February Wrap-Up & M(ARC)h TBR | Well March, we meet again.

Greetings readers!

Well another month of 2021 down for the books. And I have to say it was both quite hectic and wonderful at the same time. There were so many wonderful stories to tell you about!

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What Rendz Read!

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel – 5/5 Stars Review
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – 4/5 Stars Review
Love in English by Maria E. Andreu – 4/5 Stars Review
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – 5/5 Stars
Like Home by Louisa Onome – 4/5 Stars Review
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory – 3/5 Stars
Some Other Now by Sarah Everett – 5/5 Stars Review
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars Review

Highlight Book(s): Oh I have a pretty incredible reading month, but picking a favourite is not too hard because Infinite Country and Some Other Now were simply SPECTACULAR! Absolutely amazing! Both of these reads swept me off my feet.

Lowliest Book(s): I don’t think I have a book that truly fit this category from this month. Even if I had some mid level reads, I don’t think they can be considered lowly!

The Haul:

Oh…my. No physical book mail to report, but…my oh my has my Netgalley been bursting! Seriously *sobs* I have so many e-ARCs to get to…but more on that later.

Other Going-Ons:

A new, powerful Silvia Moreno-Garcia cover – Velvet was the Night:

Oh the power. The power. The power. I cannot wait to read this book *Yes, I have an ARC! Eh!* Just feast your eyes on this! The fashion, the style, the entire vibes! ugh I love it so much!

Shadow and Bone Netflix Teaser Trailer #1

When I tell you I am obsessed, I mean it. I AM OBSESSED. To say it has been on repeat since it came out is exactly what is going on these days. From the looks of it, I think the show is going to be really good! I know that 25% of me will be enjoying the show, another 25% will be comparing it to the books and a full 50% will be obsessing over Ben Barnes. I speak my truth.

Posts Of the Month:

A Sky Beyond the Storm | Review // I will NEVER recover from this book, and that’s okay with me

This was so much fun to write! Even though I relived every painful emotion that I endured while reading the book, this post is probably one of my favourites ever!

TBR

TBR

Two factors have affected my TBR this month:

1. The great Netgalley binge!
2. Yup, the Shadow & Bone trailer

So here is what I have lined up for March:

Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud (Read)
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira (Read)
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laeken Zea Kemp (Read)
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Flamefall by Rosaria Munda
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Bouley
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

And also a very slowly paced re-read of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology!


Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Tag

Greetings readers!

As you all know fantasy is my genre! If I had to pick one genre of books to read for the rest of my days, we all know it would be fantasy no question about it! So when I found this tag on Angele @ A Dominique Reads‘s blog, I knew I really wanted to give my shot at it! The fantasy version of this tag was created by  The Book Pusher.


WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY ORIGIN STORY? (First fantasy novel you read)

I think the first fantasy novel I ever read was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Okay, it was read to me in the sixth grade and I had already been OBSESSED with the movie since the tender age of six…but still it definitely was the first fantasy story in my life.

IF YOU COULD BE THE HERO/HEROINE IN A FANTASY NOVEL, WHO WOULD WRITE IT, AND WHAT IS ONE TROPE YOU WOULD INSIST ON BEING IN THE STORY?

Oh my…such hard decisions! Well if we’re going for a magical and mythical fantasy I want Silvia Moreno-Garcia to write me as a heroine with rivals to lovers THAT STAY TOGETHER. I just gotta make that note because SMG does have a track record here and there *eyes two of her novels*

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

WHAT IS A FANTASY YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR THAT YOU WANT MORE PEOPLE TO READ?

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso! Well, first you would have to read The Wolf of Oren-Yaro…so maybe it would be more relevant to say that I want you all to read The Chronicles of a Bitch Queen! It is a high stakes, character driven epic fantasy set in a world that draws from the author’s Filipino heritage. It is an absolutely brilliant series that I recommend to all fantasy readers!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FANTASY SUBGENRE? WHAT SUBGENRE HAVE YOU NOT READ MUCH FROM?

Favourite subgenre is definitely Portal Fantasy! (Hello Narnia obsession) Any and all books that deal with travelling to a different world instantly grabs at my attention. And even though I haven’t read many (I know, I know) it is a subgenre I absolutely love.

A subgenre I have not read much from is Urban Fantasy. There are lots of UF books out there but there is just something that gives me a pause before I pick them up. I want to give them a better shot, so if you have any recommendations I am all ears!

WHO IS ONE OF YOUR AUTO-BUY FANTASY AUTHORS?

Sabaa Tahir. K.S. Villoso. Leigh Bardugo. Marie Lu.

Ahh and I’m hoping to lengthen the list with time. I definitely want to add more BIPOC to the list!

HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY FIND FANTASY RECOMMENDATIONS? (Goodreads, YouTube, Podcasts, Instagram, etc.)

I think mainly Instagram! People just have a way of selling books to me with gorgeous pictures and fun captions. I have gotten so many amazing recommendations from my bookstagrammer friends! I also look through the weekly publishing announcements to find out what books I can look forward to!

WHAT IS AN UPCOMING FANTASY RELEASE YOU’RE EXCITED FOR?

Oh so, so many!

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner
The Dragon of Jin Sayeng by K.S. Villoso
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri 

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)
The Light of the Midnight Stars
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #3)
The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1)

WHAT IS ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT FANTASY YOU WOULD LIKE TO LAY AT REST?

“Fantasy books are all always way too long and complex.”

There are a lot of long and complex fantasy novels. There are some series that just go on and the worlds get more convoluted as you go. There are some books that are chunky and thick that intimidate even me! Can’t deny that, BUT fantasy books come in all shapes and sizes! Using the excuse that they are all long and complex makes you miss out on all the short and concise fantasy books there are to enjoy! Need some recommendations? Here you go:

*These are all less than 400 pages*

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (standalone)
The Young Elites by Marie Lu (trilogy)
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (standalone w/ companion sequel)
Raybearer by Jordan Ifeuko (duology)

Gods of Jade and Shadow
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)
Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)

 IF SOMEONE HAD NEVER READ A FANTASY BEFORE AND ASKED YOU TO RECOMMEND THE FIRST 3 BOOKS THAT COME TO MIND AS PLACES TO STARTWHAT WOULD THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS BE?

Ahhh the pressure is on! Okay top 3…here we go!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown


I’m tagging ANYONE who wants to give this tag a shot!

Ahhh this whole tag has only made me want to drop everything and go read a fantasy novel! I don’t even know which one! But I just want the magic and tension and high stakes of a good book to immerse myself in!

Let me know you think! What kind of fantasy reader do you consider yourself? What is your ultimate favourite fantasy book? What fantasy worlds/stories would you love to visit yourself?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

January Wrap-Up & February TBR | This semester came for my neck, but my reads keep my going

Greetings readers!

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!

What’s new for you? How have you been holding up? I can’t say anything new has been happening in my corner of the internet. I know my blogging has been slow this past month and well…it will probably continue to be slow because if you can tell from the title of today’s post, my school work is really trying to end me!

But my dear friends, this has only made me realize how wonderful it is to be a reader! Books have been a major escape for me as I fumble with my school and I am so blessed to have had such an incredible reading month to start off 2021!

So let’s get onto it, shall we!

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What Rendz Read

A Thief Among the Trees by Sabaa Tahir – 4.5/5 stars
The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso – 5/5 stars
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado – 5/5 stars
The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann – 4/5 stars
Charming as a Verb by Ben Phillipe – 4.5/5 stars
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy – 5/5 stars
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel – 5/5 stars

Highlight Books: Well as you can see they are all pretty much highlight books! I can’t believe how blessed I am to have had such a wonderful January reads! If I had to pick a top book it would be a three-way tie between The Ikessar Falcon, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and Infinite Country.

The Haul

I haven’t been buying much as of late because well…hehe…money is really something I can spend too much on on books right now. I want to lol but it is not in my best interests. That being said I did get Skyhunter by Marie Lu came in the mail the other day! And I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Infinite Country by Patricia Engel by the publisher which is very awesome!

Other Going-Ons

Geez if I could remember I would tell you….

Oh wait, one thing!

Shadow and Bone Netflix News

So we now have a teaser trailer, a release date and promo posters!!! I was screaming for the entire day when I saw these beauties!! I just couldn’t stop staring at them. *sobs for an eternity* I would love to hear what you all thought! What was your first reaction? How many times have you stared at them since? Because I am telling you that I have been looking at these beauties ever since that day!

Posts Of the Month

New Year, New Look, Still all about the Books

Pine Island Home | Review // A sisterhood read!

Most Anticipated Reads of the first half of 2021 | The books this year are here to give me LIFE

The Bookish Feels | Books that are emotional roller coasters

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Review // THE Contemporary book to read this February!

TBR

TBR

I know we’re already half way through the month, but I’m really playing this month by ear. So far I’ve read:

Love in English by Maria E. Andreu
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

For the rest of the month, I plan on getting through some upcoming ARCs! I went on a Netgalley binge…and let’s just say I have lots of reading to do. As for my other reads, I will be prioritizing books by Black authors as it is Black History Month. This doesn’t mean that February is the *only* month we celebrate Black excellence and stories, but it is the month where we can be extra supportive! As for me, some reads I have planned are:

Like Home by Louisa Onomé 
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Make a Scene by Mimi Grace
Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

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

Most Anticipated Reads of the first half of 2021 | The books this year are here to give me LIFE

Greetings readers!

This year we are going to get some amazing books, friends. We are in for some outstanding and mind-blowing reads and people I am living. This year, like last year is going to come with its obstacles, but I am very comforted by the thought that there are so many books coming up that are just totally going to knock it out of the park (or at least I hope they will!)

So let’s get started!

January

Happily Ever Afters
Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give, #0)

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant – I am always on the hunt for fluffy goodness in my YA contemporary reads and this is it friends!

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – I am so excited to see what young Maverick is like! He was one of my favourite characters from THUG

February

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
Like Home
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – A new fantasy that I have a good feeling is going to sweep the reading world off its feet! I mean a whole army of magical girls sounds epic on its own!

Like Home by Louisa Onomé – It was pitched as a great read for fans of On My Block and Elizabeth Acevedo and honestly that was enough for me! Looking forward to this story about friendship and community!

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado – I’m in the middle of this and I AM LOVING IT! It is such a gorgeous story I can’t wait to finish it!

March

Lost in the Never Woods
Firekeeper's Daughter
Once Upon a Quinceañera
Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas – I am here for the Peter Pan premise and this cover!!! I just know that this will totally knock me off my feet!

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley – Indigenous YA literature!!! We love to see it! We have to support it! I went to a virtual book event featuring the author last year and she said some pretty interesting things about her research! I’m excited!

Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira – Any and all books that are even remotely related to quinceañeras get put on my radar! I am so excited for this debut!!!

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – I LOVE the Brown sisters so much! But I am MOST excited for Eve! She is the youngest sister like me! And she is totally chaotic! This is going to be amazing!

April

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls
The Light of the Midnight Stars

Somewhere Between Bitter & Sweet by Laeken Zea Kemp – This is one book I have been waiting for since its announcement! Here is just a snippet of what I was promised: “[a] stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food” This is going to be amazing!!!

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart – I am here for Caribbean witches. I repeat: I am here for vengeful, magical Caribbean witches!!!!!

Cece Rios and Desert Souls by Kaela Rivera – A mesoamerican mythological magical middle grade read! Yes. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO SEE IT! I am here for this!!!!!!!! I need everyone to talk about this because I know it will blow my mind!

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner – I adored Rossner’s first novel and I am so excited she is coming out with another book! If you want Jewish folklore and fantasy in your life then you definitely need her books on your shelves!

May

The Beautiful Ones
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #3)

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I just got approved for an ARC on Netgalley!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!! SO I’m going to read my ARC and then probably read my finished copy again because I can never get enough of this story!

Bitch Queen Book #3 by K.S. Villoso – The first two books took my breath away, I can only imagine what the finale will do to my soul!!!! I am here for it! I am here for my destruction! If you haven’t picked up this adult fantasy series, you better go do it NOW!

June

A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #2)
Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1)
The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1)
Sisters of the Snake (Ria & Rani #1)

A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown – Who isn’t anticipating this sequel?? A Song of Wraiths and Ruin swept the world of its feet, the sequel deserves the exact same, if not more, attention!

Blood like Magic by Liselle Sambury – Black witches in near-future Toronto!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all I needed to know, that is all you need to know!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – Empire of Sand is one of my favourite books of all time! I am here for this new epic fantasy with forbidden magic, morally grey sapphics and vengeance!

Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua – I am so excited that my fellow Canadian booklovers are going to publish another book! Sarena & Sasha’s new book is going to be The Fantasy Novel to read this year, I hope you have it on your radars!


And done! While these aren’t the only books I’m anticipating this month, these are the ones I’m hoping to yell about the most when I get around to reading them hehe!

There are so many good books coming our way this year! I would love to hear what books you have on your radar!

Keep an eye out for part two coming sometimes soon or not…It will get here when it gets here hehehe

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Pine Island Home | Review // A sisterhood read!

Greetings readers!

Of course my first review of the year is about a book I should have reviewed in the fall of last year. 🙂 But what’s the saying friends?

You: Better late than never.

That’s right, better late than never.

That being said, I love reading books about sisters! I think it is just a natural condition of being part of a sister set myself! There is just something fascinating about the way sisters interact with one another that always seems to amaze me!

I would like to thank Tundra Books for sending me a copy of this book to read and review! It was sold to me as a Penderwicks-like book and let me tell you I was Sold! Sold! Sold!

Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath

Pine Island Home

Pub Date: Sept 1st, 2020
Publisher: Puffin Books
Goodreads

Four sisters search for true family in this story of resilience by a Newbery Honor author.

When the McCready sisters’ parents are washed away in a tsunami, their Great Aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls – a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night.

As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family – But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona is sure it’s only a matter of time before they are caught.

Written in Polly Horvath’s inimitable style, gentle humor and tough obstacles are woven throughout this story about the bonds of sisterhood and what makes a family.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection


The Likes

These sisters were a fun bunch. They definitely had really distinct personalities and ways of looking at the world. I feel like Fiona got the most page time because she was the oldest making a lot of decisions for her sisters, but I liked her very much! Of the four, she is my favourite!

The supporting cast was really interesting! Al was quite a character. Grumps are one of my favourite kinds of characters, there is just something wonderful about seeing them go soft for certain things or people! There were other characters that hmmm I did not like at all, and I was right not to like them. And that is the tea. On the other hand, Aunt Martha is a character I would love to read about in her youth! She might have been deceased, but her presence in the story is felt!

There is one thing I must warn! Be prepared to suspend your belief a lot. Four children living on their own without a legal guardian is really not realistic. And to go that long unnoticed wouldn’t happen in real life, but this is fiction friends! The book tries its best to find all the loopholes it can, but you still might need to just let some thing slides and go along with the plot! Overall, it was very interesting. I think it can show young people how many decisions adults have to make on a daily basis, that they may not think about.

Nonetheless, the book always takes on a humorous tone and I really enjoyed the antics that the girls get themselves into! That being said, this book can be pretty sad at times. The girls face a lot of disappointment in consecutive sequences, so I wouldn’t call it light read at all. However, I do think that it shows how resilient and hope-filled they are as sisters fighting with all they got to stay together.

The Questionable:

I do have to say that there are some fatphobic jokes at the beginning. It didn’t sit well with me, so be warned of that.

There a few loose ends by turn of the last page, which I just felt left me hanging quite a bit.

I also have to say that this book has the most going-ons, it’s very tame and really focused on the challenge of trying to not be found out. That being said, I can maybe point out only 2 really dramatic things that happened which were great. I still think that there was opportunity for more to happen.


Overall, it was a sweet book! I think that it had the chance to be more dramatic, but the quiet havoc it explored was still very engaging! It’s a quick read and sure to intrigue young and less-young readers alike!

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: If you like sister-tales, I think you’ll have fun with it!

Let me know what you think! What is your favourite sister book? Do you find yourself able to suspend your belief easily? What kind of middle grade reads do you like to pick 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

September/October Wrap-Up & November TBR // A bump after smooth sailing

Greetings readers!

It has been a while since I’ve wrapped anything up! September and October were incredibly busy months for me! I had lots going on, in terms of reading and school which really brought down the hammer on me. And while another hammer is coming soon…I am very excited to see what books I can get to this month!

So let’s get started!

What Rendz Read!

September (1st-15th) Wrap-Up

The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson (5/5) Review
Ciel by Sophie Labelle [ARC] (4/5) Review
The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn (DNF) Review
Fable by Adrienne Young [e-ARC] (5/5) Review
Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz [ARC] (4.5/5) Review + Fan Art!

Latinx Heritage Month Wrap-Up

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (5/5) Review
Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez (5/5) Review
You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria (5/5) Review
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro (4/5) Review
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (5/5) Review
Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera (4/5) Review
Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez (DNF) Review
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (5/5) Review

October (16th-31st) Wrap-Up

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (4.5/5) RTC
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey (4/5) Review + Fan Art
Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras (3/5) Review
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (4/5) Review
The Sky Weaver by Kristin Ciccarelli Rating and Review to come

Highlight Book(s): Wow I read so many books these past weeks it’s so hard to choose!!! But if I must: The Barren Grounds, Furia and Don’t Date Rosa Santos are the top top top!

Lowliest Book(s): Two DNFs really disappointed me: The Wedding Date Disaster and Lush Money were just not good. I wish I could get that time back….oop, I said what I said!

The Haul

Let me tell you all lovely people. THE BOOK MAIL HAS BEEN STRONG THESE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS AND I AM VERY HAPPY!

Publisher Sent

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso
Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Charming as a Verb by Ben Phillipe
The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Giveaway Wins

Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica
Like Home by Luoisa Onomé

Other Going-Ons

Recreating Silvia Moreno-Garcia Covers with my Sisters

Oh the things I do for my love of books and oh the things my sisters do to please me! But anyways, please enjoy the following images!

Certain Dark Things ft. The Eldest Sister, M (yup that’s her face in there 😂)
The Beautiful Ones ft. The Middle Sister, K (fun fact: she donned her quinceañera dress for this silhouette)
Mexican Gothic ft. The Youngest Sister, aka Rendz (I’m wearing the only red dress I own!)

An Amazing Latinx Heritage Month

Oh my wonderful friends, I had so much fun during LHM this year! Not only did I read a ton of amazing books (though not all the ones I had originally planned), I had so much fun participating in the LHM BookFest prompts on blog and on Instagram! I had to be really brave for some of these posts XD, but it was so worth it!

It was an incredible 30 days, and I cannot wait for next year! Here are some special posts I made!

Happy Latinx Heritage Month!! | We are celebrating all the books!! Day 1 of #LHMBookFest!

Latinx Food in Books | I don’t cook, I don’t clean, but let me tell you…all about these delicious books!

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

I Figured I’d Up My Love for SMG on Insta

I had already written a blog post on my love for SMG, but I decided to take it to Instagram too and it was a hit! I love getting people onto my band wagon!

The Beautiful Ones & Untamed Shore Paperback Cover Reveal

This came as a total surprise to me and both were only a week apart! I must say that I love both of them so much! I plan on doing a full comparison soon because I do love them BUT I STILL HAVE THOUGHTS. For now I will leave you with these stunning covers and remind you to pick them up in the new year!

Posts Of the Month

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

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

A Touch of Death | Review // A Post-Apocalyptic Quest

TBR

TBR

People I really have no idea what I’m doing this month! Seriously, it’s already halfway through. I took a rather unannounced hiatus from blog because school got intense and it is getting even more intense as we near the end of the semester!

That being said I still have to get some reading done so here is what I propose to you all!

Pine Island Home by Penny Horvath
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson
Historically Inaccurate by Shay Bravo

Joining in on Indig-a-thon late, but maybe enough to get a bingo!
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Pemmican Wars: A Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vernetto
Surviving the City: Vol 1. Tasha Spillett
Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Will I be getting to all of this with only half a month left? No. I just feel like giving myself some choices for these next two weeks. I feel a slump coming on, but that is not an option so I hope to find something to love this month!


Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books 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


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

93216947_1538955176273378_2831099382260560850_n

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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