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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Contemporary Romances that I Want to Read| I Am Actually So Ready to be Attacked by Fluff and Fun!

Greetings readers!

Some of you know that I have already dabbled in the contemporary romance genre when I read Stripped by Zoey Castille. It was a fun story, I’ve never read anything like it before, but I’ve been wanting to return to the genre as of late. Especially since I keep seeing people on my feed reading and loving these books and I just want to join in on the fun! You know I don’t read contemporary anything often, so this is like a miracle that I am in the mood to read books like these!

I might stay away from the strippers this time though and keep in line of something more contemporary in the sense that it’s a little fluffier and FUNNY. (No offense to the stripper books though because it was fun!)

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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

This one is a little older, it came out two years ago I think, but I keep seeing it pop up on my feed! It sounds absolutely adorable and fun! It’s an #OwnVoices novel with Asian and Autistic rep. I’ve never read anything like that before and this seems like a great start since most people seem to love it!

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

You Had Me at Hola
via Goodreads

I will stan any and all Latinx Romance, especially those written by Latinx authors. Besides that fact, this cover is absolutely amazing (Like I have major heart eyes) the synopsis pitches it as a telenovela romcom and afjknfjnfjenj I need it nowwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously this sounds like so much fun, it’s going to have scandal and drama and romance and everything good thing that is in a good novela. I’m ready for it!

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

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

This sounds so obnoxiously cute. I love it already. So many people on my instagram have been raving about it! I feel like I will relate to the MCs personality in some ways. I’m no computer geek, but like I wouldn’t classify myself as much lived either. And the hot neighbour trope really has me wanting to read it!

Faker by Sarah Smith

Faker
via Goodreads

Enemies with benefits. Yes. You know I will gobble this up. I’m also super attracted to the construction people life, if that makes any sense. I think this one has some mixed reviews, but I’m hoping to enjoy it! I have get over the guys name though. It’s not a bad name, it’s just one of those names I find super unattractive XD

Well Met by Jen Deluca

Well Met (Well Met, #1)
via Goodreads

Renaissance Faire enemies to lovers sounds like a lot of fun to me. I mean it really sounds like a white-people kind of thing…not saying that POC don’t do renaissance fairs, never actually been so I shouldn’t judge. Still I’m intrigued by the concept, I might get triggered with the Shakespeare stuff since I’m taking a Shakespeare course right now, but I’m excited!

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered, #1)
via Goodreads

Fake dating trope is something I will die for!!!! Yes, give it to me. And these characters sound delightful! Oh yes, I am so going to jump on the train with this one. The town clown and the hot ex-baseball player…yessssssss!


That’s all I have for now! Obviously I am missing many more, but I’d figured I would start off with a small list!

Let me know what you think! I would LOVE your recommendations. Keeping in mind that I prefer something contemporary and fluffy with lots of funnies! I mean you wanna hit me with the hard stuff, go ahead, but I like the cheese in combo with the fluff!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Humiliations of Pipi McGee | Review // This is laugh-out-loud funny, it’s truly great

Greetings readers!

Middle school happened a long time ago for me. Maybe not that long, but it’s a while and I don’t think about it often. It’s not that I had a horrible time there, but middle school is tough and sometimes embarrassing stuff happens/did happen and I block those memories out. Still sometimes I reminisce about what it was like and I cringe and laugh at the same time.

Well cringing and laughing was all I did while reading this book and honestly I had an amazing time!

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee by Beth Vrabel

The Humiliations of Pipi McGee

Pub Date: Sept 17th, 2019
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Goodreads

The first eight years of Penelope McGee’s education have been a curriculum in humiliation. Now she is on a quest for redemption, and a little bit of revenge.

From her kindergarten self-portrait as a bacon with boobs, to fourth grade when she peed her pants in the library thanks to a stuck zipper to seventh grade where…well, she doesn’t talk about seventh grade. Ever.

After hearing the guidance counselor lecturing them on how high school will be a clean slate for everyone, Pipi–fearing that her eight humiliations will follow her into the halls of Northbrook High School–decides to use her last year in middle school to right the wrongs of her early education and save other innocents from the same picked-on, laughed-at fate. Pipi McGee is seeking redemption, but she’ll take revenge, too.


*Many thanks to Hachette Canada for sending me an ARC*

The Likes

Pipi was an absolutely phenomenal character. I loved almost everything about her. From her tragic, self-pity to her rock hard determination, her guilt and shame to her newfound confidence. She had such a grueling time growing up being *that kid*, the one that everyone either tries to avoid or makes fun of. I just wanted to cuddle her and tell her it’s going to be alright, but obviously that couldn’t happen! Besides all that, Pipi is such a wonderful, authentic voice for this story. She is funny, self-deprecating, selfish and sweet, all in one. Perfectly flawed because she’s still just trying to figure out who she is.

There are lots of other character to talk about. Pipi’s family is one colourful bunch. They are far from the conventional nuclear family and I loved them! There is a lot of hilarity to be had from them and also some really heartfelt moments. Then there are the characters from Pipi’s school and THEY are QUITE and INTERESTING bunch. There are so many antics that happen at school, it is truly cringe-worthy and laugh out loud funny.

The actual plot itself is a revenge story. And like all revenge stories there are some major scenes of “Oh SNAP” and trust me you get those kinds of scenes in this book! Are they perhaps to the same degree as other revenge stories? Maybe not. They are on a whole other level of fun and frenzy. I loved every step of the way as Pipi tried to seek out vengeance for all the embarrassment she has suffered over the years, but of course not everything goes as planned. 

But if we get down to the nitty-grittiness of it all, this is a story about bullying. The cause-and-effect of it and what happens when you try to forgive. Middle school is rough and Pipi goes through some harsh stuff. Like we’ve all had embarrassing episodes, Pipi’s are on another level and Vrabel perfectly captures the brutality of being laughed at for messing up. It’s not funny when it’s you who is being laughed at. It’s hard and I empathized with Pipi and all the she went through. Especially the tragedy of 7th grade, but we don’t talk about that. If I’m being honest though, I experienced something similar to that too although mine was very low-key.

I can’t say for certain if I learned my lesson in forgiveness after reading this. It’s a shameful confession I know. I still wanted to exact vengeance at the last moment there (because it was one of the cruelest things done to Pipi!) But forgiveness and moving forward is a lesson that is constantly being reaffirmed throughout the story which I think is super important for kids to read so they don’t become cynical adults (like me). 

The story is also one of identity. Lot’s of characters in the book are struggling to find out who they are and where they fit in this dysfunctional world. I think a lot of the identity stories will resonate with all kinds of kids who are just trying to be comfortable with who they are.

And the book is just funny okay! It is freaking hilarious. I had the absolute best time with it. (How many times do I have to say this?!) If I had to mention the one questionable thing is that it takes a while for things to get moving, but you almost don’t notice because you are either laughing or cringing from second-hand embarrassment!


Overall, I loved this book! I highly recommend it for anyone really! For those readers in middle school and those who have already past that stage. It’s a heart-wrenching and heart-warming coming of age story. It’s funny, kind of outlandish but also so, so important because bullying sucks and this book politely gives it the finger.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely!

Let me know what you think! How was your life in middle school? Do you like reading Middle Grade books that combat themes like bullying? Have you ever had something so truly embarrassing happen to you in school? No need to share if you don’t want to! 😉

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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The Beauty of the Moment | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

I have the amazing pleasure to be part of the Penguin Teen CA Blog Tour for The Beauty and the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena! This is a wonderful contemporary read and its Canadian YA, so you know I had to read it!

Be sure to check out all the tour stops for some fun interviews and more reviews!

The Beauty and the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

The Beauty of the Moment

Pub Date: Feb 26, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Price: $21.99
Goodreads

Susan dreams of being an artist. Malcolm wants to move him and his sister out of a bad living situation. Sparks fly when the two teens meet at a fundraiser for Syrian refugees. A Canadian YA romance for fans of The Sun is Also a Star.

Susan is the new girl — she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy — he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants — until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.


Buy It!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo


I absolutely adored this book.

Me.

Someone who rarely reaches for contemporary.

I completely, whole-heartily loved it!

The characters were phenomenal!

Susan! Oh Susan! We are literally carbon-copies of one another other than that we come from different types of brown cultures and family experiences. I have never related to a character so much in a contemporary novel like I did with Susan. Her shyness was so wonderfully depicted, but she most definitely had some fire. Her loyalty was admirable, but the trials she faces are so tough because of it. Her compassion and her charisma are lovely, but she most definitely has a meaner nature. Not to mention her love for art and her secret–or maybe not so secret–resentment of science and math. She is literally me and I am literally her. Except she got a boyfriend and I do not. O-O

Still…I JUST FREAKING LOVED HER. Her journey, her growth, her setbacks, her heartbreak and her stunning resilience and courage through it all. I wish I had as much guts as she did.

Malcolm. ANOTHER WONDERFUL CHARACTER THAT ABSOLUTELY BLEW ME AWAY! I mean it’s a typical bad boy story with a tragic–very tragic–past and I ate it all up!! Charming, dangerous, and a class-skipper! To be very fair though, Malcolm went through a lot and his decision making was not always that great. There was a lot of growing on this journey. Growth in self-respect, in learning to let go and in learning to move forward. It was really hard for him, and while I have never been in his situation, I can only imagine how hard it must be to even consider forgiving. And he messes up…a lot. But that’s okay. It’s all about the journey, it’s all about the learning. 

Other characters…I loved Malcolm’s best buds! They added in the perfect comedic moments and were such goofs. I would have loved to have Susan’s friendships to be further developed, but I understand that the whole point was to show how hard it can be for someone, especially an introvert, to get the guts to talk to people and keep talking to them.

The Family Dynamics

I don’t want to give anything away, but this was some tough stuff. Both characters had to go through a lot in their familial life. Parents can honestly suck sometimes. (I love you Ma and Pa 🙂 ) But they totally can. We’re all human, we all make mistakes but sometimes the mistakes that parents make can have bigger repercussions. Overall, I thought it was a great representation of what it’s like to be in a real, dynamic family.

And spiraling off the family talk comes the discussion on Academic Pressure

THE BEST REP THAT I HAVE READ SO FAR. Susan was born to Indian parents and was raised in Saudi Arabia, where life from ages 4 and up basically revolved around school. Susan was under the impression her whole life that in order to have her parents be proud of her, in order for her to be someone, she had to do well in school. Scratch that. Not “well” she had to be near or at the top of every class! 

And I saw myself in that. I truly did. I may not be Indian or Saudi, but I come from a Latinx household where doing amazing in school was an undisclosed demand. There was no room for a B+ on the report card, not once you head into middle school. But Susan (like me!) has a love for art and that is what truly makes her happy! The problem? No brown parent that I can think would ever encourage their child to pursue an arts degree. They may not discourage its practice, but it will forever be a “hobby.”

I just related to Susan so much. Every time she decided to not join a club so she could study, I have done that. Every time she doodled in her school notebook, I have done–and still do–that. Every time she took a Friday night or a weekend to get ahead on homework, I HAVE DONE THAT!!! Every time she complained and felt ashamed about getting a B on an assignment/test/quiz, I FELT THAT. Every time she tried to talk about pursuing art and the shrivelling of her spirit that came with thinking about how her parents would react. THAT. WAS. ME.

It got real personal for me, which I won’t divulge into anymore because this is just a review, but wow. It hit me.

Moving on…

CANADA.

It’s set in a city, outside of Toronto, Mississauga. (Which is part of the Greater Toronto Area…but not Toronto) Anyways, enough geography. NOW THIS IS A HIGH SCHOOL I CAN ACTUALLY RELATE TO. Four periods per day. One lunch hour. Crowded buses. Toronto Maple Leaf references. Malls I have actually been to. Like I was living my best life. I don’t travel to Mississauga often, but it’s not too different from where I grew up!

Still. Just the references and overall layout of the city structures were something I actually recognized.

And of course we get to see some ugly Canada. This story takes place during the heat of the Syrian crisis (which is still ongoing) and has a lot of discussion on immigration and the reception of immigrants in Canada, which is not the bestest. Trust me. We have bigots here too. So while it can be bitter to read about the ugly ideologies in Canada, it is truth that needs to be told.

The Romance

This was a love story in part and I think I just about melted of cuteness. It took a while for these two to get together, and when they did finally come to, they were just ahhh so cute. The fluff moments were a total overload! And hooweee do we get some great drama! I don’t want to spoil, but I adore how Bhathena handled the drama and the ending that she gave them. I really did. 


Overall, I adored this book. I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish reading the last 150 pages because I was so engrossed! There were never truly any dull moments. There is always something going on whether it be about Susan and Malcolm’s personal growth, their family lives, or their relationship. It is a story about family, love, loss, trust and courage to face the everyday. It is 100% one of my favourite contemporary books yet!

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Recommend: ABSOLUTELY!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you thinking about picking this up? Would you date a bad boy/girl? *winks* What kind of student were you in high school?

Be sure to check out the other tour stops for reviews, interviews and more! And don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of The Beauty of the Moment, on shelves now!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Mini Reviews! | Voices, Long Way Down, The Case for Jamie

Greetings readers!

I have much to talk about today, so I want to be brief. February was full of lots of great reads, but I sadly don’t have enough time to review them all in full. Just know that I really enjoyed each of these books!

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Pub Date: March 26, 2019
Publisher: HMH Teen
Price: $25.50 CAD
Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon

Author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death.

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood). Along the way it explores issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.

*I was provided an ARC by Raincoast book!*

  • This was one of the few novels in verse that I have read and for the most part I really enjoyed it.
  • I liked a lot of the poems and how each poem took on a different POV from Joan, to her family, to the saints, angels and even the lifeless objects had a voice in this collection.
  • I think my favourite poems have to be the Fire ones and when Joan was spitting major truth!
  • I also loved that the author included snippets and excerpts from the transcripts of her actual trials, I thought that added a lot more authenticity to the poems
  • Look people…I might be Catholic, but I actually know very little about saints (give me a break…there are a lot of them), so going in I knew the bare minimum about Joan. I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert on her now, but the poems definitely have me wanting to go read up more on her story.
    • She was literally a teen who saved her country with the help of divine intervention (IS THIS NOT THE TYPE-A YA THAT RENDZ READS????)
  • In short, I need more Joan of Arc retellings in life, thanks.
  • I will say that what kind of put me off about the poems is the actual time line. I know this was supposed to be her final hours, but it felt more like we started from when she first started hearing her messages. So I may have been a little frustrated trying to figure out when these poems took place.

Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars
Recommend: For lovers of poetry and fans of Joan!


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

Pub Date: Oct 27th, 2017
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Price: $23.99 CAD
Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.

  • I picked this up on a whim. I saw that both Mandy and Kyera has read it and rated it very high so I had to give it a shot!
  • It is another novel in verse, that I found I quite liked!
  • I actually borrowed the audiobook because I feel like poetry is really something pleasing to listen too.
  • Will’s story was so heartbreaking, brutal and intense! Reading about his journey down the elevator that takes no more than two minutes was the incredibly suspenseful, I have never been so nervous!
  • Each encounter he had brought him a fresh perspective and insight on the people he thought he knew well.
  • The book is all about gang violence and how it affects youth who find themselves caught up in the mix and needing to following the “rules” the adults set for them
  • It was a haunting book, I can’t even properly articulate my thoughts with it–it’s that good!
  • The ending is still with me to this day. I don’t know exactly what to make of it, but all I can say is that it left me both satisfied and running with a million questions.
  • I highly recommend this one if you are looking for poetry that packs a punch!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: ABSOLUTELY


The Case of Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes #3)

Pub Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Price: $21.99 CAD (hardcover)
Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon

The hotly anticipated and explosive third book in the New York Times bestselling Charlotte Holmes series.

It’s been a year since the shocking death of August Moriarty, and Jamie and Charlotte haven’t spoken.

Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for.

Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her.

Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time.

Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead.

  • I missed my babies so much! You all do not know how much I love this series!
  • Here I am again–the fake Sherlock Holmes fan™–who loves all things Sherlock Holmes retellings but has never actually read the books or seen any adaptations (???) I know.
  • This book was so intense. Charlotte and Jamie were separated for practically the whole because of the events of the last book so it took forever to actually get them together!!!
  • Both of them had to take a step back and really reflect on themselves and the shit that they went through the past year.
  • I just love these characters so much. GOSH. Charlotte’s smarty-pantsness and her fight against inner demons that have plagued her since her childhood. Then there is Jamie, the definition of a softball, who had to kind of figure out who he was without Charlotte.
    • THEY ARE MY CHILDREN.
  • I loved the suspense of this novel, there were many twists to be had and lots of stuff went down with the Moriartys!!!!!
  • I saw some stuff coming but other things just wow!
  • I am a big fan of Cavallaro’s writing. It’s not fancy or anything, but it just flows so easily and it can make a mystery plot easy to understand–which is something I super need since I am a mystery noob.
  • In short. I loved it.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: If you love Sherlock and you wanna see him in a gender-bent way, then YES.



Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? Are you looking forward to reading any of them? Do you read poetry? What novels in verse would you rec/want to read? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Save the Date | Review

Greetings readers!

I have been bitten by that summer bug. And it infected me with a mood. A contemporary mood. I have like twelve different YA fantasies on my side table that need immediate attention and yet I want the fluff. I need the fluff. The summer sun and all the warm fuzzzy feels.

A couple of weeks ago, a YA contemporary Queen was in town and what better way to start off my contemporary summer mood than with a wedding book! Morgan Matson’s new novel, Save the Date sounded like the perfect way to start my summer and after attending her event, I was so excited to get to it!

Save the Date  by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date:  June 5th, 2018
Price: $23.99
ISBN:
 9781481404570

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


BUY IT!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


Well, well. I had fun. Considering  it was my very first Matson book, I enjoyed it. Not exactly as much as I hoped to enjoy it, but it was a fun book overall.

What I Liked:

The Comic Strip. I thought it was such a cute touch. It really showcased the importance of the strip and it made it more than just a simple motif. Plus it added an extra amount of funny to the book.

I liked Charlie enough. She wasn’t my absolute favourite, but I did connect with her on some level. I totally related to her love of family. Her desire to have those together moments. Those times that are the memory makers. I often find myself searching for those moments with my own family and getting frustrated when we start to bicker or fight. Matson painted a real family. They were never perfect, but they had their moments of bliss and happiness.

Matson also approached the topic of change and how Charlie absolutely dreaded it. Especially as she was trying to figure out what she wanted for her future and how much she would have to let go in order to reach her goals. It was a very touching theme to the novel and I loved reading about Charlie’s journey to embracing change. It was not easy and she was quite stubborn, but I really connected to her struggle.

The book was also very humorous. The synopsis promises crazy and it delivered. Delivered to the point where I found it terribly ridiculous, but frankly I liked it. It was entertaining, the three days that this story spans is  filled with all sorts of trouble. It’s absolute chaos and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Bill. He was cute and charming and I wanted more from him. He did however come off as very flat, I would have liked a little more development in that area.

Those Canadian references! *Patriotic Rendz freaks.*

The ending, although bittersweet was quite heartwarming. I liked it a lot. I thought this was going to be really fluffy until Matson hit us with the hard ball and it hurt!

What I Disliked:

Okay. Here it is. The hard cold truth.

Every character in this Grant family was an asshole.

Especially Danny. JJ not that much. (JJ was actually my favourite of them all)

Their behaviour was disgusting. The way that this family treated outsiders did not sit well with me. My mom would call them “maleducados” i.e. rude. They were rude rude rude. Like, I get that family comes first, but these people were awful. Danny actually disgusted me, I was so unimpressed that Charlie practically worshipped him.

There was another asshole in this book, that I won’t call out for spoilers…but I knew knew knew that he was not worth it.

The fact that I didn’t like this family’s behaviour really spoiled a lot of he book for me. I often found myself rolling my eyes and disagreeing with many of their actions. I literally wanted to smack them all outside the head.

This book was wordy. It was long and it took forever. Plus the font was tiny! Okay maybe that was a little too technical, but in all honesty this book was too too too wordy. Charlie does a lot of thinking, some of it I could have honestly lived without. I got bored sometimes because there would not be a lot of character interaction instead it would just be Charlie in her head thinking thinking thinking.

The friendship theme in this book was very minimal. I was expecting a lot more from that element of conflict. It was set up really well, but there was no thorough execution. It left me disappointed.

The romance wasn’t even enough for me. WHERE WAS MY SUPER DUPER FLUFF??? THE SWOONY MOMENTS. BECAUSE I LITERALLY GOT ZERO. (I’m not counting the first chapter for *reasons*)


Overall, the book was good. It was not perfect and as you could see I had my issues with it. It was funny, ridiculous and despite its length, I think some people will fly through it! Did it fulfill my contemporary mood? For the most part. It did its job, but I am still very much hoping to jump into another fluffier book soon!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Yeah, I guess… It was fun,  and a perfect summer read! Just beware of the super obnoxious characters.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Who was your favourite character? What Morgan Matson book is your favourite?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Clara Voyant | Review

Greetings readers!

Let me tell you that one of the best features of this book is the title. When I first saw it at the Penguin Teen Canada social event I went to in May, and read the glorious title, I was 100% ready to read it. I am also just a huge fan of the zodiac signs, so I knew that I really wanted to pick up this book. Lucky for me, the lovely people at PenguinTeen CA hooked me up with a copy!

Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney

Publisher: Puffin Canada
Pub Date: May 15th, 2018
Price: $19.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780143198536

A wannabe journalist and reluctant astrologer turns out to be clairvoyant in this charming middle-grade coming-of-age novel; for fans of Rebecca Stead’s novels.

Clara can’t believe her no-nonsense grandmother has just up and moved to Florida, leaving Clara and her mother on their own for the first time. This means her mother can finally “follow her bliss,” which involves moving to a tiny apartment in Kensington Market, working at a herbal remedy shop and trying to develop her so-called mystical powers. Clara tries to make the best of a bad situation by joining the newspaper staff at her new middle school, where she can sharpen her investigative journalistic skills and tell the kind of hard-news stories her grandmother appreciated. But the editor relegates her to boring news stories and worse . . . the horoscopes.

Worse yet, her horoscopes come true, and soon everyone at school is talking about Clara Voyant, the talented fortune-teller. Clara is horrified — horoscopes and clairvoyance aren’t real, she insists, just like her grandmother always told her. But when a mystery unfolds at school, she finds herself in a strange situation: having an opportunity to prove herself as an investigative journalist . . . with the help of her own mystical powers.


Buy It!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo | McNally Robinson | Book Depository


*I was provided a copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!*

This book was absolutely positively adorable and I loved every second of it. It was a fast and funny read, and I found the zodiac element very entertaining. Plus, it is set in Canada, specifically Toronto, so stay tuned for an appearance by Patriotic Rendz later on in this review!

What I Liked:

Characters:

Clara: My fellow Cancerian, she was an absolute rock star and I loved her! Clara at the beginning of the book would probably roll her eyes (just a little) at the fact that I called her a Cancerian and say it’s all woo! But she goes through such growth in this book! She learns that its okay to embrace some of your eccentric abilities and that it’s important to pursue every goal you have with all your heart. Clara was intelligent, caring and quite practical throughout the whole book, until her sense of adventure kicks in and she finds herself doing things she might have never imagined doing before! It was all quite fun and I really enjoyed reading about her!

Clara’s mom, Gabby, was quite–how do I put this–special, she really loved all things supernatural, and while I felt that this sometimes blinded her from seeing Clara’s distress, I think she was fun addition to the story!

Each and every character had this spunk that I just loved to read about!

Zodiac fun!:

Clara writes her own original horoscopes for each sign in this book and the way that Delaney made them play out was fantastic! The way in which her fortunes affected different people in Clara’s life was both hilarious and heart warming. Clara’s journey to managing her clairvoyance was exciting and caused a lot of trouble, but it was all in all a perfect element to keep the plot moving forward!

It was all so Punny!

The puns in this book! Can we start by appreciating the title because I am still not over its genius! Trust me there are a lot more puns in this story to be read and laughed at. As an aspiring journalist, Clara goes out of her way to make catchy headlines and whats catchier than a well put pun? But honestly this book was hilarious. I’m usually just a silent laugher when it comes to reading, but this book actually made me giggle.

*Incoming of a red and white dressed blogger*

The Setting:

Hi everyone, this is your new captain speaking, Patriotic Rendz! And I have dropped by to yell about how perfect the setting was for this book!

Other than taking place in the homeland of Rendz, this book takes place in one of–what I might say– the most funkiest and eccentric places in the city. Kensington Market.

Kensington Market in Toronto is a neighbourhood filled with different stores, restaurants and attractions. And it is home to some…very exciting people. It’s the place where you’ll find lots of interesting stores that sell interesting products, similar to how Clara’s mom sells herbs and natural medicines/elixirs. You can find a psychic on basically every corner and it has its fair share of dark alleys.

It was the perfect setting for this book because it contrasted so well with Clara’s personality. Where she wanted the pristine and beautiful sanctuary of High Park (A beautiful park in the city), she instead got the very rundown and outlandish market. (The market is not all bad, but is definitely not where Clara would choose to live!)

What I Disliked:

Not much really. Could it lag here and there, a little. But it was a really short book and it kept me tuned in for the most part so not much for me to complain about!


Overall, I loved this and clearly Patriotic Rendz has never been more happy about a book set in Canada. It was fun, fast and colourful. There were lots of funny moments and triumphant moments and other moments where I was quite quite taken aback with a wide-eyed expression. All I’ll say is that people really do love their horoscopes!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: Absolutely! So much fun!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Do you follow your horoscope closely? Have you ever found one that is so YOU!?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Tell Me No Lies | Review

Greetings readers!

What do you do when you find yourself in a book and do not like that character? I had a bad case of this while reading this book. I found a character with an experience almost identical to mine and yet, I thought she handled it way worse than I did. This book started off with a lot of potential for me, but in the end it was one, big nope.

Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin

Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin
via Goodreads

Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pub Date: June 12th, 2018
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 9781616206765

Can the course of friendship or love ever run true when everyone has something to hide?

Lizzy Swift is a senior in high school, emerging from her nerd chrysalis to become a social butterfly. She’s dating Matt Ashley, the boy who’s been out of her reach since freshman year. Her bold, reckless new friend Claire Reynolds introduces her to Center City Philadelphia—clubs, street life, and the eye-opening art scene. And her Ivy League ambitions take a backseat to nights of partying, dancing, and dating.

But almost as quickly, the heady delight of Lizzy’s new life is clouded by doubts and deceptions.  While she has a special connection with Matt, it’s not the perfect romance she dreamed of. Claire carries around a mysterious sadness and talks about a breakup so bad she changed schools—but she won’t tell Lizzy the whole story. Lizzy wants Claire to confide in her, even as she keeps her own embarrassing secrets from her new best friend.

Will the truth come to light before it’s too late for Lizzy, Claire, and Matt to save their love and friendships?


Buy it!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


*I was provided a review copy by the publisher, Thomas Allen & Son, in exchange for an honest review.*

Look, I tried with this book, but if I am completely honest I saw it going downhill from the beginning.

What I Liked:

The main character, Lizzy, was basically me in high school. And I related quite hard. We were both the “nerdy” type, but not the trademark nerd. We had a very small social group and in terms of actually being a social person, we were not. We loved art, but couldn’t fathom pursuing it because our parents drilled it into us that art was a hobby, not a career. We were panning for college/university quite early on. And that’s where are similarities stopped.

Of course, she is an epileptic and I am not. Throughout the novel, she deals with having to hide her disorder because she doesn’t want it to define her or make people treat her differently. I have never read about an epileptic character and it was interesting to see how the author pursued the topic.

The only other character I liked-liked was Theo and he was in it for five seconds.

The ending was also okay. I was glad that the characters stories were fleshed out more and that they got some much needed revenge and that the circle of friends was pulled closer together.

What I Disliked

I understood that this was Lizzy’s journey to self-discovery, but she honestly takes a hard turn left and completely off the path. I did not agree with any of her decisions. (Well most of them.) I would be one to fantasize about a chaste kiss becoming more, but I think it would lose it’s spark four years later.

I thought the whole friendship theme in this book was really ummmm not great. Friends no matter how social or anti-social they may be are supposed to support you and care about you. I get that these teenagers had their secrets and pasts that barred them from opening up. But the way Claire, Gage and Mimi treated Lizzy was really not that great.

Speaking of secrets. I guessed them. I got Matt’s very early on and was just waiting for it to be confirmed. Claire’s was slightly more mysterious, so I stuck around to figure out what it was. Dave, I felt was really just a decorative character, I found no real purpose for him.

This novel deals with some very heavy subjects like rape, assault, homophobia and the stigma around epilepsy. I felt like some were brushed under the carpet. There was passing mention of it, one of the characters gave there perspective on it and that was it.

This was also set in the late 80s. Your girl got none of the music references. Okay maybe some, but most of the pop culture stuff went right over my head. I understand why this time frame was chosen…but to teens these days the 80s are very distant. Personally, I think they would have a hard time attaching themselves to this book.

It was also really boring and repetitive. Like super repetitive. The only reason I finished was to see Claire’s ending.


Overall, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t get the world. Did it have its sweet and heartfelt moments? Yes, but there were still so many issues I had with this.

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars

Recommend: It’s a no from me, dogs.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? Would you get the 80s pop culture references? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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A Prom to Remember | Review

Greetings readers!

Ahhh Prom. A life altering moment in one’s final year of high school, am I right? One’s entire social riding depends on the attendance of this formal, right? The whole point of high school is this party, RIGHT?!

No. Honestly, no. Prom is just a good time, if it’s your style. I guarantee it has no change in social status. That is…in my school it didn’t. It was just a really fun party!

Then again prom is not for everyone!

Also, not going to lie. Every time I read the title of this book, “A Night to Remember” from High School Musical 3 instantly starts playing in my head!

high school musical 3 GIF
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A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall

A Prom to Remember

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
Price: $23.50 CAD
ISBN: 1250119146

Seven seniors, seven problems, one senior prom.

Cora: Head of the Prom Committee (and basically every other club in school). Has been dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie™ for approximately forever, and has NO IDEA how to break up with him….

Paisley: Sarcastic feminist who wants nothing to do with prom. Has somehow managed to nominate her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king…

Henry: Quiet ballplayer who hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!

Otis: Charming, popular, and one half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Doesn’t know how to tell his boyfriend that he’s not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room experience…

Lizzie: A little bit shy, and a lot excited to finally get out of her comfort zone and go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn’t know.

Cameron: Loner with two jobs and zero friends. Is so done with high school and this whole town: the only thing he still wants to do is meet the mysterious girl who’s been leaving him notes…

Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom. Now if only she could find a date….

A Prom to Remember, the newest book from Sandy Hall (author of A Little Something Different) is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler’s life.


BUY IT!

Chapters-Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 


*Thank you, Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC. All opinions are my own*

Well, well. I picked this up after reading a couple of fantasy books. I felt like I needed to cleanse my pallet before jumping into even bigger worlds, so what better way to do that than a cute, fluffy contemporary? And this book truly lived up to that. It was cute. It was fluffy. I laughed a lot. And it has a sweet ending!

What I Liked:

Characters: Holy moly there were a lot of people to follow in this book! A total of 7! There were some I liked more than others, but overall, I really enjoyed most of the characters!

Jacinta: I have to start off with my fave. Wow, I just really related to her a lot. Especially when she would talk about her familia latina. I also really related to her struggle of seeing herself as someone worthy of being important and not just a supporter for other people in her life. She was funny, shy and I totally loved watching her grow from a quiet background noise character to the up front and center wonder woman!

Henry: SO SO adorable! I absolutely loved him. Henry here experiences a lot of anxiety and unlike Jacinta he does not want to draw any attention to himself! He prefers the quiet life despite being told he is missing out on so much fun. His experience in the novel is one of learning to not allow fear swallow you whole and that sometimes we need step out of our comfort zones. Yet it also communicates that it’s just as cool to be alone and away from social situations as it is to be part of them.

Okay…now to the others.

I liked the other characters well enough. Otis was adorable and I loved reading from his POV. Paisley was also really funny. She had so much spunk and spark! Cameron’s story line was pretty entertaining too! I really enjoyed reading not only about his secret romance, but his trepidation about his new family. Lizzie was also pretty cool, although she did not stick out to me. And then there was Cora, whose POV I enjoyed the least. All she really did was complain and I was just not up for that!

The Switching of POVs:

There are seven perspectives to follow in this story. And yes, you are right that is a lot. I am usually one who likes several POVs, but even I think seven is way too many. Yet, I found it to be okay with this one. Hall switches often and a lot of the characters interact mutually so their stories intertwine. Each character has a distinct voice and personality too, so I didn’t find myself confusing people either, which was good.

The Romance:

How can I not talk about it? It was fluffy, it was cute. There were all kind of ships. Straight ships. Gay ships. Friendships. Otis and Luke were terribly adorable. My heart. And they were so funny too! Then there are other ships that I cannot talk about because spoilers, but it was all so fluffy. I know I’m not one for serious fluff, but when reading a book like this I don’t expect much else!

The Humour:

I was literally laughing out loud. Usually when something funny happens in a book, I just kind of snicker. Like my laugh is more of a hiccup in my breathing, but with this book I was actually laughing. Like hahahaha was coming out of my mouth. Hall really knows how to add in a punch line and set up scene that you know will end up in some sort of crazyness. I absolutely loved it.

What I Disliked:

The Problem With Seven POVs:

The story eventually gets lost. At one point I put the book down for a couple of days. I didn’t see the point anymore and I was seriously considering a DNF. While the switching might have been effortless and not too confusing, I was still left wondering where the build up was. It just fell flat to me. I decided to pull through and as I got closer to the end, I started to see the lines more clearly and their intersection was something I looked forward to reading. Basically what I want to say is that if you don’t attach yourself to at least a couple of characters, you won’t find this book to be too exciting.

This was really upsetting to me because I tried to get invested in the story, but I couldn’t quite grasp the ultimate point until the very end. I was lucky I got so attached to Henry and Jacinta, otherwise I don’t think I would have finished.


Overall, I ended up liking the story more than I thought. It was cute and funny. The characters do actually go to prom so at least that is delivered. It is a fast read, if you don’t take a five day break like me XD. It has an excellent assortment of representation from people of colour to queer characters and more. But above all, it is really adorable. Like squishy heart adorable.

Rating: 3 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! For my fluff lovers!

Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy this book? How many POVs is too many for you? Did you get to go to a prom? Did you like it?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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