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

Greetings readers!

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

43521657
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 10, 2019
Publisher: Redhook
Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

The Likes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Questionable:

Nothing. It was amazing.


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

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Cover Revamps! The NEW Lunar Chronicles paperbacks | I have thoughts so let’s discuss

Greetings readers!

So Cyborg Monday happened a while ago and for those in the Marissa Meyer Universe should know that her Lunar Chronicles books are getting new paperback covers! I am here to discuss them because that is what we do in the bookish world!

Now, I already own the entire series in the original covers so I have no reason to truly buy these, but I’ll be honest these new ones are very tempting!

via Fierce Reads

Cinder

Cover: Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!! I love the pink and the purple colour scheme. I love her pose and her expression, the way she is dressed and her shining prosthetic that’s all patched up with duct tape and all the spare parts and metal bits! I think she looks amazing! Everything about the cover is wonderful! I have zero complaints.

Inside: STUNNING! My jaw totally dropped when I saw it! I pretty much love everything about it! The dress, the gloves, Kai flying down the stairs, Levana looking down at the, both and just the whole movement of the scene. You can feel the urgency of the run and chase! I do think that Cinder’s skin is too light and flat. There is no real depth without any shading to the skin.

Scarlet

Cover: Again, the colour scheme is phenomenal! The orange/green for some reason just feels very French to me! Not to mention the fact that it goes great with Scar’s hair! Her outfit is so cute, I would totally wear it if I could pull off the hobo chic, but I can’t! The wolf! I mean the wolfffffff. Her expression is so Scarlet! She literally looks like she gives absolutely zero fucks and that is amazing! I guess the only complaint I have is that Scar is supposed to be on the chubbier side (right?) and that would have been nice to see on the cover.

Inside: One giant YES! Wolf is looking fly as fuck (pun intended) and again you can really feel the movement in the picture! The colours really make the figures stand out! I don’t have much to say other than I love it! (Okay…maybe her hand is kind of awkward but still it is very cool!)

Cress

Cover: I really love the background. It is so high tech and the white/beige paneling next to the blue space sparkled with stars and the Earth in the background looks stunning. Now Cress….oh god. She looks not great, like I don’t like how she looks at all. I feel like her body is so disproportionate. Her arms…I mean look at them, they are so long, freakishly long. And her hair…not cute, it is just not cute. And the hair does not help the fact that her forehead looks kind of too big. I’m so disappointed in this cover to be very honest and it just makes me even more sad knowing that I love this character and this book! But the cover just does not do it any justice!

Inside: So Cress looks so much better. Her forehead is less…just less. It looks like it is proportionate to her body. I love how she is posed and the lost and wonder-filled expression peaking through her wide eyes. Now Thorne…I mean, I’m happy he’s at least there…but this is a no for me, unfortunately. It’s the chin and the hands. The chin is like all scrunched up and angry looking whereas I was kind of hoping for a trademark smirk. He looks almost a little too serious and not like my charming Captain. His hands are way too big XD I mean I get that they are supposed to appear bigger because they are in the foreground, but they are a bit too big. The rest of the body though…truly great 😉

Winter

And behold - my personal favorite of all four stepbacks! It's just so… so… STEAMY. Thank you @tropical_toxic for your incredible work, and thank you to all of the bloggers who helped reveal the new art for WINTER and the rest of the series! 	#LunarEverAfter https://bit.ly/2RahZoe 

Cover: Oh I love it. The purple and white is incredible! The animals!!!! RYU!!!!!! This is great symbolism people! Winter herself, looks quite fabulous although again her neck looks quite exaggerated, but it might just be the angle it is at. I love her dress, 10/10 I would try it on if I could! I think this cover ties in really well with Cinder considering the colour scheme and it is a perfect way to tie up the series!

Inside: First of all, I love this scene. It is one of my favourite dramatic moments of Winter and I love how it was staged. Winter looks FABULOUS, once again and she looks like she is really enjoying that kiss. Jacin looks INTENSE. The way he is looming over her and the hand on her waist contrasted against the one holding the ladder, soft vs. hard, it is really beautiful. I can’t say I like long hair on a guy, I don’t, but hey it works for Jacin!


Overall, I do really like the new covers and I am 100% tempted to buy them even though I know I shouldn’t. I mean I already own the series in paperback and I would never dare replace them for something else! Perhaps if I find them for cheap one day I might purchase them used, who knows!?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these new covers? Did you like them? Love them? or were they so-so? Or god-awful? Can’t wait to read all your thoughts!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

tlcread

A Heart So Fierce and Broken | Review // *chants* Grey-by! Grey-by! Grey-by!

Greetings readers!

I know I don’t read it or talk about it a lot, but urban fantasy is a great genre. I’m not saying that every UF book out there is amazing, but there are definitely some special ones! Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which was a pretty stellar urban fantasy which actually ended up being more fantastical than urban! You don’t hear me complaining though!

This year I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of it’s sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken! I was very excited for this book because while I enjoyed the characters from book one, this book was going to star my favourite! That’s right my Grey-by! (Which rhymes with “baby” by the way).

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

The Likes

GREY-BY! Yes, I still love him. I had my moments before reading where I doubted what I could ever truly like about him, but as soon as I read his first chapter all my doubt flew out the window! Now, I’m not saying my man is perfect, I actually wanted to slap him a couple times in the earlier chapters, but what I admire about him the most is his undying loyalty and his sense of honour. I know, I know–let’s be honest, most of the fictional dudes I like are morally grey (hehehe), but I like to think of myself as a loyal person so I really relate to that I guess. Other than that, he’s broody, secretly charming and does his best to work around the very intense political climate!

Lia Mara, was PHENOMENAL! I loved everything about her! On a personal level, I guess I related to her too. She was very booksy and not at all fiery like her sister (who was tough to swallow for several reasons)! But I think what I loved about her most was her compassion. I feel like people, in fictional worlds and the real one, are constantly trying to portray themselves as cool and tough, with an “I don’t give a shit about anybody” attitude to the world. It’s not exactly the best way to face the world and the book really shows how much compassion is missing in our lives. More importantly it shows how compassionate people see their most glorious trait as a weakness in society. Her journey to finding the strength in her compassion and empathy was truly amazing and I wish to see more of it in other YA books!

Others…Well, the few glimpses we got from Harper were alright. I just think that she was different from the first novel. I missed that sass that she had and instead got this kind of meh character and don’t even get me started on Rhen…I could not with him. And yeah yeah there are *reasons* but ahhh I could not with him. Jake was ugh Jake. I could do without him if I am being 100% honest.

The plot was very politically intense! There were lots of questions that were difficult to answer. Such as choosing the well being of your own nation over the devastation of another. The rift that mistrust causes between a leader and their people. The problem of wanting what’s best for your loved ones but having to go against them in order to achieve it. And most importantly, ignoring the value that you possess when you’ve locked yourself in this box that says you are useful for one thing only. It’s a complex plot, but easy enough to follow. The conflict between nations and people is well drawn out and I liked the suspense that it created between the characters!

The magic was also incredible. I’m still not 100% percent on its origins, but then again my memory is foggy from book one. I still think the exploration of the magic in characters and some special magical creatures was the most fun we had! It was not the most flashy kind of magic, but I really enjoyed it!

It’s a chunky book, but a speedy read. Don’t be intimidated by the size, I flew through this book! The writing is swift and smooth. I’m not saying that its simplicity makes it less fancy, but that is what exactly makes it entertaining. There is a lot of information to get through and Kemmerer doesn’t take up time giving us explanations we don’t need.

The ending was a banger! It hit all the sensitive spots, Kemmerer did not hold back! I totally see why this would be not work that well as a duology. I don’t know who the third book is going to star, but I am excited to find out. I mean, I have a feeling we are going back to Harper and Rhen maybe with some Grey mixed in, but it could also be two totally new characters!

The Questionable

I wouldn’t say there is anything totally terrible that made me knock off the star, but it just wasn’t the full five. I felt like there was something missing. I think it had to do with the magic. There is a lot of history there that is too mysterious. I don’t mind it having an air of mystery, but I am feeling pretty clueless right now.


Overall, I enjoyed this installment immensely, more than the first one. I loved these characters and everything that they stood for! I hope to see them again. If you were hesitant about continuing this series, I highly recommend you do! This book has a lot to offer and we’ve strayed away from the original B&B retelling, so it does offer a new and fresh story line with hints to the old one!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! It’s fun, fast with fabulous characters!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Who is your favourite character? What urban fantasy books do you enjoy? (Let’s be honest though, this one was definitely more fantasy than urban!)

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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From 2019 to 2020!| My best books, my goal achievements, what I am looking forward to!

Greetings readers!

Happy new year to you all! It has been a hectic past couple of weeks with all the celebrations from posadas, to Christmas to New Years. I have been eating non-stop, got cute presents, spent some lovely family time and haven’t read enough at all! But with the end of a year, comes the beginning of a new one and it’s time to look back on the books I’ve read and the things I’ve accomplished! It’s also time to set myself up for the next 12 months! I’m excited and a little bit nervous, there is so much room for opportunity and I finally want to get to some things!

My Best Books

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli | Review

THE LAST NAMSARA by @kristenciccarelli Q: What is a book you wish you had read sooner? The answer to this question is loaded for me. I hardly read books as soon as they're published. Even if I own them, I keep pushing and pushing them. Until the moment comes when I finally do read them and I completely fall in love. That special moment happened with The Last Namsara a couple of months ago. I did a buddy read with @shaniasquires (who completely devoured the book in one day) and it's safe to say we both LOVED THIS BOOK. Not to mention we can't wait to read it's companion novels. Hopefully sooner rather than later 😉 #thelastnamsara #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #canlit #epicreads #kristenciccarelli by @readingwithrendz - Imgtagram

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena | Review

This media created by Rendz 🇨🇦, owner of @readingwithrendz account - Imgtagram

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner | Review

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George | Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Review

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Review

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | Review

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Review

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)
via Goodreads

A Review in the Goals from 2019

6. Connections. Connections. Connections.

I think I did a-ok with this goal. I’ve been able to reach out to one or two more publishers, I have strengthened the relationships I already have with some. Overall, I am really happy with the connections I have made this year.

5. Make a trademark blog feature and keep up with it

Mmmmmmm….I didn’t get to this exactly. I mean, I have been better with The Bookish Feels posts but not enough for them to be “trademark”. Perhaps, I was too ambiguous with this goal and I had no real plans for it. I think I will try this one again in 2020, but take the rest of this year to truly plan out what exactly I want to do.

4. Get Involved

Uhhh I didn’t do the best with this goal. My blog hopping has suffered, but my Instagram adventures have been very successful! I’ve made lots of new friends on there and have really built my page. So I’d say this was half a success!

3. Read My Shelves (But better)

By the end of 2019, I should have read the following series on my shelves:

A Crown of Wishes and The Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi
Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
The DC Icons series
Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor
The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

I’ve read one of the five series I set out to read. Look this goal was flunked on again! I’ll be honest! Whenever I set time aside for them, I ended up reading something else. I am actually super disappointed I didn’t get to Chokshi’s books or the DC books, but I hope to get to them in early 2020(?) not gonna bank on it though.

2. Read my ARCs on time

Chris Evans Laughing GIF by mtv
via giphy.com

I…I have no excuse. I just suck at reading books on time and it is such a terrible habit. I am doing a disservice to the publisher, the author and to myself. I know I shouldn’t be that upset over this, but I have to to better. I was on a roll at one point in the year which made me a little happy, but I know I can do better if I put my mind to it!

1. Relax on the Requesting Game

the office lol GIF
via giphy.com

I am my own worst enemy. I request que me da la gana, as my mother would say. Whatever I’m in the mood for in the moment, I request. It is a terrible habit because this is the reason I never read my ARCs on time! I seriously need to stop over-requesting. One of my biggest goals is to be less greedy this year. It’s not just about being less greedy, it’s about de-cluttering my life. Becoming more sustainable, reading only what I truly want, when I truly want.


Looking On into 2020

I honestly don’t know. I…hmm…I feel like I want to change in some way. Not total reinvention, but to change in some way meaningful. To bring something new to this blog. I don’t have all my plans set now, but I do know that a re-vamp of the website’s look is in the books. I also know that relaxing on the requesting game will also be very important for this reinvention of myself. Audiobooks, are definitely something I want to get more into this year too. I already started finding my mojo and I am very excited to see where these adventures take me

So these three things are what I do know

  1. New Look
  2. Relax on the Requests
  3. Explore Audiobooks and other reading formats!

Let me know what you think! How did you do with your 2019 goals if you had any? What are you looking forward to achieving in the coming new year?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Queen of the Conquered | Review // Getting B****-Slapped by the Final Twist, Greatest Reading Pain Ever.

Greetings readers!

I’m reviewing my first book snek cover! *three cheers for Rendz for finally getting parts of her life together* I took a huge break in between reading this book because exams literally tried to end me. But I surpassed and hopefully passed my exams, so now let’s focus on the books!

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

Queen of the Conquered
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Nov 12, 2019
Publisher: Orbit
Goodreads

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.


*Thank you HBG Canada for the ARC*

The Likes

Sigourney…was well an unlikable character to say the least. I mean it and yet I really enjoyed reading her character. She is angry, unsympathetic, and full of hatred. Don’t get me wrong, I was frustrated with her every step of the way. She makes horrible decisions and spends most of the book trying to convince  herself and the reader that she’s not such a terrible person like the elites. Which she’s not…entirely a bad person. And yet she has her really bad moments, but when you look at the big picture could she really have followed any other route? Simple answer: Yes, but it would have made her life 1,000,000x more complicated, the next question is whether she found it was worth the trouble.

Marieke is a boss. Totally amazing. I loved everything about her. She was spitting the truth left, right and center!

Løren was also pretty amazing. He was a little late to the game, but I still really enjoyed his character and the huge development he contributed.

Others…gosh. All the Fjern/Klongelig, I don’t remember exactly what the race was called, but basically all the white people were horrible. Yes, all of them. Were they all on the same level of horrible? No, some were better than others, but still arghhh I couldn’t help but get angry whenever they walked onto the page

This is not-so-fictional

The countries and geography may be fictional, but the stories were very real. The depictions of slavery, abuse and genocide were very much real. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, it makes you feel uncomfortable, it is a bloody, tragic and angry story. Callender did not hold back and you can definitely read their anger in every word on the page. There is an absolute horror in this fictional story that has so many ties to a real history.

It’s a hard-hitting story and very relevant to the times we are living in, particularly the history and present of discrimination against black people. The entire concept of colonialism and how it has tried to destroy the spirits of so many cultures, but the strength of the people to rise up against it. Yes, it’s a hard story to read, but what is your discomfort to the reality of these truths?

The Magic

It was such an interesting addition to the book. I like how it was unique to the individual, although I felt like some of the powers that were presented were a little too similar that I was confused at one point about who had what kind of power. Sigourney’s mind-reading power really was interesting, although it did have it set backs. I mean having the power to know what others are thinking sounds great, until you actually know what everyone is thinking and things get difficult. Other powers, I can’t talk about because spoilers, but still it really was a cool addition.

The End

I was having this horrible feeling in the last four chapters that I had not gotten that BAM moment of just when everything hits the fan or when this huge revelation pulls through. There was all this build up, build up, build up and it sort of fizzled out at one point and I was feeling deflated. But then we get to the third last (?)/second last (?) chapter and ahhhhhhhhhhhhh the revelation. THE REVELATION. I couldn’t believe it and at the same time I could, I ignored the signs just like Sigourney. Then we get to those last two chapters and ahhh it is all high stakes! I totally think it was worth the wait.

The Questionable

Lots to take in at a time

The book takes several tangents basically every 2 pages. Since Sigourney has the power to read minds, so it’s not exactly a story told in first-person. It’s almost as if she is an omniscient narrator because she reveals everybody’s thoughts and tells lots and lots of stories. And while I liked this loophole in the narration, I also felt like it was so much information to take in, back stories I didn’t really care about and I would have rather just not known everything people were thinking. And I feel like thinking this is not exactly fair because this is something that Sigourney struggles with herself and revealing these stories has the reader experience what she is experiences. But my goodness is felt like it was a lot of useless information to take in. It also made getting through this book a whole lot tougher because I didn’t care for these characters yet or at all.

It’s not a huge fault and it does serve a purpose, but I felt like it made this reading experience longer to get through.


Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It does take a while to get through (took me longer because I accidentally started it before exam season and didn’t finish until after). On top of the fact that it is a poignant and truthful tale, it is entertaining, heart-pounding and intense!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Oh yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you like it? What are your favourite rage-inducing books? If you could have any kind of power, what would you choose?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Romance Reading Round Up | Part 1 // Who is this new Rendz?

Greetings readers!

So a while ago I posted about the recent Adult contemporary romances that had been calling my attention. It’s so unlike me. I mean, I don’t really read pure-romance and if I do I have a specific type…but I decided to give it a go this fall and well it was an adventure.

Unfortunately, I only got to a few of those books on my list because most of them have very long wait lines on my library’s ebook website. So instead I went on a perusal and found some other romance books to read while I wait and I have to say, some were good choices and some missed the mark.

So here’s a little wrap-up because if I’m not sharing my awkward romance reading experiences on the internet then why am I here?

I AM A HOANG-STAN

Let me tell you!!!!

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)
via Goodreads

 

My Goodreads Review:

Well that was fun. This is my second ever contemporary romance read…no it’s the third. Possibly 4th?
Whatever, the point is that I don’t have much experience with this genre and I think I liked this one the best! It was super cute, heart-warming, steamy (really steamy–did not see all that coming lol), and DRAMATIC. And I love drama.

Will definitely be reading the next one!

I have to say, that I absolutely loved Stella and Michael, both as individuals and as a couple. They were both so interesting and had such incredible stories to tell. The story itself was hilarious, I was laughing the whole way. But it was also steamy hothothot. Like I was not expecting THAT and let’s just say I looked like a tomato because I am who I am.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

Ok. So. I loved Esme and Khai. I did. Like girl loves boy love girl 😭
But QUAN 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Can’t wait for his book.
And The Authors note really made me cry hot dang.

This was a lovely follow up. Very different from TKQ, but I still had a great time with these characters. I think that Esme and Khai made such a great couple, but their individual journeys took precedence and were really inspiring! HOWEVER, QUAN STOLE THE SHOW FOR ME. HE IS AMAZING OMG. I LOVE HIM! I know we are gonna have to wait a bit for his book, but I am over the moon excited for it!

Also the Author’s Note in this book had me in tears! I super related to it as the child of an immigrant and I think that people should read it if they pick up this book! It adds much needed perspective!


I GOT MY LIFE TOGETHER AND READ THIS AMAZING BOOK

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

This was absolutely lovely. Adorable. Funny. A phenomenal cast of characters. So much wit and banter! The right HEA. Feeling very gushy rn ♥

Ugh, I loved this one. I mean, I’ll be honest it took me a bit to get over his name “Red” but eventually I warmed up to it. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, these characters were phenomenal. So much personality and pump, I loved every second of reading this. I am so looking forward to reading about the rest of the Brown sisters. There are three of them so I am hoping for lots of fun!

 


THEN I TOOK A TURN FOR THE MEH…

One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1)
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

Really good first half and then like an okay middle and then the last 30% was meh/ugh.
I didn’t love anything or anyone by the end.
Will I still read the next one…. Probably.

This series had a lot of promise at the beginning and it just dwindled into meh. I was super surprised when I first started reading and found out that this entire series was set in TORONTO. HELLO, PATRIOTIC RENDZ! And I think that’s the thing I liked the most about this book. The characters had promise but fell really flat in the latter half of the book. There was one character I just could not stand and like I didn’t buy any of the excuses the other characters gave for her behaviour, Sorry, not sorry. The cover is cute, but it doesn’t do justice to Jane’s story, I think.

…AND THE WORST

The Good Luck Charm
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

DNF @ 67%
I CANNOT.
I SIMPLY CANNOT ANYMORE.
Enough with the stupid finger on the nose
Enough with sacrificing your goals for quality time
All y’all do is have sex, what is even your relationship.
I can’t. NOPE.

This was such a struggle. I hated the characters. At first they were alright and then I found them downright stupid. He was a douche bag and she was an idiot. It was also a second chance romance story so we didn’t get any of that bond-building, but if I’m being absolutely honest, these characters had no chemistry. They had a history of hooking up and they just picked up where they left off. I couldn’t finish this book. Not to mention, I listened to the audiobook and since all they did was have sex…it was a little too much for me.


AND THEN I WAS SAVED BY A NOT-SO-ROMANCE

The Matchmaker's List
via Goodreads

My Goodreads Review:

3.5-3.75…maybe the full 4.

I went into this book looking for a pocketful of sunshine. And while I did get a rainbow it came after this gigantic storm of drama and bad decision after bad decision.
To say I enjoyed myself would be accurate.
To say I was close to pulling my hair out from sheer stress and frustration would also be accurate.

It’s really a story about family, community and self-discovery. It takes some WILD turns, but was still a lot of fun. This was not the fluffy romance I was hoping for, but I do love family stories and this was a wonderful one!

FUN NOTE: I listened to the audiobook and I could tell the narrator wasn’t Canadian or Torontonian for that matter. Hearing her pronounce the 2nd T in Toronto instead of Torono was one thing, but hearing her pronounce Yonge as y-unj instead of like young was eeek! It gave me a little laugh too.

I pretty much said everything I needed to say in my review. This wasn’t really a romance-romance, it was a contemporary story about family dysfunction and expectation, that I really related to. It was also set in Toronto SOOOO 🙂


AND BACK UP TO THE GOOD!

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
via Goodreads

3.75
This was cute, funny and wild. Definitely missed that moment of total meltdown, but I actually didn’t mind too much. The characters are what really make this and I loved them to pieces. I felt like the end was a bit too rushed and I would have liked to delve into that drama. But it’s a solid read.

I had a fabulous time reading this! It’s my first Christina Lauren and I know they are a huge name in the romance world and I am very glad that I enjoyed it so much!

Again, the characters were what sold this book to me. They were wonderfully crafted and had such great chemistry. The plot was cute if a little out there, but I really enjoyed it!

Now, I listened to the audiobook and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrators. I feel like she was a little too monotone and didn’t have enough of that exciting bubbliness of Hazel. And he…well his “feminine” voice was a little too eeek. Ummm not to mention the fact that I sped it up so he kind of sounded like a chipmunk XD



So for round one I’d say it’s pretty successful! I had lots of fun even though there were some setbacks with some of the books.

I think this will be the end of my romance phase for now though. I’ve been missing fantasy and I have lots of ARCs waiting for me!

Let me know what you think! What are some of your favourite romance books? Have you read any of these? What kind of love stories do you like the most? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Gravemaidens | Review // Disappointed, but not surprised (mostly because I wasn’t expecting anything from this)

Greetings readers!

I would like to thank Penguin Teen CA for the ARC they sent me! I know this review is coming late, but I am finally in the struggle of getting my blogging life together!

Lol, that’s a lie. I’m such a mess right now. Send help. But also please enjoy my rant-y review, it was very cathartic to write!

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Oct 29, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Goodreads

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself. 


Look. I was not expecting much from this book. I had no standards and was ready to have a fun time. BUT I did not have a good time with this book. I almost chose to not finish it for several reasons.

But we shall start off with some positives….

Ummm I liked the concept. I liked the idea of having to deal with traditions of a culture that just don’t make any sense. This book dealt with human sacrifice–although not as bloody as you’re probably thinking. It was a very interesting approach to the topic because of the differing opinions. The MC was very against it and she tries very hard to convince everyone else of how obtuse it is.

I also liked the flashback, a very specific one about the mother, it just gave such great context to the story. It was devastating and I was very into it. Unfortunately it didn’t appear until around 75% into the book and by the time I got to it I was so over it all.

Now let’s just get into how much I did not like this.

I hated the characters. I don’t think there was a single character that I actually liked. I know there are lots of arguments about likability, but let’s be honest if there is not even one character that appeals to you then why read it?

So…Kammani. No. I could not with her. There is flawed and then there is down right flawed to the point I’m tired of your bullshit and Kammani was at the latter level. I just grew more and more frustrated with her as time went on. She always had to be right. Always. Even when she tried to be sorry, she had to be right in some way. The way she treated Dagan was no. I understand that she did not want her worth to be tied to a man and she didn’t want to have to be “grateful” for all his help, but god she was so obnoxious about it all. If Dagan couldn’t be with her, then he couldn’t be with anyone and that is not fair. And she recognizes its not fair, but goes ahead and uses him anyways. Then with her sister. Look, I get that Kammani had a lot on her plate, she felt like she had to do it all herself–that’s the whole point of the book. But I didn’t get that humbling moment where she had to accept help. I didn’t see it. And if it was there, it was not impacting enough.

Dagan. Man, get your head out of your butt and look at the world. See how you are being treated and get some self-respect.

Nanaea. Girl. I get that you had problems too, but gosh you were such a b*tch. Spoiled and needy. And if you complain about your sister being distant, you didn’t exactly try to get closer. It’s a two-way street, love.

I got bored fast. I’ll be honest I skimmed most of the exposition so perhaps this is why I didn’t see the attractiveness of the world. From what I did gather, I did not find particularly special. I know the politics of it all were supposed to be really messy and tricky and they were and I can’t say things are left in a better state, hence the sequel coming.

Stylistically in the writing, I do believe the word “cute” was used and…I just don’t think it matched the style she was going for in this world at all.

There was a fair bit of action and deception, but I didn’t care much for any of it because I did not care for these characters. And for the most part, this was super super slow going.


Overall, I did not enjoy myself while reading this. It was highly frustrating, I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, the action and political plot were meh at best. Nothing is resolved since there is going to be a sequel, but I don’t think I will be reading it.

Rating: 1.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: It’s a NO from me dogs.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? What do you do when you don’t like any of the characters?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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