The Brilliant Dark | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

Today I’m very grateful to bring to you my review for the final book in a Canadian YA Fantasy series! The Realms of Ancient series by S.M. Beiko has been a whirlwind of fun to read since book 1! This is one of the few urban fantasies that I’ve read that are set in Canada and well you know how Patriotic Rendz gets!

If you want to know more about my thoughts on book one and two, follow the links!

Scion of the Fox

Children of the Bloodlands (arguably my favourite of the three!)

The Brilliant Dark by S.M. Beiko

The Brilliant Dark: The Realms of Ancient, Book 3

Pub Date: Sept 24th, 2019
Publisher: ECW Press
Goodreads

The highly anticipated final installment in Beiko’s thrilling YA fantasy trilogy

Seven years have passed since the Denizens, people with elemental powers, were unmasked, and seven years since Roan Harken and Eli Rathgar disappeared into the Brilliant Dark.

Marked by Darklings and Death alike, Saskia is a mechanically minded Mundane, raised by Barton and Phae on daring stories about Roan Harken. But the world Roan left behind is in turmoil. The Darklings now hang in the sky as a threatening black moon, and with the order- maintaining Elemental Task Guard looking to get rid of all Denizens before they rebel, Saskia’s only option is to go into the Brilliant Dark and bring Roan and Eli back. But nothing is ever that simple. 

The Brilliant Dark is the final, thrilling chapter in this series about gods, monsters, and the people who must decide if they’re willing to pay the ultimate price to protect the family they found . . . in a world that may not be worthy of saving.


Buy It!

Amazon CA | Indigo


*I was provided an advanced reading copy by the publisher*

The Likes

I did not expect the story to pick up seven years after the events of the last book, and I’ll be honest it threw me in for a loop. It took a while to wrap my head around, but from the very first chapter I understood why it had to be this way. Beiko chose to explore what the world would be like if one day a whole population of magical beings visibly manifested their existence along with the revelation that they had been manipulating how the rest of the world had been working. Us regular folks would find ourselves lost in the balance of the world and having to deal with this “alien race” of people more powerful than us. And as soon as the world “alien” pops up people get scared and then they get defensive. There is fighting, discrimination, oppression all in the name of “peace.” I really enjoyed Beiko’s exploration of this topic and how even perceived to be “peaceful” countries like Canada are not immune to self-destruction.

The magic system in this series is a little complex, but I really like it. It’s animal-based but also element-based with a deity system and we all know how much I love it when the gods come out to play and mess up literally everything. It gets even more complex as the events of the books go by and things gets twisted! I had a lot of fun with it, although I think a diagram or like an index of some sort would have been helpful in keeping track of it all!

The characters were great as usual. Except for maybe Saskia! *hides in shame* She is a super important voice in the story, but I was not feeling her. I couldn’t really connect to her at all and her chapters were really long. The other characters, however, were really great. My poor Phae has had a rough seven years, not to mention the fact that Barton has gone missing. Natti is still a boss and I wish we could’ve gotten more from her.

Now let’s get to the stars of it all. Roan and Eli. Ugh, I love them. Roan is just a great voice through and through. She is a stubborn, lost, unwilling-turned-willing heroine that has sarcasm to last a lifetime. Then there is Eli who honestly started out as a villain in all this and had to work hard to get to where he is now. Together these two create such a wonderful dynamic, a literal force to be reckoned with. They butt heads constantly which is why things take a bad turn during the seven years. There is this one twist between the two that had me shocked, it was fantastic because I honestly didn’t know how they were going to come back from that!

Now the ending has me upset and feeling crushed. But it’s a good kind of crushed that still has me thinking about it which is always a good sign!

The Questionable

Besides the fact that I was not Saskia’s biggest fan, this book is very slow at the start. I think that’s why I questioned the decision to set it seven years in the future. That’s a long time, meaning it’s a new world that has to be built up again which means there are many points of info-dumping. There are also a lot of flashbacks, which some I enjoyed and some I found unnecessary, that stalled the plot further. This book is also in the third person, so we get POVs from anyone and some I just didn’t really care for.

About the Author

SM Beiko credit Teri Hofford

S.M. Beiko is an eclectic writer and artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She also works as a freelance editor, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the trade book and comic publishing industries in Canada and the U.S. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a wonderful conclusion to a great fantasy series that is quite unique in it’s setting and characters. Personally, the original characters are the stars of the show and the conclusion to their journey is a bittersweet one so be prepared!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! It’s very unlike anything I’ve read before!

Let me know what you think! If you could have an animal familiar, what would you choose? If you could have an elemental power, which would you go for? Have you read this series or are thinking about picking it up?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

read

 

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

Greetings readers!

The time has finally come. The time to share the story of my first ever vampire series.

I’m sure we all have that series. That book that first introduced us to vampires. The living undead that should be more horrific and less smexy than they are in the current context. For most of us readers, the first time reading about vampires might have been in Twilight. But even at a young age I broke away from convention and read a different vampire series!

The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey.

It’s not a very popular series (I think) and it’s on the older side, I think it came out circa 2009-2012, but it is my first ever vamp series!! And this past June, I decided to reread the books for fun because I felt this random urge to! Thankfully my random urges bring out fun blog posts!

THE ORIGINAL READ

Ruling Passion (Drake Chronicles, #1-3)
via Goodreads

I originally read this series a very long time ago. Let’s say around 2011. My mother took us (my older sisters and me) to the library to pick out some books we could read when we went camping later that month. Of course I ran to the MG section and lived my best life and picked out the book Storybound, which was magical and the perfect adventure read. My older sisters went off to the teen section, obviously, and picked out their own reads. I didn’t really notice what they picked.

It wasn’t until I came back from camping that I really paid attention to what they were reading. My eldest sister told me all about her vampire book that had super hotsy vampire brothers and quite quirky ladies. She also told me that it was romantic. And me + romance didn’t work in 2011. I avoided it like the plague. BUT I WANTED TO READ ABOUT VAMPIRESSSS.

So I read it. And it was something different. I’ll sum up my original thoughts in the following list.

  • The vampire bros were hot
  • I did not like the sister vampire, Solange
  • I love(d) Lucy! (See what I did there)
  • I was confused with the politics of it all
  • I swear this takes place in Canada
  • Gosh, I hate Solange
  • Which brother is my fave????
  • I kinda wanna be a vamp now too? When is Halloween coming around?

I never actually finished the series, so this is why I decided to pick them up again in June! I thought it would be fun to see if I was still as fascinated by the vamp bros and the whole scene. These books also marked a really dark moment in my life, which I won’t really get into because this is supposed to be the fun post! Let’s just say that the We Need Diverse Books campaign is a very important one, little Rendz just didn’t know it.

THE BOOKS

My Love Lies Bleeding Blood Feud Out for Blood

I didn’t really read them! I skimmed, I’ll be honest! I just didn’t have time for all of this and I’ll be honest again, I was more interested in my ships and banter bits than the whole plot…

So yes, I skimmed all 6 books of this series. I didn’t read the novellas because there were a lot and not all were relevant! And it is safe to say I had a pretty great time with them.

Each book features a different brother as the MC/LI up until the last two books. And did I mention there are 7 brothers? We don’t get to get into all their lives (sorry Duncan, Marcus and Sebastian) But with every brother comes an epic lady character (some more epic than others!) which was lots of fun to read about!

Bleeding Hearts Blood Moon Blood Prophecy

MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS – I’M RANKING THEM!

At the  bottom of this list is Solange. The youngest Drake, the prophesied one, the princess. She could have been something. But after book 1, I just could no longer tolerate her. She was so spoiled and privileged and A RATTTTTTTTTT. I can’t talk about it. I just can’t.

At the top of the list is Lucy! I loved her. I loved her personality, her ferocity, her courage, her idiocy, everything about her made her an incredibly well-rounded, fun character!

Ranking of the Brothers (Not including the eldest three we don’t get to know)

  1. Quinn (The charming, bad boy — my poison)
  2. Nicholas (A little too clingy, but sweet)
  3. Logan (He’s cute also a charmer)
  4. Conner (The nerdy sweet one!)

Ranking the Ladies

  1. Lucy (For being an Icon)
  2. Hunter (For being a badass vamp hunter)
  3. Isabeau (For being a badass wolfie vampire!)
  4. Cristabel (Kinda irrelevant but funny)
  5. Solange (trash)

OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED

You could tell this takes place in the early 2010’s (other than the fact that it’s on the timeline). You can tell that people were listening to Evanescence too. I am guilty of that. But the fashion of their dress, their old iPhones and so many other things but here are two of my highlights.

Ties over shirts. Nicholas really wore a tie over his shirt. Can you get more early 2010s fashion than a tie over a shirt! (I mean you can…but like STILL)

He made her a mix tape! AHHHH XD I died. Nicholas really, truly and honestly made Lucy a mixtape and I was crying and laughing and living my best life when I read that.

cassette tape party hard GIF by Dude Bro Party Massacre III
via giphy.com

OK OK SO THE ACTUAL STORY

While it’s not the most eloquent writing style it is funny and sassy and easy to get through. It is all very fast-paced, the books aren’t too long and they have a good touch of romance (although I must say every kissing scene reads the same).

There is also an overuse of the word “yummy” in these books. Um. Yeah. I’ll let you imagine that. There just needed to be another adjective used to describe vampire hotness.

The endings were also always abrupt. Were they the best endings? No…and the last books really doesn’t do overall story plot justice, but they clean up the work nicely.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These are certainly my guilty pleasure reads. My first ever vampire series and its one that is gonna stick with me for life. I had a lot of fun skimming through them again. Of course I pointed out all of the problematic areas so I cannot say they are perfect. What I will say is that they are 100% entertaining as much as they are trashy (in the best way possible).


Let me know what you think! What was your first vampire series? Are you willing to pick up more vampire books? What is your guilty pleasure read? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

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

This is the official inauguration of the first Flashback Fangirling!

Narnia ~ A 13+ Year Obsession (and counting)

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

film love GIF
via giphy.com

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

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

nolan north closet GIF
via giphy.com

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

the witch GIF
via giphy.com

GETTING CRAFTY ~ A NARNIAN COLLECTION

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

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

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

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

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

never spring best friends GIF
via giphy.com

TAKE A LOOK IN THE NARNIAN SKETCHBOOK

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

dsc_1037365622785.jpg
c. 2011
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c. 2014
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c. 2014

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

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c. 2012
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c. 2012

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

*Also these photos are atrocious XD*


I MADE MY OWN WARDROBE

As a teenager the obsession lived on.

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

 

 


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

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

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

the witch narnia GIF
via giphy.com

TO THIS DAY

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

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



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

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

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

Reaching out tilda swinton GIF
via giphy.com

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

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

The Grief Keeper
via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo Chapters Indigo | Amazon


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

The Likes

The Characters

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

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

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

The Actual Grief Keeping

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

The Hard Stuff

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

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

On a lighter note…It referenced Narnia twice.

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

The Romance

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

The Writing

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

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

The Questionable

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


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

Rating: 4.75 / 5 stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Disney Princess Hair Book Tag

Greetings readers!

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

The Rules:

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Accessory

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

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Change

mulan GIF Raging Star (Dust Lands, #3)

Princess: I mean. I mean. I MEAN.

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Bun.png

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

Book: Roshani Chokshi hands down.

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

Princess: Look at that volume at the bottom there!

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Braid

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

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

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princess charlotte disney GIF Clara Voyant

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

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Half

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

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

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

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happy disney GIF Dealing in Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Pony.png

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

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Straight.png

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

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

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Princess: Just look at that wild red hair!

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Close

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

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

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

 I Tag…

Blogger Books

JoBeth @ Blue Binding

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


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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

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

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Speak Easy, Speak Love

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

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

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

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


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon 


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

What I Liked

These Glorious Characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Setting

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

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

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

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

The Romance

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

The Questionable

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


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

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars 

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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My Mismatched Series | A Discussion

Greetings readers!

Since I decided to read more from my shelves this year, I decided to do a little rearranging the other day and I noticed that a system of organization for this is not my strong suit. How I organize my shelf is rather complex: favourites, author and size are all taken into account when choosing how to fit my books on the shelf. And sometimes the system really lacks efficiency.

But Shelf Organization is a topic for another day, today I want to talk about my mismatched series. Series of books that I have on my shelves that just do not match (and thus mess up the organization of my books). It ranges from size to cover changes to just having completely different editions.

So let us begin:

Size: Too Big, Too Small, Too Fat, Too Thin:

This category takes up most of the mismatched-ness of my shelves. I am the person to buy the first couple of books in a series in paperback because they have been out for a while and then I buy the final books in hardcover because I am too eager to wait for them all to be out in paperback!

Size especially sucks when you are trying to organize because super short paperbacks don’t look the greatest next to giant hardcovers.

The Following is a list of my mismatched series by size:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (4 paperbacks, 2 hardcovers)
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (3 paperbacks, 2 hardcovers)
The Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch (2 paperbacks, 1 hardcover)
The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
Ruby Red Trilogy by Kiersten Gier (1 paperback, 2 hardcovers)
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (This is the worst case because paperbacks are like half the size of the hardcover.) (2 paperbacks, 1 hardcover)

The Different Editions: Colour is all wrong!

I have only a few series where the covers are off. This doesn’t bother me too much but again it makes my organization much harder to do.

The Legend series by Marie Lu
I am actually okay with this series since the the cover edition of the first book I have is very similar to the original version, it’s just a little more muted in colour and smaller in size obviously because it is paperback.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir in the Ember Quartet
I’m not mad at the cover change. I thought the change was really important especially for the message Sabaa wanted to send. I actually am very please that it is the same size as the previous hardcovers which is *blessed*

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Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh in the Flame in the Mist duology
I think both covers are stunning so…I’m good. Plus I have an ARC of the second book so this one is really mismatched hehehe

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The Biggest Disaster I Own:

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

(A disaster in more ways that one and that’s my tea)

I have the first three books (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire) in the UK edition which are super petit and white and then I have the sixth book (yup I skipped, four and five) Tower of Dawn in the Indigo Hardcover Exclusive Edition. And I’m never going to complete my collection…

So in short, it is a mess.

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Let me know what you think!

How matched are your book shelves? Do you own a lot of mismatched series like I do? Are you a stickler for having the same editions of books?

I love my books in any shape they come in, the story is what really matters to me. But having a beautiful set of all matching covers in size and shape that fit perfectly in one spot on the shelf is a really pleasing feeling.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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