Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #30: 10 Badass Female Leads…

Murder, revenge, plotting, espionage, manipulation and sarcasm.
These ladies just don’t give a f**k.

 

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~* 10 Badass Female Leads…

That Will Kill You in Your Sleep *~

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1. Fortuna Sworn (Book 1) by K.J. Sutton
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

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We’re starting this “Badass Bitch” list off with a true nightmare:

Fortuna Sworn.

Fortuna is literally a Nightmare – a creature whose face shifts and transforms in order to accommodate the onlookers tastes, but who can reach into your mind to find your fears, and make you think they are now reality.

Twisted, right?!

Not only is this lady FIERCE and lethal, but she says demented things like this:

“For a terrible moment, I considered snapping my brother’s neck.”

This Adult Fantasy is by the amazing Kelsey Sutton who has written a ton of fantastic YA novels, but this is her first adult Fantasy and it is hot, HOT, HOT! If you like a Fae story that shows off the evil side of those intoxicating creatures, then read this. It has ACOTAR and The Folk of the Air vibes ALL over it!

(See my review here)

 

2. Alarum (Walking Shadows, Book 1) by Talis Jones
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-fi

Alarum

Flinch, Vizsla, Kid, Fury.

All one person, and ALL total badassery!

Fury is the epitome of a ruthless, strong, sassy, resilient and dangerous woman. From being sold as a slave into a new world after the collapse of the United States, she is thrust into a simple lifestyle: kill or be killed. This tale tracks her childhood in a slave camp, her time working for a brutal family, and her transition into lawless renegade.

This lady is the shit!

Plus, Alarum will most likely make you cry…so that’s a plus.

(See my review here)

 

3. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Serpent and Dove

No list is complete without a Witch to spice things up, right?!

Allow me to introduce the one and only, both incredible and crude, yet arrogant and hilarious, Louise le Blanc.

Look, a woman that will scream a pub song called “Big Tiddy Liddy” at the top of her lungs is a winner in my book. But throw in some SERIOUS Witch heritage, insane abilities, and murderous tendencies…then I will just turn to jello.

Serpent & Dove is a newly released YA Fantasy about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a guard of the church, even though he is unaware that she is actually a Witch and is VERY good at gutting people.

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

(See my review here)

 

4. Glitter (Book 1) by Aprilynne Pike
Genre: YA/Historical Fantasy/Dystopian

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Versailles, ball gowns and royals, high-tech automation and a courtier selling makeup with drugs in it?

Get it, girl!

Glitter doesn’t seem to be a super well-known series, and I am wondering WHY?! It has everything us YA book lovers need! Romance, scandal, an asshole young king and a leading female who just wants to take those bastards down…one jar of rouge at a time!

It’s a Historical Fantasy with a Science Fiction twist and it is SUPREMELY amazing!

 

(See my review here)

 

5. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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Drownings, scandals, near decapitationsOH MY!!

13 Minutes is a slinky little YA Contemporary Thriller that will have you mumbling “wtf” while also grinning from ear to ear. I really can’t say who the badass is in this without giving EVERYTHING away, but just know…it’s delightful

It follows Natasha as she wakes up in the hospital after being washed up on an embankment. Nobody knows how she got there, and worst of all, she can’t remember anything. Natasha links up with her friends and a former friend to find out what really happened, and the truth is…shocking.

But just know this, these girls are twisted.

(See my review here)

 

6. With Malice by Eileen Cook
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery

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Want to be completely blindsided, infuriated AND appreciative of the truly devious acts of women?

You’ve come to the right place.

With Malice is exactly as the title describes: Malicious.

It is another story about a girl waking up in the hospital not remembering what happened to her. Slowly it becomes revealed that she was involved in a car accident, and there was someone else involved.

There are some serious Amanda Knox trial vibes going on here, and involves some cutthroat behavior by a female that I just can’t help but slow-clap for. This book has a twist and an ending that will make you just

(See my review here)

 

7. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

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You know what I love?

A feminist retelling of men being drowned for treating women like they’re nothing.

The Surface Breaks showcases a mermaid named Gaia who starts out as a meek and subservient daughter of the Sea King, but swiftly turns into a truly glorious character hellbent on standing up for herself and her sisters.

It’s a darker version to the original Little Mermaid tale you know, but one that NEEDS to be read!

(See my review here)

 

8. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT

Wilder Girls

I am obsessed with this book, and even more obsessed with the female characters that grace its pages!

Wilder Girls is a YA Horror/Mystery filled with a collection of girls who are as freakish as they are resilient. These girls will claw at each other for food and kill you on the spot, but their hearts are filled with immense love and loyalty for one another.

This breathtaking and eerie story is about a school on an island that has been quarantined after a Tox infiltrates their walls. The girls are mutated and dying, and it is downright DARK! But oh so good.

(See my review here)

 

9. Darkness of Light (Book 1) by Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: New Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

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Looking for another Celaena Sardothien and Rowan Whitethorn to swoon over?

Okay, technically this isn’t like TOG at all, but it’s Fantasy, it’s hot and I just love a female who can fight alongside some fantastical creatures!

Darkness of Light is an Adult Fantasy series filled with demons, fae, goblins and dark dwellers. This series is exciting and soooo romantic, but most importantly, it gives you a female lead who is SO saucy and fierce!

I am planning on reading it again this weekend, so jump on the train with me and let’s all just drool over this series together!

(See my review here)

 

10. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary

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Killing November is not high on my list of favorite books…at all, but it IS stuffed full and exploding with various characters who are all passionate about one thing:

Killing. ❤

Academy Absconditi is a school for assassins and spies in training. Classes range from poisons, knife throwing and plain old manipulation. So in this case, there is a whole host of badass females who will kill you in your sleepliterally.

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Redhook Books, via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Opinion:

“…the Door seemed to be murmuring in a soft, clattering language made of wood rot and peeling paint. I reached toward it again, hesitated, and then-

I opened the Door, and stepped through.”

January Scaller has been under the care of Mr. Locke, a wealthy and highly prominent figure, for as long as she can remember. With her father under his employment and traveling all over the world in order to track down hidden and rare artifacts, January is left in the mansion where is expected to be a good girl. But with only strict nursemaids and colleagues of Mr. Locke to keep January company, she finds solace in her books and her vivid imagination. As January grows, confined to the walls of her wealthy yet lonely lifestyle, she searchs anyhwere she can for something or someone to fill her empty void. It isn’t until she stumbles upon a strange book about magical doors and a lost love that January finally begins to find new meaning in her life, while also learning how far from mundane her history truly is.

“Sometimes I was so lonely I thought I might wither into ash and drift away on the next errant breeze.

Sometimes I felt like an item in Mr. Locke’s collection labeledJanuary Scaller, 57 inches, bronze; purpose unknown.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a YA Historical Fantasy about a girl searching for a way out of the life that has been forced upon her. At a young age she is put into the care of Mr. Locke, a man with insurmountable wealth and a love for rare artifacts. He employs her father to travel around the world in search of these items for him, while he houses and cares for January from child to teenager. Set in the early 1900s, January is expected to act like a proper lady. To have proper etiquette, learn the necessary studies and skills that make up an accomplished woman, and to remain silent. To be a good girl.

“Be a good girl.

To hell with being good.”

While we watch January grow from a young girl to a young woman, the loneliness and isolation that she feels is deafening. She is mostly ignored by the men and women that come and go from Mr. Locke’s house for parties, her nursemaid is strict and unrelenting, and the only semi-friend she has is a delivery boy by the name of Samuel. Though January has a deep love for books and and vivid imagination, she is taught from a young age to not waste her time and energy on such silly ideas. It was so tragic to watch her spirit be broken by these people who seem to care for her, but you’re never really sure if they actually do. But maybe the most tragic aspects of this story, is January’s relationship with her father.

…there was just something about the shape of him in the doorway that made me dizzy with anger. Maybe because he smelled like jungles and steamships and adventures, like shadowed caves and unseen wonders, and my world was so ferociously mundane. Or maybe just because I’d been locked away and he hadn’t been there to open the door.”

For a good portion of the book, I was unsure of the relationship they had and when her father had the time to spend with his only daughter. It turns out, he didn’t spend much time with her at all. He completely left her in the care of Mr. Locke while he flounced around the world, forgetting birthdays and barely writing to her. Naturally, Mr Locke becomes her stand-in father figure, and at first he seems to be a stern and cold man, but someone who cares for January and who has a witty yet dry sense of humor.

That is until he locks her in her room for weeks on end, in order to rid her of her imagination.

You don’t really know how fragile and fleeting your own voice is until you watch a rich man take it away as easily as signing a bank loan.”

So this story took a little while to get going, because there is a TON of buildup and backstory that needs to take place before the actual fantasy can begin. I was having some trouble staying focused during the first 20% of this read, but once January starts to figure things out and begins…unlocking things, it really gets going. And when I say it gets going, it REALLY gets going! The amount of creativity and imagination it took to write this book is on full display, and the author does a fantastic job of making you feel as if anything is possible. The writing is elegant and descriptive, the characters well-developed and alluring, and the plot is…breathtaking!

I dreamed in gold and indigo.”

For a time in this story, the reader is taken back and forth between the present with January, and the past that is written in her mysterious book that she finds in the bottom of a chest. It is the beautiful and tragic story of a man and a woman, from two different worlds, who search for years trying to find a way back to one another. They travel around the world searching for thousands of doors that lead to various places of beauty and treachery, all to find a door of sea that will bring them back together. It is romantic and bleak, hopeful and gentle. This author has a way of opening little doors in your heart, while simultaneously setting them all on fire and burning them to the ground.

But another wonderful aspect of this intricate story, are the lovable and brave characters that are littered throughout its pages. Samuel, a young man who is a constant in January’s life who is always there when she needs someone the most. Bad, a scrappy and devilish dog who is fiercely loyal to January, and only January. And Jane, her new nursemaid that begins as stoic and reserved, but turns out to be a TRULY fierce and badass woman. These characters bring out the best in January, and show her another side to humans that she didn’t see a lot of growing up. They fight to protect her and keep her safe, and volunteer without question to follow her into danger.

I closed my eyes against the weight of guilt settling on my shoulders, heard the clock of claws and the scuff of worn shoes as Samuel and Bad approached. They settled on either side of me, warm and constant as a pair of suns.”

As a whole, I really liked this story and thought it was unique and a book I could truly get lost in. It felt exciting and sparked the notion in me that seems to be so easily forgotten – that anything is possible. Though I struggled a little at the beginning to stay focused, once I got about 20-30% in, I was hooked and loving every aspect of it. I cannot wait to see what else this author writes, and if it’s as good as this, I will be a lifelong fan!

4-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

The Liar's Daughter

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Holiday House Publishing, Inc., via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Religion/Mystery

Plot: Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.

Seventeen-year-old Piper knows that Father is a Prophet. Infallible. The chosen one.

She would do anything for Father. That’s why she takes care of all her little sisters. That’s why she runs end-of-the-world drills. That’s why she never asks questions. Because Father knows best.

Until the day he doesn’t. Until the day the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers–even from Caspian, the boy she loves.

Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.

With a woman They claim is her real mother–a woman They say Father stole her from.

But Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape.

Opinion:

The window is no more than two feet wide and maybe half a foot tall. I can’t squeeze through it. It’s meant to let in sunlight, not hope.”

This is the story of a girls path to self-discovery.

The weaving of lies into truth.

The voices that are battered into ones brain so a person ceases to think for themselves.

It is the story of a life lost, a life gained, and the art of creating a world of both.

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the Community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. She is the perfect sibling, ensuring all the littles are well cared for and that everyone acts their best. Because the Outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth. That all They do is lie, and that Father knows best. Because Father is a prophet, and Mother and Father would never lead her astray. They love her, and everything they do is to keep their family safe.

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

The Liar’s Daughter takes the reader to “before” and “after” Pipers time living at the community. The “before” portrays memories of what she calls home, a small house near a lake and an abandoned amusement park. Piper describes this place as if it’s heaven on earth. The peacefulness, beauty and sense of freedom. She is a girl of great gratitude and happiness for what she has, and the family she is blessed with.

But when we go to the “after”, it is Piper in present time after being taken out of the community. She is unable to discern delusions from reality, or memories from hallucinations. She is in a state of confusion, a haze of sadness and anger for being ripped from her parents and siblings. She believes she is being held against her will, kidnapped and held captive. She is fearful of what being on the Outside will do to her body and health. She refers to her new family as They and Them-those who mean her harm and feed her lies.

These people must’ve gotten into my head somehow, altered my memories.

What else could explain what’s happening?”

My love for Piper goes deep, because I was on this ride of discovery with her. I felt her confusion, her pain, her anger for being ripped from those she loves. Every day in the present is a time of mourning for her, and a search to figure out how to escape and run back to Mother and Father. I couldn’t help but share in the injustice of the situation with her. How dare these people rip her away from her siblings, her life of freedom. She was happy where she was, even if those on the Outside see it differently.

How does it feel? I want to ask. To have everything that’s precious to you taken away?”

It may seem strange to hear that I see any sort of an injustice for a girl to be returned to a home she was taken from first. To see her ripped from a family that brainwashed her, that gave her barely enough food. But that is where things get tricky, isn’t it? Piper only remembered her life at the Community, and she fiercely loved those around her. Is it the best thing for her to be ripped from those people, and thrust back into the arms of people who are now strangers to her? In the long run, maybe. But watching her try to piece her life together. Her own thoughts, her own emotions…it was hard to witness.

I want to be seen.”

It takes true talent to write the leader of a cult in a way where the reader is able to understand JUST how alluring he is. He is sensible, his arguments have just cause, and he makes you want to leave your cellphone behind and live a life off the grid. This is one of the first fiction stories about a cult I have read that really captures the essence of how enticing and pragmatic a cult leader can be. They weave promises into lies masquerading as truths, and everything feels and sounds so real and possible, until you realize it isn’t.

Monsters don’t have empathy. They have sharp claws and teeth that thirst for blood.”

This story turned out to be a delicate and sorrowful tale, but ultimately, one of hope and recovery. Piper is a gentle character who has so much love in her heart, and only wants to make people proud of her. She wants to be seen and acknowledged, to be loved and adored. I really appreciated the author shedding light on how Piper’s time in the Community affected those around her. It twisted the knife that was already protruding from my stomach, and then gave it a little extra shake when you begin to see the truth of what happened to her and her family. This is an amazing book that I think everyone should read. If this topic is usually sensitive to you, I do want to express that it doesn’t go into anything graphic and it isn’t a dark and evil book. It is a truly beautiful and delicate tale, and I highly suggest it be devoured.

“Last Warning. Do Not Stand Up.”

4-5-stars

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

Book Review: Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction

Plot: Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Opinion:

 

My throat is weeping.

Not tears. Something thicker, darker. Something that bathes my skin in scarlet, streams down my chest and soaks my hair, my dress, my hands. My hands. They scrabble at the source, fingers probing, searching, choking-desperate to stem the flow, desperate to make it stop, stop stop-”

Oh.

My.

Cauldron.

Boil me down to sludge and shove me in a bottle, for I think I just died.

My soul is lifeless in this vessel I call a body.

The blood along with every trace of fluid, tissue and muscle has left my carcass.

My heart has been ripped from my chest out through my throat, leaving a trail of murmured affection and promises of protection that dissipated into the wind as soon as it unwillingly passed my lips.

My rib cage has contracted, folding in on itself due to the empty void that now echoes through it.

I am crumbling.

Decaying into ash.

I’ve never hated reality more.

Serpent & Dove is a book my battered and bruised being has been waiting for since the romance of ACOTAR and TOG decimated the last of my hope in humanity. It slowly glued my sorrowful glass heart back together, lighting my face with smiles and my eyes with mischief. For the first day reading, I was a fiend gripped by the characters and world that Shelby Mahurin enchanted into words. On the second day I was leaking tears and whimpers of love, promises, hope and wistfulness. But now, on the third day…

I was positively enraged by this cliffhanger and the agonizing realization that I will have to wait until SOMETIME in 2020 to know WTF happens!!!


*deep breath*

I am die-hard obsessed with this book. I love it. I breathe it. If possible, I would sew myself into it and never leave. It is FANTASTIC! Sure, maybe it’s the fact that is centers on a feud between church and witches. And yeah, maybe I am biased to my witch sisters. But if you even just read the first chapter of this RIDICULOUS book, you will understand why I am so willing to lay my tortured existence down for these characters and this story.

The church is lead by the Archbishop who is loved among the people and preaches an intolerance of witches, insisting their deaths at the stake is Gods will. The witches, who are hunted down for their abilities and supposed abomination, fight back against the church in random attacks to bring down their royalty. The Chasseurs are sworn to the church and act as witch hunters who are as equally skilled as they are brutal. Any witch, Maiden, Mother or Crone, are put to death. The issues between the church and the witches are DEEPLY rooted, and quite honestly, shocking as hell! There is action, murder, magic, romance and blindsides DRIPPING from the seams of this book.

The premise and roller-coaster ride the author takes you on will be exhausting, so take a deep breath.

Because apart from a FANTASTIC plot, there are INCREDIBLE characters.

And firstly, Louise le Blanc is THE s**t.

She is sassy, crude, sarcastic, arrogant, and devious. She curses up a storm, lives to play tricks on unsuspecting people and screams filthy pub songs like “Big Tiddy Liddy” at the top of her lungs. She is selfish. She is loud and obnoxious. And…I love her. I feel like she COULD be compared to Celaena Sardothien, but that would be a piss-poor comparison and honestly a little offensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sadistic assassin. But where Celaena’s arrogance is so strong and practically a turnoff, Lou’s is flawless and incredibly just. She is witty and SO sharp. The retorts and insults that dance off her tongue are enchanting, and her ability to deflect is uncanny. She is gentle yet hardened. Sorrowful yet joyous. She is a BADASS witch who can take down men twice and thrice her size with a few easy movements, and I am beyond impressed. She is a woman who has walked the depths of darkness, but still allows a smirk and grin to dance across her face. She fills me with both unending joy and heartbreaking misery.

“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you.”

Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.”

But with Lou, comes Reid. He is Captain of the Chasseurs, and the church and word of the Archbishop is all he has ever known. For him, the word of God is law, and witches are vile inhuman creatures that must be eradicated. So when his life is suddenly bound to Lou’s by holy (or unholy) matrimony, he feels as if his world has shattered. But just when I thought I had Reid pinpointed…he surprised me. He is gentle, kind, sweet, caring and honorable…especially when it comes to this new wife he refers to as a heathen. He isn’t the swaggering, cocky and douchey male lead that we have become accustomed to in YA Fantasy. He is innocent and unsure, but not in a way that makes him weak. He is POSITIVELY swoon-worthy, and you will have such a hard time not comparing every man in real life to him from now on.

“Every aspect of Reid was precise, certain, every color in its proper place. Undiluted by indecision, he saw the world in black and white, suffering non of the messy, charcoal colors in between. The colors of ash and smoke. Of fear and doubt.

The colors of me.”

I have SO much to say about this book, but none of it can be said without be revealing every WONDERFUL piece of information. I felt so many emotions during this read. You know it’s an amazing book when you are constantly yelling out and making strangled noises or cackling into the air of your home. Serpent & Dove had me laughing, crying, yelling obscenities and smiling like an idiot. This book is fantastic.

My only issue is this:

I just want to know the last two verses to “Big Tiddy Liddy”.

5-stars

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

Book Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Plot: Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Opinion:

A historical adventure fantasy about treasure hunters searching for a lost ring, that belonged to Vlad the Impaler.

a.k.a.

Count Dracula

a.k.a.

Mass murderer of THOUSANDS

a.k.a.

Romania’s crowned jewel and the world’s nightmare.

Oh, you KNOW it’s going to be good.

Theodora Fox is used to her father abandoning her in five star hotels around the world, while he slinks off to uncover hidden treasures and unearth rich history. So when he disappears again, leaving her in yet another ritzy establishment in Istanbul, she is forced to stay behind with only her crossword puzzles and obsession for history to keep her company. That is until Huxley Gallagher turns up in her hotel room, handing over her father’s journal and claiming that he is missing. What Theodora assumed was a typical expedition, turns swiftly into a hunt for her father and the truth behind his current hunt – to find the long lost ring of Vlad the Impaler for a wealthy client. Nobody said this adventure would be easy, especially when traveling with the boy who broke her heart and never spoke to her again. But what Theodora is about to uncover will change her and her family’s life forever.

The Lady Rogue is dripping in adventure, mystery, intrigue, wit and a TON of history! The author has artistically woven historical events with fantastical elements to bring a legendary story fit for any thrill seeker. Perfect for fans of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, Count Dracula, the Occult, dragons, fantasy…and, really everything.

This book is PHENOMENAL.

Set in the late 1930’s, this historical fantasy takes main characters Theodora and Huck to Romania in search of Theo’s missing father who is chasing after a much sought-after ring. The only clues of his whereabouts come from Huck, her father’s protege and a young man that her father took in at a young age. At an excavation in Hungary, Huck and Theo’s father, Fox, uncover a metal box with strange symbols encasing it that warned of the dangers kept inside. What they hoped was the resting place of Vlad’s long lost ring, turned out to be an empty box. Dismayed, they travel back to their hotel, where Fox suddenly disappears, leaving behind strict instructions for Huck to find Theo in Istanbul, where he is to give her Fox’s travel journal, and escape to Hudson Valley.

And so begins the WILD adventure that Theo and Huck embark on in search of Fox and Vlad’s infamous ring. While the two travel to Romania, Fox’s last known whereabouts, they are chased by dangerous men hellbent on taking them out.

And I don’t mean for dinner and a movie.

I’m talking murder, ladies and gents.

Because this book is PACKED with action! These characters are CONSTANTLY tiptoeing the lines of death and swing-dancing with fate. Both Theo and Huck are talented treasure hunters with extensive experience and passion for what they were raised around, and it shows. Theo is obsessed with history and any ancient topic that might involve a haunting or some form of magical element. She is proficient in multiple languages, has an uncanny ability to decipher codes, and above all else…this girl is witty as hell! Her sharp comments and sarcastic remarks had me nodding my approval during my entire read. She’s a saucy little minx who curses, throws obscene gestures in the air and has an epic drunken outburst where she dubs herself Lady Rogue – a lady of independent and royal standing!

Huck is also quite sarcastic and playful, but has a different set of skills and hates anything to do with spirits and magic. He is a pilot, a great lock-picker, and oh yeah…Theo’s ex. Once inseparable best friends as children and teens who began to have feelings for each other, now we meet them at a time when they haven’t spoken in over a year – due to events that later become revealed. This is the obvious romance of the story, but DON’T WORRY. This isn’t one of those books that has a killer premise and then becomes overshadowed by mushy teen love.

This book focuses SOLELY on the premise, and you will be so incredibly thankful for it. Because it is spectacular, exciting and downright addicting. The author did an outstanding job implementing actual historical events and facts into the story, which in turn lead me to researching different historical figures so I could learn more about them. There are countless elements that make up this gripping tale, and there is a little something in there for every type of reader. But I think what really struck me while reading, was Jenn Bennet’s uncanny ability to create a flawless book. It is detailed, well-constructed, comical, suspenseful and a TON of fun!

The book ends with everything wrapped up nice and tight, no cliffhangers in sight. BUT I am curious if Jenn plans on writing a sequel, because how everything is left, she definitely set it up to be a possibility. If so, you know I am going to be at the front of that line demanding a copy!

With that said, I’ll leave on this note:

5-stars

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

Book Review: The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

The First gIrl Child

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, 47North, via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Opinion:

‘I cannot see, my tongue is a traitor.

My flesh is a foe, my heart a betrayer.

My eyes will I blacken, my lips will I close.

And let the runes lead me down paths I must go.

No man can follow.

No man can lead.

No man can save me, no man can free.”’

This book is PHENOMENAL!

Desdemona of Dolphys spent her last day alive giving birth to the bastard son of a cruel chieftain, and cursing the kingdom of Saylok: If man can so easily turn his back on his child and the woman who carries him, then man will know what it means to live without woman.

We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”

The First Girl Child is about a curse over a kingdom that ensures only males are born. It is about the life of a temple boy named Bayr who is gifted with inhuman strength, and the first girl child born during the curse, Princess Alba. The book is one of love, sacrifice, deceit, honor, faith, hope and brutality. Women are taken by force from territories and surrounding Kingdoms, in the hopes that women outside of Saylok are exempt from the curse and can break the drought. There is adventure and war, but also compassion and loyalty dripping from these remarkable pages. It is a story of oppression and doing what is expected of you, rather than what you choose.

This is not a world where a man or woman gets much choice in their happiness. We are born into war and each day is a battle.”

This is an EPIC historical fantasy that I don’t think I could have lived without! It centers on Saylok, a kingdom made up of six territories, with each territory being ruled by it’s own chieftain and Saylok being ruled by a King. The territories of Adyar, Berne, Dolphys, Ebba, Joran and Leok live in peace with the role of King being rotated between the tribes each time one dies. At the center of Saylok resides Temple Hill, where the Keepers live in isolation, protecting the knowledge of the blood runes and communicating with the Gods.

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The story is set over a number of years as the reader watches Bayr grow within the temple walls under the care of his uncle and the Keepers. As he becomes a toddler, it becomes known that Bayr is unlike other children. Within 6 months of his birth he is walking and running, and by the age of 5 he has already taken down a bear with only his hands. But with his inhuman strength and speed also comes his unflinching heart and need to protect. So when the first girl child is finally born, Bayr feels an instant connection to the her and swears an oath to become her protector. We watch as Bayr and Alba grow together, becoming a formidable and inseparable pair, and how their relationship begins to shift as the years pass.

The relationship they share is positively adorable and beautiful. Bayr is the solid figure in Alba’s life as she grows into a small child. He acts as her confidant, brother, guard and bestfriend. His days center on Alba, and hers center on him. I found so many small smiles blossoming my cheeks as I read about these two growing together, having adventures and learning. Alba being a fierce and outspoken little girl, and Bayr being a quiet and observant boy who treats her with such care and love. They are the true heart of this book, and the romance that is…EVERYTHING you could ask for.

There is no Alba without Bayr.”

But two other characters that really steal the show are Dagmar, Bayr’s uncle, and Ghost, the biological mother of Alba.. These two play HUGE roles in the development and lives of Bayr and Alba. They are kindhearted, compassionate and AMAZING people who live their lives in the shadows. A love between Dagmar and Ghost blossoms, but it is a relationship that is forbidden due to Dagmar being a Keeper. But the resilience, strength and selfless love that these two exude is the touch of hope and innocence that envelopes this book.

I think what really blew me away about this book, besides the incredible world-building, overall plot and complete badassery, was the writing. This is my first read from Amy Harmon, and I am SHOCKED and a little outraged that I have never come across her before! Her writing is detailed, exciting and addicting. I don’t normally go for fantasy books that have that Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings style, but I am SO happy I decided to request this. I was fearful that it would be slow, that I would have trouble with the names and places, but NONE of that happened. I was ADDICTED!

If there is one bad thing I can say about this book, it’s that it isn’t the first in a series.

But, I’m secretly hoping it magically becomes one.

5-stars

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

Book Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

The SUrface Breaks 2

 

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

Plot: Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.

Opinion:

“’How much you are prepared to give up for one you know so little.’”

This isn’t The Little Mermaid tale you know and love.

It’s dark.

It’s painful.

It’s every hurt, wound and fear in your soul that you’ve been unable to express in words.

This book is for the girls who need to know their worth.

For the women who need reminding.

For the boys who must learn to be gentle.

And the men who need to be shown.

 

“A Woman’s no can so easily be turned into a yes by men who do not want to listen.”

 

These waters are dark and deep, so tread carefully.

 

“Either I am silent above the surface, or I spend the rest of my life screaming for mercy down here, the water muffling my cries.”

Gaia knows what it means to live in silence. To listen and obey her father, the Sea King, for his word is law and he is generous. To only speak when spoken to, to keep her tail and physique in pristine condition, and to never deny the wants of a man. But what Gaia truly yearns for is to know why her mother left them for the human world. What it is like above the surface, and how to escape her arranged marriage to a brutal man who looks at her with dominance and greed in his eyes.  As her fifteenth birthday nears, like all mermaids, Gaia will have the chance to break the surface and glimpse at what resides above the water. But when her desires to be free of her tail and to escape her future turns to desperation, she makes a deal that will change her life forever.

“Muireann of the Green Sea cursed me with wanderlust and a thirst for dry air that could not be quenched.”

The Surface Breaks is the heartbreaking feminist re-imagining that I have been needing all year. It beautifully details the sorrows, desperation and fear that women feel on a regular basis. That they are less than, that they are only wanted for their looks, and that they must strip themselves bare in order to be pleasing, worthy or loved. It portrays the life of a young girl and her sisters who have been taught that they are decoration for the pleasure of men, and that their desires are wrong and unnatural if they do not fit into the opinions of men that have been made into law.

“Please don’t touch me, I want to say, but I know that a woman’s body may always be touched if so desired. I am blessed to attract such attention. Everyone says it, so it must be true.”

Gaia is a sweet, gentle, innocent and delicate young girl who yearns to understand why her mother abandoned her. Just like Ariel, she is deeply attracted to the human world by the trinkets and baubles that she has been able to collect on the ocean floor. Her father tells the girls that their mother was weak and gave into her obsession to reside with the humans, and it resulted in her eventual death and capture at their hands.

It was incredibly difficult experiencing Gaia’s sadness and feelings of hopelessness as she went through the motions of her life. She is one of several sisters who are forced to be subservient, to attain a certain level of constant beauty and appeal, and who are married off by the desires and convenience of their father.

“I am the diamond in my father’s crown, and he is determined to wear me as such.”

This book has a dark and nauseating undertone that is necessary to the story, but still very hard to sit with. Gaia is betrothed to a man who is beyond creepy, inappropriate and vile. He treats her as if she is nothing but a doll that has been made for his pleasure and amusement, and she has no say in the matter. I felt suffocated and sick watching her character be treated so horribly. This book touches on some VERY serious themes that may be disturbing for some, so be weary. After all, Gaia was ONLY TWELVE when her father arranged her marriage to a man in his 60’s!

“His lips against my check, too close to my mouth. It is as if he wants to peel my skin away from my body and taste it on his tongue.”

“The nausea might subside when we are bonded”

But the theme of Gaia and the women in The Surface Breaks having zero control over their own lives is a constant! If a mermaid isn’t pretty, thin or appealing enough to the Sea King or any men in the kingdom, they are banished. Gaia is forced to give up her voice in order to be near the man she loves, and the Rusalka girls are treated as vile creatures hell-bent on bringing out destruction. The despair that these beautiful women feel is screaming through these pages, trying desperately to be heard. My heart was aching throughout this read, and I still feel a sense of loss and anger as I sit here typing away.

“’And the pain?’” I ask. ‘Will that go away?’

‘Oh no,’ she replies. ‘But women are meant to suffer.’”

The romance in this story is also an unconventional one. It has honestly left me feeling hopeless for romance in real life, and just reinforces my opinion that book boyfriends are the ONLY boyfriends you should EVER allow in your home. Because the feelings and relationship that Gaia has with Oliver will be able to resonate with EVERY female. That feeling of giving everything about yourself away to gain the attention of a boy. How we so quickly and easily shred, distort and disfigure ourselves in order to feel a glimpse of love from another.

“…I sewed my own mouth shut in the hopes that a boy I barely knew could kiss it open again.”

“All the things that I have ignored about this man in order to make the narrative of true love and destiny fit. I tried to make him as perfect as I needed him to be.”

I am so blown away by the love and intent that was put into this book. Every sentence is purposeful, every feeling, detailed and poetically written. I had SO many emotions racing through me while reading! I wanted nothing more than to reach into my kindle and wrap my arms around these girls. To protect them and tell them it will be okay…even when sometimes, it wouldn’t be okay. This book REALLY hits home and strikes hard.

To be honest, I could probably write this review with only quotes that I highlighted from this book, and that would be reason enough for you to want to buy it immediately. It is a beautiful and distressing tale, but it is a tale with an immensely important message. To know your worth and to stand up for yourself. To care for one another. To treat women with respect. To not shed who you are for the pleasure of another.

Please read this.

“’A woman needs to be strong to survive.’”

 

5-stars

 

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