Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Tara Lynn Masih, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/WWII-Holocaust

Plot: Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant, award-winning debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that will resonate with fans of The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray.

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.

Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Opinion:

“My last thought, before I say the Shema, is of the young mother Jacob told us about, while he choked on his own tears-a mother who smothered her own child in her winter coat before the shot came, so the child would not feel the bullet”

A book hasn’t left me speechless in a while…

But here I am…

speechless.

This book will ignite a fire in your bones and put an ache in your heart.

It is a beautiful, devastating and horrific story, but a story of one light that is incapable of being extinguished.  

A light that burns so fiercely with conviction, resilience, hope and determination.

That light is the Slivka family.

My Real Name is Hanna is set in a small Ukrainian village called Kwasova where the reader is introduced to fourteen-year-old Hanna in May of 1941 at the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign. She describes the drastic changes to her town, the way neighbors and villagers begin to shun her family, and the non-Jewish children who throw stones at her siblings. How countless signs paint the Jewish people to be disease ridden with lice and infection, and that they should be eradicated from the Earth. As the Germans attempt to make Ukraine “Jew Free”, Hanna and her family are forced to flee their home into the forest. For two years they hide with other families in first a small shelter, and then underground caves for thirteen months.

 “We leave on the first cloudy night, so the moon won’t betray our fleeing figures.”

It is never easy reading the terrifying experiences that millions were subjected to during WWII. But it is especially difficult living those moments with a character you cherish so deeply, as they experience each second of terror, confusion and fear. Hanna is everything I could ever hope to become in life. She is brave, unyielding, and hopeful. She is a force that sees the beauty and kindness in the world, even when the same world seems so set on ripping her to pieces.

She exudes a strength that is almost unfathomable for a girl so young. She is impossible not to love as she portrays such compassion and care to her family members, and the families that run with them. But reading about Hanna was exhausting. It put a cloud over my already blue head, cut my air supply in half, and made my stomach flutter with anxiousness.

Reading this book is like holding Hanna’s hand as she is forced to live in darkness; starving and scared. All you can do is sit in silence, and hope that she lives.

“For she was in a black dungeon…for she was in a cage…She had been in that cage a long time now, but now long enough to break her spirit.”

Where reality really set in for me, is when the families arrive at the caves. Their plan is to live underground, in the hopes that they won’t be found and that they can survive until the war ends. Though this story was incredibly sad up until this point, my stomach didn’t actually drop to the floor until Hanna began crawling inside. To say this moment is heavy, would be a completely inappropriate and horrid description of the situation.

It isn’t heavy.

It’s devastation.

But with each moment of bleakness and suffering, there are tokens of brightness littering this story as well. Countless people assist the families in finding shelter and food, there are meaningful stories shared during their days in hiding, and a tree that is a symbol of their hope and salvation. The writing is superbly done, and the voice of Hanna is captured beautifully by the author. She is youthful and views her surroundings with a tint of innocence, but knows the seriousness of the situation she and her family are in. She is an old soul full of wisdom and strength, and you can’t help but look up to her.

Though these characters are fictional and created by the author, the Slivka family is based on real-life survivor Esther Stermer, her extended family and four other families who survived WWII by hiding in caves for over 500 days. My Name is Hanna is an incredibly important story that NEEDS to be shared with all ages. In a world where there is so much hate and lack of communication and listening, this book will will serve as a reminder that we are all human and deserve the same amount of decency.

Please read this. It’s important.

“I am jealous of how quickly they forget”.

5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews · The Parliament House Press

Book Review: Hook & Crown by Nicole Knapp

Hook and Crown Cover

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House Press, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: You’ve heard of Neverland and its inhabitants… Fairies, pirates, mermaids and a boy who didn’t want to grow up. But you can’t always believe the stories.

Elena Hart arrives in London, bound for a new boarding school operated by her estranged uncle. A fresh start is exactly what she needs. But when strange things begin happening, things she can’t explain, she begins to wonder if she has lost her mind.
Until the night a strange girl appears in her room, claiming to be a fairy from Neverland, come to take her to the fantasy world at the request of its ruler.

Skeptical, Elena refuses. But the following night, a young man with strange green eyes appears, and though she tries to resist his charms, something about him draws her in and Elena is whisked away from the world she knows, to a world she always thought was make believe.
But when she arrives in Neverland, it is nothing like the stories and Elena realizes that she must figure out for herself who the true heroes and villains are.

Opinion:

A retelling of Peter Pan where Neverland isn’t the free and magical place that we all remember.  

It’s a beautiful place with a dark and sinister atmosphere.

And one where pretty girls are pulled from their bedrooms to be Queen.

I have been waiting months for this release.

Unfortunately

The result was…not stellar.

I wanted to LOVE this book. I have been SO incredibly excited for it’s release, and even more happy that I was gifted a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review. So when I started Hook & Crown, I dove RIGHT in and started devouring it. But the problem was…well…

There was a lot of problems.

There is ZERO connection to characters, barely any world building in London or Neverland (though there is SLIGHTLY more in Neverland), there is an excessive amount of useless information thrown at the reader, the story takes way too long to get going, there is Insta-love like you wouldn’t believe, and a lot of contradictory moments by way of dialogue and plot. It felt like the author was rushing towards certain moments that she was really excited to write about, but when she got there, she rushed through those moments too until everything felt disingenuous.

Elena is seventeen and starts out complaining profusely about men and how she doesn’t trust them, even though her first glance at a guy results in immediate eyelash batting and awkwardly forced flirting. Kind of contradictory, right? The funny thing is, Elena does this the ENTIRE book! She INSTANTLY switches her opinions/feelings if someone contradicts them, characters who don’t even know her say that she’s fiery but the reader is never shown proof, and it takes her an embarrassingly short amount of time to fall for a guy and get naked before she goes back to a different guy.

Aiden (Peter Pan) and Will (Captain Hook) are two other main characters, but I really don’t have much to say about them since I made no connection to them at all. They are both possessive and obsessive with Elena, and it’s not an enjoyable love triangle in the slightest. It’s weird, uncomfortable, forced, and I really don’t get it. There is also an instance where Aiden comes into his quarters and finds Elena drunk, makes a comment about how drunk she is and how he wishes he were more drunk, and then they have sex.

Yea. That’s super dreamy.

There isn’t a buildup of danger or mystery anywhere during this book either. Everything is given away to the reader WAY too soon. It’s a repetitive cycle of “Hey, guess what happens. But before you do, I’m going to give you the answer”. The writing is very “list” oriented – “I ate, then I showered, then I put these series of clothes on, then I sat down in bed, then I dreamed of this, then I woke up, then I did all that again” – and doesn’t let the reader come to any conclusions on their own. The author has a habit of telling the reader everything about the characters, but in a way that isn’t believable and leaves you feeling turned-off and annoyed. Things are brushed over too quickly and left unexplained, names are thrown out at random (Elena doesn’t even learn Will’s name until AFTER she has sex with him -_-), and you barely meet any other characters.

I feel like this review turned way more negative than I intended, but it was really hard for me to find a lot of positives. I appreciate the effort and intention this author put into this work, but it just needed a LOT more edits. It seems like this could also be the first book in a series, but I do not plan on continuing. This was enough for me.

1-5-stars

 

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

Book Review: The Haunted by Danielle Vega

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

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Horror

Plot: From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

Opinion:

Grab your salt and sage, kids.

There’s a haunting in our midst.

After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what happened in Philly. As she tries to fit into the small-town atmosphere, Hendricks learns the history of the house her parents purchased to fix-up and flip. Steel House is haunted, a little girl was murdered there a few years ago, and rumors say that it was the brother that did it. But when Hendricks starts to hear male voices in the house and things start moving on their own, she wonders if the rumors are true. That Steel house is haunted, and that it wants revenge.

You’ll know Danielle Vega from her hugely popular series called The Merciless.

If you don’t…well.

What are you even doing?

If you have read the series (or even if you haven’t, I guess), you know that she LOVES to freak her readers the f*** out with demented scenes brought to life by truly evil, yet charismatic, characters. So naturally when I saw THIS little gem, I knew I had to have it! I, like the next darkness seducer and lover of loners and creepers, have an affinity for spiking my anxiety levels to ghastly rates so I can never feel safe again.

But can I say The Haunted was on the same level of creepiness and horror The Merciless is on? Did it make my skin crawl? Make my stomach twist into knots? Did I feel as if I could never close my eyes again for fear that I’d be transported into Steel House and forever haunted by sadistic ghosts and a cat that goes “mew” “Mew” “MEW”?!?!!?

No.

But it was good.

If there’s one way to get me hooked into a book, it’s to introduce a protagonist with a trauma that is kept hidden until halfway into the book. What happened with her ex-boyfriend? Did he dump her? Did he “Carrie-fy” her with a bucket of blood at prom?! Did he ASSAULT her?! Well, I’m obviously not giving those precious little details up. But that is definitely what spiked my curiosity and got me hooked.

The book as a whole, however, is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong! It was enjoyable, an easy/quick read and definitely had the spooky vibes I was looking for. But there’s nothing that really sets it apart from EVERY OTHER haunted house tale. It felt a bit rushed, especially near the end, and I wish the author would have made the book longer so the suspense and horror could REALLY build up!

Though the ending was rushed, I am left feeling pleasantly annoyed with the author. Danielle Vega really likes to build me up and then set my heart on fire. At first, I thought “oh, just a little gasoline on my aching heart. No problem, it’ll be doused later.” But then I got to the end where, instead of putting out the fire on my heart, SHE ADDED MORE GASOLINE.

*Le Sigh*

The characters are well-developed, the plot and history surrounding the house was molded well, and the book doesn’t get boring at all. BUT! By the end, I am left feeling like some things weren’t cleared up as much as I would have liked. I wanted more insight into the aftermath. What happened with Hendricks’s friends outside? What happened with popular smiley guy? What did her parents say?! Due to these little things not being addressed, I can see why other readers are miffed about the ending. Instead of the book gradually wrapping up, it just smacked us across the face with an ending and said bye.

That said, the book is good. I’d recommend it. I’d probably even read it again. It’s definitely for the reader that doesn’t read a lot of horror – because it is only MILDLY SCARY. If you want to dip your toes into the “scary stories” world, definitely start with this. You can’t go wrong!

4-stars

 

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

Binding of Bindings #20: May Book Wrap-Up

Wait.
Where did the time go?!
It can’t be June ALREADY!
Can it?!
But…
…where did MAY go?!

 

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~* May Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer
Drowning

Drowning is about a girl named Ivy who has been cutting for years, but has kept it hidden from her friends and family. There is a demon in her head that tells her to cut and hurt herself, and more times than not, she isn’t able to fight him off. But when a young man named Tobias enters the picture, Ivy wonders if it’s finally time to let the truth be known.

As I had said in my review, the intent for this book was solid, but the execution was lacking and cringe-worthy.

The author was SO focused on stuffing this book with hot topics (self-harm, sexual abuse, school shootings, homophobia, codependency, suicide, schizophrenia) that she forgot to focus on the character development.

I’m all for talking about important topics, but the way the author shoved all of this into one book felt so exaggerated and unbelievable. There was no connection to the characters, they were vapid and boring, and I just wasn’t impressed with this book.

2-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. The Unrepentant by E.A. Aymar

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I was VERY excited to start The Unrepentant, which was gifted to me from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, it was a DNF for me.

But trust me when I say, it had NOTHING to do with the writing style, the characters or the plot! The subject matter in this story is REALLY heavy. You will need thick skin to read it, and even then, I’d be surprised if it was easy for you to get through this book.

It is the story of a girl named Charlotte who is on the run from the gang that kidnapped and forced her into a life of sex trafficking and physical abuse. She is rescued by a man named Mace that happens upon her and her kidnappers in the woods, and the story follows the two as they flee.

WARNING: This is an ADULT book and depicts graphic sexual content, rape and violence.

This book has phenomenal reviews on Goodreads, so if you think you are up for it, I would really recommend this book. It has a powerful message and the first half that I read was really amazing.

 

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Yes.

This is my third time reading TOG.

Yes.

It is STILL hurting my heart.

I am taking my time reading these books again, since I am reading them in between every other book I have on my list.

*Sigh*

The series begins with 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien being dragged from the hard labor prison of Endovier, to the Crown Prince of Adarlan. She is to be the Prince’s champion in a competition to win the title of Adarlan’s Assassin, in exchange for her freedom after a few years of service.

If you haven’t read the books yet, YOU MUST!

They are action-packed, romantic beyond belief, full of magic and will make you sob all night long.

Do it, you know you want to.

 

5. Stolen by Marlena Frank

Stolen

Stolen is a YA Fantasy with Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth themes throughout.

It follows main character and sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet as she is kidnapped and taken into another world filled with mystical creatures and magic. There is an evil “Queen” residing over a garden, a cowardly lion, a rat-boy creature driving a flying bike…sound familiar? In this new land, Shaleigh must prove to the court that she is the reincarnation of a powerful magician that once ruled the land.

A very cute and wonderful world, but one that I was feeling a tad bored in. The pacing was a smidge slow, and I didn’t have a huge connection to any of the characters. I might suggest this book for a younger audience. Very enjoyable, but a little too simple for me.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

THIS BOOK!!!!!!

Still wondering how and WHY I waited SO long to begin this series!

Mara Dyer wakes in the hospital after a fatal accident that claimed the lives of her best friend, her boyfriend and another friend. Unable to remember the events of the accident, or to cope with her loss, Mara convinces her family to move. Once in Miami, Florida Mara tries to transition into life at her new school. But two students tormenting her, unwanted attention from the mysterious Noah Shaw, and daily hallucinations of her dead friends slowly put Mara over the edge.

I LOVED reading this.

The characters are incredibly molded and so amusing! The banter is witty and sarcastic, and I spent most of my time reading this laughing out loud or with a stupid smile plastered on my face.

Once you can get past Noah‘s initial asshat-ness, the romance is wonderful and sweet and OH SO swoonworthy. I am currently reading book two in the series, and really enjoying it!

(See my review here)

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May was cool, but I definitely need to up my reading for June. I am currently 9 books behind in my Goodreads reading challenge (trying to get to 100), and if I want to get back on track…I need to light a fire under my cauldron and get to cookin’.

As always my dear and wonderful readers, stay witchy! ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Plot:

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It Can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Opinion:

To say this book sank it’s mushy, dreamy, lovely and jagged death claws into me, would be a vast understatement.

I INHALED this book.

Praise Satan I had books two and three sitting on standby!

Why…did I wait SO long to read this?

When Mara wakes up in the hospital, she learns three very important things. 1. She was in an accident. 2. Her friends didn’t survive. 3. She has no idea what happened. With the death of her best friend looming over her, Mara convinces her family to up and move to escape the memory of the person she will never see again. Just a few months after the accident, Mara starts at a knew school in Miami, Florida in the hopes that she can put the past behind her. But seeing hallucinations of your dead friends and hearing their voices can’t be normal, right? With the two cruel students named Anna and Aiden tormenting her, and the unwanted attention from the gorgeous boy with a bad reputation, Mara is barely holding on to her sanity. Strange things are happening around Mara Dyer. Is she going crazy? Or is there something dark lurking beneath the surface, waiting to get out?

With a plot description like the one on the back of this book, no wonder it took me so long to read this.

Talk about VAGUE.

But when I FINALLY started reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I was gripped.

Overcome.

Slapped in the face, strapped down and injected with synthetic UHDICTION.

This. Book. Kills.

Pun intended.

What really seals the deal for me on this book isn’t the mushy love story though. It isn’t the mysterious plot that you don’t start figuring out until 70ish% in (and even so, barely), and it isn’t the well-developed characters. It’s the WRITING. I have never laughed out loud SO much at a book, as I have with this. Whether it was witty comebacks, smart and sassy banter, or truly quirky and accurate depictions of personalities – I was giggling, yelling and screaming SO many French MontanaHA’s” that I’m surprised nobody called the cops to 5150 me.

My face is in a state of agony this morning due to the constant smirks and smiles that were lighting up my face.

I don’t smile, okay?

It hurts.

But when there’s a twelve-year-old boy texting stock tips and getting numbers to “network”, you can’t help but grin through the pain. Mara’s youngest brother Joseph is a DOLL! He is bursting at the seams with personality and gumption, and he doesn’t even have a big role in this book! But it seems that every character Mara comes into contact with, whose role is big or small, is rounded and developed REALLY well. This author just knows how to capture the essence of people, to describe their quirks and charms in such few words, and I am so thankful for that.

Let’s get into the good stuff though, shall we?

Mara and Noah.

Noah and Mara.

So dreamy right?

Ehh…WRONG. Noah starts this story out as a MAJOR asshat. He is aggressive, rude, dismissive, demanding, and tells our main female character to shut up regularly. Swoon? NO! NOT SWOON! He’s a prick. But of course, as we women do, we make exceptions for his crappy behavior and forget it all when he starts being sweet to us.

So anyways, he does get nicer

Though I couldn’t STAND his and Mara’s moments of possessive and objectifying statements of “I was his” and “You’re mine”, their romance actually was very sweet and caring. Noah turns out to be a fiercely loyal and caring character (maybe a little too fierce at times), and I was enjoying the slow-build of their relationship that felt honest and true. These two characters play off each other SO WELL. Their relentless banter and bickering is SO enjoyable to read. They never cease their attempts in riling the other up, or making filthy innuendos and snarky comments. I was loving it!

For me though, Mara is the character who really shines in this story. As she should! The reader is whisked into a whirlwind of emotions with Mara. Is she sane? Is she crazy? Maybe she’s just grieving. But every moment of embarrassment, anger, sadness, annoyance, or look of distrust she is given from her mother – you feel it. Any girl will be able to connect with this character in some way. We have all been in similar situations that can mirror Mara’s time in high school, especially when it comes to awkward encounters with students or love.  

But my ramblings aside, I was SO hooked and into this book! I read it in 6 hours, and thankfully had books two and three on standby so I could immediately begin devouring those. The plot definitely went in a direction I wasn’t expecting (thanks book description) but I can’t say that I am at all unhappy with it. The story is taking it’s time to unravel, and I have a feeling I haven’t even dipped my toes into the reality of what these characters will be going through.

You need to read this series.

But buy all the books at once, your addictive personality will thank you.

4-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer

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

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mental Health

Plot: I’m a cutter.
I cut because I find solace in it.
I cut because it helps calm my frantic mind.
I cut because the voices inside my head tell me to.
I cut because this is the only way I know how to handle life.

Opinion:

Look, I totally see where the author was trying to go with this.

To bring awareness to Mental Health issues, to give a voice to those who might not be able to speak about their struggles, to help the public understand what it means to have inner demons.

I can really appreciate all of that.

These are important topics that REALLY need to be talked about more.

But for me, the way this story was executed – how the characters were developed, their dialogue, reactions and problem solving – was cringe-worthy.

And not in a good way.

I’m obviously completely in the minority on this one, because this book has nothing but amazing reviews on Goodreads. If we’re talking about the message the author is trying to send to the reader, then hell yes, it’s a 5-star read. It covers several difficult topics that so many people can relate to. It gives a voice to those who are suffering from similar demons and traumatic experiences, and sheds light on situations that other people may not know a lot about. The book gets HEAVY with these topics, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

But if we set that aside and talk about the writing, character development, dialogue, etc.

It’s just not done well.

It was SO hard to make a connection with any of the characters. Their struggles and personalities were voiced, but I didn’t have the chance to really KNOW any of them. The moments of Ivy cutting herself were the closest I could get to having a meaningful connection with her. They were detailed and really expressed the emotional terror that envelopes a person when they self-harm. In those instances, I could really feel her pain and confusion. The dark scenes translated well through the pages! But in every other aspect, Ivy’s character fell flat and seemed really all over the place in terms of her development.

Her character flips back and forth between being all-knowing and dishing out advice, to knowing nothing and not being able to practice any of the things she tells others to do.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

The dialogue felt awkward and forced, it didn’t have a nice flow, and I was cringing the entire time from how uncomfortable it kept making me. Some of the conversations run on for too long, and it causes a lot of repeated sentences and ideas. Every response is “nope” and every emotion that Ivy may feel is summed up with an “ugh” instead of being creatively described. Then when a REALLY serious moment is happening the characters can only come up with the same phrase to say over, and over, and over – “oh, man” or “It’s okay dad, tell me, I need to know dad”.

Can’t they say something else?

Tobias’s character is really frustrating to me too. He instantly latches onto Ivy with his INSTA-LOVE, and becomes REALLY controlling and possessive with her. Why do none of the other characters see an issue with this? He’s super pushy and aggressive. I KNOW HE’S WORKING THROUGH ISSUES, OKAY? But does that make it okay for his character to go around throwing punches and freaking out? AND WHY IS EVERY OTHER CHARACTER OKAY WITH HIS ATTITUDE?! They all continually make excuses for out of control behavior.

Someone gets hit in the face – “here, have a soda”.

Ivy comes clean about her demons and opens up to her friends, and their response? “Yea let’s just drop it and talk about it some other time”.

WHAT?!

It seems to me that the author was so focused on shoving every “hot topic” into this book, that she forgot to put work into her characters and what they say. There isn’t any FEELING behind their thoughts and actions, it’s robotic, stiff and dull. It just feels like lazy writing.

I really wanted to like this, because I feel strongly about Mental Health Issues NEEDING to be talked about in society, and handled with compassion and care. As a society I think we shy away from these topics, or look down on people who think or behave differently.

I commend the author for giving Mental Health a voice.

But in terms of a great book, this isn’t it.

 

2-stars

 

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

Binding of Bindings #17: April Book Wrap-up

Another month, gone.
Deceased.
Extinct.
Dried up.
Blown away into a wind of little, to no, s**ts given.
It was fun while it lasted, but…
We’re

 

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~* April Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. White Rose by Kip Wilson

White Rose

I started this month out in typical fashion…

…with a gut-punch to the heart.

White Rose is a YA Historical Fiction based on the inspiring true story of Sophie Scholl, who became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group. The group was formed in June of 1942 by a group of University of Munich students who protested the Nazi regime and Hitler, by drafting and distributing political resistance leaflets across Germany.

It is a story of bravery and conviction.

But one of the most beautiful aspects of this story is that it is written entirely in poetry.

It is heartbreaking and daunting, but it will make your heart soar and make you feel happy to know people like this exist in the world.

Sophie & Hans Scholl with Christoph Probst 1942.jpg

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

(See my review here)

 

2. Stars in the Winter Sky by Michael Duda

Stars in the Winter Sky

Michael Duda is one of my FAVORITE authors, and thank the cauldron, he is FINALLY writing a full-length book.

Michael is known for his dark, eerie and somewhat twisted short stories. They each shine a light on human nature, the good and the bad. But his latest short story, Stars in the Winter Sky, comes with a lighter tone.

It is about two women who venture into the woods in search of the Winter Revelers, a group of people that would come once a year to celebrate the Snowfall. But one year, only two people come back, and the others were lost forever.

 Just like every Michael Duda’s story, Stars in the Winter Sky will make you think. This tale is beautiful and breathtaking, and definitely worth a read.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather

Killing November

This…is where my April went from a fast-paced roller coaster

to an aimless stumble in the dark.

Killing November wasn’t horrible for me, but it definitely let me down. I had VERY high hopes for this story, I even bought the hardcover on release day (even though I received a copy from Netgalley) because I knew it was a book I was SURE to love.

The story follows November as she arrives at Academy Absconditi, a place for students to train to be assassins and spies. Classes range from Knife Throwing, Poisons and the Art of Deception. But November has no idea why she is at this school, why her father would send her to such a place where every move and conversation is calculated and part of a game. So when dead bodies start turning up around the school, November is forced to learn more about her past and who she really is.

My issue with this story was the main character. She acted like a deer in headlights for 80% of the story, but during a class she would suddenly turn arrogant and pompous. It was such a confusing thing to have her go from timid to annoyingly confident, and back and forth. The romance had a strange pacing, and the entire story was sort of dull.

It was SO hard to get through this book, and it’s definitely the cause of why I didn’t get to read as many books this month as I hoped. Though I am in the minority on my opinion for Killing November, I’m sticking to my guns and my rating.

I mean honestly, 3 stars was generous.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

4. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Smoke and Key

SMOKE AND KEY!!!!!!!!!!

It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for?!?

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

Smoke and Key is mysterious, creepy, sad, uplifting, depressing and just downright EVERYTHING! I am STILL so crushed that I can’t dive into this story to wear the corsets and creep around in Under. I am SO in love with this book.

Kelsey Sutton is life.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Zombie Dog ( Book 3) by Doug Goodman

Zombie Dog

My last read of April, and it was a brilliant one!

This is the third book in the Zombie Dog series by Doug Goodman, and BY FAR, my favorite one yet.

The Zombie Dog series follows Angie Graves, who trained Cadaver Dogs to work with the police in searches. But when giant wasps are discovered to be attaching themselves to the heads of corpses, creating zombies, Angie transitions her field to train her dog Murder to be a zombie tracker. This installment follows Angie and Murder as they work in Houston, Ground Zero for the Zombies outbreak.

Zombie Dog is dark, gritty and twisted. I was sweating, I was cringing and I most definitely was flopping around in my chair wishing the horrors would JUST END!

But naturally, above all else, I was obsessed.

I am continually blown away by this author. The amount of detail and passion he puts into his writing is unbelievable. His knowledge screams through the pages, and easily immerses the reader in a world that feels all too real.

It was easy throwing five stars at this book.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

April may not have been my BEST month ever in terms of numbers, but it was filled with almost all winners!

But April is gone, and May is bringing new stories!

I’m stuffed to the broom with exciting reads for May, and my current read is AMAZING!

Until next time my lovelies, stay witchy! ❤

 

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