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

Binding of Bindings #31: September Book Wrap-up

 

I may be seventeen days late with this Wrapup
but can you really blame me?
We haven’t entered just any old month!
It’s THE month!!

So to celebrate me being so happy, busy and overjoyed with OCTOBER and all it’s Gothy and Witchy beauty…
here’s what I did in September!

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~* September Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

I was sweetly gifted The Lady Rogue by Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review, and OH MY WORD was this good!

It is a YA Adventure/Mystery about a young woman who begins a hunt around the world to find her missing father, who works as a treasure hunter. Usually left behind in lavish hotels and forced to sit out the expeditions, Theodora is called upon by Huxley Gallagher, her fathers’ protege and her once upon a time almost boyfriend.

Together the two find that her father was on the hunt for Vlad the Impaler’s long lost ring, or better known to the world, Dracula’s ring.

This was a KILLER (pun intended) way to start September! This book reminded me of a Lara Croft meets Pitfall meet National Treasure YA tale, and it did not disappoint! There is murder, turmoil, suspense, a little horror, magic, romance and a ton of interesting history!

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove

THIS is my favorite book of the month, but also, maybe one of my favorites of the year!

Serpent & Dove is everything, everything, EVERYTHING my Witchy heart has been needing and wanting in a YA Fantasy!

The magic, the immense killing, the turmoil between two sides who don’t understand each other but are more similar than they realize.

And of course, THIS ROMANCE!

The story is all about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a Witch Hunter, even though he is unaware that she is actually a Witch and is VERY good at gutting people.

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

The Liar's Daughter

Guys.

You KNOW I love a cult!

So when I saw this I screamed, pressed request in a panicked excitement, and got to reading IMMEDIATELY.

And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint!

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. The outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth.

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

My ONLY grudge with The Liar’s Daughter is that the book description gives away the entire story! I wanted this to be shrouded in mystery, because it is written in a way where the reader follows Piper through this state on confusion and uncertainty as she tries to understand her upbringing and new life. So that said, please just buy this book and don’t read the synopsis on the back of the book!!!

Just TRUST me!

4-5-stars

(Maybe don’t even look at my review, here)

 

4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

This book is SO beautiful!

To be honest, it did take a little time for me to get into it and stay focused. The writing is fantastic, the characters are SO well developed, and it is positively brimming with adventure and imagination!

It takes a few chapters for things to start picking up, but it is so worth it!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is about a young woman’s discovery and journey into doors that lead to other worlds. Her father travels the world in search of valuable artifacts for her guardian, Mr. Locke, and has been left to her own devices since she was a little girl. But when she comes across a curious book ranting of doors to worlds of snow, Amazonians and oceans, and a heartbreaking story of love, January begins to wonder if this book is more than just a tall tale.

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Exit

I had Exit sitting on my bookshelf and collecting dust for some time now, so I figured it was about time I dove into it.

After falling in love with The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, so many readers recommended this as the next book that will shatter my soul.

And I was READY!

Unfortunately…

It was just meh.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is about a teenage girl who is raped at cheer camp, and what happens afterwards. I really liked that it gave a different view on how someone may react to such a traumatic experience. A lot of times we see characters go into downward spirals and/or deep depressions, but Hermione does the opposite. She stays focused and strong and has a positive attitude about moving forward.

But that aside, I wasn’t really impressed with the book. I think it is a good introductory story about rape for a younger YA audience, but it just didn’t bring the emotional sorrow and hemorrhaging I was hoping for.

2-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

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Myself and my two sisters from other misters, mistresses and countries have decided to start a Sisterhood of the Traveling Book adventure together!

Since we all live in different countries (USA, UK, Sweden) we thought it would be so fun to each pick a book, send it to each other to read, maim it to all hell with notes and underlines of sentences/moments that resonate with us, and then send it back – with custom library cards and everything!!

Damn adorable, right?!

SO I had the pleasure of starting off this magical experience, and I chose Things We Know by Heart.

I don’t know if you’re catching on to the theme here, but my world centers around YA Fantasy and Contemporary that severely wounds my soul and makes me want to throw myself into a cauldron.

I want to FEEL, okay?!

Things we Know by Heart introduces us to Quinn a year after her boyfriend Trent dies in an accident. As a donor, vital organs and parts of Trent were given to recipients who were in need. Heartbroken and devastated, Quinn and Trent’s family began meeting with the recipients of Trent’s donations in an attempt to heal.  But the recipient of Trent’s heart gave no response to their request to meet, so Quinn tracks him down.

This is SUCH a cute story, and was a great way to start off out NAGC Library book sending. Though it didn’t have those “rip my heart out and make me beg for it back” vibes, I still found myself smitten with the story.

4-stars

 

7. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

The Memory Thief.jpg

Okay…

So I DNF‘d this little minx at 38%, and I am quite honestly questioning if I made the right call.

The Memory Thief is a YA Fantasy world where memories are like gold. They are traded, stolen and auctioned off to the highest bidder and people are killed in the streets over them. Etta is one of the gifted individuals who can take memories just by touching someone, but she is hiding in plain sight in order to protect herself and her mother.

TOTALLY something I would love, right?!

The author tried shoving SO much information at the reader way too quickly, while going into confusing flashbacks, and it is just made my head hurt. There was about 10 names mentioned in the first chapter, which makes it hard to follow who is who since I have no idea…who those people are.

I had super high hopes for this one, because the premise is phenomenal. But the excessive information, and lengthy dialogue, and the eye-roll worthy insta-love was WAY too much for me to deal with.

…I take it back.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven

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

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realizes that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Opinion:

Fridays are for dark retellings, murder and deceit.

In this twisted tale there are more than just stepmothers to defeat.

Vile stepsisters and wicked, forceful Kings,

Have a chance to be defeated with the help of paws and wings.

With a Princess clad in black and magic scorching through her veins,

A Queen must arise to break free from her chains.

I love a fairy tale retelling, especially one that flips the story from cheery to morbid.

But what I love even more, is a story of a Goth Princess Witch.

Rebecca Henry got our Princess’s name wrong though,

because this is DEFINITELY written about me.

Princess Zezolla lead a life of happiness and bliss with her parents in their castle. A life with a doting father and a mother that showered her in love and affection. At least until her mother was drowned at the hands of her father. Now Zezolla’s life is one doused in sorrow and cruelty. Countless deaths and misfortunes follow the Princess as she grows into a young woman, with only her Raven and her magic to keep her company. Forced into the cellars of her castle by her stepmother and her daughters to live for years, the only solace Zezolla can find is through the woods and its creatures. But the bloodshed in Zezolla’s life has only just begun, and to survive, she must trust in her magic and her guardians.

Zezolla is the witchy Princess that my childhood heart has always wanted!

This girl is sweet, caring, compassionate and loving to everyone and everything around her-even those who treat her horribly. After the death of her mother, she falls into a state of mourning that takes hold of her life and leaves her lonely and neglected. Her father, after being betrayed by his wife and then drowning her, becomes a nonexistent parent to Zezolla, only focusing his efforts on securing a new wife and improving his status. And so begins the onslaught of stepmothers that will enter Zeolla’s life, leaving a trail of cruelty and vile behavior in their wake.

It seems to be a theme in this retelling for characters to begin as somewhat decent beings, and then turn rather drastically into monstrous versions of themselves. It was so saddening to watch Zezolla lean towards so many figures in her life that she loved and respected, only for them to turn on her and wish for her demise. But another huge theme was the act of characters attempting to have ownership or control over our little Cinderella girl. She was constantly being thrust into the hands of those who either wanted her for gain or to be a slave that they could torture. This poor girl is beaten, betrayed, manipulated, verbally abused and treated like an object constantly.+

“You have witnessed man’s true desire…to own a woman.”

But before you think that she is totally helpless, don’t. Zezolla is a fierce and witty character with extraordinary abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Earth and the animals, and has extremely dedicated companions by way of a raven and a wolf. These two creatures steal and kill in order to protect their Princess, and to be completely honest, it is badass and ruthless! There is SO much blood being spilled in this story, but don’t fret, it isn’t graphic at all and won’t keep you up at night.

 

What I really enjoyed about this story as well, is the romance. It is a bit unexpected and not a huge part of the story…which I really LOVE! Look, I adore my fantasy romances just like the next YA obsessive out there. But what I adore even more, is a story where a female isn’t waiting in the damn shadows for a man to rescue her and fight her battles. I crave that feminine strength and power in books, and Rebecca delivered.

Overall, I am really impressed with this dark Cinderella retelling. The pace is quick, and this book covers a TON of ground in just 180 pages. It completely sucked me in and left me feeling a bit dismayed that it was over, because all I wanted was to stay with Zezolla. I would gladly welcome a series of The Lady Raven, or even a dark retelling of EVERY princess (hint hint, Rebecca). I definitely recommend this gritty and gothic fairy tale to those of you who are looking for a new retelling or a spooky read for October!

4-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Sound of Blue by Michael Duda

The Sound of Blue1

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

Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction

Plot: Aliens exist everywhere. They are android. They hide within the mind. They live on other planets. And they can even travel the universe using technology far beyond our understanding.

Markey VI, an android on an orbiting space station, assists an artificial intelligence. David, the A.I., ponders the question of humanity’s fate. The ultimate question is, “Should life be returned to Earth?” The answer is known as the Singular Conclusion. But the answer’s impact reaches far deeper into Markey VI’s electronic components and programmed logic than could be anticipated. And the android’s final moments bring it closer to humanity itself.

David Grayson volunteered for a project called, ‘Threading.’ Unfortunately, Threading slowly alters David’s mind. And it affects the other two subjects. But in what way? After the final test goes wrong, David unleashes a powerful ability capable of distorting time.

Shiran accuses Abian of murdering her husband. She claims that Abian tells lies about the events leading to the death. She also keeps a secret that could reveal the truth. When Abian uncovers Shiran’s secret, Shiran discovers that there is more to her simple village life than she first believed.

It’s a futuristic version of 1930s Chicago. Named Chicago VI, the shielded space city exists somewhere at the far edge of the Oberon Galaxy. And all space cities connect by jump trains, faster-than-light machines. Bobby and his dog, Mister Pleats, barely make ends meet at Chicago VI’s jump train station. But when Bobby meets an alien Xenoarchaeologist, he’ll discover that there’s more possibilities in the galaxy than shining shoes.

The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery. A journey just out of atmospheric reach. To a mysterious planet and at the far end of a galaxy. And into the mind where superhuman powers wait to be untapped.

Opinion:

“In a galaxy so vast, what really is home?”

You’d think that after reading my fifth book by Michael Duda, I’d cease to be amazed at how his mind works.

But alas, here I am.

Still dumbfounded and astounded by his brain.

Michael Duda is able to take the most mundane facts that we know as humans, about our society and ourselves, and reshape them into poetic tales of beauty and darkness. He is able to transport the reader into future and sideways dimensional settings that exude immense wonder and deep horrors. I am always left feeling nostalgic and unhinged by Duda’s writings. It’s like he has dipped his fingers into my brain, found the innocence and fears, and gingerly extracted them and wove them onto paper.

Now if you have an unhealthy addiction to science fiction that can both excite and terrify you, then you will love this collection of short stories.

The first is called The Sound of Blue. Immediately the reader is skyrocketed into the ever-popular idea (or probability) that Artificial Intelligence and robots will take over the world, eradicating humankind from existence. This story follows dialogue between David, an A.I., and Markey VI, an android. David is attempting to discern if humans will be able to return to Earth, while also delving into the idea of what it means to be human.

It is a quick story, but one that made me pause after reading to reflect on what it means to be human. As per usual, Duda started this book off with a bang that immediately had a sense of anxious wonder creeping inside me. It is the most sorrowful and delicate of these four stories, and one I could imagine being a closing scene for an epic sci-fi movie.

The second short story is Last of Lasts and immediately reminded me of the Netflix show Maniac. It is about three people who are in dire need of money, so they agree to participate in a series of experiments. The story is told through the eyes of David as he is thrust back into another test of the “threading”; one that puts the other two subject’s lives at risk as the scientists look for a specific outcome. It is one of the longer stories, but one that will keep you hooked as you try to figure out what the hell is going on. It is also probably the most fantastical of the bunch, but as always, one that has legs and could easily be turned into a full series.

The third story is Waking from an Eternal Sleep. The inhabitants of a village look to those called the Unmarked Ones for guidance and insight into events and their lives. But when Shiran’s husband is suddenly killed by a fellow villager named Abian, she demands to know why and that he be put to death. But the reasoning behind her husband’s death is much bigger than what she could ever fathom. Naturally, in Duda form, I am left wanting more and MORE of this tale. ALWAYS with the cliffhangers

The fourth short story is Jump Trains and Simultaneity and my favorite kind of science fiction fable! It is set in an old-timey futuristic world that can only be described as the 1930s meets Cyberpunk 2077. If you are like me and are obsessed with Sci-fi like Altered Carbon, Blade Runner or Mute, then you will without a doubt love this. Bobby lives in one of the many cities called space cities, which are connected by jump trains. He is a homeless and sweet kid working as a shoe shiner, until he meets Theodore Rattletrap, an alien who studies extraterrestrial cultures.

THIS short story is the one I NEED to be turned into a full novel, then a Netflix show. It is phenomenal and fantastical, and the one that threw my imagination into overdrive. I couldn’t help but be completely invested in Bobby’s well-being, because he is a genuinely innocent character. Duda ensured that I had a decent level of skepticism for Theodore Rattletrap the entire time, and even now, I’m not too sure about him. This is by far my favorite story of the collection.

Unsurprisingly, I am obsessed with this new book by Michael Duda.

I have been hounding him for some time now to please write a novel before I wither away into dust and fly off into the wind, and he is! But in the meantime, I highly suggest you guys read Stars in the Winter Sky, and a few of his other short story collections under his other pen name M. Duda: Bedtime for Seneca, A Cat Will Play, Deny the Father.

5-stars

 

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

Binding of Bindings #30: 10 Badass Female Leads…

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

 

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~* 10 Badass Female Leads…

That Will Kill You in Your Sleep *~

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

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

Fortuna Sworn.

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

Twisted, right?!

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Alarum

Flinch, Vizsla, Kid, Fury.

All one person, and ALL total badassery!

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

This lady is the shit!

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Serpent and Dove

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

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

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

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

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

(See my review here)

 

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

GLitter.jpg

Versailles, ball gowns and royals, high-tech automation and a courtier selling makeup with drugs in it?

Get it, girl!

Glitter doesn’t seem to be a super well-known series, and I am wondering WHY?! It has everything us YA book lovers need! Romance, scandal, an asshole young king and a leading female who just wants to take those bastards down…one jar of rouge at a time!

It’s a Historical Fantasy with a Science Fiction twist and it is SUPREMELY amazing!

 

(See my review here)

 

5. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

13 Minutes.jpg

Drownings, scandals, near decapitationsOH MY!!

13 Minutes is a slinky little YA Contemporary Thriller that will have you mumbling “wtf” while also grinning from ear to ear. I really can’t say who the badass is in this without giving EVERYTHING away, but just know…it’s delightful

It follows Natasha as she wakes up in the hospital after being washed up on an embankment. Nobody knows how she got there, and worst of all, she can’t remember anything. Natasha links up with her friends and a former friend to find out what really happened, and the truth is…shocking.

But just know this, these girls are twisted.

(See my review here)

 

6. With Malice by Eileen Cook
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery

With Malice.jpg

Want to be completely blindsided, infuriated AND appreciative of the truly devious acts of women?

You’ve come to the right place.

With Malice is exactly as the title describes: Malicious.

It is another story about a girl waking up in the hospital not remembering what happened to her. Slowly it becomes revealed that she was involved in a car accident, and there was someone else involved.

There are some serious Amanda Knox trial vibes going on here, and involves some cutthroat behavior by a female that I just can’t help but slow-clap for. This book has a twist and an ending that will make you just

(See my review here)

 

7. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

The SUrface Breaks 2

You know what I love?

A feminist retelling of men being drowned for treating women like they’re nothing.

The Surface Breaks showcases a mermaid named Gaia who starts out as a meek and subservient daughter of the Sea King, but swiftly turns into a truly glorious character hellbent on standing up for herself and her sisters.

It’s a darker version to the original Little Mermaid tale you know, but one that NEEDS to be read!

(See my review here)

 

8. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT

Wilder Girls

I am obsessed with this book, and even more obsessed with the female characters that grace its pages!

Wilder Girls is a YA Horror/Mystery filled with a collection of girls who are as freakish as they are resilient. These girls will claw at each other for food and kill you on the spot, but their hearts are filled with immense love and loyalty for one another.

This breathtaking and eerie story is about a school on an island that has been quarantined after a Tox infiltrates their walls. The girls are mutated and dying, and it is downright DARK! But oh so good.

(See my review here)

 

9. Darkness of Light (Book 1) by Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: New Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

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Looking for another Celaena Sardothien and Rowan Whitethorn to swoon over?

Okay, technically this isn’t like TOG at all, but it’s Fantasy, it’s hot and I just love a female who can fight alongside some fantastical creatures!

Darkness of Light is an Adult Fantasy series filled with demons, fae, goblins and dark dwellers. This series is exciting and soooo romantic, but most importantly, it gives you a female lead who is SO saucy and fierce!

I am planning on reading it again this weekend, so jump on the train with me and let’s all just drool over this series together!

(See my review here)

 

10. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary

Killing November.jpg

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

Killing. ❤

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

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

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

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Opinion:

“…the Door seemed to be murmuring in a soft, clattering language made of wood rot and peeling paint. I reached toward it again, hesitated, and then-

I opened the Door, and stepped through.”

January Scaller has been under the care of Mr. Locke, a wealthy and highly prominent figure, for as long as she can remember. With her father under his employment and traveling all over the world in order to track down hidden and rare artifacts, January is left in the mansion where is expected to be a good girl. But with only strict nursemaids and colleagues of Mr. Locke to keep January company, she finds solace in her books and her vivid imagination. As January grows, confined to the walls of her wealthy yet lonely lifestyle, she searchs anyhwere she can for something or someone to fill her empty void. It isn’t until she stumbles upon a strange book about magical doors and a lost love that January finally begins to find new meaning in her life, while also learning how far from mundane her history truly is.

“Sometimes I was so lonely I thought I might wither into ash and drift away on the next errant breeze.

Sometimes I felt like an item in Mr. Locke’s collection labeledJanuary Scaller, 57 inches, bronze; purpose unknown.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a YA Historical Fantasy about a girl searching for a way out of the life that has been forced upon her. At a young age she is put into the care of Mr. Locke, a man with insurmountable wealth and a love for rare artifacts. He employs her father to travel around the world in search of these items for him, while he houses and cares for January from child to teenager. Set in the early 1900s, January is expected to act like a proper lady. To have proper etiquette, learn the necessary studies and skills that make up an accomplished woman, and to remain silent. To be a good girl.

“Be a good girl.

To hell with being good.”

While we watch January grow from a young girl to a young woman, the loneliness and isolation that she feels is deafening. She is mostly ignored by the men and women that come and go from Mr. Locke’s house for parties, her nursemaid is strict and unrelenting, and the only semi-friend she has is a delivery boy by the name of Samuel. Though January has a deep love for books and and vivid imagination, she is taught from a young age to not waste her time and energy on such silly ideas. It was so tragic to watch her spirit be broken by these people who seem to care for her, but you’re never really sure if they actually do. But maybe the most tragic aspects of this story, is January’s relationship with her father.

…there was just something about the shape of him in the doorway that made me dizzy with anger. Maybe because he smelled like jungles and steamships and adventures, like shadowed caves and unseen wonders, and my world was so ferociously mundane. Or maybe just because I’d been locked away and he hadn’t been there to open the door.”

For a good portion of the book, I was unsure of the relationship they had and when her father had the time to spend with his only daughter. It turns out, he didn’t spend much time with her at all. He completely left her in the care of Mr. Locke while he flounced around the world, forgetting birthdays and barely writing to her. Naturally, Mr Locke becomes her stand-in father figure, and at first he seems to be a stern and cold man, but someone who cares for January and who has a witty yet dry sense of humor.

That is until he locks her in her room for weeks on end, in order to rid her of her imagination.

You don’t really know how fragile and fleeting your own voice is until you watch a rich man take it away as easily as signing a bank loan.”

So this story took a little while to get going, because there is a TON of buildup and backstory that needs to take place before the actual fantasy can begin. I was having some trouble staying focused during the first 20% of this read, but once January starts to figure things out and begins…unlocking things, it really gets going. And when I say it gets going, it REALLY gets going! The amount of creativity and imagination it took to write this book is on full display, and the author does a fantastic job of making you feel as if anything is possible. The writing is elegant and descriptive, the characters well-developed and alluring, and the plot is…breathtaking!

I dreamed in gold and indigo.”

For a time in this story, the reader is taken back and forth between the present with January, and the past that is written in her mysterious book that she finds in the bottom of a chest. It is the beautiful and tragic story of a man and a woman, from two different worlds, who search for years trying to find a way back to one another. They travel around the world searching for thousands of doors that lead to various places of beauty and treachery, all to find a door of sea that will bring them back together. It is romantic and bleak, hopeful and gentle. This author has a way of opening little doors in your heart, while simultaneously setting them all on fire and burning them to the ground.

But another wonderful aspect of this intricate story, are the lovable and brave characters that are littered throughout its pages. Samuel, a young man who is a constant in January’s life who is always there when she needs someone the most. Bad, a scrappy and devilish dog who is fiercely loyal to January, and only January. And Jane, her new nursemaid that begins as stoic and reserved, but turns out to be a TRULY fierce and badass woman. These characters bring out the best in January, and show her another side to humans that she didn’t see a lot of growing up. They fight to protect her and keep her safe, and volunteer without question to follow her into danger.

I closed my eyes against the weight of guilt settling on my shoulders, heard the clock of claws and the scuff of worn shoes as Samuel and Bad approached. They settled on either side of me, warm and constant as a pair of suns.”

As a whole, I really liked this story and thought it was unique and a book I could truly get lost in. It felt exciting and sparked the notion in me that seems to be so easily forgotten – that anything is possible. Though I struggled a little at the beginning to stay focused, once I got about 20-30% in, I was hooked and loving every aspect of it. I cannot wait to see what else this author writes, and if it’s as good as this, I will be a lifelong fan!

4-stars

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

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

Serpent and Dove

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction

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

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

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

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

And love makes fools of us all.

Opinion:

 

My throat is weeping.

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

Oh.

My.

Cauldron.

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

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

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

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

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

I am crumbling.

Decaying into ash.

I’ve never hated reality more.

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

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


*deep breath*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The colors of me.”

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

My only issue is this:

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

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

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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