A Heart So Fierce and Broken | Review // *chants* Grey-by! Grey-by! Grey-by!

Greetings readers!

I know I don’t read it or talk about it a lot, but urban fantasy is a great genre. I’m not saying that every UF book out there is amazing, but there are definitely some special ones! Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which was a pretty stellar urban fantasy which actually ended up being more fantastical than urban! You don’t hear me complaining though!

This year I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of it’s sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken! I was very excited for this book because while I enjoyed the characters from book one, this book was going to star my favourite! That’s right my Grey-by! (Which rhymes with “baby” by the way).

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

The Likes

GREY-BY! Yes, I still love him. I had my moments before reading where I doubted what I could ever truly like about him, but as soon as I read his first chapter all my doubt flew out the window! Now, I’m not saying my man is perfect, I actually wanted to slap him a couple times in the earlier chapters, but what I admire about him the most is his undying loyalty and his sense of honour. I know, I know–let’s be honest, most of the fictional dudes I like are morally grey (hehehe), but I like to think of myself as a loyal person so I really relate to that I guess. Other than that, he’s broody, secretly charming and does his best to work around the very intense political climate!

Lia Mara, was PHENOMENAL! I loved everything about her! On a personal level, I guess I related to her too. She was very booksy and not at all fiery like her sister (who was tough to swallow for several reasons)! But I think what I loved about her most was her compassion. I feel like people, in fictional worlds and the real one, are constantly trying to portray themselves as cool and tough, with an “I don’t give a shit about anybody” attitude to the world. It’s not exactly the best way to face the world and the book really shows how much compassion is missing in our lives. More importantly it shows how compassionate people see their most glorious trait as a weakness in society. Her journey to finding the strength in her compassion and empathy was truly amazing and I wish to see more of it in other YA books!

Others…Well, the few glimpses we got from Harper were alright. I just think that she was different from the first novel. I missed that sass that she had and instead got this kind of meh character and don’t even get me started on Rhen…I could not with him. And yeah yeah there are *reasons* but ahhh I could not with him. Jake was ugh Jake. I could do without him if I am being 100% honest.

The plot was very politically intense! There were lots of questions that were difficult to answer. Such as choosing the well being of your own nation over the devastation of another. The rift that mistrust causes between a leader and their people. The problem of wanting what’s best for your loved ones but having to go against them in order to achieve it. And most importantly, ignoring the value that you possess when you’ve locked yourself in this box that says you are useful for one thing only. It’s a complex plot, but easy enough to follow. The conflict between nations and people is well drawn out and I liked the suspense that it created between the characters!

The magic was also incredible. I’m still not 100% percent on its origins, but then again my memory is foggy from book one. I still think the exploration of the magic in characters and some special magical creatures was the most fun we had! It was not the most flashy kind of magic, but I really enjoyed it!

It’s a chunky book, but a speedy read. Don’t be intimidated by the size, I flew through this book! The writing is swift and smooth. I’m not saying that its simplicity makes it less fancy, but that is what exactly makes it entertaining. There is a lot of information to get through and Kemmerer doesn’t take up time giving us explanations we don’t need.

The ending was a banger! It hit all the sensitive spots, Kemmerer did not hold back! I totally see why this would be not work that well as a duology. I don’t know who the third book is going to star, but I am excited to find out. I mean, I have a feeling we are going back to Harper and Rhen maybe with some Grey mixed in, but it could also be two totally new characters!

The Questionable

I wouldn’t say there is anything totally terrible that made me knock off the star, but it just wasn’t the full five. I felt like there was something missing. I think it had to do with the magic. There is a lot of history there that is too mysterious. I don’t mind it having an air of mystery, but I am feeling pretty clueless right now.


Overall, I enjoyed this installment immensely, more than the first one. I loved these characters and everything that they stood for! I hope to see them again. If you were hesitant about continuing this series, I highly recommend you do! This book has a lot to offer and we’ve strayed away from the original B&B retelling, so it does offer a new and fresh story line with hints to the old one!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! It’s fun, fast with fabulous characters!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Who is your favourite character? What urban fantasy books do you enjoy? (Let’s be honest though, this one was definitely more fantasy than urban!)

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Gravemaidens | Review // Disappointed, but not surprised (mostly because I wasn’t expecting anything from this)

Greetings readers!

I would like to thank Penguin Teen CA for the ARC they sent me! I know this review is coming late, but I am finally in the struggle of getting my blogging life together!

Lol, that’s a lie. I’m such a mess right now. Send help. But also please enjoy my rant-y review, it was very cathartic to write!

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Oct 29, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Goodreads

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself. 


Look. I was not expecting much from this book. I had no standards and was ready to have a fun time. BUT I did not have a good time with this book. I almost chose to not finish it for several reasons.

But we shall start off with some positives….

Ummm I liked the concept. I liked the idea of having to deal with traditions of a culture that just don’t make any sense. This book dealt with human sacrifice–although not as bloody as you’re probably thinking. It was a very interesting approach to the topic because of the differing opinions. The MC was very against it and she tries very hard to convince everyone else of how obtuse it is.

I also liked the flashback, a very specific one about the mother, it just gave such great context to the story. It was devastating and I was very into it. Unfortunately it didn’t appear until around 75% into the book and by the time I got to it I was so over it all.

Now let’s just get into how much I did not like this.

I hated the characters. I don’t think there was a single character that I actually liked. I know there are lots of arguments about likability, but let’s be honest if there is not even one character that appeals to you then why read it?

So…Kammani. No. I could not with her. There is flawed and then there is down right flawed to the point I’m tired of your bullshit and Kammani was at the latter level. I just grew more and more frustrated with her as time went on. She always had to be right. Always. Even when she tried to be sorry, she had to be right in some way. The way she treated Dagan was no. I understand that she did not want her worth to be tied to a man and she didn’t want to have to be “grateful” for all his help, but god she was so obnoxious about it all. If Dagan couldn’t be with her, then he couldn’t be with anyone and that is not fair. And she recognizes its not fair, but goes ahead and uses him anyways. Then with her sister. Look, I get that Kammani had a lot on her plate, she felt like she had to do it all herself–that’s the whole point of the book. But I didn’t get that humbling moment where she had to accept help. I didn’t see it. And if it was there, it was not impacting enough.

Dagan. Man, get your head out of your butt and look at the world. See how you are being treated and get some self-respect.

Nanaea. Girl. I get that you had problems too, but gosh you were such a b*tch. Spoiled and needy. And if you complain about your sister being distant, you didn’t exactly try to get closer. It’s a two-way street, love.

I got bored fast. I’ll be honest I skimmed most of the exposition so perhaps this is why I didn’t see the attractiveness of the world. From what I did gather, I did not find particularly special. I know the politics of it all were supposed to be really messy and tricky and they were and I can’t say things are left in a better state, hence the sequel coming.

Stylistically in the writing, I do believe the word “cute” was used and…I just don’t think it matched the style she was going for in this world at all.

There was a fair bit of action and deception, but I didn’t care much for any of it because I did not care for these characters. And for the most part, this was super super slow going.


Overall, I did not enjoy myself while reading this. It was highly frustrating, I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, the action and political plot were meh at best. Nothing is resolved since there is going to be a sequel, but I don’t think I will be reading it.

Rating: 1.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: It’s a NO from me dogs.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? What do you do when you don’t like any of the characters?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Woven in Moonlight | Review // First Read of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Greetings readers!

Today I am excited to share my first review of my Hispanic Heritage Month read. This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and I am so grateful that I was able to get my hands on it!

I would like to thank the Canadian Manda Book Group for sending me an ARC! This is in no way affects my opinions!

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Woven in Moonlight
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 7th, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Books
Goodreads

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

The Likes:

I really liked the plot of the book, it was very politically charged and dealt with themes of colonialism and revolution. It really shows how grey and complicated it is to discuss this subject, but also how necessary it is. The kingdom of Inkasisa has suffered centuries of conquest and has recently felt the rumbles of a revolt that has the kingdom headed down a rough path. Ximena, an Illustrian, was part of the group that was overthrown by the Llacsans. She had a very one-sided view of how the world worked and she was constantly painting the Illustrians as the victims. What I loved to read about was her growth in understanding that Illustrians were not blameless and that their racism led to this mass schism and eventual revolt. However, the book doesn’t show that the revolt results in perfect harmony either and I loved that Ibañez didn’t shy away from writing about the corruption of power.

I also loved how the author displayed this cycle of violence that persists when people choose to always focus on the differences between groups of people instead of A) embracing the diversity of cultures and B) Seeing the harmony that also exists between cultures. I know that Ibañez was heavily inspired by the political climate in Bolivia, which just makes this book all the more realistic and authentic.

The magic system had to be my favourite aspect of this book. Ximena’s weaving of moonlight (title epiphany!!!) was so cool. And while I don’t want to give too much away, I must say that the cover is quite a revealing piece…..*wags eyebrows* Lots of characters in the book practiced magic and I was super intrigued to see everyone explore their powers.

You’ll honestly probably be hungry after reading this book. Ximena does a lot of eating and there are so many delicious foods described in this book. Luckily there is a glossary at the end for those who want to know more about the tasty treats. Beyond the delicious food, there was a wonderful exploration of culture in the book. There was a lot of talk about traditions, clothing and religion. Most of it fiction, but a lot of it was drawn from Bolivian life. Safe to say that the world building is top notch and you really get immersed into the life and conflict of the people of Inkasisa.

I liked how the ending set up the companion novel. I really, really liked the drama at the end. It was bittersweet because it is a reflection of what happens in real life when opposing views sever bonds.

The Questionable

The characters were just not in it for me to win it. I feel like this is such a cop-out for not enjoying a book, but I cannot lie about how I feel. Ximena, whose name I forgot was Ximena half the time since everyone referred to her as “Condesa”, was a decent character to say the least. I wasn’t totally in love with her but I didn’t mind reading from her perspective. It was actually very interesting reading about her growth from this close-minded, hostile girl to a more open-minded one. I understand that pretending to be someone you are not is pretty much a guaranteed way to lose yourself, so I liked that we got this self exploration plot. I can’t say that I really connected with her. Maybe a little when she would talk about having to unlearn an almost heritable hatred and the discomfort of re-evaluating your whole life, but other than that…meh. There was nothing really exciting to look forward to with her, this feels like such a horrible reason for not enjoying a character…

Rumi fell so flat to me. I…couldn’t. Like I found nothing remotely intriguing about him and I cannot even think of one thing right now that made him interesting. It’s not that he was bad and I in no means hate him, but he was just there. I didn’t connect to him in any way which is upsetting because I really wanted to find him interesting.

The other characters were slightly more intriguing. Like Atoc, the dictator, although he was pretty nasty. The priest guy and Atoc’s sister were also very, very interesting. They had lots to do with the twists which I really like.

The romance, I did not buy. It really tried to sell me this enemies to lovers thing which did happen, but I didn’t find myself involved. It probably has to do with my lack of connection to the characters. I just felt nothing. I had no feels. How do you ship, if you have no feeeeeellllzzzzz.

The pacing was quite slow and there weren’t many action packed moments. The author does kind of make up for it with some twists and secrets. But the single most important twist was so obvious, I just couldn’t.


Overall, this book was good, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Maybe I aimed too high with my expectations which is the likely culprit of my disappointment. I hate to call it disappointment though because this book has a really important message and I think that the YA world really needs to read this message.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend:  Yes, on the basis of the plot and it’s overall meaning.

Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to picking this up? What politically charged books do you enjoy? Have you ever had the problem of not connecting to characters?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Dreamer Duology | Series Review // I AM IN LOVE.

Greetings readers!

The following review will probably make no sense. I tried my best to be eloquent and we should all know by now that when Rendz tries to be smart she does not sound smart.

ANYWAYS. WELCOME TO A VERY GUSHY REVIEW. I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS ON THIS SUPER HYPED SERIES THAT I HONESTLY THINK IS WORTH THAT HYPE.

It is PHENOMENAL.

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares
by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.


*Many thanks to HBG Canada for sending me finished copies for review! You are the real MVPs in this line of work!*

THIS IS ALL LIKES

Where do I even begin? Gosh. I have had this series in my possession since last fall/winter and yet I had never found the right moment to pick it up. I was always too nervous. Do you know how incredibly hyped this book series is? Laini Taylor is a household name in YA and the first time I read one of her books, it didn’t go as planned. (For many reasons, most of them having to do with my level of maturity)

Well I can safely say that this series is undoubtedly AMAZING. Hella weird, but so, so, so wonderful! This is a story that is so complex and yet 100% comprehensible. Never was there a moment where I was lost or side tracked or doubtful of how things were. I have to applaud Taylor’s amazing writing style and organization. She crafted this story so elegantly that while you consume the words on the page you grow with immense knowledge of the world and it’s history and characters. You get lost in this story and it is a good kind of lost, the kind where you don’t even notice the pages slipping by because you are so incredibly immersed in the story.

The characters were absolutely phenomenal. Lazlo, Sarai and the rest of the gang were incredible. They were fleshed out beautifully, incredibly dynamic and complex. Ruby was hilarious, Sparrow was a sweety pie but also a boss, Feral was clueless but also fun and Minya was the first 6-year old that I called a b*tch and yet wanted to hug close to my chest. Thyon took some getting used to that’s all I will say, but he is also so incredibly interesting and his growth through both books is huge! Eril-Fane, I don’t even know where to start, but his story was so heart-breaking and complex and bitter and seemingly hopeless, but it’s a journey and it’s not easy and it might have spiritually broken my heart. Azareen, was a boss and broken and tough and vulnerable and so so so many more things. My heart ached for her every single time she was on the page!

Lazlo was everything. He is the Soft Boi™. I can’t think of a single other dude who beats his status of softness. I love him. I love him. I love him. I think I might actually be in love with him. Like he is scholarly, compassionate, funny, painfully naive, warm, passionate, he’s got a little bit of a dark side. Truly, I think I’m in love and this is coming from the girl who loves bad bois i.e. Carswell Thorne. Anyways. Lazlo was the perfect star for this series, from his humble origins to his big adventure, every step of the journey was charming and crazy and dangerous with him.

Sarai. People speak of her as if she is a spoiler, but I don’t think so. She was also soft. Like the cutest thing ever, but she can literally make you go insane (?) so like she’s also dangerous! I loved everything about her! From her dedicated love to her siblings to her compassion for dreamers and her love of life! Gosh when things happened to her I felt like sobbing. The end of book one is literally so HORRIBLE (in a good-story kind of way) that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Sarai’s goes through a lot and journeying with her and having to deal with all that she has done is an incredible adventure.

The chemistry Lazlo and Sarai had! *screams* I think it is the only sort of insta-love I will ever accept. INCREDIBLE.

Okay, this world is weird and really intriguing. I have an imagination, but Taylor has an Imagination. I loved Weep and it’s surrounding cities. I loved how complex it’s history was and how much it suffered for it. The creatures of this world are unlike like any others I’ve ever read. When shit gets weird, you know it’s a High Fantasy and this is a prime example of it! Taylor’s exploration of Weep and the world is so amazing and covers a lot of ground. The culture of the people is so beautiful and yet marred by it’s history. Gosh, it is amazing. It actually celebrates a girl’s first menstruation with a tattoo around the belly which is so cool!! And no aspect of the culture is left just to be, it is integral to plot and wow I just LOVED IT.

I keep talking about the history of Weep and I won’t say much because you really have to experience it to get the full meaning of it all. But I will say is that it deals with my most favourite, favourite plot-line ever: Divine Intervention. And let’s just say that the gods are not nice in this one. And they wreak havoc. And the consequences of that damage is so monstrous that both gods and humans don’t know how to move on.

The history and whole plot of the story deal with such hard questions. Taylor did not hold back. If I were more eloquent in these reviews I would do a full analysis, but I’m not so I’ll just tell you that it’s hard. It made me question a lot of the notion of heroes. Heroes who do the unforgivable to win. The trauma they might have after “winning” and the shame/guilt that comes with it. The way sorrow consumes a community as much as it does a person. The prejudice and hate that exists because we are taught to hate and choose to pass it down. How we reconcile the unforgivable to move forward, if that is even possible? How all-consuming vengeance can be and how it drains a person of their will to truly live. It’s an endless series of questions. Not all of them have answers, but I just love the way the book explores these themes and challenges the reader to think. 

The endings to both books are so incredible. Book one ends in a shock, that had me speechless! I didn’t know what to do with myself! Book two has quite an ending too! I did not see it going in that direction and there is one little bit that made me sob inside!

On the more technical side. The pace was perfect. Actually book one was a little heavy and slow in the beginning and it takes a while for the adventure to start, but I really liked that we got this full background so that we were fully prepared to take on the rest of the story! Other than that, the pace is great. The suspense had me going wild, it was just right to keep me intrigued all the time. The writing, as I mentioned before, is stunning. It was absolutely beautiful. The action was less fight-y and more of a ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what the heck are we gonna do now??? kind of thing. Although book 2 has it’s moments and there are lots of flashbacks too!

THE MAGIC. I can’t say much about it. But the powers were quite unique. It gets a 10/10 from me.


Overall, I loved this series. I thought the writing was beautiful. The story was elegant, intriguing, thought-provoking and fun! It’s a story starring a book-nerd and a life-lover. The characters are amazing, the world is lush and horrific and enchanting. Everything about this series is perfectly thought out and wonderful. It’s a thrilling read!

Ratings:

Strange the Dreamer: 5 / 5 Stars

Muse of Nightmares: 5 / 5 Stars 

Recommend: ABSOLUTELY 100% YES.

I definitely look forward to picking up Taylor’s previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and co. I have a feeling I’ll have a better appreciation for it now!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Tell me everything! Who are your favourite characters? Did you like the ending? Do you hope for more? Have you read Taylor’s other work?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave Back
via Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

The Likes

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

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

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

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

The Questionable

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

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

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

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


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

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

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

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Sky in the Deep | Review // THIS WAS AMAZING!

Greetings readers!

I’ll be honest, I bought this book on a whim because I had just received bad news from school so to console myself I bought a book. That was over a year ago. It took me over a year to actually pick up this book………….and I regret not picking it up sooner.

Because friends. This book. THIS BOOK.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Price: $23.50 CAD (Hardcover)/ $14.50 CAD (paperback)
Goodreads 

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

The Likes:

Characters:

Eelyn was AMAZING. Uh amazing. So fierce and stubborn and brave and she has the biggest heart! I cannot properly express how I feel about her because there are just so many emotions swimming around in my head. She felt so raw and honest about her whole self. (Rendz, do please try to make some sense) It’s just that I related to her despite having nothing in common with her! It’s her undying loyalty to the family she has always known and comes to know that really got to me.

Fiske! I had to get over his name (I mean fish. Fish.) but he was so so good too!!!!!!!!!!! I had to say that it took a little warming up to him because he was so cold and distant it was hard to see that warm, intense passion that he was made of. I would have loved if we had gotten to see some of his perspective too, I think it would have added a lot of interest to the story. But reading him from afar was pretty fun too.

Iri, ok son…I questioned him for the longest of time for reasons you shall read about in the book. However, I did like him. Perhaps not my fave, but still worth the mention.

Halvard = adorable.

The slowburn romance to die for!

Wowowow. Okay. This was intense, I don’t even know where to begin. For the longest time throughout my read I was like hurry up and kiss alreadyyyy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was a little worried because not only did he shoot my girl, but she was also labeled as his “slave”, a fake one, and yet I hesitated. However, I thought that it was written really well and it does take forever to happen which makes it all the more intense.

The Thing that really won me over was the dynamic between Blood family and Found family

I was so conflicted the whole way! It really made me think about my own perceptions of family! Let me tell youuuuuuu. For the first half I was like blood family, blood family, blood family, but then the book got me thinkinggggg. And it made me think hard. I mean before going in, I had an appreciation for found family relationships yet blood family still sort of topped it, but after having read this book they are more at an equilibrium. I just feel like this theme taught me so much. About family, about myself and about the universal family that connects us all, the one that makes us kin rather than enemy.

The Epic Vikingness of it all

This world was absolutely thrilling. It was cold, brutal and yet so warm in its sense of community. It was the middle of summer and yet I felt the cold while reading, it was all so vivid and alive! The cultures of the clans and their traditions and religions that were so wonderfully explored and explained.

The fighting was so intense and there were some scenes that were just so brutal! The eyeball (ahhhh)!!! I cannot explain to you all how incredibly action-packed this story is, along with the political intrigue and family issues, it was so so so intense. It’s a type of intensity that grabs you so hard you feel it in your bones!!!

IT BASICALLY EMBODIES ONE OF MY FAVOURITE NARNIA QUOTES:

“A common enemy unites even the oldest of foes.”

I MEAN, IF YOU’VE READ IT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

The Questionable

Mmmmm…nada!


Overall, I loved this book. I think this review basically explains how inexplicable my emotions are about this, but rest assured that they are all on the positive side. I loved the characters of this story. They are what made it for me, but the whole family dynamic is the winning factor of it all. I was so completely blown away!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite viking books? Do you like books that deal with family issues?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Queen of Ruin | Review // A Solid Sequel!

Greetings readers!

Here I am with a long overdue review! Last year I had the lovely opportunity to read Grace and Fury and I am so fortunate to have been able to read the sequel this year! I really enjoyed myself  in the first book and I am proud to say that the sequel did not disappoint!

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury, #2)
via Goodreads

Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pub Date: July 2nd, 2019
Price: $24.99 CAD
Goodreads

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.


Buy It!

Indigo Chapters | Amazon


*Many thanks to Hachette Canada for providing me with an ARC*

The Likes

Serina was a really fun character to read about. She’s still dealing with how to be a leader on this island full of women when she’s been trained to submit for so long. It’s a struggle for her to find that sense of being in charge when she’s never even felt like she was in charge of her own self. I also loved how she put some of that grace training to work and that this book didn’t dump on “being a lady”.

Nomi was always fun to follow. She is just so fierce and determined and passionate. Qualities that she had been told to keep down and out of sight because they do not become of a woman, but after all she’s been through, the betrayal she has faced, she works hard in this sequel to make up for it.

Others… There were so many great characters in this book. You get to know a bit more about Val and the crown Prince, whose stories were a little flat before, but this time we get into some of the nitty gritty of their lives.

The plot was fast paced and always had that cliff hanger bit at the end of a chapters that would keep me totally sucked into the story. The trials that these sisters go through are truly heartbreaking, but I loved reading about how their different strengths helped them in different times.

The action and intensity were so spot on. I have to say that the final battle scene was classic and made me feel like a warrior myself!

The sisterhood was there and even though they get separated for a while the connection between these two MCs is stronger than ever because they have the hope of meeting again. And the sister-love stretched beyond Nomi and Serina, there is sisterhood and female friendship across the characters in this book as they come together to fight against their oppressors and society that have brought them down.

The Questionable

I just wasn’t fully on board with how the politics of it all was resolved. I mean I liked that they weren’t fully resolved and there were still questions to be had, but I felt like there was room for more…


Overall, this was a very good sequel! It held a lot more action scenes, and the feminist agenda was still there. The incredible sisterhood and girl power was a wonderful experience that I think lots of readers will enjoy!

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Recommend: Yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this one yet? Are you looking forward to reading it? What are your favourite sisterhood books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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