House of Ash | Review

Greetings readers!

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

House of Ash by Hope Cook

House of Ash

via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

What I Liked

Characters: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result

via google!

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

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

It eats people….

What I Disliked:

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

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


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

Rating: 3.75 Stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel | Review

Greetings readers!

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

That is of course not always the case.

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

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

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel by Maria Murnane

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel

via Goodreads

 

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

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

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

And laughter. And love.

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

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

What I Liked

Characters:

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

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

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

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

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

What I Disliked

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

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


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

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: For those looking for #FriendshipGoals!

About the Author

Maria 6.jpg

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

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


 

More From Maria!

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

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

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

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

  • What draws you to this contemporary fiction?

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

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

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

  • When did you decide to become a writer?

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

  • What is the hardest thing about writing?

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

  • What is the easiest thing about writing? 

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

  • What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Do you currently have anything in the works?

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


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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Hinder Review

Greetings readers!

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

Well…it wasn’t too far off.

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

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Hinder

via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

What I Liked

Characters I Sort of Liked

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

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

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

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

What I Disliked

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

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

O_O Okay.

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

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


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

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

The Last of August Review

Greetings readers!

Confession time. I have this thing for Sherlock Holmes retellings or anything to do with the mysteries of Holmes.

Bigger confession: I have never read a real Sherlock Holmes book or watched the various TV and movie adaptations.

Yup.

So, I really do not know where this fascination stems from. It just is as it is. Thus, when I stumbled upon a gender-bent Sherlock last year in Brittany Cavallaro’s  A Study in Charlotte I knew I would immediately get hooked!

And I was hooked!

Revisiting the beloved characters of Charlotte and Jamie came in the sequel The Last of August!

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

via Goodreads

Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming morethan friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

I waited a whole year to read this sequel and then made myself wait a little more because I forgot about it! When I saw it at the library, I snatched it up! I loved the first book so my expectations for the second one were quite high!

What I Liked

Characters:

Jamie – Ohhhhhhhhhhh Jamie! Sweet, sweet, sweet Watson! I love this guy too much! He is the best narrator for this book! Funny, quirky and so utterly confused! It would be really hard to live and be around people like Holmes, who are walk around know-it-alls (and I mean that in the nicest way possible!) Yet, despite all the moments he feels like he is so out of place, he understands that he has a purpose in this group and that he can work with them even if he doesn’t know all the hacks and tricks of a good detective!

Charlotte – Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Charlotte! How lovely and mysterious you are! She is also rather funny, she just doesn’t know it! She is très, très INTELLIGENTE! Also, mysterious, closed off and a survivor of something so horrific. I adore Charlotte and all her detective work! I adore her ability to keep moving forward despite so many difficult obstacles! Plus, I love it when she narrates those two chapters because she is so blunt and fun!

August – Even though I thought he was coming in to make a triangle, I think he is an interesting character. He definitely brought up a lot of questions about Charlotte’s past and her family. He is after all a part of her family’s mortal enemy! I wish we had got to know him a little more, but then I remember that Jamie is narrating and he gets quite jealous!

Cross Europe Travelling: I loved that the characters moved around! London! Prague! Lots of new settings, with lots of places to discover! I loved the way the places were described and ventured through! I felt the chilly winter breezes and the sweet smells of all the Christmas treats! Just wow! I wish I could go to those places!

Romance: There was quite a bit of emphasis (I would say) on romance in this book. Jamie clearly has feelings for Charlotte, but understands that he cannot get to close to her because of her past. Charlotte tries a lot in this book to get comfortable again with being intimate. It is not easy and doesn’t happen within a scene. It is gradual, slow and honestly melted my heart. I ship it hardcore, but after that ending and reading the third books synopsis, things seem to be in danger!

Cover: JUST LOVE IT! Ahhh. I love that it gives away (not many) but some of the events in the book!

Mystery and Suspense: A very important element in these kind of books. I loved following Charlotte and Jamie on this new case. I always try and follow along to see if I can make any sense of what is happening or figure out the twist. BUT NOPE. I am no detective, I did not see any of those things happening. I loved their heist pulling and the auction scene was one of my favourite scenes in the book! Hilarious and fun!

What I Disliked

What the Heck Happened At The End? I Am Very Confused, Someone Please Explain This To Me: Yeah, I didn’t get it. Well, it’s not that I was completely lost, it’s more that I didn’t understand the significance and severity about what happened that keeps me from saying this book was perfect! I honestly need an explanation as to how the ending affected the characters! Send. Help.


Overall, I did enjoy this book! Not as much as the first one, but I did like it a lot! The mystery, the action…perhaps a little too much romantic tension? But I still liked it either way! I cannot wait for the final book, which comes out in March! *sweats nervously* That is so far off!!!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yeah! But obviously read A Study in Charlotte first because if you don’t you’ll be more confused then I am!

Let me know what you thought of this book? Any explanations as to the ending? Any Sherlockians out there angry at me for not actually knowing anything about Sherlock? XP

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Lovely Reckless Review

Greetings readers!

On one of my library adventures this summer I was lucky enough to pick up The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia! This is a book I was looking forward to since it came out, but I totally missed its release! Then almost a year later when the new cover for the paperback was released my anticipation for it was renewed!

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

The Lovely Reckless

via Goodreads

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Well, I don’t usually pick up contemporaries because I’m a sap and is rather not read books about saps like me (just kidding)! I usually stray away from it because I don’t like to deal with real life problems! (It’s not that contemps are that “real” anyways!) So reading a book about a girl losing her boyfriend and a whole bunch of other stuff would have been a big turn off, had there not been mention of car racing! That’s what hooked me!

What I Liked

Characters:

Frankie: I had an on/off relationship with her. I mean she was going through some major trauma, so I did sympathize with her. She started living life as if it didn’t matter anymore, something I’m sure a lot of people experience. I enjoyed reading her journey about finding herself again and her struggle with family, friends and love.

Marco: I see why he would appeal to many. 1. He is 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥. Holy cannoli! I mean tattoos *faints* Muscles and abs *more fainting* Dangerous bad boy with a sweet/sensitive side *Rendz is a sucker for those* But because of all these things I feel like I fell a little out of love with him! He is too good to be true! Just toooooooo good and it got a little meh. Sorry.

Cruz: An actual queen! I loved her and her story was just so heart breaking! Can we get a spin off just about her???

Frankie’s parents were rats!!!!!!!!

Honestly, everyone’s parents in this book were rats and a**wholes! Such parental problems in this book!

Themes in PTSD: Frankie does suffer from ptsd in this book because she witnessed the horrors of her boyfriends death and she struggles with memory loss. I liked that the author didn’t just cure Frankie. She would falter and better, falter and better. Never truly “healed” (if one can be healed of that) but rather more knowledgeable about herself and her condition!

Romance: I shipped the ship. No question. Did I think this whole relationship started a tad too early and developed rather quickly? Yes. But I understand since it is a stand alone so things have to get moving. Would I have preferred the “I love yous” to be left for later. Also yes, but one can only wish for so many things!

What I Disliked

It’s Predictable: I saw the killer from a mile away! I felt so proud of myself when the revelation of the killer occurred. Gave myself a big pat on the back! But yeah, this book didn’t throw anything at me that was super exciting and twisty. My emotions were never ahhhhhhhh they were mostly “okay”.

Where was the Street Racing?: Ummm I was promised epic street racing, wasn’t I? I got two or three scenes. And a mention here and there! No. No. No. I wanted the real deal racing and I wanted moreeeeeeeeeeee!

And I just want to mention that this was super unrealistic! I’m not surprised, as this is a work of fiction and meant to be a look into what the life of someone in Frankie’s situation could be like. However, I just couldn’t handle it! If you street race and do illegal stuff your gonna get caught and punished. Severely. Like! Come on! Just saying!


Overall, I did enjoy the book! Was it everything I hoped for? Not exactly. The lack of street racing really made me sad! And the whole book was really mellow. I did like most of it though and thought it was a super cute romance!

Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yes! If you want a cute contemporary romance with some action! (But if you’re looking for adrenaline rushing street racing, I don’t think you’ll find it here!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you read this, what did you think? Who is your favourite fictional bad boy?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Ninth Circle Mini Review

Greetings readers,

On one of my Net Galley splurges, I stumbled upon this book and requested it because it sounded really cool and magical! I thought the cover was intriguing to, so it was an instant Rendz-magnet! It turned out to be okay and not all that magical!

The Ninth Circle by C.A. Harland

The Ninth Circle, Book 1: Fire (The Ninth Circle #1)

via Goodreads

Tala Morgenstern lives for the hunt, embracing her heritage as a demon hunter. When her younger sister, Hartley, disappears while on the trail of her long-lost father, Tala must seek the help of her other sister Aiva, who has turned her back on the underworld of magic and hunting. Suspecting demonic involvement, Tala and Aiva race to find Hartley before she can be claimed by hell.

Their search takes them deeper into the bowels of Dublin’s criminal underground, where the gangs are led by demons, and the currency is souls. With each Circle of hell bringing new dangers, and new revelations about their own place in the demon hunting world, Tala and Aiva have to rely on each other if they are to stand a chance of fighting their way to the Ninth Circle, and the demon lord who is waiting for them.

*I was provided a free digital copy via Net Galley and the publisher.*

I just could not get into this book. There were intriguing moments, but nothing that made me go “Wow” or do a dramatic intake of breath. Nope. Just, meh. I did giggle sometimes but mostly I just stared at the screen blank-faced with no emotion.

The Likes

  • The whole exploration of the nine levels of Hell. Each level was distinguished from the other, One being the weakest and Nine being the top dog.
  • The different types of demons. There were specific mythological names used in the book, which I really liked. They each had their own specific power and appearance.
  • There was some humour so that was at least helping me get through some scenes.
  • The Irish setting, with mentions of Canada (Classic Patriotic Rendz)
  • Conner and he was in the book for two seconds.

The Dislikes

  • Boring. I’m sorry, but this book was just not as entertaining as I hoped it would be. All Tala and Aiva did was fight, get injured, rest, repeat for the first half of the book!
  • The main characters both bothered me, they were just kind of there. o-o
  • Why does Tala call Aiva, Ivy? Like explain this to me please! I don’t get why she is called by another name. There is a reason, it was just never explained!
  • Hartley is actually a b*t*h.
  • Romance involved Tala flirting with a bartender (then killing him) and having a one-night stand with a single father. Nothing concrete ever happened.
  • The Morrigan legend could have used further explanation and exploration. There was no substance to it, I didn’t understand the whole point of it!
  • Who is Aiva’s dad then? Like we figured out the other two and now you are just going to leave me hanging???
  • There were constant dull moments! Lots of them.

Overall, I really don’t have much to say on this book, other than I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it because I found the demon hunting and nine levels of hell to be cool but nothing stuck out to me. The characters didn’t grab my attention. This book was just a lot of meh.

Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Recommend: I don’t recommend under three stars, but if you like demon hunting here you are!

I think next time, I will do a tad more investigating before judging books by their covers!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Empire of Storms Review: It’s Unpopular Opinion Time!

Greetings readers!

Sometimes I like to take a moment and think about how much easier my life would be had I not picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Had I avoided this overly-hyped series and steered myself in different fantastical direction.

But no.

Rendz succumbed to the pressure and read this overly hyped, fantasy series that has gone so down in her books. So, so down.

After having tolerated Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, I avoided reading Empire of Storms since it came out. I didn’t even care if the spoilers rolled out left, right and center. I was done with this series.

Then I remember the reason I continue on with the series. I remember the character that keeps me going.

Chaol Westfall

*boos from the crowd*

You can hate him all you want. Rub his name in the dirt, but I LOVE him. He is one of the few reasons (the main reason) that I put up with this series!

I dreaded taking this book out of the library. I dreaded having to put my TLC reread on hold for this! I hated that I would sit for two hours and not even make a dent in my reading because the pages were so thin and this book was 700 pages long!!

Please prepare yourselves for a rather long and rant-y review.

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*deep breaths*

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

via Goodreads

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

I was never going to love – or even like – this book. I forced myself to read this. Forced. However, it would be false to say that I didn’t enjoy some parts of this book, but I definitely (as a whole) did not enjoy reading this. It was a completely different tone, mood, and overall story from the first books. I just wanted to get this agony over with.

The Very Few Things I Liked

Side Characters: (You will find the MCs in another section….down below!)

Manon: A LITERAL QUEEN. Another one of the reasons I stick around this mess, is for her. A blood thirsty, conniving and kickass witch!!! I love that despite all her “I have no heart that cares” she actually cares! She can be compassionate without being too gooey. I also loves when she tells Aelin to stop being such a sap and get over herself. (Golden moment)

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Lysandra: Another queen! After being kind of iffy about her in QoS, I absolutely adored her in this one. She is so strong, intelligent and able! She is not just a pretty thing on the side, NO. She is upfront and ready to bear her teeth if necessary! Do not disrespect Lysandra! SHAPESHIFTER FOR THE WIN!

Elide: Cinnamon roll, who you want to protect, but your efforts are futile because she can do it (mostly) herself! I liked her a lot. I found her parts of the story the most interesting and I wanted to read more about her! She is deceiving, a fast-thinker and doesn’t let her disability keep her from playing the game! I really want more of her!

Fenrys: Fenrys…Fenrys…Fenrys. I really do like him. I’m not sure exactly why. Yes he is hot, but there is something else there too. Also his past…just…heart breaking.

Gavril: He’s okay. Not really explored as a character. I do hope he makes up with Aedion though and we actually get a good parent/child relationship going on.

Lorcan: Lorcan. Lorcan. Lorcan. (I totally forgot who you were, while I was reading the first chapters of this book.) I love you, but you’ve got issues. Fix them and figure out, hun. He’s the kind of character that I want to hug and at the same time strangle. Depending on his actions or words. Still love him though!

Dorian: My poor baby. Got ZERO respect from the other characters. ZERO. I felt bad for him. He wasn’t exactly the Dorian, I remember and love, but I still liked him more than certain others.

Female Friendships: The female friendships are still going strong in this series. There isn’t just one, there are several so I really appreciate that. The ladies work strongly together, they help each other through thick and thin! They are such goals!!

Action: I will not deny the large chunks of action scenes and suspenseful events in the book. They did keep me on my toes for the most bit, so I was sucked in at points. However, I do have have to complain about the magic used in battles. It’s very vague and how it is wielded did not vary from character or type of magic. It’s all the same and it got boring.

The Longish and Rant-y List of Things I Disliked

Main Characters:

Aelin (gags):

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I just can’t muster up any sort of good feelings towards her. None. “She is so out of this world” *rolls eyes* Conniving and cunning and not to forget drop dead gorgeous *rolls eyes some more* Not gonna lie I have some respect for her and her cleverness but other than that she was nothing to me. She hasn’t been since book 3. She’s sooooo arrogant that it irks me! Like, hello the world will not fall at your feet! She’s not even remotely redeemable in my eyes and not fit to be queen, the one point I agree on Darrow with (who was in this book for 2 seconds).

Rowan (vomits):  *tomatoes thrown at Rendz*

 

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I honestly have never and will not ever see the appeal. I just don’t get why people like him so much. I don’t! I don’t even find him that attractive. Silver hair? Ummm NO. Abs? Sure. Territorial and jealous if another dude just so happens to look at his queen? Ew gross. I thought maybe in this book he might be able to keep it in his pants because let’s be honest that was his whole purpose in QoS. That so did not happen. I just don’t like him. I don’t understand him. And it irks me to see that so many people fawn over him and get all googly-eyed whereas I’m like; if he dared bite my friggin neck I chuck him out soooooo fast. That ain’t cute! I don’t care if he’s FAE, it ain’t cute!

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Romance AKA The Sudden Evolution into NA: This is no longer a YA series. Not with that amount of sexual content. Now, I know more people are opening discussion about having sex in YA: should it or should it not be done. Here is where I stand. It can, but not like it was in this book. Not with these descriptions. First of all, I don’t ship Rowaelin so I knew I wasn’t going to like this aspect of the book. Aelin and Rowan’s sexual tensions and romance scenes literally made me want to gag. It was atrocious! And for those of you thinking “Rendz isn’t mature, she can’t handle this stuff” Honey no. I have read sexy scenes, ok. From NA books. I have watched sexy scenes in movies, but you know they are targeted to older audiences!! And these scenes. Ugh. They were so cringy. I was laughing at how absolutely ridiculous they were while going through them.

All I thought about while reading, NO skimming those scenes were the two little girls, barely 12 or 13 who went to the SJM signing who were carrying this book (obviously having read or are going to read it) and thinking about them reading chapter 38 or reading about the freaking blow job (yes I said it and its in the damn book). Just nope. Nope. NOPE. Even I was scarred.

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And it’s not just Rowaelin with the sexy times, they just get a lot more of it (with more descriptions) but Manon and Dorian suddenly because sex crazy too and have to hook up. Also Lorcan and Elide (who I do ship) had to have sexy times as well, but I’m glad theirs was less detailed.

I just couldn’t people. Trust me when I say I was cringing and laughing at every sex scene. I was red in the face of embarrassment because I couldn’t believe I was reading that. It was so not what I signed up for.

And to think that this is probably going to happen in Tower of Dawn too! At least in that one, I ship the ship.

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Nothing happened: It’s not that nothing happened at all, some battles, some betrayal some conquests. But it took forever to finally feel like something was happening! The grand revelation wasn’t so grand to me. *Spoiler* I knew she was going to have to die and I won’t lie: I laughed. Laughed because I know that she probably won’t die and it will probably be Dorian and I hate that. *End spoiler*

Some epic battle scene and boom I just read 700 pages of flipping view points.

Trying to Sprinkle in the Diversity (and it’s not even that great): At least she tried. SJMs world is white. Perhaps Nesryn is a poc or she’ll just be tan. Not the sun kissed gorgeous tan of the FAE (code for sun burnt white) or the haunting porcelain white of the witches. She’ll just be tan. (So wonderfully descriptive!) Every character had to be so damn beautiful, not a single thing can mar their perfectly toned muscles and abs. Their thin bellies and lush breasts.

Then she’s starts to sprinkle (and when I mean sprinkle I mean sprinkle) lgtbq characters here and there. One side character’s bisexuality is mentioned, but not developed. Just to say “hey I like dudes and girls, ok! Moving on”. A super duper minor gay character and there you have it.

Would it have made a bigger impact to have characters of colour and different sexual orientations up front. Yes. But were they there? No.

Territorial Fae: I know that some people find these controlling relationships as sexy and oh so romantic, ya me no. I don’t want to be claimed. I don’t want to be bitten/marked as though I were a piece of land. I don’t see the appeal. I don’t find it romantic. If Lorcan and Elide end up being like that well I’ll be very disappointed!

*Spoiler ahead*

The Conversation of Colonialism  and Conquest: In the book, Aelin and Rowan have a literal conversation about conquering more lands after taking back Terrasen. She legit said that if she gets “bored” of being queen she will conquer and gain more land to be empress! So her damned children can inherit the stars. EXCUSE ME! How dare you even think that. If you get bored go find a fucking new hobby! How can she possibly think that she would go out to conquer? After having her own land conquered and suffering at the hands of others she would dare to think that’s she would do that to others. She can’t possibly think that people will say “yes conquer us and takes what is ours!” Hell no! They will fight and there will be blood. I was so disgusted by this scene! Horrible. At least she admits its a dumb idea, but the fact that she even considered it. IRKED. ME.

*End of Spoiler*


So yeah, I’m gonna say one more thing: After reading it (like after turning the last page) I liked it. A lot. The ending was great and I had to applaud Aelin, even Rowan for their actions. But then I simmered and thought. I found myself knocking down stars. For the reasons mentioned above. Some things were just too much for me and it ruined the story sorry.

Rating: 3 / 5 ( Tempted to lower it) 

Recommend: I stopped recommending this series after book 3, I leave it up to you to decide. O_O

I know a lot of people out there love this series, this book even more. But I just could not deal with it. If you do love this book, that’s great! I hold no rancour against you. But personally, I didn’t like this.

I only read it so I could read CHAOL’S novel, Tower of Dawn. And to be honest I’m very worried. If that book is just as sexy time filled and empty in every other aspect, I will be very disappointed.

End of rant. *pants*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Zero Repeat Forever Review

Greetings readers!

This is a review I should have written ages ago, but for some reason I got lazy (it’s summer people, let me be). So I’m coming with it to you now! I recently wrote about this book in my ARCstravangaza post, but now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty!

I present to you:

A Great Canadian Apocalyptic Adventure

Ft. Aliens, District 13, and Beauty & the Beast

Zero Repeat Forever by G.S Prendergast

Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1)

via Goodreads

Goodreads Summary

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

*ARC was provided through a Goodreads giveaway. My review is all honesty and contains no brainwashed info whatsoever!*

This was a great book. I honestly didn’t expect it to go exactly as it did. Firstly, I didn’t know it was set in Canada!! What???? Yeah. Usually, Canada is like never mentioned in any dystopias or it was sucked under the rule of the UK or merged with the US. I loved that this book strayed away from that. SO what was this book? Crazy, dizzying and a well-rounded “If it were real, Rendz would probs wet her pants” adventure!

What I Liked

Characters:

Raven: Raven was not your typical “hero” character. She was a “troubled youth” to put it in words. She was working in a camp as her community service for a crime she committed with her group of friends. After suffering through the death of her boyfriend Tucker, she finds herself a bit lost.  She deals with a lot during her time in this perilous world. She goes through a lot of inner turmoil, thinking about her past actions, her family, her decisions, her racial identity, death. A whole lot of death. Did I enjoy reading from her perspective? Yes. Sometimes her action/words would rub me the wrong way, but I understand her reasoning for them.

Eighth: Cinnamon Roll. Cinnamon Roll. Cinnamon Roll. He was an interesting character to read from for two very cool reasons. One. He has such a pure conscious, for someone who is supposed to murder people in cold blood. He is a gentle creature. He knows what he does is wrong, but doesn’t know why! Two. He thinks and feels. He is bullied because of those things and eventually he rebels. His rebellion leads him to Raven and for once his good nature is appreciated instead of ridiculed. (Well…after she stops thinking of him as a predator) He is still rather mysterious and deals with an identity crisis too, but honestly: Cinnamon Roll.

Side characters were not all that important to me. I hated Topher. Let’s just put that out in the open. I didn’t even really liked Tucker. Others were not as important but they do serve for a lot of death.

Sign Language: What I really liked about this book was that the Nahx (aliens) communicated in sign language. And as the reader, there would be descriptions of their actions which communicated what they were saying. There were of course the actual words being spoken in sign written in the book, but I found it fascinating that the signs were being explained for the reader to visualize! Plus, that was the only way Eighth could communicate with Raven so the readers learned alongside her.

Canada and District 13: As mentioned, this book is set in Canada specifically Alberta (I am going to assume). The characters do travel to Calgary for a time and stay there for a while. The city isn’t really explored, I just liked seeing the name of a city I actually knew (although I’ve never been there.) Classic patriotic Rendz. Also, there is a part in the book that was reminiscent of District 13 from The Hunger Games. It was an underground haven, where people would ration food, train to be soldiers if possible and where a grey-haired lady ran the whole show! Sound familiar? Considering the similarities in the set, it is still quite different because this “District 13” was in no shape able to defeat the oppressor.

Beauty and the Beast Elements: This is not a B&B retelling, rather it has those classic elements that keep the reader hooked. The sharp and witty beauty, living with this mysterious and rather temperamental beast. Both sides knowing nothing and walking circles around each other at first, until they finally grow to understand each other. No talking furniture though. Bummer.

Romance: Very little. This story is more of a build up of the relationship between Eighth and Raven, so smooching factors low. I mean Raven does have relationships with others but in now way, shape or form would I ever count those as romantic. Eighth is a hopeless romantic sap (like me) and Raven is not. Plus she is mourning the death of a boyfriend, so making her open up is about 400 pages in time.

Action Packed and a very Twisty Ending: It does have quite a bit of action and suspense. It doesn’t all happen at once and is spaced out within the novel, so while in some areas it’s a bit dry in other it’s more “omgomgomgomgomg”. This is a book on survival, so the characters are running (for their lives) a lot. Was not expecting the ending at all. But I had my suspicions….

Seasonal Divisions: This book is split up into 4 parts, one for each season. And what I love about it is that Summer and Spring are literally 1/4 the size of what Autumn and Winter are! It was an excellent formatting decision. The hardest and most grueling part of the year being the cold season were the longest and held the most trauma, while the warm season had the lighter and more pleasant (though not all pleasant) events! Plus if we’re being honest Winter in Canada is about four times longer than Summer! XD

What I Disliked

200 pages Before I Actually Got Sucked In: The first 200 pages were really just not cutting it for me. Raven and her group were either walking to a near death encounter or in the “District 13” doing nothing, while Eighth was just walking and slowly (ever so slowly) abandoning his unit. After those 200 pages however, the pace really picks up and far much more fun and interesting things begin to happen! Trust me, just get through the first 200 pages and then you’re golden.

No Backstory: I was hoping for more backstory on Raven’s part. I don’t know why she is a “troubled youth” and the crime that was so shameful. I got her family history (kind of), but I was hoping for more from her to understand her inner dilemmas. As for Eighth, there are *reasons* for his lack of backstory so understandable.


Overall, it was a great book. Really fun to read and it definitely has a great cliff hanger. *Death, death, death!!!* Just a hint! I can’t wait for the next novel, but alas I have to wait over a year!!!! *Cries* ALSO COVER AND TITLE EPIPHANIES. HOLY CANNOLI! When the light bulb when off in my head for the title I was like “yesssss” and for the cover I was like “Yaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssss”.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yup. Yup. Yup. Apocalypse for the win.

This book comes out August 29th, 2017 so be sure to check it out!

What do you think are your chances of surviving a not so friendly alien invasion? I’m curious! If you want a chance to have a read of this book I *believe* there are copies available to request on NetGalley (Can/US/UK/AUS)!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Duke of Bannerman Prep Mini Review

Greetings readers!

You know school has a lot of required reading. Lots of Shakespeare is thrown at you from all directions. The classics that you would never consider picking up yourself, are suddenly being shoved in your face. Well, The Great Gatsby is definitely one of those classics! I was required to read it this past year for my English course and while I don’t always enjoy required reading, I did enjoy this book. It wasn’t “OMG…this is awesome!”, but it wasn’t “OMG just kill me now!” either!

So when I found out that there was going to be a book loosely based on the events in Gatsby but set in a Prep school, I was like “Yes, sign me up!”

The  Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A. Nelsom

The Duke of Bannerman Prep

via Goodreads

Goodreads Summary

Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.

Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for only one reason: the elite school recruited him after he brought his public school’s debate team to victory last year. Bannerman wants a championship win. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of his poor-as-dirt life and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and the start of a new, better future.

But when he’s paired with the Duke, his plans for an easy ride seem as if they’ve hit the rails. The Duke is the quintessential playboy, beloved by everyone for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and seemingly effortless favors.

And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.

But as Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of existing on the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.

But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple down.

A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for fans of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Kate Brian’s Private series, and anyone who’s encountered the cut-throat world of competitive high school.

The Likes:

  • Tanner is 10000000x better than Nick Carraway. (You have no idea!) He is super flawed, but still such a sweet heart, except in the times I wanted to stab him. (Especially when he was being spineless!)
  • Kelsey all the love to her, the perfect Jordan! She took BS from no one, I loved her. I wish we got to know her a little bit more though!
  • Abby = B*t*h, except when she was helping Sam.
  • Blake = Bigger B*t*h. He irked my soul!
  • Sam (Tanner’s brother) is a character with Cerebral Palsy, something I haven’t read in YA before.
  • The Duke was a very interesting Gatsby, I really liked his suave, mysteriousness. The cockiness was rather annoying, but classic Gatsby so can I really complain?
  • The setting of the boarding school was great, it showed all the privileges and perks of living in one. It stayed true to the aristocratic scenery from the original GG. Also showed how rich kids can be rats!!!!!!!!
  • The retelling aspects were solid, I could see the similarities but also the differences. It was the complete story, save maybe one or two characters from TGG who took a less important role.
  • The Debate Games totally spoke to the nerdy nature of Nick/Tanner! It wouldn’t make sense to make him a jock if he hates jocks!
  • Also Debate is cutthroat. I’d be wayyyyyyy too shy to even try to talk and battle people with words. It. Is. Intense!
  • The point in the book where I hated all the characters (Oh yeah, it happened)

The Dislikes

  • The ending was so mellow. Just mellow. No wow! No being blown away. It was a good ending just not a great one.
  • Must I continue saying the smooching factors were at an all time low? (Although I wasn’t too focused on Tanner’s romance…)

Overall, It was a great book! I can’t ask for a sequel because well…it just doesn’t need one! I thought the Gatsby aspects tied in very neatly with the story’s own uniqueness. I was just hoping a little more from the ending! It was good and I really liked how the author played with it consider the Gatsby ending is not that great!  I just want more!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes, for those looking for a intriguing twist on a renowned classic!

Well this turned out to be a rather long review! Let me know your thoughts! Have you read this, did you enjoy it? What classic would you love to see a retelling of?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Book of Whispers Review

Greetings readers!

I’m still plowing through my Net Galleys, but this is the second last one before finally reaching a good enough percentage ratio *hoorah* After the next book, I’m going to be heading into a full Lunar Chronicles spiral. Please don’t mind my fangirling.

But before we get to that, lets talk about books that whisper…

*Not a good pun Rendz. Please just stop.*

The Book of Whispers by Kimberely Starr

The Book of Whispers

via Goodreads

Goodreads Summary

Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees.

Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Luca sees his father murdered in one such dream and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.

When Luca is given an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power, he knows he’s been thrown into an adventure that will lead to places beyond his understanding. But with the help of Suzan, the beautiful girl he rescues from the desert, he will realise his true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world.

The premise was very interesting, I will say. A knight from the crusades and an “ugly nun” who have to find a way to stop the terrorizing demons poisoning the minds of people everywhere. Add in a magic book and you have Rendz hooked. Yet there are various elements of the book and the style itself that just did not sit well with me. It could have been great, but I found it just okay.

What I Liked

Characters: Well this is more of a semi-like.

Luca: Your knight in shining armour? Nope. Just a rich kid who pities the fact that his daddy loves him. Kidding…that was a bit harsh. He is a knight, but his armour doesn’t shine. It’s rather dusty! *enough with the armour Rendz* Right, okay. He was an okay character. At first I thought he was really stuck up and selfish. I mean if you witness your sister almost getting assaulted, defend her, then forget your promise to tell your dad about it….you get knocked off my list as a decent person. He gets better as the book goes on, though. He is still kind of snobby and naive in my opinion, probably due to his “I’m the son of a Conte” upbringing. He goes through some rough patches on his journey which make him a little less “bow down to me peasants” and a little more “let me help y’all out”.

Suzan: Suzan…Suzan…Suzan…I was calling you Suzanna for half of the book! My bad. Umm…she was also okay. There was nothing completely remarkable about her. She grew up pretending to be mute and getting harsh treatment from mean nuns. She was ugly to everybody, for *reasons*, but I wish those *reasons* had been further explained or developed. The author just kind of said “Yo everybody says she’s ugly because xyz, okay!” I found her to be bright, intuitive, but also very “damn, the dude I’m working with is super dreamy, I think I’m in love”. Ladies and gents…they had just met.

The side characters were really side characters…nothing remarkable about them too.

The Book: The actual Book of Whispers (although cheesy) I really enjoyed. Written in a language that only Suzan can understand, but can only be opened by the hands of Luca. It was the most magical bit of the story, it had lots of ways of influencing the characters without being too present in the novel. I love it when the said book in a story has prophecies and legends and watching them unravel as the character goes through their journey, it is pretty awesome.

The Demons: It’s not that I liked them for what they stood for, but they added interest to the story. There was a variety of demons. All evil, but some more cunning and conniving than the others. They added humour, as well as a lot of darkness and deception to the plot. I really enjoyed reading how they affected the people in the pilgrimage. Something so holy, but wrought with evil.

The Setting: I’ve never read a book set during the time of the Crusades. It’s a rather dark and horrific time in history, especially for the church. Although the book was set during this time, Luca and Suzan didn’t see much fighting for *reasons*. But there was a lot of blood and gore, trust me. I like that the author didn’t sugar coat the time period. It showed how corrupted and terrible the minds of people were at the time (demons or not). She didn’t paint the crusaders as heroes, but gave them a variety of opinions as well. Some saw the wrongness of their plight, others didn’t. I thought it was done rather well.

What I Disliked

The Writing Style: Umm…it just was not my favourite. I don’t think some of the sayings used matched the time period. Like “girlfriend” is not something I think would be said in the 1000s. Just saying…I might be wrong! Otherwise, it was just the flow. For example, Suzan would say “I’m going out for lunch” and in the next paragraph Suzan is talking about that lunch which happened two weeks ago. I had to take a step back a lot of times, just to understand what was going on!

The Romance: It wasn’t that I didn’t ship the ship. It was the romantic tension. It started so early on! I get it that Suzan would  be a little infatuated with Luca because how he is described is hot. But I mean….I wouldn’t let the angst start there. Then there was the whole “She’s in love with my bff, I have to let her go!” and “He’s engaged to someone way prettier and wealthier than me, I have to let him go.” Angst. Tension. Angst. Smooching factor was also very low. I’ve been having problems with smooching factors lately!

Anti-Climatic Ending: I was hoping for so much more. Especially from the magic book! But nada. I was left empty. It did serve its purpose in the end, but not as grand as I hoped it would! Plus, the connection Suzan had to the book was never really explained! She was just able to use it. Done. No further explanation. Sighhhhhhhh


Overall, it was okay. Not mind-blowing, but neither mind-numbing. There is a good portion in the middle where you kind of get sucked in. But there are other portions where I was just like “Move on with it already!”. It was okay. Okay. That’s all I really got for it!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend: If your into demons? Sure. If your not into demons, but wanna read about them anyways? Sure.

With this galley down, I’m diving into Scarlet! Tootles! Let me know what historical time period you would love to have a book set in!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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