Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #42: Recent Book Purchases/Gifted ARCs

Here are a few books that I have received and purchased in the last few weeks.
Some are already released and some have upcoming publications.
Either way, they’re all going to be

 

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~* Gifted ARCs *~

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1. Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass
Genre: YA/Contemporary/LGBT
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Surrender Your Sons

This cover though, right?

Surrender Your Sons is about a young man who is thrown into a conversion therapy camp called Nightlight Ministries after coming out to his extremely religious mother. At the camp Connor learns quickly that there is more to the seemingly converted counselors and the odd camp director. He fights to find a way out and take his fellow campers with him, if only they can figure out how to take the camp down

I had read a book a few years ago called The Dead Inside which is a memoir by Cyndy Drew Etler and documents her time at one of the scared-straight camps that were run by Straight, Inc. and hugely popular in the 80s and 90s. They were “tough love” camps that were riddled with abusive and bizarre acts of therapy. I am expecting Surrender Your Sons to be similar to this or the 2008 film Boot Camp starring Mila Kunis.

 

2. The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary
Release Date: April 17, 2020
The Memories We Bury

H.A. Leuschel is an author I have read in the past, namely her collection of short stories called Manipulated Lives that I found to be incredibly raw. Helena has an uncanny ability to see the faults and darkness that is weaved into humanity, and she is able to portray them to the reader through a tale that feels realistic but also non-judgemental.

The Memories We Bury is her first novel and about a bond that forms between a new mother, her husband and her elderly neighbor. It highlights the motherly habits and traits that both Lizzie and her neighbor Morag have learned through personal experiences, and is a story of having to learn who to trust.

 

3. I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Available for Request on: Netgalley
I killed zoe spanos

I Killed Zoe Spanos is about a girl named Anna Cicconi who arrives in the Hamptons for a Summer job. Upon her arrival she learns of a girl that has been missing since New Years Eve – Zoe Spanos. As Anna learns more about Zoe, she is told by members of the community of her striking resemblance to Zoe, and she soon begins to wonder if they are linked in some way.

But then when Zoe’s body is finally found, Anna is charged with manslaughter with an alibi that doesn’t quite make sense.

The premise is giving me mad The Lies They Tell vibes, which I loved, so I am supper stoked to start this gem.

 

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~* Book Purchases *~

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1. Hidden Bodies (You, Book 2) by Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Hidden Bodies

I have become horribly obsessed with Joe Goldberg.

He’s just a lover of words and YOU and only wants to get rid of the toxic shit from your life so you can excel and be happy, okay?

*sigh*…swoon.

Thankfully I had found not one, not two, but THREE other girls on Bookstagram who are equally infatuated and understanding of Joe’s murderous ways (@_Shelikestoread , @Heyyitsfahh , @book_and_jane). But only one of us has ever read the books, so we agreed to do a buddy read of You and Hidden Bodies in April, and I am beyond excited. Apparently Joe is MUCH more horrible in the books, but I am sure our love will remain strong.

For those of you who don’t know, You is about a book lover named Joe who works in a bookshop. He meets a woman named Beck who he falls for, slightly totally stalks until she falls for him, and basically he ends up…getting murdery

…I swear he’s totally dreamy.

*This is not an invitation to come stalk me.

 

2. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Genre: Fiction/Horror/Thriller

Pet Sematary

I am not a Stephen King fan…mostly because I’ve never read any of his books.

Does that make me a bad bibliophile???

There has been a lot of recent buzz about this book again with the 2019 movie reboot and the various book merch that has been circulating through Bookstagram and Etsy. In one of my most recent rep packages from Twisted Wonderland Perfumery I received a beautiful Pet Sematary inspired enamel pin of Gage and Church.

Gage and Church

“Sometimes Dead is Better” Enamel Pin and Soaps – Use code TWJENACIDE to save 10%.

So naturally I found myself super curious about the book and looked it up. Pet Sematary is basically about a pet cemetery that has strange and eerie aspects. Louis Creed and his family move to Maine (where every fucked up King scenario takes place), and behind their house there is a path that leads to a Pet Sematary where children have buried their pets. Apparently the family’s cat dies and everything pops off from there.

 

3. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Genre: Nonfiction/Autobiography/Death/Science

Smoke Gets in your Eyes

Now before you get all weird and start looking at me with eyebrows scrunched in concern and pursed lips of disapproval, let me explain.

I’ve always wanted to work in a morgue, and it’s mostly just because of how quiet it would be. I really love hushed voices.

Whispers.

Silence.

And so naturally my weird little gothy book obsessed self is going to scream of excitement when she sees a book like this!

Smoke gets in Your Eyes is the story of Caitlin Doughty’s first cremation job at WestWind Cremation and Burial in Oakland, CA at the age of 23. The book documents her time there and how she learned the ropes at this unconventional job. It is said to be funny, full of information, and gives the reader a new outlook on the dead in general. And obviously that book title is genius.

So I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve found my true genre of book. ❤

 

4. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

Words in Deep Blue

These last three books I also bought today, but via Ebay because DAMN were they a deal!

But since I have fallen into a deep, dark, sobbing, soul incinerating black hole of heartbreaking YA contemporary…I was starting to run out so I had to buy more.

I’m a masochist okay? I want alllllllll the painful feels!

Words in Deep Blue is said to be a love story. Aw.

It’s about best friends Henry and Rachel, an inseparable duo. Basically Rachel had feelings for Henry, but Henry was all googly-eyed for someone else. But as Rachel is planning to move away, she decides to confess her love for Henry in a letter that she hides in his favorite book in his family’s book store (MAJOR Aw’s, right?!). Some years go by without any contact, and then she comes back to town where Henry lives and…

…well I don’t know. I need to read it.

 

5. The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

The palces ive cried in public

Ugh. What a great title.

Can you guys even count all the places you’ve cried in public? I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

Anyways. The Places I’ve Cried in Public is about how Amelie and Reese’s relationship ended, and it sounds like it’s going to be a story of abuse and toxic relationships. These are always super dear to my heart so I am beyond ready to get wrecked over this.

 

6. It Only happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

It only happens in the movies

I am hoping this is going to be one of the most realistic portrayals of romance in YA Contemporary that I’ll be finding, due to the title and the premise.

It Only Happens in the Movies is about a girl named Audrey who begins working at her local cinema to escape her home life, and ends up meeting Harry – a wannabe filmmaker. A romance sparks and they fall fast, but their romance isn’t the fluffy spectacle that is portrayed in the movies. It’s real and difficult and everything nobody likes to talk about.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Book Reviews · Edelweiss+ · New Releases

Book Review: Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Bone Criers Moon

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Plot: Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

Opinion:

“On that new moon – like every new moon – the Leurress need to summon the dead from their graves and ferry their souls past the Gate of the Beyond.”

The dead must be ferried, my mother told me as I prepared for my rite of passage, or they’ll wander the land of the living and wreak devastation.”

The Bone Crier’s are a tribe of women called Leurress whose soul purpose is to ferry souls to the Gates of the Beyond. They must lead the unchained to the gates of Heaven, and the chained to the gates of the Underworld. But in order to become a Ferrier, each Leurress must first acquire three Grace Bones from an animal that she has hunted and killed herself. The most desired graces are from animals with extreme speed, powerful senses of smell and hearing, or immense strength. Once a Leurress binds the grace bone with their blood, there is only one ritual left – she must use the sacred bone flute, which also opens the gates on ferrying night, and play a song to lure her soulmate to a bridge, and kill them. But the boy that Ailesse lures to the bridge on her ritual night isn’t what she bargained for, as he plans to kill her to avenge his father’s death.

Ailesse is the daughter of the matron of the Leurress, and has been named heir. As such, she feels the need to prove herself to her mother and the women around her. We first meet her as she and her best friend, Sabine, begin to hunt a shark so that Ailesse may acquire her third grace bone. She is a determined and strong lead character who is not easily shaken or driven to defeat, and her tenacity is shown from page one. She desperately wants to become a Ferrier, as is her life’s purpose, and shows both excitement and longing to complete her final ritual…which involves killing her soulmate.

Her best friend, however, is quite unlike Ailesse. Sabine is just a little younger than her and is indeed a Leuress as well, but has no desire to kill any animal or an innocent person. She is a gentle soul who has an unflinching devotion and love for her friend, but she refuses to harm any innocent creature. She expresses sorrow and uneasiness for the rituals the Leuress go through with in order to ferry the dead, but she is fully supportive of Ailesse and helps her complete her tasks.

Far be it from me to deny anyone the chance to watch you slaughter the man of your dreams.”

Obviously a story about witchy women who kill their soulmates, gain powers from animal bones and ferry the dead into the afterlife is enough of an epic read. But add a little revenge, romance, betrayal and a kickass setting and you’ve got one amazing fantasy.

The story flips between three main characters: Ailesse, Sabine and Bastien. Bastien is a young man who, as a child, witnessed his father being killed by a bone crier. Ever since, Bastien has been planning his revenge on the Bone Crier’s for taking his father and leaving him an orphan living on the streets as a thief. For years he has been training to be able to compete against the Bone Crier’s and their otherworldly powers, and he does so alongside two other orphans whose father was also killed by a Bone Crier.

His powerful desire for revenge is a grace of its own.”

Bastien is a formidable love interest and makes things in this story interesting, but I didn’t get as much substance from his character as I wanted. And to be quite honest, I didn’t get enough substance from any of these characters. I feel that Sabine was developed the most in terms of personality and emotions shining through, but she is only a supporting role next to Ailesse, who is the female lead. I found Ailesse to be strong and a complete badass, but I only ever felt that we were brushing the surface with her. I didn’t feel a strong connection or love for her at all, or for Bastien for that matter. By the end of the read my favorite characters were Sabine, with her unshakable determination and loyalty, and Marcel (Bastien’s friend) with his quirky personality and carefree attitude.

Oh, and the mysterious owl.

Obviously the romance in this tale is between Ailesse and Bastien, soulmates who are never supposed to be together…right? Well no YA Fantasy is EVER complete without a little twist and an epic cliffhanger to leave you wanting more, and of course that is EXACTLY what this author gave us. But my question is this, will this love stand the test of time? The test of the stars and gods?? Well I don’t know. I’m waiting on book 2 just like you are! But there is something to be said about a forbidden love and two characters who desperately DON’T want to be attached to each other. That’s how all great romances start, right? Just ask SJM, she’ll tell you! Give them blinding hatred, threats of murder and a a few below the belt insults and we’ve got some serious LOVE.

All I smell is Ailesse. Earth, fields, flowers. Everything green and alive. A twisted trick of her magic. I have to remember what she really is.

Darkness. Decay. Death.”

But of course, the romance isn’t the only aspect of this tale. It’s an epic fantasy packed with magic, a setting of ethereal beauty and the catacombs of France, and a whole shitload of dead just praying to wreak havoc on the living. I really enjoyed every part of the world-building, the idea of intertwining the frightening and sad history of the very real underground grave in France, and the themes of bridges linking mates and guiding souls beyond. But as much as I loved all of these parts, the rest of the story just didn’t quite measure up. There were a lot of days that just went by as characters hid out in the catacombs, Sabine was constantly hunting for Ailesse, and it was all just kind of…a lot of waiting around?

I think the story could have been either condensed or seasoned with a bit more prominent scenes. It wasn’t exactly slow, but there just wasn’t enough happening to keep me fully invested…which is why I ended up putting the book down a lot and getting distracted way more than usual. It was a good start to the series and I feel like book 1 was just an introduction for what is to come, so I’m still invested and ready to continue the books. But just know, if you’re expecting epic mind-blowing, you might not get it from this first installment. But all in all, it was a good story with an impressive premise.

3-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Wrap-up

Binding of Bindings #41: February 2020 Book Wrap-up

Do…do you hear that?
Someone’s knocking
And its name is MARCH!

 

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~* February 2020 Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Genre: YA/Dystopia/Romance

How I live Now

“I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments.”

“Staying alive was what we did to pass the time.”

This book…Ugh!

I love it.

I had first found out about this book after watching the movie (2013) and for some reason didn’t realize it was a book. I have watched the movie COUNTLESS times, so I knew it was about time I actually sat down and read the original tale.

How I Live Now is a story of how five cousins live after the world falls into war and they are forced to fend for themselves. It is told by our main character, Daisy, a girl from New York that is shipped out to stay with her cousins in the countryside of England. What starts out as days of ultimate freedom and zero adult supervision where the teens are free to do what they want, quickly changes when they are separated and forced into different camps for their protection.

It’s a story about war, about fighting to get back to those you call family, and it’s also about a forbidden love that blooms between Daisy and her cousin Edmond.

Yeah, I know how it sounds. Just trust me, you need to read it.

(See my review here)

5-stars

 

2. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, Book 1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

I had heard SO much about A Curse So Dark and Lonely all over bookstagram and through other bloggers, and I had a copy, but I had just never gotten around to reading it!

So in anticipation for the release of book 2, my good friend Shannon at Reads & Reels (Bookstagram: @shanannigans_of_readsandreels) and I did a buddy read! And let me tell you, we DEVOURED it!

It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in modern times about a prince in a land called Emberfall who has been cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over and OVER until he can get a sweet little lass to fall in love with him. Enter: Harper. Our feisty little heroine is taken to Emberfall, against her will of course, and so ensues a tale of princely wooing and a REALLY smoldery/attractive guard named Grey

4-stars

 

3. A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, Book 2) by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

A Heart so Fierce and Broken

So naturally, as soon as we finished ACSDAL, we annihilated A Heart So Fierce and Broken!

In this installment, our poor baby Grey is gone from the palace, his googly eyes with Harper is ceased, and he is basically hiding. Why, you may ask? I’m not telling you! READ ACSDAL!

But anyways, though I wasn’t AS in love with this as I was book 2, it was still a great book. I loved that it followed Grey instead of Harper this time, but I was also upset that Harper’s character was kinda thrown off to the side. Like hello, I liked that broad.

But it’s fine, cause Grey is life and I am all about him!!

4-stars

 

4. Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Red Hood

This is NOT your typical Little Red Riding Hood retelling.

It’s uncomfortable, gritty and gives a painfully realistic look into how a lot of women are treated, viewed and labeled.

Red Hood is one of the most raw retellings I have come across. It’s unhinging how forceful it pushes your comfort zone into submission and forces you to eradicate those tainted ideas instilled in us of how a female should act at. It’s a story of female empowerment, sisterhood, and loving the body that you call home.

And also about boys/men who turn into wolves when they want to harm a woman.

And periods.

(See my review here)

4-5-stars

 

5. Fortuna Sworn (Book 1) by K.J. Sutton
Genre: Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal

perf5.000x8.000.indd

If you guys have been with me for a few years, you know I just love my girl Kelsey Sutton! She’s an indie author who primarily writes YA with SUPER wild and creative topics like Gardenia: a girl who can see “countdown clocks” above everyone’s head that shows when they will die or Smoke and Key: set in a place called “Under” that is neither Heaven nor Hell, and is beneath one’s grave where souls wander and are named after the possession they carry into death, like Smoke or Key.

Well Fortuna Sworn is her FIRST Adult Fantasy series, under the pseudonym K.J. Sutton. I first read this last year after Kelsey sent me a copy (I just about DIED I fangirled so hard) and let me tell you, it was UhMazing.

Check it:

Fortuna Sworn is one of the Fallensupernatural creatures descended from angels. But she is also one of the last of her kind, Nightmare’s – a creature of intoxicating beauty whose face shifts and transforms to accommodate the onlooker’s tastes. A creature that can reach into your mind with a gentle caress, find the fears that lay delicately in the folds of your thoughts, and turn them into a horrifying reality.

But when Fortuna is captured by two goblins who intend to sell her to the highest bidder, she is freed by a strange faerie that offers her a deal she can’t refuse. He knows where her brother is, who disappeared two years prior, and he can take her to where he is being held if she agrees to just one thing: to be his mate.

It’s loaded with dark faeries, twisted games, manipulation, and guys…it is HOT!

(See my review here)

4-stars

 

6. Restless Slumber (Fortuna Sworn, Book 2) by K.J. Sutton
Genre: Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal

Restless SLumber

OH.MY.SHIT.

This series and this author are going to KILL ME!!!!!!!

If you want your heart ripped out of your chest, read this. If you like having your brain constantly messed with and want to feel completely unsure of who you’re rooting for, read this. If YOU, like staring off into space for 45 minutes after reading a book….READ THIS!

I…I have no words.

Kelsey Sutton is a beautiful monster.

(See my review here)

5-stars

 

7. Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Feminism

Asking For It

I have wanted this book for SO long guys. SO LONG!

You know I can’t help myself when it comes to books that will make me crumble, but I especially can’t help myself when said books are feminist fiction. It’s like a nicely aged bottle of heroin, I just want it and I want it now.

Asking For It is about a girl named Emma O’Donovan who wakes up on her porch after a party with little memory of the night before, or how she got home. After messaging the boys she recalled being with, and getting no reply in return, Emma soon finds out there explicit pictures and videos of her online from the night before.

Hoping that everything will go away and not wanting it to become an issue, Emma claims that she was in on it all and the boys are innocent. But as time goes on, Emma’s feelings on the night changes, and everyone has an opinion on what happened.

*Sigh*…this one hit the feels.

(My review will be up tomorrow 2/29)

 

8. One Foot in the Grave (The Mortician’s Daughter, Book 1) by C.C. Hunter
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Ghosts

One foot in the Grave

I’m sure most of you, like me, had read the Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter and loved it. A camp for supernatural teens with murder and romance? Perfection!

So when I saw that she had released another YA Fantasy/Paranormal series about the daughter of a MORTICIAN *happy squeal* I just knew I had to read it! One Foot in the Grave was about how ghosts follow Riley Smith’s father home from the morgue in search of her, asking for help.

And going into it, I totally expected the mushy forbidden romance and the dramatic teenage angst riddled banter between characters. I was ready for a hot ghost boy, a girl with some home issues and a little murder/mystery to spice up my week.

But UGH! I’m surprised my eyes don’t have a permanent twitch to them due to the constant eye-rolls and half-lidded cringes that were racking through my body while reading.

Definitely targeted for the pre-teen rather than the young adult.

2-5-stars

 

9. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Genre: YA/Contemporary

The One Memory of Flora Banks

So I am currently demolishing The One Memory of Flora Banks and it is SO good, guys!!

Flora Banks developed anterograde amnesia when she was 10 after having a tumor removed from her brain. She can remember everything up to the surgery, but now at 17, she has trouble retaining any information/people/places. She relies on her best friend Riley who she knew before her surgery, and writes messages on her arms and leaves post-it notes everywhere of things she needs to remember.

But one night she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, and she can remember it.

I am fully expecting this to end in a really sad and heartbreaking way, because I’m less than 100 pages in and I am already wanting to snatch Flora up and give her a hug! The author completely captures the confusion of Flora’s situation and the struggle to lead a normal life.

But I suspect foul play from everyone! I swear, if someone hurts her, I am tearing the world apart.

(Keep a look out for my review)

 

10. Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace, Book 1) by Kathryn Purdie
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Bone Criers Moon

I am also currently in the middle of Bone Crier’s Moon which releases March 3rd, and it is amazing so far!

Here’s the scoop if you didn’t see my last Bindings post: There’s this group/family of women called Leurress who are tasked with escorting the dead by ferry to the Heavens or the Underworld. But in order to have the strength and power to do this, they must acquire threegrace bones” that they must take from animals they kill themselves. From these bones the Leurress are given the graces (powers) of the animals, such as their strength, speed, sight, etc.

Once the Leurress has all her grace bones, she THEN has to lure her “amoure” with a bone flute. Once she snags them, she either has to kill them OR she can stay with them for a year, and THEN kill them.

Obsessed.

(Review to come!)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Book Reviews · Edelweiss+ · New Releases

Book review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

Red Hood

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

Plot: You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Opinion: 

 

 

I stumbled to me feet and took off running.

Well, dear, he chased, and I am sure you know where this story goes. It’s your story, too, after all.

I ran, and he chased, and soon I became aware that it was no longer a man who followed me – it was a beast, a wolf.”

who’s afraid of the big bad wolf

i am afraid

of everything.”

Bisou Martel ran from the car to escape the bloody scene before her. The drops of blood running from his chin, mortifying her beyond repair. She wanted nothing more than to disappear, to vanish, so she ran into the woods. But the woods weren’t safe that night, especially for Bisou. For she was different now, and the wolf could smell it in the air. Could taste it in the turning leaves and the trickle of fear mixing with her sweat. So he prowled towards her, inch by inch, wanting to claim what was surely his. Bisou was scared, but she was also different now. So she steps out of the woods, but the wolf doesn’t.

There is only one way to kill a wolf, dear heart.

Quickly.”

This isn’t a fluffy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The maiden is not a princess, the wolf is not a prince, and grandmother isn’t sitting in bed twiddling her thumbs. Red Hood is one of the most raw retellings I have come across. It’s unhinging how forceful it pushes your comfort zone into submission and forces you to eradicate those tainted ideas instilled in us of how a female should act at. It will force women to shed every frightened sense of modesty that they grip to their bodies like a towel, and give readers a new insight into the meaning of wolf and prey.

Strange how a thing can strengthen one person and weaken another.”

Bisou lives with her grandmother and has been for since she was a child. Throughout the story there are hints at the trauma and mysteries surrounding her mother and their separation, and why her father isn’t in the picture either. The author blends poetry into the story as a glimpse into her mother’s past and her feelings, and it also gives Bisou a voice while she fights to gain control of what is happening in her town. Why boys are turning up dead, and if she has anything to do with it.

I was alone

in the ghost room

waiting for it to end

alone

hoping he wouldn’t find me

he came

and blew down everything

the moon was made of blood

your bed was full of blood

when he touched you

with his fists and fangs

he could have kept you safe

but he didn’t want to.”

But let’s get real about this.

This book is going to make you uncomfortable. It wouldn’t be an Elana K. Arnold book if it didn’t. But it’s okay if it does, and it’s to be expected. Our culture has been raising women in a world where they should feel shame for their bodies. For not being pretty enough, sweet enough, interesting enough. We are made to feel unworthy, unclean. Taught to take up less space, make less noise, need less and be less. So that is why you will be uncomfortable reading this. Because Elana just did everything society didn’t want her to do.

She made a group of strong, intelligent, driven, fierce and vocal women. Who pry and push their way towards their goals, damning the consequences. She gave their bodies truth. Showcasing them like the beautiful vessels they are. Full of awkward limbs, colors, textures and sizes. But best of all, she talked about that one special thing that makes women feel dirty. The one thing that men have made them hide and feel ashamed for – their periods.

Yeah, I said it.

PERIODS.

In this story, the men and boys who wish harm to women – both physically and sexually – turn into wolves, lurking and stalking their prey. But Bisou, like her grandmother, is bestowed with a certain special sense or ability upon her first bleedingPERIOD. I can’t say more without giving all the key elements away, but just know, this book is going to talk about periods and you’re just going to have to embrace it.

Because the layers of messages that this author weaves throughout this tale is so inspiring and beautiful. She wants you to embrace your body, to love this squishy and unique form that you have grown into and gotten to know your entire life. This flesh, bone and blood that is YOURS and yours alone. The frame that holds your heart, hopes and dreams…and the foundation of what holds you up. The author wants you to look at YOU, and feel good. To feel at home and to love it there. To feel safe, comfortable and happy that THIS BODY is YOURS!

“…now – here – you are your body.”

But the other HUGE aspects of this story are the toxic masculinity, the fear that women face on a day to day basis, and the unjust expectations and labels that are placed upon women and not men. How women are held to a higher standard in how the act and dress, being labeled a slut or said she was “asking for it” if she does not stick within those straight lines she is pushed into. And how men are able to dress and act how they please, with little to no consequences and zero labels following them around like a shameful reminder.

Later I learned that she had a bad reputation – she was a drinker, they said, and had a liking for short skirts and halter tops. She liked men, they said – emphasis on “men”, not boys.

Nothing was said of the fact that “men” obviously liked her, too.”

This book sheds light on a lot of REALLY important topics that NEED to be talked about. Rape, harassment, abuse and unfair labels. As the story progresses we see Bisou and her female friends start out quiet and docile, and end up being forces of nature. They find their voices and fight tooth and nail for one another and themselves. I found it to be empowering and an incredibly unique way to approach these issues. I really recommend it to everyone to read, because we need to stop shying away from topics and face them head on.

I can break things

I can make things, too.

I stand

On two strong legs

I kill

With two strong hands

I bleed

From one strong womb

I wish

With one red heart

That you could see me now.”

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Not me. Fuck the wolf.”

4-5-stars

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Book Reviews · New Releases

Book Review: Restless Slumber (Fortuna Sworn, Book 2) by K.J. Sutton

Restless SLumber

*Warning: This review contains spoilers to book 1, Fortuna Sworn! Tread carefully*

(See my review of Book 1 here)

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Dark/Fae

Plot: “Before I met you, I thought Nightmares were creatures of pain and darkness. Why, then, are you constantly seeking freedom and light?”

Fortuna’s entire life has changed.

She has no idea how to balance her new responsibilities and who she used to be. There are hundreds of faeries in her head, her brother seems to have lost touch with reality, and a werewolf won’t leave her side. Maybe the utter lack of control is why her abilities seem to be changing, as well.

Then there’s Collith. Enigmatic, beautiful, and infuriating. Not only a king of the faeries she despises so much, but also her mate. His gentle pursuit causes confusion in her normally unwavering relationship with Oliver.

As a result of it all, Fortuna now finds herself surrounded by new enemies and ones from the past. The question isn’t whether she is strong enough to make change in such a corrupt court.

It’s whether she will survive long enough to do it.

Content warning: This novel depicts scenes of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Opinion:

What do you fear, faerie?”

“The lights of anger and resentment in their eyes gave way to pain and terror. Screams, cries, and moans filled the room, more lovely than a string quartet.”

Where…do I even begin?

This book has ravaged my soul. Ripped my barely there black heart from it’s cobwebbed, rock bottom hole in the rubble of my chest, and left me aching like a widow at a love parade. I am shock. I am devastation. I am wondering how I didn’t see this coming, what with HB stabbing me in the back with Wicked King last year, and me assuming Kelsey Sutton would only want to bring a smile to my face…instead of this contorted expression of betrayal and deeply sadistic thrill that is now etched into my features.

Well done, Kelsey.

Fortuna Sworn has just been crowned the Unseelie Queen, rescued her brother Damon, and returned to life above ground. But try as she might, she can’t escape her new duties or the faeries she is now bound to. And with her relationship to Collith, her mate and the Unseelie King, shifting from loathing to something…more, she can’t help but revel in this newfound power. But Fortuna’s ruthless decisions that helped get her on the throne are coming back three-fold, and there are threats at every turn. Unsure if she can finally trust the mate that she has bound herself to, and suspicious of the motives behind the Seelie King’s kindness, Fortuna is forced to do confront everything that makes a Nightmare – Fear.

Nothing had been real and then with no warning, everything was.”

There is SO much happening in this sequel, I hardly know where to begin. Restless Slumber is packed with magic, supernatural creatures, betrayal, murder, lust, secrets, blindsides and anything and everything that could make you want to weep with unhinged joy. Gone is the ethereal and mystifying tale about a woman rescuing her brother and marrying a Fae king. This book is DARK. It’s raw, it’s unapologetic and it gets right in your face forcing you to dismiss every sense of morality that you so desperately cling to. There are NO RULES in this dark fantasy, but don’t worry, you won’t even miss them.

Restless Slumber is WILD. There are constant assassination attempts, eloquently phrased sentences spoken to entrap someone, blindly made deals in secluded areas, secrets woven into webs of deceit, and completely OUT OF NOWHERE blindsides that will make you want to scream. There are witches, werewolves, sirens, vampires and goblins. There’s necromancy that brings a slew of corpses after Fortuna, epic battle scenes that pit supernatural creatures against one another, and moments where you question if you’d actually want to be dragged into the forest by a faerie. Because these aren’t the sweet and mystical beings that YA Fantasy likes to portray them as.

The Fallen in this book are brutality at it’s finest and beauty as it’s darkest.

Speaking of brutal, let’s talk about our dark Queen Fortuna.

Then, once they were all crowded within my skull, I released the creature living inside me. The creature that I’d denied too long, too often.

Fear.”

If you guys thought Celaena Sardothien was a sassy badass who didn’t give one Fae Fuck, you need to rethink what recklessness in it’s most stunning form looks like. Fortuna, is the literal definition of a Queen. She has no mercy, loves the thrill of shoving a nightmare down someone’s throat, and has a sharp tongue that would leave anyone shaking. She is brash, unrelenting and unapologetic for the things she does. She doesn’t care if anyone likes her or is on her side. She doesn’t need someone in her corner rooting for her and holding her hand.

She holds her own damn hand.

But even so, Fortuna does have morals and dreams of making things better for the faeries. She stands up for victims and those who are tossed aside or abused. She is a voice for the sufferer and an executioner for the wicked. She is incredibly resilient and strong, and doesn’t look for approval from others. She knows what she wants and takes it, and it’s impossible not to love her completely. Especially for her patience and persistence with Damon.

Fortuna has indeed “rescued” Damon from the Unseelie court and from Jassin (good riddance), but Damon is a shell of who he once was. He is gaunt, withdrawn and has vowed to never forgive Fortuna for what she did to the faerie he loved. Most of the time he refuses to even acknowledge her presence, and it makes rooting for him so hard. But of course, that’s all you want to do. Damon’s situation is so tangled and doused in trauma, leaving him a skeleton of the Nightmare he once was. He’s in a haze of Stockholm Syndrome for this beautifully wretched faerie that enslaved him for two years, yet some piece of him also knows that he was treated horribly. Throughout the story Fortuna battles against giving him space and wanting to force him to forgive her, because though she hates to admit it, Damon is her weakness.

I have weaknesses. I am vulnerable. But all of them are tied…to you.”

Speaking of weaknesses

If you’re looking for a slow-burn romance that will beckon you towards its fluorescent flames with promises of warmth and contentment, fulfillment and happiness, coaxing you closer and closer, until you’re only a breath away from its beautiful blaze…only to have it push you in, engulfing your body in an agony and anguish that you can’t escape – well, this is the book for you.

The romance that is, but also isn’t! Strong as she may be, Fortuna just can’t seem to break down that wall for Collith. And to be honest, who can blame her?! The guy bribed her into marrying him, and still withholds so many secrets from her that I can’t even decide if he’s a good guy or not. But of course, I am horribly in love with him. He is darkness shrouded in gentleness. He is eloquent, calm and sincere. Sure he holds back and is a faerie of few words, but there’s something to be said for his patience and stability. He proves to be dependable at every junction and always puts Fortuna first. Sounds like the real deal to me.

But in classic K.J. Sutton style, she has to put my heart into a panic blender.

Collith isn’t the only love interest in Fortuna’s life. There is Laurie, the Seelie King who is both slightly irritating but also swoon-worthy, who keeps flirting with Fortuna even though I wish he would just BACK OFF. But then…there’s Ollie. *Sigh*…my heart. When Fortuna was a child, Ollie was, what Fortuna assumes (and what the reader is told, but I’m suspicious), created by her through her subconscious. He lives in a dreamscape that they created together, and she meets him in her sleep every night. He has been a rock for her for years as a friend and confidant, and since recent years, something more. The bond Ollie and Fortuna share is so precious and gentle. Around Ollie, this fierce and harsh form of Fortuna falls away, leaving a regular girl with regular feelings and thoughts. She is vulnerable and honest with him, and it brings such a loving and alluring side to Fortuna that the reader doesn’t normally see.

But what I really need to talk about, is this goddamn cliffhanger.

My soul, was shattered by this ending.

I spent 45 minutes staring at nothing after finishing this book. I sat on my living room floor at a complete loss, unable to form coherent sentences, and stricken by what happened. Usually I crave for an author to torture me and shred my feelings into nothing…but THIS?! THIS?? This was just cruel….and I loved every second of it.

But now, all we can do is wait for book three. And I am praying to all hell that it comes quickly, because I still feel like I’m going to vomit all my hopeless romantic emotions up. And so with that, all I have left to say is…

a demon? FFS.

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #40: My Top 10 Anticipated March 2020 Book Releases

Look at us, just MARCHing through 2020 like bats out of Hell.
Gosh, we’re amazing, aren’t we?

 

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~* My Top 10 Anticipated March 2020 Book Releases *~

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

 

1. The Blue Cloak (True Colors) by Shannon McNear
Release Date: March 1, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction/True Crime

The Blue Cloak

If you had previously seen my review for The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock (see my review here), you will know a little bit about the True Colors series – a collection of Fiction books based on actual True Crime events, with each written by a different author.

The Blue Cloak is another Historical Suspense Romance, but this time set in 1797 where a woman named Harper finds herself in the midst of a murdering duo. It tells the tale of how these two serial killers go on a rampage, dragging their families along for the ride.

 

2. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Genre: New Adult/ Fantasy

Crescent City

Fellow SJM fans, IT’S ALMOST HERE!!!!

So unlike TOG and ACOTAR, House of Earth and Blood is going to the streets in this urban fantasy and I’m…a little worried.

Urban Fantasy is NOT my cup of tea usually. I like my real world and fantasy worlds SEPARATE, and only mingling when it involves a fantasy creature dragging a human (or me*cough cough* waiting…) into their world.

Nonetheless, you know I’m going to read this shit.

Instead of Fae we have Sidhe (another form of Fae) angels, demons, mermaids and some other creatures slithering around. Bryce is half-Fae/half-human and spends her days partying it up, until her friend gets murdered by a demon and she is framed. Apparently it reads like a murder mystery with some seriously intense and detailed world-building, so I’m excited for that.

But do I think it’s going to be up to par with TOG and ACOTAR?

Time will tell.

 

3. Havenfall (Book 1) by Sara Holland
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy/LGBT

Havenfall

Havenfall is an Inn that connects four ancient magical realms together, residing as a refuge and common ground where safety is assured (like The Continental Hotel from John Wick, but with more magic and less assassins).

Maddie Marrow spends her summers working at the inn in order to escape the reality that is her family life. Her mother is awaiting death for murdering Maddie’s brother. But when a body is found, the safety of the inn is shattered and Maddie fights to find the creature that is running loose trying to…you know…

 

4. Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace, Book 1) by Kathryn Purdie
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Bone Criers Moon

I received an ARC of this little beauty from Netgalley, and I hope to be starting it this weekend!

Bone Crier’s Moon is going to be EPIC, and I simply cannot wait.

Check it:

There’s this group/family of women called Leurress who are tasked with escorting the dead by ferry to the Heavens or the Underworld. But in order to have the strength and power to do this, they must acquire three “grace bones” that they must take from animals they kill themselves. From these bones the Leurress are given the graces (powers) of the animals, such as their strength, speed, sight, etc.

Once the Leurress has all her grace bones, she THEN has to lure her “amoure” with a bone flute. Once she snags that little snack, she either has to kill them OR she can stay with them for a year, and THEN kill them.

Here. Take my heart. Shatter it.

Let’s do this.

 

5. All the Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: YA/Mystery/thriller

All the pretty things

Murder and Amusement Parks?? Oh this is going to be fun!

All the Pretty Things is about a girl named Ivy who expected to spend her summer days at the Fabuland amusement park, having her fill of park food and roller coasters. But when her best friend Morgan finds a body in the park, and is then shipped off to a psych ward, Ivy begins to suspect that the death of their former classmate was more than just an accident.

 

Dun. Dun. Dunnnn.

 

6. Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks, Book 2) by Suzanne Young
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: YA/Sci-fi/Feminist

Girls with Razor Hearts

I.

Have been waiting a YEAR for this!

Girls with Razor Hearts is the sequel to Girls with Sharp Sticks, an AMAZING Feminist/Sci-fi series that will have your heart melting and that fierce female warrior inside you SCREAMING for justice!

I don’t want to give anything away for those of you who haven’t read book 1, so I’ll just give you a little synopsis of THAT so you can get HOOKED and read it before GWRH releases.

Innovations Academy breeds obedient, beautiful girls. They are taught to set a table in Modern Manners, how to speak and act formally in Social Graces Etiquette, to keep their figures in Running Course, and to never accuse a man of inappropriate behavior in Modesty and Decorum – for that would be worse than any crime! As graduation nears for the girls at Innovations Academy, they are primped and put on display for their parents and sponsors in order to find the “perfect opportunity through success”. The girls need only listen to the men and Professors at the academy, for they have their best interests at heart, and they know best.

Check out my review here to see what you’re missing in your life.

 

7. Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: YA/Contemporary

Sparrow

Get the tissues ready my lovelies…this one might hurt.

I received an ARC of this from Netgalley, and I am REALLY looking forward to starting it. I am always drawn to books that might shred my soul away into nothing, and I am expecting Sparrow to do just that.

It’s about a young ballerina who fights to find the courage to speak up about abuse from her past, while simultaneously dealing with the death of her mother and a recent assault by her boyfriend.

There are some mixed feelings on the book vie Goodreads, so we shall she how it turns out.

 

8. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

All your Twisted Secrets

All Your Twisted Secrets.

It’s like The Breakfast Club in a fun game of Saw.

Sort of.

A Queen Bee, a Star Athlete, a Valedictorian, a Stoner, a Loner and a Music Geek are all invited to a scholarship dinner. Upon arrival, they quickly learn that they won’t be sitting around eating bon bons and getting sloshed on apple juice.

They are locked in a room with a few items and a note telling them they have 1 hour to pick some to kill, or they all die.

OoOoOoOo girlllll, this is gunna be gooooood!

 

9. Frozen Beauty by Lexa Hillyer
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: YA/Mystery

Frozen Beauty

Gorgeous cover, right?!

Frozen Beauty is the story of three sistersKit, the eldest, Tessa, and the youngest, Lilly.

When Kit is found dead in the woods, Tessa and Lily have no idea what could have happened to her. As sisters, they had hoped they they knew everything about each other. But as Tessa looks closer at her sister’s life, and the secrets surrounding it, she learns that the truth of what happened to her older sister will forever change their lives.

This has amazing reviews on Goodreads and is described as a tale about the deep bonds of sisterhood and the power of first love.

 

10. Thorn (Dauntless Path, Book 1) by Intisar Khanani
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Thorn

Another retelling of The Goose Girl!

Remember when Bloodleaf came out almost a year ago? A lot of you loved it. Me though?

Basically the original tale is about a princess who is betrothed to a prince in another kingdom, but along the way her maid betrays her and forces her to switch places.

Apparently in THIS retelling, however, the two actually switch BODIES!

The princess is forced to never speak of what has been done to her while she tries to acclimate to her new life of hard labor and struggling to get by. The princess finds herself in a predicament of going on with her life or fighting for this prince and her kingdom.

There’s romance and treachery afoot, my lovelies, and I am SO ready!

 

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

Stay Witchy…Possessed?

*shrug*

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews

Book Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I live Now

Genre: YA/Fiction/Romance/Dystopia/War

Plot: “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

Opinion:

“I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments.”

“Staying alive was what we did to pass the time.”

How I Live Now is the story of how five cousins live after the world falls into war and they are forced to fend for themselves. As young teenagers, they fill their days with fishing trips, lounging in open fields, foraging for food and tending and playing with the animals on their farm. As the days go by without adults to tell them what to do or how to live, the group finds falls into a state of wild freedom that bonds them together. But with enemies invading the countryside, the cousins are forced to deal with reality when they are separated and thrust into a world that no longer has rules. And with this lawless life comes a forbidden love that can’t be ignored, and all these teens can do is fight to find one another again.

“If you haven’t been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all.”

This is an unconventional YA story of friendship, love, war, freedom and self-growth. It follows a young female lead who arrives in the UK from New York, after her father ships her off to stay with cousins. Daisy is a fifteen-year-old who has a less than healthy view of who she is and what her worth is. She feels cast aside by her father, leaving her with a tainted yearning for control that she satisfies by refusing to eat. She is a brash and outspoken girl, but she has a sweetness and allure that makes the reader instantly fall in love with her. She’s a little rebellious, but in all the best ways.

When she arrives at her cousin’s home, she realizes quickly that these kids more or less rule themselves. Her aunt is always holed up in her office working towards preventing an impending war, and constantly coming and going on work trips. The kids fend for themselves, and it is a freeing and innocent dynamic that gives each of them a sense of purpose and responsibility. And this lifestyle they have been raised in shows strongly in their personalities.

Piper is the youngest at nine, but she has a knack for plants and communicating with animals. Isaac and Edmond are twins at fourteen, with Isaac being very quiet and Edmond being more vocal. But both boys have a deep sense of understanding in body language. While Isaac is more attuned to animals or always knowing exactly where everyone is at all times, Edmond possesses a quality of almost being able to see into one’s soul. Osbert is the eldest boy at sixteen and takes his role as the eldest seriously. He’s a little self-righteous and acts like a know-it-all, but his role is fairly limited compared to the other kids.

“I guess there was a war going on somewhere in the world that night but it wasn’t one that could touch us.”

But this is more than just a story about cousins who spend their days without rules and roaming as they please. It’s a beautiful and raw story of survival. It’s about making friendships and bonds, and doing anything it takes to get back to one another. How I Live Now documents the strength and resilience that each of these beautifully crafted characters holds inside them. They are intelligent, loving, thick-skinned and possess an overwhelming sense of maturity for being so young. I can’t help but think how I would have fallen if I had been in their shoes. How difficult it would have been to keep moving, and fighting to live each day.

But this is also a story that can be touchy and shocking for some readers, with there being a romantic relationship that blossoms between Daisy and Edmond, who are cousins.

“The real truth is that the war didn’t have much to do with it except that it provided a perfect limbo in which two people who were too young and too related could start kissing without anything or anyone making us stop.”

Look, I know. We’re talking incest here. And incest between two VERY young teenagers at fourteen and fifteen. But look. This is such a small part of what this book is really about. Yes it can be a little uncomfortable at first. After all, we are programmed to think/know that this is forbidden. But please try to give this book a chance and be able to look at this aspect of the story as something MORE than whatever your head is screaming at you. Daisy has gone through her life feeling unwanted, less than and unloved. She is shockingly hard on herself and has a 3 foot thick wall up around her, blocking from others getting too close. But when she comes to stay with her cousins, she starts to transform. She forms friendships with Piper and Isaac that she holds so dear to her heart. And her and Edmond have a bond that is so beautifully delicate and intimate, like twin souls finding one another and intertwining.

It can be an odd read. And the writing can throw you a bit as well, with its strange dialogue and random caps. But honestly, every strange nuance to this book gives it this unique essence that I have grown to love immensely. I love this book. It’s raw and realistic. It doesn’t dance around sensitive topics or sugarcoat things for the reader. It is exactly what it is, and it doesn’t hold back. It’s a story about people thrust into a world where they are forced to fend for themselves at the drop of a hat, and how they do so by sticking together.

I initially found out about this book after I had watched the movie. Had I known this was a book BEFORE I watched it, I would have read it first. But I am also glad I waited until now to read it. I think my younger self would have judged it too harshly and wouldn’t have been able to see it through the eyes of these characters and the author. I am glad I waited until now, because I feel like I can truly appreciate the story that was trying to be told. It is breathtaking and sorrowful, but it is one that is a new favorite of mine.

“Fighting back is what I’ve discovered I do best.”

5-stars

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