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

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

Serpent and Dove

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction

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

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

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

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

And love makes fools of us all.

Opinion:

 

My throat is weeping.

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

Oh.

My.

Cauldron.

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

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

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

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

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

I am crumbling.

Decaying into ash.

I’ve never hated reality more.

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

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


*deep breath*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The colors of me.”

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

My only issue is this:

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

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #29: 10 YA Book Love Triangles

Love comes in ALL shapes and sizes…
Especially TRIANGLES.

 

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~* 10 YA Book Love Triangles *~

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1. The Healer (The Healer series) by C.J. Anaya
Genre: YA/Fantasy

The Healer.jpg

There’s no better way to start off a love triangle post then with a love triangle of EPIC proportions!

Step the f**k aside moody werewolves and sparkly vamps –

the Gods have arrived!

The Healer series tells the tale of two gods who basically fight over a girl who is prophesied to save the world. It switches between present tense and 1000 A.D., where our main character (Mikomi/Hope) learns that she is a reincarnated princess with extremely powerful healing abilities. She is prophesized to marry Masaru Katsu (Victor), the God of War, so they they may seal the veil that is bringing demons into the world…but NATURALLY she finds herself being pulled to Musubi (Tie), the God of Marriage.

The series is wonderful when it is in the flashbacks, and meh when it goes back to present times. BUT the flashbacks are SO incredible and captivating, packed with romance, action and detail, that reading the series just for that would be worth it.

My Pick: Team Musubi/Tie

(See my review here)

 

2. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy

Throne of Glass

Hold on to your panties, boys and girls!

SJM just walked into the building to confuse your heart and give you a dose of book-boyfriend that will NEVER be replicated in real life.

sorry.

Throne of Glass is the downright AMAZING, WONDERFUL, EVERYTHING series that you need to get involved in if you STILL refuse to read it.

There are stacks on STACKS of love triangles in this colossal series, and they are heart-wrenching, raw and will make your heart implode inside your chest from all the feels.

There are practically 30 combinations of love interests and crushes in this series and it is…bloody fantastic. They’re exhausting, they’re passionate, they’re…

Just read them. You’ll understand.

My Pick: Team Rowan, Team Aedion, screw Chaol.

 

3. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller

The Best Lies

Now this isn’t your TYPICAL love triangle, but I think it more than deserves its spot on this list.

The Best Lies is about Remy Tsai and the story of how her best friend ended up shooting her boyfriend and killing him. It switches between Remy being questioned by the police and dealing with the aftermath, with a bunch of flashbacks to moments with her boyfriend Jack and her best friend Elise.

As I said, this is an unconventional love triangle. You might think you know where it will end up, but you’d be wrong. It is beautifully written, will take your breath away, and then sprinkle dirt on top of you as you slowly begin to die.

Ugh. I’m still reeling.

My pick: Just be single, girl.

(See my review here)

 

4. Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls series) by C.C. Hunter
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

Born at Midnight.jpg

Born at Midnight is kind of your typical teen fantasy love triangle series. Kylie Galen finds herself sent to a campy for “troubled youth”, but really the troubled youth is just a bunch of teen werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, witches, and fairies.

This love triangle is between Kylie, obviously, Derek (half-fae) and Lucas (werewolf). There is drama, there is secret kisses and tumultuous past feelings and there are EVEN countless attempts at our main character being killed!

How romantic.

My Pick: Lucas

 

5. The Selection (The Selection series) by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA/Romance/Fantasy

The Selection.jpg

The Selection: It’s like The Bachelor for the YA book obsessed boys and girls who have an affinity to ball gowns and castles.

The quest to LITERALLY marry your Prince Charming.

Thirty-five eligible girls are picked around the kingdoms to compete to win the hear of Prince Maxon. But our main character, America, has no desire to be in the running because she is in love with a boy named Aspen, who is in a caste below her.

This turns into a love triangle that I found myself conflicted with who to root for. The “down to earth” love from her past, or the regal and charming prince in her present?

My Pick: Aspen, but it’s a tough call!

 

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR series) by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy/Romance

A court of thorns and roses

Don’t act so surprised.

You knew I was going to put ACOTAR in this list.

It is THE love triangle!

ACOTAR is a loose beauty in the beast retelling about a human girl named Feyre who kills a wolf in order to provide for her poor and less than helpful family. But then a Fae beast show up at her house, demanding she live out her days in his territory for taking his friend’s life.

That isn’t even a smidge of the devastating beauty and sorrowful wrath that this book is.

But a love triangle LIKE NO OTHER is filled within these magnificent pages, and I think it is the best one I have EVER come across.

My Pick: The NAGC…and Cassian, even though that doesn’t count

 

7. Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely series) by Melissa Marr
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

Wicked Lovely.jpg

Wicked Lovely is a fae series that showcases the darker and more cruel side of the whimsical creatures you love to read about.

Aislinn is a human that has the ability to see faeries, even though she wish she didn’t. She has spent her whole life trying to avoid them, but suddenly, all her hard work is for not…and she is thrust into the thicket of these sneaky creatures.

This love triangle involves Aislinn, Seth and Keenan. Seth is a human friend of Aislinn’s and Keenan is Fae, but also the Summer King. Though USUALLY I always go for the mysterious, arrogant, dark creature type of love interest…I can’t help but like Seth a little more.

Well, at least in the first book.

My Pick: Seth

 

8. The Host (The Host series) by Stephanie Meyer
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy/Romance

The Host.jpg

The Host is yet another lusty love triangle from Stephanie Meyer, but one that has WAY less cringe and a little more flare.

Aliens has taken over Earth, inhabiting the bodies of humans. Melanie Stryder is no playing host to an alien creature, but she refuses to go quietly. Hellbent on finding her brother, the battle for control of Melanie’s body begins.

So this love triangle is really more of a square, but you get the idea. Melanie is still in her body, but so is an alien. They can communicate with each other and…it’s just odd. Melanie is in love with Jared, the guy she was with before she became a host. But the “alien” inside Melanie, named Wanderer, begins to have feelings for Ian…but also Jared due to Melanie’s memories.

I know…sounds weird.

But sooooooo good!

My Pick: Ian, surprisingly

 

9. Red Queen (Red Quuen series) by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Dystopian

red

Not my favorite series ever, but there is still a quote from it that I LOVE.

“I don’t miss her eyes flicker back to the notch, where half my heart sleeps. And then to the forest, where the rest wanders.”

Red Queen is about a world that is divded by the color of blood you have, red or silver. Red are the lower class, with silver being the high who possess powers. Mare is a red blood, but eventually begins working in the palace, and eventually she discovers that she has powers of her own.

Blah, blah, blah.

The triangle is this: Mare, Cal and Maven. Be aware, this is one of those very lonnggg drawn-out love triangles. The ones where little things are said, slight looks and movements are made, but not really anything of consequence happens for a while. It’s just a meh triangle for me, but a triangle nonetheless.

My Pick: Nobody

 

10. Splintered (Splintered series) by A.G. Howard
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Splin.jpg

Splintered is the first in the Alice in Wonderland Retelling trilogy called Splintered, and follows Alyssa Gardner, a descendant of Alice Liddell who finds herself in Wonderland. But this Wonderland isn’t the cutesy little place with a couple of tricks and sassy characters roaming around. It is dark, gritty and full of countless dangers!

This love triangle involves Alyssa, her best friend Jeb and the mysterious and alluring Morpheus of Wonderland. This love triangle was super one-sided for me, inthe sense that I was rooting for Morpheus the ENTIRE time! Jeb was so blah and boring. Like stale bread, or unseasoned chicken.

My Pick: Team Morpheus, ALL. THE. WAY.

(See my review here)

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Stay Witchy

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews · Simon and Schuster

Book Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Plot: Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Opinion:

A historical adventure fantasy about treasure hunters searching for a lost ring, that belonged to Vlad the Impaler.

a.k.a.

Count Dracula

a.k.a.

Mass murderer of THOUSANDS

a.k.a.

Romania’s crowned jewel and the world’s nightmare.

Oh, you KNOW it’s going to be good.

Theodora Fox is used to her father abandoning her in five star hotels around the world, while he slinks off to uncover hidden treasures and unearth rich history. So when he disappears again, leaving her in yet another ritzy establishment in Istanbul, she is forced to stay behind with only her crossword puzzles and obsession for history to keep her company. That is until Huxley Gallagher turns up in her hotel room, handing over her father’s journal and claiming that he is missing. What Theodora assumed was a typical expedition, turns swiftly into a hunt for her father and the truth behind his current hunt – to find the long lost ring of Vlad the Impaler for a wealthy client. Nobody said this adventure would be easy, especially when traveling with the boy who broke her heart and never spoke to her again. But what Theodora is about to uncover will change her and her family’s life forever.

The Lady Rogue is dripping in adventure, mystery, intrigue, wit and a TON of history! The author has artistically woven historical events with fantastical elements to bring a legendary story fit for any thrill seeker. Perfect for fans of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, Count Dracula, the Occult, dragons, fantasy…and, really everything.

This book is PHENOMENAL.

Set in the late 1930’s, this historical fantasy takes main characters Theodora and Huck to Romania in search of Theo’s missing father who is chasing after a much sought-after ring. The only clues of his whereabouts come from Huck, her father’s protege and a young man that her father took in at a young age. At an excavation in Hungary, Huck and Theo’s father, Fox, uncover a metal box with strange symbols encasing it that warned of the dangers kept inside. What they hoped was the resting place of Vlad’s long lost ring, turned out to be an empty box. Dismayed, they travel back to their hotel, where Fox suddenly disappears, leaving behind strict instructions for Huck to find Theo in Istanbul, where he is to give her Fox’s travel journal, and escape to Hudson Valley.

And so begins the WILD adventure that Theo and Huck embark on in search of Fox and Vlad’s infamous ring. While the two travel to Romania, Fox’s last known whereabouts, they are chased by dangerous men hellbent on taking them out.

And I don’t mean for dinner and a movie.

I’m talking murder, ladies and gents.

Because this book is PACKED with action! These characters are CONSTANTLY tiptoeing the lines of death and swing-dancing with fate. Both Theo and Huck are talented treasure hunters with extensive experience and passion for what they were raised around, and it shows. Theo is obsessed with history and any ancient topic that might involve a haunting or some form of magical element. She is proficient in multiple languages, has an uncanny ability to decipher codes, and above all else…this girl is witty as hell! Her sharp comments and sarcastic remarks had me nodding my approval during my entire read. She’s a saucy little minx who curses, throws obscene gestures in the air and has an epic drunken outburst where she dubs herself Lady Rogue – a lady of independent and royal standing!

Huck is also quite sarcastic and playful, but has a different set of skills and hates anything to do with spirits and magic. He is a pilot, a great lock-picker, and oh yeah…Theo’s ex. Once inseparable best friends as children and teens who began to have feelings for each other, now we meet them at a time when they haven’t spoken in over a year – due to events that later become revealed. This is the obvious romance of the story, but DON’T WORRY. This isn’t one of those books that has a killer premise and then becomes overshadowed by mushy teen love.

This book focuses SOLELY on the premise, and you will be so incredibly thankful for it. Because it is spectacular, exciting and downright addicting. The author did an outstanding job implementing actual historical events and facts into the story, which in turn lead me to researching different historical figures so I could learn more about them. There are countless elements that make up this gripping tale, and there is a little something in there for every type of reader. But I think what really struck me while reading, was Jenn Bennet’s uncanny ability to create a flawless book. It is detailed, well-constructed, comical, suspenseful and a TON of fun!

The book ends with everything wrapped up nice and tight, no cliffhangers in sight. BUT I am curious if Jenn plans on writing a sequel, because how everything is left, she definitely set it up to be a possibility. If so, you know I am going to be at the front of that line demanding a copy!

With that said, I’ll leave on this note:

5-stars

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

Book Review: The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

The First gIrl Child

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, 47North, via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Opinion:

‘I cannot see, my tongue is a traitor.

My flesh is a foe, my heart a betrayer.

My eyes will I blacken, my lips will I close.

And let the runes lead me down paths I must go.

No man can follow.

No man can lead.

No man can save me, no man can free.”’

This book is PHENOMENAL!

Desdemona of Dolphys spent her last day alive giving birth to the bastard son of a cruel chieftain, and cursing the kingdom of Saylok: If man can so easily turn his back on his child and the woman who carries him, then man will know what it means to live without woman.

We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”

The First Girl Child is about a curse over a kingdom that ensures only males are born. It is about the life of a temple boy named Bayr who is gifted with inhuman strength, and the first girl child born during the curse, Princess Alba. The book is one of love, sacrifice, deceit, honor, faith, hope and brutality. Women are taken by force from territories and surrounding Kingdoms, in the hopes that women outside of Saylok are exempt from the curse and can break the drought. There is adventure and war, but also compassion and loyalty dripping from these remarkable pages. It is a story of oppression and doing what is expected of you, rather than what you choose.

This is not a world where a man or woman gets much choice in their happiness. We are born into war and each day is a battle.”

This is an EPIC historical fantasy that I don’t think I could have lived without! It centers on Saylok, a kingdom made up of six territories, with each territory being ruled by it’s own chieftain and Saylok being ruled by a King. The territories of Adyar, Berne, Dolphys, Ebba, Joran and Leok live in peace with the role of King being rotated between the tribes each time one dies. At the center of Saylok resides Temple Hill, where the Keepers live in isolation, protecting the knowledge of the blood runes and communicating with the Gods.

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The story is set over a number of years as the reader watches Bayr grow within the temple walls under the care of his uncle and the Keepers. As he becomes a toddler, it becomes known that Bayr is unlike other children. Within 6 months of his birth he is walking and running, and by the age of 5 he has already taken down a bear with only his hands. But with his inhuman strength and speed also comes his unflinching heart and need to protect. So when the first girl child is finally born, Bayr feels an instant connection to the her and swears an oath to become her protector. We watch as Bayr and Alba grow together, becoming a formidable and inseparable pair, and how their relationship begins to shift as the years pass.

The relationship they share is positively adorable and beautiful. Bayr is the solid figure in Alba’s life as she grows into a small child. He acts as her confidant, brother, guard and bestfriend. His days center on Alba, and hers center on him. I found so many small smiles blossoming my cheeks as I read about these two growing together, having adventures and learning. Alba being a fierce and outspoken little girl, and Bayr being a quiet and observant boy who treats her with such care and love. They are the true heart of this book, and the romance that is…EVERYTHING you could ask for.

There is no Alba without Bayr.”

But two other characters that really steal the show are Dagmar, Bayr’s uncle, and Ghost, the biological mother of Alba.. These two play HUGE roles in the development and lives of Bayr and Alba. They are kindhearted, compassionate and AMAZING people who live their lives in the shadows. A love between Dagmar and Ghost blossoms, but it is a relationship that is forbidden due to Dagmar being a Keeper. But the resilience, strength and selfless love that these two exude is the touch of hope and innocence that envelopes this book.

I think what really blew me away about this book, besides the incredible world-building, overall plot and complete badassery, was the writing. This is my first read from Amy Harmon, and I am SHOCKED and a little outraged that I have never come across her before! Her writing is detailed, exciting and addicting. I don’t normally go for fantasy books that have that Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings style, but I am SO happy I decided to request this. I was fearful that it would be slow, that I would have trouble with the names and places, but NONE of that happened. I was ADDICTED!

If there is one bad thing I can say about this book, it’s that it isn’t the first in a series.

But, I’m secretly hoping it magically becomes one.

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · JKS Communications · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #28: August Book Wrap-up

Look August
It was fun and all.
We had some good times, some bad times.
But, like, I just can’t anymore.

 

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~* August Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Terrible Lizard: A Memoir of My Time in the Police Dinosaur Unit by Doug Goodman

Terrible Lizard

Terrible Lizard is an Urban Fantasy that tells the tale of former law enforcement officer, Oak Jones, who spent 7 years in the Police Dinosaur Unit. This fantastic book is a collection of memories and action-packed moments that Oak experienced alongside his partner Banshee, a velociraptor with a tumultuous past.

I have read a lot of books by Doug Goodman, and each time I am more and more impressed with his attention to detail and superb storytelling. This book is suitable for ALL ages, so feel free to read it on your own or with your little dino-loving munchkins.

4-5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

2. Forsaken Wrath (The Scorpio Files, Book 1) by Alexander Ferrick

Forsaken Wrath

Forsaken Wrath is the first book in the adventure short story series called The Scorpio Files. It centers on the tales of fortune hunters Nick Reed, known as Scorpio, and Bartimaeus as they embark on an adventure around the world that will lead them to treasures and deep history.

If you were a big fan of National Treasure, The Da Vinci Code or even Pitfall (a game that was released on Atari, but revamped for Wii) then you will absolutely love this book. The writing is excellent, and it kept my attention for its entire 70 pages!

I’m honestly hoping these turn into full-length books, because I NEED!

5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

3. The Surface Breaks by Luoise O’Neill

The SUrface Breaks 2

Guys!

THIS one.

My poor heart, is still breaking in two and filling over the brim from the sadness and strength I got from this book!

The Surface Breaks is a feminist re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, and it is EVERYTHING that you, your mother, your sister, brother, father, daughter and son need!

The amount of quotes I inserted in my review for this book was…slightly embarrassing, and honestly, I could have just written a review in quotes. Because I highlighted that many, and it was that good.

This rendition is dark, gritty, and gets real AF. This isn’t a fluffy twist on mermaids and young love. It hits you where it hurts, yanks those heartstrings, and makes you rethink how much of yourself you are willing the shred apart in the name of love.

If you do anything after reading this post, buy this book.

5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

The First gIrl Child.jpg

Okay, my review for this isn’t up yet.

So I’ll be brief.

THIS is a newly released Adult Fantasy about a kingdom that becomes cursed to no longer bear daughters, after a chieftain denies his unborn child.

The First Girl Child tells the story of Bayr of Saylok, a bastard son of a cruel chieftain and the woman who cursed the Kingdom, and a daughter named Alba that was born 7 years after the curse went into effect. Bayr is blessed with in-human strength, and has been tasked with protecting Alba and acting as her guardian.

This book was NOT what I was expecting, but I’m not mad about it at all! THIS WAS SO GOOD! The writing, the story-building, the characters, descriptions, EVERYTHING was perfection!

I will have my review posted this weekend or early next week, so look out for it!

 

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So honestly, yea, my August was a little slow. I have been in a distracted slump and finding it hard to read, but I’m back on it.

I have 100 books to read this year, and I am NOT very far, so I have to get it into gear like…yesterday!

Stay Witchy, my loves!

 

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

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

What…
What.
Is.
That?!

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

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

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated September Book Releases *~

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

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

Shadow Frost is about a girl named Asterin (TOG vibes, AH!), Princess of Axaria, who vows to slay a demon that is terrorizing her kingdom. With the help of her friends, they set off to kill the beast in question, but discover startling information in the process.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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ATTENTION, my dear witches.

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

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

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

Romance, witches, religious psychotics and turmoil?!?

Am I still breathing??

 

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

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

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

I just love a cult.

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

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

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

Give me ALL the feels.

 

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

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Check. This. Out.

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

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

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

This is an obvious book buy.

 

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

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

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

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

Confused?

Naturally.

So obviously…we have to read it!

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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PRAISE. F***ING. BE.

It’s finally here.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Don’t worry, I got you. ❤

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

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

Hopefully they all survive.

 

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Stay Witchy

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

Book Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

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

Opinion:

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

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

It’s dark.

It’s painful.

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

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

For the women who need reminding.

For the boys who must learn to be gentle.

And the men who need to be shown.

 

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

 

These waters are dark and deep, so tread carefully.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The nausea might subside when we are bonded”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please read this.

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

 

5-stars

 

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