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

Binding of Bindings #25: My Top 10 Anticipated August Book Releases

I know mother said to never drink the Kool-aid.
Don’t give in to peer pressure.
And to never leave that drink unattended.
But trust me, okay?
You definitely want this Kool-aid.

 

It will only hurt your TBR a little.

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated August Book Releases *~

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1. Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Ever Alice.jpg

Just like Goth Barbie is my favorite…so is Asylum Alice.

At 15, Alice will do anything to leave the asylum that she was placed in for her “delusions” of a white rabbit and a place called Wonderland. Her ticket out is an experimental procedure, but cold feet are her undoing, so she escapes back to Wonderland…only to be forced to serve the Queen of Hearts.

Ever Alice sounds like it is going to be grittier and WAY less innocent than the original.

 

2. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

House of Salt and Sorrows

I know I won’t shut up about this….but can you really blame me?

A retelling of the childhood tale 12 Dancing Princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows takes the classic into a sinister form.

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

 

3. Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

Hello Girls.jpg

Hello Girls is like the Thelma and Louise tale for the YA diehards. Full of feminist power and middle fingers to controlling men!

This story follows two young women, Winona and Lucille, who are both forced to live under the hands of the controlling and toxic men in their lives. Fed up and ready to escape, the girls set off for their new lives – in a stolen convertible.

I am so proud of 2019 and the authors in it for producing so many amazing feminist stories! This one is going to punch you right in the feels and empower your gorgeous self, all at once.

 

4. Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mental Health

Lets Call it a Doomsday.jpg

Let’s Call It a Doomsday is a YA story about Mental Health and the world ending.

Ellis Kimball is a doomsday prepper, and she is prepared for any and every scenario when the world comes to an end. But what she wasn’t prepared for, was Hannah Marks entering her life. But as their friendship grows and they work to determined when doomsday is coming, Ellis begins to find out that Hannah isn’t who she thinks she is…and life might not be either.

 

5. Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulski
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Horror

Remember Me.jpg

The Horror book of the Month!

Because you know I couldn’t go without slipping at least one into the mix.

Remember Me follows Nell Martin as she arrives at the Winslow Grand Hotel where, naturally, strange things begin to happen. Soon Nell is thrust between the past and present, and reliving horrific memories from 1905 of a murder. Now Nell and a mysterious bellboy are forced to go through the traumatic events to break a curse that has imprisoned them both.

 

6. Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga, Book 1) by Jill Criswell
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Beasts.jpg

Beasts of the Frozen Sun is a mythology inspired YA Fantasy about a girl blessed by the Gods with the ability to see into one’s soul, and a boy from enemy lands, the Frozen Sun.

Aillira was a god-gifted mortal whose love affair brought about a war between Gods and men. Lira is a descendant of Aillira, and has been raised to loathe the existence of the inhabitants from the Frozen Sun. But when a young warrior washes up on her shores, she is able to see that he is different from his fellow man.

Basically this sounds like a Tristan and Isolde tale…and I’m already sobbing onto my keyboard in anticipation!

 

7. Midnight Beauties (Grim Lovelies, Book 2) by Megan Shepard
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Midnight Beauties.jpg

This is the sequel to Grim Lovelies, and one that I am super stoked to read! Though I haven’t even read the first book yet (don’t judge me, okay?) I just ordered it on Amazon and I have an ARC of Midnight Beauties ready to go!

*Grim Lovelies is on sale at Amazon right now – $5.63 for the HARDCOVER!

I know.

Here: Amazon.com – Grim Lovelies

You’re welcome.

The duology follows Anouk who is a Beastie, an animal that was enchanted into a human. It is set in a world of witches, goblins and tons of magic. Anouk is one of 5 Beasties that serve the witch that turned them, Mada Vittora, and are all forbidden to leave the mansion at any time.

The books document how Anouk fights to free herself, and her friends, from the enchantment they were forced under. All while going up against powerful Royals and magical creatures.

8. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Genre: Adult/Fantasy/Romance

The First gIrl Child.jpg

The First Girl Child is an Adult Fantasy about a Kingdom that was cursed to no longer bear daughters.

Bayr of Saylok is the bastard son of a cruel chieftain and the woman who cursed his Kingdom. Born with inhuman strength and a fierceness like no other, Bayr might be the only hope of the curse being broken. But his role in protecting Alba, the first daughter born in two decades, will put both their lives in jeopardy. Because they are the only hope of breaking the curse on Saylok.

I have a feeling this is going to be a STEAMY read…and I’m ready.

Bring it on Amy Harmon!!

 

9. All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Contemporary

All the bad Apples

LOOK AT THIS COVER!!!

If this cover doesn’t COMPLETELY draw you in, then the author of this book should! She wrote The Accident Season, which I am OBSESSED with, so naturally I am losing my marbles over this release!

All the Bad Apples is about the disappearance of Deena‘s mysterious sister Mandy. Distraught and surprised of her absence, their family struggles to cope with the loss of their daughter and sister. But when letter from Mandy suddenly start to show up, Deena learns that her family might be cursed and that bad luck has been passed down through generations.

 

10. Crown of Coral and Pearl (Book 1) by Mara Rutherford
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery

Crown of Coral and Pearl.jpg

This beautiful cover encases a fantastical tale about a kingdom called Ilara whose princes marry beautiful maidens from the village of Varenia…but not every marriage has a happy ending.

Crown of Coral and Pearl follows Nor who lives in Varenia with her identical twin sister, Zadie. At a young age Nor was in an accident that left her scarred, so in turn, her sister became the eligible maiden to marry the Crown Prince when the time came. But when Zadie is injured and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place, she realizes her new life with the Prince isn’t quite what it seems.

 

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As always my lovelies, stay witchy

Or…Vampire-y.

 

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

Book Review: The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

The Best Lies

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

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

Opinion:

“Jack’s blood is on my face and in my hair, on my arms and under my fingernails. There was so much, the paramedics had rushed to me, checking for signs of trauma, but they couldn’t see the hole in my heart.

My name is Remy.

I am seventeen years old.

This won’t last forever.”

If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling lost, confused, unsure of your current relationships, angry, sad and utterly devastated

…you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Lies is a book that literally any and every person can relate to.

Whether it touches the angst in your stomach for never experiencing a friendship so true and heartfelt; tickles the sadness in your heart for lost love or flicks awake the inner child slumbering deep inside you that can relate to the dire need for someone – this book is going to rip your feelings out through your eyeballs and leave you so full, you’ll be empty.

“I am pain and pain is me.”

First off, this book isn’t going to be what you think. Even from the quotes I have inserted throughout this review, you are going to be making assumptions as where this story will go. And most likely, you’re going to be wrong. This book is about toxic relationships, mental health, obsessive behaviors, manipulation, family dynamics, love, friendship and of course…lies. It is beautiful and tragic, and embodies innocence so fiercely that you can’t help but weep for every character.

“I am alone now as I was then.”

Remy Tsai is a straight-edged and somewhat reserved character. From the beginning I saw the patterns of how Remy would envelop herself into her relationships with friends or boyfriends. She gave every part of herself up and quickly latched onto them if they said something nice to her, and then fully looked to them to fill her with happiness and love. I found her character to be a lost soul, looking for others to tell her who she is or how she should feel about herself and the world. For me, Remy embodies a typical teenager. Desperately trying to discover who they are through the people they surround themselves with. Hoping they will be remembered, loved and needed by others.

 

When Remy first meets Elise, it is in a moment of deep rejection and sadness for her. She has just been dumped and is feeling alone and unwanted. But then Elise is there. Reaching out a hand and whisking her off into a spontaneous night of adventure and mischief. And so begins their fierce friendship of love, truths, lies and painfully raw emotions.

“Elise was electricity. I was the night. She banished the darkness, she lit me up.”

Elise is an electrifying, exciting, daring and fierce character. She is strong and courageous, stands up for herself and others, and sees herself as a vigilante put on Earth to right every wrong. She is intoxicating and beautiful. She is a character we would all love to be friends with, and even love to BE. For Remy, being around Elise was like breathing in sunlight or Heaven’s air. Elise made her feel safe, wanted, important and necessary. Which is everything that Remy never felt in life.

“Elise liked that I needed protection, and I liked that she wanted to protect me. We needed each other, we chose each other, and there was power in that.”

Both of the girls also have difficult family lives they fight to keep hidden from the rest of the world. Remy’s parents are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship that involves nightly screaming matches, adultery and the continuous act of her father leaving their family, only to return again in a few days. Elise was abandoned by her mother at a young age and left with an absent and angry father. Both girls find camaraderie and solace in each other, and use each other as lifelines to survive each day in their own personal Hells.

“’I need you, Remy,’ she said softly. What she was saying: I love you. After a moment I said, ‘I need you, too.’”

But this isn’t just a story of strength between two friends, or family dysfunction. It is also a story of obsession and need. I can’t go too into detail without giving away all the best parts, but this story definitely takes a turn into a space of deep darkness and sorrow. The relationships and friendships that once felt uplifting and whole, begin to crumble. The common theme for many of these characters was their overwhelming need to be NEEDED. It leaves you feeling irritated because they can’t find love for themselves and have to seek it out in others. But it also leaves you aching because you know EXACTLY what that need feels like. To be wanted and accepted by others.

“She wasn’t magical. She was magic itself and I was completely under her spell.”

Obviously, this story ends tragically. Remy’s boyfriend is killed by her best friend and it is…devastating. But the reason behind WHY he is killed, is really why you want to read this story. It is intricate, well-developed, dripping in emotional turmoil, and embodies every feeling a teenager can have.

But just remember.

This isn’t a happy story.

It will hurt you, and you will feel lost afterwards. Just as I do now.

So tread carefully.  

“A night tech comes into the room. ‘Are you okay?’ he asks. I answer honestly. ‘I don’t know.’”

 

 

5-stars.

 

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

Binding of Bindings #14: 12 Upcoming Book Releases Gifted By Publishers

I don’t know about you, but my 2019 has been KICKING ASS!
Not only am I reading some fantastic stories, but the incessant drowning in books on a daily basis is like…Uh-mazing.
So THANK the Book Gods and our little black cauldrons, because Netgalley and Edelweiss are blessing us with some KILLER upcoming releases.
The best part is, you can go and get your greedy little book hands alllllllll over them still!

You’re welcome.

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~ * ~ 12 Upcoming Book Releases, Gifted by Publishers ~ * ~

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1. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: Retelling/Historical Fiction/YA
Available for Request on: Netgalley

The Raven's Tale

This is my third time ranting and raving about my excitement for The Raven’s Tale, and don’t you worry…it won’t even be my last!

This is a retelling of the life of Edgar Allan Poe during his youthful years before he goes to university. The story witches back and forth between Edgar and his Muse, Lenore, while they navigate through their tumultuous relationship. It portrays how Lenore helps Edgar write his dark poems of death and despair, while touching on his internal struggles as he grows.

 

2. Nocturna (A Forgery of magic, Book 1) by Maya Motayne

Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

Nocturna.jpg

Nocturna is one I have been really looking forward to reading, and even better, it releases on my dad’s birthday!!

Happy Birthday to me.

From the book synopsis, I’m already envisioning a Lysandra-esque character (Throne of Glass) fighting her way through a world similar to A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge.

It follows a faceshifter named Finn who is tasked with an impossible mission, and a Prince who is looking for a way to bring his brother back from the dead. Their lives collide in chaos as they unleash a power that could bring the world to an end, unless they can stop it.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn.

 

3. The Living God (Book 1) by Kaytalin Platt

Release Date: May 21, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

The living God

Can we take a minute to drool over this cover?

This one sounds epic.

The story centers on two mages – Saran, a Princess with the ability to manipulate time, and Keleir, a fire mage whose body is the host for a demon and who is foretold to be The Living God. It is about how these two mages lives are intertwined and the eventual end of the world if Keleir does indeed fulfill the prophecy and become a living God. 

It is oozing in magical apocalypse and I am SO ready for it!

4. The Haunted by Danielle Vega

Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Horror/Paranormal
Available for Request on: Goodreads Giveaway

The Haunted.jpg

I just won this little beauty in a Goodreads Giveaway, and am only semi-patiently waiting for its arrival!

If you don’t know my girl Danielle Vega from her Merciless series, then you just aren’t horroring right.

The Haunted is your typical haunted house tale. A young girl and her family move to a new town, to a house that has a reputation for being haunted, and basically…s**t just hits the dusty ceiling fans. But in typical Danielle Vega fashion, I know this is going to be a story that creeps me out more than anything. 

This author just knows how to keep you up at night.

 

5. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/LGBT
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

The Best Lies.jpg

A YA/Mystery of love, deception and murder.

Remy had an amazing life, until her best friend Elise shot her boyfriend.

Devastated and shocked, Remy reflects through her memories and tries to find any plausible explanation for what happened. The Best Lies takes the reader on a ride of toxic relationships, jealousy and revenge. Said to be a Thelma and Louise meets Gone girl psychological thriller!

 

6. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT/Feminist Fiction
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Wilder Girls.jpg

I don’t know what it is about stories set in private schools, but I absolutely LIVE for them!

Wilder Girls is the private school meets fast-spreading virus meets feminist vibes story that you obviously just need. A virus breaks out at a private school located on an island, and three girls are forced to fight for their lives as it spreads. Reviewers are describing it as a Feminist Lord of the Flies and I’m…totally confused on how they are going to mesh…but I’m DOWN!

Bring on the creep factor!!!

 

7. Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

Release Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Ever Alice

Thank our lucky breads and potions, August is blessing us with another Alice retelling!!

This tale of our lovely, innocent and silly Alice takes place in an Asylum!! YAY!

At 15, Alice will do anything to leave the asylum that she was placed in for her “delusions” of a white rabbit and a place called Wonderland. Her ticket out is an experimental procedure, but cold feet are her undoing, so she escapes back to Wonderland…only to be forced to serve the Queen of Hearts.

This version sounds like it is going to be grittier and WAY less innocent than the original.

 

8. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling
Available for Request on: Netgalley

House of Salt and Sorrows

I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR THIS!!!

A retelling of the childhood tale 12 Dancing Princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows takes the classic into a sinister form.

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

 

9. Midnight Beauties (Grim Lovelies, Book 2) by Megan Shaphard

Release Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Midnight Beauties.jpg

Book 2 in the Grim Lovelies duology, Midnight Beauties continues the tale of magical creatures.

If you haven’t read Grim Lovelies, don’t worry. No spoilers here!

The duology follows Anouk who is a Beastie, an animal that was enchanted into a human. It is set in a world of witches, goblins and tons of magic. Anouk is one of 5 Beasties that serve the witch that turned them, Mada Vittora, and are all forbidden to leave the mansion at any time.

The books document how Anouk fights to free herself, and her friends, from the enchantment they were forced under. All while going up against powerful Royals and magical creatures.

 

10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

The Memory Thief.jpg

The Memory Thief is set in a world where memories are considered most valuable, and everyone will fight to get their hands on them. Memories are sold on auction blocks and the city is ruled under the brutal and callous Madame. Being trained in stealing Memories has helped Etta survive, but a dark deal made with the Madame may put everything in Etta’s life at risk.

I am again reminded of A Face Like Glass from all of these amazingly creative and twisted stories! This one sounds so unique and a little twisted, so of course it’s a MUST READ for me!

 

11. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Shadow Frost.jpg

Shadow Frost is about a young princess named Aesterin as she fights to save her kingdom from a demon hellbent on destroying every village in its path. With her fierce friends in tow, Aesterin and her party race to find the demon and slay it. But when they learn that there is a plan to kill the princess, Aesterin and those closest to her begin to realize the secrets that have been kept hidden.

Sounds good right?!

Best of all, this was written by Coco Ma when she was just 15!

12. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou

Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Thriller
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Love, Heather.jpg

This one is for all you Heathers lovers out there!

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!

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Stay Witchy, my friends!

 

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

Book Review: White Rose by Kip Wilson

White Rose

 

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

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Poetry

Plot: A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.

Opinion:

RESPONSE

Fritz tells me

Officer’s mail

Isn’t

Censored,

 

That I should

Feel free

To say

What I like,

 

Which is good

Because I have

Plenty

To say.

 

If you want to know what true beauty, conviction, bravery and strength looks like….read this book.

White Rose is the rebellion story that begs to be witnessed.

White Rose is the story of how a young German student, Sophie Scholl, became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group that was formed by her brother Hans, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst. Having grown up as members of Hitler Youth and experiencing the brutality of war, the boys craved a Germany that followed rules of justice rather than one of genocide. And so, the White Rose was formed in June of 1942 and was made up of many University of Munich students who protested the mass murders of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Though the group only lasted until 1943, hundreds of copies of six political resistance leaflets were drafted and distributed across Germany, in the hopes of inspiring German citizens and students to revolt against oppression.

 

Sophie & Hans Scholl with Christoph Probst 1942

 

AFTERMATH

We soon learn there’s been

An enormous wave

Of arrests throughout Germany

Of hundreds of teenagers

Including Hans, on his military base

All of them accused

Of getting together

In youth groups other than

The Hitlerjugend

Singing banned songs

Reading banned books

Things we do

Because

Ideas

Cannot

Be

Banned.

 

The group drafted six leaflets in total and distributed hundreds across Germany until the capture of its members. Due to the lack of paper and stamps that were available, the mailing of leaflets to different members of the White Rose was incredibly dangerous. The number of stamps and envelopes purchased by one person was tightly monitored by the Gestapo, and any suspicion of anti-Nazi propaganda was swiftly dealt with by arrest and biased trials at the People’s Court of Berlin, which usually ended in death by guillotine or imprisonment.

 

1310_Muhlenkamp_Rose-up

 

1940

Fritz doesn’t understand

Why this defiance matters

So much to me,

Won’t acknowledge

That our strongest weapon

Is our refusal

To follow blindly.

 

Vati says nothing

But his smile

My father’s approval

When I stand up

For what’s right

Means the world.

 

The beautiful and daunting telling of the White Rose group is so much more than I imagined it would be. When I requested this title from Edelwiess, I wasn’t even aware that it was a story told in poetry! But after reading it, I can’t imagine it being told in any other way. These poems give these brave young adults a HUGE voice. Their conviction and feelings are screaming through to the reader on every stanza, every page.

The members of this group quickly become a friend you could have known from school, a neighbor, a sibling. They are familiarized to you by their thoughts, and brought in close by their actions and movements. Kip Wilson has woven their story, and their actual letters to one another, into this riveting and gut-pummeling piece of artwork. By the end of the book I was fueled with an anger for what happened to these people, but also left in awe for how brave and fiercely they stood up for their beliefs of a better Germany.

 

SELFLESSNESS

Letter to Fritz: June 1940

Dear Fritz,

People shouldn’t be

Ambivalent

About the world around

Them simply because

Everyone else

Is ambivalent.

People who

Refuse

To open their eyes

Are more than ambivalent-

They are guilty.

How can we expect

Justice

In this world

If we’re not prepared to

Sacrifice ourselves

For what’s right?

 

My only complaint is that I wanted more time with this book…and more time for these beautiful people who took a stand when so few others in their country would. It is a frightening thought, to stand up against a power and force so strong as the Nazi regime. But it is a truly beautiful notion, to think that these young adults made up their own minds on what they thought was right, and then acted on it until their deaths.

Books like this, that tell the true story of people like Sophie and Hans Scholl, Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf and Christoph Prost, who stood up against tyranny with their lives, are what makes me incredibly happy to be human.

 

A REALIZATION

Our deaths

Will mean

Something.

 

The world will react,

And someday

Someone

Will punish

 The people

Who are doing

These terrible things.

 

The ribbon widens,

Flooding

My mind

With a river of hope.

5-stars

 

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

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

We Set The Dark on Fire

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

Genre: YA/Fiction/LGBT

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

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

Opinion:

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

SO excited.

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

But naturally, I kept reading

And reading

And…reading

*Sigh*

This was ALMOST my first DNF book of 2019.

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

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

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

But it didn’t quite feel like that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just wanted more substance for this story.

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

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

2-5-stars

 

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Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: The Giver, Graphic Novel by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell (Illustrations)

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The Giver, The graphic Novel will be available for purchase on February 5, 2019.

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

Genre: Teen/YA/Fiction/Graphic Novel/Comic

Plot: Placed on countless reading lists, translated into more than forty languages, and made into a feature film, The Giver is the first book in The Giver Quartet that also includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

In this new graphic novel edition, readers experience the haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas and his seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment, through the brilliant art of P. Craig Russell that truly brings The Giver to life.

Witness Jonas’s assignment as the Receiver of Memory, watch as he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, and follow the explosion of color into his world like never before.

Opinion:

I can picture it so clearly as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in class, a wee youngster at the time.

A black book with an old man on the cover was dropped on my rickety desk; assigned reading for the semester. Audible groans and grumblings of “this looks boring” and “dude, come on. Something from this century, PLEASE” were heard throughout the room.

The story of a young boy was given to us with a cover so wise beyond our years, with words so eloquently written, that it almost felt too much for our wandering minds to grasp. A book we appreciated and grew to love, but one that still left a dryness across our eyes.

If ONLY we had been given this beautiful version.

You all know the story of young Jonas and his path to becoming the Receiver of Memory. Living in a place where color does not exist, and the memory of it is not taught. But when he is given his Life Assignment, he is given a job unlike his friends. He is to be the Receiver of Memory, the one who holds all the memories of the world, including those with color. So ensues Jonas’s journey to learning about the world, one filled with happiness and pain, sadness and elation. This version of The Giver pulls in readers of all ages and gives them beautifully illustrated images of Jonas’ story.

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This graphic novel is AMAZING.

I honestly didn’t know how much I needed a graphic novel version of The Giver, until now. These illustrations are BEAUTIFUL and perfectly portray this story. Not only is it a great version for all us who had read this in school or when we were kids, but it is a FANTASTIC way to get the younger audiences and newer generations interested! I feel SO lucky that we were given a movie, and now this! The story is the same, but naturally, not every word from the original was transcribed to this rendition. This form of The Giver is much more direct with its delivery of the story, thanks to the illustrations being able to shorten the originals descriptions of scenery.

Instead of the reader having to imagine Jonas learning about colors and the world, they get to SEE it happening as they read. It’s a movie and a book in one! I think all ages can enjoy this adaptation of the classic novel by Lois Lowry, but I feel that it might end up targeting a younger audience overall. Due to the writing being shortened to accommodate the illustrations, it seems that some of the more dark and somber moments from this book are reduced. The reader can see the emotion from the illustrations, but it definitely doesn’t have that gut-wrenching effect that the original has.

Some things from the original were shortened, like Jonas’s big escape with the baby and some of the moments with the current Receiver of Memory. I also found it interesting that the illustrations only portrayed moments of full color for Jonas when he was receiving a memory, or when he had left. I would have expected him to have full color before then, but really, I suppose it doesn’t matter!

In comparison to the original form of The Giver, I found this graphic novel to be breathtaking and VERY enjoyable. As a long-time lover of this book, I was hit with a rush of nostalgia and happiness while reading. This version is truly a masterpiece and will be a great interpretation for younger audiences. I cannot WAIT to get this in a print version!

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5-stars

 

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