Tune & Title Tuesdays | It’s Britney Bitch

Greetings readers!

I really had no idea what song to do this week because I haven’t really been listening to music these past few days. But randomly I just started belting out this song Monday evening and I thought: Why not!?

Look. I am not Britney’s biggest fan, but you could say I am a Britney Spears fan-ish. She was one of the firsts artists whose music we had on our first computer growing up. My favourite song of hers EVER is “Lucky” and I would listen to it on r e p e a t. I would even reenact the music video!!! I was that obsessed.

Yet, that is not the song I’m focusing on today o_o

STILL I love this song too

Tune: I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman – Britney Spears

I sing this alllllll the timeeeee. I just feel in my bones sometimes XD It’s a great tune, it has some long notes, it has Britney’s signature ohwowhowohwo XD. It’s perfect for those melodramatic teenage moments when you’re trying to be grown up but you just haven’t reached that point yet. But it’s also about just trying to figure out who you are on your own. It’s a great song, I can’t deny it.

Title: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

The Education of Margot Sánchez
via Goodreads

A teenager who’s just trying to figure out who she is on her own???? That would be one Miss Margot Sanchez. My girl goes through a lot to try and figure out who she is. And along the way she messes up enormously. But it is a really great book. Her journey has so much to offer. It’s hard, it’s embarrassing, but it is so so important. I enjoyed reading every minute of it even though I raged *for reasons* And while Britney might not capture the image of the book, the song definitely does.


Let me know what you think! Are you a Britney fan? Have you read this book? Did you have or are you still going through a period of figuring out who you are?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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May Wrap Up & June TBR | Just trying to keep it together

Greetings readers!

Well hello everyone. I hope that you are taking the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and keep in good health. Times are really tough right now and I hope that you are reaching out to your friends and loved ones.

In terms of reading and being bookish, y’all I’m actually keeping up with my blog schedule, what???? Well that’s a first for me and honestly I’m very proud of myself!

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What Rendz Read

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda 📘 (ARC) (4.5/5) Review
Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter 📘 (ARC) (4/5) Review
Winter by Marissa Meyer 🎧 (5/5)
Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer 📘 (5/5)
Wires and Nerve Vol 2.: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer 📘 (4/5)
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall 🎧
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith 📘 (45) Review
Well Met by Jen DeLuca 🎧 (2.5/5)  Review
Always Never Yours by Austin Sigmund-Brokka and Emily Wibberley 🎧 Review
Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster 📘 (ARC) Review
The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant 📘 (e-ARC) RTC
Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas e-📘 Review
Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn e-📘 Review

13 books! I beat my total from last month! I honestly could have done more but there was one point in the month where I got lazy. Also most of these were books I got from my digital library since all my holds came in at practically the same time!

Highlight Book(s): Fireborne was really good, but it can’t top the emotions I went through while rereading TLC and The Penderwicks!

Lowliest Book(s): The Court of Miracles and Salty, Bitter, Sweet really lacked for me.

night witch


The Haul

NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHINGGGGGG.

Nothing except for digital library books.


Other Going Ons

I only have one summer course and it is really out to get me

I had so many things planned to do while I was home and since I was only taking one course I thought that I could keep up with my art projects and reading schedules but no. Of course not. Here I am struggling to learn and have fun at the same time. While I can’t say the course is very stressful, it is heavy and I resent having to take it. But it is what it is and I hope I at least learn something!

Penguin Teen Virtual Events

Penguin Teen Canada has hosted some pretty cool virtual  events this month and I was so grateful to be a part of them! My partner and I even won the Trivia Night they had one day and I was so excited! So many great authors joined in, including Marie Lu!!!! It was just a great way to spend Friday nights talking about books!


Posts of the Month

Tune & Title Tuesdays

May 5, 2020
May 12, 2020
May 19, 2020
May 26, 2020

Tune & Title Tuesdays

My Favourite Book Children | I Am A Mother of Many

My Favourite Book Children

Rereading The Lunar Chronicles | Audiobook Edition // I. am. still. so. obsessed.

Rereading the Lunar Chronicles

Animal Crossing New Horizons Book Tag

BOOK TAG!

My Signed Books Collection | Second Edition

MY SIGNED BOOK COLLECTION


TBR

I have a plan people! If I get to every single book is another story entirely, but I have a plan and I am so very excited!

  1. Legend Series Reread leading up to Rebel by Marie Lu
  2. Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
  3. Con Sabor Reading Challenge: The Moon Within by Aida Salazar, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  4. Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
  5. Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
  6. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (also for CSRC)

Plus whatever digital books I get from my library! You just never know exactly what you’re gonna read!


Let me know what you think! What have you read this month? What books did you get? What books are you looking forward to reading!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Rereading The Lunar Chronicles | Audiobook Edition // I. am. still. so. obsessed.

Greetings readers!

Frankly I have been doing some serious rereads during the quarantine-life. Never have I ever had so much time on my hands and still manage to get nothing done. Yup you read that right. I have not one, but two piles of *expired* ARCs to get through and what am I doing????? Rereading the Lunar Chronicles.

I feel your judgement and kindly ask you to get over it because I have a plan.

dont judge me GIF
via giphy.com

BUT BEFORE I GET TO THAT I MUST GUSH ABOUT REREADING THE LUNAR CHRONICLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I, however, must address the bitter irony that: yes, I am reading a series in which a deadly plague is plundering the Earth while we are in the midst of a pandemic…I know. Reading these books was oddly too familiar at times.

The last time I reread this series was in 2017, so it is high time that I jump back in to one of my favourite worlds, with some of my favourite characters. Last time I did detailed fangirling posts, but this time I shall just be doing mini fangliring posts because let’s face it nothing I write today will be much different from what I wrote in 2017.

2017 posts can be found below:

A Moment of Fangirling: Cinder
A Moment of Fangirling: Scarlet
A Moment of Fangirling: Cress
A Moment of Fangirling: Winter

Let’s get to it!

Cinder

First of all: What a rush of emotions. It’s been so long since I’ve touched book one and OMG it is so pure *sobs* I literally smiled like a fool the whole time we were with Cinder and Iko as they worried about their escape plan and I just kept thinkging of the other things headed their way! ALSO MY GOODNESS THE FORESHADOWING. Wow. Marissa Meyer really told us the whole plot in book one and none of us were the wiser. I mean *technically* Jacin and Cress are both in this book! Like who knew? I sure didn’t!

Cinder is still my fierce queen. God I love her. Kai is still my naive fool. God I love him. Iko is still a fabulous rockstar. God I love her. Pearl and Adri? Can go to Hell. I will never not be mad at them.

Funny enough. I realized I’ve been pronouncing “Letumosis” wrong. hehehe. Um yeah. BUT the narrator says eye-ko not ee-ko, so I am very happy I at least got that right.

Safe to say, that this is still amazing as ever. My heart swelled with love even though it was torn apart when we get to the harder bits. I loved every single moment of it!

Scarlet

scarlet

There are so many great things about Scarlet and much to my sister’s dismay I forget about them all the time, so rereading this book was such a joy! Scarlet is seriously fierce. She is a force to be reckoned with and I love her. And then there is WOLF!! I forget how ferocious and soft my street-fighter is. Now that I’ve reread this, I think the story would have benefited from a little from more Wolf insight. AND the Wolflet scenes are just too cute they squish my heart. Yes, squish!

Cinder is still my queen. There is never a moment where I do not absolutely love the words coming out of her mouth even when she is seriously doubting everything. Kai, oh my dear Kai. He always gets stuck with dealing with Levana and for that we have to show sympathy for my poor prince.

Now. Carswell Thorne. The chapter opened with his name and I kid you not that I went from being completely deadpanned to smiling and giggling like an absolute fool. I still love him so much and y’all he is so dumb sometimes and unhelpful, I love the fool and the suave charismatic cheat. I love him.

In the end the book was still a great read. The plot is action packed and with Levana on the rise and her new soldiers on the loose things just get more and more intense. I forget how tragic the ending is for so many and it hurt even though I’ve read it before.

The narrator’s French accent was alright. I shouldn’t judge too harshly because you would cringe at hearing my French accent, but I digress.

Cress

If you think I had cheesy grins before you should have seen me listening to this book. First of all, my daughter Cress is still the most pure and adorable cinnamon roll and I love her as much as I relate to her social awkwardness. Thorne, my husband, is still the iconic fool he is and I am still very much in love with him. All the other characters are my children. I would give my life for them.

I forgot so much of what goes on in this book. Usually the main points stick but as I was reading I couldn’t help but be excited about what was going to happen next because I actually didn’t remember! Sometimes it would come back before it actually happened, but the anticipation still got to me!

The narrator was phenomenal in this book! I admire how many voices she can do and her Levana voice is soooo goood! It sounds to haughty and evil! But what I loved the most was the emotion she put behind the big scenes. You know the scene where a certain person ummm dies…yeah I actually teared up at hearing the emotion in their voice.

Cress is a favourite for a lot of reasons. Its funny and tender yet so action packed and adventurous too. Plus it stars the me-character as I like to call Cress hehe and reading about a character you relate to is always great!

Winter

15538535_246709549084019_3459499958250504192_n

A 23 hour audiobook. 23 hours. Wow. Okay, I was seriously overwhelmed when I saw how long it was but also so incredibly happy that this book is long. The whole time I was rereading the other books I was like “I can’t wait until the whole squad is together” and this is the book and I just felt so emotional!

I’ll be honest, I forget how much I enjoy the love story between Winter and Jacin. I mean Jacin is a lot to take in, but he is so soft for Winter and she is so soft by nature and they are just so terribly cute together! I also have to admire how amazing Winter is as a character, with endless compassion and empathy despite being told she is “destroying her own mind” for the benefit of others. She is just so amazing. I love her.

I don’t know what kind of knowledge I was using before when I read this book, but it took me until my third read to truly pick out all the connections between this book and Snow White! Like the fact that Winter finds refuge in a mining town in a little crammed with seven other people!! How could I have missed that before!

As for the rest of the book *takes in deep breath* MY EMOTIONS WERE ON OVERDRIVE!!! I JUST LOVE THIS RAT-TAG CREW SO MUCH! THEY ARE SO MESSY AND SWEET AND BRAVE AND CUTE!

The final battle scene with Levana is my favourite. There is just so much manipulation and struggle and *more deep breaths* I just love my babies. All the ship moments. There are too many to count and we all know how I feel about chapter 71, the best chapter out there.

I was sad to have reached the end of the main series, even though I know there is more after that…but just knowing that I got to go through this whole adventure again and found new things to appreciate about it makes me feel so joyful.

Stars Above: Something Old, Something New

I’ll be honest, I just came for the wedding epilogue and Y’ALL IT WAS STILL SO AMAZING. I must prelude by saying I will never live it down that I said this wedding epilogue could not be about Scarlet and Wolf because I was dead set on it being Cinder and Kai. My sister will never let me forget it and I will have to live with that shame forever. REGARDLESS, this wedding epilogue pulled on every heart-string just the right way. The gangs chaotic shenanigans were on full display and we cannot help but appreciate them! Every character had a chance to shine and show how they have changed over the years. I mean I can’t say I love that we got minimal Cresswell scenes, but just having the whole crew together was so wonderful! I’m gonna miss these kids until my next reread!

BONUS: Graphic Novel reread

I just had to reread these or I would feel incomplete. AND IKO SHINED LIKE THE STAR SHE IS! We love one android and one only. I didn’t remember much at all about this storyline so going through them again was such a joy! Her narration is AMAZING! Plus, the Cresswell scenes from volume 1 are amazing and the Kaider scenes from volume 2 are adorable! Not to mention the Wolflet proposal! I feel bad that Jacinter never gets as much page-time because I adore Winter!!!!! And of course Kiko is a thing (?). I also love how we get a glimpse of what happens after Winter and the clean up that has to get done. The illustrations are charming even if they are not in full colour or umm of a more detailed style, still we appreciate the hard work and extra TLC content!!!

What I didn’t reread:

uh oh oops GIF
via Goodreads

Fairest:

I just wasn’t in the mood for more Levana. I never quite sympathize with her when I read about her tragic past, but I just didn’t feel like going through the motions especially after finishing so nicely with Winter. If I do read this, I have to read it before Winter definitely, to get the sad soaked out of me when I finish the series.

The other short stories in Stars Above:

Pretty much for the same reason as Fairest, most of the short stories have tragical feelings at the end and I just want to be happy 🙂 I mean a lot of them end hopefully and they all take place before the end of Winter and yet…I didn’t want to be hampered with the sad feelings…I do love the stories and I think they do add interest to the backstories! But for this reread, I just wanted the happy feels! Next time I do this I will plan a better more grand reread hehe.


IN CONCLUSION,

I am still very much in love with TLC. I can see why people may think its juvenile or kind of out there, but I can’t help but see this as a series about strong friendships, incredible character growth, a scary yet familiar world, the fall of tyranny and the triumph of resilience! Did I get too poetic? Maybe, but I don’t care. I’m so in love with these books!

Let me know what you think! Have you read TLC? Do you have a favourite book? Have you listened to the audiobooks? Did you enjoy them? What is your favourite TLC moment?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

tlcread

April Wrap-Up & May TBR | Did I read more? Did I read less? I don’t really know

Greetings readers!

I hope you are all doing well. I know how tough it can be for a lot of people and I hope you are all taking care of yourselves out there.

April was an interesting month for me. I finished my winter semester at uni and have been on a real vacation for the past two weeks. That being said, my summer semester starts in a week so I have to be prepared to start working again.

In terms of my reading, I was pretty chill. I have been doing a lot of rereads instead of reading my ARCs which is a little naughty of me in terms of being a good blogger, but I am working on it!

Enough with the excuses, let’s get into it!

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What Rendz Read!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory 🎧 (4/5)
This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams 🎧 (5/5)
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall 🎧 (5/5)
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai 🎧 (2/5)
Rogue Princess by B.R. Meyers 📘 (ARC) (2/5) Review
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory 🎧 (3/5)
Finale by Stephanie Garber 📘 (3/5) My Full Review
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall 🎧 (5/5)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer 🎧 (5/5)
Island Affair 📘 (e-ARC) (3/5) Review
Cress by Marissa Meyer 🎧 (5/5)

11 books in total! Only two are actual ARCs from my pile and one is a book from my shelf I’ve had for a while. I’d say it was a successful month in terms of rereads. I got through more of the Penderwicks and the Lunar Chronicles which was the highlight of my month! The audiobook love has also been really strong and I am digging it!


The Haul

Netgalley
Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Giveaway Win!
Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Other Going-Ons

NARNIA MARATHON

Just before my final assignment was due to be handed in for the semester a local TV Network blessed my life by hosting a Narnia marathon. Lucky for me, my assignment was already done so I peacefully enjoyed my movies. I sat in front of the TV for 6 hours straight, much to the chagrin of my family, especially my father who couldn’t watch TV. Are the movies still excellent? Yes. Do I still have the whole first movie memorised? Also, yes.

edmund pevensie dance GIF
via giphy.com

I JOINED THE CON SABOR READING CHALLENGE

It’s time to get serious with my Latinx reading y’all and I have pledged to follow along with this reading challenge in order to keep track of myself! I am very excited to be joining in because there are so many amazing Latinx reads out there to discover and I am totally ready to read them!

Con Sabor Reading Challenge 2020 |As in the Latinx style, I am super–but fashionably–late

con sabor

I WON A MARISSA MEYER GIVEAWAY

It came as a total shock! I usually enter big giveaways with very little hope of winning them because one of ten thousand entries really limits your chances. But when I saw I got a DM from THE Marissa Meyer my heart leaped and when I opened and read the message, I shrieked! While I may be a bigger fan of her Lunar Chronicles, I am still very excited to now own all this signed merch and swag for the Renegades trilogy.


Posts of the Month

TUNE & TITLE TUESDAYS!

April 7th, 2020
April 14th, 2020
April 21st, 2020
April 28th, 2020

Tune & Title Tuesdays

Mood Reading | Super specific environments that make me want to read a certain genre…

Mood Reading

Totally Didn’t Book Tag!

BOOK TAG!

Some of My Favourite Book Quotes | Magical words that make me feel all sorts of way

book quotes

Romance Reading Round Up | Pt. 3 // Feeling like a Single Pringle

Romance Reading Round Up

TBR

Uh well I really am just going to play it by ear. I tried making a TBR for last month but it just didn’t work out that great. That being said there are some books I do hope to get to this month.

  1. Finish my TLC audiobook reread
  2. Read at least 2 *expired* ARCs
  3. Read one forth coming ARC
  4. Finish my Penderwicks audiobook reread

That’s it from me. I am looking forward to my reading this month even though I have nothing absolutely set other than my rereads! I hope you are all doing well during these tough times and that reading is keeping you comfort.

Let me know what you think! How was your April? What books did you read? What books did you buy? What books are you looking forward to?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Totally Didn’t Book Tag!

Greetings readers!

Many thanks to Blogger Books for tagging me! I feel like throwing a little shade and I guess today is the day to do it!

#1 Totally didn’t need to have a sequel/sequels

Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman

Cupid's Match
via Goodreads

I haven’t even read the sequel and I’m pretty sure I won’t because this book didn’t need one! It could have just ended without bringing up a new problem and I could have lived a happy life.

#2 Totally didn’t need to have more than one point of view

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)
via Goodreads

I’m cheating with this one because this technically has many POVs but..look. We could delete Mirabella from this entire book and I would be happy. Thanks.

#3 Totally didn’t need to change cover art through the middle of a series

The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Redesign Reactions [4]: The Winner's Trilogy

The top is stunning. Gorgeous and totally Kestrel. The bottom row…nope. They just do not compare.

#4 Totally didn’t need a love triangle

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1)
via Goodreads

We really didn’t need the angst in this. I mean, I was on the right side the whole time, but still the drama of it was unnecessary in my opinion!

#5 Totally didn’t need this book to be included in this series.

Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms, #5)
via Goodreads

Ask me what the point of this book was and I won’t be able to tell you. I uh don’t even remember much about it other than the end….It just wasn’t necessary even though it was better than the conclusion, but that’s a whole different story.

#6 Totally didn’t need a cliffhanger

Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

Poison's Kiss (Poison's Kiss, #1)
via goodreads

I remember not liking this book much and I also remember it having a cliffhanger that made minimal sense and really this book should have stopped after one…

#7 Totally didn’t need to have just one point of view

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Woven in Moonlight
via Goodreads

I would have loved to add another POV to this book. Um I think it would have made the story a lot more interesting than just following Ximena around the whole time. I guess it would have been difficult to have like a secret POV for El Lobo but a girl can dream.

#8 Totally didn’t need that much hype

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)
via Goodreads

I would very much like to take back by 4 star rating because this book at best is like a 3. I don’t even feel interested in reading the sequel anymore…and like there is still so much buzz around it, but here I am.

#9 Totally didn’t need a relative book reference (e.g. how a Hunger Games fan would love Divergent)

The Beholder (The Beholder, #1)
via Goodreads

The Beholder by Anna Bright was promoted to fans of The Selection and Caraval. I can maybe see the potential The Selection ties…but this book has zero ties with Caraval I think. Um yeah no.

#10 Totally didn’t deserve my time

The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

The Good Luck Charm
via Goodreads

Trash. That’s all I have to say.

Also:

The Throne of Glass series for so many reasons I can’t even list them all.

Tagging:

Anyone who would like to partake! I’ll be honest I’m feeling a little lazy to tag *hides*


Let me know what you think! What are some ‘totally didn’t’ aspects about books you know? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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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

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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

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

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

This is the official inauguration of the first Flashback Fangirling!

Narnia ~ A 13+ Year Obsession (and counting)

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

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!

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c. 2011
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c. 2014
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c. 2014

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

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c. 2012
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c. 2012

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

*Also these photos are atrocious XD*


I MADE MY OWN WARDROBE

As a teenager the obsession lived on.

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

 

 


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

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

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

the witch narnia GIF
via giphy.com

TO THIS DAY

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

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



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

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

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

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.

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Medium.png

happy disney GIF Dealing in Dreams

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

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

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

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Long.png

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

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

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Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Pony.png

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

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Straight.png

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

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

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Princess: Just look at that wild red hair!

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

Disney Hair Tag Prompts - Close

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

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

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

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

 I Tag…

Blogger Books

JoBeth @ Blue Binding

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


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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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