The Prediction Book Tag | I am quite the prophetess

Greetings readers!

It has been forever since I’ve done a tag so today I decided to do just that! Bring back some fun to the blog!

I won’t lie. I’ve had one or two prophetic dreams before. Just sayin’. So maybe this wonderful tag, created by the wonderful Book Princess Reviews, will really work out in my favour!

RULES

.x. pingback to the creator of the tag, @bookprincessreviews .x.
.x. tag the person who tagged you .x.
.x. find an answer to match each prompt .x.
.x. have fun! .x.

All of these prompts are your predictions for your…

Next Read

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)
via Goodreads

My library hold just got in and I cannot wait to dive into Mack’s story. He was my favourite from book one so getting to read about my son will be amazing!

Next 5 Star Read

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena!

I might not read this for a while so it might not be the exact next, but I loved Tanaz’s contemporary book The Beauty of the Moment so I am super excited and have lots of high hopes for her fantasy debut!

Hunted by the Sky (Hunted by the Sky, #1)
via Goodreads

Next 1 Star Read

This is a tough one because I don’t usually rate books one star! But if I have to confess what book I’m wary about reading it would be : Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2)
via Goodreads

It’s not that I think it will be trash, but book one got 3 stars and I’m not totally in love with the characters in this one. Plus it is a second chance romance and hhhhmmmrrrpppphhh those haven’t worked out for me in the past.

Next Love Interest (or Character that Seems Really Cool to You)

You Had Me at Hola
via Goodreads

Stealing Mandy’s answer and noting down Ashton Suárez from You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. We must stan our telenovela hunks.

Next Book You’ll Be Buying

MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO GARCIA!!

Mexican Gothic
via Goodreads

I’ve saved my Christmas gift card for this purchase, I’m just waiting for the price to dip a little bit so I can go easy on the rest of my wallet!

Next Book That Will Leave You with a Book Hangover (and Desperately Wanting a Reread or Next in Series)

Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

roa

If this book is anything like its predecessor, Empire of Sand, I will be wanting to reread both instantly after I turn the last page! I actually do feel like rereading EoS right now even though RoA is a companion novel! I am just so excited to jump back into this world!

Tagging: Anyone for who wants to try it out!


Let me know what you think! Are you any good at predicting your next reads? Have you ever felt a certain way about a book before you even started reading it? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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February Wrap-Up & March TBR | One month of bliss followed by one of…a lot less bliss.

Greetings readers!

I would just like to point out that everyone is out there living their best lives reading the new SJM book and here I am, not reading it, AND LIVING MY ABSOLUTE BEST LIFE.

Thank you more entertaining my one moment of pettiness. I just really needed to let that loose. Phew. Thanks.

Okay so…February was a MONTH, but also a pretty amazing one for reading if I do say so myself! I had two books enter my all time favourites list this month and that is MIRACULOUS! Truly an iconic month! That one extra day really made a difference.

March on the other hand is going to be HELL ON EARTH! I can feel it in my soul and see it on the calendar full of due dates and exam dates. If you’re into prayer, please pray for me. If you’re into spell casting, cast a spell for me (a good one). If you’re into vibez, please send me all the good vibez!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (5/5 Stars) Review
See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson DNF Review
Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4/5) Review
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (4/5) Review
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso (5/5) Review
Charlie Hernández the Castle of Bones by Ryan Calejo (4/5) Review
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (5/5) Review
New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind (3/5) Review

8 books read in February! That is amazing, considering how busy I was before my reading week break! BUT DANG I GOT BOOKS READ.

The Haul

No bought books!

Penguin Teen Canada
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Simon & Schuster Canada
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer de Leon

St. Martin’s Press
Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist by Celia Stahr

She Writes Press
The Way You Burn: A Novel by Christine Meade

frida

Other Going-Ons

THE TWO BOOKS THAT TOTALLY ROCKED MY WORLD

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Two titles that are so different, but totally changed my life. I have not felt the ease of giving a perfect five starts in a long time. I’ve had five star reads, but still in the back of my mind were reservations about them. Not these two. These were instant 5 star reads for me. I am so overwhelmed by emotion when I think about them. And when I say they are totally different, they ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

One is an adult high fantasy with lots of murder and backstabbing and general mind-fuckery (excuse my language) and the other is a YA historical fantasy that is an emotional roller coaster that made me sob.

I AM IN LOVE WITH BOTH OF THEM!

 

WE ARE GETTING CLOSER TO THE SHADOW & BONE TV SERIES!

Filming has wrapped and y’all the video they put out. The one with all the cast! The one with my cheeky son, Ben Barnes. I died. I died. I died. BUT I AM LIVING because I cannot wait for more news! Especially since there is a trailer that allegedly exists!

 

LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE EXCITING HAPPENED.

It was just another month for the books. I mean I would talk about stuff that happened in March, but then what would I have to write about next month!

Posts of the Month

Romance Reading Round Up | Part 2 // Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Romance Reading Round Up

My New Found Love for Audiobooks | (A Second) Discussion

A Discussion


TBR

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Audiobook)
Goldie Vance and the Hotel Whodunnit by Lilliam Rivera (ARC)
The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren (ARC)
And then probably a couple of more audiobooks since I will not have much time to sit and read physical books…maybe one more who knows!


We are definitely going to play March by ear. Of course there are some things coming our way LIKE THE RELEASE OF MULAN WHICH I PLAN ON SEEING OPENING NIGHT! Even though I’ll have ten things due the following week hehehehe…

Let me know what you think! How was your February? Did you read anything life changing? Did that extra day help topple the TBR?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Kingdom of Back | Review // In which I cry my heart out and try to make sense of my love for this book

Greetings readers!

Pinterest is a lot of fun and looking up mood boards by your favourite authors and seeing what kind of stories they have lined up in their WIPs is always fun! Well, Marie Lu has lots of interesting boards including one that was entitles The Kingdom of Back. I remember going through it and quickly falling in love with the whimsical pictures she had saved.

The moment I heard the announcement for this book, I was so ready to drop all my dollars to have it in hand.

THE MOMENT PENGUIN TEEN CANADA GOT IN ARCS, I WAS SO HAPPY TO FIND OUT I GOT ONE FOR MYSELF!

Then I read it. Loved it. SOBBED. And here I am trying to write an elegant and coherent review about how much I adored this. I cannot say if my attempt will be successful, but here we go.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back
via Goodreads

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Putnam
Goodreads

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.


*Thank you Penguin Teen CA for the ARC*

The LOVES

I didn’t know what to expect, if I am being honest. This was historical fantasy, something I have never read from by Lu, but my oh my did she deliver with this book. I was touched body and soul by this story.

These characters were phenomenal. I’ll be honest (again), I had no idea that Mozart had a sister who was also a musical genius, but if book-Nannerl was anything like historical-Nannerl I would have loved to meet her. Nannerl was a wonderfully crafted character in every way possible. She had a passionate spirit and a wicked imagination that kept her company during her most lonely times. She had a fierce love for her family, especially her brother and she had ambition even when she was told to hold it in. But she was not all heart of gold and devotion, she was petty and jealous and resentful of the conventions that held her back. And I loved her for it. I would find it highly unrealistic if she didn’t feel any of those emotions when she never got any credit or was given less than she deserved. But God I loved her. I loved that she was so real and raw.

Woferl…who I called Will Ferrel for like half of the book. He was such a sweet heart. And wow a genius! And his devotion to Nannerl, I am sobbing!!! He was just a kid for most of the book, but he makes mistakes too and I couldn’t help but feel mad at him and bad for him!

The dad. God I hated him. Nannerl is a better person than I am, trust me.

Hyacinth. Well, if a cute magical boy showed up out of the blue and took me to an imaginary world…I would not have acted much different! He was quite something!

The music. Let me tell you, I know nothing about music and composition and I know nothing about Mozart really. But I did not for one second feel lost in this story when Lu explored the musical adventure of these siblings. The descriptions of music were lovely and it is constantly interwoven beautifully in the narrative! I mean if you have musical knowledge I’m sure you will find even more nuance then I did, but even if you are a music noob like me, you’ll find something impeccably beautiful about its role in the book.

This atmosphere was just ethereal. The real-world itself was pretty enchanting. We get to follow the siblings as they tour Europe and play for different aristocrats. Lu crafted three stupendous settings for readers. There was the warm–sometimes harsh–home of the music room of the family home, the glamorous life of the courts the children got peaks of on their tours and then there was the Kingdom of Back! I loved how Lu transported us to the imaginary world, with subtle changes to the atmosphere as it got more whimsical and magical with each word on the page. The creatures and beings of the kingdom were so rich and mysterious for *reasons* and ugh, I loved everything about it! If I could step into that kingdom, 10/10 I would go!

The FAMILY DYNAMICS. I am sobbing. This family was something else. It was loving at the same time it was suffocating. Nannerl and Woferl’s father had high expectations for his children, he wanted them to achieve everything they could with the talents that they had. And he pushed them hard to get them out there. But he wasn’t always that amazing at being a dad. He actually sucked a lot. You can’t help but be angry every time he praised Woferl and critiqued Nannerl. Her constant desire for his validation and praise—I AM CRYING! All she wanted was to make him proud and be on the receiving end of his unconditional love. AND I AM SOBBING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The things this family goes through honestly pulls so much at the heartstrings you cannot help but sob.

The sibling relationship was my absolute favourite part of this book. I loved that it was a complex dynamic between Nannel and Woferl. There was the unconditional love that just existed between them, then there was the utter devotion to each other and finally the resentment, the jealousy, and the pettiness that exists too! Trust me, I know, I have two older sisters and we all sometimes hate each other as much as we love each other!

I am not one to say that this is historically accurate because I just don’t know, but Lu does hit Nannerl’s historic troubles on the nose. She is a girl of the late eighteenth century who has an amazing talent, but knows she will never amount to much because she is a girl. And I felt rage. A lot of rage. Rage at the unfairness that was and is our world. That her greatest wish to be remembered didn’t exactly come true. She is always in the shadow of her brother as much as she tries to fight it. AND I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED AT THE UNFAIRNESS OF IT ALL. Then the Author’s note and acknowledgements did me in because they spit out so much truth and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sobbed!

The ending. I–I was—Marie Lu did that with her words. And I fucking sobbed. I’m writing this now and choking up a little because she did that. And *that* is probably one of my favourite kinds of way to end a book because it is a full circle. None of what I just wrote makes any sense because I am being super vague. Just know that it is amazing and pulls hard at the heartstrings!

There is not one thing I have to critique about it. Marie Lu completely knocked it out of the park. This is a fabulous and incredible love letter to a lost but never forgotten musical genius. I already want to reread it!


Overall, This book is amazing. The story enchants you from page one and you cannot help but love following these two siblings as they grow up and are thrust into the lime light and create their own magic with music. It is a compelling read and makes an honest and heartfelt statement about the historical limitations put on people like Nannerl who didn’t get to have their glory and names woven directly into the fabric of our cultural history. It’s a story about family and forgiveness and self-love. It’s an emotional roller coaster with a sweet yet longing ending.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES. YES. YES.

Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? What is your favourite Marie Lu book? Have you ever cried to books?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Diamond City | Review // I was less than in love with this…

Greetings readers!

Unfortunately, I waited too long to review this from the time I read it. So be prepared for a really vague review of the things I remember. Or at least try to remember.

It’s always super sucky when you have hopes for a book and it falls flat. I was really looking forward to this book because it is Latinx fantasy and we all know how much I am for thisssssss!!! Alas, things don’t always go the way we hope.

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Jan 28th, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Goodreads

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!


*Thank you to Raincoast Books for the ARC*

It was all Meh and less than Meh

Aina was…girl. She was trying to be this I don’t give a shit about you or your mom kind of girl, but she kind of does. And yet she just rubbed me the wrong way several times. And I mean I was kind of lost with her most of the time. I found nothing profound about her, if you get what I mean. She had a really interesting past and I would have loved to get a little more into it, but it was always a surface level kind of feel with her.

Teo, he was worth it. I mean, his purpose? Being a good friend. And he did his job.

Riyu. Hehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Honestly boring af. He had the personality of a wet towel that could maneuver a gun.

The other girl, I don’t even remember her name, that’s how not important she was.

BUT HOLY the amount of preachy, inspirational dialogues was too much for me. I like a few inspirational moments in my book, but there was this one chapter where everyone was going around saying something profound and revolutionary….I couldn’t take it. I mean…it just felt so shoved down my throat and I hate the expression, but that chapter didn’t contribute anything at all.

Also the chapters. Oh dear. They were so chopped up and chunky. And I don’t mean that they were long. It’s that some were so short that the next chapter would just be the continuation of the same scene. There wasn’t even that much a cliffhanger between them. They just ended and began again on a new page. Stylistically, it bothered, but maybe they changed it in the finished version.

The world was interesting. It was—I believe—a country that had a mix of different nationalities. There was an industrial boom, one that came at the cost of the religious freedom and ended up in religious persecution. I was really interested in that conversation, but again the book only ever really touched the surface of the problems and they were big problems. There was also gangs, which…is it bad that I like gravitate towards gang-ish books? (since I am Latina and hello stereotype much) And yet I can’t help but like the cutthroat workings of a gang. Especially ones that are less found-family and more I-would-kill-you-given-the-chance. I don’t know why, it just fascinates me and we all know I could never make it a group like that. The politics were pretty straightforward so I didn’t have too much of a hard time following that. The giant spiders….I just…Why? WHAT WAS THE REASON? Literally, she just shoved in these (nasty) creatures and I felt like it did not match the world at all. Like I get it spiders can be big, but this addition felt almost too cheesy futuristic movie to me.

The diamond magic. Well. From what I remember we didn’t get much diamond magic. I could be wrong. I know there are some pretty big moments that feature them and I really liked how they work, but I felt like they were still just glanced at this book. Everything is just a skim of the surface with this book. I felt like it never got bone deep.

You wanna know what I did like? The twisted relationship Aina had with her boss! Was it love? Lust? Hate? Fear? Admiration, as she so often claims? I really liked that she almost “addicted” to him in the sense that she knew he was no good for her and yet couldn’t help going back for more. And let me tell you her boss is like Kaz Brekker but like not even remotely redeemable. This was the highlight of the book and the one thing I felt that we got into!


Overall, the book was not it for me. I felt like it was lacking a lot of substance and the characters were not memorable for me. It sucks because I know I wanted to love this so badly, but I struggled with this.

Rating: 2 / 5

Recommend?: I will always recommend Latinx reads, just be aware I didn’t love this.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? How do you deal with disappointing reads? What assassin books do you like?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Cover Revamps! The NEW Lunar Chronicles paperbacks | I have thoughts so let’s discuss

Greetings readers!

So Cyborg Monday happened a while ago and for those in the Marissa Meyer Universe should know that her Lunar Chronicles books are getting new paperback covers! I am here to discuss them because that is what we do in the bookish world!

Now, I already own the entire series in the original covers so I have no reason to truly buy these, but I’ll be honest these new ones are very tempting!

via Fierce Reads

Cinder

Cover: Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!! I love the pink and the purple colour scheme. I love her pose and her expression, the way she is dressed and her shining prosthetic that’s all patched up with duct tape and all the spare parts and metal bits! I think she looks amazing! Everything about the cover is wonderful! I have zero complaints.

Inside: STUNNING! My jaw totally dropped when I saw it! I pretty much love everything about it! The dress, the gloves, Kai flying down the stairs, Levana looking down at the, both and just the whole movement of the scene. You can feel the urgency of the run and chase! I do think that Cinder’s skin is too light and flat. There is no real depth without any shading to the skin.

Scarlet

Cover: Again, the colour scheme is phenomenal! The orange/green for some reason just feels very French to me! Not to mention the fact that it goes great with Scar’s hair! Her outfit is so cute, I would totally wear it if I could pull off the hobo chic, but I can’t! The wolf! I mean the wolfffffff. Her expression is so Scarlet! She literally looks like she gives absolutely zero fucks and that is amazing! I guess the only complaint I have is that Scar is supposed to be on the chubbier side (right?) and that would have been nice to see on the cover.

Inside: One giant YES! Wolf is looking fly as fuck (pun intended) and again you can really feel the movement in the picture! The colours really make the figures stand out! I don’t have much to say other than I love it! (Okay…maybe her hand is kind of awkward but still it is very cool!)

Cress

Cover: I really love the background. It is so high tech and the white/beige paneling next to the blue space sparkled with stars and the Earth in the background looks stunning. Now Cress….oh god. She looks not great, like I don’t like how she looks at all. I feel like her body is so disproportionate. Her arms…I mean look at them, they are so long, freakishly long. And her hair…not cute, it is just not cute. And the hair does not help the fact that her forehead looks kind of too big. I’m so disappointed in this cover to be very honest and it just makes me even more sad knowing that I love this character and this book! But the cover just does not do it any justice!

Inside: So Cress looks so much better. Her forehead is less…just less. It looks like it is proportionate to her body. I love how she is posed and the lost and wonder-filled expression peaking through her wide eyes. Now Thorne…I mean, I’m happy he’s at least there…but this is a no for me, unfortunately. It’s the chin and the hands. The chin is like all scrunched up and angry looking whereas I was kind of hoping for a trademark smirk. He looks almost a little too serious and not like my charming Captain. His hands are way too big XD I mean I get that they are supposed to appear bigger because they are in the foreground, but they are a bit too big. The rest of the body though…truly great 😉

Winter

And behold - my personal favorite of all four stepbacks! It's just so… so… STEAMY. Thank you @tropical_toxic for your incredible work, and thank you to all of the bloggers who helped reveal the new art for WINTER and the rest of the series! 	#LunarEverAfter https://bit.ly/2RahZoe 

Cover: Oh I love it. The purple and white is incredible! The animals!!!! RYU!!!!!! This is great symbolism people! Winter herself, looks quite fabulous although again her neck looks quite exaggerated, but it might just be the angle it is at. I love her dress, 10/10 I would try it on if I could! I think this cover ties in really well with Cinder considering the colour scheme and it is a perfect way to tie up the series!

Inside: First of all, I love this scene. It is one of my favourite dramatic moments of Winter and I love how it was staged. Winter looks FABULOUS, once again and she looks like she is really enjoying that kiss. Jacin looks INTENSE. The way he is looming over her and the hand on her waist contrasted against the one holding the ladder, soft vs. hard, it is really beautiful. I can’t say I like long hair on a guy, I don’t, but hey it works for Jacin!


Overall, I do really like the new covers and I am 100% tempted to buy them even though I know I shouldn’t. I mean I already own the series in paperback and I would never dare replace them for something else! Perhaps if I find them for cheap one day I might purchase them used, who knows!?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these new covers? Did you like them? Love them? or were they so-so? Or god-awful? Can’t wait to read all your thoughts!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

tlcread

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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Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things | More Rant than Review // Setting myself up for failure

Greetings readers!

Today’s review post is a rant in disguise. Well not really, since I’m telling you exactly what I’m about to do. I just want to warn everyone one that there will be spoilers in this review. I just can’t talk about this book without giving away some big details, so I will be sure to highlight when I get super spoilery!

In the summer, I participated in Raincoast Books’ YA Winter preview. Basically, I drooled over all the books that I added to my TBR right then and there. One such book was a contemporary book based on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, sprinkled with some Narnia references and I was like oooooooooooo. But then the bomb dropped–this book has a love-triangle and I was like nnnnooooooooooo. And yet…I gave it a shot. I thought to myself, I won’t get attached, I’ll enjoy the drama while I can, I won’t get attached, I’ll take in stride the Narnia references, I WON’T GET ATTACHED!!!!!!!

And guess, guess what I did? I got attached and got hurt.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Dec 17th, 2019
Publisher: HMH Teen
Goodreads

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

The Non-Spoilery (Very Short) Review

This was a fairly entertaining book. The characters were well defined, interesting and flawed. Oh were they flawed, they’re also teenagers so we cut them some slack. The love triangle, was a love triangle in more ways than one, trust me. The friendship aspect was a little lacking, which kind of bothered me. It was funny and charming, even though I had my issues with it. I’m sure people who actually enjoy the drama of love triangles will enjoy this immensely. I know that population is few, but it is mighty.

The Spoilery RANT

*BREATHES*

I knew from the beginning that the childhood crush was going to be the one she ended up choosing. I knew, I knew, I knew. I didn’t actually know for sure, but my heart was set. I knew that from the very first chapter the chemistry between them was still very strong and that were gonna end up together. Lord, did I know. But I am a dumb bitch, and I say that in the most loving way to myself, and I stupidly fell for the other guy. BECAUSE I”M DUMB!

Okay let’s go character by character:

Edie: A vert interesting, unique character…..um. Sure. I really liked that she had her passions, she stuck to them, and she stumbles along the way like every teen girl who is still not 100% sure who she is. I really enjoyed her character, and the struggles she went through. Especially living with estranged family who is not exactly the most loving–not that they treat her bad, just differently. Her approach to life was very literary, literally. She would live by her some of her favourite quotes from classic literature. Not the best way to live life, but she does learn key things and I really enjoyed her growth in the novel. To sum it all up, I liked her well enough. Can’t say I loved her, but I didn’t hate her either.

Sebastian: What a fucking loser. AHHHH the freaking childhood crush, that gets the girl despite the fact that he is very much a loser. And I am being very cruel right now. He is not actually (that much of) a loser. Most of my resentment comes from the fact that he is the reason for the downfall of my ship, but if I am being completely honest, he was the better match for Edie. So why did I dislike him so much…well I found that I related to him way to much. The personal identification is strong with this one.

Narnia-obsession? Yeah, boy.
Having writer dreams? I’m guilty of.
Not meeting those familial expectations? Same here.
Having no real solid plan for what they want in life? Hey there, man.

He was so wishy washy throughout the whole novel. I just couldn’t stand him for most of the novel. Bleh. His struggles may have hit home, but my god he was miserable and I didn’t really reading the book when he walked onto the page. He was just so frustrating ugh. So yeah, he’s a loser. Just like me.

Henry: Another fucking idiot, but lord help me I fell hard and fast and I honestly worry about my future self. He was the charming, suave bad boy, who was most definitely a man-hoe. And I can’t believe I fell for him. He is literally the definition of fuck boi, plus he doesn’t have any actual career plans other than spending his parent’s money. Yes, he has a soft more passionate side. And he works for what he wants, but he is still an entitled white, rich boy–and I can’t believe I fell for it. BUT I DID OKAY. And I really enjoyed it whenever he was on the page!

I was so mad when Edie broke up with him! Like ah he was giving her all and she was like you’re fun but I love Sebastian bla bla bla. I just couldn’t.

Now we have to talk about Maria…who…No. Just no. Look, Maria is a terribly flawed character that keeps getting forgiven when she should not. OH MY GOD. I get it she’s a side character she’s not supposed to have that much growth, but her behaviour was not okay and she is absolved for being “family”. Um, excuse me? No. She is constantly talking down on Edie and her humble choice of wardrobe etc. Not having a filter is whatever, but choosing to constantly demean others around you is not cool.  She repeatedly cheats on her boyfriend and blames him for allowing her and when he finally grows the spine to break up with her, she wallows in self-pity with no actual remorse for the hurt she caused. She was sexting Henry while he was dating Edie!!!! If I found out my cousin had been sexting my boyfriend to seduce him and ignored his constant rejections, I would not let that slide on the basis of being family. That is not okay. But you know what Edie forgives Maria cuz they cousins. Her punishment? Selling old clothes for college funds, she doesn’t even ever sincerely apologize. I couldn’t, this was so toxic!

Aside from the romance and Maria, I enjoyed the events of the novel. Was it anything profound and incredibly inspiring? Not really. This was a novel full of rich white people about rich white people problems so I was really here just to poke fun and engage in their drama! I can’t say that it is completely inaccessible and some of the troubles that the kids face do have their moments, especially the struggles in keeping up friendships and relationships. Choosing who you want to be and not letting others or the past dictate who you will become. Those were the heartfelt moments that I really liked reading about. The pacing was good, although I felt like it was dragging towards the middle when things were just kind of hanging on and stalling while we built this lovely relationship just to crush it.


Overall, this book was fine. I can’t say I loved it, but I didn’t dislike it either! It has its ups and downs, it has a love triangle which is a little obvious, but sometimes you still fall for the traps that authors set. The characters are well written even though some are quite flawed and needed some–lots–of growth. I’ve never read Mansfield Park, but I hope it does Jane Austen justice!

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Recommend?: Uhhh I guess its whether you really like the love triangle or want to give that trope a try, then why not!?

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite or not-so-favourite tropes? What are you more into the childhood friend or bad boy/girl?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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