Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · JKS Communications · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery #3) by Kathleen Valenti

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, JKS Communications, on behalf of the author, Kathleen Valenti, for an honest review.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Plot: In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore. But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more. The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune. As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

Opinion:

There I lay.

In my bottomless pit of book misery, with barely a flicker of light left to guide me out…barely a glimmer of hope simmering in my half-glass empty outlook.

A place where I succumbed to the endless flimsy writings of lackadaisical descriptions and characters. A position of easily hypothesized conclusions and plot directions.

A pungent prairie of bloodcurdling eye-rolls and overly dramatic sighs of “OH, COME ON!”.

BUT THEN

out of NOWHERE.

I was WRENCHED from my abyss of sorrow and boredom, dropped into the witty palms of Kathleen Valenti, and delivered to the pages of snarky writing and perfectly dramatic depictions.

AT LAST!

I have been brought forth from the book depths of hell!

I can finally go on.

Maggie O’Malley has just her career as a pharmacy technician at Petrosian’s Pillbox, but things aren’t starting out so well. Maggie literally trips over the unconscious body of a Petrosian’s customer in one of the drugstore aisles, with an assumed heart attack being the cause of his fall. But when two more customers are found unconscious, Maggie and the officials start to suspect foul play. When it leaks that there may be a string of poisonings affecting customers, the drugstore is shut down until further notice while an investigation is conducted. But Maggie decides to take matters into her own hands by searching for clues as to who may be cause. With a young girl with leukemia and her mother being some of the victims, and a seedy reporter with dubious intentions, Maggie must work quickly to find out what’s happening. But a blast from her past will only make things more difficult, and more dangerous.

Kathleen Valenti is my new favorite suspense/thriller writer.

This lady just GETS it.

Too many times have I been forced (forced is a strong word, but I live for the dramatics) to endure the blasé characters who were meant to be relatable, but were really just annoying and overly love-obsessed like a young Aphrodite in a Twilight spin-off. Too long, have I guessed the killer before half the book was read, or fell asleep before then! *Sigh*…too many times have I dreaded the reading of a mystery story for the fear that it would turn out more sex-driven, and less who-done-it.

As Directed, is none of those things. This book was FANTASTIC, kept me reading into the late hours of the night, and is the reason for my disheveled appearance today. It was so good that my copy of the book is filled with colorful tabs of witty conversations and descriptions that I just COULDN’T get enough of. As I started reading the prologue, I knew this story was going to be a gem. In fact, I knew it in the first four sentences.

“Claudia Warren took too long to die.

She should have been dead when her lungs stopped inflating, when her brain stopped communicating with the rest of her body. But her heart kept beating, even as her cells began to necrotize and the blood pooled in her muscles.

Claudia couldn’t even die right.”

I found myself smirking the entire time I read because of the cheekiness in this authors writing. She has a purely refreshing gift for the dramatics, and she writes with an eloquence that exudes a facetious banter that literally makes you snort with pleasure. She has such a comical and fresh way with words, and she turns every mediocre action of a character into a sentence of poetic bliss!

“Brock crossed the street and looked over his shoulder. Maggie sank against the doorway of an apartment building, melting into shadow guarded by two cement lions. She held her breath as Brock studied the dark, reading the gloom like tea leaves, then released a slow stream of carbon dioxide as he resumed his trek.”

The character of Maggie is incredibly relatable and a woman I wouldn’t mind stalking…in books, obviously. She has gusto, a formidable sense of right and wrong, and literally has NO FEARS when it comes to danger. This girl reminds me a nosy and sarcastic blonde we all know and love, Miss Veronica Mars.

BUT what Maggie lacks in constant witty one-liners, her fiancé Constantine MORE than makes up for it. His repertoire of clichés and metaphors like “birds of a felonious feather” or “strangers on the train in D Minor” are TO DIE FOR, but his constant state of happy-go-lucky is really what makes me adore his character.

“They didn’t need to make a plan. The didn’t need to discuss. Like twins separated at birth, Maggie and Constantine were tied by an invisible umbilicus that united mind and spirit, sensing what the other knew, experiencing what the other felt. It was a connection that had guided them through a baptism of fire. It also came in handy while playing Pictionary.

But maybe the BEST aspect of these two characters is the fact that their love isn’t being shoved down our throats and out our eye sockets. The author portrays moments of love and care between the two, gives evidence of their strong connection, but doesn’t drown the reader in too much lovey-dovey. This story focuses on the PLOT, not the LOVE…and I couldn’t be more thankful. I could tell their romance is a “friends first” type of love, and it really comes across strongly while reading.

But the real gem of this story, is the plot.

The author took me through a lengthy maze of suspects and clues, possible outcomes and plausible reasons for who the culprit could be. But as soon as I felt like I was on the scent, Kathleen snuck in a trail of Reese’s Pieces at the edge of the scene to distract me and lead me in a new direction! Very sneaky. What I appreciated most about this story though, was the countless layers that were created to mold this tale into a formidable thriller tale. It wasn’t just a one-dimensional story of a killer with a grudge. There were side-stories that added dramatic effect, and minor characters that had minor roles, but who played a major part in diverting attention and/or crafting a brilliant synopsis. I really couldn’t ask for more out of a suspense/mystery/thriller.

Did I mention that I haven’t even read the first two books in this series?

That’s right, I haven’t.

But the story flowed so well, and cleared up moments from Maggie’s past that I got by just fine without them. Though of course, now I’ve been hooked and MUST go back and read them! Sly Kathleen, very sly.

5-stars

 

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Blogging Awards · Book Tag · Books · New Releases

The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

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Merry Meet my loves!
Big hugs and thanks to Amber from Step Into a Book World for nominating me in The Sunshine Blogger Award, SO long ago! I am finally catching up on my awards and tags, and I think this nomination was from 2017!
This is my second nomination, WOOT WOOT, and I am SO excited for a new set of questions! So let’s get this going!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
-Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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Amber’s Questions
1. What is your favorite book relationship?

UGH!

Rhysand and Feyre, Cardan and Jude, Rowen and Aelin and Rowan.

Look. I like a magical relationship where there are threats on both characters lives constantly, and where some cataclysmic s**t goes down.

I like turmoil okay? I can’t help it.

2. Who is your favorite minor character in a book series? 

Seamus Finnigan!!

3. Would you rather read only book series or a stand-alone?

If I had to choose between the two, I would say a series. I read a lot of Fantasy books,and I think they are done the best when the author has more than enough pages and books to unravel characters and stories. There’s nothing worse than a rushed story.

4. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

5. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I read Six of Crows and finished it, but I wasn’t overly obsessed with it or DYING to read book two. I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of the characters, so I probably won’t ever get around to continuing.

6. What is your favorite TV series?

The Handmaid’s Tale and The OA are…AMAZING.

But you know who will always be on top?

7. What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

Chaol from Throne of Glass!! He annoy me to now end, and I cannot stand the poor guy. It was INCREDIBLY hard for me to get through Tower of Dawn because of it.

8. What the name of a popular series that you have no interest in reading?

Game of Thrones and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I guess it’s more like “books I could read, but probably won’t ever read”. I tried watching the Game of Thrones show, and just could NOT get passed the first episode. I read Six of Crows, and really wasn’t crazy impressed with it. So I think that may be hindering my want to read any other of Leigh Bardugo’s books.

9. What movie adaptation did you like better than the book?

I have been sitting here for a good 10 minutes racking my brain, and I can’t think of one! I usually like the books more, partly because I am so weird about characters feeling authentic and the acting NEEDS to be flawless. If I can forget that I’m watching a movie, then it’s brilliant.

I think the Harry Potter movies could come close to being better than the books, but still…not really.

10. If you could have any book(s) coming in 2018 right now, what would it be?

So this question originally said 2018, but it’s 2019 now so I will go with this year releases!

I am REALLY looking forward to these upcoming releases!

Last Girl Lied To is a mystery/thriller about the disappearance of a girl and her friends hunt to find out what happened.

Girls on the Verge is labeled YA/Contemporary/Feminism story about a young woman and two friends traveling to across states, with the end goal being an abortion. Sounds a little strange I know, but also very appealing.

The Lost History of Dreams is a Historical Fiction/Mystery with Gothic tones and probably really sinister outcomes. It is the story of the confessions of a muse about the relationship between a poet and his wife.

The Raven’s Tale is a Fantasy Retelling of our dearly beloved Edgar Allan Poe. Enough said right?

11. What is a book(s) villain that you couldn’t help but love?

Malfoy and Voldemort, obviously.

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My Questions:
1. Where do you buy your books? Discount shops, Bookoutlet, your local bookstore?
2. Which book(s) lit you heart on fire and turned it to a pile of ash?
3. What is your favorite book genre to read?
4. Which books started out as required reading for school, but turned out to be a favorite?
5. Which character(s) do you wish would exit stage left and never return to the story?
6. What is your favorite read of 2019 so far?
7. If you could live with any character, who would it be?
8. Speaking of living spaces, what book world would you live in?
9. If you were placed in a school that trained you to be a Hero or Villain, would you be trained for Good or for Evil?
10. I wish it was still Fall, so what is your favorite spooky fall read?
11. Since this is the SUNSHINE award, what is your favorite summer read?

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My Tags:

~ Monika at Monika’s Books ~

~ Alejandra at Appraised Fiction ~

~ Way To Fantasy ~

~ Amanda at Once Upon A Book Dream ~

~ Raven at Dreamy Addictions ~

~ BookZone ~

~ Blair at Feed The Crime ~

~ Heidi at BookLoverBlogs ~

~ Maryam at The Road Less Read ~

~ Amy at Bookish Heights ~

~ Hannah at The Bookworm’s Feast ~

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #9: The YA Reads for the Young YA

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Today

is a day of innocence.

Of care-free smiles, child-like bliss, and a moment

Stop pretending to work, stop doing those dishes!

For the LOVE of BOOKS, STOP taking yourself SO SERIOUSLY!

For today is a day for the child in our hearts, the teens we once were, and the young readers around us.

Here we get to act ridiculous, make silly faces, let our minds run wild and be nothing but everything that we dream of. Today I bring you:

The YA Reads for the Young YA

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1. Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis #1) by Rebecca L. Carpenter

Butterfly Bones

Though a…strange read, Butterfly Bones is a four-leaf clover in a meadow of California Poppy’s and daffodils.

It is about a teenage girl with a rare bone disorder that physically gives her the size and build of a ten-year-old child. As an infant she was told that she wasn’t going to make it, but she somehow defied the odds. This story follows Bethany as she navigates through high school and is subjected to ridicule and bullying for her appearance.

But the special aspect of this story comes from the work that Bethany’s father has diligently been working on for years, in which he tests the butterfly hormone on Bethany in the hopes that it will treat her disorder.

This story starts out with a contemporary/coming-of-age vibe, but blossoms into a beautiful and touching sci-fi/fantasy before your eyes.

I haven’t yet read book 2, but hope to get to it SOON!

(See my review here)

 

2. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped

If you guys saw my “Love is in the Book Air” post, you will have already heard me gushing and fawning over Flipped.

It is a contemporary romance and a coming-of-age story that switches narrative between two characters, Bryce and Juli. Juli has been in love with Bryce since he moved in next door when they were children, and Bryce has only wished for Juli to just leave him alone.

This is SUCH a sweet and innocent story of two characters with different beliefs and personalities growing up together. It has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid, and I adore every aspect of it.

Plus, there’s a movie!

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3. One Deed Dude by Robert Pence

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Robert Pence is one of the first authors to send my books for review when I first started out, and I am SO glad that he shared his two works with me.

The first of which being One Deed Dude.

This story is witty, creative and absolutely unique in every sense of the word. I believe I had started out my review of this book with “This book is so random, but in the best possible way“.

The story follows Otis who is cursed to only do one good deed a day after accidentally killing a gypsy boy-scout. Enraged by the accident, the mother of the gypsy boy-scout curses Otis to only be able to perform one good deed a day or else suffer terrible living nightmares.

But the concept for this book isn’t the only thing SPECTACULAR about this story. As Otis attempts to complete his daily good deed, he comes across other characters with curses SO ridiculous and comical, you won’t be able to help being completely charmed.

(See my review here)

 

4. Otherworld by Evan Ronan

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Evan Ronan.

What COULDN’T I say about this author?!

His Eddie McCloskey series were the FIRST books I was sent to review, and for that he has a special place in my book heart! BUT the reason I will ALWAYS and FOREVER accept any book for review from Mr. Ronan is because of his writing and creativity.

Otherworld is Evan’s first attempt at a YA story, and let me tell you…

He positively crushed it.

This story is BURSTING at the SEAMS with imagination, childhood adventures and pure bliss! It follows Aoife, a young girl with endless bouts of imagination and creativity. So much so, that her imaginary world she created in her head is actually possible for her to enter. And she must. Because her neighbor, Mr. Peterson, has begun stealing the imaginations of others in order to recapture his past.

Otherworld is one of the best young YA stories I have ever read, precisely because of the ability the author has to truly capture the voice, thoughts and minds of these children. There is a talking recycling bin named AL and “Leg Giants” which are literally giant legs with arms!

Its a world ANY child would want to get lost in, and one that I wish I could travel to!

(See my review here)

 

5. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Another book that was mentioned in my “Love is in the Book Air” post, and another great YA romance.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is about Steffi, a selective mute, and Rhys, a boy who is deaf. This story follows the two characters as they meet in school, and quickly form a bond over their isolation form their peers due to the uniqueness to each of their situations. The two quickly form a friendship through sign language, and it eventually turns into a beautiful and gentle romance that you’ll want to cherish forever.

This story is SO clever and gives the reader a NEW and DIFFERENT plot with characters you’ll instantly fall in love with!

(See my review here)

 

6. CUL8R Time Travel series by Bob Kat

 

The CUL8R series is a great middle-grade set of books about friendship and time travel, with a TON of adventure.

After moving to Florida to live with her aunt, Kelly quickly sparks a friendship with her smart next door neighbor and his quarterback best friend. The three new friends eventually come across an invention in Kelly’s garage called the Telephone to the Dead, which allows them to communicate to ghosts. After hearing the pleas for help from a young girl, Scott invents a time traveling so that the three can go back in time and help.

This series is PACKED with adventures and takes the reader through different parts of time so they can assist someone in need. It is a great series that will warm your heart, make you want to lend a helping hand, and just get you positively PSYCHED about science-fiction!

(See my review of book 1 here)

 

7. Stargirl (Stargirl #1) by Jerry Spinelli

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THIS is one of the earliest books I remember reading as a kid, and one of the most special! This story is about the yearning to be accepted for one’s self and originality, in the midst of popularity and social pressure to conform.

At Mica Area High School, Leo has learned to stay hidden and to not stand out. But with the arrival of Stargirl, the dynamic in this high school begins to shift. At first the students are taken with Stargirl and praise her unique look and personality, but just as quickly, she is shunned and put down for her uniqueness.

Stargirl is an amazing a breathtaking story with a message to ALWAYS be yourself, no matter what anyone says or thinks. It is the ESSENCE of a story that any young YA should read for its message, and for the pure pleasure that it brings.

 

8. Thump Squash by Robert Pence

Thump Squash

Another young YA by Robert Pence, and another clever tale!

Thump Squash is the tale of a creature who kidnaps children and chops off their feet. After the disappearance of eleven-year-old Billy, his friends go on the hunt to find Thump Squash and get billy back.

Though it sounds like it may be gruesome, it is a wonderful mystery/suspense for children and teens. It is the perfect who-done-it with relatable characters, funny moments and some very witty writing.

It’s almost like a Goosebumps story that won’t leave you with nightmares!

(See my review here)

 

9. Holes (Holes #1) by Louis Sachar

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HOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!

The true obsession of my childhood.

At first a forced reading for school, but soon…a deep love and admiration. And the movie being SO amazing definitely didn’t sway my enthusiasm for these characters.

Stanley Yelnats believes the men in his family are cursed, why else would he have been sent to Camp Green Lake? There isn’t even a lake! After Stanley is unjustly caught stealing, he is sentenced to the camp in order to “build character“, by way of digging holes. But soon Stanley realizes that the boys at Camp Green Lake aren’t just digging holes to “build character“, and that the truth behind the curse on his family may be at the bottom of a hole.

If you haven’t had the immense pleasure of reading Holes or watching the movie, YOU NEED TO GET ON IT! This story is fantastic for anyone of any age, and is SUCH a treat! I have watched this movie a million times, and will continue to watch it a million more.

 

10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting

We might as well start crying together now.

Tuck Everlasting. *Sigh*…this story is everything.

I read this in fourth grade right before the movie came out, and my teacher was so AWESOME that he took our entire class to go see it. You go Mr. Huberty!

This is a story of a family who will live forever due to drinking from a magical spring, and a young girl who happens upon the youngest son of the family while he drank from it. It is a tale of romance, but most importantly, a story of choice: to live forever or to simply live.

Another story great for all ages, and one with a fantastic and beautiful message to be present and live for now. Again, there’s also a movie to look forward to after reading! So hurry, hurry!

 

11. Hatchet (Brian’s Saga #1) by Gary Paulsen

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This was the first book I remember getting assigned in elementary school, and is definitely the most celebrated book on my list. It is an adventure story that can be placed right next to Call of the Wild, but for the younger audiences.

The story follows Brian as he becomes stranded in the forest after a plane crash, and as he learns to fend for himself and stay alive. This story will make the reader ask themselves if they could survive in the wild, and will most definitely spark the need to learn a few things.

It is a great story of perseverance, determination and courage. Fantastic for any age reader and a story that will keep you enthralled and connected to the main character.

 

12. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

Enders Game

The last of my school book recommendations, but still one of my ABSOLUTE favorites.

I remember this was on my summer required reading list before going into my Freshman year of high school, and let me tell you…I was NOT excited to read this.

I had never read a science-fiction story up to that point, and had no need or yearning to. AT ALL. I remember complaining to my mother that it was a “boy book” and that I would NEVER be able to get through it.

Oh the agony!!!! THE UNFAIRNESS of it ALL!

But, I’m not too proud to say that my preconceived notions about this book were dead wrong…because it is AMAZING!

This story is set sometime in the future and when aliens arrive on earth to eradicate it and every soul on it. But the military has a plan. They train young kids to defeat the enemy, and Ender is recruited at the age of six. So ensues Ender’s journey to save planet Earth. It is an exciting read and one that will spark the sci-fi interest in any reader.

Annndddd there’s a movie! Winner winner!

 

13. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events barely even needs an explanation.

We all know the obsession.

So of course, it MUST be mentioned in my Young YA Reads because there is almost nothing better than this seriesexcept maybe a more cheerful series.

And Harry Potter.

Maybe.

The series is exactly what you think, it is a set of books about truly unfortunate and downright ghastly events! Three orphans are tossed from caretaker to caretaker whilst trying to discover the events surround their parents mysterious death, and of course avoiding the evil Count Olaf. Though this series does get rather dark, it is highly enjoyable and creative.

There was one movie made of it with Jim Carey, that I really liked but was never continued. BUT there is also the Netflix series of it as well!

 

14. The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani

 

I bought this series two years ago, but have yet to read them. I was instantly drawn to them by those BEAUTIFUL covers, and of course the synopsis.

The series is about a school that trains ordinary boys and girls to be villains and heroes. It is the story of how two best friends arrive at the School for Good & Evil to be trained in their assumed roles. Sophie who is charming and bubbly, and Agatha who flows in dark colors and detests everyone thought they knew exactly which schools they would be going to, until their roles suddenly get reversed.

It sounds like a truly fun and witty story, and I hope I can make time to read it soon!

 

15. A Moon in Your Lunch Box by Michael Spooner

A Moon in your Lunchbox

My mother bought this for me when I was still tiny and dripping in innocence. It was my first book of poetry, and a HILARIOUS one at that.

This book is a great way to start any child on poetry, and might even be helpful to them in school. I personally took a poem out of here for a class assignment in 3rd grade, and my classmates LOVED it SO MUCH that they made me bring it in so my teacher could read us one poem a day.

I WISH I had the book on me to show you the poem I chose, but alas, it is safe in storage somewhere.

It had something to do with mashing up a banana and pouring your Pepsi on it.

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Here we are, the end of innocence road.

How do you feel?

Nostalgic? Warm and Fuzzy?

Good.

Because next week, that probably won’t be the case.

Stay witchy!

 

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

Takeover Tour: Lanterns in the Sky by P.S. Malcom

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Publisher: The Parliament House
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Book Title: Lanterns in the Sky
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Series: (Book 1) The Starlight Chronicles
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Author: P.S. Malcolm

Happy Hump Day and Takeover Tour for the newest book by P.S. Malcolm, Lanterns in the Sky. I have partnered up with the amazing Parliament Press to bring you this wonderful story about a star falling from the sky and knocking a poor girl out cold!

Intrigued?!

I bet you are!

Lanterns in the Sky is the the first book in the Starlight Chronicles and is a YA story of magic, romance and a few royals (which you guys KNOW I love)! It was just released yesterday, so if you want to grab your copy then click here

But be sure to enter the giveaway for the chance to win a free physical copy of Lanterns in the Sky (US only) or a free digital ebook copy (for international). — See Below! —

Lanterns in the Sky

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Book Synopsis

Everything was normal for Lucy Maisfer until the day a star fell from the sky and knocked her out. Upon waking, she comes face-to-face with Jason Woods, who also happens to be the mysterious new guy in her best friend, Valarie’s, life.

Then the strange dreams begin, and she learns about the Starlight Princess— who must not under any circumstance be reawakened. Driven to uncover the meaning of it, she finds herself caught up in a strange twist of events that eventually lead to bigger danger than she ever anticipated. Before long, Lucy is forced to make a choice between saving the world, or saving her best friend; only to discover that Valarie cannot be saved… that she has an even darker secret, and that her supposed star-crossed romance with Jason might not be so destined after all…

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Social Media Tags:
Instagram: @p.s.malcolm , @theparliamentpress
Twitter: @PaganMalcolm , @parliamentbooks
Facebook: The Parliament House
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The Tour wide GIVEAWAY:

Head over to Bookstagram!

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

Prize: free physical copy of Lanterns in the Sky (US only) or a free digital ebook copy (for international).

Rules: MUST be following @theparliamentpress , @p.s.malcolm and @jenacidebybibliophile (yours truly!)

 

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

We Set The Dark on Fire

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Harper Collins, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fiction/LGBT

Plot: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

Opinion:

I cannot tell you guys how excited I was to receive an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss+!

SO excited.

So, when I started actually reading, I realized…maybe, this isn’t exactly what I imagined it to be.

But naturally, I kept reading

And reading

And…reading

*Sigh*

This was ALMOST my first DNF book of 2019.

Daniela’s family sacrificed everything they had to give her a better life. In a world where men are the hierarchy and are sold two wives to prosper and be happy, there is a school for girls where such women are educated and molded. As a Primera, Daniela is made into a wife that is both strong and intelligent. One that is cunning and to be used as the right-hand for her future husband. It is a life of calculated sentences, practiced facial expressions, and complete modesty and structure. But when Daniela is forced into making a deal with a member of a dangerous rebel group, in order to hide the past that could get her killed, she begins to question the life that she has spent so many years striving for. Should she do what is expected of her and stand with a man that is both cruel and devious, or should she fight for her people to hopefully make a difference?

It took me almost 2 weeks to finish We Set the Dark on Fire, which is practically UNHEARD OF for me! What I was HOPING was going to be a creative and fresh YA story about the oppression of women in a world of men salivating on excessive power, was a dreary story that barely held my attention and one that resembled other books a little too closely. This is The Handmaid’s Tale set in the Latin Community, and resembles current events that can either be closely similar or completely off-base, depending on your stance and view of the world.

I wanted this book to be innovative and a new outlook on themes/issues that have/can/are happening in the world.

But it didn’t quite feel like that.

For me, this book didn’t touch on any feelings and issues that I didn’t already see or think about. It seems like SO much of this book was a parallel version of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is so spectacular and gut-wrenching, that I can’t imagine ANYONE wanting or even ATTEMPTING to try and replicate it. But that is what this story feels like to me, a less heart-shattering YA version of a story that is and was so incredibly impactful.

As soon as I started reading, I found I had a difficult time getting into the story and sticking with it. My mind was wandering, my eyelids were getting heavy, and it took a good few chapters for the story to make me want to keep reading. The turning point for me was when Dani leaves the Medio School for Girls, and begins her new life as a married Primera. Though I was hoping more of this story was going to be held at the school, because that is what the description lead me to believe and that, after all, is what grabbed my interest. But that aside, the story finally starts to “become something” when Dani is moved into her new home and given her wifely duties.

But as soon as I started to gain interest, I found myself bored and skimming pages again.

In this story, that author uses a writing style where she has Dani reflect on her childhood or what it was like over the border. I love flashbacks and moments from the present that will spark a memory for the character, but how it was done here just wasn’t executed well. At times, it feels like the author has put too much emphasis on making the story detailed and creatively written. Usually I am a HUGE advocate for a poetic way of words that describes everything so vividly, but the exuberance of reflections and descriptions kept losing my interest. There was TOO MUCH of this and it took away from the story and made me lose focus countless times.

Regarding the characters, everything felt rather predictable. Carmen became the chosen Segunda in Dani’s marriage, which the reader will have easily saw coming. Mateo was the typical villain with zero heart or even a glimmer of kindness in him, which I found to be slightly unbelievable. It made his character one-dimensional and simplistic, rather than a villain with layers and a backstory that molded him to be such a ruthless and cold soul. Carmen started out as a character that could have really stolen the show with her charm and charisma, but she was really put on the side and only made a love interest and the second wife of Mateo.

But where I really lost interest in this story, was the bizarre way the author introduces the romance of this book.

It was, to be simply put, sudden and uncomfortable. It didn’t flow smoothly, it came out of such an unimportant conversation and encounter and was suddenly justthere. WHAT?! Where was the hints that this could be a relationship? The buildup?? The moments of fluttery nervousness and thoughts from our main character that this COULD be something she wants?! It just made ZERO sense, and felt ridiculous. This could have been a beautifully woven romance that was gentle and made strong by their shared bond. But instead, it came across feeling like some fleeting little fling with no substance.

At this point, I just kept reading to get it over with.

This isn’t to say that the book is horrible, that it has no direction, and that the writing is impossible to get through. Because it isn’t any of those things. It just didn’t hold my interest and attention, and I couldn’t connect with the characters or what they were really FEELING in these serious and scary situations.

I just wanted more substance for this story.

I wanted to feel the anger, agony, anguish and sadness for these characters! I wanted to be excited for rebellion, understand every aspect of what they were fighting for, and be yanked into the story with no yearning to come out.

Unfortunately, We Set the Dark on Fire just wasn’t what I expected and what I was looking for.

2-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Wrap-up · Books · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #8: February Book Wrap-Up

binding of bindingsthis

Another month, another list of books devoured and shredded.
We came, we killed, we conquered.
We danced in ball gowns, frolicked in an Asylum, tripped down a rabbit hole, and glided into the Night Court like the Gods and Goddesses we are.

I’d say we did pretty well for our bad selves 😉

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

February Book Wrap-Up

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantee

Enchantée.

*Sigh*…what a DREAM this was!!

giphy

I loved every aspect of getting lost in the world that Gita Trelease created.

A few Sofie Coppola Marie Antoinette vibes, a dash of magic and trickery, a sprinkle of steampunk inspired hot air balloons, and of course the cost on your soul when greed comes seeping in.

This was SUCH a fantastic read about a girl pushing herself to the limits to provide for her family by ways of gambling at Versailles, but was a story of love and not getting swept away in the glitz and glamour.

(See my review here)

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

a danger to herself and others

If you haven’t seen my review for this book, click here and please enjoy.

THIS. STORY. IS. EVERYTHING.

There seems to be a big theme in 2019 of stories purposefully being described in a vague yet intriguing manner to the reader by way of book synopsis’, but then the book taking a completely different turn and becoming something…truly beautiful and soul-touching.

A Danger to Herself and Others will NOT be what you expect, WILL make you change your opinion of the main character at least 50 times, and WILL make you look at yourself and others in a completely new light full of compassion and love.

Your soul wants you to read this.

giphy-1

 

Alice (The Wanderland Chronicles, Book 1) by J.M. Sullivan

Alice

The DUD of the month for me. Tragic as it may be.

I LOVE an “Alice” adaptation/retelling/spin-off. I LIVE for these and make a point to get my hands on all of them.

But book 1 in Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles fell so incredibly flat for me. I found it to be less than inspiring, not attention-grabbing, and a story that needed more muchiness here and even more muchiness there.

The love triangle was silly, and the characters were completely blasé and impossible to connect to.

Truly, it was just a giant pothole in my February reads.

(See my review here)

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

 

So after that Alice debauchery, I decided that I needed some self-care/self-love.

Naturally…

…I went for my dear love Rhysand.

I think we can all agree that a Fae male that begins as a complete ass dripping in nightmares, but turns out to be a beautiful man made of dreams and sarcasm is just…ALL WE WANT!

This was my third time rereading the A Court of thorns and Roses series, and it won’t be my last. It is my FAVORITE fae/adventure/romance story and one that completely draws me in and keeps me obsessed until the last page.

If you want a series you can binge through, this is it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Though I would have liked to tack on a few more books to my completed list for February, I am happy enough with what I did get through. I am hoping I can pick it back up and read MORE, MORE, MORE in March.
Did you guys meet your February TBR goals? Have you read any of these?! I love hearing from you!
Until next time my loves, keep reading and stay witchy!

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