have made it sound too ~scientific~, but I promise you it was delightful! It’s a careful and, again, intimate kind of story telling that just hits you in the feels. Other than that, I think the story flowed wonderfully, it’s not hard to follow along and every turn of the page just gets more and more interesting.

Now we have to talk about these characters because they are incredible! The first shout-out goes to my girl January, who is one of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read. She was a lonely girl, with a big imagination constantly being told to reform, conform and endure a society that didn’t exactly know what to make of her. As much as she loved the fact she was being taken care of, she couldn’t help but hate the suffocation. As much as she hated the way she was left behind, she couldn’t help but love the people who left. She lived a life full of mysteries and curiosities that never gave her the right answers. And while she was incredibly curious herself, she had to find a way to let that adventurous side of her free after years of being told to keep it down. She was naive, but also intelligent. She was sheltered, but courageous enough to face the horrors of her life. She was angry and she learned to harness it to get out of trouble. I loved everything about her if you can’t tell.

Honourable mentions go to Jane, who was seriously fierce and angry! I think that she deserved a lot more than what she got and I felt so angry for her! Shout out to Samuel for being incredibly sweet with a total white knight complex that made me want to melt. To a certain pair of characters whose story made me SOB—I just wanna say #couplegoals…but also maybe not XD

The magic of the doors was marvellous. I loved the history behind it, I loved that we got to explore how these portals are constructed and destroyed. How they bring out the best and the worst of people. With magical doors comes increasingly new and magical lands! The way in which Harrow imagined these other nations with totally different cultural practices and ways of life. I mean…I can barely survive on my own in this world, and there was definitely one world in this book I would not survive in…but I would love to see books based solely in these other worlds.

The book has an incredible conversation about colonialism. There was almost an anti-museum rhetoric to this book. It’s not denying the importance of understanding a people and its culture, but this book is arguing that a culture is not a collectible. An artifact is not something that can be taken from its home and charted across the seas to be locked up and stared at. It is stripping that object of its real purpose, to serve the people it was created for. The book tackles the deeply problematic private collections of stuffy rich people who bought up–stole–precious cultural items (see the British, Spanish, French and basically all other European colonizers) for their own selfish wants. It’s important that we understand how deeply problematic our modern museums are. They are full of items that are labeled as belonging to “collectors” but they don’t. Those pieces belong to people and nations that still exist, that are not extinct and of the past, but increasingly labeled as history long gone.

The plot itself is charming yet wildly fun too. It is more contemplative than action-y although I will say that there is a fair share of blood that is shed and there may or may not be a vampire character? It’s not really a spoiler, but a treat to intrigue you with. I was never bored and I always wanted to keep going! There is also a story within a story being told and let me tell you that inner story is one that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! Plus since its a story within a story, you are technically getting two books for the price of one!

The ending…how do I even explain the ending. It was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes from the feels that just overtook me in the moment. Not only are the final words so preciously gorgeous and ripped my soul apart, they explain the reason why this book is told the way it is and it makes so much more sense AND OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I WANTED TO CRYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

The Questionable:

Nothing. It was amazing.


Overall, I enjoyed this book so much! It was heartfelt, charming, suspenseful and absolutely magical. It is a perfect book for readers like me who are constantly being struck by wanderlust, but don’t have the guts to get out there just yet! It’s also perfect for general fantasy readers, historical fiction lovers and people who just love books about books!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! Open the doors this book has to offer!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Do you like portal fantasy? What are some of your favourites? If you could open the door to another world, would you go in?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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