6 Series That I’ve BEEN Meaning to Read (and very much feel the need to do so…like…NOW) | The Power of Fan Art

Greetings readers!

I am in a limbo right now. I want to read, but not what I have to read. Actually that’s a lie. I do want to read what I need to read, but I also want to read books I don’t even own yet.

I am having reading-urges. Moments where I just want to drop whatever I’m doing (usually school work) and just pick up a series I’m thinking of at the moment. I have 6 series in particular right now that are fighting for attention.

The #1 instigator for why I have the desperate need to read all these series right here, right now?

Fan Art.

Every time I open twitter or Instagram, I’m faced with a gorgeous illustration of a character/scene from a book I haven’t read and I immediately lament the fact that I haven’t experienced it yet! Which then leads to these reading-urges.

So I figured I would show you exactly what I mean and list the series that are begging for my attention right now when I have absolutely no time to read them.

1. The Folk of Air Trilogy by Holly Black

I actually already read The Cruel Prince so we can mark one of three of these books done. Hooray! I can’t say I loved it, I can’t say I hated it either. I am actually really intrigued. I’ve been thoroughly spoiled for it, by fan art among other things. But it is the art that really wants me to finish the series, when the last book is released. (Not to mention Holly will be in Toronto in December!) People are dedicated to this series and they are also TALENTED! Holy! I have seen some things y’all. And I really want to read those things now too. But I also question my morals…I mean look at this stunning piece. Feast yer eyes!!!!

2. The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

Okay…maybe this one is not THAT urgent of a need right now, but I get the feeling to read them every now and then, especially since the last book just came out. And again. People in this fandom are talented and it looks like a complicated, dark read that I am totally up for. I hesitate though because I feel like it is so over-hyped, but at the same time I know it’s my kind of read. Then I recall this piece of art and I just AHHHHH. Does she not look so epic? Everything about this screams YES, YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW.

3. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

Some years ago I read the first book of this series, but I’ll be honest I don’t remember much about it other than that it was a cool kind of weird. WELL I recently started reading Laini’s other series, Strange the Dreamer AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I already finished the first book so I started the second one and OMG there is so much goodness to be had. But back to talking about DOSAB…I have seen so many amazing illustrations for this series, a lot of them depicting Karou and I LOVE IT. I MEAN LOOK AT THE IMAGE BELOW. My jaw dropped when I saw it! I had actual hearts in my eyes. It seriously inspired me to try this series again and I cannot wait for the moment I get to pick them up again!

4. The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Besides the fact that I have heard so many amazing things about these books, the little snippets that I’ve sneaked at and the works people have done (see below) are really feeding my need to pick up this book like yesterday and already have the privilege of having experienced this book! I love how magical it all looks!!!!! And I really wanna meet this guy. Yup. Tattoos and green eyes and magical…*wags eyebrows*

5. The Poppy War trilogy By R.F. Kuang

People are always yelling about this book on my Twitter timeline and I cannot help but be so intrigued. Then the other day this masterpiece dropped and another work that had my jaw on the floor and I JUST NEED TO READ IT NOW. I NEED IT. (Also, I wish I could draw like this!) I have this feeling that this series will crush my soul and completely sweep me off my feet! PLUS read the caption under the photo…I JUST—I….

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"He really was pretty, impossibly so, with large , almond-shaped eyes and a sculpted mouth that looked good even twisted into a sneer." …untill he opens his lovely mouth and starts speaking. Yin Nezha from "The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang, this book is one of very very few books that got a 5 stars from me, and if you're not new here you know I don't give 5 stars easily, you can check my thoughts on goodreads, follow my twitter nanfe178 for more random stuffs I post. So, with that ratings, no need to ask if I should recommend you or not, but a fair warning, the book is pretty brutal and graphic, especially the massacre of Golyn Niis city. I'm currently waiting for "The Dragon Republic" (that just released 2 days ago) to come home, my tits cannot calm down man. #nanfeart #books #bookcharacters #characterdesign #bookseries #thepoppywar #thedragonrepublic #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #readers #readersofinstagram #booklovers #beauty #beautifulboy

A post shared by Nan Fe (@nanfe1789) on

6. Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

This series is the whole reason why I wrote this post today. The final book released today and I just I WISH I HAD BEEN A PART OF THIS ENTIRE JOURNEY! On top of the fact that the plot seems so intriguing (murder mystery-ness), the fan art for this series is TOP NOTCH. One example is below, but there are so many examples I could have put here. And to add to that the Love Interest’s last name is Cresswell. CRESSWELL. How have I not read the books with the character that shares the name of my favourite ship EVER??



Let me know what you think! Do you get sudden urges to just read a certain series? What series are you hoping to read sometime soon? Do you love to look at fan art? Do you dabble in fan art? Would anyone like to purchase any one of these series for me? 🙂 Thanks.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

*A Note on the fan art: I used the direct IG URL to feature each piece of art. I hope this still properly credits the artist and that you all go check them out. If there is a problem, I have no problem taking down the photo and just installing a link!*

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MINI REVIEWS! | Library Reading Round Up! // Dealing in Dreams & Kingdom of a Blazing Pheonix (These are long overdue)

Greetings readers!

It’s time to do some wrap-up on my first (of only two) library haul. I was hoping to get my hands on these two books and I was so glad that they were both available at the library the day I went! I wish I had gotten these reviews out a lot sooner, but better late than never right?!

So Imma cut the intro short and just get to it…

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Dealing in Dreams

Pub Date: March 5th, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Goodreads

At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

***

  • So the world building is great. It’s totally clear, I get the history and geography of it (even though there is no map). It’s a matriarchal futuristic society with girl gangs running the streets, yes it sounds as cool and scary as it seems. I would not, 100%, I would not survive in this world. It doesn’t allow girl to be soft and I am softtttt
  • The characters…I enjoyed reading from Nalah’s POV. I thought she had such a rich voice and her determination to keep her family safe is admirable, although she does not always make great decisions
  • Reading about characters who have to challenge the thinking they have been always told to do is always eye-opening because it is not easy, it is uncomfortable, but ultimately important
  • The dreaming aspect of the book was really cool. I loved how it acted as a currency and literally embodied the idea of money as a drug because it is a drug.
  • The tension, action and twists were great. I pretty much expected most of them, but they were still quite enjoyable
  • I was not the biggest fan of the writing style…I know it was styled to fit how these teenagers would talk with their slang and colloquialisms but I just wasn’t a fan. It’s not that I wanted them to talk in giant complex sentences, but I felt like it was all super choppy and cut. I missed the flow. it just wasn’t for me…
  • The ending isn’t conclusive and I get why it’s not, but I maybe would have liked a little more closure
  • I just felt mellow the whole time, like I never truly, fully felt immersed into the story. There was a lot of down time where the characters were just travelling. I was invested but still absent in a way.

Overall, I think my expectations were too high and my hype too much for this book. It was good but just not that jaw-dropping story I was hoping for.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yes! I still think it is a very relevant and timely read!


Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2)

Pub Date: Nov 6th, 2018
Publisher: Philomel Books
Goodreads

This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as Empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the Empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won’t soon forget.

Fans of Stealing Snow, Red Queen, and The Wrath and the Dawn will hungrily devour this page-turning read.

***

  • It is about time I get to this read! I loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, an Evil Queen origin story, which was great!!! And I am so glad that this book is the Snow White retelling!
  • Jade was awesome! I really enjoyed her shyness, her courage (which she worked hard to find) and her will! I know lots of reviewers complained about her, but I thought she was amazing!
  • In the last book, I complained about not knowing a lot about the mythology of the world, but this book brought all the magic and myth and legend to life! It was truly epic!
  • DRAGONZ
  • The romance was maybe still a bit out of no where but the LI was so sweet!
  • The fact that I loved Xifeng in book one and then in this one…girl…she uh she uh she is definitely an evil queen.
  • This book made me sympathize for the Emperor after I called him a bitch who knows how many times throughout book one!
  • That scene with Xifeng and a certain someone…AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
  • This was a fabulous quest book!! It held a lot of suspense and action and lots of things went wrong!!!
  • The ending was a little too rushed, I wished we could have had a little more time to develop it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book! I loved Jade and reading her story unfold in contrast to Xifeng’s was quite fun! I cannot wait to read Dao’s next book which is set in the same world but new, original characters!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes! This is honestly a great series to diversify your retelling lists!



Let me know what you think! Have you read either of these? Are you more of a dystopia fan or fantasy fan? How about a mix of both?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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August Wrap-Up & September TBR | Where nothing went as planned!

Greetings readers!

Well, well, well. Here we are. Another month, another bunch of hauled books, another unfinished TBR. But what’s actually new?

I actually think that this month was hugely successful for me in terms of reading. I might have said “F**k it” to my planned TBR but what I did read was so much fun and I don’t have (m)any regrets.

As for next month…..hooooweeee do I have *planz*

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I absolutely loved this book. AMAZING! My Full Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
While it did not live up to the standards of Sky in the Deep in my opinion, it was still okay. My Full Review

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli
Buddy read with Sha @ Book Princess Reviews! This was such a fun companion novel but Sha and I have THOUGHTS. Review to come.

Q: Who are you favourite warrior characters?

It's #WarriorWednesday on #bookishcanadiansaug19 and so I've decided to feature some fierce female fighters on the gram today!

@kristenciccarelli's Iskari series is such a delight and it is full of warrior characters to love and enjoy (and some to love to hate 😉)! Asha and Roa are two characters who you will definitely LOVE. They are so stubborn and passionate and fierce and kickasss!!! I cannot wait until we get to read Safire's book who could literally kick my butt in a millisecond. Then again, they all could!

My fellow Canadian buddy reader, @shaniasquires and I are so looking forward to seeing where the story goes next and we hope you pick up these books soon!

#thelastnamsara #thecagedqueen #kristenciccarelli #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #iskariseries #warriorladies #ya #igbooks #signedbooks #yafantasy #dragons #epicreads #canlit

Below by Alexandria Warwick
This was a great read for people who are character-oriented! My Full Review

BELOW

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (Audiobook)
I already loved the story, but the audiobook just made the whole experience so much MORE. 5 stars.

Q: Do you listen to audiobooks?

I don't usually. I have a very short attention span so my mind tends to wander when I'm listening to anything. You name it: lectures, music, stories from friends... I miss lots of things.

But I recently decide to give audiobooks another try since I felt like it! I found the audio for THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS on the Overdrive app, downloaded it and started listening to it at 1 a.m. one night.

It was probably the best decision I ever made. I had already read TLBW last year so I knew the story, but listening to it was a totally different experience! It was truly magical and I cried. I sobbbeeddddd.

I was literally lying in my bed at 1 or 2 in the morning having my heart torn out, tears running down my eyes and onto my pillows. And I mean it when I say this is one of the best decisions I ever made. I already loved the story but the audio was definitely a great listen!

5 🌟s for the story!
5 🌟s for the narration!

#TheLightBetweenWorlds #lauraeweymouth #bookstagram #audiobooks #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #historicalfiction #underratedbooks #canadianauthors #canlit #bookstagrammer #ya #yafantasy

The Clock Work Scarab by Colleen Gleason
The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason
The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason
The Carnelian Crow by Colleen Gleason

Q: What's the oddest/greatest book pitch that has ever grabbed your full attention?

For me it was Sherlock Holmes meets Vampire Hunters.

Let that sink in.

The Stoker & Holmes series by Colleen Gleason follows the niece of Sherlock Holmes, Mina and Bram Stoker's (author of Dracula!) sister, Evaline through a steampunk 1889 London.

I know it may sound odd but it's a very fun series. There are lots of mysteries to be solved, the characters are incredible and there's romance to be had. In fact this series holds the only love triangle-kind of thing that I fully accept!

But the stars of the show are definitely Mina and Evaline who are so different and yet grow a friendship--even if they're reluctant to be friends at first!

It's a 5-book series and the last one came out last week! I'm currently reading the fourth and cannot wait to read the final book! (Hopefully my library will grant my request soon!!) They are quick and easy to read through and I promise you'll have some fun!

#StokerandHolmes #ColleenGleason #TheClockworkScarab #TheSpiritglassCharade #TheChessQueenEnigma #TheCarnelianCrow #TheZeppelinDeception #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #historicalfiction #steampunk #librarybooks #tpl

The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart by Jack Henseleit
The sequel to The Vampire Knife from last year, this one was just as fun and spooky! Review to come.

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee by Beth Vrabel
Now this is a middle grade book that was so much fun and heart-warming. Seriously, It’s required reading! Review to come.

11 whole books read this month!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT!!!! And the best part?! Only 3 of these books were from my actual TBR for the month XD

The Haul

Hachette
The Humiliations of Pipi McGee by Beth Vrabel
Queen of the Conquered
by Kacen Callender

Penguin Teen CA
The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones
The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyester
by Cary Fagan
Song of the Crimson Flower
by Julie C. Dao
Fireborne
by Rosaria Munda

HCC Frenzy
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
A Treason of Thorns
by Laura E. Weymouth

Manda Group CA
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faisal (A gift)

WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, I DIDN’T ACTUALLY BUY A BOOK THIS MONTH.  

Q: What 2020 books are on your radar?

I CANNOT EXPRESS TO YOU GUYS HOW EXCITED I WAS WHEN THIS POPPED UP IN MY MAIL ON MONDAY!

I mean... LOOK AT THE COVER!

WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by @isabelwriter09 is a a YA Bolivian fantasy about magic, romance and revolución!!! While the announcement for this book came out ages ago and the pub date was pushed we are slowly inching towards its release! I am very grateful for having received an advanced copy and I hope to dive into this #HispanicHeritageMonth! (Because of course!) Many thanks to @mandagroup for the ARC!

#bookishcanadiansaug19
Day 30 | Book Haul

#WoveninMoonlight #IsabelIbañez #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #latinxbooks #newbooks #2020debuts #diversebooks #ownvoices #books #latinxreads

Posts of the Month

Flashback Fangirling | Narnia Edition // It’s a long one!

FLASHBACK FANGIRLING

Re-reading My First Ever Vampire Series | The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

Rereading My First Ever Vampire Series

How do you audiobook? | A Discussion

A Discussion

Other Going Ons

I Re-Watched Violet Evergarden

Still one of the best and most emotional animes I have ever watched! It is on Netflix so there is no excuse for you to not watch it (unless you don’t have Netflix of course!). Seriously. I SOBBED. SOBBED. AND I ALREADY KNEW THE STORYLINE.

I Entered Marissa Meyer’s Fan Art Contest!

I took a gander at entering since it was open to Canada and I had free time on my hands! I can’t say it came out exactly how I had hoped, but I still am super proud of some of its elements.

Renegades Fan Art.png

I Attended Another Frenzy Event

As usual I was my anti-social self, although this time I did talk to a few people!! So maybe not my usual self, but still!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a lot of fun at the event and I got my hands on my most anticipated book of September!!!!

It’s Back to School

September marks the beginning of the school year so it’s time I gear up and be ready to study. I’ll still be reading, though perhaps not as much as this past month.


TBR

Holy cow. I have so many things I need to read. I seriously don’t know how I’m going to get to this all. I mean I know I am not going to get to it all, but I at least thought I’d try.

I technically will have two TBRs this month because #HispanicHeritageMonth runs from Sept 15-Oct 15 so I need to get ready!

The Regular TBR!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
The Zeppelin Deception by Colleen Gleason
The Brilliant Dark by S. M. Beiko
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Hispanic Heritage Month TBR!

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

It should be fun to see myself fail at all of this.


Let me know what you think! How was your August? What were your favourite reads? What do you have planned for September?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back | Review // It was…alright?

Greetings readers!

Coming at you today is another ARC review! One that is actually being published before its release date! Ahhh *feels accomplished*

I had an adventure with viking books this summer and I have to say I’ve been having quite a lot of fun with them! Adrienne Young’s YA debut, Sky in the Deep blew me out of the water! I absolutely adored it and if you want to know more of my thoughts you can read my review! Today I’m reviewing the companion novel which is set in the same world but follows a new set of characters and features new clans!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave Back
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 3rd, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Price: $25.99 CAD
Goodreads

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

*Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with an ARC*

The Likes

The World was still as wonderful as ever! I really enjoyed getting to know about the other clans that had passing mentions in Sky. The frigidness of the winter and the brutality of the people was all so fascinating to read about.

The writing was just as lyrical! Young has a way with words that make the story seem like a fairy tale. It is a beautiful prose that really captures those moments of wonder and fantasy! I think this is what really kept me in this story.

The plot of the story was interesting. Getting to see how the politics of the clans have changed now that there is a new-born clan (You’ll have to read Sky to get it  *winks*) I loved reading about the decisions of the war councils and deceptions of different clan leaders. The new clans mean that there are new traditions and gods and practices. The Svell were quite an interesting bunch and I wish we had got to see more of the Kyrr, but I guess that is why they are so mysterious.

The epic battle scene was an epic battle scene, no doubt.

The Questionable

The characters were okay at best. Tova had a rough life, I totally get that. I really felt for her, especially since her childhood was spent lonely and constantly being exploited for her powers and her life threatened. But she spent a lot of the book wallowing and sulking and I got bored real fast! *Is that too harsh* Halvard was……………………………………… he needed to stay 7 years old. He was just not as interesting as an adult! I’m sorry, but it’s true! I know he was having a very hard time trying to be the best of both worlds in his new-born clan, but I was often bored with his side of the story.

To be honest, I didn’t connect to any of the characters. Both Tova and Halvard fell extremely flat to me. I tried my best, but there was nothing that grabbed at me. I thought that Tova’s Truthtongue prophecies would real me in, but they didn’t. There weren’t many side characters to get into either and the few glimpses we got at Eelyn were NOT enough!

To be even more honest, I was very disconnected from the whole story. Even if the politics were interesting, the characters really brought me down. I was just feeling meh a lot of times and it didn’t help that I had to read about characters that I frankly didn’t care much about!

Young tried to sell me a romance that did not work for me at all. They don’t even know each other!!!!!!!–literally–and they already be thinking that they’re ready to move clans for one another? Uh-uh. No.


Overall, I really don’t know how to feel about this book exactly. I liked it while I read but after having it simmer for a bit, I find it very lackluster. It just does not compare to Sky in the Deep in my opinion! I didn’t really connect to those characters which was the biggest upset. I had hoped the plot and action would be enough, but they really kept this book just above average!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Mmmm sure. But read Sky in the Deep first!

Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? Are you excited for it? Did you read Sky in the Deep?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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How do you audiobook? | A Discussion

Greetings readers!

It’s a spontaneous post today! I’ve recently been thinking about different ways in which books are available to us. Whether it be in a physical book form, digitally or in audio, there are so many methods in which one can read!

But today we are going to focus on audiobooks. More importantly–I am going to discuss what a total noob I am with audiobooks.

90s 80s GIF by Doctor Popular
via giphy.com

My History with Listening to Books

It is not extensive lol. I have officially only listened to 3 audiobooks. Two that I did not finish and one that I recently did get through in its entirety. I used to not be the biggest fan of audiobooks because well I neither had the patience nor the attention span to get through one. Every time I would try to get into it, I would miss so much as I stopped paying attention. You see, my mind tends to wander a lot. A lot. The perks of having a very good imagination in my opinion. And I would get so lost and lose out on a lot of info as I was reading.

However….recently I listened to the audio of The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth and I ABSOLUTELY adored everything about it. It was the first time that I didn’t get bored and quit halfway. I even listened to it mostly at normal speed! I picked it up on a whim because I felt like jumping back into the story and it was honestly one of the best decisions I made. I absolutely loved the narrators. I loved listening to the emotion that they put in their voices of Ev and Phil. I thought it was so incredibly wonderful!

(The only con is that it was hard to tell when the characters were speaking out loud vs in their heads…)

So naturally I’m very curious about audiobooks now since the last one was such a success with me.

rhian brewster smile GIF by Liverpool FC
via giphy.com

So…How DO you audiobook?

I’m very curious about it because I am not 100% sure if there is a certain way to do it…

Like, for example, do you have the book in front of you and follow along with the narrator in your ear?

When I listened to TLBW I didn’t have the the book in front of me. I listened to it at night, in my room, in the dark, with my eyes closed (most of the time). It was the perfect setting for no distractions, but still my mind wandered every now and then. I don’t know if I would like following along with the book as I listen because I tend to read quicker than the narrator (even when I bump up the speed).

Thinking of speed…Do you bump up the speed as you read?

I do. Not dramatically. Usually just 0.2x/0.4x faster. I don’t like the sound of people speaking so quickly because I feel like I lose some of the enchantment and emotion in the story. However reading at normal speed can get tedious because they take such long, dramatic pauses!

Where/when do you listen?

I’ve already said that I listened to TLBW in a dark, quiet room with barely any distractions so that I could focus…but I know lots of people listen to them while doing other things! I know people listen to them as they drive, work or do homework AND I WISH I COULD DO THAT. But my brain is just not that great at multitasking I guess!


Those are the top questions I have about audiobooks! I am really looking forward to picking up a new read sometime soon, I shall browse Overdrive and see what’s available. I like the idea of using them for rereads because I can get through them quickly and my commutes could be a perfect setting for listening to them too!

However, I do have one final question:

WHAT ARE YOUR AUDIOBOOK RECOMMENDATIONS?!

schitts creek comedy GIF by CBC
via giphy.com

I would love to know how you guys feel about audiobooks and the methods in which you read them!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Gods of Jade and Shadow | Review // In which I try to express myself as eloquently as possible

Greetings readers!

Many, many moons ago I saw the announcement for this book and stars bloomed into my eyes! A Mayan mythological extravaganza set in 1920s Mexico! I was overly excited but I also agonized over the fact that I would have to wait so long for it to finally fall into my hands.

And here we are today. (Well I actually read it about a week ago) But today is the day the review is actually going up!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey
Price: $35.00 CAD
Goodreads

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, 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.


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The Likes

The Characters

Casiopea has to be the most raw, daring and incredibly real character I have ever read. As much as I like to believe that I find all characters believable there is always something inexplicably fictional about them that prevents that wholehearted belief, but there was something different about Casiopea. Reading about her felt trans-formative to the point where I was her at one point.  And perhaps this is all credit to Moreno-Garcia’s talent for writing because I 100% felt like I was in Mexico during the 20s living her life. That being said Casiopea was an angry, adventure-seeking, weary, courageous and witty character. I loved everything about her, from her bone-deep resentment of her family situation to her free-spirited, no shit-taking confidence. She was as about dynamic as one could get, constantly re-evaluating herself, the life she has lived, the one she is living and the one she dreams to live. Her coming-of-age story is an unforgettable one no doubt.

Hun-Kamé, Lord of Xibalba is most definitely my second favourite character of this whole lot! Moreno-Garcia’s take on the personality of a this Mayan god is definitely similar to what I pictured, but then she gave it that twist. That gut-wrenching twist that brings down the stoic, distant divine figure and like Casiopea makes him far much more real and tangible. He goes through quite a journey and transformation too which, alongside Casiopea’s, means that things get dangerous, murky and most certainly bloody.

Other characters…Should I mention Martín? Must I mention him? Is he worth my mention? He is not. He shouldn’t even really be in the “like” section. But I will say that I loved that Moreno-Garcia explored his mind too and the inner workings of his deep-set tyranny.

The World-Building

Mexico in the 20s was a wild time, as I’m sure it was elsewhere in the world. There was the inconsequential influence of American and European trends and fashion, but there was also the already established Mexican way of life. There was the once non-disputed authority of the Church being challenged by the state. There was (and still is the) colourism and racism manifested within the people separating neighbour from neighbour and family member from family member. All of which were touched upon in this amazing novel.

I loved that we got to see how starkly different life could be in different places of the time. There was the tiny, suffocating, strict streets of the pueblo. Then there was the fun yet dangerous paths of Mexico City. We even get to the flashy, high life of America for a bit.

But the best part had to be the Underworld. It just was. Trust me. It is a haunting type of beauty that really had me wanting to go there while simultaneously never, ever wanting to go there.

The Writing

There is just something about Moreno-Garcia’s prose that always gets me. Maybe it’s the information that she sneaks in here and there that enriches the story’s detail. Maybe it’s the wittiness of her characters that always had me cracking up. Maybe its the way that she most definitely made this feel like a fairy tale and yet still the most serious tale ever told. I don’t know what it is and I’m not making any sense so it leaves only one logical answer: magic. It’s magic.

There is a great amount of adventure to be had. It does have a quest narrative after all! The stakes are high, the challenges are messy, there is more than one Mayan god of death so you can definitely plan on some havoc coming from them! The action and intensity were perfect. The pacing was just right, speeding up when we needed to move and slowing down when we needed those sweet moments!  And it’s chalked full of myth and legend, with a glossary at the back so you don’t get lost at any point in turn!

THE DIVINE INTERVENTION PLOT. THIS BOOK IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THAT PLOT. YOU GUYS KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE IT WHEN THE GODS COME OUT TO PLAY AND MESS UP EVERYTHING.  It is truly wonderful.

There was a slow burn romance that literally tore me to pieces. And that’s all I’ll say on that.

And the ending. The ending. The ending. The ending. T H E   E N D I N G.

The Questionable

There are no questions to be had. The book is amazing.


Overall, I loved this book. It lived up to my very high standards and I think it shattered them. If you are one who gravitates towards historical fiction, this is for you. If you love fantasy, this book is for you. If you love fairy tales, then this is for you! If you want an incredibly well-written story with incredibly complex characters that is also full of danger, suspense and magic, then this is the book for you!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Of course I do!

Let me know what you think! Have you had the chance to read this one yet? Are looking forward to picking it up? Did I convince you to pick it up today? Please read this book. 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Flashback Fangirling | Narnia Edition // It’s a long one!

Greetings readers!

SO a while ago I did a post on how The Hunger Games created a huge fangirling phase in my life. I really liked the idea of it so I decided to put out posts about all my odd obsessions that I’ve had in my life. Trust me that there are quite a few phases in my life and all of them have weird things that I did!

And of course I had to start with the biggest obsession I have: NARNIA

I debated with myself quite a bit about posting this because well it’s kind of embarrassing. Talking about the old things (and some current ones) I used to fangirl about just bloom this squishy feeling in my stomach. It’s part embarrassment, part old feelings of intense thrill and part nostalgia. It’s a crazy mix because when I was young, I fangirled hard to the point of obsession.

This is the official inauguration of the first Flashback Fangirling!

Narnia ~ A 13+ Year Obsession (and counting)

So I am going to start obvious. I have been (and still am) obsessed with this fandom for over a decade. It all really began with the first movie because I was not a reader when I was young (the books would come later).

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via giphy.com

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie came out in 2005 and I was both terrified and in love. The monsters were scary, but the magic, the battles, the world was amazing and I prayed, pleaded and begged for the chance to go to Narnia.

So I looked for it. I searched every closet in every relatives house. When my family moved homes, every open house we went to had their doors opened by little Rendz. No door was left unopened. None. I even opened doors in my schools! My friends didn’t even question me because they knew what I was doing.

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via giphy.com

Speaking of my friends, I honestly had the best kind when I was young. I often made them play “Narnia” at recess. We would run and and scream into battle. We would fight evil witches and be friends with lions. We would have magic. Of course they got tired after a while, but I somehow managed to always make myself a Narnian-like character in whatever game we played.

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via giphy.com

GETTING CRAFTY ~ A NARNIAN COLLECTION

Making myself Narnia-like was a very serious deal for little Rendz. My mother had this lovely maxi red dress that I would often don when I was pretending to be Lucy. And since I had *some* artistic skills on my side when I was a kid, I fashioned Lucy’s silver crown out of pipe-cleaners and paper-cut flowers all painted silver. (I also made a gold version for when I played Susan)

But my arts and crafts didn’t stop at crowns. No way. I had to make the props, people. THE PROPS. There was no way my parents would ever buy me toy replicas from the movie when they came out, but little Rendz was resourceful and also very creative.

So for Susan’s bow and arrow. I painted a plastic bow I found at my local dollar store (I did have to beg my Mother to buy it). It came with suction cup arrows, but it was for the best since I am not an archer and my general aim is terrible. I never got the chance to make her horn, but one day maybe.

Lucy’s props included a little dagger and a vial with juice of the fire flower. Clearly my parents would not let me run around with a knife so I made a mini dagger out of paper toilet rolls and cardboard (this project was unfortunately never finished). I did however work really hard on the glass vial of fire flower juice. This prop was the most magical of all so clearly I had to have it. This project went through several trials, mostly because I could never get my hands on a good glass bottle. I ended up using an empty glue bottle and created the gold stopper out of a gold painted Styrofoam ball. I even dyed a little bit of water red to put inside to act at the juice of the fire flower. Yeah, I did that.

I did once attempt to make Peter’s sword and collected a lot of rolls, but I waited until Christmas to get my hands on a wrapping paper roll because they are nice and long. Unfortunately, some projects just never happen and this was one of them.

never spring best friends GIF
via giphy.com

TAKE A LOOK IN THE NARNIAN SKETCHBOOK

Stepping away from my actual role playing, as I got older I just started drawing a lot more. I have a binder full of sketches of magical forests and bridges. (I have always been a hardcore fantasy lover) I sketched of Peter, Susan, (a very terrible) Edmund and I think an unfinished Lucy. I was just getting into portraiture so of course I had to draw my favourite characters ever!

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c. 2011
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c. 2014
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c. 2014

I even drew the movie cover. Twice. Wow Rendz, wow.

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c. 2012
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c. 2012

OH WOW. I 1000% promise you my artistic abilities have improved immensely.

*Also these photos are atrocious XD*


I MADE MY OWN WARDROBE

As a teenager the obsession lived on.

For a senior art project I created a cardboard sculpture of the wardrobe. It has coats in it and a lamppost and everything. It is not an exact replica, but I put in a lot of Narnian detail.

 

 


I’LL BE HONEST, IT’S REALLY THE MOVIES

I have read the books a couple of times now, but the first and second movie are what really stick with me. I have the entire first film memorized. I know every line and will randomly just start reenacting a scene. The scene where the White Witch kills Aslan is my best performance. (Morbid, I know) I even get my sisters to memorize some lines so I don’t have to play all the parts. It is, however, to my shame that Maz knows more lines from Prince Caspian than me.

I might do a post on how I feel about the books vs. movies thing. Interesting…

the witch narnia GIF
via giphy.com

TO THIS DAY

I don’t think I do anything really obsessive anymore. I mean I am still very obsessed.

I am not one of those people to own a lot of merchandise and have 20 million copies of the books. I have one bind-up of the books. One copy of the first and second movie. Several homemade props and my imagination. I was just a kid and not owning any merch has never lessened my love for the fandom or makes my love for it any less.



THANK YOU FOR READING (SOME, MOST OR ALL OF IT!)

So yeah. I just rambled on about all the things I used to do as a kid. I am sure I missed a couple things over the years, but this is the gist of what kind of fangirl I was in this Narnian fandom growing up. Who knows what I’ll do in the future. Frankly, I’m excited to find out.

Let me know what you think! Are you guys interested in reading about my old obsessions? I promise I’ll have more to come with a few embarrassing stories. Some are not all book related and some are just plain weird. What kind of fandoms were you obsessed with when you were younger? And of course I invite my fellow Narnians to prattle on about their fangirl/boy things they have done! Come my darlings, come!

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via giphy.com

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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