Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #12: My Top 15 Anticipated April Book Releases

I thought this was going to be a nice, cheery, colorful and happy post about 15 books that I CAN’T wait to be released for April.
But….as I started adding each book on to my list…
….it started turning
super sad and dismal.

I love it.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

~* My 15 Anticipated April Book Releases *~

 

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1. White Rose by Kip Wilson

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

White Rose

White Rose reflects on the life of Sophie Scholl, who was a young German anti-Nazi activist born in 1921 and who died in 1943. This book documents her time in the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group, and the eventual capture of her and her brother as they were convicted of treason.

I don’t know about you, but i have a hardcore fascination for anything WWII. This sounds like an AMAZING story, and thankfully I received an ARC of it from Edelweiss!!

 

2. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Smoke and Key

I am SO STOKED for this release!

If you don’t know Kelsey Sutton, YOU NEED TO.

She comes up with these intricate and creative plot ideas, blends it with detailed characters and settings, and just turns you into a bumbling blathering bandicoot.

For example:

In Smoke and Key a girl wakes up in this dark, cold underground place with no idea of where she is or how she got there. Around her neck is a Key, the only clue to her identity. She comes across a boy named Smoke, who explains the she is dead and has fallen out of her grave into “Under“, a place filled with inhabitants who are named after the items they carry. “Under” is creepy, filled with secrets, and downright gritty.

Sounds trippy, right?

I JUST pre-ordered Smoke and Key on Wednesday, so I am SO excited to receive it on the release day…because it sounds…

 

3. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Wicked Saints.jpg

So apparently, Wicked Saints follows two characters, Nadya and Serefin. Nadya is a cleric (priest/religious leader) with magical powers and is being hunted by Serefin, a Prince who is also a mage.  It is described as a Gothic tale full of secrets, bloodshed, treachery and callousness.

Psh…sign me up.

 

4. Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: Adult/Fiction/Feminism

Women Talking.jpg

Women Talking is for the mature reader, due to acts of rape and physical/mental abuse.

It is the story of eight Mennonite women meeting in secret to share their horrific stories of abuse that has reached more than a hundred girls. It is the story of how the men in their colony have drugged and raped them, and how the women come together to decide if they should stay or leave.

This sounds like it’s going to be a difficult read to get through, but due to it being based on a true story, I definitely want to give it the attention it deserves.

 

5. We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo

Release Date: April 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

We are Blood and Thunder.jpg

This is the story of two young women who must come together in order to break a spell that has brought a cloud of disease and devastation of Duke’s City. For years the city has been sealed off from the rest of the world, not allowing anyone in or out.

After Lena is accused of being a Mage, she fights to escape the city, just as a young women named Constance, tries to get back in. Together the women must work together in order to save the city and the people within.

I love a Fantasy story, especially one that involves two badass women who save the day…hopefully.

 

6. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

Release Date: April 4, 2019
Genre: Ya/Fantasy

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe.jpg

The story of a seventeen-year-old captain of a mining ship seeks revenge on the River Raiders who robbed her two years prior.

Though the story sounds like a Pirates of the Caribbean type of tale, it centers more on grief, redemption, forgiveness and the path to find one’s self. It follow Poe as she tries to come to terms with her past, while also embarking on an exhilarating adventure.

 

7. The Last by Hanna Jameson

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

The Last 1.jpg

The Last is described as a tale that combines a “nuclear apocalypse and murder mystery“. Now if that doesn’t grab your psychotic attention, I don’t know what will.

It starts with a man named Jon arriving at a hotel in Switzerland. Whilst there, news reports come flooding in of a nuclear attack on major cities. As hotel guests begin to flee, only twenty guests remain at the hotel, and Jon tells the reader of their story.  As the world is crumbling around them, with little knowledge of what is actually going on in the world, a young girl is found dead.

I received this title from Netgalley, and am really intrigued by the premise of this story. I think it is either going to turn out to be INCREDIBLE, or a dud…but we shall see!

 

 

 8. How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

How to Make Friends with the Dark.jpg

Ahhhhhhhhhh chit!

We’re gunna cry during this one guys!

How to make Friends with the Dark is the story of Tiger after she loses her mother. We follow her as she deals with her loss, is put through foster care, and tries to navigate a world where she now feels lonely and isolated.

This book has a TON of amazing reviews on Goodreads praising the writing and story. Just makes sure you grab a box of tissues and a fuzzy blanket before settling into this one.

 

9. The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Mystery

The Lost History of Dreams.jpg

A Gothic ghost story with a chilling mystery, YES please!

The Lost History of Dreams is the story of Hugh De Bonne, and his wife and muse Ada. After Hugh dies suddenly, his cousin Robert Highstead, a post-mortem photographer, is called on to transport Hugh’s remains for burial. But when the niece of Ada comes forward to recount the truth of Hugh and Ada’s marriage, a secret begins to emerge.

It sounds creepy, it sounds spooky, and it sounds like it’s right up my “Forever Halloween Season” alley.

 

10. The Dream Peddler by Martine Fournier Watson

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

The Dream Peddler.jpg

Geezus, this post is just dripping in grieving characters and sadness, isn’t it?!?!

Well, here’s another one.

Robert Owens is a traveling salesman in the business of selling dreams. After the disappearance of a young boy rocks a small town into shock and grief, Robert begins to use his magic to help the inhabitants. But despite his effort to help, some of his dealing turn disastrous.

This author had me at “selling dreams“.

 

11. Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Mystery

Dreaming Darkly.jpg

Another Gothic Mystery/Thriller, because the April Book Gods have answered my little gothy prayers!

Ivy has just been shipped off to Darkhaven to live with her rich uncle following the death of her strange and abusive mother. As Ivy begins to adjust to her new life, she starts to uncover some well-hidden family secrets. Secrets that have her waking up from nightmares. But when one nightmare causes her to wake up covered in blood, she starts to realize that maybe there was a reason behind her mother’s crazed behavior.

SPOOKY!

 

12. Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Feminism

girls on the Vergs

Ahh…a good old fashioned girls road trip!

Except this road trip consists of two best friends and a girl they barely know…to get…an abortion.

On the same night that Camille learns she has been accepted into a prestigious theater program, she also learns that she is pregnant. Felling like she has no other option, she decides to get an abortion. With nobody to turn to, as her best friend disagrees with her decision, she reaches out to a girl from the theater to accompany her.

This book documents a woman’s right to choose, and the strength it takes to go against social expectations.

 

13. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: YA/Retelling/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The Raven's Tale

I JUST mentioned this last week in my Binding of Bindings: Top Ten Retellings of 2019 post last week, so we might as well give it some more promotion, right?!

The Raven’s Tale is a retelling/adaptation of the early life of famed poet Edgar Allen Poe. It is the story of his need to escape his home life, the love of his life, and the Muse that falls into his life. It sounds like it is going to be a beautifully haunting tale, which is perfect for any Edgar Allen Poe lover!

 

14. Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Last girl Lied To.jpg

Last Girl Lied To is an emotional thriller about the disappearance of Trixie, and her best friend Fionas’ search to find her.

Though Trixies’ death was ruled a suicide, Fiona thinks that Trixie is actually alive. As Fiona hunts for clues as to what may have caused her friend to leave, she begins to realize that the friend she thought she knew may have been a complete stranger.

 

15. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Release Date: April 24, 2019
Genre: Poetry

Shout.jpg

An anticipated release for months, April is finally making our wants and desires come true.

Twenty years ago, Laurie Halse Anderson released her book Speak, the story of a young girl who is the victim of rape. Still a favorite and an incredibly important story that has been shared across the world, Anderson still can’t fathom how rape culture still exists.

In Shout, Anderson has compiled countless stories, moments from her life, and poetry that is a love letter to every person who fights to rid our culture of sexual abuse.

THIS is the one we have all been waiting for.

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Keep those beautiful heads up, those eyes reading, and remember to stay witchy! XoXo

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Alarum (Walking Shadows, Book 1) by Talis Jones

Alarum

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Talis Jones, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Dystopian/Fantasy

Plot: I fled as they destroyed my home.
I watched as they murdered my family.
I stood silent as they stole my name and threw my life in chains.

I stare coldly at my fading reflection with only one question to ask:
Them or Me?

Set in a future where the United States has fallen, a girl is ripped from her home as a child and forced to endure the harshness around her or else surrender to the dust of bones she treads on. Her life becomes simple: kill or be killed. What she didn’t count on was the heavy cost this world would drain from her soul. When she crosses paths with a curious stranger who offers to show her a place without a map, they head across the crumbling land in search of the fabled Sanctuary. Neither enemies nor elements that rip her hair and claw at her heels can stand in the way of her will to survive.

They say demons lurk in the shadows, but here they strut boldly under the angry sun.

Opinion:

What started out as a coming-of-age story in a lawless dystopian land;

ripe with casual murders, children being trained as soldiers and slaves, and the occasional back-stab

…turned rather suddenly into a story that, quick and silent as a wraith, may have just crumbled my feelings into dust.

My hearthurts.

“Never trust strangers, unless you’re on death’s row anyway in which case you’ve got nothing to lose, Hero advised.”

After the collapse of the world that we know, a girl of many names is thrust into a time of lawlessness and endless miles of desert. Trained as a young child in skills to be made a soldier or slave in a place called the Coral, Flinch is taught the ways of fighting cruelly and self-preservation. As a teen, she is called Vizsla, and sold to a man named Hans to work as a slave at his homestead in Alabama.  But when a man in need of a blacksmiths’ skills arrives at the homestead, he takes an interest in Vizsla and makes an offer to buy her. With her new companion named Connors, Vizsla is given a new name, and given back her freedom. So ensues the tale of a girl with many names, and her journey to keep a promise that she made as a child.

I wasn’t equipped for this world. I had a vial of adrenaline and a knapsack of dreams and with every year that blew by another hope was plucked from my pockets, pinched from my purse, slipped from my bag. When my last hope was ripped from my rib cage I fell to my knees deflated and empty.”

This story is gritty.

You’re going to feel your lungs fill with dirt, your skin bubble under the angry sun, and your heart begin to turn to cold hard steal.

Alarum begins in the United States after it has fallen to harsh climate changes and the anger of the sun. The cities and towns have been decimated, flattened or completely wiped out. The population has dropped significantly, and only the strong and cunning survive. This world is lawless and unforgiving, where every man is out for themselves.

“Funny thing about this world, when it shifted and twisted it blew gales of sand in storms more powerful than anything our nation had seen before. Whole cities torn down, entire landscapes scraped flat, and all because of a lethal combination of wind, fire and earth, all set into chaos by some fool unknown.”

Though there isn’t an exact explanation of how the U.S. is destroyed, due to our main character being a young child during its demise, I found that the lack of explanation made the story feel so much more authentic. The reader is given just enough information on the subject to enjoy the story, and honestly, who really cares how it happened. Right?

Our main character is, like I said above, a girl of many names. We meet her as Vizsla, formerly called Flinch, afterwards called Kid, eventually called Fury, and another name that was given before all others. As a young child she endures gruesome deaths, brutal fights of survival, and a harsh realization that things will never again be easy. I found her character to be EVERYTHING that I could hope to be if the world ever crumbled: resilient, strong, sassy, capable and methodical. I instantly was fond of her character and became incredibly protective of her. Though I knew she could take care of herself, I kept finding my heart race and skip when something horrible would happen to her.

But probably the best trait of Fury is her perpetual affinity for snarky one-liners and sarcastic retorts.

“These glasses are worth more to me than gold.

He nods towards my dirt-smudged lenses. ‘I trust you’ve got a backup pair somewhere?’

‘Yep.’

Connors squints at my face. ‘Liar.’

‘I don’t see why you say that, Connors. This is the damn end of the world, there are prescription glasses galore and I always make sure to carry a plethora of options at all times to coordinate with all my outfits.’”

This story follows Fury as she lives in the present, growing through the years, but also switches back to moments of her past. I really liked the switches between past and present in this story, because it gave me an amazing amount of information on Fury and how she lives up to her fierce name. Instead of the author TELLING me all about her past, the reader is immersed in those moments with the main character. I felt every bit of anger, sadness, disgust, terror, and happiness that she felt! Countless other characters were entwined in this story, and each given the care and consideration of being developed well. There are characters that you will hate, ones that you will love, and multiple you wish you had more time with.

I did have a few qualms with the story, by way of some moments not being fully explained or rushed over too quickly. Alarum moves fast. This book covers a TON of ground in its 422 pages, so it would be VERY hard for your attention to wander or for you to lose interest. But because it moves so quickly, I found there were a few moments that I had to go back and read again due to its quick pace. I found myself getting slightly confused in parts of the story by innuendos or confusing descriptions, but nothing that deters from the plot or makes the story hard to get through.

I think the true selling point on Alarum comes down to the writing. Talis Jones has an alluring way with words. She describes EVERYTHING in so much detail, with so much feeling, that you get swept away in the tale that she so elegantly lays before you. She does everything I am so un-used to by authors. Her sentences are LONG. Her characters have the substance of someone who is both enlightened and cursed. She has characters fall in love, but the ROMANCE DOESN’T TAKE OVER THE STORY! She introduces key characters throughout the book, and she even kills off the one’s you’ll grow attached to.

This book was everything I have always wanted in a YA Dystopian styled western.

I am officially hooked on Talis Jones and her stories, and I fully expect you all to be as well.

“Self-preservation makes demands on your body and I refuse to lay down and ignore the call.”

 

4-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · TBR

Binding of Bindings #11: 10 Book Retellings of 2019

It’s a gloomy and rainy Friday morning peeking in through my windows, so why not start it off with a few creeps and critters?

Just a couple gritty tales, some sinister characters…maybe a murder or five.

A plain stepsister living in a world of outer beauty, maidens and beasts, a poet with a love and a muse, witches and magic, and a young girl with a penchant for falling down rabbit holes.

These may sound familiar, and that’s because they are! These are the tales from your childhood, twisted and molded, poked and prodded. Some may seem lighthearted, but most of them aren’t. 😉

10 Book Retellings of 2019

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1. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Book #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Now Available

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is the first book in the series of the same name, and was released in January. I have seen this book making the rounds on Goodreads and Bookstagram, so I think it’s safe to say that this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a winner.

The story follows Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, and Harper Lucy, a young girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. Prince Rhen has been cursed by an enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year repeatedly, only ceasing if a young girl can fall for him. Harper has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but never lets that deter her from what she does or wants. Eventually Harper finds herself in Rhen’s lands and so begins the tale of breaking the curse that we all know and love.

I have yet to read this amazing story, but I have heard nothing but fantastic things about it. Now as I am writing this, I have the undying urge to go watch the Disney movies!

 

2. Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) by Crystal Smith
Now Available

Bloodleaf

I just reviewed Bloodleaf last week, and though it wasn’t my favorite YA Fantasy story, I am also not joined by the masses in my opinion.

Bloodleaf is a retelling of The Goose Girl but with a few extra magical twists. In this story, like the goose girl, a princess is forced to travel to a neighboring kingdom in order to be wed to its prince. Along the way, the princess is tricked and her place is taken by the maid who now possess as the princess in order to marry the prince.

This rendition has more magic and extra characters, but for me, moved a bit too fast. It felt like things were rushed over too quickly, especially when this is planned to be a series. However, I did enjoy the creative route the author went with this classic tale.

(See my review here)

 

3. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Now Available

Echo North

Echo North is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but a more common comparison would be Beauty and the Beast. It was released in January and has a plethora of amazing reviews.

The story is about Echo Alkaev who comes across her fathers half-frozen body in the forest after he had disappeared six months prior. But guarding her father’s body is a talking wolf, one that she remembers from her childhood as attacking her. The wolf then gives Echo an offer she can’t refuse, if she lives with him for a year then he will ensure her fathers safety.

This tale seems like a darker retelling of the story we all know, but one I can’t help but find incredibly intriguing. One Echo moves to the house of the wolf, she learns that each room must be sewn together in order for the house to stay one. The description gives hints that there are countless secrets and mysteries laying behind each door, and it sounds like it is going to be a WILD tale.

 

4. The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Now Available

The Cold is in Her Bones

The Medusa retelling you didn’t know you needed, and the book for all you beautiful Slytherins out there!

Milla spends her days doing chores and never leaving her home, though she has no idea why. But when the arrival of a family comes to live beside her home, she meets the first girl her own age that tells her of a curse. The curse comes to young women in the village, and one of demonic possession.

This story touches on many aspects like practicing kindness, not judging others for differences, and friendship and loyalty. It is a STRANGE story, but one that is so original and unique. I LOVED it and truly recommend it to anyone that is tired of reading the same tales over and over.

(See my review here)

 

5. Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Amber R. Duell
Now Available

Dream Keeper

Dream Keeper was another less than inspiring read for me this year, but also another unique twist on a classic fairytale.

This story is all about the Sandman and the weaver of nightmares. It follows a girl named Nora who has been meeting the Sandman in her dreams for the last five years. One day she meets a strange new boy at her work and then suddenly, her boss is found dead. As a series of strange deaths start happening around Nora, she realizes that living nightmares are what is causing these deaths…and that she may be the reason.

I had a lot of issues with this story, which was disappointing because I loved the concept. Things weren’t fully explained and the reader gets dropped right into the middle of the story, so it can be tough to read at points. BUT, I do recommend trying it for yourself JUST for the fact that it is a retelling on the Sandman, which I haven’t seen done before.

(See my review here)

 

6. Enchantée (Book #1) by Gita Trelease
Now Available

Enchantee

Enchantée is an absolute DREAM of a story about magic, Versailles, sneaky courtiers and romance.

It is set in Paris in 1789, where Camille Durbonne is forced to use la magie at Versailles to turn cards in order to provide for her and her sister. Camille has the ability to turn bits of metal into money, but it is only a temporary transformation. In dire need of funds to pay for their rent, Camille beings turning cards with her magic at the tables held in the palace of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

This story is to DIE for! I am still sitting in a corner pouting because I can’t enjoy these beautiful gowns, extravagant gardens and the exuberance of Versailles!

(See my review here)

 

7. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Stepsister

Stepsister is the story of the ugly stepsister of Cinderella who cuts off her toes in order to fit into the glass slipper.

Isabelle has tried her entire life to measure up the beauty and sweetness of Cinderella, chopping away pieces of herself in order to become something of desire for others. Surrounded by those who value beauty above all, she feels pushed down and set aside.

I am SO excited to read this retelling of Cinderella because it is all about empowerment, perseverance and self-love. This sounds like it is going to be an uplifting story about confidence and strength, so I can’t wait!

 

8. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Release Date: August 6, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows

The anticipation is KILLING me!!!

House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. If unfamiliar, it is a story of twelve sisters (princesses) who are locked into their rooms at night by the king. But each morning, the dancing shoes of each princess are seen to have been worn. The secret is the girls sneak out each night through a trap door in dancing gowns and shoes, staying up all night twirling around in another castle.

But in THIS retelling, everything is a bit darker and more sinister.

Annaleigh lives in a manor by the sea with her once 12 sisters, father and stepmother. But four of the sisters have died by supposed accidents, though the villagers believe it to be a curse on the family. So when Annaleigh finds that her sisters have been sneaking out at night to go dancing, she can’t help but think that this may be a connection to the deaths of her sisters.

 

9. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
Release Date: April 16, 2019

The Raven's Tale

The Raven’s Tale is a retelling/adaptation of the early life of famed poet Edgar Allen Poe. It is the story of his need to escape his home life, the love of his life, and the Muse that falls into his life. It sounds like it is going to be a beautifully haunting tale, which is perfect for any Edgar Allen Poe lover!

 

10. Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay
Release Date: August 1, 2019

Ever Alice

An Alice in Wonderland retelling, JUST what you asked for!

This Alice story takes a darker route and places our beloved main character in an insane asylum for her silly talks of Wonderland. In order to leave the asylum, Alice must undergo an experimental procedure, one that she knows very little about. But at the last moment Alice escapes and follows the white rabbit back to Wonderland where she is now stuck with the Queen of Hearts.

Supposedly there is love, scandal, attempted (maybe actual) murder and a whole host of strange happenings in this rendition…and I CAN’T WAIT!

 

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As always my dear readers, stay witchy!!

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Simon and Schuster

Book Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks (Book #1) by SuzanneYoung

Girls with Sharp Sticks
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster: Simon Pulse, for an honest review.
Genre: YA/Fiction

Plot: The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Opinion:

Girls with Sharp Sticks is a YA Fiction with a message that is most certainly, non-fiction.

You’re not leaving here without a few stab wounds to your heart and soul, so get those bandages ready.

Innovations Academy breeds obedient, beautiful girls. They are taught to set a table in Modern Manners, how to speak and act formally in Social Graces Etiquette, to keep their figures in Running Course, and to never accuse a man of inappropriate behavior in Modesty and Decorum – for that would be worse than any crime! As graduation nears for the girls at Innovations Academy, they are primped and put on display for their parents and sponsors in order to find the “perfect opportunity through success”. The girls need only listen to the men and Professors at the academy, for they have their best interests at heart, and they know best.

“Too much thinking is bad for your looks”.

But when the sudden departure of one of the girls becomes know to the students of Innovations Academy, Philomena and her closest friends can’t let it go. As they search for answers to why their dear friend left, Mena starts to notice strange things from the men she so easily trusts and respects. Strange glances, lingering hands, comments and commands laced with possessive entitlement. It isn’t until the girls band together that they finally open their eyes and see, that their lives may not be exactly what they think.

“They’ve trained you not to believe what you’re told by others. You have to come to it on your own. I can’t wake you, Philomena.”

“Wake up.”

Girls with Sharp Sticks is everything your feminist heart has been looking for in a YA series.

It guides you into a building of structure and poise with a gentle tug on your arm, sits you at a table of love and respect with the smiles of every girl you see…

…all the while shredding your heart and leaving you feeling dirty, violated and used.

If you start to feel nauseous while reading, it’s because you can relate to some part of this.

The first thing that needs to be mentioned about this book, is the girls of Innovations Academy. They are pure innocence, inner beauty and kindness. They possess an amount of compassion so big your heart will seize, and you will care for them so deeply that you’ll feel as if a part of YOU has been endangered or hurt.

Because these girls are all of us.

They are light and happiness, delicate and resilient. They are unfiltered contagious smiles, and the sisters you always needed.

These girls are everything.

Therefore, it pains me to express how horrible these wonderful girls are treated. They are belittled by their teachers, taken advantage of by their guardians, thrown around like ragdolls, and told that what is best for them is to stay quiet and obedient. They are trained to be the perfect girls. Intelligent, modest, pure, compliant, and above all, beautiful and always put together. They are put on display at Open Houses where the girls can mingle with their parents, investors or sponsors in the hopes that they will be “purchased” for their exceptional looks and demeanor after graduation. For these girls, being pleasant and following the rules is of the utmost importance. Their worst fear is disappointing their parents or the staff at Innovations Academy.

This story has been created so intricately and worded so perfectly throughout, that it makes it SO hard to express the magnificence of it without giving away key details. I am incredibly impressed with how flawlessly Suzanne Young has woven this story into one with countless twists and dangers. The writing is breathtaking. It gives Mena and the girls HUGE voices and personalities that make them impossible to forget. There is an intricate balance of purity and grit throughout the story. It makes you want to latch on to every good fleeting moment, and wish that you could take a pill to forget the horrors.

An author having the ability to make me feel so sick after reading a book, is…an amazing gift to possess.

It’s almost impossible for me to focus while typing this, because I feel as if I was right next to these girls as they learned what their purpose really is. Where their friend really went. And it’s…devastating. The author has pulled out the inner child deep inside me and has both comforted and hurt her. She’s cut a hole in my stomach and sealed it back up with dirt and scotch tape. I am ravaged. I am stripped raw and laid bare.

I wish I could say more, because I feel like I need someone…ANYONE…to pour my heart out to about the tragic beauty that this book is. The story kept me hooked and addicted the entire time, pushing me to find the answers and to know what was happening at this elusive academy. The teachers were terrifying and sadistic, the investors even worse. But even though there was an overwhelming theme of possessive males forcibly overpowering what they thought was THEIRS, there is a bigger theme of strength and resilience. The message to RISE UP and fight for yourself and others is such an incredibly profound message that NEEDS to be screamed.

I can’t thank Suzanne Young enough for that.

With that said, I really cannot say anything more. I know this is vague by way of plot, but you would hate it if I told you more than this. All I can say, is YOU MUST READ THIS. It is The Handmaid’s Tale for the young adult and for every female who has felt frightened or overpowered. Your heart will thank you later for giving it this. I promise.

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #10: 18 Female Authors You’ve Probably Never Heard of

Friday may be the Binding of Bindings day, but Women Day is EVERY day!
LADIES!
Put those stomping boots and heels on, push the hair out of your face and don’t even bother to look like anything other than the complete BADASS that you are!
We’re stepping out of the shadows and landing SMACK dab in the middle of the book hierarchy!

We came to obliterate the competition with style and flawlessness.
We came to show these guys JUST how we do things!

These women take no prisoners, get the job done THEMSELVES, and DEFINITELY don’t need any Heroes to save them.
Welcome to the Sheroes!

Step aside lads, the women are taking over this post.

18 Badass Female Authors

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1. Maggy Farrell

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Guilt Trip is a YA/Adult Paranormal Suspense story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Melissa. After surviving in a car accident where her mother perished, she travels with her father to the English countryside on holiday.

Strange things start to happen by way of a woman screaming for help, and unexpected visions. But let me tell you one thing about this story, you will NOT expect what happens. If you love a good blindside, read this story!

You won’t be disappointed!

(See my review here)

 

2. Angie Grigaliunas

Are you guys tired of me talking about this series yet?

Too bad.

This series just might be everything your feminist heart desires…or…despises?

It follows two sisters who live in a place where Hulcondans rule over the people as their protectors, but also use their power as a means to get what they want. For Rabreah, the Hulcondans are corrupt and need to be taken down. But for Ariliah, they are who she trusts without a doubt.

This series is AMAZING and one i have become utterly obsessed with! These two female characters transform into strong and fierce characters who you will fall in love with. There is danger, murder and a TON of mind games.

Though I think Angie Grigaliunas is trying to kill me with this series, I still love her.

(See my review for book 1 here and book 2 here)

 

3. C.L. Clark

C.L. Clark is one of the first authors I had the pleasure of working with!

She has a knack for the ghostly Thriller/Suspense stories, and knows just how to pull the reader in and keep them interested until the last page.

Opening the Veil is about a young woman named Cassie as she delves into her new talent of being able to speak to spirits. But then she discovers that a paranormal entity is using her neighbor as a puppet while it goes on a killing spree. The series continues with A Brighter Light and tracks Cassie as she learns to hone her abilities and help spirits move on.

I have not yet read Staring Into Darkness, but it is on my TBR list and I am excited to get to it! It is a collection of ghost mysteries that promise to give a little spook and a lot of thrill!

(See my review for Opening the Veil here)

 

4. T.L. Schaefer

T.L. Schaefer has MANY books, so I am just going to give you the covers of the four that I know the best.

The C.A.S.I. series, Behind Blue Eyes and Shoot to Thrill, are a few favorites of mine that I read some odd years ago. It follows crime-scene photographer Sara Convington as she tracks a serial killer and works to catch him before his next killing. The series is SO exciting and there is even a little romance involved, if you like that sort of thing.

The C.A.S.I series is a great suspense thriller with a badass female lead. There’s just NOTHING better than a woman that is intelligent and can kick some ass!

(See my review for book 1 here and book 2 here)

5. H.A. Leuschel

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H.A. Leuschel is the QUEEN of combining psychology and fiction short stories!

Her book Manipulated Lives has five stories that each showcase how people can be manipulated by others and how to deal with it. These stories touch on abuse, narcissism, overbearing parents, first love, and even friendship and acceptance.

This collection is so beautiful and breathtaking. You will read through it so fast, but try to savor every story and every moment!

(See my review here)

 

6. Kathleen Valenti

Did you guys see my review for As Directed?

It was…SPECTACULAR!

This author writes in a way that is just perfectly dramatic and snarky, it feels like poetry for the reader that loves when sentences are explained in creative ways rather than just saying someone turned around and breathed.

I was given As Directed in exchange for a review, and yes, it is book three in the series. I HAVEN’T read books one or two, but I am most definitely planning on doing so.

As I said in my review, Kathleen Valenti is my new favorite suspense/mystery/thriller writer.

(See my review for As Directed here)

 

7. Talis Jones

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Okay…I haven’t read this yet…

But don’t you judge me!

I was gifted this story by Talis Jones in exchange for an honest review, and i am hoping to make it my next read. It’s got the dystopian/wild-wild-west vibes and is set in the future after the U.S. has fallen. It follows a girl as she tries to navigate this new world…and that’s honestly all I know.

This one is REALLY shrouded in mystery, but I am really liking that aspect of it. It seems like MANY writers are leaving their book descriptions vague, but that just makes them more alluring. I can’t wait to find out what happens, and judging from a few Goodreads reviews, some unexpected things are going to take place!

8. Meg Anne

The Chosen series is a Paranormal Fantasy about a girl named Helena who is plucked from her simple life and told she is the prophesized ruler of the Chosen, those who are blessed with magic and powers.

I have read the first book in the series and have the next three on my long, long list of books. Helena is a fierce, badass female lead who you will absolutely fall for. The best part is, she turns into this fearsome demonic all-powerful queen.

Um….to die for!

(See my review for Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

9. Rebecca L. Carpenter

I JUST mentioned Butterfly Bones in my YA Reads for the Young YA post last week, but i am still going to mention it again!

Rebecca Carpenter has come up with SUCH a unique and beautiful concept for these books, and i can’t believe more people don’t know about them! The Metamorphosis series is about a ril named Bethany who was born with a rare bone disorder that keeps her body from growing. Though she is a teenager, she physically looks like a child. The story is about how her father is trying to find a cure for her by using butterfly hormones, and how Bethany goes through social situations with her condition.

Though this story sounds like a Fiction/YA/Contemporary…it is…but it isn’t.

It transforms into this beautiful fantasy story that is both heartbreaking and sweet.

Do your inner child a favor and read these.

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

10. T.S. Pettibone

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T.S. Pettibone is the pen name for identical twin sisters Bittany and Nicole. Together they wrote the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Hatred Day series, and is set in 2052. Hatred Day marks the day when Earth was inhabited by an alien race that eventually lead to an environmental uproar. As an Inborn, Snofrid and her people are enslaved by the alien race, but worst of all, she wakes up with her memories stolen.

The first book in the series was AMAZING and I have been patiently waiting for the release of book two. I am not sure when it will be released, but i am hoping it will be soon. The Pettibone sisters possess such creative minds to come up with this world, and i thank them SO much!

  If you are as obsessed with this cover, and with a post-apocalyptic style of world where everyone is in gas masks, please read this.

(See my review here)

 

11. Cyndy Drew Etler

Ready for something heavy?

The Dead Inside is a true story about author Cyndy Etler’s experience in a “tough love” camp run by Straight, Inc. The camps were drug rehabilitation centers for troubled and out-of-control youths, and were extremely popular during between the late 70’s and early 90’s. Many of the children and young adults brought to these camps weren’t even on drugs, but were sent there because their parents didn’t have any way of dealing with them.

The experiences in these camps were both horrendous and shocking. Countless reports of physical and mental abuse have been reported during and since the closure of the camps, which can be found at http://survivingstraightinc.com/

The Dead Inside is Cyndy’s story of her time in one of these camps, and We Can’t Be Friends is the story of her struggles in society and her own mind after being released. It is almost unfathomable to know that this story is true, but I am so grateful to have been able to read it.

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

12. Kelsey Sutton

Gardenia is another great story that barely anyone has heard of, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!

The reason I love Kelsey Sutton is because she is gifted with a mind that comes up with the most CREATIVE ideas for books, see below:

Main Character Ivy has the ability to see the “countdown clocks” over everyone’s head, which indicated when that person will die. Though she has tried to save lives, she has never been successful and her own impending death is just on the horizon. But then girls start disappearing, and everyone begins to pint the finger at Ivy.

Now, I have not read Smoke and Key, Some Quiet Place or Where Silence Gathers, but I LITERALLY just put them on my TBR list because I just now came across them.

Smoke and Key is about a girl that awakens in the dark to learn that she is dead, has fallen from her grave and now resides in a place called Under. With no recollection of who she is or what happened to her, she tries to find a way out.

Some Quiet Place and When Silence Gathers is an interesting spin on emotions. Elizabeth doesn’t feel emotions, she seems them in human forms. None of the emotions can touch her, except Fear, who is her constant tormentor.

I’m a lover of anything dark and grim, and I think we can agree that Kelsey Sutton is too. If you share this strange deathly love with us, I highly recommend these books.

(See my review for Gardenia here)

 

13. Elizabeth Langston

I Wish is an adorable story about a girl who is forced to provide for her family and bring money in, with very little time for herself or to be a teenager. One day she comes across a music box at a flea market, and out of the box comes a genie willing to grant her one wish each day for a month.

It is a sweet and innocent story of friendship, strength, romance and doing what is right. A great story for all ages, and one all of us can relate to. I mean come one, who wouldn’t want to come across a genie?!

(See my review for Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

 

14. C.J. Anaya

The Prophecy series!!!

A series that starts out in modern times and goes back to 1000 A.D. There are gods, tyrannical rulers, and magic galore!

Hope starts out as a teenage girl in present times in book one, and by books 2-4 she learns that her previous life was lived as a Princess of the Kagami Empire. Her father was a cruel ruler that used her healing powers for selfish purposes. The story goes through both of her lives and the demonic threats that plague both.

It’s a fantasy series with a lot of romance, and a lot of action. It’s like a new-age Mulan/Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon story.

(See my review for Book 1 here, Book 2 here, Book 3 here and book 4 here)

 

15. Mary G. Thompson

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Flicker and Mist is set in a world where some people can Flicker, become invisible in an instant, but not without great threat against their life. Myra learned of her ability as a child, and since then her parents fought to keep her ability a secret. Because is a Flickerkin is discovered in New Heart City, they can be put to death.

I am ALWAYS looking for a story that is different and creative by way of plot and concept, and Flicker and Mist is one of those stories! It is so creative and exciting to read, and a story I wish I could fall into because my dream superpower is to become invisible at will!

(See my review here)

 

16. Elsie Chapman

DID YOU READ ALONG THE INDIGO YET?!

I have been ranting and raving about it for months now!

You know the one I’m talking about. Where people go to commit suicide, where a girl skims their bodies for money and valuables, and the one where said girl lives in a boarding house for woman who serve Johns.

Dreamy, right?

(See my review here)

The Dualed books are ones I have seen around, but haven’t gotten to read yet.

In this series every person has a genetic alternate, and one they must kill by their twentieth birthday in order to live. West thinks that she is the superior Alt until tragedy strikes, then she begins to question her very existence.

 

17. Stacey Marie Brown

THIS is the Big Kahuna of the Paranormal Romance books!

This series has magic, werewolves, faeries, goblins, demons and Dark Dwellers. Which is what our main character Ember is. After being thrown out of her school for accidentally causing an explosion, Ember is sent to a facility for troubled teens. There she learns who she really is, and which world she actually belongs in.

It’s like Twilight, if Twilight was written better and wasn’t so mushy.

This series is a MATURE YA/Adult series, so fair warning!

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

18. Claire Warner

Amber Sky is the first book in the C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass dystopian/steampunk series. It is about a girl that is thrust into court life after making a deal in order to save her family from starvation. It has been featured MANY times on my blog and is one I cannot wait to continue…if the next book ever comes out..

(See my review for Book 1 here)

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You know the deal ladies, stay witchy and keep on being a badass!

 

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) by Crystal Smith

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

Opinion:

Bloodleaf.

A Retelling.

Witches, Magic, Royals, Murder.

Two Kingdoms. One Arranged Marriage.

And a really big wall.

So……..

is that it?

Bloodleaf is a retelling of “The Goose Girl” and tracks Princess Aurelia as she is forced to travel from her kingdom of Renalt to the kingdom of Achleva, after she is accused of being a witch. With an arranged marriage set between Aurelia and the sick prince of Achleva, Aurelia moves towards her set future with only duty propelling her forward. But when members of her entourage turn on her and attempt an assassination, Aurelia finds that a girl in her traveling party has taken her place and has entered Achleva disguised as the Princess, with her younger brother, the Prince, in tow. Alone and starving, Aurelia must try to make her way into Achleva to make things right and save her brother. But a run-in with a young man named Zan, and the threat of the wall of Achleva being shattered, Aurelia must decide if she should cower or use her powers to protect.

Bloodleaf isn’t terrible.

I actually found it to be a semi-enjoyable and quick read. But it’s never a good sign when reading a book, that you begin to feel like…you’re just reading a book. Especially when said book is in the fantasy genre and promises magic, witches, poison and bloodshed. When I see “fantasy” next to a book, I know to expect a story and world that I would sell every possession I own to be in. I’m a hopeless dreamer and romantic, so I obviously look for books that will reflect the things that I cannot just physically manifest with a snap of my fingers (i.e. fae, magic, witches, royals, rebellion that actually works).

With that said, Bloodleaf had a ton of great qualities…but the continuous theme of rushed scenes, lax explanations, and a romance that feels rather out of nowhere, has left me feeling rather disappointed. The story started out great, pulling me in with the promise of death and an ever-fascinating, yet depressing, witch hunt. But as the story continues, I am left feeling like there were gaping holes begging to be filled, and several opportunities missed to envelop the reader into this magical world.

Seeing as how this is supposed to be a series, I am left REALLY confused as to why things were skipped over or so hurriedly explained? The author could have taken the time to allow me to connect with the characters and learn about them, rather than just give me a watery reflection of who they are. The plot felt rushed, the villain was overly obvious, and it just left a bland taste in my mouth. This story had SO much potential, but it fell incredibly flat for me and left me annoyed because it only needed some slight tweaking to be AMAZING.

I found Aurelia to be a decent character, but her development was incomplete. She grew up in a kingdom where witches are hunted and magic is kept secret, especially her own. But when she is in Achleva and beginning to use her magic and control it, it seems like one moment she has no handle on it and then the next she just knows what she’s doing.

 

I kept feeling like she was just materializing into this character the author wanted her to blossom into, without there being any represented moments or time of her doing so. SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME! She came across as a character who could have developed more and been given a bit more substance, because she just ended up one-dimensional and simplistic. In regards to Zan, he was slightly better off in the creative department, but still didn’t meet the potential of what he could have been. He was witty, charming, sarcastic and slightly arrogant (which I loved), but there also wasn’t enough put into molding his character. ESPECIALLY when it came to the romance between Aurelia and Zan! The relationship made me feel so confused and flustered because of how forced it was. At one point they are just regular ol’ chums, and the next they are madly in love?!?!?! Can I just get a little romance build, please?!

Overall the story started off strong, but it just wasn’t tied together as much as I would have liked. It isn’t a horrible book and I think most of you will enjoy it, but it isn’t up there with ACOTAR or The Folk of the Air books by way of how the story builds and unfolds, or the characters. I would say that this is probably one of those stories you just have to try for yourself, because I think there will be a lot of mixed opinions on it. I just know that for me, Bloodleaf twas a dud.

3-stars

 

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Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Takeover Tour · The Parliament House Press

Takeover Tour: Soul Seekers: Under the Big Top by Alice J. Black

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Publisher: The Parliament House
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Book Title: Under the Big Top
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Series: Soul Seekers: Book #7
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Author: Alice J. Black
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Back on another grand Hump Day for another Takeover Tour! This week I have once again partnered up with the Parliament Press to bring you the 7th book in the Soul Seekers series, Under the Big Top!

Soul Seekers is a Paranormal Fantasy series that follows Payton, a young woman who can speak to the dead. The series takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride hunting demons and spirits, with a little romance entwined.

It was released on Monday, March 11, 2019, so you can get your copy now!

But be sure to enter the giveaway for the chance to win a ALL 7 E-books in the series! (See below)

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Book Synopsis

Peyton is called on a new case for her business, Soul Seekers—this one with a snooty council worker who doesn’t believe in her paranormal abilities. Yet as Peyton dares to cross the barrier between the real world and the funfair that closed down all those years ago, she finds it’s a battle that she can’t handle on her own…

As she and her friends battle the furious spirit housed under the big top, it’s a race against time as the temperature rises.

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Social Media Tags:
Instagram: @alicejblack , @theparliamentpress
Facebook: The Parliament House
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The Tour wide GIVEAWAY:

Head over to Bookstagram to enter!

Find @theparliamentpress and click on the link in their bio to enter.

Prize: 1 person will win ALL 7 ebooks in the Soul Seekers series!

Rules: MUST be following @theparliamentpress@alicejblack and @jenacidebybibliophile (yours truly!)

 

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