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

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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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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Sound of Blue by Michael Duda

The Sound of Blue1

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

Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction

Plot: Aliens exist everywhere. They are android. They hide within the mind. They live on other planets. And they can even travel the universe using technology far beyond our understanding.

Markey VI, an android on an orbiting space station, assists an artificial intelligence. David, the A.I., ponders the question of humanity’s fate. The ultimate question is, “Should life be returned to Earth?” The answer is known as the Singular Conclusion. But the answer’s impact reaches far deeper into Markey VI’s electronic components and programmed logic than could be anticipated. And the android’s final moments bring it closer to humanity itself.

David Grayson volunteered for a project called, ‘Threading.’ Unfortunately, Threading slowly alters David’s mind. And it affects the other two subjects. But in what way? After the final test goes wrong, David unleashes a powerful ability capable of distorting time.

Shiran accuses Abian of murdering her husband. She claims that Abian tells lies about the events leading to the death. She also keeps a secret that could reveal the truth. When Abian uncovers Shiran’s secret, Shiran discovers that there is more to her simple village life than she first believed.

It’s a futuristic version of 1930s Chicago. Named Chicago VI, the shielded space city exists somewhere at the far edge of the Oberon Galaxy. And all space cities connect by jump trains, faster-than-light machines. Bobby and his dog, Mister Pleats, barely make ends meet at Chicago VI’s jump train station. But when Bobby meets an alien Xenoarchaeologist, he’ll discover that there’s more possibilities in the galaxy than shining shoes.

The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery. A journey just out of atmospheric reach. To a mysterious planet and at the far end of a galaxy. And into the mind where superhuman powers wait to be untapped.

Opinion:

“In a galaxy so vast, what really is home?”

You’d think that after reading my fifth book by Michael Duda, I’d cease to be amazed at how his mind works.

But alas, here I am.

Still dumbfounded and astounded by his brain.

Michael Duda is able to take the most mundane facts that we know as humans, about our society and ourselves, and reshape them into poetic tales of beauty and darkness. He is able to transport the reader into future and sideways dimensional settings that exude immense wonder and deep horrors. I am always left feeling nostalgic and unhinged by Duda’s writings. It’s like he has dipped his fingers into my brain, found the innocence and fears, and gingerly extracted them and wove them onto paper.

Now if you have an unhealthy addiction to science fiction that can both excite and terrify you, then you will love this collection of short stories.

The first is called The Sound of Blue. Immediately the reader is skyrocketed into the ever-popular idea (or probability) that Artificial Intelligence and robots will take over the world, eradicating humankind from existence. This story follows dialogue between David, an A.I., and Markey VI, an android. David is attempting to discern if humans will be able to return to Earth, while also delving into the idea of what it means to be human.

It is a quick story, but one that made me pause after reading to reflect on what it means to be human. As per usual, Duda started this book off with a bang that immediately had a sense of anxious wonder creeping inside me. It is the most sorrowful and delicate of these four stories, and one I could imagine being a closing scene for an epic sci-fi movie.

The second short story is Last of Lasts and immediately reminded me of the Netflix show Maniac. It is about three people who are in dire need of money, so they agree to participate in a series of experiments. The story is told through the eyes of David as he is thrust back into another test of the “threading”; one that puts the other two subject’s lives at risk as the scientists look for a specific outcome. It is one of the longer stories, but one that will keep you hooked as you try to figure out what the hell is going on. It is also probably the most fantastical of the bunch, but as always, one that has legs and could easily be turned into a full series.

The third story is Waking from an Eternal Sleep. The inhabitants of a village look to those called the Unmarked Ones for guidance and insight into events and their lives. But when Shiran’s husband is suddenly killed by a fellow villager named Abian, she demands to know why and that he be put to death. But the reasoning behind her husband’s death is much bigger than what she could ever fathom. Naturally, in Duda form, I am left wanting more and MORE of this tale. ALWAYS with the cliffhangers

The fourth short story is Jump Trains and Simultaneity and my favorite kind of science fiction fable! It is set in an old-timey futuristic world that can only be described as the 1930s meets Cyberpunk 2077. If you are like me and are obsessed with Sci-fi like Altered Carbon, Blade Runner or Mute, then you will without a doubt love this. Bobby lives in one of the many cities called space cities, which are connected by jump trains. He is a homeless and sweet kid working as a shoe shiner, until he meets Theodore Rattletrap, an alien who studies extraterrestrial cultures.

THIS short story is the one I NEED to be turned into a full novel, then a Netflix show. It is phenomenal and fantastical, and the one that threw my imagination into overdrive. I couldn’t help but be completely invested in Bobby’s well-being, because he is a genuinely innocent character. Duda ensured that I had a decent level of skepticism for Theodore Rattletrap the entire time, and even now, I’m not too sure about him. This is by far my favorite story of the collection.

Unsurprisingly, I am obsessed with this new book by Michael Duda.

I have been hounding him for some time now to please write a novel before I wither away into dust and fly off into the wind, and he is! But in the meantime, I highly suggest you guys read Stars in the Winter Sky, and a few of his other short story collections under his other pen name M. Duda: Bedtime for Seneca, A Cat Will Play, Deny the Father.

5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Books · Edelweiss+ · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #31: My Top 10 Anticipated October Book Releases

Something Wicked this way comes.

You know who it is, you’ve been waiting all year!
It’s the Twisted.
The Ghostly.
The eerie Daughter of Darkness and the gloomy Son of Spooky.

 

 

It’s OCTOBER!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated October Book Releases *~

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1. Angel Mage by Garth Nix
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Angel Mage.jpg

Some of you may know Garth Nix, some may not.

He is the author of the Abhorsen series, Sabriel, and has made a name for himself in the YA Fantasy genre.

Angel Mage is a historical styled fantasy with heavy influence from The Three Musketeers. Set in a world that is largely controlled by angelic magic, Liliath seeks to be reunited with her lost love, the archangel of Ystara, by forcing four Sarancians to fulfill her destiny.

It basically sounds like an epic fantasy adventure of four against one, I am here for it COMPLETELY!

 

2. Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

Resurrection Girls

Resurrection Girls is one of those books I see and go-

was this written specifically for me?

It follows Olivia Foster, a young girl who is still reeling from the death of her younger brother. But when Kara Hallas moves in across the street, Olivia is immediately enamored with her free spirit and strange hobby of writing to men on death row. So Olivia joins Kara, and together, they write as the Resurrection Girls.

This sounds like it’s going to be one of those “they aren’t who they seem” styles of books, but I am REALLY curious to see where this fantasy/paranormal element comes in to play.

But who am I kidding?

I’m just here for the morbid tone.

 

3. Shadow Frost (Book 1) by Coco Ma
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Shadow Frost

Shadow Frost is about a girl named Asterin, Princess of Axaria, who vows to slay a demon that is terrorizing her kingdom. With the help of her friends, they set off to kill the beast in question, but discover startling information in the process. But an assassination attempt against Asterin has been planned, and a series of lies begin to come to light as they fight for survival.

Magic, a princess, demon beasts?!

Sign me up!

 

4. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/Horror

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My Horror pick of the month, and you’ll know exactly why!

The Twisted Ones is about a young woman named Mouse who begins cleaning out her grandmother’s home after her death. What she thinks at first is just a bunch of useless junk, she soon finds that not everything in this house can be brushed off so easily.

Mouse uncovers a journal of strange writings by her step-grandfather, and soon begins to experience the strange and unusual events that she assumed was the musings of an insane man. 

This novel is said to read like The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show

HOW? I don’t know, but I NEED!

 

5. The Good Luck Girls (Book 1) by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The Good Luck Girls

So I JUST received this beauty in the mail from the amazing and wonderful Andrea @andreajanel_reads , and I cannot wait to start reading this Westworld meets The Hadmaid’s Tale fantasy!

The Good Luck Girls is the story of five young women who were forced into prostitution houses and called Good Luck Girls. When one of the girls ends up killing her client, the girls devise a plan to escape and find freedom.

This sounds like a Wild Wild West meets Sucker Punch meets The Accident Season, and I’m just over here like

 

6. I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

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I LOVE a thriller that blindsides the ever-living shit out of me, and I am hoping I Know You Remember does just that!

When Ruthie’s once best friend Zahra suddenly vanishes from a party, she makes it her mission to find out what happened. But as Ruthie begins to dig deeper into the life of the girl she once knew, she soon discovers Zahra is far from the introverted and artistic person she was as a child. Zahra is popular and a young woman of many secrets, and Ruthie is about to fall into them.

7. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Sci-fi/Dytopian

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THIS book is the Sci-fi/Dystopian novel I have been waiting for ALL YEAR!

Set in a world where girls are banished until the age of sixteen and told their skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac that lures men in and throws women into a jealous rage, Tierney James dreams of a better life. A life where the girls don’t rage against one another, and work to tear each other down.

The Grace Year is dripping in feminist vibes like Wilder Girls and Girls with Sharp Sticks. It is a world where women are shoved down and fight against one another to survive in a society that only wants to push them down farther. 

I cannot express how long I have been waiting for this release.

I am so ready to highlight every word in this book.

Bring it on.

8. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

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Love, Heather is about two girls who enact revenge on the bullies of their high school by playing a few pranks, signing them with Love, Heather. But what starts out as innocent retaliation, quickly turns into a violent mess as students start to join in by pulling their own vicious pranks. As everything turns dark, the girls fight to take back control of what they started.

I am a HUGE fan of the Heathers movie, and if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do before reading this book!

 

9. Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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Gravemaidens follows Kammani, a young healer who fights to save her sister from her impending death.

When the ruler of Alu becomes ill, sacred maidens are picked to walk with the dying ruler into the afterlife. It is an honorable position, but one that Kammani only sees as an execution. So when her sister Nanaea is chosen as one of the Gravemaidens, she sneaks into the palace and attempts to heal the ruler. But the secrets of the palace are dangerous, and more than just her sister’s life may be in danger.

 

10. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Release Date: October 31, 2019
Genre: YA/Middle Grade/Fantasy

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I LOVE Francis Hardinge books!!!

Not only does she come up with some truly amazing and unique ideas, but the detail and character building in each of her stories is FANTASTIC!

I mean yes, I wish she would write a more Mature YA or even an Adult book, but I am more than happy with these beautiful middle grade tales!

Deeplight is set in a fantastical world called Myriad, a place once terrorized by powerful gods that come from the depths of the ocean, until one day they vanished. Since then, the remains of these gods are traded and highly sought after. For Hark and Jelt, scavenging for “godware” is their life, and they soon set out on an expedition that will change their lives forever.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

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Genre: YA/Contemporary

Plot: Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Opinion:

This book is in no way, at all, by ANY means, similar to Veronica Mars or William Shakespeare.  

To the person who wrote this book description, did you even read this book?

I was really hoping this book was going to be like open-heart surgery: a precise slice between 2 to 4 inches, an intricate unweaving of my measly little “feelingstrings and an eventual severe, yet purposeful, yanking on my heart like it was a sled delivering presents on Christmas eve.

Unfortunately,

I didn’t feel much at all.

I had so many readers recommend this book to me after I read The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, because I was wailing and shrieking about it for months afterwards – and to be honest, I still am. I waited months to actually read this because I knew I would have to set a night aside and really prepare myself for the roller coaster of emotions I was about to feel! With my tissues, tea and emergency cookies on standby- I dove in!

But what I got was…blah.

I am obviously not one of those readers that gives a book a stellar review just because it touches on an important issue. I respect the author for giving sexual assault victims a voice, and for trying to show another version of how the victims and their loved ones are affected by truly terrible crimes like this. I found a lot of positives in this story by way of strong friendships and fierce loyalty, the confusion of how/what to feel when you’ve been assaulted but cannot remember, and the various ways that one’s peers and community reacts.

But I think what really made it hard for me to connect to this story, was the lack of depth in this story. Exit is a “shallow end” version of YA Contemporary/Coming-of-age fiction about rape. It gives you the characters and the facts of what happened before and after the assault, but it only just brushes the surface of the emotional significance that comes with such a horrific crime.

The main character felt very one-dimensional and stiff. She didn’t seem to EVER feel much of anything about what happened to her, and was more worried about her cheer team then the fact that she was raped…? I’m all for moving on and not letting things get you down, but come on! This girl is a teenager. A hormonal, emotional, hard-to-think-rationally teenager! How is she so put together and mature about this situation the ENTIRE book? It feels like lazy writing. Instead of the author really getting in touch with the emotional trauma and how Hermione was coping with the events, she barely stuck a toe into the water and simply told the reader emotions rather than presented them.

There wasn’t anything really special about this book, and I kept finding myself waiting for a big moment of TRUE emotion that unfortunately never ended up coming. The only true gem of this story was Hermione’s best friend Polly. Polly is a really well-crafted, beautiful, strong and detailed character! She is the strength and rock in Hermione’s life, and apparently the only one that is stricken with the events that take place. I almost wish Exit would have focused more on Polly and HER views on the situation as she helped her friend through her assault. It would have been a different viewpoint, and maybe would have given me the feeling and truth that I was looking for.

I think this book would be more suitable for a younger audience, due to its non-graphic and modest approach. I think this could be a decent introductory story to sexual assault if Speak or The Way I Used to Be seemed a little too heavy. But for me, I was left feeling a little empty and unsatisfied with this book.

2-5-stars

 

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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

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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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