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

get-reaidng

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


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

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

The Likes

The Characters

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

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

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

The World

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

The Plot

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

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

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

It lived up to its selling points

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

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

ALL THOSE COVER SECRETS

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

The Romance

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

The Questionable

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


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

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

THEME THURSDAY | MERMAIDS

Greetings readers!

I wanted to start bringing in some weekly regulars to this blog. I wanted something new and fun and thankfully, Sophie @ Blame Chocolate totally provided me with the perfect post! So many thanks go out to her!!

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

  • There will be a different theme (genre, trope, etc) every Thursday. You can check the theme calendar here.
  • Those participating have to list titles that feature that theme in some way (doesn’t have to be the main theme of the book).
  • You can use the three main categories: Books I’ve Read/I’m Reading,Books I Want to Readand Other Books That Fit The Theme but this isn’t mandatory.
  • You can repeat books in different themes, if they apply, and choose as many as you want.
  • You don’t have to take part every week! Just when you feel like it.
  • You can use #BlameThemeThursday on Twitter and other social media to make TT posts easier to find.
  • Finally, use this boxed text in your post, which doubles as a pingback. If you want, you can change the pingback link to that of that week’s post 🙂
  • P.S.: Feel free to use my banners!

🍫 Books I’ve Read/I’m Reading:

SYKE.

I actually have not read a book with a mermaid…..

WAIT.

HOLD ON ONE MINUTE.

The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.6)

Does The Little Android by Marissa Meyer count? It is after all a retelling of The Little mermaid!

~~~

🍫 Books I Want to Read:

The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep #1) To Kill a Kingdom Sea Witch (Sea Witch, #1)

~~~

🍫 Other Books That Fit The Theme:

The Seafarer's Kiss (The Seafarer's Kiss #1) Wake (Watersong, #1) Siren's Storm (Siren's Storm, #1)



The search for mermaid books was actually a lot of fun and seeing as I have little to really no experience with mermaid books…I need to get on this! So I definitely need your help!

Let me know what you think!!! What mermaid book would you have me start with? What are some of your fave mermaid books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

*DISCALIMER: All images via Goodreads*

The Jonas Brothers Book Tag | Because I am who I am and I really am still on this :)

Greetings readers!

Yes. I am still talking about the JoBros. Yes, I am still listening to their playlists. Yes, I am and I know what you think…Rendz, it was never that serious though…

WELL IT WAS TO ME.

So please indulge me…as I have created a Book Tag in their honour. Actually it’s mostly in honour of my nostalgia and how much I miss the good ol’ days.

*And please forgive if a tag like this already exists ;)*

Rules:

  • You don’t gotta be a JoBro fan, you just gotta love books
  • Mention me, the creator (Rendz @ Reading with Rendz)
  • Answer the prompts
  • Tag 3 peeps! (4 if you wanna take into consideration the Bonus Jonas)

“Year 3000”
A book/series set in the way distant future or A book/series that took you on an adventure

The Lunar Chronicles Obviously!

cf7e0-15802572_634502993425026_9053865302772678656_n

“Hold On”
A book/series that took a while for you to get into

Zero Repeat Forever by G. S. Prendergast

The beginning is really slow, but all that build up leads to a really amazing second half!

1a86a-19367802_274287366378509_3934061099627839488_n

“S.O.S”
A book/series that you needed saving from

Throne of Glass series. Why on earth did I continue with these books? I don’t know. *cough* Chaol *cough* but boy did I need major saving.

1bc97-16908397_1698139223813890_1996726954425843712_n.jpg

“When You Look Me in the Eyes”
A romance that makes you melt into a puddle of goo

C R E S S W E L L

807b7-16583794_963672477099204_5233786519147249664_n

“Burnin’ Up”
A book/series so good it set you on fire

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Literally this book and its two sequels have been the cause of my destruction and I adore them.

62e50-34351894_181816585850909_3851195035705933824_n

“Lovebug”
A ship you were not expecting, but it happened and you ship it

Helene x Avitas. I had my reservations at the beginning, but I am all for it now. Let’s do this!!!!!!!!!!

a3dfc-38002438_261096857834470_7396846716449718272_n

“Paranoid”
A book/series that kept you on your toes the whole time

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I worried so much for my gang of little criminals. I love them to bits, but boy did they have me stressed…like all the time.

f9b0c-17596667_1852751374964799_6744375479777624064_n

“Sucker”
A book/series you would reread over and over again

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. They are my go to feel-good books that I adore.

76f5b-31326374_154832225363988_1624137128453603328_n

I Tag….

Mandy & Sha | Kyera | Angelica | Blogger Books



Let me know what you think!!! Are you a fan of the JoBros? What’s your fave JoBro song? What’s your fave band/type of music in general? Have you listened to Sucker yet? How would you answer these prompts?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

The Last Namsara Buddy Read Review |Featuring the amazing SHA, and Canadian Dragon Tales!

Greetings readers!

Today I am partnering with the fabulous, Sha @ Book Princess Reviews to bring you a buddy read review! We decided to Buddy read The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. A fitting choice as it is Canadian YA and we are both Canadian and we love dragons.

Thus I dub this buddy read (and a near future one)…

THE CANADIAN DRAGON TALES BUDDY READ

*if you do not know what Dragon Tales is please google and educate yourself.

Sha and I absolutely adored this book. Sha *literally* devoured the book within 6 hours. Less than a day! I myself am quite a slow reader, but boy oh boy if I had had the time on my hands I probably would have swallowed this one too!

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)

The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)
via Goodreads

Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Pages: 432
Release Date: October 3 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.15 (of 2,043 ratings)

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

 


BUY IT!

Amazon CAKobo | Audible | Abebooks | Alibris | Indigo.ca | WorldCat


***
Asha lured the dragon with a story.
It was an ancient story, older than the mountains at her back, and Asha had to dredge it up from where it lay deep and dormant inside her.
She hated to do it. Telling such stories was forbidden, dangerous, even deadly.
***

Sha: The first three paragraphs of this book sent shivers down my spine. Within seconds I had everything I didn’t know I absolutely needed: dragons. Forbidden storytelling. I had to keep going.

Which is why I can only hope Rendz forgives me for speeding ahead.

Um yeah. I had a major bone to pick with Sha. I started this book two days before her and then she has the audacity to read the entire thing in one sitting!!!! LIKE I APPLAUD SHA’S EPICNESS OF BEING ABLE TO READ SO FAST–AND LITERALLY DEVOUR A BOOK–BUT SHE LEFT ME IN THE DUST!

THE WRITING STYLE

SHA: Ciccarelli’s writing is perfectly suited to her world of dragon-hunting and poisonous stories. It reminded me strongly of Renée Ahdieh’s own lyrical prose, with a sharper cut to each line.

Rendz: Her plot twists were really well done! (Some were obvious, others less so) Some of them had me making faces. And yes, I was reading on a public bus. O-O

She did a really good job of leaving tracks and clues and then connecting the dots at the end. I’m still not over one of her revelations. She got me good.

THE CHARACTERS

SHA: Was there any character I didn’t love? (even the ones I hated, i loved hating)
Asha was amazing. But I actually want to rush forward and praise the supporting characters because … Ciccarelli fleshed them out so well and gave them all such important moments. Like, okay, WARNING, I’m about to ramble real quick:

I don’t dislike when a main character steals the show and does all the awesome things in a book aka spots the evil, plans the revolution, stops the villain. YAS we have a badass and I love! BUT what Ciccarelli owned in The Last Namsara was this whole “it takes a village to plan a revolution” theme.

Rendz: Asha was a QUEEN. Omg I loved her so much. Her journey was so heartbreaking and beautiful. I love her!!!!!!!!

⚔️ Safire : Asha’s cousin. Safire is better than Asha at strategy and close combat (which Asha praises within the book, YAS, support ya girl). Safire has a hard life in Firgaard and Asha helps protect her — but Safire can also hold her own. LITERALLY A QUEEN. 
⚔️ Dax : Asha’s brother. Asha often looks down on him because unlike her, he is not a warrior. TBH I thought he wasn’t so smarticle particle all the time either. BUT THINGS HAPPEN.
⚔️ Roa: A boss. Wow.
⚔️ Torwin : One of Jarek’s slaves. Also an adorable cinnamon roll who has some guts let me tell you that.
⚔️ Jarek : Ew. I NEED TO FIGHT HIM.

THE ROMANCE

Rendz: At first there was a suspicion that Asha was gonna fall for her crappy betrothed and that was not gonna fly with us. But thankfully, it was only a weary inkling coming from us precarious readers. Then waltzes in a forbidden-romance plot and I–Rendz–am LIVING for it. Then my wariness came back because I really didn’t want this to be a slave-master thing. But I think that Ciccarelli stepped away from that when she really made Asha reflect on her way of thinking, her upbringing, other previous histories of interracial relations. It wasn’t insta-love…on Asha’s part at least, Torwin is another story *Is this spoilery??* I think they both had to really grow around one another, reshape they way they see the world and in turn each other.

Now let’s talk scenes. Because my goodness there were so many almost-scenes where I just wanted to chuck the book across the bus. And then the declarations that Ciccarelli made up for these characters and how they tied into legend…I was a puddle of tears.

Gosh they were just so good together.  

Sha: *Is currently too choked up to contribute words.*

THE DRAGGGOONNSSS

Rendz: Major–and when we say major, we mean MAJOR–How to Train Your Dragon vibes. I absolutely adored the legend and Old Story elements and how they were tied back to these incredibly majestic creatures. I also loved that the dragons themselves had some personality to them. It added a lot more fun and not to mention a lot more adventure to the story!

MORE THOUGHTS

Sha: When I saw that there was slavery in this book, I hesitated hard. I thought, “Oh no, there must be some controversy, it must be bad for some reason.” I read those scenes real close and analyzed from every perspective/the knowledge that I have and what I got was: Ciccarelli wrote those scenes well. She didn’t throw in slavery for kicks, I learned some lessons from the books end, nothing was played up for dramatics without consequences.

Rendz: I super agree, I was very apprehensive at first, but I think Ciccarelli handled it well. The slavery wasn’t just a present state, it had a history. It was a politically intense book, which I found I really liked.


representation: n/a
Content warnings: death of a principal character, killing of humans as sport, suicide, murder, whipping, mythical creature death, abuse

Rating: 5 stars!

Recommend: It’s a double YES from us!!

I think it is safe to say that you will hear from Sha and I again when we read the sequel, The Caged Queen. (When that will take place is another question!)

Let us know what you think! Have you read TLN? What did you think? Have you read its sequel The Caged Queen? What dragon books would you recommend to us?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz & Sha

read

The Penderwicks At Last |Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway

Greetings readers!

I am so, so excited to be a part of this tour. The Penderwicks series my Jeanne Birdsall is one of my favourite children’s series ever! I will one day put up a post describing the significance of these stories to me, but for now let’s stick to my review!

Today I will be presenting to you my thoughts on the long awaited finale of this series! (I waited three whole years for this!) Make sure you head to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy! It is US only, but I do believe there are a few Penderwicks fans in my audience!

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

Pendwicks at Last Cover

Pub. Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 256
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&N,
iBooksTBD

The finale you’ve all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless
installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall!

Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures–these are the things that have shaped Lydia’s journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring.

Now it’s summertime, and eleven-year- old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college.

This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest
sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.

Bursting with heart and brimming with charm, this is a joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best. And oh my MOPS– Meeting of Penderwick Siblings– does Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks at Last crescendo to one perfect Penderwick finale.

*Thank you, Penguin Random House CA for providing me with a copy. All opinions are my own*

This final book revolves around the youngest Penderwick sister, Lydia, who had a minor role in the previous novel, The Penderwicks in Spring. Despite this book being about a new character, we are taken back to the setting of book one and even though much has changed, including the older Penderwick sisters, there is still a lot of fun to be had!

What I Liked: 

Characters: The characters were the most important reason why this series means so much to me. In this book we follow only one sister, but the other Penderwick personalities were definitely present despite being more background characters!

Lydia: Lydia was a spark of pure delight (though don’t tell her I said that because she might argue against it XD). As the youngest of the Penderwick family, this was Lydia’s first trip to Arundel and after hearing all the incredible stories that her sisters told, she was excited to see the actual estate herself. Lydia was quite charming, she was a dancer and found a reason to bounce and twirl and step, whatever the occasion. Contrary to the sassy attitude she evoked as a toddler, the 11 year-old Lydia was quite curious and always found the best in people. She, like all her siblings, had a distinct personality. She was a dancer, free-spirited and quite imaginative, but also stubborn!

Alice: Alice was also quite fun to follow. Much to Lydia’s delight, they became fast friends on this summer vacation and she showed Lydia all the secrets of the estate. Alice herself was also very funny and blunt. Her tendency to say exactly what is on her mind was hilarious and I loved her competitiveness with her brother, Jack. Although we don’t get to exactly walk in her perspective, she always added more humour and mischief to the scene.

The Writing: 

While I wouldn’t say that Birdsall has a purple/flowry prose, she does have a way with words. She knows how to make me feel wonder as I’m reading about the adventures that Lydia is having. But I think where she really wins with me is that she gives everything a personality. She most certainly gives them to humans, but also to the creatures and animals surrounding the characters. There is always, always a dog personality on scene and in this book comes a sassy chicken. I’d like to say that Jeanne Birdsall’s writing is pure joy put in words!

Bringing Back the Old:

Since this book didn’t star any of the original Penderwick sisters, I really enjoyed every moment when Jeanne would remind us of those times. Since she used the same setting from the first book, it was really nostalgic visiting the old gardens where the sisters had had so many adventures before. This was–of course–Lydia’s story and her experience in Arundel is slightly different. However, despite the fifteen year distance between book one and this book, readers will get to see many familiar faces and revisit many familiar places!

The Ending:

Before reading the ending, I knew that Jeanne was going to do something special. She wasn’t exactly going to leave it open (which it is, but also not), but she wasn’t just going to say this is the end. So when I did read the ending, my heart burst. Like it literally burst. She 100% did THAT. It might not even be something many readers notice, but I did and JEANNE, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ll leave a hint for those who don’t catch it after reading it, so please remember: the tunnel.

Honourable mention: Not only does Jeanne throw in many Narnia references, which fulfilled my little fangirl heart, she also has one character travelling to Canada! So you know Patriotic-Rendz came out and was squealing with glee!

What I Disliked:

I am going to knock off 0.5 and I’m not 100% sure why. It was just something I couldn’t fully grasp with this story. I laughed, I teared up a bit, it had everything, but maybe it’s the speed to the finish. Everything moves so quickly (and I’m complaining because I really would have liked to read about the wedding XD).


Overall, I am overjoyed. This truly was a spectacular finale to one of my favourite series. It had all the right humour, the best personalities, the touch of nostalgia and the bittersweet knowledge that this is the end. I absolutely adored this series and this final installment is cherry on top!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (It’s really a 5….I’m being picky!)

Recommend: I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS. IF YOU LOVE SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS, ANIMALS AND ADORABLE FAMILIES THEN READ THESE BOOKS!



About Jeanne:

Jeanne-Birdsall-Photo-214x300

Jeanne Birdsall grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, where she attended wonderful public schools. Jeanne had lots of great teachers, but her favorites were: Mrs. Corkhill, sixth grade, who encouraged her intellectual curiosity; Mr. Tremonte, eighth grade algebra, who taught Jeanne to love and respect math; and Miss Basehore, second and fourth year Latin, to whom Jeanne (and Mr. Penderwick) will be forever grateful.

Although she first decided to become a writer when she was ten years old, it took Jeanne until she was forty-one to get started. In the years in between, Jeanne had many strange jobs to support herself, and also worked hard as a photographer, the kind that makes art. Some of Jeanne’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of museums, including the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Her work can be seen in several galleries, including the R. Michelson Galleries in western Massachusetts.

Jeanne’s home now is with her husband in Northampton, Massachusetts. Their house is old and comfortable, full of unruly animals, and surrounded by gardens.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway!

Details:
– 3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST
– US Only

Enter:

Rafflecopter Link


Follow the Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/7/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
5/8/2018- Christen Krumm– Review
5/9/2018- RhythmicBooktrovert– Review
5/10/2018- Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers– Review
5/11/2018- Reading with Rendz– Review (You are here!)

Week Two:

5/14/2018- Little Red Reads– Review
5/15/2018- Buttons Book Reviews– Review
5/16/2018- Will Read Anything– Review
5/17/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review
5/18/2018- The Desert Bibliophile– Review

THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST


Let me know what you think! Have you read any Penderwicks books before? Which book was your favourite? How excited are you to read the finale? What sibling-hood would you love to be a part of?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Story Girl | Review

Greetings readers!

Despite the cold temperatures I’m experiencing here in my corner of the globe lately, I feel like it is the perfect time to read those spring/summer books. It’s also my favourite time of year for middle grade. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about the spring sun (and rain) gets me in the mood for a good heartfelt adventure.

The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery

Publisher: Tundra Books
Pub Date: January 9, 2018
Price: $12.99 CAD
ISBN: 9781101919491

Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she’s leading them on exciting misadventure or narrating timeless stories–from the scary “Tale of the Family Ghost” to the fanciful “How Kissing Was Discovered” to the bittersweet “The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward”–the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.


Buy It!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo | McNally Robinson | Book Depository


*A huge thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review!*

I have only read one other book by L.M. Montgomery which was none other than her masterpiece, Anne of Green Gables. I absolutely adored it and I cannot wait to continue the series in a near foreseeable future. So in picking up this book I was really hoping to immerse myself in Montgomery’s beautiful writing and quirky characters!

What I Liked:

Characters: There were lots of them, so I’ll highlight a few things for each!

Story Girl: She was an absolute delight. Montgomery definitely gives her a way with words and a mischievous personality to match with all those fancy terms she uses. I really liked reading the stories she told and the way she charmed kids and adults alike.

Beverly: He is actually the narrator which I found quite interesting. It’s probably the best since if it were in the perspective of the Story Girl this novel would probably go on and on. He also has a way with words and the fact that it is actually an adult Bev reminiscing on his childhood days really amps the sense of nostalgia!

Cecily: Oh she was my favourite! Maybe it was her curiosity and leadership that showed up sporadically when she wasn’t second-guessing herself. She was adorable and I loved her sassy one-liners too.

Peter: Another favourite. He added a lot of humour to the story, since he wasn’t raised “proper” like the other kids, but I loved that about him.  I wish he wasn’t chasing after a girl who didn’t appreciate him, but who knows what could happen to this little crush of his.

 Dan & Felix & Sara Ray: They added a lot of fun to the story too! So much bickering sass, and crying (<- mostly from Sara Ray) came from them. They gave the story a healthy dose of spirit.

Felicity: She was actually my least favourite…far too snobby and self-entitled for my liking. Yet, I also kind of liked her sassy and blunt ways. I’m conflicted.

The Setting:

Prince Edward Island has always been a dream destination of mine! It sounds liked such a scenic and beautiful place. Of course the PEI of today is much different from the PEI in the story, but still. The glowing sun of the summer in PEI was the perfect backdrop for the adventures of these kids!

The Writing:

Montgomery’s writing is absolutely stunning. The descriptions she uses to emphasize the innocence and beauty of the children and their adventures in growing up were perfect.  Some passages were simply stunning and I couldn’t help but remark at their beauty.

The Stories within the Story:

How can I not talk about all the great little stories that the Story Girl told within the pages of the book. Some were heartfelt, others were tragic and some were very funny. It was really cute reading about the reactions of the other kids and the spell bound wonder they would be trapped in every time the Story Girl told a new tale!

What I Disliked:

What Was the Final Point?:

This was a really good story because of the amazing characters that Montgomery created. Otherwise in terms of plot, it was a little everywhere. I could not catch the direction of the story, other than it being a recount of the summer in the eyes of Bev.

Slooooowwww:

My, my it was a very slow story. Or perhaps it just felt like that because I didn’t know what the point of the story was. It was a little repetitive at times and that made me kind of want to put the book down.


Overall, it was a cute story. A perfect book to get my middle grade reading mood going. Yes it was a tad boring in places and quite outdated. (Whenever they mentioned converting the Heathen, I cringed..so just keep that in mind if you read this book.) Despite that I thought it was a fun read and I look forward to the sequel!

Rating: 3 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! It’s the kind of book you read when it’s raining out and you would rather bask in the warm light of the summer sun, with a light breeze keeping you cool at the same time.

Let me know what you think! What is your favourite L.M. Montgomery read? What is your go to middle grade author/book/series? What books do you like to read during the spring season, if you have a preference?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz