The Bookish Feels | Books that make me WEEP // Let’s cry together

Greetings readers!

It’s been forever since I last wrote one of these posts! So it is time to bring it back. Naturally we are going to take a bit of a sad turn here XD The last two times I did this post, I chose happier emotions, so we are going to get SAD. Actually, we are going to get weepy, these books are not just books that made me sad, these actually manifested physical tears in my eyes!

So grab your tissues and let’s get to it!

Weep Bbc GIF
via giph.com

It’s About the Deaths

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

ck

Technically, I already knew who was going to die before I even read this. I was unfortunately spoiled before I even thought about picking up the book AND YET when I read the scene, I SOBBED. Just the whole scene of how it went down and the chapter that came after it…Like I’m getting emotional right now! I remember when I read it the first time, I was crying bitterly to myself in my room. I still think about it sometimes and get super sad XD

The Penderwicks on Gardam Steet – Prologue by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (The Penderwicks, #2)
via Goodreads

Let me tell you. I am actually tearing up right now as I think about it! I can’t even explain how gut-wrenching this prologue is. It’s not even the whole book, it’s the PROLOGUE! It just breaks me every time, especially since it is being told mainly through the experience of little girls. I love this book to pieces and the fact that it makes me laugh and WEEP means that it is something special.

sad sailor moon GIF
via giphy.com

Just Sad Happenings

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Q: Do you listen to audiobooks?  I don't usually. I have a very short attention span so my mind tends to wander when I'm listening to anything. You name it: lectures, music, stories from friends... I miss lots of things.  But I recently decide to give audiobooks another try since I felt like it! I found the audio for THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS on the Overdrive app, downloaded it and started listening to it at 1 a.m. one night.  It was probably the best decision I ever made. I had already read TLBW last year so I knew the story, but listening to it was a totally different experience! It was truly magical and I cried. I sobbbeeddddd.  I was literally lying in my bed at 1 or 2 in the morning having my heart torn out, tears running down my eyes and onto my pillows. And I mean it when I say this is one of the best decisions I ever made. I already loved the story but the audio was definitely a great listen!  5 🌟s for the story! 5 🌟s for the narration!  #thelightbetweenworlds #lauraeweymouth #bookstagram #audiobooks #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #historicalfiction #underratedbooks #canadianauthors #canlit #bookstagrammer #ya #yafantasy

So I actually didn’t cry while I read this the first time. I finished the book, closed it and went to bed. Then all of a sudden *poof* rivers of tears start running down my face. I was overwhelmed with this flood of emotions. The whole novel just came to attack me as I started to sleep. It was quite an experience. THEN I listened to the audiobook. And let me tell you, I cried multiple times throughout the novel. But the final chapters, with the emotion that the narrators put into it…I couldn’t hold back. I was a snotty mess!

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

penderwicks in spring

 

Surprised to see another Penderwick book here? I’m not! This book is a different kind of sad, it’s a soul-tearing kind of sadness, you can’t help but feel for the characters. When I experienced this the first time, I woke up at about 8 a.m. to read (because I was that desperate to read it!) and I was sitting in my living room sobbing and wiping boogers from my noise. I was a mess!!!!!!!!!!!! The second time I read it, I thought I would be better prepared…WRONG! I burst into tears in the middle of the afternoon and then next thing you know ding-dong! The doorbell rang, we had guests! And I had about 30 seconds to not look like a weeping disaster!

sad drama GIF by ZEE TV
via giphy.com

The First Book That Will Always Get Me

Champion by Marie Lu

Champion (Legend, #3)
via Goodreads

 

It was a chilly December day. I was in my living room, reading the final book of a trilogy I have loved since I first started! I was reaching the final chapters when things started getting sad. And then this unbelievable twist happens and I lost it. My eyes started running, but no, I had not reached the climax yet. Then I read the epilogue and all of a sudden I couldn’t see the words on the page, everything was blurry, I tasted salt on my lips and my heart was hurtinggg. This was the first time I have ever cried for a book and I SOBBED HARD. There were actual tears stains on the pages!!! The final words are just killer! Killer! I have not reread the book since, but I am preparing for a reread very soon, so we shall see how it goes!


*wipes tears* Well this was an emotional roller coaster! I promise that next time I will go for a happier emotion XD But goodness me, I love it when books make me cry. It really means the author has wrapped their whole idea around me and completely shaken my being. It’s the ultimate sign of a great read in my opinion!

Let me know what you think! What books have made you weep? Do you even cry when you read? What’s the saddest book you’ve ever read? 

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

get-reaidng

September Wrap-Up and October TBR // Wow school really slapped me this month and it’s about to backhand me too

Greetings readers!

Well, hi. It’s been a while, hasn’t it. We are well into October and this is my first post of the month. Huh. Well the reason why is pretty much in the title of the post.

It’s that time of the year, it’s the mid-term time of year when readings, assignments and tests all start piling up and try to drown you. Then there is this very small grace period where you can breathe until the pile starts growing again. That grace period just so happens to be this week.

So I have to get in all my blogging in nowww.

That means starting by wrapping up last month!

wrap-up-3

What Rendz Read

The Zeppelin Deception by Colleen Gleason
It was a lovely conclusion for a series I have been waiting for! Review to come!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
God, I loved this duology! I absolutely adored it! My Full Review.

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The Brilliant Dark by S.M. Beiko
Another finale to a series! I thought it was great even though it broke me a little! My Full Review

The Brilliant Dark-2

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
I have ~thoughts~ on this very highly anticipated book, it did not go exactly as planned. Review to come.

Q: What 2020 books are on your radar?

I CANNOT EXPRESS TO YOU GUYS HOW EXCITED I WAS WHEN THIS POPPED UP IN MY MAIL ON MONDAY!

I mean... LOOK AT THE COVER!

WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by @isabelwriter09 is a a YA Bolivian fantasy about magic, romance and revolución!!! While the announcement for this book came out ages ago and the pub date was pushed we are slowly inching towards its release! I am very grateful for having received an advanced copy and I hope to dive into this #HispanicHeritageMonth! (Because of course!) Many thanks to @mandagroup for the ARC!

#bookishcanadiansaug19
Day 30 | Book Haul

#WoveninMoonlight #IsabelIbañez #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #latinxbooks #newbooks #2020debuts #diversebooks #ownvoices #books #latinxreads

It was not that bad a month considering I started school, so I’m very proud I was able to finish one series and read another entire one.

The Haul

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

HAPPY (Belated) BOOK BIRTHDAY TO @lauraeweymouth and her new novel, A TREASON OF THORNS!

Naturally (because I suck) I'm two days late to the party, but I am still within release week so it's all good!

I cannot express how much I loved Weymouth's debut novel, The Light Between Worlds (its AMAZING) so I am very much hoping to love this one just as much!

It has a magical house. I mean. A. Magical. House. The only thing that could possibly be as great as a magical wardrobe is a MAGICAL HOUSE!

#atreasonofthorns #lauraeweymouth #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #igbooks #bookstagrammer #epicreads #TheLightBetweenWorlds #canadianauthor #magic

Simon & Schuster CA
Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast
Cold Falling White by G.S. Prendergast

Posts of the Month

MINI REVIEWS! | Library Reading Round Up! // Dealing in Dreams & Kingdom of a Blazing Pheonix (These are long overdue)

MINI REVIEWS (1)

6 Series That I’ve BEEN Meaning to Read (and very much feel the need to do so…like…NOW) | The Power of Fan Art

6 Series That I've BEEN Meaning to Read

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month |The books I’m reading and the pictures I’m taking

Copy of The Representation Book Tag & My very near future Latinx TBR

Books I Liked But Perhaps Over-Hyped | We about to get SCANDALOUS

Books I Liked But Perhaps Over-Hyped

Other Going Ons

3 Year Bloggaversary!

Aug 31, I celebrated 3 years on WordPress. Can you believe it! I’ve been doing this for three years already and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon! I am so very thankful for each and every one of you who follow and read my posts! For those who comment and send me so much love, I thank you! To the publishers who entrust me with books, I thank you! To the authors who send me requests and grant my requests, I thank you! I have learned a lot over the three years and I look forward to seeing what the next year has in store.

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations

I have slowly been making my way through my TBR for HHM. I have gotten through 2 of the 4 books I have planned! I’ve also added a lot more Latinx books to by Want-to-Read list! There are so many good books coming our wayyyy!

I have also been posting a lot on Instagram lately…And if you follow me you’ll know that I had a little reveal….I’ll post it here to, just for my lovely blogger frens.

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Ready???

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Ta-da!

Q: What is your favourite genre? 
Oh look, it's me.

I figured that if I were to ever "show my face" on here it woud have to be during #HispanicHeritageMonth! 
Today's featured book is Nocturna by Maya Motayne! It's the first ever Latinx fantasy that I read, based specifically on Dominican culture, and I'm very happy I enjoyed it! I'm even more glad I got to meet Maya when she came to Toronto earlier this year!

If there is one thing I hope to see in the bookish universe one day, it's a Latinx fantasy based on Salvadoran culture! I can only imagine what it could be like, but I'm very hopeful that one day I'll get that book! Who wouldn't wish to see their own culture reflected in their favourite genre?

#HispanicHeritageMonth #LatinxHeritageMonth #CuentosUnidos #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #latinxbooks #Nocturna #MayaMotayne #bookstagrammer #epicreads #hccfrenzy #igbooks #reading

IS THAT ME????????????????????????????????????????????????????

yes. 🙂

An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel

A Thief Among the Trees
via Goodreads

I screamed when I saw the news! You all must know how much I love Ember and the fact that we are getting a PREQUEL GRAPHIC NOVEL TRILOGY is the highlight of my month. I am actually gonna get to see baby Elias!!!!!!!!!!! It comes out next July, my birthday month, so happy birthday to me!!


TBR

HHM TBR (The End Game)

Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Q: What power would you want to have as a witch?

It's almost October and you know what that means? Spooky season! 👻

I love Halloween and all the magic, myth and mayhem that comes with it. I used to dress up as a witch almost every year as a kid and it soon became my staple costume!

I can't wait for the movies to start playing on TV. Since I'm not a horror fan, I really prefer the cheesy, magical movies of Disney Channel 😂 I really can't do scary, I just like the magic of the season.

I'm curious if you have a favourite  Halloween movie?

I'm super excited to pick up this book very soon! A Dash of Trouble features a family of witches, delicious treats, magic and mayhem so I know it will sweep me off my feet!

#LoveSugarMagic #ADashofTrouble #AnnaMeriano #HispanicHeritageMonth #LatinxHeritageMonth #CuentosUnidos #bookstagram #mgbooks #octobertbr #books #middlegrade #kidlit #bookishcanadians #fantasy #magic #witches

The Regular TBR–My Dedication to Penguin Teen CA

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Grave Maidens by Kelly Coon
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda by Amanda Joy
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
Song of a Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

Q: What was your first vampire read?

I was about 12 years old when I read my first vampire book. It was called Ruling Passion, a bind up of the first three books in Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles.

You can bet that I got obsessed real quick. I was never a fan of the main main character but her best friend, Lucy was great. And I'm like 80% sure it's set in Canada. This is a series I still think about to this day. I never quite finished them but I've had the nostalgic feeling of wanting to reread them, but it's six books long with lots of novellas.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Vampire YA is making a comeback and I have my hands on a coveted ARC of The Beautiful by @reneeahdieh!!! (Many thanks to @penguinteenca for making this possible) 
I can't wait to be whisked away my Renée's work again! 
#TheBeautiful #reneeahdieh #yafantasy #youngadultbooks #yabooks #bookstagram #vampireya #books #bookishcanadians #vampires #reader #fiction #penguinbooks #fantasy #ya #igbooks #igreads #newbooks

Am I being overly ambitious again? Absolutely. Am I still gonna go for it? Absolutely.


Let me know what you think! How was your September? What were your favourite reads? What do you have planned for October?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Merciful Crow | Review // I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was totally AMAZING!!!

Greetings readers!

You know when you go into reading a book and you really have no idea what to expect? I think I’ve asked this existential reader question before. From personal experience, I understand that there are two possible outcomes for something like this.

A) Either you are confused the whole way through and you have no idea what is truly going on.

OR

B) You come out pleasantly surprised and full of feeellllzzz

Thankfully after reading this book, fully unaware of anything about it, I came out more in the option B category.

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 30th, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Price: $25.99 CAD
Goodreads

A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*I read an ARC sent by Raincoast books!*

The Likes

Characters:

Fie: I’m not really a big user of the word “rad” but if I do use it I now have the perfect entity to which compare anyone or anything else’s radness. Because let me tell you Fie is 100% my definition of rad. She was an incredible character to say the least. Her family values alongside her own morals, goals and hopes were so intriguing. She would literally do anything for her fam (which Hi yes I relate to most definitely), but she also had that side of her that wished she wasn’t so part of the community she was in. I loved that this story explored how hard it was for her to be in the community she was but also be herself and defy the values that have been engraved in her so that she could save her family. I just really enjoyed reading about her journey, her struggle to accept that she wasn’t a carbon copy of every other member of her caste, but that she chose to branch out and break through the rigid class lines. That’s not to say that she doesn’t embrace her people, but through many obstacles she comes to learn that her breaking the cycle is what needs to be done.

I tried to make sense of that too. Just know that I loved her.

ON A FUN NOTE: I didn’t know exactly how to pronounce her name. I wasn’t sure if it was Fee or F-eye. SO throughout the whole book whenever I read her name in my head I would actually read Fee–Feye–Fo-Fum. How tragic.

Tavin: I tried hard to put up a brave face against him too, but I am a sucker for charmers and charm me away he did. Although we didn’t get a perspective from Tav, he does go through a lot of growth. There are prejudices to unlearn and bigotry that he has to recognize in himself and his own caste. What I really liked about him was how much heart he had and that he was willing to die so many times for others. It’s not surprising he had a self-sacrificing complex because that literally was his job. His little secret I guessed at..but was still super surprised.

Jasimir: So this relationship started out very rocky. Why? Because I did not like him for 70% of this book. Oh geez. Um. How do I even explain this. If we need to talk about growth, then Jas is one who definitely needed to grow. He needed to learn the difference between sympathy and empathy because as much as he felt sorry for those who were suffering around him he did little to make a difference or to show his compassion. AND THIS FRUSTRATED ME like it did Fie. But then we get to that 30% and he really starts to change and stops being the brat I had been calling him and that is why he is in the liked category. There is definitely still a lot to come from him, so I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we don’t revert back to the mess he was before.

The World and It’s Politics

A caste system based on different birds. Um YES. This was actually so cool. It was a harsh system no doubt and I wouldn’t exactly want to part of this world but it was an interesting take on a caste system. It is an unfair world in which the Crow Caste, Fie’s people, are treated like less than dirt, hunted to extinction, yet are so critical to aiding the other castes from a plague. Fie spoke so much truth, I was nodding my head and agreeing with her so much. The extent to which the Crows were mistreated was so mind-boggling, but you can’t help but look through history of the real world and find the parallels that run through it.

The Magic

It is in the teeth. TEETH. Owen really put magic in teeth and I am 1000% on board with this. I loved that each bird had it’s special power, I loved that the teeth could call on the power of the people who once lived but also allow the crows to relive those lives in memories. I don’t want to say much because I want you to experience the glorious magic when you read this book.

BUT THE BEST PART. I had gotten my wisdom teeth removed when I read this book so reading about bloody, magical teeth was such great irony I couldn’t help but love it more.

The Romance

Slow burn, enemies-to-lovers that shipped with my entire being. Thank you very much.

There was an abundance of diversity in terms of sexuality and gender identity. Jasimir is gay, and I’m pretty sure Tav is pansexual because he says he doesn’t care for gender. There is a non-binary side character. There are also characters of colour throughout the novel. And these are more than just quite side characters but major persons in the novel that are critical to the plot!

The Questionable

It’s a lot of walking. A lot of journeying. So the action was not the most prominent thing. I am an action kind of girl, I live for the thrill of the fictional fight. And there are plenty of action scenes still I felt like there was a lot of slow movement that had me teetering on the edge of disengagement.


 

Overall, I super duper enjoyed this one. I think the characters just did it for me. I think Fie completely won me over and I loved her story and everything to do with her. The writing was wonderful, the pace a little slow, but the overall story was a very powerful one!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! I think lots of readers will like this one!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading it? What kind of bird would you want to resemble? A weird question, I know.

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Storm Crow | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

I am so glad to be part of this blog tour for The Storm Crow, a new and highly anticipated read! Many thanks go out to Raincoast Books for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for sending over an ARC!

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 9th, 2019
Publisher: SourcebooksFire
Price: $25.50 CAD
Goodreads

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.


Buy It

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


The Likes

The Characters

Let’s start with Thia who was such an incredible character! I absolutely adored her. After basically witnessing the destruction of her beloved country, Thia’s grief totally overwhelms her and succumbs her to a several months long depression and it takes her a long time to call it what it is. She carried this exhausting weight with her all the time and it prevented her from being who she was before the destruction. Throughout the story and the challenges she is put through, Thia has to find a way to live on with that sadness that used to keep her under her covers. And as the story goes on, Thia really starts to shine. We get to see her spunk, her extreme curiosity and her passion. Her fears and grief are always near at hand, but she slowly starts to creep out of the darkness that she once found so comforting and confronts the world before her. The struggle is never easy and Jospehson doesn’t shy away from showing how tough it can be to hold on to hope. It’s very rare to see mental health rep in fantasy and I thought that this was an incredibly interesting take on it!

Ericen…hmmmmmmmmmmm okay. So I really liked to hate him??? And then I pitied him??? At one point he is just so terribly horrible and then things happen and other things are brought to light and it’s just a whirlwind of emotions with this guy. I don’t even know exactly what to say. I can’t say we get a completely unbiased portrait of him because the entire story is told from Thia’s POV so we don’t get to go into his mind. But he is very interesting and mysterious. And at the end there I had a lot of questions about him and I honestly don’t know what he is going to do next which is the most exciting bit.

Other characters…Are kind of spoilery if I talk about who I want to talk about. Um, but here are some I can talk about! The best friend, Kiva, was so ferocious and charming I loved her! She was a great, fiery addition to this adventure! The sister, Caliza, is also really interesting. We don’t get a lot from her, but she is in a tough situation, that by no means excuses some of the things she says to Thia, but a little empathy is required everywhere.

BUT THE VILLAIN-CHARACTER…OMG I HATE HER!!!!!!!

The World

Love. Love. Love. 

Okay, first off the ARC came with a map and an index with all the countries of the world and it was just amazingly helpful. There’s a lot happening here and not all of it is easily memorable so having those two points of reference was amazing.

Besides that, the countries and people of this world were so fascinating. The ways in which they lived and practiced and fought were pretty, pretty different. The story revolves largely around the threat of one country becoming too powerful and conquering and slaughtering only to swallow their victims into their own body.  Thia is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to her country of Rhodaire but things get messy.

The politics of this world were very tricky. Thia gets into a very sticky and messy situation where they are trying to break her and use that depression against her. It was hard to read about sometimes because I wanted to help but there was nothing I could do obviously, so I really had to hang on during this wild ride. It’s not all black and white. There are are shades of grey that really bring a richness to the troubles of these countries.

The Magic

Giant, magical, elemental, crows. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The index also explained the types of magic found in these birds so that was really helpful too because we get a better understanding of how Rhodaire used to function with them and why they are so pivotal to the characters. I really liked this magic system, I did. It was not exactly what I was expecting and it definitely comes with it’s surprises.

The Action and Intensity

Perfect for this high fantasy! There were lots of moments when I was screaming and yelling at the characters for making terrible decisions, but it was fun! I enjoyed myself immensely while reading this. It has an even pace with the promise of danger always looming and when it finally comes you can’t help but be surprised and completely sucker punched by it!

The ending took me a little by surprise, I was not expecting things to go down the way they did and that is always a wonderful thing because it amped up the risk!

The Romance

I’m not gonna even spend time on this. Um. What do I even say? Things happened. Then more things happened. Then some things happened too quickly and I was kind of like ??? and then OTHER things happened and I cringed out of second-hand embarrassment. So I will just say that it helped with the drama, but I refuse to get attached for *reasons.* But I think others who’ve read this might already have made an attachment. Who knows?

The Questionable

Maybe I just wanted a little more with the magic. I felt like bigger things could have been done there even though the window for it was limited. I just think that’s what’s missing for me to give it the full stars!


The Quickie Fan Art

This is a very–very–quick sketch of a certain drawing that is actually in the book. I felt inspired when I read it so I took a shot at it!

It’s most definitely not perfect and I plan on doing a much better and cohesive version of it sometime soon! But for now enjoy the quickie sketch!


Overall, I had a wonderful time reading this book! It had all the right action and suspense. Thia is an incredible character with such raw experience and heart. The politics of the world will have you nervous and the magic in awe! I am so excited to see where the sequel takes us next!

Rating: 4.85 / 5 Stars (What is even this rating, Rendz????)

Recommend: YES! Oh yes, oh yes!

Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? Have you ever read fantasy mixed with a mental health rep before? Isn’t that cover gorgeous!?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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

Greetings readers!

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

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

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


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

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

The Likes

The Characters

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

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

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

The World

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

The Plot

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

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

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

It lived up to its selling points

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

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

ALL THOSE COVER SECRETS

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

The Romance

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

The Questionable

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


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

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

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

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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May Wrap Up & June TBR | I said that May was the month of ME and oh boy was it!

Greetings readers!

Boy oh boy. May was THE month for me. It was the month of MAY. *Read that like how Justin Timberlake sings Me.*

Not gonna lie there was a week where I fell into a slump, but I jumped back from it! Not every read this month was omgomgomgoooood, but I had quite a few good ones and am quite happy with what I got done. To add to this, I read faster than I wrote reviews so I am severallll books behind schedule in terms of reviewing. They will be up…eventually though.

Let’s get started shall we!

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What Rendz Read

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
This was such a great read! I was so surprised by how much I liked it! If you want feminist, fighter pilots then check it out. My Full Review.

we rule the night

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH. This book was PHENOMENAL!!!!! READ IT! My Full Review.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
This was the Sisters Reads of May! My sisters, Maz and Kez, and I buddy read this together and we shared our ~thoughts~. Read Our Tell All.

SISTER READS TELL ALL

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George
SECOND HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH! You all  have now idea how much I adored this book. My Full Review.

Speak Easy, Speak Love

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Despite not being exactly what I expected, I enjoyed this Latinx read a lot! More to come in a mini review!

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
I have been meaning to read this one for a while now because I loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It was a great follow up for sure! More to come in a mini review!

The Girl Who Sailed The Stars by Matilda Woods
This short, magical MG read is sure to capture the hearts of many! Review to come.

The Snow Witch by Rosie Boyes
I got some great winter and White Witch vibes from this MG read! Review to come!

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
This was quite an emotional read and it is the perfect Pride Month pick! Review to come!

The Haul

As usual I went overboard with everything.

My purchases
Nocturna by Maya Motayne (Finished copy)

Penguin Teen CA
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (I KNOW AHHHH)
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston
Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Hatchette
Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart
The Witching Hours: The Troll Heart by Jack Henseleit

Library:
Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Posts From Last Month

THEME THURSDAY | PIRATES

Shiver me timbers…I haven’t read a lot of Pirate YA books!

theme-thursday-pirates

Even the Darkest Stars | Canadian Dragon Tales Buddy Read Review // We Have Questions!!!

Sha and I tackled another Canadian “dragon” Tales Buddy Read. This one was less successful than the first, but still fun!

etds

My Mismatched Series | A Discussion

Let’s get chatty! Be honest, how many mismatched books do you have?

My Mismatched Series

HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel! | Meeting Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne & Victoria Aveyard // Turns out I am not as cool as I try to be…

Read this if you want to know about how I made a complete and utter fool of myself as I was trying to keep my cool. Spoiler: I did not keep my cool.

HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel!

THEME THURSDAY |TWINS

Turns out, I have read more twin books than I initially thought!

theme-thursday-twins

Other Going-Ons

I Wrote Another Article!

I dug deep into a google search to collect a list of my top 10 most anticipated Latinx Books of 2019! You can read the article here!

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I Art-ed!

If you guys don’t follow me on Instagram, you totally should! (@readingwithrendz). I often put updates on my little art adventures. Not all of them are cool, but I like to share my progress. My latest project was a Pinterest Girl that I did in soft pastel!

The following picture is the finished copy (but the lighting is so horrible)!

Aladdin 2019 was not trash. I repeat it was not trash!

Let me tell youuuuuu. I 100% thought this movie was not going to be any good from what I saw in the trailers, but I was so so wrong. it was actually quite fun and I liked how they retold the story. Even Will Smiths top-knot genie was okay with me. I mean it doesn’t beat out the original cartoon, but still! It was quite good!

I was hoodwinked, bamboozeled and betrayed by a Wattpad story!!!

So I was clearing out my iPod because I want to take it on my vacation and I was deleting all unnecessary apps. I stumbled upon my Wattpad app, which I made with the intention of writing but I never did, lol. So I was going to delete it, but then I saw this story cover which I was fairly intrigued by. I read the synopsis and knew that it wasn’t really my style, but I was curious. So I read this contemporary, arranged-marriage romance novel. And I gotta be honest…I was kinda loving it. Like it had its trashier bits and the grammar was off sometimes, but I really did like the characters and the plot direction. And I got to the end and thought wow this was great, until I read the epilogue. The epilogue ruined everything for me. It turned this happily ever after into a bittersweet end. And before you think what you might think, no. No one died. No one broke up. It was just how the author decided to craft their future in order to write a sequel that made me go: NO NO  NOOOOOOOO.

So I was mad. But I haven’t been able to find another arranged-marriage romance novel that works for me. So I continue to suffer.

I Went to the Penguin Teen Social!

Book worms of all kinds gathered at the PRHC HQ a couple of weeks ago to talk all things books. It was more of a mix and mingle than a sit-down thing. (There were not many places to sit at all actually) But I had a lot of fun being anti-social with my best bookish friend, Rezanne! I even got to meet Tanaz Bhathena and she singed my copy of The Beauty of the Moment!!!! I got to meet more authors, but I’m still thinking of writing an event recap for it so stay tuned!

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

TBR

I’m thinking of taking another mood month. I’m just going to pick up whatever I feel like I want to try.

I’ve already read The Beholder by Anna Bright and it was quite the read! I’ll talk more about it in my review!

Q: Do you judge book covers? Because I do. And I have no shame in admitting it. 🙃 In other news... HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO @brightlyanna and her debut novel, THE BEHOLDER! I just finished reading this book on Sunday and I must say it was quite fun! There is a lot of drama and romance and tension to explore. Not to mention the drop dead gorgeous cover that comes along with it! I would love to hear what you guys thought about this book or its cover! #TheBeholder #AnnaBright #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #historicalfiction #newbooks #debutnovels #epicreads #igbooks #bookstagramer

I will be reading Spin The Dawn this month with Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews! We are hoping this will be our first read that we both actually love!

Recent book mail from @penguinteenca!! I got this is in the mail a couple of weeks ago and finally found the time to take a picture.  Just look at the cover. STUNNING. The book is said to be a cross between Project Runway and Mulan. AND I AM HERE FOR IT.  I am so excited to dive into it soon! What's been in your bookish mail box recently? #SpintheDawn #ElizabethLim #bookstagram #yabooks #books #reader #bookishcanadians #fantasy #youngadultbooks #yafantasy

I will also for sure get to The Storm Crow by Kayln Josephson because I will be part of the blog tour!!!

Oh and I have one special read that’s going to be happening this month. Let’s just say I am really going to step out of my comfort zone.

As for the rest of the month….hmmmmmm…we shall see what I am in the mood for!


Let me know what you think! What was your favourite May read? What books are you looking forward to this June? What books did you haul?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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