Oddly specific and very curious reading cravings I’ve had as of late | Reading Slump Diaries

Greetings readers!

How has your reading been as of late? Because if you ask me…it’s not been so great. It’s sort of an odd reading slump where I still have some amazing reads, but my desire to pick up a book comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Real-life Rendz has been quite busy and this summer has been different for me, so while I miss reading I find myself having trouble to get into the groove of it.

However, this doesn’t mean that I never think about reading. In actuality, I’ve been doing lots of day dreaming about what kind of books I want to read and it has led to the discovery of some odd but intriguing book concepts. These reading cravings aren’t books that necessarily exist, but if you have a recommendation that you think fits the vibe, hit me up!

Middle school drama with a hint of summer adventure

Yes, it specifically has to be middle school drama because I feel nostalgic for the grade school life. I also feel like the tween years are the prime age to have summer adventures that completely change lives. I want trials of friendship, tests of courage and family hijinks. In terms of genre, I’m good with either something contemporary or fantastical, though I would have to say I’m leaning towards the former. For reference I want to feel that nostalgia for my middle school years when I read The Penderwicks, the Accidentally series and other Candy Apple books

Accidentally Fabulous (Accidentally, #1; Candy Apple #12)

A magical forest setting that is both chilly and cozy

Let me tell you now that I’m craving a magical forest setting because I am nostalgic for Narnia vibes and For The Wolf left a bad taste in my mouth with its lackluster setting. But more than anything I want a new special twist to this kind of setting, I don’t know exactly what but something that makes this trope fantastical in a new light. I want goosebumps and thrills but also whimsy and wonder! It can be any age range, but I was really hoping for a middle grade book maybe. I don’t know how well adult or young adult might fit this! Or maybe I’m just hoping for any kind of news on the sequel of The Barren Grounds. Hmmm….

The Barren Grounds (The Misewa Saga, #1)

A sports rom-com with an emphasis on the COM – I want to laugh, first and foremost.

For some reason I want to read about the athlete life but in a comedic setting with love and laughter! I know a lot of sports romance books out there are a lot more smexy, but I really want the laughs. Like can it be both ridiculously hilarious and swoony? Does such a book exist? If it does, I wants it. I’m currently reading Isn’t It Bromantic which has a bit of this vibe, but still not as humourous as I’m craving you know? I want love yes, but more than anything I want the laughs!

Isn't It Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club, #4)

An urban fantasy (but like a non-cheesy one please)

Believe it or not, I want something sassy and fantastical but make it *modern* If I had to confess my one problematic bookish trait, it’s that I don’t love and often put down urban fantasy books without giving them much of a chance. (Just look at the judgmental title of this section *shame on me*) This is very wrong of me, I admit. And I need to be more open to reading these stories, which is why I’m kind of loving that I’m having a bit of a craving for a story like this! I never thought the day would come, but here it is. I have ZERO knowledge of UF books, so please bestow me with your expertise!

Conor Mckenna Fah GIF by FoilArmsandHog

Let me know what you think! Do you ever get oddly, specific reading cravings during reading slumps? Do you have any recommendations to match any of these moods? How do you find your way back to reading?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Most Anticipated Reads of the *Second* half of 2021 | The gift that keeps on giving

Greetings readers!

Can you believe we are already half way through the year!?!? What?!?! And boy has it been a year…I hope this post does honestly find you in good health and if not, I hope it at least brings you some comfort.

Since we have made it to July, I figured it would be good to do a recap of how much of my anticipated reads I have read and of course list the books I am excited for coming in the next six months!!

So let’s get on with it!

The Recap

In my last post I listed about 2-4 books I was super excited for each month coming to grand total of 19 anticipated reads!

Of those 19, I have…
*Read 14
*And have enjoyed the majority of them considering my average rating among them is about 4.08

So let’s just say that 2021 has been giving the GOODs so far and I cannot wait to see what is coming our way next!

Alright…on to the reason we are all here

The List

JULY

Book Cover
Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes, #1)

Isn’t it Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams – Yes, The Russian’s book!! Vlad is my favourite character above the rest and I can’t wait to see him shine in the spotlight!

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim – I’ve been eagerly waiting this one ever since we got that snippet of this story in Unravel the Dust!

AUGUST

Velvet Was the Night
The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Do I need to explain?!? It’s SMG people, of course I am highly anticipating it every day of the week! Lucky for me, I got an early copy 🙂

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang – IT’S QUAN’S STORY EVERYONE. MY SWEET QUAN. So if you can’t tell, Quan is my favourite and I will be inhaling this book once it comes out.

SEPTEMBER

The Bronzed Beasts (The Gilded Wolves, #3)
Beasts of Prey
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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi – A final installment that is sure to be glamorous and emotionally destructive!!! I am ready!!!!!!!

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray – This one pushes all the right buttons for me!!! I mean a dangerous alliance to hunt down an ancient creature while the main characters keep their motives secret from each other? Yes, give it to me!

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew – A new Indigenous YA novel about a virtual reality?!?! Yes, sign me up. I am here for this.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova – An adult Latinx novel about a family of witches and secrets! This sounds like the most perfect fall read, I cannot wait!

OCTOBER

Jade Fire Gold

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan – Chinese mythology + rich magic + epic slow-burn romance is a recipe for EPICNESS. This book sounds so incredibly amazing. I can already tell its going to be one of the biggest releases of the year and I AM HERE FOR IT.

NOVEMBER

Gilded
A Rush of Wings
Skin of the Sea

Gilded by Marissa Meyer – Yes, the queen of retelling is back with a Rumpelstiltskin remix! I know I shouldn’t compare it to TLC and I will try my best not to…but I’Il be thinking about them the whole time probably XD

A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth – Laura knows how to hook me with her fairy tale stories so I am 10/10 excited for this story of swans, magic and monsters!

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen – Say it with me know *MERMAIDS* and *VENGEFUL GODS* ahhhhhh what a combination! I wants it.

DECEMBER

I actually have nothing set in stone for December yet…I sure as the months go on, more than one book will be added to the list but for now I leave this space open!


Let me know what you think! What books are you eagerly anticipating now that we have entered the second half of the year? What was your favourite book from the first half of 2021? Anyone have any recs for December?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

May-Read Reviews | Witches Steeped in Gold & Tokyo Ever After

Greetings readers!

Today I am coming at you with some reviews for some books that I read this past May!

Many thanks to the publishers for approving me for an e-ARC from Netgalley. (Yes, this is me finally posting reviews that have been sitting in my drafts for weeks!)

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Pub Date: April 20th, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen

I liked it but at the same time gosh this took a while to get through.

1. The world building was interesting, but there was so much to take in at the very beginning. The world and its conflict needed a lot of attention to know who was who and who hated who and who wanted revenge on whom. I also felt like there were lots of important aspects that were overlooked despite being quite pivotal to the plot, like The Yielding. I did not understand its purpose until about halfway through. It kept being mentioned, but we never really got to see it happen on page.

2. I really liked the characters. Usually when it comes to dual-POVs I have a favourite, but this time around I was pretty intrigued by both sides. Jazmyne the “meek ” and Iraya the “reckless” are really how I’d describe them. Other characters weren’t as fleshed out as I’d hoped and I was hoping for so much more from them. But then the ending came around and there was a complete 180 character change and I was seriously confused.

3. So this was a revenge story on multiple fronts and what can I say other than TRUST NO ONE. People were pulling alliances and betrayals left, right and center. It was good because it kept me engaged in trying to figure out who was on whose side…and what they were after.

4. I found the pacing off. It wasn’t smooth and there were some time jumps that skip over possibly exciting events which was disappointing. Instead we got a lot of repetitive secret meetings and talks. This is supposed to be a long book about witches! Give me more witchy action!

5. The magic system was cool but still needed more flesh to it too. Again it took me a while to understand how it works, and I still might be unclear about some stuff, but it does have potential. I like that it was forged from gold and how if created different power dynamics for different users. Very interesting.

6. Speaking of power, the politics were messyyy which is always my favourite thing. We have people seeking power, running from power, betraying power and its just a big mess. The race to become ruler is not simple. It crumbles relationships and leaves people in the dust (read sacrifices). And as I said this is a revenge story on many fronts and phew, ultimate power plays a big part in this. I liked that there is clear no good side or bad side. Each side has oppressed the other. Each has a hero that is villain to the other. And working together honestly seems like such a far fetch idea. I enjoyed the questions it made me ponder.

7. So it’s slow, lots of repetitive secret meetings and too many unknowns made the story drag in the beginning and middle. The third act though? Great. I wish we had gotten more of that. Things got 10x messier and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

8. The “romance” if you could call it that was not it for me. There were no interactions for the characters to truly find chemistry, they just started looking at each other at some point I guess. There are two potential romances…and well neither seem to be it for me. Who knows about later.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Recommend: Yes!


Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After, #1)

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Pub Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Flaitron Books

This was so cute. Literal serotonin .

1. The characters were so much fun. Izumi is the living the actual fantasy of finding out you’re a princess and then dealing with the entire package. She was funny and cheeky. Her voice was simultaneously self-deprecating and very serious. And I loved Akio, serious grumps/poets are adorable.

2. The whole finding out you’re a princess plot was wonderful. Learning all the rules and then trying to meet these impossible standards is stressful and not easy. Plus being a woman means your every move is picked at! It was a strong message this book wanted to relay… although I do wish it had gone a little deeper into it.

3.Strong themes of identity and family. Izumi struggles with finding her balance as both Japanese and American. Especially growing up in a white neighbourhood with confederate and rainbow flags flying as the book says Izumi deals with many feelings of “unbelonging” that she has to work through. And then finding her place with her newfound family proves to be just as difficult. I loved exploring the relationship with her dad. They were so awkward together lol but I would have loved more moments between them.

4. The romance was sweet. A total modern princess and her guard trope?! Yes, give it to me and it GAVE. I like how Izumi acknowledges that she’s in her own enemies-to-lovers romance, but that she’s also such a romantic. I giggled every time she was like “he’s hot, but ughhh” or when she’d start fantasizing about him. That was fun. I would like to petition for a book about the mom and dad though. Thank you.

5. The whole book was evenly paced and there wasn’t too much action save for some hijinks Izumi gets into and the scandals that follow. It was pretty entertaining throughout and I wasn’t bored, but I felt like a little more drama was missing.

6. It is tagged as Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians and I think it delivers. Even without those comps, this book alone has much to say about identity, family, self-acceptance and love. They’re all messy and complicated. Even when perfection and answers are demanded, we might not have them all and that’s okay because as we grow and discover more about ourselves we learn to embrace our imperfections and unknown answers more. 

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Recommend: Yes!


And that’s it for me! Let me know what you think! Have you read either of these? What kind of fantasy and contemporary books have you been loving as of late?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras | Release Blitz + Review!

Greetings readers!

I am so excited to be a part of the release blitz for ANCHORED HEARTS by Priscilla Oliveras which hits shelves today! The Keys to Love series is a perfect set of romance books for those in need of a little summer escape and summer lovin’! I enjoyed the first book, Island Affair, and Anchored Hearts is here to deliver a new set of tropes to love and enjoy! If you want so more Latinx books on your TBR, then get these on your radar!

Stay tuned for my review going up a little later this week!

*Update: Read my review below!*



Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras is now live!



Sparkling with humor, romance, Latinx culture, and the unique island energy of Key West, Florida, the acclaimed Keys to Love Series by USA Today bestselling author Priscilla Oliveras is the perfect summer read. Sparks fly for a second time when award-winning photographer and prodigal son Alejandro ends up back home, forced to face the familia–and the girl he left behind–for the first time in years. Can these two Key West natives learn to put away old hurts and embrace a new future under the tropical sun?

Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning “never to come back” echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia and their beloved Cuban restaurant is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along . . .
 
Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as famillia meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?

“A big-hearted, beautiful book about first love, second chances, and finding one’s place in the world. An exceptional getaway of a book!”
Emily Henry, NY Times bestselling author, Beach Read

“Anchored Hearts has it all: undeniable chemistry between its irresistible leads; believable roadblocks to their happy ending; a heartwarming world filled with familia and comunidad; and a lush Key West setting that leaps off the page. Alejandro and Anamaría’s love story is not to be missed!”
Mia Sosa, USA Today bestselling author, The Worst Best Man



  Download today!
Amazon: http://mybook.to/anchored  
Apple Books: http://apple.co/30p8F4G
Nook: http://bit.ly/3rBSCfS
Kobo: http://bit.ly/3v4s897
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OGLbFt

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/305p51T




Meet Priscilla




Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from O, The Oprah Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, among others. Since earning her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, Priscilla now serves as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devotee of the romance genre, Priscilla’s also a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.
 
Connect with Priscilla
Website | https://prisoliveras.com/
Goodreads | https://bit.ly/3n3bbId
Amazon | https://amzn.to/3bvRvcb
Facebook | https://bit.ly/2OjHqGn
Instagram | https://bit.ly/3cc4VJk
Twitter | https://bit.ly/3epHyyv
Bookbub | https://bit.ly/3qq9pkI
Book+Main | https://bit.ly/2OyfjD4
Newsletter | http://bit.ly/PrisOliverasNewsNNotes


Review

This was a fun read to follow up Island Affair!

I liked that we got to follow a different sibling from the Navarro family and delve into their roots in the Key West! The second chance romance with childhood friends was sweet and understandably a slow burn. These characters simply weren’t ready to make such big decisions when they were so young and rebuilding that connection that has been neglected (but never forgotten) over the course of ten years was going to take up most of the book! But he adored her and she adored him and their mutual pining was lovely. 

The family drama was my favourite aspect! This meddling Cuban-American family is funny and heartwarming and full of hijinks. There were definitely instances that resonated with my own family and their meddling ways. Although, I will say I would have like a deeper look into Alejandro’s strained relationship with his father. It was such a pivotal aspect to his arc and I feel like it needed more attention throughout and especially at the end of the book. 

As for the main characters. I liked them well enough. I cannot say they were my favourite, but for the most part I enjoyed being around them. I liked that Anamaria was very connected to her home and family, while also focusing on herself and her business (we love to see that), but sometimes I felt that she was wishy-washy. She’d put her foot down about something and the next second her thoughts would back track to opposite side. As for Alejandro, he was interesting. He was definitely a heartthrob but he was also slightly–nay–definitely self-centred. Sir, you have daddy issues. We got it. Was there evidence of any character growth by the end? Perhaps a bit, but it was very surface level.

This book is a bit cheesy. I am frankly okay with it. It added to the fluff, fun and flirting that I was hoping to get from this book! Were some of the lines a tad cringey? Maybe, but given that I expected nothing less from it means I wasn’t disappointed. 

Overall, this is a sweet and simple read. If you are looking for a book to enjoy the summer heat and love the childhood friends-to-lovers in combination with the second-chance romance tropes then I think this might be the read for you!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: YES, for those wanting a sweet and savory summer romance!


Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading this? What kind of summer books do you love to read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Infinite Country | Review // A short, but mighty read

Greetings readers!

I’ll be honest, I have very little experience with short reads. I either go for the regular sized novels or the chunky books! But a slim thin read? It’s a rare occurrence in my reading journey! But they are extremely interesting to me. To pack so much story in such a short amount of pages…it takes skill and I am very happy to say that Patricia Engel has that skill!

I want to thank Avid Reader Press for sending me an ARC to read.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Infinite Country

Pub Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Avid Reader Press

For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Colombia is a country devastated by half a century of violence. Elena and Mauro are teenagers when they meet, their blooming love an antidote to the mounting brutality of life in Bogotá. Once their first daughter is born, and facing grim economic prospects, they set their sights on the United States.

They travel to Houston and send wages back to Elena’s mother, all the while weighing whether to risk overstaying their tourist visas or to return to Bogotá. As their family expands, and they move again and again, their decision to ignore their exit dates plunges the young family into the precariousness of undocumented status, the threat of discovery menacing a life already strained. When Mauro is deported, Elena, now tasked with caring for their three small children, makes a difficult choice that will ease her burdens but splinter the family even further.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants and a dual citizen, gives voice to Mauro and Elena, as well as their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia—each one navigating a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to the past, the future, to one another, and to themselves. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred. 


This book is a punch to the gut in the absolutely best way possible.

It may be short, but my oh my oh my is it a powerful and profound read. The intensity and suspense hooked me from the very beginning and didn’t let me go until the final turn of the page. Many people talk about books keeping them on the edge of their seats…and this is one of those books! This book had my heart thumping and blood running! It was a rush and I loved every second of it! Reading about this family’s journey to reuniting themselves across borders where violence and poverty trail them in all corners is incredibly moving. It’s a story that really fastened itself into my heart and refused to let go.

Engel’s writing is stunning and completely immersive! First and foremost, I loved how she wove timelines together. The back and forth narrative was elegant and never once was I lost between past and present. And to add to the beauty, Engel weaves Andean mythology into the thoughts, words and experiences of these characters. Tales of love, escape, resistance, faith and spirit keep these characters connected to each other across time and space. It’s beautiful. It’s a narration that lets us readers be gentle companions as Mauro, Elena, Talia, Karina and Nando experience their joys, pain, triumphs, and worries in their journey to reuniting.

This book portrays the daily plights of undocumented migrants and mixed-status families in a heartfelt and honest manner. It evoked the emotional and physical toll it takes on so many people who leave their homes in the search of more opportunities for their families. It talks about the tolls of distance and time. It takes on the fears estrangement and alienation. It’s a story that is permeated with the sense of fear, resilience, hope and strength it takes for families to make these decisions and take on this journey. And I have to add that it reminded me much of the stories I heard of family members and friends who made similar choices.

My favourite aspect of the novel was definitely how this story comes to question the American Dream. The story challenged whether the idea of a promise land in the US or anywhere exists. This story makes us look at the brutal truths of our worlds and the nations we inhabit. It’s not as simple as one country is horrific and the other is safe. It’s a matter that we live in a world where there are so many histories both past and present that are full of violence and struggle as much as they have their moments of beauty and opportunity! It’s a matter of discovering your sense of belonging in yourself and your family more so than a place.

The ending. Oh, when the final sentence finally clicked, tears burst into my eyes! I’m not kidding, my eyes really did burst into floods at that last sentence! If I could, I would give it a thousand rounds of applause!


Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes!

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite short, but powerful reads? Or short reads in general? Are you considering picking up this book?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Bookish Feels | Books that are emotional roller coasters

Greetings readers!

I would love to know how emotional you get when you read?

And I’m talking EMOTIONAL! Like facial expressions, odd noises and all. When I tell you guys that a book was an emotional roller coaster, I’m telling you that I experienced a very powerful series of feelings that had me in all sorts of ways XD

So I figured today I would highlight some of the books that made me totally and utterly and completely emotional. I know I usually organize these posts by singular emotions, but today I’m going full scale feeling frenzy.

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

We start with my top read of 2020. This book had several SCENES that literally made me scream “AH” out loud. I felt a lot of rage and honestly I think it’s why I loved it so much hehehe This book was so amazing, I read it twice within the same year. And friends it just gets better the second time around! Ahhhhhh this book just had so much to take in at once, my jaw was literally on the floor by the end of it. (It might still be on the floor)

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

Furia

I need to quote my review because past me just knew what she was talking about: “absolutely gobsmacked by my emotions” Oh Rendz how right you were! This was definitely one of my top reads from 2020! It is a contemporary story that packs punch after punch and also very warm hugs. I was squealing and raging and crying and laughing my whole way through this book. Incredible. Simply incredible!

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Hoo. Friends. This book had me bouncing back and forth between stress, rage, hopelessness, love, joy, rage rage rage, and then hope. I just nfjnkajdbhjnjfef this book is soo amazing! It’s one of Marie’s quieter book, but it deserves your love and attention. This historical fantasy swept me off my feet and wiped the floor with me. It is both heart-breaking and inspiring, I cannot recommend it enough!

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Are we surprised to see this book on here? Nope. This book…oh my lord THIS BOOK. *clucthes heart* THIS BOOK WAS MY PERSONALITY for like three months after I read it XD I just ahhh I felt all kinds of things while reading this book. I may have not literally wept, but the squealing and book hugging was real. How many times have I gone back to read my favourite parts? So many times. I adore this book.

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)

Two words: Weeping Uncontrollably. This book (which I’m still working hard to write my review on) had me on every level of emotion you can imagine. I was dreamy then I was sad, I was hopeful and then I was distraught, I was smiling in glee and then I was sobbing. My body shaking in absolute horror at what happened. And well…I can’t tell you how I felt at the end (you can read that in my review *winks*) but let’s just say my world was ROCKED.


And that is it for me friends! I would love to know what books sent you on an emotional roller coaster! What kind of feelings do you go through? How do you handle the emotions when they wrap you up?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

New Year, New Look, Still all about the Books

Greetings readers!

Well it has been a while, hasn’t it? I didn’t mean to push my blogging duties aside so abruptly, but I will be honest I didn’t feel like blogging for several weeks. It was a mix of many going-ons in my life from burnouts that led to zero motivation to limited time to even think about blogging, I just felt like I needed a break from the blogsphere and I took it unannounced.

That being said, I wanted to enter the new year with a fresh perspective, that meant changing up my look and getting creative. So forgive me that it took a while trying to put all this together, but I wanted to be sure I got it right before I showed it off to my corner of the internet!

So what exactly have I been up to this past month?

Well for one, I finished another semester of online schooling, as is the case with many people I presume. I had a very heavy workload towards the end and I just could not find the right time or the energy to muster up any ideas for what to write. I read faster than I could even pump our mini reviews for Goodreads!

tired princess and the frog GIF
via giphy.com

I have also been reading a lot and yet not a lot. I was trying very hard to catch up on my Netgalley percentage, but I didn’t quite make it before I went on another request binge. Oops. However, I did do one thing that brought me much joy. I reread the entire AN EMBER IN THE ASHES series from start to finish! I am emotionally destroyed, but it was so so so worth it!

Q: What are the final book(s) you are reading before the end of 2020?

December has been a Month™ for me and Ive enjoyed it by living in one fictional world from one of my favourite series.

Rereading An Ember in the Ashes series has been one of the best ways to spend this last month. I lived every moment in my ~feels~. These books make me scream, cry, sob, laugh, shriek, melt and basically make me feel every emotion one can conjure and I wouldnt have it any other way. I have gotten some seriously funny looks from my family as they witness my journey 😂.

And now Im in the middle of A Sky Beyond the Storm, and lets just say my emotions are EVERYWHERE. There are times when I wish I could go back to the beginning and there are other times when I want to just get to the next chapter to know what happens!

Ending this decade-of-a-year with this book is a wild kind of ride, but I love it.

I cant wait to read more of Sabaas work and what other kind of pain and wonder she will make me endure and enjoy. I look forward to it.

#ASkyBeyondTheStorm #AnEmberIntheAshes #ATorchAgainsttheNight #AReaperAtTheGates #SabaaTahir #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy Mr #emberquartet #mustreads #booklover #bookish #bookishphotography #greatreads #reading #igbooks #igreads #newbooks #finalebooks #penguinteen #laiaofserra #eliasveturius #heleneaquilla #2020books

I have been much more active on my Instagram! I have been trying to build up that platform as much as I could although finding the right lighting in the winter can be quite difficult! But I do enjoy that platform quite a bit! I also ended up taking a Twitter hiatus which I have come to enjoy. Twitter can be fun, but it is also chaotic and taking breaks from it is necessary.

And last but not least, I redesigned my blog! I changed up the theme, colour scheme and my logo! Say hello to the new green bean me!

Reading with Rendz

~Reading Goals!~

Every year I try to make reading goals, and every year I don’t quite achieve them. So this year I am trying to remind myself that the only goal that really matters is that I enjoy my reading and my blogging! That being said, I still want to put up some checkpoints for myself. Give myself some ground lines that will help me from trying to achieve it all and instead simply achieve what I can!

So here we go..

1. Read 100 Books.

Considering that this pandemic doesn’t look to me ending any time soon, I figured this is the perfect year to try and make this goal that I have been working towards over the past 4 years. Last year I read a total of 109 books, which is a good sign. I originally aimed for 80, so let’s see if I can take this big leap!

100 GIF by AT&T
via giphy.com

2. Track my reading with Story Graph and lean away from Goodreads

2020 was the year we talked about changing our habits, so 2021 has to be the year where we actually do the actions of change. Goodreads, despite being a staple in the book community, isn’t the only option. Story Graph is a newer and very user friendly book tracker that has lots of perks like half stars and mood settings! I’m still learning to use it which is why I haven’t deleted my Goodreads just yet. My goal is to use SG as my main platform and only post reviews on GR. I understand how important that platform is for lesser known authors, so I can’t completely do away with it, but the fun of tracking I know I can achieve elsewhere.

Have you made a Story Graph account? Follow me “rendz” and I’d be happy to follow back!

The StoryGraph

3. Read the Books I Own

This has been a goal for every year and every year I feel like I don’t even try to achieve it, so it is going on here again. But this time I want to get serious. I aim to read at least one book I own every single month. At least one. (Please Rendz!) I have so many books on my shelves that have been calling out to me as of late and it is time I give in!

I think I’ll let you all be part of the process and help me choose one book from my shelf each month!

kids read GIF
via giphy.com

4. Plan my Book Buying

Money is just something I have to be conscious of these days when it comes to book buying and that means picking and choosing a limited amount. No more big hauls etc etc. And well since Silvia Moreno-Garcia has 4 books coming out in 2021 we all know where my wallet is leaning towards.

Donald Duck Money GIF
via giphy.com

5. Review my ARCs on time.

This is another goal I’ve noted before, and I’m doing it again because I believe in 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances! Also this is one goal that I just have to get better at. If I want the trust from authors and publishers that means I have to deliver!! Yeah, I’m calling myself out a bit, but it is because I want to do better!

Formula 1 Time GIF by Red Bull Racing
via giphy.com

That’s it from me friends! I hope you are all having a good start to the year and if not then I hope it gets better ❤

I would love to know what you are reading this month and any bookish plans you have for the year! Did you set reading goals? Are you planning any big changes this year? Whatever you will be embarking on this month, I wish you success!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

A Golden Fury | Blog Tour Excerpt // New Historical Fantasy sure to make our shelves even more magical!

Greetings readers!

Welcome one, welcome all to the blog tour for A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe!

This new YA historical fantasy novel brings a new dark magic to our shelves! And I for one am very excited to read this one! Alchemy and magical schools always call for a grand adventure and mystery. Just from reading the synopsis I can tell that this book is going to bring the girl power, high stakes and dark secrets to unravel!

Read on for a sneak peek into this new amazing book!

~ The Book ~

Title: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Pub Date: Oct 13, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
ISBN: 9781250220400

BUY THE BOOK

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.

*A Nerd Daily YA Debut to Watch Out for in 2020*

“Cohoe transmutes the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone into a dark, intoxicating tale of ambition, obsession, and sacrifice. Prepare for a magic that will consume you.”
– Rosamund Hodge, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

~ Author ~

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Visit Samantha: Twitter | Instagram

Visit Wednesday Books: Twitter | Instagram


~ EXCERPT ~

To celebrate the release with you today, I have the pleasure of sharing an excerpt of CHAPTER 1 today! And boy let me tell you is it intriguing! I mean just look at that very first line! I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

My mother was screaming at the Comte. Again.

I slammed the front doors behind me and walked down the carriageway, under the dappled shade of the pop- lars that lined it. A hundred paces away, I still heard her, though at least I could no longer hear the Comte’s frantic endearments and low, rapid pleading. He should know by now that wasn’t the way. Perhaps I should tell him. Adrien was the first of my mother’s patrons I had ever liked, and I did not want to leave Normandy just as spring was break- ing. Just as we were beginning to make progress.

Though perhaps we were not. Mother would not be screaming at the Comte if the work were going well. She would not take the time. Alchemy was a demanding sci- ence, even if some scoffed and called it charlatanry or magic. It required total concentration. If the work were going well, the Comte would scarcely exist to her, nor would I, now that she would not let me be of use. The com- position must have broken again. This was about when it had, last round. I could not be certain, since she had taken away my key to the laboratory. She could hardly have de-vised a worse insult than that if she had tried, and lately she did seem to be trying. The laboratory was mine as much as it was hers. If she did succeed in producing the White Elixir—which turned all metals into silver—then it was only because of my help. She had found Jābir’s text languishing in a Spanish monastery, but it had been I who translated it when her Arabic wasn’t nearly up to the job. I had labored for months over the calcinary furnace to make the philosophic mercury the text took as its starting point. I had the scars on my hands and arms to prove it. And now that success might be close, she wished to shut me out and deny my part, and claim it for herself alone.

But if she was acting ill and cross, it meant she had failed. A low, smug hum of satisfaction warmed me. I didn’t want the work to fail, but I didn’t want her to suc- ceed without me, either.

A distant smashing sound rang out from the chateau. My mother shattering something against the wall, no doubt.

I sighed and shifted my letter box to the crook of my other arm.

I knew what this meant. Another move. Another man. The Comte had lasted longer than the rest. Over two years, long enough that I had begun to hope I would not have to do it all again. I hated the uncertainty of those first weeks, before I knew what was expected of me, whether Mother’s new patron had a temper and what might set it off, whether he liked children to speak or be silent. Though I was no longer a child, and that might bring its own problems. A chill passed over me, despite the warm afternoon sunshine. God only knew what the next one would be like. My mother had already run through so many of them. And with the recent changes in France, there were fewer rich men than ever looking to give patronage to an expensive alchemist, even one as beautiful and famous as Marguerite Hope.

I veered off the carriageway, into the soft spring grass, dotted here and there with the first of the lavender anemo- nes. I sat by the stream, under the plum tree.

There was no screaming here, no pleading, no signs that my life was about to change for the worse. I inhaled the soft, sweet scent of plum blossoms and opened my letter box. If this was to be my last spring in Normandy, I wanted to re- member it like this. Springtime in Normandy was soft and sweet, sun shining brightly and so many things blossoming that the very air was perfumed with promise. Everything was coming extravagantly to life, bursting out of the dead ground and bare trees with so much energy other impos- sible things seemed likely, too. I had always been hopeful in Normandy when it was spring. Especially last spring, when Will was still here. When we sat under this very tree, drank both bottles of champagne he had stolen from the cellars, and spun tales of everything we could achieve.

I took out his last letter, dated two months ago.

Dear Bee,

This is my address now—as you see I’ve left Prussia. It turns out that everything they say about the Prussians is quite true. I’ve never met a more unbending man than my patron there. One day past the appointed date and he tried to throw me in prison for breach of contract! He thinks alchemy can be held to the same strict schedule as his serfs.

Laws against false alchemists were very harsh in Germany, as Will knew full well when he sought patronage there. I had begged him to go somewhere else, though he had few enough choices. He was my mother’s apprentice, with no achievements of his own to make his reputation. His training had been cut abruptly short when Mother found us together under this plum tree, watching the sun- rise with clasped hands and two empty bottles of cham- pagne. She’d seen to it that Will was gone by noon. It was no use telling her that all we’d done was talk through the night, or that the one kiss we’d shared had been our first, and had gone no further. He had behaved with perfect re- spect for me, but she wouldn’t believe it. My mother had imagined a whole path laid before my feet in that moment, and scorched it from the earth with Greek fire.

I turned to the next page.

I blame myself, of course, Bee, for not heeding your advice. I can picture your face now, wondering what I expected. It would almost be worth all the trouble I’ve caused myself if I could come to you and see your expression. You must be the only woman in the world who is never lovelier than when you’ve been proven right.

The keen thrill of pleasure those words had brought me when I first read them had faded now, and left me feeling uncertain. Should I write back knowingly, teasing him for his recklessness? I had tried this, and was sure I sounded like a scold no matter what he said about my loveliness when proven right. I took out my latest draft, which struck a more sincere tone. I read the lines over, saying how I worried for him, how I missed him. I crumpled it in my hand halfway through. Too much emotion. It didn’t do to show such dependence on a man. My mother had shown me that. I didn’t wish to emulate her in everything, but I would be a fool to deny her skill at winning masculine devotion. I tried again.

Dear Will,

I am sitting under the plum tree where we had our last picnic. I know how you feel about nostalgia, but I hope you will forgive me this one instance. I fear this will be our last spring in Normandy—perhaps even in France. Many of my mother’s friends have left already, and though you may well condemn them as reactionaries, the fact remains that there are very few good Republicans with the ready cash to pay for our pursuits.

I sighed again and crumpled the page. Somehow I could never seem to write to him about the Revolution without a touch of irony creeping in. I didn’t want that. Will had put his hopes for a better world in the new order, and even though I was less hopeful than he, I loved him for it. At least he wanted a better world. Most alchemists simply wanted better metals.

I tried to imagine he was here. It wouldn’t be difficult then. He was so good at setting me at ease. His admira- tion was as intoxicating as wine, but unlike wine it sharp- ened my wits instead of dulling them. I was never cleverer than when Will was there to laugh with me.

My chest constricted at the memory of Will’s laugh. I didn’t know anyone who laughed like him. The Parisian aristocrats I had known all had so much consciousness of the sound they made when they did it. The Comte wasn’t like them, but he was a serious man and laughed rarely. My mother didn’t laugh at all.

But Will. He laughed like it came from the loud, bursting core of him. Like he couldn’t have kept it in if he wanted to, and why would he want to? And when he was done laughing, he would look at me like no one else ever had. Like he saw only me, not as an accessory to my mother, but as myself. And not as an odd girl whose sharp edges would need to be softened. Will liked the edges. The sharper they cut, the more they delighted him.

“Thea!”

I threw my letters into the letter box and snapped it shut. I looked around for somewhere to hide the box, and noticed too late that one of my crumpled drafts had blown toward the stream. My mother appeared on the hill above me, the late afternoon sun lighting up her golden hair like an unearned halo. She walked down the hill with measured steps and stopped a few yards above me, I assumed because she wished to enjoy the experience of being taller than me again for a few moments. Her eye moved to the crumpled paper. I ran to it and stuffed it into my pocket before she could take it, though my haste in hiding the failed letter told her all I didn’t wish her to know.

“Oh dear,” said my mother. “I do hope you haven’t been wasting your afternoon trying to find the right words to say to that boy.”

My mother was tolerant of my letter writing these days, perhaps because she was confident I would never see Will again. She had smiled when she heard of Will’s contract in Prussia. He won’t find it so easy to charm his way past the Prussian alchemy laws. In Germany, one must deliver results, not pretty smiles, or end in prison.

“I wouldn’t have an afternoon to waste if you would let me into the laboratory,” I said.

“Don’t be pitiful, Thea,” said my mother. “Surely you can think of something worthwhile to do when I don’t happen to need your assistance.”

I clenched my teeth so tight that my jaw ached. Shut- ting me out of the laboratory, our laboratory, was the great- est injustice she had ever committed against me. Worse than all the moving about, worse than sending Will away, worse than any insult she could think to level at me. Before she had done that, I believed we were together in alchemy at least, even if nothing else. That she had raised and trained me not simply to be of use to her, but to be her partner. Her equal, one day. Throwing me out of the lab- oratory just when we might achieve what we had worked for told me that Will was right. She would never let me claim credit for my part of the work. She would never ac- cept me as an alchemist in my own right.

And yet she described it as though she had simply let me off my chores. As if I were no more necessary than a servant. There was no point in arguing with her, but even so I could not let it stand.

“I am not your assistant,” I said.

“Oh?” she asked. “Do you have news, then? Have you found a patron on your own merits? Do you intend to strike out on your own?”

“Perhaps I will,” I said, my face growing hot. “Perhaps I will stay here when you are finally finished tormenting the poor Comte.”

My mother had a perfect, deceptively sweet beauty: golden blond and blue-eyed with a round, doll-like face. It made the venom that sometimes twisted her expression hard to quite believe in. Many men simply didn’t. They preferred to ignore the evidence of their minds for the evidence of their senses. I, of course, knew her better than they did. I tensed, preparing.

But instead of lashing out, my mother turned aside, a hand to her chest. A tremor passed over her; she bowed her head against it.

Mother had been strangely unwell for weeks. At first I responded to her illness as she had taught me to, with distaste and disapproval, as though falling sick were an ill-considered pastime of those with insufficient moral for- titude. But if she noticed how unpleasant it was to receive so little sympathy when unwell, she did not show it. She had locked herself away in the laboratory every day until late at night, ignoring my silence as much as she ignored the Comte’s pleas that she rest. I had not thought much of it until this moment. Any pain great enough to turn her from chastising me for thinking I could do alchemy with- out her must be serious indeed.

“Mother?” I asked.

“You will go where I tell you.” Her voice was low and breathless, almost a gasp. “For now, that is to dinner. Wear the green taffeta.”

“The robe à la française?” I asked, perplexed. I hadn’t worn that dress since before the Estates General met. Its style was the hallmark of the ancien régime: wide pan- niered hips, structured bodice, and elaborate flounces. “But it’s out of fashion.”

“So is our guest,” said my mother.

She went up the hill again, then turned back to me at the top.

“Thea,” she said, all the sharpness gone from her voice. “I know you do not believe it any longer, but everything I do is for you.”

It was the sort of thing she always said. Before this year, I had always believed it, more or less. At least, everything she did was for the both of us. She had considered me an extension of herself, so that doing things for me was no different than doing them for herself. Why else take so much care to train me, to see to it that I had the tutors I needed to learn every language necessary—more even than she knew? To take me with her in all her travels to seek out manuscripts? She was an impatient teacher at times, but a good one. A thorough one. And in turn I was a good student. The best.

Until we were close to our goal. Then, suddenly, I was a rival. And my mother did not tolerate rivals.

“You are right, Mother,” I said. “I don’t believe that any longer.”


Let me know what you think! Would you continue reading this book? Are you looking forward to reading this book? What are some of your favourite Historical fiction/fantasy books? If you had access to a secret dangerous power, would you destroy it or keep it for yourself?

Many thanks to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be a part of this tour!

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

You Should read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work and here’s why | A stan account’s mission

Greetings readers!

As we end Latinx Heritage Month (in the US at least), I come to remind you of two things:

First: You should be reading Latinx books year round. So if you have found a groove this past month, I encourage you to keep it up!

Second: You should be reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work!

You: But why Rendz? Why SMG?

Well here’s why:

Versatility. Atmospheric writing. Unforgettable characters. These three key things among a number of others are what attracted me to and kept me reading SMG’s work until I became a self-proclaimed stan! I have now read all five of her published novels and have thus been blessed with so many amazing reads! So to convince you to read them and lessen your google searching, I figured I would present them all to you today with reasons why I love them and why I think you would love them too!

Of course is every SMG book going to be for you? Probs not. (Sucks for you though) But like I said SMG is a versatile writer and she has written in many different genres so there is a story for everyone!

Before we start:

  1. All of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books are Adult fiction – so while they may have cross-over appeal, tag them as Adult Fiction.
  2. You can find out more about Silvia on her website!

Signal To Noise (2015)

Signal to Noise
via Goodreads

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends – Sebastian and Daniela – and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. The three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…

Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, reviving memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? Is there any magic left?

This SMG’s first novel and my latest read of hers ironically! Here are 5 reasons I loved it and why you should read it:

  1. Misfit characters so witty they charm the heck out of you
  2. Dual timeline that makes perfect sense and amps up the drama
  3. Talk about DRAMA. Lots of ~interesting~ things go on between family dynamics, friendship pacts, crushes, love and betrayal!
  4. Music! So many tunes to jam out to with this one!
  5. Magic! For fun, loving and…revenge!

Certain Dark Things (2016)

Certain Dark Things
via Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

This novel will be re-released on May 11, 2021 so get in your pre-orders! Having had the privilege to read the first edition I’m excited to see what changes will be made to this already astounding novels!

Here are 5 reasons to read:

  1. Vampires galore! Mexico City is a hot spot for these ancient creatures from different cultures!
  2. An omniscient view lets us know what is happening in every corner!
  3. Bloody, dark and gritty atmosphere! It is what one expects of vampiros!
  4. Rival gangs (human and undead) out for blood…literally
  5. Twists and turns that you definitely don’t see coming!

The Beautiful Ones (2017)

The Beautiful Ones
via Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

This novel will be re-released on May 11, 2021 so get in your pre-orders! This is my first SMG novel and my favourite probably!

  1. Nina Beaulieu is a QUEEN. I love her.
  2. A Belle Epoque world to enchant everyone
  3. Romance so sweet it squeezes the heart!
  4. Telekinesis to enhance the FLAVOUR
  5. Pure happiness after some DRAMA

Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019)

Gods of Jade and Shadow
via Goodreads

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

This is also my favourite! (Yes, I have two favourites. Let me live!)

  1. Casiopea has to be the most raw, daring and incredibly real character I have ever read.
  2. Mexico in the 1920s is the place to be!
  3. Not to mention Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld
  4. THE DIVINE INTERVENTION PLOT. 
  5. Fairy-tale like feel but make it darker!

Untamed Shore (2020)

Untamed Shore
via 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.

This book needs more love! Crime and thriller fans out there need this book in their hands!

  1. A hot, sticky, summer setting in a shark fishing town!
  2. Murder! Fraud! Blackmail! All that good stuff!
  3. Viridiana – Practical, straightforward and yet dreamy MC
  4. American tourists who are fishy AF
  5. Edge of your seat THRILL

Mexican Gothic (2020)

Mexican Gothic
via Goodreads

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind. 

The perfect read for SPOOKY SEASON! This is the time to get it friends!

  1. ATMOSPHERIC. Seriously, the chills and eeriness are real!
  2. Noemi Taboada – An absolute queen.
  3. Slow burn that just EXPLODES in your face!
  4. Gorey, creepy, dark, gritty!
  5. “A stylish and sinister read” – Gwenda Bond. Truer words have never been spoken.

Coming Soon…

coming soon GIF by arielle-m

A Dangerous Eagerness (2021)

Dangerous Eagerness, is a noir crime novel set in Mexico in 1971, against the backdrop of the student movement that was taking place in Mexico City at the time, and the student massacre that took place in the city on a certain day in June.”

The Daughter of Dr. Moreau (2022)

Pitched as a reimagining of The Island of Dr. Moreau, set in the volatile Yucatan in the 1800s.
Have I read the original novel? No, but I will just to have the privilege to read this book!!!

And a third novel with no details…yet!!


SO yes! On this the last day of LHM, do me a favour, do yourself a favour and READ BOOKS BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA!

As for me? I’ll be highly anticipating her next novels, while also diving into to her short fiction over the next couple of months! I will definitely be back to share some of my favourite short stories with you!

If you have read a book by SMG, I would love to hear your thoughts about it! Please share and spread the love as much as you can!

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

If You Liked this Telenovela, You’d Love this Book| Reminiscing on the ole’ days!

Greetings readers!

If there is one thing I know about myself it is that I got my love for dramatic flare from watching telenovelas. Hundreds of episodes of misunderstandings, chaos, messy villains, brutish fights and love triangles leaves an impression on a girl.

Now I was really young like 6-9 years old when my family went through their intense telenovela phase. I remember coming home from school to my cousin’s house where my aunts, older cousins and sisters sat around the TV to watch a novela. Then when our dad picked us up and to took us home we watched another novela! I was young and not very interested, but believe it or not I paid some attention!

We are less involved in watching novelas today, especially since the Latinx channel stopped showing them on cable TV. Now only that aforementioned cousin’s family still regularly watches novelas XD It’s basically their family time, I love it!

All this to say that my telenovela knowledge is minimal at best, but it is there. I may not have been so invested, but they are still a staple image in my childhood memories. And like I said, they are probably 99.99% responsible for the reason I love drama and scandal! XD

So why not reach into my memories and pair books with telenovelas? Anything for Latinx Heritage Month, I say!

REBELDE

Rebelde Single.jpg

via Wikipedia

Your high-school drama with musica! It’s the novela of my childhood days. My sisters and cousins used to watch it after school and on the weekends. I don’t really understand anything that went on, but I do remember the songs.

Book Rec: Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

nlb

I know what my RBD peeps are thinking. This book is all about Bachata and RBD was more of a pop rock, but both are about Latinx teens living their best musical lives so, I’m leaving it! I know I haven’t read it YET, but the connections are there I can feel it.

CÓDIGO POSTAL

cp

via IMDb

I remember very little about this novela other than it was a bunch of surfer teens getting into trouble, falling in love and having fun at the beach! When I asked my cousins about it, the best memory they had of it was the theme song! Which had me thinking that a lot of telenovelas have iconic theme songs!

Book Rec: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

ddrs

Rendz, you haven’t read this book either! I know, I know. BUT. I really caught on to the sea themes and from what I can tell from the synopsis this book is about teens by the sea falling in love, trying to figure out their futures. It might turn out that the sea theme is all they have in common, but I think they are still a worthy match XD!

AMOR REAL

Amor real" (2003) tv posters

via CineMaterial

My cousin was/is obsessed with this novela! I cannot even tell you the amount of times she has re-watched it or scavenged YouTube for clips! It’s a historical romance set in post-Independence Mexico. It is dramatic AF. From the plot to the characters to the costume to the twists and turns. I have a few memories of seeing this one on TV, but I think I paid more attention to the clothes than what was going on!

Book Rec: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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While not set in Mexico, this gorgeous novel sweeps us into this Belle Epoque world full of beauty, betrayal and romance! I love this book so much! It gives us POVs of all three main characters including the “villainess” which I totally think this fits the telenovela bill perfectly.

Note: This book will be re-released on May 11, 2021!!!

Other honourable telenoleva mentions:

ALMA INDOMABLE – A diamond in the rough/Cinderella/good-girl vengeance story. Make of that what you will.

RUBI – Villain origin story. She is fierce and brutal and quite honestly a queen.


That’s it for me friends! Let me know what you think! Have you ever watched a telenovela? Do you ever match books with shows you watch? Which Latinx book are you looking forward to reading?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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