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

Book Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire

 

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

Plot: In the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain, human blood is scarce. For centuries, councils have sought to assuage the blood shortage by enslaving and breeding humans, turning them into profitable supply units for the rich and the abled.

Today, eighteen-year-old Wavorly Sterling is officially a supply unit, bound to serve her blood willingly to her master for the rest of her life. One of only few humans that was not bred in Cain, Wavorly knows freedom better than anyone, and she is determined to escape the clutches of her oppressors, even if by the hands of death.

But surprises lay beyond every certainty, and within every doubt. Where Wavorly’s hatred for both vampires and her enslavement once flowed free as blood, it merely trickles as she grows to admire her reserved, yet receptive master and savior, Anton Zein.

Although warmed by comforts never felt before, danger still lurks in the castle, and a prophecy calls from beyond the walls of a lavender gate—concealing the horrific secrets lodged between handsome smirks and cinereous eyes. It will take everything within Wavorly to face her fears and her doubts; to harness the truth of her past despite what that means for her future. The only question is, will she?

Set in a richly detailed world of fantasy, A Violet Fire is a gripping journey filled with passion, betrayal, lies, and the encouragement we all need to take a stand for our freedom—no matter the cost.

Opinion:

 

Oh.

My.

Nocturnal Nights.

It’s official.

My heart is broken, my feminine energy is bristling, and vampires are back with a bloodthirsty vengeance.

The world has been dominated by vampires for centuries now. In Cain, Humans are bred to serve vampires in whatever form necessary – as blood supply units, servants, or breeders. They are instructed in special schools in how to best serve their immortal masters, through meekness and subservience. But for Wavorly, one of the few humans who were born and raised outside of vampire rule before her inevitable capture, she would rather die than be a slave to a vampire. After countless escape attempts, her day of judgment has finally come: to see if her blood will qualify her a spot in her master’s household as a live-in servant and supply unit. Somehow Wavorly is accepted into Zein’s home, despite her insubordination and unabashed hatred for his ownership over her. But as time goes on, Wavorly wonders if the vampire who brought her to Cain isn’t the monster she believes him to be. And maybe he sees her as more than just a blood supply.

A Violet Fire has given me a book hangover from Hell, and it’s unclear if I’m going to make it.

Send help.

Finally.

An addicting YA Vamp Fantasy untainted by glittering blood-lusters and a female protagonist who lacks self-worth and looks to a man for breath.

This, is true living corpse bliss.

This book is the vampire Handmaid’s Tale I didn’t know I needed, and it is packed and layered with beautiful writing, witty and sharp dialogue and a plot that will make you weak at the knees. I am HOOKED by this story-line, and for good reason! Like The Handmaid’s Tale, this world is suffering from a distinct decline in human life, which is the main source of survival for vampires. Though some parts of this world give more respect to human life, Cain, much like Gilead, is the hub of humans enslaved to work as servants, blood supply units and breeders.

When a human comes of age, they are brought before their master at the Distribution Ceremony where their blood is sampled. If their blood is accepted, they are brought to their masters home to be used as a supply unit when needed. The brainwashed humans who were born and bred in Cain are raised to believe their life mission is to look pretty, be submissive and to strive for the honor of having their blood sucked out of them.

Dreamy, isn’t it?

But the kicker here is this: quality of blood is improved by quality of life and happiness. So naturally that means our sassy, foul-mouthed, and all-around pissed off gem Wavorly has got to have some top-shelf vital fluids right?

My blood should be the foulest thing to ever touch his lips.”

Swoon!

Wavorly is the definition of a strong, fierce, “gives no shits” female lead! We first meet her as she is attempting another escape from Cain the day before the Distribution Ceremony, and immediately we learn that she is not a damsel in distress sitting around twirling her hair around her finger. She wants nothing more than to be free of her enslavement to Zein, who swore to protect her when he “saved” her from a rouge vampire when she was a child, and to search for other humans off the grid. Though she is forced into becoming a supply unit for Zein, she does so with a sharp tongue and zero remorse for her rash actions.

Girl. Is. Fierce.

While you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror all your life, Iv’e been training myself on how to best ruin your reflection.”

But where this story gets even more interesting is when we get to see more of Zein.

He is one of five of the most powerful and ruthless vampires in Cain, and has a long and bloody history on the battlefield and just…in general. He is said to be cruel and sadistic with zero regard for human life, but as time goes on, our girl begins to see a less murdery version of this mysterious immortal.

Now don’t worry, I’m not going into any more detail beyond that, but my oh my guys, Zein is giving me all the Lestat meets Rowan (TOG) vibes and I am dying. DYING. He’s vague, he’s angry, and he’s got sharp looks that will make your blood run cold and sizzle all at once. But in true form of my questionable taste in men, I am swooning over this vampires’ hot and cold demeanor. It has been a solid 24 hours since I finished A Violet Fire and I am STILL questioning my stance on him! I love him. I hate him. I‘d die for him. I’d die to stab him in the face.

It’s all very confusing.

“…his eyes return to their mysterious gray and appear to be lost in a sea I can’t even begin to navigate.”

I could go on for days about this book and the immense torture that I am experiencing due to this cliffhanger, but I must stop for fear that I am going to spill all the secrets just so I’m not the only one writhing in pain. This is so much more than just a possible vampire romance. It’s dripping in feminist vibes, has an epic and mysterious plot where a prophecy speaks of a human savior, and makes you question your feelings right alongside Wavorly. I am so obsessed with this book, I have already started reading it again just to find details that I’ve missed!

Do yourself a favor, buy this.

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Opinion:

Jaw-dropping finale?

I mean…it was a finale.

Jude knows what it means to be hated by the Fae. To be a human in Faerie is wrought with dangers, and one slip of the tongue or an off-handed promise could be the end of your freedom and life. But Jude also knows what it means to have power. After successfully gaining control over Prince Cardan, putting him on the throne as High King and naming herself Seneschal, Jude was finally feared. And when things between Cardan and herself began to shift from deep hatred and cruelty, to something like affection, Jude relinquishes her control over Cardan in exchange for something more: marriage and a title as Queen of Faerie.

But it all came crashing down when Cardan banished her to the mortal lands for murdering his brother, and Jude is forced away from the home she loved and the power she so desperately craved. So when her twin sister Taryn shows up on her doorstep seeking help, Jude snatches the opportunity to return to Faerie and to reclaim what was once hers. But upon her return, Jude learns that Madoc plans to move against Cardan and to claim the position as High King for himself. Now Jude must decide what is most important to her: revenge or honor.

I have been waiting a YEAR for this finale with anxiety ripping apart my chest and a sadness so fierce, not even chocolate chip cookies and pie could remedy it! The Cruel Prince made me look at the Fae in a way that gave me chills. It made me squirm and think twice about being lured into the woods. But The Wicked King made me want to rip my heart from my own chest and offer it to a demon that would incinerate even the essence of my emotional being. It lit me on fire, turned my soul molten in liquid flame, and dripped through my rib cage out through my skinevaporating my body into a puddle of soupy despair.

And so when I finally got my hands on The Queen of Nothing, I devoured it with the eyes of fiend in a drugstore and the screams of a thirteen-year-old boy who just saw a PS5.

So how was it?

HOW. WAS IT?!?!

It was okay.

What I love most about The Folk of the Air is that Holly Black has given readers a side of the Fae that we don’t normally get to see in YA Fantasy. So many of us have fallen in love with the Sarah J. Maas depictions of these magical and powerful creatures who are both fierce and upstanding. They hold a sense of loyalty and honor, and want love and happiness.

And then there’s Holly Black’s Fae.

They are manipulative, twisted and demented creatures who find joy in twisting their words and making sneaky deals. Some kidnap, glamour and force humans to be servants in their homes, while others simply bite off a finger or two. They are immortal beings who flaunt their mystical beauty and use it to lure in unsuspecting victims like little mice lining up for slaughter. Humans are drugged through food and drink that makes them think that they are happy, but only glamors the truth of what is happening around them.

In short, it’s completely f***ed.

And I love it.

On its own, QON is a really enjoyable book. There is turmoil and a war that must be won, tricks and scheming to be had, revenge and romance to obsess over, and a few surprises that caught even me off guard.

But if I put QON next to the epic gut-wrenching tomes that are installments 1 and 2…

this book just falls flat and doesn’t impress me much.

I was expecting to be shocked, disgusted and infuriated by what happens to these characters. I was prepared to have Cardan crush Jude’s dreams AND mine, and I was more than ready to throw this book at a wall just to rush over to it apologizing and reading it over immediately.

But that just didn’t happen for me. In truth, this book feels more like fluff than the third and final installment of The Folk of the Air series. *There were countless plot-lines that weren’t tied up or were just randomly phased-out and unexplained. *Opportunities for Jude to really let her sadistic side shine were completely lacking (i.e. LOCKE). *It barely showcases Cardan, there is much less bloodshed and backstabbing, the story-line is fairly predictable, and everyone just seemed so…nice.

I am just overwhelmed with not feeling overwhelmed.

I think the biggest thing that has me annoyed is the relationship between Jude and Cardan. I needed ALL the information. ALL the explanations. ALL that happened while she was in the mortal lands. But did I get that?! No, not really. It’s a good thing I reread Cruel Prince and Wicked King before starting QON, because it gave me time to dissect every. single. thing. Cardan. said/did.

So without giving spoilers, I’ll leave you with all the things I wanted but just didn’t get.

Revenge. Double Revenge. Triple Revenge. Quadruple Revenge.

Wrap-up on Lady Asha, Nicasia, and Grimsen.

An actual profession of admiration, a gutting of a fox, why Jude has flowers in her side, the knowing to behead something and lastly…

THE LETTERS!

 

3-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #33: Spooky Reads

Come one, come all!
Into the land of the decaying, decrepit and dead.
We’re rounding up our potions, candles, crystals and knives to take a trip into the veil.
So pull up those tattered stalkings, grab a torch and maybe a friend.
Because there’s no turning back.

Just because it’s November, doesn’t mean we have to stop being weird.

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~* Spooky Reads *~

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1. Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal
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It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for in a spooky read?!

Smoke and Key starts with a young woman waking up in a place of darkness. She learns that she is dead and has fallen out of her grave to a place called Under, a place that is neither Heaven nor Hell. Each inhabitant of Under is named by the possession they wake up with – Key, Smoke, Ribbon, Doll, Journal. But the problem is that nobody can remember their past lives, who they are, or how they died. Except Key. As she starts to regain the memories from her life, she begins to realize there is a much bigger reason for why she and the people of Under are stuck.

(See my review here)

 

2. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Genre: YA/Horror/Thriller

Survive the Night

Survive the Night is another YA Horror from Danielle Vega, and one that has gone unread on my bookshelf…like so many others…

*cough*

It is about a group of friends who go to a rave called Survive the Night, only to end up being hunted by a deranged killer in the creepy and dark tunnels of the subway. In true Danielle Vega fashion, the reader is promised bloodshed, mindf**kery and a whole host of wtf did I just read.

I can’t wait.

 

3. The Hollow series by Jessica Verday
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

The Hollow series has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen, and a set that I plan to read again in the coming weeks. It is a series set in a town called Sleepy Hollow, and you can bet your ghoulish friends that it’s oozing with paranormal activity.

After the mysterious death of her best friend, Abbey is stricken with loss and grief for losing the person closest to her. But when Abbey learns a secret about the friend she thought she knew everything about, she begins to question everything in their past. And the sudden appearance of a strange boy named Caspian has Abbey rattled in more ways than one, especially when she learns the truth about who he is.

From what I can remember of this series, it’s full of romance and swoonworthy sighs. So get ready to be swept away in the spooky love of this little number!

 

3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

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A 2018 favorite of many readers, The Wicked Deep is the perfect witchy story.

The legend goes that three sisters were drowned by the townspeople of Sparrow in the early 1800’s, and each Swan Season three girls are inhabited by one of the sisters who seek their vengeance by drowning one boy each. A witchhunt ensues, there is possession and mystery, and even a little love. It’s a MUST read for this season, but also a must read in general.

(See my review here)

 

4. I know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

I Know You Remember.jpg

I just received this book in the mail from Random House Children’s as part of their Wicked Reads Blogger Campaign! Each blogger had their choice of candies to choose from, and each candy represented a specific book!

Mine was Kit Kat, and it was I Know You Remember!

After three years away from her hometown, Ruthie comes back to the news that her once best friend Zahra is missing. But the Zahra Ruthie knew years ago isn’t the same person. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, others describe Zahra as popular, outgoing and the first at a party. As Ruthie dives deeper into the girl’s life she once knew, secrets start to come up and she realizes she is in deeper than she would have liked.

This one was AMAZING!!!

If you want a spooky thriller that is going to blindside you, read this! It was so incredibly good, I cannot stop ranting about it!

(See my review here)

 

5. The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

The Cemetery Boys.jpg

I just finished reading this gem last week, and it was a great October read! It wasn’t too scary or gory, but it  had the perfect amount of sinister and gothy outcast vibes that I am always looking for in a YA.

The Cemetery Boys is about a small town that believes in a curse where creatures called the “winged ones” bring about the “bad times“, and where a group of boys spend their nights partying in a cemetery. When his father forced him to move to this dull and backwards town, Stephen finds friendship with the weird guys who hang out all night. But the leader of this group of boys is hiding something, and Stephen wants to know what.

This book was just as good as I was hoping it would be, and I read through it SO quickly. I highly suggest you try it out if you’re looking for an only semiscary book to read.

 

6. Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal

Fiendish.jpg

Fiendish is one of those books I countless bookstagrammers/book bloggers/book psychos and been pushing me to read. And I really should…

It’s just sitting on my bookshelf begging to be opened!

It’s about a girl who may or may not be dead that has been trapped in the cellar of a creepy old house for 10 years, in a town where supernatural and spooky magical things happen, with a guy her age that may or may not be a complete jackass?

Look, I obviously haven’t read it. But here, read this:

“What’s wrong with me? I never did anything to anyone.”

Fisher was quiet for a second and when he answered, he sounded strange.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “They’re just nervous about how your eyes are sewed shut.”

 

7. Hotel for the Lost by Suzanne young
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

Hotel for the Lost

I read this one earlier this year, and it has all the Disney Tower of Terror vibes you could ever ask for!

Now if some of you remember that epic Disney movie for the 90’s, you’ll know the spooky/regal vibes I’m talking about. If not, look it up and watch it!!!

Hotel for the Lost is about a girl named Audrey who arrives at the luxurious Hotel Ruby with her father and brother after breaking down on the side of the road. Thought the family only plans on staying one night, they find it incredibly easy getting caught up in the grandeur and alluring perks of the hotel. As Audrey begins meeting the guests and employees of the Ruby, she begins learning of the haunting past of the hotel, and what it truly means to be a guest there.

This was a pretty good read, and one I had devoured in hours on a Friday night. Though the romance may cause and eye-roll or two, it’s definitely a great read for those of you who want to sleep after reading.

 

8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

I just got this series to read in October, got WAY behind in what I planned on reading due to ARCs, and am now pushing it into my November reads.

Because I’m going out of 2019 staying Spooky AF, and I’m taking you all with me.

Hex Hall is the YA supernatural reform school story for witches, fae and shapeshifters. After Sophie Mercer discovers that she is a witch, and makes a disaster out of a prom-night spell, her warlock father ships her off to Hex Hall in order to “straighten her out”.

It’s basically the typical high school series, with magical elements and romance! Woo hoo!! If you want some spooky fluff, look no further.

 

9. Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror/Paranormal

Maplecroft

This one is for all you Lizzie Borden fans out there!

Who doesn’t love an axe-murdering woman, am I right?!

Maplecroft portrays the events after Lizzie Borden is exonerated for the brutal murders of her parents, when she and her sister take up residence at a mansion by the sea – Maplecroft. In this tale, Lizzie explains that her parents’ souls were “consumed” by malevolent entities. So now, as she cares for her sickly sister, she spends her days ridding the world of these demonic creatures, one swing of her axe at a time.

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….

 

10. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

Ten.jpg

Ten is another book I purchased during October, and perfect for you lovers of teen slashers

It’s about a group of teens who go to an exclusive party on Henry Island. Their weekend getaway is promised to be one of drunken debaucheries and luxury, as they’re accustomed to. But when they come across a DVD with a threatening message on it, a storm suddenly cuts off the power and the killing begins.

 

11. Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery

Here there are monsters.jpg

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls“?

I’m here for it.

The description for this one is vague, which makes me want it even more. Here There Are Monsters is about two sisters, Skye and Deirdre. Skye gets tired of having to look after and save her sister all the time, so she vows to let her handle things on her own. But when the girls move across the country, and Skye excels at making new friends, Deirdre becomes withdrawn and isolated. She begins traveling deep into the woods and creating strange sculptures from branches.

And then, she disappears.

 

12. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

How to Hang a Witch

I have been wanting to read this little beauty for, FOREVER!

I know, it’s shocking that I haven’t read it yet. I’m a monster.

How to Hang a Witch is about a girl named Samantha Mather who moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. Sam is the descendant of a man named Cotton Mather, who was involved in the Salem witch trials that claimed the lives of countless women. When a group of girls called The Descendants find out, they make it their mission to make her life a living hell. But when Sam comes into contact with a ghost, she begins to learn about the centuries old curse that affects every descendant of those involved in the trials.

I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, so I am planning on reading it in the next week!

 

13. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Witches

Harry Potter.jpg

Do I even need to explain this one?

 

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The goal for the rest of 2019: Stay Spooky

 

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

Book Review: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Songs from the Deep.jpg

 

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

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery

Plot: A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

Opinion:

“A flash of silver under sea, when siren song hath taken me.

Absent of color, absent of light, absent of all that I knew in life.

Bolt the latch and watch the waves, pray sirens do not take me tonight.”

The inhabitants of Twillengyle island know the dangers that lurk below the surface of the waters. They are taught as children to be fearful of the harbor, to wear iron at all times, and to never go into the ocean. But the fascination of sirens brings yearly tourists to the island, which always ends in a death or three. But this year, an islander is found dead on the shore. A young boy with his throat slit clean. The police deem the cause to be an attack from the sirens, but Moira Alexander disagrees. Moira has always been enraptured by the sirens, just like her father, and believes the death of this boy is due to foul play. She enlists the help of the light keeper, Jude Osric to help track down the true killer. But Moira has no leads, and is finding it difficult to trust anyone. But she must act quickly, before the bodies start piling up.

Allow me to introduce to you, my newest eerie fantasy of 2019.

Move over The Wicked Deep!

There’s a new creepy island in town with deadly beings in the water, and a meddlesome female lead to make you swoon!

 

“Playing for the sirens fills a dark and hollow yearning, a cavernous desire I’ve no other way to appease.”

The setting for this enchanting read is an island called Twillengyle, and my oh my, am I obsessed with it! It is oddly alluring island masked in fog and mystery, beckoning outsiders forward with a chilled bony finger. It whispers secrets on the wind, rains fear on its sandy beaches and coaxes sailors to the docks and out into the blue.

It gives me Sleepy Hollow tingles and caresses of Sparrow curses, but these waters aren’t filled with ghostly spirits enacting revenge. In this tale, songs flutter through the waves from the dark depths of the unknown, luring the souls foolish enough to walk unprotected. The sirens keep an alertness about the island and apprehension in the air, but it is the islanders who keep the darkest secrets.

“Twillengyle is a place to be embraced with one arm, with a dagger ready in the other hand. To be charmed by its magic is not the same as becoming its fool, Moira. Remember that.”

As soon as I began reading Songs from the Deep, I was hooked. I devoured this beauty in five hours, and all I can think is I need more. The writing was beautiful and eerie, and the historical fiction of the tale brought the creep factor up a notch. Each character was introduced in a manor where you can’t tell if they are good or evil, sincere or manipulative, like something straight out of a Stephen King novel. Who to trust, who to fear? Honestly, I’m not even sure I could tell you! The old-fashioned dialogue brings about an air of propriety and polite interactions, but mix that with a couple slit throats and you’ve got blood coating the sandy shores.

“Now I’ll have his blood on the soles of my boots.”

If you, like me, love a meddlesome girl, then you will surely adore our Moira Alexander. She is strength in a petticoat, authority in stockings, and a fiercely skillful young lady. Moira is a character who knows exactly who she is and what she believes in, and wouldn’t think twice about apologizing for either. She has strong morals and opinions, which she has no shame in voicing, but she does so in a regal and sophisticated way. As a child, Moira followed in her father’s footsteps of having a keen interest and love for the sirens. So much so, that she spends her days sitting on the cliffs playing songs on her violin to the creatures below.

 “When she disappears beneath the waves, I feel pinned to the moment. I replay it like a song, over and over, until it’s familiar as a heartbeat.”

But like all the islanders of Twillengyle, Moira has secrets of her own, and this one involves her former best friend and the love-interest of this haunting story: Jude Osric.

“On one dark bough, I curse my efforts to drain our friendship bloodless, when neither of us desired the ax.”

Jude is the epitome of good-natured and sweetness! So many times in YA Fantasy we have a bad boy character with secrets, regrets, a mournful past of death and dark hair with gray eyes. Well…the secrets and mournful past of death is still there, but you see where I’m going with this. Jude is kind and honest. He has an innocence etched into his bones that even the loneliness of his lighthouse can’t extinguish. He is an upstanding gent, an endearing friend and he’s just… pure goodness. This is one male love interest I could jump into the ocean for.

But obviously, the real treat of this story is the plot.

This siren story is one you need to buy now and devour. I know so many of you have been in an endless hangover from The Wicked Deep, and this is the cure! Not only is it a fantastic mystery full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end, but it ends on a note that makes you feel eerily complete. If a book was ever written for my soul, it would be this. This world, these characters, and the mysteries of the waters speak to my very being. If I could crawl into these pages, my heart would have finally reached bliss.

“Disquiet makes a home inside my heart.”

5-stars

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Penguin Random House · Reviews

Spooky Reads Blogger Campaign: I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson

Happy November 1st my Witchy readers!
Today I have a very special post for you! I have teamed with with Penguin Random House for their Spooky Reads Blogger Campaign, where each blogger picked a candy that corresponded with a surprise spooky book!
My candy was Kit Kat (yum!) and my book turned out to be I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson!!
I was beyond excited to receive this book and put this post together, so be sure you read my review below, take a look at my Dream Casting and maybe even head over to my Bookstagram to check out my photo of the book!
@Jenacidebybibliophile
(You can also see my unboxing of this book and some amazing extra goodies in my highlights under “Bookmail“)

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~* Book Review *~

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I Know You Remember

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Penguin Random House, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Opinion:

If this book doesn’t leave you feeling a little unhinged, I don’t know what will.

Oh.

My.

Days.

That was twisted.

It has been three years since Ruthie and her mother left their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to escape Ruthie’s alcoholic father. But following the sudden death of her mother, Ruthie is being sent back to Anchorage to live with her now sober dad and his new family. Things aren’t all bad though, because Ruthie will finally get to see her best friend Zahra again. Except when Ruthie arrives at her new school, news that Zahra has gone missing is announced, and all signs point to Zahra’s boyfriend. Now, Ruthie puts all her energy into finding Zahra and uncovering what really happened the night she disappeared. But along the way, Ruthie realizes that Zahra isn’t the same girl she knew. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, Zahra’s friends describe her as secretive, sometimes moody, and a big partier. As Ruthie comes closer to finding out the truth, buried secrets are dug up and the horrifying realities are uncovered.

I love nothing more than a story that gives me a physical reaction while reading.

And to say my mouth dropped open, would be a vast understatement to the reality of what shape my face contorted into after this ending.

Though I had a strong suspicion of how this story would turn out, and I was more or less correct in my assumption, I am still SO impressed with how the author kept me questioning my opinion until the very end. I have read one or two books that have a similar twist in them, and the clues as to where the story was shifting was really subtle, but it was all in the characters!

This story is told in the point of view of Ruthie as she comes back to Anchorage and begins searching for Zahra. Though, in the three years that Ruthie has been away, their interactions have been limited. Ruthie reminisces on their time together in the summer before she moved, and how they spent their days devouring books and creating stories where they were the heroines who triumphed over evil. She describes their friendship of one of imagination and creativity, and portrays Zahra as a beautiful and special girl that she was more than lucky to call her best friend. But as Ruthie begins to learn more about who Zahra is now, she begins to discover that she may not be the same girl she once knew.

“Part of me, of course, just wanted to find her. But part of me wanted to find her here. Because that would mean it still matters. That the world we created together is still meaningful to her.”

For most of this book, the reader is learning who Zahra is by how she is described by her friends and family. There are little snippets and trails of information that you can pick up to form a vague portrayal of who she is, but the reader never truly gets an in depth look at her until the end of the book. Because the author chose to keep her shrouded in secrecy, my imagination was going wild the entire time I was reading. Ruthie begins to discover that Zahra has episodes where she will shutdown and not talk to anyone, or where she falls into deep depressions ranting about how she wants to die and that she is a horrible person. Which instantly makes you think, did she run away?

Each of these characters has the right amount of detail to make you feel like you know them, but just enough mystery to make you question each expression and action. One of my favorite things about thrillers is that it makes me pause my reading to decipher what is going on, where I think the clues will lead, and who I think is guilty of what. But the clues in I Know You Remember are so faint and expertly entwined into the words and mannerisms of these beautiful characters, that you’ll miss it all if you blink even once.

The backdrop for this mystery is really what seals the deal for me and brings in the creep factor. Anchorage, Alaska with its beautiful scenery and huge wooded areas make it the perfect location for a young girl to go missing and/or the possibilities of a deranged killer being on the loose. But my favorite aspect of all, was the abandoned playground that Zahra and Ruthie had claimed as their territory for that magical summer three years prior. Rusted play structures, a lonely swing-set and a place they could create their magical stories and let their imaginations run wild.

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Of course…it gets much creepier toward the end of the book…*cough cough*.

I REALLY wish I could say more and give out every spoiler this is, because it is killing me keeping it all bottled up! This story is twisted, manipulative, secretive, and will make you question more than just where Zahra went. And best yet, I just found out that this is a follow-up to Jennifer Donaldson’s other novel Lies You Never Told Me. Obviously I Know You Remember can be read as a standalone (since I just did that) but now I must get my hands on “Lies”, because I need more!

I highly recommend this for readers who are still looking for some spooky reads, because Halloween season is year-round and we aren’t done being weird yet, are we? For those of you who get scared easily, don’t you worry your pretty little heads. This isn’t horror, it’s thriller! You’ll be juuustttttt fine.

4-5-stars

 

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~* Dream Casting *~

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Ruthie

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Ruthie was pretty hard to pinpoint as far as looks, because there isn’t a whole lot of detail surrounding her appearance. I mostly had to go off the cover which only shows the back of her, and I just let my imagination do the rest.

My top pick is the beautiful Taissa Farmiga.

Taissa

If you’re like me and love American Horror Story, then you would have fallen in love with Taissa in the first season. She is aloof and slightly mysterious, but has just the right amount of innocence and allure to pull you in – Just like Ruthie.

My other two picks for Ruthie were Kaitlyn Dever and Maude Apatow.

Kaitlyn Dever has proven her wide range of acting skills over the years, and there is something about her that makes me think she can switch her personality from sweet to horrific in .02 seconds.

Maude Apatow is a newer to the acting scene, but the little I have seen from her – I LOVE! I would be so interested to see how she’d make Ruthie come to life, and to be honest, I think she would absolutely kill it.

 

Zahra

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Zahra is also another tough character to pinpoint on looks, because her description is also on the more vague side. So again, this is my going off of the cover and the very little information I was given while reading.

I had a few picks for Zahra, but it always came back to Riele Downs.

Rielle downs

I just can’t get over how stunning this girl is! Zahra is described as a girl that people seem to be drawn to. Someone that is easy to confide in and trust, and who is beautiful inside and out. Riele Downs exudes that perfect amount of confidence and friendliness that I think would be perfect for Zahra.

 

Tabitha

Tabitha’s character is an interesting mix of bitchy mean girl and really devoted friend, so it was a challenge finding the right person to portray here. So, I’ve narrowed it down to two raidant reheads!

Ellie Bamber and Rosie Day are not only stunning with that red hair, but they also have a sharp edge to their looks that make you want to be careful around them. Tabitha comes off as a snippy, bitchy and fierce character most of the time, but when it comes down to itgirl is a little gem

 

Ben Peavy

Ben is described as having Native heritage, dark eyes, a full mouth, and black hair that is short on the sides and longer on top. For some reason though, there is a very small pool of young Native actors to choose from.

So I had to get creative for this one…

I give you, Vito Basso.

Some Guy

Pretty sure this beautiful specimen is a model and not an actor, but c’mon…we could convince him to switch careers, couldn’t we?

 

Seb Collins

Immediately, and I mean immediately after Seb was described, two people popped into my head. First was the majorly talented Timothée Chalamet, who I just adore to pieces.

Timothée ticks off every box there is for the pale, skinny, sharp feature description..but he is also a little too clean-cut for this character.

But you know who would have been perfect?!

The late, amazing, wonderful Anton Yelchin.

Anton

Seb is described as a little shaggy and scruffy, and Anton Yelchin was definitely able to play this part. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago, which is positively tragic, because he was an immensely talented actor.

 

Bailey Sellers

Bailey is one of the youngest pivotal characters in this book, and is described as being a poor and skinny fourteen-year-old girl who is physically abused at home. She is fast and has a bit of a temper, but at the end of the day, she is just a lonely little girl looking for a friend.

My pick for Bailey is the oober talented Mckenna Grace.

Mckenna

This girl astounds me every time I see her in a movie. She is versatile and immediately grabs your attention! Her as Bailey is a no-brainer!!

 

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As always, thanks for reading and stay Witchy! ❤

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #31: September Book Wrap-up

 

I may be seventeen days late with this Wrapup
but can you really blame me?
We haven’t entered just any old month!
It’s THE month!!

So to celebrate me being so happy, busy and overjoyed with OCTOBER and all it’s Gothy and Witchy beauty…
here’s what I did in September!

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~* September Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

I was sweetly gifted The Lady Rogue by Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review, and OH MY WORD was this good!

It is a YA Adventure/Mystery about a young woman who begins a hunt around the world to find her missing father, who works as a treasure hunter. Usually left behind in lavish hotels and forced to sit out the expeditions, Theodora is called upon by Huxley Gallagher, her fathers’ protege and her once upon a time almost boyfriend.

Together the two find that her father was on the hunt for Vlad the Impaler’s long lost ring, or better known to the world, Dracula’s ring.

This was a KILLER (pun intended) way to start September! This book reminded me of a Lara Croft meets Pitfall meet National Treasure YA tale, and it did not disappoint! There is murder, turmoil, suspense, a little horror, magic, romance and a ton of interesting history!

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove

THIS is my favorite book of the month, but also, maybe one of my favorites of the year!

Serpent & Dove is everything, everything, EVERYTHING my Witchy heart has been needing and wanting in a YA Fantasy!

The magic, the immense killing, the turmoil between two sides who don’t understand each other but are more similar than they realize.

And of course, THIS ROMANCE!

The story is all about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a Witch Hunter, 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.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

The Liar's Daughter

Guys.

You KNOW I love a cult!

So when I saw this I screamed, pressed request in a panicked excitement, and got to reading IMMEDIATELY.

And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint!

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. 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.

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

My ONLY grudge with The Liar’s Daughter is that the book description gives away the entire story! I wanted this to be shrouded in mystery, because it is written in a way where the reader follows Piper through this state on confusion and uncertainty as she tries to understand her upbringing and new life. So that said, please just buy this book and don’t read the synopsis on the back of the book!!!

Just TRUST me!

4-5-stars

(Maybe don’t even look at my review, here)

 

4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

This book is SO beautiful!

To be honest, it did take a little time for me to get into it and stay focused. The writing is fantastic, the characters are SO well developed, and it is positively brimming with adventure and imagination!

It takes a few chapters for things to start picking up, but it is so worth it!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is about a young woman’s discovery and journey into doors that lead to other worlds. Her father travels the world in search of valuable artifacts for her guardian, Mr. Locke, and has been left to her own devices since she was a little girl. But when she comes across a curious book ranting of doors to worlds of snow, Amazonians and oceans, and a heartbreaking story of love, January begins to wonder if this book is more than just a tall tale.

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Exit

I had Exit sitting on my bookshelf and collecting dust for some time now, so I figured it was about time I dove into it.

After falling in love with The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, so many readers recommended this as the next book that will shatter my soul.

And I was READY!

Unfortunately…

It was just meh.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is about a teenage girl who is raped at cheer camp, and what happens afterwards. I really liked that it gave a different view on how someone may react to such a traumatic experience. A lot of times we see characters go into downward spirals and/or deep depressions, but Hermione does the opposite. She stays focused and strong and has a positive attitude about moving forward.

But that aside, I wasn’t really impressed with the book. I think it is a good introductory story about rape for a younger YA audience, but it just didn’t bring the emotional sorrow and hemorrhaging I was hoping for.

2-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

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Myself and my two sisters from other misters, mistresses and countries have decided to start a Sisterhood of the Traveling Book adventure together!

Since we all live in different countries (USA, UK, Sweden) we thought it would be so fun to each pick a book, send it to each other to read, maim it to all hell with notes and underlines of sentences/moments that resonate with us, and then send it back – with custom library cards and everything!!

Damn adorable, right?!

SO I had the pleasure of starting off this magical experience, and I chose Things We Know by Heart.

I don’t know if you’re catching on to the theme here, but my world centers around YA Fantasy and Contemporary that severely wounds my soul and makes me want to throw myself into a cauldron.

I want to FEEL, okay?!

Things we Know by Heart introduces us to Quinn a year after her boyfriend Trent dies in an accident. As a donor, vital organs and parts of Trent were given to recipients who were in need. Heartbroken and devastated, Quinn and Trent’s family began meeting with the recipients of Trent’s donations in an attempt to heal.  But the recipient of Trent’s heart gave no response to their request to meet, so Quinn tracks him down.

This is SUCH a cute story, and was a great way to start off out NAGC Library book sending. Though it didn’t have those “rip my heart out and make me beg for it back” vibes, I still found myself smitten with the story.

4-stars

 

7. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

The Memory Thief.jpg

Okay…

So I DNF‘d this little minx at 38%, and I am quite honestly questioning if I made the right call.

The Memory Thief is a YA Fantasy world where memories are like gold. They are traded, stolen and auctioned off to the highest bidder and people are killed in the streets over them. Etta is one of the gifted individuals who can take memories just by touching someone, but she is hiding in plain sight in order to protect herself and her mother.

TOTALLY something I would love, right?!

The author tried shoving SO much information at the reader way too quickly, while going into confusing flashbacks, and it is just made my head hurt. There was about 10 names mentioned in the first chapter, which makes it hard to follow who is who since I have no idea…who those people are.

I had super high hopes for this one, because the premise is phenomenal. But the excessive information, and lengthy dialogue, and the eye-roll worthy insta-love was WAY too much for me to deal with.

…I take it back.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven

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

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realizes that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Opinion:

Fridays are for dark retellings, murder and deceit.

In this twisted tale there are more than just stepmothers to defeat.

Vile stepsisters and wicked, forceful Kings,

Have a chance to be defeated with the help of paws and wings.

With a Princess clad in black and magic scorching through her veins,

A Queen must arise to break free from her chains.

I love a fairy tale retelling, especially one that flips the story from cheery to morbid.

But what I love even more, is a story of a Goth Princess Witch.

Rebecca Henry got our Princess’s name wrong though,

because this is DEFINITELY written about me.

Princess Zezolla lead a life of happiness and bliss with her parents in their castle. A life with a doting father and a mother that showered her in love and affection. At least until her mother was drowned at the hands of her father. Now Zezolla’s life is one doused in sorrow and cruelty. Countless deaths and misfortunes follow the Princess as she grows into a young woman, with only her Raven and her magic to keep her company. Forced into the cellars of her castle by her stepmother and her daughters to live for years, the only solace Zezolla can find is through the woods and its creatures. But the bloodshed in Zezolla’s life has only just begun, and to survive, she must trust in her magic and her guardians.

Zezolla is the witchy Princess that my childhood heart has always wanted!

This girl is sweet, caring, compassionate and loving to everyone and everything around her-even those who treat her horribly. After the death of her mother, she falls into a state of mourning that takes hold of her life and leaves her lonely and neglected. Her father, after being betrayed by his wife and then drowning her, becomes a nonexistent parent to Zezolla, only focusing his efforts on securing a new wife and improving his status. And so begins the onslaught of stepmothers that will enter Zeolla’s life, leaving a trail of cruelty and vile behavior in their wake.

It seems to be a theme in this retelling for characters to begin as somewhat decent beings, and then turn rather drastically into monstrous versions of themselves. It was so saddening to watch Zezolla lean towards so many figures in her life that she loved and respected, only for them to turn on her and wish for her demise. But another huge theme was the act of characters attempting to have ownership or control over our little Cinderella girl. She was constantly being thrust into the hands of those who either wanted her for gain or to be a slave that they could torture. This poor girl is beaten, betrayed, manipulated, verbally abused and treated like an object constantly.+

“You have witnessed man’s true desire…to own a woman.”

But before you think that she is totally helpless, don’t. Zezolla is a fierce and witty character with extraordinary abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Earth and the animals, and has extremely dedicated companions by way of a raven and a wolf. These two creatures steal and kill in order to protect their Princess, and to be completely honest, it is badass and ruthless! There is SO much blood being spilled in this story, but don’t fret, it isn’t graphic at all and won’t keep you up at night.

 

What I really enjoyed about this story as well, is the romance. It is a bit unexpected and not a huge part of the story…which I really LOVE! Look, I adore my fantasy romances just like the next YA obsessive out there. But what I adore even more, is a story where a female isn’t waiting in the damn shadows for a man to rescue her and fight her battles. I crave that feminine strength and power in books, and Rebecca delivered.

Overall, I am really impressed with this dark Cinderella retelling. The pace is quick, and this book covers a TON of ground in just 180 pages. It completely sucked me in and left me feeling a bit dismayed that it was over, because all I wanted was to stay with Zezolla. I would gladly welcome a series of The Lady Raven, or even a dark retelling of EVERY princess (hint hint, Rebecca). I definitely recommend this gritty and gothic fairy tale to those of you who are looking for a new retelling or a spooky read for October!

4-stars

 

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