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Book Review: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Echoes Between Us

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

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance/Mental Health-Addiction/Paranormal-Ghosts

Plot: Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.

A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?

Opinion:

If you feel like crying, you’ve come to the right place.

“The only reason people come to live in this small town is to hide or die.”

Veronica has always been labeled as the weird girl in school. Surrounded by her group of misfit boys, and always doing the opposite of what is to be expected, rumors and cruel words have always found their way to her ears. But Veronica doesn’t care what the popular kids think of her. She has amazing and supportive friends, and a dad who loves her more than anything. Only, she hasn’t been completely honest with her father. Dealing with piercing migraines from a brain tumor and talking to the ghost of her dead mother obviously isn’t normal, but she fears her father wouldn’t understand. If she could just find a way to tell him her secret, everything would be okay. That’s when Sawyer enters the picture. Sawyer is friends with the popular kids who have always teased Veronica, or otherwise pretending she doesn’t exist. But Sawyer’s life isn’t nearly as perfect as he lets on. He has an adrenaline addiction that pushes him to the edge of cliffs, and is expected to be the man of the house for his mother and sister. So when the two pair up for a senior project hunting ghosts, they begin to realize a haunting can be more than just a spirit not wanting to leave.

This isn’t a ghost story.

But then again, it kind of is.

Just hear me when I say, it’s only a small part of what this story is really about. And let me tell you – this story is saying A LOT. For the past two days I have been smiling so fiercely I want to slap myself, and crying so much that I keep randomly saying “oh honey” out loud, which for some reason only makes me cry more. This book is evil. If you would like to go through a roller-coaster of emotions where halfway into reading you question if you should be put into an insane asylum, because your behavior of high-highs and low-lows are extremely questionable and alarming: then you should totally read this. Because that is obviously what the author wants from all of us.

To smile beautifully while endless tears flow down our gorgeous faces.

Well congratulations Katie McGarry, I’m officially a mess.

Where to I even start? This book, completely touched my heart. It touches on so many important themes like addiction, co-dependency, mental health, sickness, and self-punishment. I came into this book expecting a fluffy tale where two teens fall in love and everything turns out all sparkly and perfect. But thankfully, this book isn’t like that. It’s realistic. It portrays the lives of two teens who are so incredibly different, but in so many ways, the same. They both carry burdens on their shoulders that I can’t even fathom dealing with at their age, but they have a resilience that makes my head spin. These teens feel deeply, think deeply. They are so introspective and honest about their struggles and hurts, and they look fear in the face and smile at it.

I…

*sigh*

…I f***ing love this book.

The characters, the message, the plot, the romance, the ghost stories, the diary entries.

EVERYTHING.

One of my favorite characters is obviously Veronica. She has all the snarky attitude of one Veronica Mars (we all know and love) but also this immense and alluring uniqueness that makes you drawn to her. She is considered the “weird kid” at her school because of the many things she does that aren’t the social norm. She decides holidays at random times of the year, even going as far as decorating her locker for Thanksgiving in July or dressing up in a costume for Halloween in January. She has a badass style of colorful striped tights, ripped shirts, combat boots and mini skirts. She is spunky and fearless, witty and positive. She is one of the sweetest characters I have come across in all my reading, and I simply adore her. Even though we get to know her so well while reading, I still find her completely mysterious.

Sawyer is the opposite of Veronica. He is SO hard on himself. He is constantly putting himself down for not being perfect, for not being the “man” of the house – a role his father unfairly placed on his shoulders at the age of eleven. He is such a lost young man and is in so much pain, and it was so sad seeing him struggle while having no one to turn to. I connected with him the most due to his tendency to never think he is good enough, or to always assume he should be doing better than he is. He is a compassionate, intelligent and fearless character. He is an amazing big brother to his adorable little sister Lucy (omg, she is too cute!) and a fantastic role-model. He does so much growing in this story, it’s amazing to witness.

The friends of both of these characters also play an incredibly huge role, and have given the reader that much more insight into who Veronica and Sawyer are. Veronica is surrounded by friends who are also social outcasts, but ones I wish I had in my life. The love and care for her so fiercely, it brings needle sharp pains to my eyes. They have a closeness and respect for one another that runs deep, and everything flows so easy between them. But Sawyer also have friends that stand right beside him and support him fully. The way the author created these characters is beautiful. Each person in this story has flaws and struggles, but their incredibly special personalities shine through so easily. It’s so hard not to love each and every one of them.

But the real treat here, is obviously the romance.

“‘You’re crazy aren’t you?’ I say.

“Yes. Now let’s jump.”

Guys, protect your hearts.

Because this one feels so good it physically hurts.

“Soft fingers, a delicate touch and my entire body sparks to life. As if I had been in darkness-the world was black and white-and then the flip was switched into color.”

My gut is literally in pain right now from all of these feels. My eyes are puffy from crying, my hair disheveled from anxiously running my hands through it, and my overall demeanor is both elated and crushed. This romance is everything I have been wanting. It is breathtakingly beautiful and fragile. It makes my lip quiver just thinking about the gentleness and innocence. This is one of the most mature relationships I have EVER witnessed, especially for two teenagers. They are so raw with their thoughts and feelings towards one another and about their lives. From the very beginning they lay everything out on the table, being truthful and upfront about their past and present. They make me hopeful that true soul-crushing love outside of YA fiction is actually possible. Because that is all any of us really want, right? To have a fiercely blinding romance knife stuck into our chests?

But characters and romance aside, there is a lot happening in this book, and it’s perfect. Veronica has a brain tumor, and the way it debilitates her is…depressing to say the least. Sawyer has an addiction to anything that will give him an adrenaline rush, and mostly it’s in the form of jumping off cliffs. Sawyers family issues are deep, with his father basically deserting them and his mother allowing Sawyer to take the brunt of the responsibility of parenting his sister. These two teens have been through a lot in their short lives, and that trauma shapes the struggles they go through in this story. It gets so SO sad, but it’s worth the read.

Read this on a Friday or Saturday night in.

You’ve been warned.

4-5-stars

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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

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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

The Twisted Ones.jpg

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

I Know You Remember.jpg

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

The Grace Year.jpg

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

Love, Heather.jpg

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

Gravemaidens.jpg

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

Deeplight.jpg

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

Binding of Bindings #30: 10 Badass Female Leads…

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

 

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~* 10 Badass Female Leads…

That Will Kill You in Your Sleep *~

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

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

Fortuna Sworn.

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

Twisted, right?!

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Alarum

Flinch, Vizsla, Kid, Fury.

All one person, and ALL total badassery!

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

This lady is the shit!

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Serpent and Dove

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

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

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

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

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

(See my review here)

 

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

GLitter.jpg

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

13 Minutes.jpg

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

With Malice.jpg

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

The SUrface Breaks 2

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

Killing November.jpg

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

Killing. ❤

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

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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

The Liar's Daughter

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

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Religion/Mystery

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

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

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

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

Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.

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

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

Opinion:

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

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

The weaving of lies into truth.

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

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

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

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

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

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

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

What else could explain what’s happening?”

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

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

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

I want to be seen.”

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

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

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

“Last Warning. Do Not Stand Up.”

4-5-stars

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

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

Serpent and Dove

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction

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

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

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

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

And love makes fools of us all.

Opinion:

 

My throat is weeping.

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

Oh.

My.

Cauldron.

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

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

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

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

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

I am crumbling.

Decaying into ash.

I’ve never hated reality more.

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

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


*deep breath*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The colors of me.”

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

My only issue is this:

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

5-stars

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

Binding of Bindings #27: My Top 10 Anticipated September Book Releases

What…
What.
Is.
That?!

Could it be?!
Books releasing in September that you DON’T already have on you TBR?!?!?!
The outrage.
The HORROR!!

It would behoove you to get your sh*t together!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated September Book Releases *~

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

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So author Coco Ma wrote this when she was ONLY 15. It has STELLAR reviews on Goodreads, and to be honest…I can barely wait to bury my precious, fantasy loving face in it.

Shadow Frost is about a girl named Asterin (TOG vibes, AH!), 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.

An assassination against Asterin has been planned, and a series of lies begin to come to light as they fight for survival.

 

2. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

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I received an ARC copy of this book from Simon and Schuster for review, and let me tell you…this book is even more gorgeous in person!

The Lady Rogue is a historical fantasy that is kind of a Dracula retelling, but not at all? It centers on Theodora as she travels around the world with her father as he seeks treasure. But when her father suddenly goes missing on a search in Istanbul, her help is enlisted by her father’s protege and her ex-boyfriend, Huck Gallagher.

The two travel to Romania once they learn what Theo’s father was actually on the hunt for, Vlad the Impaler’s ring…or better known as, Dracula. So ensues a tale of adventure and mystery, with a wonderful gothic theme! 

 

3. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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ATTENTION, my dear witches.

There’s another magical book releasing this month, and it’s tailored JUST for us!

Serpent and Dove is the story of the war between the church and witches. It follows a female witch named Louise le Blanc who has fled her coven and given up her powers to go into hiding, and Reid Diggory, a young man who has sworn an oath to the church as a soldier and to never give in to the wickedness of witches.

But when the two are forced into marriage, they must make a choice between what is expected of them, and what they feel brewing between them.

Romance, witches, religious psychotics and turmoil?!?

Am I still breathing??

 

4. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

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If you know me even a little, you know I just love a cult vibe.

Stalk cults, witch cults, nerd cults, goth cults.

I just love a cult.

Piper has unknowingly been raised in a cult all her life, with her father being the supposed prophet and chosen one. That is until the government sweeps in and Piper is separated from her family, and placed into the world outside of the small circle she’s always known.

But when Piper is told that her father isn’t actually her father, and that she was kidnapped as a child, she refuses to believe that everything she has been taught was a lie.

The Liar’s Daughter looks AMAZING! I just know I am going to devour it, and that it will probably punch a hole in my already battered stomach/chest…but I don’t care.

Give me ALL the feels.

 

5. His Hideous Heart by Various Authors (see below)
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Retellings/Anthologies/Horror/Short Stories

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Check. This. Out.

Dahlia Adler, Kendare Blake, Rin Chupeco, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn, Amanda Lovelace, Marieke Nijkamp, Emily LloydJones, Hillary Monahan, Caleb Roehrig, and Fran Wilde.

His Hideous Heart is a collection of retold/re-imagined Edgar Allen Poe poems written into new short stories.

I mean…I feel like I don’t even have to continue at this point.

This is an obvious book buy.

 

6. A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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A Treason of Thorns is about a girl who has an immense devotion to a house of magic called Burleigh House. But for the last seven years, she has been in exile due to her father committing treason.

Now finally able to return Burleigh House, Violet finds it to be in dire condition and lacking the plentiful magic that it once exuded.

Annnd…that’s literally all I know about this book.

Confused?

Naturally.

So obviously…we have to read it!

 

7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

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Reviewers are calling this story “achingly beautiful” and I’m just over here like…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is set in the early 1900’s and is about a young woman who stumbles upon a strange book about doors to other worlds.

The book teaches her about love, herself, and countless important lessons along the way.

I am honestly having a really hard time even finding a complete description of this book, but all I can find is countless pleads to read this book and promises of how breathtaking and wonderful it is.

 

8. The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale, Book 2) by Margaret Atwood
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/Feminism

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PRAISE. F***ING. BE.

It’s finally here.

If you don’t know about The Handmaid’s Tale book, or even show, then you need to crawl out of the broom closet you’ve been living in and WAKE UP!

The Testaments picks up fifteen years after the ending of book 1, where Offred steps into the van and awaits her fate. This installment features three female voices from Gilead, and will supposedly explain the “inner workings” and much deeper details to the obsession that is this story.

 

9. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Release Date: September 19, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Paranormal/Feminism

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This book description has me at the cover, and then at Gothic, Feminist, Dark and Romantic!

The Deathless Girls is the untold story of the brides of Dracula, girls captured and enslaved in harsh conditions. It follows sisters Lil and Kizzy as they are forced to work in the kitchens of their newly cold life, and the connections that Lil makes with other inhabitants of the castle.

 

10. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery

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You’ve been waiting for a horror story, I know.

Don’t worry, I got you. ❤

Rules for Vanishing is a mystery horror in the style of The Blair Witch Project about a missing girl and a ghost.

A year after Sara’s sister disappeared and she has been exiled from her friends, a mysterious text suddenly has her and her former friends coming back together to “play the game” and find the ghost of Lucy Gallows, a legendary ghost story that still circulates their town. And so the friends meet with cameras and walk into the forest where Sara’s sister was taken.

Hopefully they all survive.

 

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Stay Witchy

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

Book Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

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

Opinion:

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

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

It’s dark.

It’s painful.

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

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

For the women who need reminding.

For the boys who must learn to be gentle.

And the men who need to be shown.

 

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

 

These waters are dark and deep, so tread carefully.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The nausea might subside when we are bonded”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please read this.

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

 

5-stars

 

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