A Golden Fury | Blog Tour Excerpt // New Historical Fantasy sure to make our shelves even more magical!

Greetings readers!

Welcome one, welcome all to the blog tour for A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe!

This new YA historical fantasy novel brings a new dark magic to our shelves! And I for one am very excited to read this one! Alchemy and magical schools always call for a grand adventure and mystery. Just from reading the synopsis I can tell that this book is going to bring the girl power, high stakes and dark secrets to unravel!

Read on for a sneak peek into this new amazing book!

~ The Book ~

Title: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Pub Date: Oct 13, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
ISBN: 9781250220400

BUY THE BOOK

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.

*A Nerd Daily YA Debut to Watch Out for in 2020*

“Cohoe transmutes the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone into a dark, intoxicating tale of ambition, obsession, and sacrifice. Prepare for a magic that will consume you.”
– Rosamund Hodge, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

~ Author ~

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Visit Samantha: Twitter | Instagram

Visit Wednesday Books: Twitter | Instagram


~ EXCERPT ~

To celebrate the release with you today, I have the pleasure of sharing an excerpt of CHAPTER 1 today! And boy let me tell you is it intriguing! I mean just look at that very first line! I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

My mother was screaming at the Comte. Again.

I slammed the front doors behind me and walked down the carriageway, under the dappled shade of the pop- lars that lined it. A hundred paces away, I still heard her, though at least I could no longer hear the Comte’s frantic endearments and low, rapid pleading. He should know by now that wasn’t the way. Perhaps I should tell him. Adrien was the first of my mother’s patrons I had ever liked, and I did not want to leave Normandy just as spring was break- ing. Just as we were beginning to make progress.

Though perhaps we were not. Mother would not be screaming at the Comte if the work were going well. She would not take the time. Alchemy was a demanding sci- ence, even if some scoffed and called it charlatanry or magic. It required total concentration. If the work were going well, the Comte would scarcely exist to her, nor would I, now that she would not let me be of use. The com- position must have broken again. This was about when it had, last round. I could not be certain, since she had taken away my key to the laboratory. She could hardly have de-vised a worse insult than that if she had tried, and lately she did seem to be trying. The laboratory was mine as much as it was hers. If she did succeed in producing the White Elixir—which turned all metals into silver—then it was only because of my help. She had found Jābir’s text languishing in a Spanish monastery, but it had been I who translated it when her Arabic wasn’t nearly up to the job. I had labored for months over the calcinary furnace to make the philosophic mercury the text took as its starting point. I had the scars on my hands and arms to prove it. And now that success might be close, she wished to shut me out and deny my part, and claim it for herself alone.

But if she was acting ill and cross, it meant she had failed. A low, smug hum of satisfaction warmed me. I didn’t want the work to fail, but I didn’t want her to suc- ceed without me, either.

A distant smashing sound rang out from the chateau. My mother shattering something against the wall, no doubt.

I sighed and shifted my letter box to the crook of my other arm.

I knew what this meant. Another move. Another man. The Comte had lasted longer than the rest. Over two years, long enough that I had begun to hope I would not have to do it all again. I hated the uncertainty of those first weeks, before I knew what was expected of me, whether Mother’s new patron had a temper and what might set it off, whether he liked children to speak or be silent. Though I was no longer a child, and that might bring its own problems. A chill passed over me, despite the warm afternoon sunshine. God only knew what the next one would be like. My mother had already run through so many of them. And with the recent changes in France, there were fewer rich men than ever looking to give patronage to an expensive alchemist, even one as beautiful and famous as Marguerite Hope.

I veered off the carriageway, into the soft spring grass, dotted here and there with the first of the lavender anemo- nes. I sat by the stream, under the plum tree.

There was no screaming here, no pleading, no signs that my life was about to change for the worse. I inhaled the soft, sweet scent of plum blossoms and opened my letter box. If this was to be my last spring in Normandy, I wanted to re- member it like this. Springtime in Normandy was soft and sweet, sun shining brightly and so many things blossoming that the very air was perfumed with promise. Everything was coming extravagantly to life, bursting out of the dead ground and bare trees with so much energy other impos- sible things seemed likely, too. I had always been hopeful in Normandy when it was spring. Especially last spring, when Will was still here. When we sat under this very tree, drank both bottles of champagne he had stolen from the cellars, and spun tales of everything we could achieve.

I took out his last letter, dated two months ago.

Dear Bee,

This is my address now—as you see I’ve left Prussia. It turns out that everything they say about the Prussians is quite true. I’ve never met a more unbending man than my patron there. One day past the appointed date and he tried to throw me in prison for breach of contract! He thinks alchemy can be held to the same strict schedule as his serfs.

Laws against false alchemists were very harsh in Germany, as Will knew full well when he sought patronage there. I had begged him to go somewhere else, though he had few enough choices. He was my mother’s apprentice, with no achievements of his own to make his reputation. His training had been cut abruptly short when Mother found us together under this plum tree, watching the sun- rise with clasped hands and two empty bottles of cham- pagne. She’d seen to it that Will was gone by noon. It was no use telling her that all we’d done was talk through the night, or that the one kiss we’d shared had been our first, and had gone no further. He had behaved with perfect re- spect for me, but she wouldn’t believe it. My mother had imagined a whole path laid before my feet in that moment, and scorched it from the earth with Greek fire.

I turned to the next page.

I blame myself, of course, Bee, for not heeding your advice. I can picture your face now, wondering what I expected. It would almost be worth all the trouble I’ve caused myself if I could come to you and see your expression. You must be the only woman in the world who is never lovelier than when you’ve been proven right.

The keen thrill of pleasure those words had brought me when I first read them had faded now, and left me feeling uncertain. Should I write back knowingly, teasing him for his recklessness? I had tried this, and was sure I sounded like a scold no matter what he said about my loveliness when proven right. I took out my latest draft, which struck a more sincere tone. I read the lines over, saying how I worried for him, how I missed him. I crumpled it in my hand halfway through. Too much emotion. It didn’t do to show such dependence on a man. My mother had shown me that. I didn’t wish to emulate her in everything, but I would be a fool to deny her skill at winning masculine devotion. I tried again.

Dear Will,

I am sitting under the plum tree where we had our last picnic. I know how you feel about nostalgia, but I hope you will forgive me this one instance. I fear this will be our last spring in Normandy—perhaps even in France. Many of my mother’s friends have left already, and though you may well condemn them as reactionaries, the fact remains that there are very few good Republicans with the ready cash to pay for our pursuits.

I sighed again and crumpled the page. Somehow I could never seem to write to him about the Revolution without a touch of irony creeping in. I didn’t want that. Will had put his hopes for a better world in the new order, and even though I was less hopeful than he, I loved him for it. At least he wanted a better world. Most alchemists simply wanted better metals.

I tried to imagine he was here. It wouldn’t be difficult then. He was so good at setting me at ease. His admira- tion was as intoxicating as wine, but unlike wine it sharp- ened my wits instead of dulling them. I was never cleverer than when Will was there to laugh with me.

My chest constricted at the memory of Will’s laugh. I didn’t know anyone who laughed like him. The Parisian aristocrats I had known all had so much consciousness of the sound they made when they did it. The Comte wasn’t like them, but he was a serious man and laughed rarely. My mother didn’t laugh at all.

But Will. He laughed like it came from the loud, bursting core of him. Like he couldn’t have kept it in if he wanted to, and why would he want to? And when he was done laughing, he would look at me like no one else ever had. Like he saw only me, not as an accessory to my mother, but as myself. And not as an odd girl whose sharp edges would need to be softened. Will liked the edges. The sharper they cut, the more they delighted him.

“Thea!”

I threw my letters into the letter box and snapped it shut. I looked around for somewhere to hide the box, and noticed too late that one of my crumpled drafts had blown toward the stream. My mother appeared on the hill above me, the late afternoon sun lighting up her golden hair like an unearned halo. She walked down the hill with measured steps and stopped a few yards above me, I assumed because she wished to enjoy the experience of being taller than me again for a few moments. Her eye moved to the crumpled paper. I ran to it and stuffed it into my pocket before she could take it, though my haste in hiding the failed letter told her all I didn’t wish her to know.

“Oh dear,” said my mother. “I do hope you haven’t been wasting your afternoon trying to find the right words to say to that boy.”

My mother was tolerant of my letter writing these days, perhaps because she was confident I would never see Will again. She had smiled when she heard of Will’s contract in Prussia. He won’t find it so easy to charm his way past the Prussian alchemy laws. In Germany, one must deliver results, not pretty smiles, or end in prison.

“I wouldn’t have an afternoon to waste if you would let me into the laboratory,” I said.

“Don’t be pitiful, Thea,” said my mother. “Surely you can think of something worthwhile to do when I don’t happen to need your assistance.”

I clenched my teeth so tight that my jaw ached. Shut- ting me out of the laboratory, our laboratory, was the great- est injustice she had ever committed against me. Worse than all the moving about, worse than sending Will away, worse than any insult she could think to level at me. Before she had done that, I believed we were together in alchemy at least, even if nothing else. That she had raised and trained me not simply to be of use to her, but to be her partner. Her equal, one day. Throwing me out of the lab- oratory just when we might achieve what we had worked for told me that Will was right. She would never let me claim credit for my part of the work. She would never ac- cept me as an alchemist in my own right.

And yet she described it as though she had simply let me off my chores. As if I were no more necessary than a servant. There was no point in arguing with her, but even so I could not let it stand.

“I am not your assistant,” I said.

“Oh?” she asked. “Do you have news, then? Have you found a patron on your own merits? Do you intend to strike out on your own?”

“Perhaps I will,” I said, my face growing hot. “Perhaps I will stay here when you are finally finished tormenting the poor Comte.”

My mother had a perfect, deceptively sweet beauty: golden blond and blue-eyed with a round, doll-like face. It made the venom that sometimes twisted her expression hard to quite believe in. Many men simply didn’t. They preferred to ignore the evidence of their minds for the evidence of their senses. I, of course, knew her better than they did. I tensed, preparing.

But instead of lashing out, my mother turned aside, a hand to her chest. A tremor passed over her; she bowed her head against it.

Mother had been strangely unwell for weeks. At first I responded to her illness as she had taught me to, with distaste and disapproval, as though falling sick were an ill-considered pastime of those with insufficient moral for- titude. But if she noticed how unpleasant it was to receive so little sympathy when unwell, she did not show it. She had locked herself away in the laboratory every day until late at night, ignoring my silence as much as she ignored the Comte’s pleas that she rest. I had not thought much of it until this moment. Any pain great enough to turn her from chastising me for thinking I could do alchemy with- out her must be serious indeed.

“Mother?” I asked.

“You will go where I tell you.” Her voice was low and breathless, almost a gasp. “For now, that is to dinner. Wear the green taffeta.”

“The robe à la française?” I asked, perplexed. I hadn’t worn that dress since before the Estates General met. Its style was the hallmark of the ancien régime: wide pan- niered hips, structured bodice, and elaborate flounces. “But it’s out of fashion.”

“So is our guest,” said my mother.

She went up the hill again, then turned back to me at the top.

“Thea,” she said, all the sharpness gone from her voice. “I know you do not believe it any longer, but everything I do is for you.”

It was the sort of thing she always said. Before this year, I had always believed it, more or less. At least, everything she did was for the both of us. She had considered me an extension of herself, so that doing things for me was no different than doing them for herself. Why else take so much care to train me, to see to it that I had the tutors I needed to learn every language necessary—more even than she knew? To take me with her in all her travels to seek out manuscripts? She was an impatient teacher at times, but a good one. A thorough one. And in turn I was a good student. The best.

Until we were close to our goal. Then, suddenly, I was a rival. And my mother did not tolerate rivals.

“You are right, Mother,” I said. “I don’t believe that any longer.”


Let me know what you think! Would you continue reading this book? Are you looking forward to reading this book? What are some of your favourite Historical fiction/fantasy books? If you had access to a secret dangerous power, would you destroy it or keep it for yourself?

Many thanks to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be a part of this tour!

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Furia | Review // How to articulate my love for this book?

I want to say in advance that this is one of those times where I feel like my words cannot accurately express my feelings for a book. There is just so much I want to say and I feel like the words I have don’t quite convey that love taking up my thoughts!

So please bear with my scrambled words and just know that I love this books with every fiber of my being!

Many thanks to Thomas Allen & Son for sending me an ARC!

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Furia
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 15th, 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Goodreads

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.


I loved everything!

How do I even begin to express my love for this book? I knew going in I was going to get the fútbol, Argentina, and girl power greatness. What I didn’t know was that I would be absolutely gobsmacked by my emotions.

This book has a lot, but it starts and ends with the amazing Camila Hassan. She was incredible. Wow. From her passion for soccer to her complicated love for her family to her dreams of success, Camila was a force in this story. She’s burdened with the weight of so many secrets and expectations that life gets way complicated for her. She falls hard for her childhood best friend but she doesn’t dare risk her dreams for it AND THAT’S WHAT I LOVED ABOUT HER. Yes, she’s makes mistakes along and she doubts herself at times, but it just made her story all the more compelling!

The family life is complicated on so many levels in this book. We have Pablo, the superstar brother who is not superstar enough, Camila’s hardworking mother who feels like she in general is never enough and her father who…who is stuck thinking about what could have been and that he can never have enough. It’s a family of very complex and toxic relationships on so many ends, with so many secrets and they make this story a wild and emotional journey. Then Diego walks on to the page trying to be all perfect and he is something alright. No spoilers here. But wow. OKAY THEN. I can’t say too much about him because I will spoil things! XD

This book is a lot more than just Camila playing soccer, it’s about her journey to proving that her dreams and aspirations are just as valid and achievable as her brothers, boyfriend’s or any other male athlete. And let me tell you this book is AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER! It had me feeling soft one moment and absolutely raging the next moment! The amount of opposition and disapproval that Camila faces from those closest to her is hard to read about, but also made me root for her even more.

This book takes machismo and wrings it by its neck. YSM doesn’t shy away from exposing the violence against women and toxic masculinity that have plagued this society. No, these problems aren’t solved in this book, but they are key reasons that lead Camila to fight back. This book screams girl power, that is not always easy to wield when faced with so much opposition, but something that is liberating and empowering all the same. Yes, this book is feminist af and brings to light the Ni Una Menos movement that is roaming its way through Argentina and the rest of Latin America, fighting for to end femicide and establish rights for women.

It’s a book about a teen being a teen in a little barrio called Rosario in Argentina. We get music references to Maluma and J Balvin, like YES AMAZING. Homework and menstrual cycles are part of this girl’s life, as they should be! Friendship and first love and all the complexities that come with navigating life at an age where huge decisions about the future make this book remarkable and intriguing at every turn of the page. Not to mention the Argentinian daily life and food and culture woven into every action characters make! (Every time alfajores were mentioned my mouth started salivating! *sobs*)

And the beautiful game. I haven’t played soccer in oh god YEARS, but this book brought me back to the pitch. It made my lungs burn, it made my heart race, my hamstrings tighten. It brought up the feelings of team-love, team-pressure and the thrill of competition! It brought joy and sadness! Just that feeling of being in a field chasing the ball and cheering and yelling for a pass! I—omg why am I getting emotional writing this?—Yes, soccer is an central aspect of this story, but more than anything the pitch is where we see Furia come alive and become the dreamer that she is.

So yes. I did tear up at the end. It was a culmination of so many big changes that happened in Camila’s life that brought both joy and sadness. It was a beautiful ending, one that gives mighty hope and vision for girls chasing their dreams against all odds.

And there was a Narnia reference. 🙂 Books always win when they have a reference to Narnia. 🙂


Overall, this book completely swept me off my feet! I can with absolute surety say that this book will be on my top 10 list at the end of the year! This book is a fierce tale of a girl pushing back against every barrier to achieve her dream. It’s a story about first love and the complexities of family. Your emotions will be kicked around from player to player until finally with the last turn of the page you can’t help but scream GOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! PLEASE! EVERYONE! READ! THIS!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading it? Did you ever or do you still play a spot?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Latinx Food in Books | I don’t cook, I don’t clean, but let me tell you…all about these delicious books!

Greetings readers!

Full discretion: I can’t cook, but I can clean. I said what I said to create a snazzy tagline line and get your attention here, so forgive my dishonesty. Although if you ask my mother I can’t really do both to her standards.

Welcome one, welcome all to a post that is sure to get those salivary glands working! Today’s Latinx Heritage Month Book Fest challenge is to talk about Latinx food in books! I have been blessed to read some very delicious books so I am here to share them with you today!

A Note: Obviously I wanted to include photos of what the food looks like, but I’ll be honest I didn’t have the time to find the right photos and be sure I got the right permissions, so instead I linked to some very delicious recipes! You can visit these sites or just do a google search to see what the food looks like!

Lobizona by Romina Garber – Choripan

I don’t think I’ve ever really had Argentinian food. I cannot recall a time, but having read Lobizona I definitely want to try choripan. My mouth is SALIVATING at the thought of it friends! It looks simple enough to make, which is a plus because I suck at cooking, but also quite elegant! All in all I’d gobble this up! Lobizona has lots of references to Argentinian foods, but this dish is definitely the one that caught my eye!

via Goodreads

I found this great recipe on Taste.com!


With the Fire of High by Elizabeth Acevedo – Lemon Verbena Templeque

With the Fire on High
via Goodreads

First of all, this whole book made me feel inadequate about my cooking skills. I felt attacked. Second of all, I loved this book. Emoni’s journey and pursuing her culinary passion despite juggling so many other things in her life was a heartfelt and stunning to read about. I loved that each section of the book started off with a recipe and the Puerto Rican Lemon Verbena Templeque caught my eye right away. I didn’t know what it was so I googled and was quite intrigued. It sounds delicious. I mean coconut, lemon and vanilla sound like a delightful mix in my head!

While googling I stumbled across a post by Eating Books where they actually made LVT (And took some really STUNNING photos)! I highly recommend reading their post!

Emoni’s Lemon Verbena Tembleque @ Eating Books


A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano – Conchas

Every time autumn rolls around, my Mexican Bookstagrammer friends start showing off their books and bread posts and I get hungry. The most famous of all the bread pieces obviously being the concha, which if you didn’t know is sweet bread shaped like a sea shell (or concha)! When I read A Dash of Trouble, which is about a Mexican family and their bakery (of magic), I instantly fell in love and wanted to try all their sweets, especially conchas. I know what you’re thinking: “Rendz, it’s bread.” YEAH. IT’S BREAD and I want to try it. I’m a picky eater, but bread is one of the few foods that I’m a little more adventurous in trying. AND JUST LOOK AT THE SHAPE! It’s an experience eating this bread and I want to live it!

Here is a recipe I found by a Mexican home cook and food blogger, Mely Martinez!

Concha Recipe @ Mexico in My Kitchen


Let me know what you think! What books make you hungry? Have you ever tried to make a recipe from book? What are some of your favourite cuisines?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Faithless Hawk | Review // A Series I Will Never Forget

Greetings readers!

Never have I had a book series so intimately connected to my life. And I’m not even talking emotionally. I’m talking about major life connections.

When I read The Merciful Crow, I was healing from having my wisdom teeth removed only to crack open a book where magic is found in pulled teeth!!! People!! Are you listening to me!

Then this year, I picked up The Faithless Crow only to immerse myself in a world where there is a plague and people need to practice proper hygiene and quarantine themselves. PEOPLE, ARE YOU SEEING WHAT I AM SAYING.

I will never forget these books! XD

Lucky for me, I enjoyed them very much! And this sequel was quite epic!

*Many thank to Raincoast Books for the ARC*

The Faithless Crow by Margaret Owen

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2)

Pub Date: Aug 18th, 2020
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Goodreads

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.

As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.

With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.

A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.


The Likes

Fie is still the raddest of all characters! She is a ferocious girl with a soft side and we love to see it. Her loyalty to her band and the people she loves most in the world is incredible! She doesn’t always think every plan through and sometimes her bite gets the better of her, but I really enjoyed her character. She is someone I would definitely want to be friends with!

Jas…you know for disliking him so much in the first book, I loved him during every second of this book. You can see how much he has developed since the first chapter in book one! If you ever feel like you can’t unlearn the hatred/biases you’ve been taught, his character is proof that it is possible. It’s not easy to do, but it is doable and necessary!

Tav…OMG. I shouldn’t say much because of spoilers, but you know what we go through a boat load of emotions. I mean it’s not really a spoiler, but the book is called what it is called for a reason! I really can’t talk about him, any words I can think of typing come out spoilery. He’s just someone to look out for.

Other characters…we have your iconic evil queen, Rhusana, who is *roars* just awful. Then there is Khoda who is a new and pleasantly wonderful character. He is a bit uptight, but him hanging around with these chaotic kids made things all the more fun.

The world is still quite fascinating. The caste system and the societal divide and classification was so interesting and scary to read about. But I loved that we dove deeper into what the Covenant was, how these different castes were connected, learning about their vulnerabilities and dependencies. The rich history that Owen endows us with may seem confusing at first but boy oh boy do we get some answers!

The Magic! It is still in the teeth! This is still one of the most unique sources of power that I have read in a book! I want to explore this system even more! I loved that everyone had a sense of magic and I also liked that we got to explore the repercussions of power imbalances.

The plot was very a deep dive into the questions from book one. This time we dive deeper into the persecution of the Crow Caste. We dive deeper into the magical history that governs the relationships between castes. Unlike book one where we had a lot of reflection through walking, in this book we are dumped right into the belly of the beast as Fie and her new crew pull off a heist of sorts within the palace walls. There were disguises, scheming and revelations galore!

The romance was *incoherent screeching noises* I really cannot talk about this without getting spoilery. BUT I must say that relationships play a huge part of Fie’s journey. The question of how far you’re willing to go for love and how far is too far are huge hurdles for many characters!

This is a slow-burn again and you really have to be patient and immerse yourself into the lives of these characters, but it is so worth it. The twists just keep coming and when things go wrong they go wrong and then finally things get WILD in the end. I really really really liked those final few chapters. They were INTENSE and all that build up throughout the beginning of the book really came crashing down.


Overall, I really enjoyed this conclusion. I feel like this was a perfect ending, although I wouldn’t mind having one more book just to get some more tooth magic! This is a great slow-burn that leads to an explosive ending. The characters that endeared themselves to me in book one got even better in this book! If you are looking for an intriguing and new magic system and mythology, a cast of colourful characters, cats and great twists, I highly highly recommend this series!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes! Duology lovers will definitely want to check this out!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Which character is your favourite? What is your favourite kind of magic system?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!
~ Rendz

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin | Review // YA Fantasy as it should be!

Greetings readers!

You know that moment when you put a book on hold at the library the day after it releases and it predicts a 26 week wait? Yeah I know the feeling. Happened with this book. But then the book gods shined down on me and it ended only being about a 3 week wait! Which was just in time to do a buddy read this with Natalie @ TheFineArtofReading!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Baltzer & Bray
Goodreads

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

The Likes

Wow, I had a really fantastic time reading this novel. I remember reading the synopsis when I first added the book to my TBR and thinking YES this is for me. But since I am who I am, I never really reread it so I went into this a little blind and I came out with an illuminated mind!

First of all we have to talk about this epic world. Inspired by West African folklore, this book is steeped in myth and magic and lore. From the houses of gods to the griots to huge creatures that roamed the land, every single page was presented something interesting to note and discover! Brown did an amazing job of building this world and walking the reader through every new point of information. I especially loved that this story took place during a special festival that comes every few years and that it is centered around a magical competition, which always means lots of antics and fun! On top of this amazing crafted world is the deceptive world of politics that touches every character! The relationships between governments and nations is a tricky business, not so black and white as it might first appear to be. I don’t want to say too much because spoilers! but let’s just say things get real twisty and I was shooketh!

AND THESE CHARACTERS! We get to accompany two spectacular characters! First up is I-do-not-give-a-single-F Karina! She is fierce and trouble making and way too cool for you! She never wanted to rule, but when she’s thrust into the role she becomes the queen of finding loopholes because all my girl really wants is to get out! I really enjoyed Karina’s character! She was always shadowed by her sister and then she was always under so much pressure from her mother to step up and act up. Reading about her journey in dealing with all the grief and expectation was very compelling!

Then there is Malik, an absolute king. Being the definition of a cinnamon roll, you can’t help but adore this boy. He absolutely loves his family and will go to any length for them which is just such an admirable trait, but he is also very naive and it takes him a journey and a half to build up his courage (which considering the circumstances is very understandable!) But don’t let the shy-boy fool you he is also SLY af. You wouldn’t expect it but hmmmmmm he is not that innocent *in the words of Britney Spears*

The magic in this book is very interesting but very mysterious, which just brings out more high stakes and fun! There is a lot more to come in the sequel and I am super super excited for it!

If you love heart-racing stories then this book is definitely for you! The amount of twists and turns this book took, the betrayal that happens, the revelations that occur are jaw-dropping! I was seriously bug-eyed as I was reading this book! There were some points where I just couldn’t put it down. Let it be known that the stakes in this book are HIGH. There is so much to lose and death seems like a very big likelihood when you start reaching the end! There was never a dull moment to be had, it wasn’t always all action, but there was always something that was going on that kept me clinging to the book.

I also loved that this book had a large emphasis on the representation of mental health. Karina copes with reoccurring migraines and Malik is often overcome by panic attacks. They both endured trauma in their pasts that trigger these symptoms and it was very eye-opening to read about it in a fantasy novel. I liked how Brown embraced these experiences in the character’s arcs, there is one moment that was really special that I just– !!! –My heart burst when I read it! We don’t get mental health representation often in fantasy so I really enjoyed reading about it.

The questionable section really doesn’t exist for this book. I enjoyed every second of it!


Overall, this was an incredible YA debut! It was a suspenseful, twisty, magical tale full of heart and high-stakes! There is something for everyone in this book I think! And that ending is sure to leave every reader totally astounded! I for one cannot wait for book 2!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book yet? Are you looking forward to reading it! What are your favourite books that have themes in mental health? Bonus if they’re fantasy!

*Link to a master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

June Wrap-Up & July TBR | I still don’t have my copy of Mexican Gothic…

Greetings readers!

I hope you find yourselves doing well. June was quite a month and we are now half way through the year. I hope you’re taking some time to rest, but also keep up with the movements across the globe.

As you have read in the title, I am still waiting for my copy of Mexican Gothic to arrive, which is very disappointing. I thought pre-ordering would get me my book on time but alas here we are. In the mean time, I’ll happily enjoy some of the other books awaiting to be read by me!

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What Rendz Read

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega e-📘 (4/5) Review
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena 📘 (ARC) (5/5)
How Long Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin e-📘 (4/5) Review
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary 🎧 (4/5) Review
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann  e-📘 (4/5) Review
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert e-📘 (4/5) Review
PET by Akwaeke Emezi 🎧 (4/5) Review

7 books in total! A little less than initially desired and as usual I didn’t complete my planned TBR since my mood took over. But I’ll allow it since it was much needed change.

Highlight Book(s): Hunted by the Sky was just as incredible as I was hoping! I was also super in love with Dani Brown! So looking forward to the next book!

Lowliest Book(s): None this month! They were all pretty high ratings!

The Haul

WELL I CERTAINLY DIDN’T GET MY COPY OF MEXICAN GOTHIC!

ARCs

The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson
The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen
Lobizona by Romina Garber
Category Five by Ann Davila Cardinal
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

Giveaway win!
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Other Going Ons

Keep up the momentum

News cycles move on, but it’s important to stay in the loop! Keep on signing, learning and donating what you can! ❤

Link to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe

Half-way through my summer course! 

This also consequently means that I’m closer to the end of the summer and beginning of my next fall term, but we celebrate the small victories!

Posts of the Month

Tune & Title Tuesdays

June 2, 2020

It’s MEXICAN GOTHIC release day + Tune & Title Tuesday! So we are going to celebrate!

MEXICAN GOTHIC

The Court of Miracles | Review // When the last quarter saves you

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Hunted by the Sky | Blog Tour Review // Socks? They’ve been knocked off!

Hunted_by_the_Sky-Twitter

The Hercules Book Tag

BOOK TAG!

Books by Black Authors to Read Today, Tomorrow and To the End of Our Days | A Shelf Audit & a Promise to do better

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TBR

I really do want to stick to this plan as best as possible so wish me luck!

  1. Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
  2. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
  3. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (Buddy read w/ Natalie @thefineartofreading)
  4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  5. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  6. The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

And whatever other library books I get in the mean time!

Ambitious much? Absolutely. So I’m asking you all to send me some good vibes so I can actually get through these all!


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

**Link to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe**

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Court of Miracles | Review // When the last quarter saves you

Greetings readers!

Thank you to the author for providing me with a digital copy of her book in exchange for an honest review!

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Knopf
Goodreads

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie).

When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.


A Prelude for my lack of knowledge

I would like to start off by saying that I think I would have had a deeper and more profound appreciation of this book if I had read/watched Les Misérables and or The Jungle Book before diving into this one.

Um but not having any knowledge of these stories shouldn’t feel so…essential when reading and yet here I am feeling like I missed half the point of the story because I don’t know who Eponine is from the original story and how anything that she goes through in this book is extraordinary. sigh

Okay onto the review…

The characters were just there…

Someone, anyone please tell me if Nina had a personality because frankly I couldn’t find one. Like she seeks vengeance on the people who hurt her and I’m like yesssssssss vengeance, but there’s nothing else to her. Nothing. She was just a notorious thief and so amazing and everybody was like omg you are amazing and she’s like yes I am and I was like girl give me something! anything? Like what’s your favourite colour. Wrong question because it is obviously black since she is THE Black Cat, best thief, mastermind, can do no wrong. She trampled every obstacle! I just found nothing substantial beyond her need for vengeance. She was so distant from the story despite being the voice of the story itself. Does that make any sense!?

As for the rest of the cast. I can’t say I have a favourite. I can’t say I remember many names. Maybe the Ghost Lord just because he was so mysterious and the father-ish figure to the MCs.

The Experience in four parts…

Part one was a doozy. The first part was a bombardment of information that I was literally so lost. So lost. And by the end of it all I think I understood about half of it. There were so many names to remember. So many houses to keep track of. I know that there were guides at the beginning of the book and it’s my fault that I never referenced them again. But should I have to keep going back to remember everyone? Nonetheless, it was a lot of information to take in within the first few chapters.

I will say though that learning about The Court of Miracles was a very interesting. (I didn’t know it was an actual thing, until I googled it after reading.) It had a rich history, with so many interesting characters (that I wished we had delved into more). I liked the sense of found family found among these different guilds. I won’t lie though some-most were pretty shady, some more shady than others: you know if you know. It was a really dynamic setting, despite the fact that it took me most of the book to understand.

Then comes part two and I’m kind of like okay I sort of understand what’s going on. I was wondering about the time jump we did because the math wasn’t really making sense, but then I was able to wrap my head around it.

Then comes part three and I started getting impatient, it was time to get this show on the road. Um but I don’t remember many things happening. Just a lot of planning and planning. Basically part 2 & 3 were blurs of information. It was all build-up and build-up and could get quite tedious to get through.

Then part four came to save this book from being a one-star review. It was pretty good. Like really really good. More on that below.

The times jumps are what really messed me up. From what I remember there was no actual distinction of time, like no year or date. (Or maybe there were? Oh dear… Don’t quote me, it might be different in the finished copy) It was just so confusing because I thought she was a teen at the very beginning and it turns out she is only 9!?!? There were no real explanations for them other than the author wanting to explore this story from the very beginning instead of doing flashbacks. I can’t say it was that effective.

My slow-ass brain. I took me until part 3 to make the connection to The Tiger and honestly I’m more disappointed in myself because hello the book was literally citing The Jungle Book before every part!

We’re gonna talk romance for just a second because it is super background-ish. But y’all. There are like three dudes into her and again I question it because personality-wise Nina is just angry and again while that’s not a bad thing, there was nothing else substantial about her in my eyes. Anyways she’s got 3 dudes into and OF COURSE the one I like seems like he’s the one she might like back BUT I bet he’s the one that will a) betray her or b) die.

o-o

Anyways.

The Way the last 30% of this book saved me!!! We love to see it! 

I was worried for the longest time, friends. Nothing seemed to be really gripping me and while we were making plans and plans and plans, nothing was getting done until finally things started moving!!! I was very much into the secret planning going on. The deception was g r e a t. The aristocratic court life was a little less upfront than I had hoped, but the politics were very fun to read about!

It was super intense because all that build up from the first 70% finally came crashing down. There was so much happening, but it wasn’t confusing at all. The political intrigue was high with so many views clashing and so many needs to be met. It’s a book about the oppressed rising up and clamouring for justice. The resemblances to the modern context are not lost on me.

In the end, the choices that Nina had to make were difficult, but she was unapologetic about it. THERE WAS A REALLY GREAT TWIST. I actually didn’t see it coming and I appreciate it! She had one goal since the very beginning and she achieved it. Will it have serious repercussions for her…oh yesss and that’s what the sequel is for.


Overall, I didn’t have a great time with this book. I struggled mainly due to my lack of knowledge and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the very slow pacing and build-up of the first three quarters. The book had great promise, but it just didn’t grip my attention enough.

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Um well I wasn’t a big fan of it, but maybe fans of Les Mis or the Jungle Book will find something more substantial to the book.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Do you find it necessary to know background story of comp titles before diving into a new story? Has the ending of a story ever saved it from being a DNF or one-star review?

*Link to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Hunted by the Sky | Blog Tour Review // Socks? They’ve been knocked off!

Greetings readers!

Welcome to the final tour stop for Tanaz Bhathena’s newest release: HUNTED BY THE SKY! I couldn’t have been more excited for today’s post! I am very pleased to be part of the blog tour for this amazing story that I am sure will knock your socks off, like it did to me!

Many thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for sending me an ARC!

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

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

Pub Date: June 23rd, 2020
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Goodreads

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.


The Likes

We have to talk about this world because I was absolutely in love with every part of it. Inspired by medieval India and Persian myth, this world had so much to offer in terms of magic and mayhem! I found the apartheid-of-sorts between the magical and non-magical folks to be really interesting. Even though it’s not a good thing, it was a great exploration of class struggle. There were myths and magical people and creatures of many kinds. There was a variety of magical powers and hierarchies. There was a sisterhood (I love sisterhoods!!). There was an evil king. There were ghosts. There was definitely some divine intervention going on there! And of course there was a PROPHECY!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so incredibly magical! And I loved that this book explored its horizons as well. It wasn’t focused solely on the one kingdom, but stretched itself into other territories too and the politics that connected them! It was just incredible overall.

These characters were phenomenal! First we have Gul, this fiery, hot-headed and snarky heroine whose only goal is revenge! I loved that she was so passionate and dedicated to her cause. That’s not to say that she was perfect, oh no siree! Gul is very much set on this one path and not seeing the effects around her leads her into lots of trouble, on top of the fact that she doesn’t exactly think every plan through. But she was a quick-thinker, a cunning magi and an angry bean that I couldn’t help but love!

Then there is Cavas who is—huhhh—who is JUST THE SOFTEST BEAN EVER! I related a lot to him in that he was just trying to get by and avoid being threatened by the more powerful and ruthless magi! He was so incredible! I loved everything about him. He cared deeply for his family and friends (the few that they were). I liked that even though he was quiet and tried to stay under the radar he was so brave and just as determined as Gul! He had some messy family history and it was so heart-breaking, but my boy gets through it all. Gul may have been the chosen one from the prophecy, but I loved that Cavas is an integral part to the success of this story!

Other characters…oh my there were many and I loved them all. (Yes, this review will basically be me saying that I love it all) There were so many personalities to be had. From the sisterhood to the scary/creepy magi-guard to the elusive king. There was even a certain prince that I have to say got on my nerves but is hmmmm well I guess I should say he got more interesting at the end.

With regards to the magic system, I am very much in love with it. It’s not limited to a number of choices since powers are unique to the person (which is something I love to read about)! Gul had the ability to communicate with animals–which is freaking cool if I do say so myself! I also loved that we got to see her grow into her magic. She was not the most adept magi in this book, which gives us this great chance to explore a YA heroine that has to work hard to make it. And then the end comes and things gets *revealed*  and I just know that stuff is going to go down and it is going to be gooood!

The pacing of this story was great. There was bang from the start and then it is a descent into this magical adventure for vengeance! That’s not to say this is only a fast-paced adventure left right and centre, Tanaz did an amazing job of slowing down the game without losing that momentum! It was just a fun ride overall. There were some amazing twists that pop out of no where and some that you anticipate and are so excited for when you get to them!

And now we have to talk about this romance! Because !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First of all let us take in this ship dynamic. The smol angry bean with the soft cinnamon roll boy. The way that they meet!!!!! I just–I—*I need a moment* It was just so AMAZING! They had sizzling chemistry and yet were at each others necks too because well…they both are experts at saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment. Not to mention **other factors** that get in the way of my plans for this ultimate ship! That being said, I love them and am committed to the end!

The ending. Ahh the ending. I saw it coming and yet I didn’t because it didn’t happen exactly how I thought it would, so thankfully there was still a pleasant surprise! It is cliffhangery, but also perfectly sums up the book while setting you up for the next one! Safe to say I am very much looking forward to book two and all the drama we will have to go through!


Overall, I am so in love with this story. It promises a high stakes-revenge seeking-romantic-magical-adventure and it 100% delivers. Tanaz did an amazing job of creating this incredible world with these brilliant characters that are positively going to leave you begging for more!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Oh yes, absolutely!

Be sure to buy the book and enter your receipt into Tanaz’s Summer Hunt Promotion that is running right now!

SUMMER HUNT Promotion_FBTwitter

Let me know what you think! Have you thought of picking up this book? If you could be blessed with a super power what would you choose?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Books by Black Authors to Read Today, Tomorrow and To the End of Our Days | A Shelf Audit & a Promise to do better

Greetings readers!

With the Black Lives Matter movement creating waves of awareness across the world right now, a lot of us non-Black folk have been asked to think critically about how and what we read and so that is what I’m doing today.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am a great diverse reader. Because I’m not. I’m a slacker and having looked at my shelves and Instagram feed I see a lack of Black experiences. Now more than ever we need to start changing. This isn’t a pledge for a month, or a year or for now. This is a pledge for a life time. To yes think about the race of the author and consciously pick up books by Black authors from all kinds of backgrounds, to read them and review them.

Before I start, I want to leave a link here to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe. From donating to signing petitions to educating yourself about what is happening right now, it is all in this link. For those who can’t donate (like me) because of financial difficulty, there are several YouTube videos you can stream that will donate all ad-funds accumulated to different foundations supporting BLM. Do what you can to help! We, as non-Black folk, need to keep up the momentum of the fight because if we are promising change we need to stick to that promise.


The Audit

Between the months of January and May 2020 I have read 51 Books.
White: 32 ~ 63%
Black: 6 ~12%
Latinx: 10 ~20%
Asian: 3 ~ 6%
Indigenous: 0

Among the approximately  285 books I own:
White: 198 ~70%
Black: 10 ~ 4%
Latinx: 24 ~ 8%
Asian: 48 ~17%
Indigenous: 2 ~ 0.7%

Yup the numbers are staggering. I really thought I was a decent diverse reader, but as you can see I’m not nearly good enough. Which means that there is only room for improvement and change, which starts now and basically never ends.

To help me (and you), I’ve created a list of books by Black authors I most definitely want to read in the (near) future. I know that I won’t get to them all by the end of the year, but reading Black-authored books doesn’t stop when 2020 ends. It needs to keep going and having this list will help me look back at all the options I have whenever I’m looking for something.

NOTE: I realize didn’t include a selection of anti-racism reads on this post. I wanted to mainly focus on fictional books about Black joy and magic etc. but this doc has a great list for beginners!!

ANOTHER NOTE: I also know that my Indigenous reads are also *severely* lacking and I intend to do something about it too. I plan on making a comprehensive list of books by Indigenous authors that I want to read as well and I will share it once I have it together!

On My Shelves Right Now
– Because it’s best to start with what you have –

1

Row 1:
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Row 2:
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Phillipe
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Middle Grade

2

Row 1:
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Row 2:
Ghost
by Jason Reynolds
King and the Dragon Flies by Kacen Callender
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson

Young Adult

3

Row 1:
Truly, Madly, Royally by Debbie Rigaud
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
Slay by Brittney Morris
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Row 2:
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
If it Makes you Happy by Claire Kann

Romance

4

Row 1:
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

Row 2:
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

6

Row 1:
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Row 2:
Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo
King of the Rising by Kacen Callender
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Afro-Latinx 

5

Row 1:
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Dear Haiti, Love Elaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite

Row 2:
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Oculta by Maya Motayne
American Street by Ibi Motayne
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Other Things To Do To Show Your Support!

  • Support your local Black-owned book store (google it!)
  • If you read Black-authored books, review them on Goodreads & retail sites
    • Tip: Round .5 ratings up on GR (bc that’s what we’re supposed to do anyways)
  • Remember that ARCs about/by BIPOC should go to BIPOC bloggers first
  • Request anticipated books by Black authors at your library
  • As you read books about racism/anti-racism remember to also read books about Black joy
  • Remember that this is a long-term commitment. Keep track of what you’re reading and remember to diversify your shelves!

*more here @tae_keller*

I’m not here to preach to you because Lord knows I’m not very adequate at doing so. I made this post mostly to call myself out and get my act together. But I do ask that you actually look at the books on your shelves, in your shopping carts, on your TBR list and think about who you are missing.

And when you do your audit and see your disparaging numbers…feel the shame, feel the guilt but don’t let it consume you. Pick yourself up, promise to do better and actually do better.

It’s a long road ahead of us and we all need to do our part to better the world around us! Including our reading world!

Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these books? How are you planning on diversifying your shelves? What are some Black books you are looking forward to reading? Anybody up for a buddy for the books on my shelf?

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

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