Spin the Dawn |Review // This book. This. Book. Ahhhhhh

Greetings readers!

One of the many, many flaws I possess, according to my mother, is that I cannot sew. Correction: I cannot sew properly. I can do a sloppy job of it, but actually doing a clean seam is beyond my abilities.

Alas, I still read this book which was all about sewing. And it was quite something. Quite something.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Knopf
Price: $24.99 CAD
Goodreads

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*My thanks goes out to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC*

I had the lovely opportunity to buddy read this with my fabulous friend, Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews. Considering our last two buddy reads went less than spectacular, we were pretty stoked knowing that this book came with such good buzz! And we are both so happy that we both actually enjoyed the book this time!

The Likes

The Characters

Maia: Ohhhh I loved her. I loved her. She was truly a fantastic MC to follow. She grew up in a house full of brothers who loved and doted on her. She had a mother, who was taken too early, but adored her so much as well. And her father who taught her almost everything she knows about being a seamstress. I loved the way she treasured and practically carried her family in the toughest of times, especially as a woman in a trade meant for men. I loved that she literally risked it all for her family, even if on the inside she knew that she really wanted to risk everything for her own aspirations. I loved her honesty because she literally couldn’t lie to save her life.

Edan: I pitched it to Mandy that he was a Tragic Magic boy and honestly I still stand by it. He was all charm and you guys all know how much of a sucker I am for the charming, borderline annoying ones. He was mysterious and harbored lots of secrets, some of which we get into. He was an interesting character to have around as more than just simple a love interest. His role was pivotal to the politics of the book too, which are quite tricky to maneuver.

Others…There aren’t many. The other tailors in the competition are not at all what they seem at first glance. Trust me, keep yer eyes on them. Then there are the emperor and Lady Sarnai, who were quite, quite not at all who they seemed to be!!!

The World

It was so, so rich. And we go everywhere–well most everywhere. It was incredibly fascinating to explore the different landscapes that the characters live in and journey. You get a sense of the difference in lifestyle between the royal characters and the civilians. The politics of the world are communicated very well. The society is suffering after a war and the court machinations in the palace may not be helping at all. It is a seducing setting no doubt.

The Plot

I loveeeeeeeeee competition books. And I also adore quest books. And this story was literally the best of both worlds.

The first part was all about Maia making it as a tailor and passing all the tests in order to serve Lady Sarnai as her official tailor. It was soooooo crazy and cool at the same time. It was a cutthroat killer competition about sewing!!! Sewing! I loved the challenges that they got, with materials so unconventional that I applaud Lim’s imagination for creating pretty pieces (even if they are just being described in words 😉 )

Then came the journey which takes up a chunk of the novel. it comes with three pivotal challenges that Maia has to pass in order to A) survive and B) become the Imperial tailor. It was full of danger and intrigue and risk. I know they have a lot of down time during this part of the book, but I didn’t mind. I lived for every moment between Maia and Edan.

It lived up to its selling points

Mulan x Project Runway. Let me tell you. This book is most definitely Mulan x Project Runway in every way that you can think and beyond. Maia had such a moment when she cuts her hair, I actually screeched a little bit to myself. It might not have had dramatic music in the background, but it was no less intense and magical.

I’ve already talked about the tailoring competition, but I cannot stress how Project Runway it truly is! So much talent, trash talking and crazy amazing dresses. The tailor competition is a little (a lot) more umm bloody, but still. Amazing. And the PR vibes run beyond just the competition. Maia’s skill is so wonderfully explored, I would LOVE to wear any of her creations!

ALL THOSE COVER SECRETS

This stunning cover gives a lot more away than you might think. I’m screaming.

The Romance

I didn’t think we’d get that far with them in this book, but neither Maia nor I could resist Edan’s charm! I loved them together. I truly did. Mandy is right when she says that they goes back and forth a little too much, but I was swooning the whole way there. AND OF COURSE THINGS GET ROUGH TOWARDS THE END. But I still truly love them together!!!

The Questionable

Just one tiny thing. The antagonist(s) were a little lack luster. Um I wanted a little more sleeziness and creepiness and well villain power. They were a little too mellow for me, even though they caused plenty of trouble for our dear characters. So I lacked that drama. However, I think we are gonna get a lot more from them in the sequel!!!


Overall, I loved this book. I loved the ending because it is not at all what I expected and it has been a while since I have been surprised by a book! I also LOVED that Lim put in this little excerpt before chapter one that when I read it again after having read the whole book…it just transformed the whole experience for me.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

Let me know what you think! Are you excited for this book? How easily do you trust comps/selling points? How stunning do you think this cover is? Can you sew, are you any skilled in tailoring?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Grief Keeper | Review // A great page-turner for Pride Month!

Greetings readers!

I would just like to say that when I saw this book was starring a Salvadoran MC I almost squealed! I have never, ever seen my people represented in books and this was my first time reading one so I am super excited to share my thoughts with you today!

The Grief Keeper
via Goodreads

Pub Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Putnam
Price: $23.99 CAD
Goodreads

This stunning YA debut is a timely and heartfelt speculative narrative about healing, faith, and freedom.

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.

The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*Thank you to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC!*

The Likes

The Characters

I really enjoyed reading from Marisol’s perspective. I thought she was so incredibly raw and brave. Her courage to travel with her younger sister from her home country all the way to the US was amazing and to keep that courage no matter how many times she felt like things were going wrong was heart-warming and wrenching at the same time. Fleeing from everything she has ever known for being herself, for loving, she does everything and gives everything she can to keep her sister safe. The love she had for Gabi was so pure, my heart. Throughout the book, Marisol does a lot of self-discovery, of learning to accept herself and opening herself to new love, it’s amazing.

Gabi was a pretty remarkable character too. We don’t follow her perspective at any point, but just the knowledge of what she lived through is terrifying to think about. Don’t get me wrong, she had lots of smiles to share and a bubbly personality which was adorable, but you can’t read this book, or at least I couldn’t read this book without thinking about how much Gabi went through too. The things that she has seen and the things she knows and how she deals with it. She’s a spectacular character.

Rey was another incredible character. One that you kind of have to let grow on you. She has been through a terrible trauma and is living with this grief she refuses to let go of. She is stubborn and could be quite mean but she also had this noble heart to her that I loved reading about.

The Actual Grief Keeping

It was so scary to think about. That this could be a reality. That the way the world is working could actually lead to immigrants choosing to use their bodies as containers of grief to have a chance to live safely in the States. The book explores a lot of this. Of how far someone will go to find safety and freedom. Marisol’s experience as a grief keeper is not easy and it was really hard to read about sometimes. There was a terrible hope in it and as much as it was a chance to *save* lives, it also heavily discounted the lives of others.

The Hard Stuff

Immigration is really the big topic of the book and it’s accompanied by the persecution of LGBTQ+ folx in Central American countries. Which also comes with the discussion on gang violence and extortion. There are a lot of heavy subjects that this book deals with and Marisol goes through so much. While we don’t actual go on a linear storyline from El Salvador to the US, there are plenty flashbacks of her times in ES and the struggles she went through!

Grief was such an important theme in this novel. It was tied to every aspect of each character’s life, not just Marisol. The grief in family, of when you lose family and of when you stop loving your family. There is the fear of being branded illegal in every aspect of your life, in getting caught and stomped and trampled over.  There was sadness, but there was also hope. I don’t want you guys to think that this book is just sad, there is so much hope to be had in it too. Marisol is such an incredible character to journey with as she deals with all of this.

On a lighter note…It referenced Narnia twice.

Can I get a high five? *High fives self*

The Romance

It wasn’t a slow burn…but these girls didn’t click right away. Marisol and Rey both had a lot to deal with before they could factor in a relationship. Their backgrounds were different and their life experiences were quite opposites too. But I really enjoyed watching them grow together, of leaning with each other. Bonding and creating new memories together. Talking things out and accepting the other for everything they were flaws and all.

The Writing

It was beautifully written. The Spanish that was incorporated in it was seamless and I LOVED the fact that it included actual Salvadoran slang. A+. But seriously there were a lot of quotable moments in the book.

There is a really shocking revelation that made my jaw drop. I mean I was sort of expecting it, but not exactly! A tease I know. But it was…wow.

The Questionable

I’m not 100% sure why I took off the 0.25 in the end. I think most of it is due to the fact that I waited two weeks to write this review so I really don’t remember. UGH. But I think I would have liked to read a little bit more about Gabi and how exactly she copes with everything that happens, but maybe that’s for another book.


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s not the easiest to read in terms of content, but I really flew through the book so it’s definitely a page-turner. I know this isn’t exactly the El Salvador book I wanted because the country itself doesn’t have a good rep in this particular case, but it needs to be talked about anyways. The toxic culture of a country is one thing, but the people that it hurts, the people like Marisol are the ones who really need the highlight. It is a poignant tale, and an important one too.

Rating: 4.75 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yes! I think it is a great Pride Month read for those who are looking!

Let me know what you think! What did you think of this book? Are you looking to read it?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Disney Princess Hair Book Tag

Greetings readers!

I feel like I haven’t done a tag in ages, so here I am with one that is long, long overdue. Two of the most wonderful bloggers I know, Mandy and Kyera created this very special tag that combines two wonders of the world: Books and Disney Princess Hair. That’s right: HAIR.

The Rules:

  • Link back to Kyera’s original post on Kyera‘s Library and Mandy’s post on Book Princess Reviews so we can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, we don’t get notified if you just tag our URLs)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your own wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Accessory

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Princess: I’ve always been enchanted by Jasmine’s jeweled headband. I can just imagine the sparkle it might have.

Book: Hound in the Penderwicks series. If I could ever have a dog, I hope it would be one like Hound.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Change

mulan GIF Raging Star (Dust Lands, #3)

Princess: I mean. I mean. I MEAN.

Book: THE TWIST in Raging Star by Moira Young. OMG When I went through that twist I…I was left speechless. Like I did not expect that to happen at all. It was amazing!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Bun.png

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Princess: I need you all to take a good look at how the mechanics of this bun exactly work. It is difficult to do, trust me, I HAVE TRIED TO DO IT ON MYSELF AND IT IS NOT THAT EASY. Plus the way they draw Cinderella in modern images is just wrong wrong wrong.

Book: Roshani Chokshi hands down.

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sleeping beauty disney GIF Obsidian Mirror (Chronoptika, #1)

Princess: Look at that volume at the bottom there!

Book: The Chronoptika quartet by Catherine Fisher. This is a series on time travel after all, so there is quite a bit of jumping.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Braid

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Princess: Those three little girls did a great job with Rapunzel’s hair.

Book: TLC obviously!!! Marissa Meyer did an amazing job weaving together all these fairy tales.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Short.png

princess charlotte disney GIF Clara Voyant

Princess: I know it’s only a small scene where she has this do, but Tiana’s bob is just so cute!!! And in that dress, hat and boa…perfection.

Book: Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney. This is such a cute read and I loved that I was able to fly through this!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Half

beauty and the beast belle GIF Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)

Princess: I believe she is the only princess who actually has a half-up/-down do!

Book: Kazmin from Even the Darkest Stars. Both Sha and I had so much trouble with this girl. AHHH but River from the same book was just a lot of down hill work.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Medium.png

happy disney GIF Dealing in Dreams

Princess: Two simple braids, always an easy fix for medium hair.

Book: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera. I liked it, but at the same time, I struggled with some of the characters. A review is coming for this one soon. Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Bangs.png

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Princess: Even messy, these bands are still on point.

Book: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. I am so in love with it. UH.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Long.png

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Princess: There were so many good gifs to use for this one, I had trouble choosing.

Book: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. It took a while to feel like I made a dent in this book but it was sure was quite something.

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Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Pony.png

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Princess: I know she’s not a princess, but I mean look at that pony!

Book: The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner! This had the most interesting POV switching ever!!!!!!!!!!! It is very distinct so you always know who is talking!!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Straight.png

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Princess: I mean for her to have been able to slice it off so nicely it has to be silky!!!!!

Book: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! THIS SERIES IS SO INCREDIBLE AHH. AND EACH BOOK IS BETTER THAN THE LAST!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Curls.png

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Princess: Just look at that wild red hair!

Book: A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna is so underrated and that should be fixed!! It is action packed and there are lots of twists!

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Close

disney how far i'll go GIF by Moana disney curly girl problem GIF

Princess: I’m definitely a cross between Moana and Merida. All curls, all day.

Book: The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena. I related to the MC a lot in this novel even though we come from different ethnic backgrounds.

THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT by @bhathenatanaz 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 What is your favourite contemporary novel? I'd have to say that as of last week, The Beauty of the Moment really has taken top spot for me in contemporaries. I know I don't read them often, but this one is definitely worthwhile!  Today is my Blog Tour stop for this amazing book so please check out my full review! (Link in bio) And don't forget to follow along the rest of the tour! @penguinteenca  #TheBeautyoftheMoment #tanazbhathena #bookstagram #reader #books #ya #contemporarybooks #CanLit #yabooks #youngadultbooks #blogtour

 I Tag…

Blogger Books

JoBeth @ Blue Binding

*If you’ve already done this no need to repeat!*


Let me know what you think! Which Disney princess do you think has the best hair? Have a favourite princess? What kind of hair do you have?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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May Wrap Up & June TBR | I said that May was the month of ME and oh boy was it!

Greetings readers!

Boy oh boy. May was THE month for me. It was the month of MAY. *Read that like how Justin Timberlake sings Me.*

Not gonna lie there was a week where I fell into a slump, but I jumped back from it! Not every read this month was omgomgomgoooood, but I had quite a few good ones and am quite happy with what I got done. To add to this, I read faster than I wrote reviews so I am severallll books behind schedule in terms of reviewing. They will be up…eventually though.

Let’s get started shall we!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
This was such a great read! I was so surprised by how much I liked it! If you want feminist, fighter pilots then check it out. My Full Review.

we rule the night

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH. This book was PHENOMENAL!!!!! READ IT! My Full Review.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
This was the Sisters Reads of May! My sisters, Maz and Kez, and I buddy read this together and we shared our ~thoughts~. Read Our Tell All.

SISTER READS TELL ALL

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George
SECOND HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH! You all  have now idea how much I adored this book. My Full Review.

Speak Easy, Speak Love

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Despite not being exactly what I expected, I enjoyed this Latinx read a lot! More to come in a mini review!

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
I have been meaning to read this one for a while now because I loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It was a great follow up for sure! More to come in a mini review!

The Girl Who Sailed The Stars by Matilda Woods
This short, magical MG read is sure to capture the hearts of many! Review to come.

The Snow Witch by Rosie Boyes
I got some great winter and White Witch vibes from this MG read! Review to come!

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
This was quite an emotional read and it is the perfect Pride Month pick! Review to come!

The Haul

As usual I went overboard with everything.

My purchases
Nocturna by Maya Motayne (Finished copy)

Penguin Teen CA
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (I KNOW AHHHH)
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston
Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Hatchette
Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart
The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart by Jack Henseleit

Library:
Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Posts From Last Month

THEME THURSDAY | PIRATES

Shiver me timbers…I haven’t read a lot of Pirate YA books!

theme-thursday-pirates

Even the Darkest Stars | Canadian Dragon Tales Buddy Read Review // We Have Questions!!!

Sha and I tackled another Canadian “dragon” Tales Buddy Read. This one was less successful than the first, but still fun!

etds

My Mismatched Series | A Discussion

Let’s get chatty! Be honest, how many mismatched books do you have?

My Mismatched Series

HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel! | Meeting Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne & Victoria Aveyard // Turns out I am not as cool as I try to be…

Read this if you want to know about how I made a complete and utter fool of myself as I was trying to keep my cool. Spoiler: I did not keep my cool.

HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel!

THEME THURSDAY |TWINS

Turns out, I have read more twin books than I initially thought!

theme-thursday-twins

Other Going-Ons

I Wrote Another Article!

I dug deep into a google search to collect a list of my top 10 most anticipated Latinx Books of 2019! You can read the article here!

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I Art-ed!

If you guys don’t follow me on Instagram, you totally should! (@readingwithrendz). I often put updates on my little art adventures. Not all of them are cool, but I like to share my progress. My latest project was a Pinterest Girl that I did in soft pastel!

The following picture is the finished copy (but the lighting is so horrible)!

Aladdin 2019 was not trash. I repeat it was not trash!

Let me tell youuuuuu. I 100% thought this movie was not going to be any good from what I saw in the trailers, but I was so so wrong. it was actually quite fun and I liked how they retold the story. Even Will Smiths top-knot genie was okay with me. I mean it doesn’t beat out the original cartoon, but still! It was quite good!

I was hoodwinked, bamboozeled and betrayed by a Wattpad story!!!

So I was clearing out my iPod because I want to take it on my vacation and I was deleting all unnecessary apps. I stumbled upon my Wattpad app, which I made with the intention of writing but I never did, lol. So I was going to delete it, but then I saw this story cover which I was fairly intrigued by. I read the synopsis and knew that it wasn’t really my style, but I was curious. So I read this contemporary, arranged-marriage romance novel. And I gotta be honest…I was kinda loving it. Like it had its trashier bits and the grammar was off sometimes, but I really did like the characters and the plot direction. And I got to the end and thought wow this was great, until I read the epilogue. The epilogue ruined everything for me. It turned this happily ever after into a bittersweet end. And before you think what you might think, no. No one died. No one broke up. It was just how the author decided to craft their future in order to write a sequel that made me go: NO NO  NOOOOOOOO.

So I was mad. But I haven’t been able to find another arranged-marriage romance novel that works for me. So I continue to suffer.

I Went to the Penguin Teen Social!

Book worms of all kinds gathered at the PRHC HQ a couple of weeks ago to talk all things books. It was more of a mix and mingle than a sit-down thing. (There were not many places to sit at all actually) But I had a lot of fun being anti-social with my best bookish friend, Rezanne! I even got to meet Tanaz Bhathena and she singed my copy of The Beauty of the Moment!!!! I got to meet more authors, but I’m still thinking of writing an event recap for it so stay tuned!

THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT by @bhathenatanaz 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 What is your favourite contemporary novel? I'd have to say that as of last week, The Beauty of the Moment really has taken top spot for me in contemporaries. I know I don't read them often, but this one is definitely worthwhile!  Today is my Blog Tour stop for this amazing book so please check out my full review! (Link in bio) And don't forget to follow along the rest of the tour! @penguinteenca  #TheBeautyoftheMoment #tanazbhathena #bookstagram #reader #books #ya #contemporarybooks #CanLit #yabooks #youngadultbooks #blogtour

TBR

I’m thinking of taking another mood month. I’m just going to pick up whatever I feel like I want to try.

I’ve already read The Beholder by Anna Bright and it was quite the read! I’ll talk more about it in my review!

Q: Do you judge book covers? Because I do. And I have no shame in admitting it. 🙃 In other news... HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO @brightlyanna and her debut novel, THE BEHOLDER! I just finished reading this book on Sunday and I must say it was quite fun! There is a lot of drama and romance and tension to explore. Not to mention the drop dead gorgeous cover that comes along with it! I would love to hear what you guys thought about this book or its cover! #TheBeholder #AnnaBright #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #historicalfiction #newbooks #debutnovels #epicreads #igbooks #bookstagramer

I will be reading Spin The Dawn this month with Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews! We are hoping this will be our first read that we both actually love!

Recent book mail from @penguinteenca!! I got this is in the mail a couple of weeks ago and finally found the time to take a picture.  Just look at the cover. STUNNING. The book is said to be a cross between Project Runway and Mulan. AND I AM HERE FOR IT.  I am so excited to dive into it soon! What's been in your bookish mail box recently? #SpintheDawn #ElizabethLim #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #yafantasy

I will also for sure get to The Storm Crow by Kayln Josephson because I will be part of the blog tour!!!

Oh and I have one special read that’s going to be happening this month. Let’s just say I am really going to step out of my comfort zone.

As for the rest of the month….hmmmmmm…we shall see what I am in the mood for!


Let me know what you think! What was your favourite May read? What books are you looking forward to this June? What books did you haul?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Speak Easy, Speak Love | Review // One of the most under the radar books that needs to be on your radar NOW

Greetings readers!

I can’t promise you that the following review will make any sense. I am honestly planning on gushing my whole way down. I would like to send a special shout out to Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews who hyped me up for this book long ago.

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Speak Easy, Speak Love

Pub Date: Sept 19th, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Price: $21.99 CAD
Goodreads

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon 


Okay okay breathe Rendz, breeaaattthhheee. *inhale* *exhale* OKAY LET ME TELL YOU HOW ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THIS BOOK IS AND HOW YOU NEED TO PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR IMMEDIATELY. I AM OFFICIALLY NAMING THIS REQUIRED READING MATERIAL.

What I Liked

These Glorious Characters

There are a lot of them, so I have to be brief, but just know that George crafted such incredibly dynamic, complex and rich characters for her novel. This gang of guys and gals had a lot of magic–not literally XD–but they were incredibly charming and enchanting and I would love to spend more time with them.

Beatrice: My girl genius. She was literally all brains and all snark and I adored her. Her brilliance was one thing, but her awkwardness in social situations was just so relatable XD. But don’t for one second think she didn’t have guts because she had them and more.

Benedict: Oh my charming, tragic writer-in-training. I loved him too. I loved his persistence with his writing, his adoration for his newfound family and his self-sacrificing-ness, (Can’t seem to find the write word there) But he was just so great! A Book boyfriend for sure!

Maggie: Magical. Seriously. She had this charm to her and this willpower within her that I admire so much. Her life wasn’t easy and as a black girl in the 20s she had to put up with so much crap, but she didn’t let any of that hold her back. She had dreams and she worked hard to make them come true.

Hero: Was another charmer (I swear everyone in this book is a charmer). But she was definition of “life of the party.” I absolutely loved her dedication to her family and her speakeasy. Her heart was huge even though she could be a little (a lot) selfish, but if you really look at it it’s all part of her charm.

Prince: My baby. Literally a soft boi who has the biggest heart. He was a quieter more background character, but he had such a pivotal role in this book. His devotion was so admirable, liked I wanted to sob for him because he was so loyal to the end. My heart.

John: Mandy put it exactly right. He was the Kaz of this bunch. Shady but with a soft(ish) heart. He was literally a semi-leader of an Italian mafia—which was dangerous—but also really, really hot. Tell me I’m lying!?! It’s hot and I think his broodiness was perfect addition to this novel.

This Setting

It is a known fact that the Roaring 20s is probably the coolest decade to set a book in. There was a lot of political and cultural movement. Clothes changed. Music changed. Laws were obviously more strict. The whole speakeasy aspect of this novel was perfect. We spent a good amount of time in it and the plot directed a lot of drama with it which I found fascinating. You can tell George did her research (especially if you read the Author’s Note). She used actual events and people in her story albeit a little bit altered. When I found out that the Italian Mafia family that was involved in the book was actually real…well I’ll be darned that is pretty cool. Scary, but cool.

But anyways, yes. This setting was amazing. It was a perfect blend of fun and danger which is exactly what the twenties is all about.

I Know Nothing about Much Ado About Nothing But I Still Love It!

Yes it’s true, I’ve never read Shakespeare’s play, but I sure do want to know. Of course I didn’t want to go in completely blind when I went into this book so I googled a quick summary of the play and ending up watching a 6 min summary video on YouTube. And you know what! It really helped me hehehe. I found some of the connections and I do believe that the chapter titles are lines from the play which I thought was genius. So while I cannot give you the best comparison of the two, I think fans of the play will like this book! Oh and I just noticed that the names of the characters are from the play too.

The Romance

Because let’s be honest this was a love story. And I had three ships to ship. And all three were epic. And I want more more more MORE. I mean the amount of banter in this book was so so great. The TENSION it created was perfect. I wanted so badly to yell “just kiss already!!!” And boy did we have to wait for those kisses, but it was so so worth it! The chemistry was perfect. The epic emotions. The drama. The ~scandal~. It was all so great.

The Questionable

Not applicable. I enjoyed myself too much while reading this.


Overall, this book was great. Seriously. If you’re looking to pick up a historical fiction with the perfect blend of romance and risky speakeasy business and Shakespeare then this is the book for you. I am positive you will find yourself in love with each of these characters.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars 

Recommend?: Ay! In troth, thou needest to readeth this booketh!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What Roaring 20s book did you love? Which of Shakespeare’s play would you love to see a YA retelling of? Have any recs for me?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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THEME THURSDAY |TWINS

Greetings readers!

Welcome back to our regular biweekly Thursday post! I missed the last prompt, but I am back stronger than ever. This was an interesting prompt to think about…I don’t think I’ve read many books with Twins in them. I’ll have to think hard about it and do my fair share of googling.

Theme Thursday is a new weekly feature created by Sophie @ Blame Chocolate where bloggers can share recs and newly found books featuring that week’s theme.

  • There will be a different theme (genre, trope, etc) every Thursday. You can check the theme calendar and official rules here.

*All images via Goodreads*

🍫 Books I’ve Read/I’m Reading:

Fangirl A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1) Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

~~~

🍫 Books I Want to Read:

The Rule of One (The Rule of One, #1) The Diminished One

~~~

🍫 Other Books That Fit The Theme:

Gemini The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)


Well that was quite an interesting search! It turns out I’ve read more twin books than I first thought! I definitely added a few more to my shelf. Oh geez this tag just serves to make my TBR bigger and bigger. (I’m not really complaining)

Let me know what you think! Do you have a favourite twin book? Are you interested in any of these twin books? Are you a twin? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel! | Meeting Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne & Victoria Aveyard // Turns out I am not as cool as I try to be…

Greetings readers!

Wow. It feels like I haven’t written a recap post for an event in ages, especially for an author event. And you know why?? It’s because I haven’t been to an author event in months. Seriously, I cannot remember the last one I went to. And due to this…I’m a little rusty on my social skills…yeah I’m already making excuses.

A couple of weeks ago, HCC Frenzy hosted a big author event in honour of three fantasy authors! That’s right I got to meet Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne and Victoria Aveyard this month! It was a limited ticketed event so I didn’t think I was going to get a wristband, but my darling, darling friend, Rezanne @ The Wicked Reader got the first two wristbands and handed one to me! *sobs* And it came with reserved seating and early access in the line!!! *SOBS harder*

To make my story short: The event was amazing. The authors were super nice. I made a fool of myself naturally. I got my books signed.

But to really understand this story we have to start from the beginning.

Getting There!

My family agreed to come along with me to the mall where the event was to be held. It’s pretty far from where we live so they would go off shopping while I would be in the event. It was a lovely plan.

But the drive there was a little bumpy.

My dad hadn’t been to the mall in a while and so we needed a GPS to get there. Unfortunately, we took the longer way to the mall and there was an accident on the way there which slowed us down even more. Then when we finally got into the mall, finding parking was a challenge, it was as if it were boxing day! There were so many cars and the entrances to the lots were full! But finally we found a spot and although we were all a little flustered, we finally got in.

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via giphy.com

The Event!

Before the event, I was hoping to snatch myself a signed copy of Stephanie Garber’s FINALE. I didn’t know Indigo was carrying them, but to my surprise they were! BUT TO MY EVEN BIGGER SURPRISE, the only copy that the Indigo in the mall had was NOT signed! *hangs head*

Okay so the actual event. The authors came in and they were pretty amazing. Ashley, Frenzy’s rep hosting the event, asked all three of them super interesting questions. We learned about their varying writing processes, their inspirations, their favourite books/shows and it was all so incredibly interesting!

I, unfortunately, didn’t take any notes so I don’t remember all the details, shame on me. But if you look up Frenzy on twitter, I’m sure you’ll find lots more on what was talked about during the event!

Let’s just say chickens, sandwiches, maps and notebooks were some of the highlights of the night!

The Signing!

I was nervous.

excited teyana taylor GIF by VH1
via giphy.com

Like incredibly nervous.

I wasn’t prepared to make conversation that night. I simply wasn’t. My author-meeting skills were super rusty, plus I had never read Tahereh’s books, I really enjoyed Maya and had a card for her and well I didn’t really know how to approach Victoria!

So I was nervous.

First up was Tahereh.

Basically I talked about my cousin the whole time who actually did read her books. I told her about how much my cousin loved the characters and the story and how she unfortunately couldn’t be there that night. Tahereh was super sweet and told me to tell my cousin “Hi” and that she was so honoured to hear about her. It was great. I made it through my first meeting without a hitch.

Then came Maya.

I said “Hi.” I handed her a little card I wrote for her. I said ‘Hi” again and then started my spiel. It started out great. It didn’t end great. Here is how I remember how it went down:

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. I made you this little card to tell you about your book. I absolutely loved Nocturna. I thought it was so incredible and the characters were amazing.”

*she responds with many thank yous*

“You’re welcome. It was so great and…and…and….”

*my throat gets tight*

*Feels a lump growing*

“And I…”

*Eyes begin to tickle*

Inner me: Wait…wait..wait..am I tearing up??? Am I about to cry. No!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE Rendz. Do not cry. Why are you going to cry? There is literally no reason that a tear should fall out of your eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But they did. The tears leaked out and I while was not exactly crying, my eyes were leaking in front of Tahereh, Maya and Victoria…

*tears up more at the embarrassing fact that I am tearing up.*

*laughs like a child at the ludicrousness of tearing up in this scenario*

You know how in YA books, characters sometimes want the earth to open and swallow them up. Yeah. That was me.

“Ohhhhhh” –said the authors

“OMG. I don’t even know why I am crying. I feel like such a loser right now. I’m sorry.”

The authors: “No, don’t feel bad. It is so sweet. You’re Maya’s first crier. It is a special moment.”

Inner me: WELL I DON’T FEEL SPECIAL. I FEEL LIKE A FOOL. 

Turns out I said the last bit out loud, but they laughed it off.

My episode ended with Maya thanking me again while I dried up any remnants of salty water. She was so nice about it and personalized my books in Spanish.

But I was soooo embarrassed.

face palm GIF
via giphy.com

Lastly came Victoria.

She was super sweet after my whole fiasco. I was still feeling super flustered, but I got through another convo. I told her about how much I know she likes Narnia and she told me how she used to write fanfiction for it. It was a quick convo because I really wanted to get out of there after that, but she was really nice about everything.

Then I walked off the stage with my signed books and breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, I had made a fool of myself and it was great. Yup.

The After!

I waited for eyes to look less puffy before I went out to meet my family. No way would I ever tell them about my break down. Which I attribute to many things: nerves, excitement, social anxiety and stress from earlier that day. Still I would have been mocked and dragged through the mud by them. So if one of them reads this post, I accept my ridicule.


Overall, it was a fabulous event. It was fun, the questions were great, I laughed, I–uh–cried. I got my books signed! Both my ARC and finished copy of Nocturna were personalized and signed. It was great.

But maybe next time I should prepare myself a little bit better mentally to keep myself in check. XD

Let me know what you think! Did you attend the event? Have you ever gotten emotional in front of an author? How do you prepare to meet authors? What authors would you love to meet? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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