Book Promo · Book Reviews · Netgalley · New Releases

Book Review: The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, Book 2) by Melissa Albert

The Night Country

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…

Opinion:

‘You still think you live in a world where girls will lie down for you and show you their throats.’”

‘Now lie down, and show me your throat.’”

After escaping The Hinterland and her story, Alice is back in New York with her mother, just trying to make a new life for herself away from the magic and fairy tales. But after time paces, Alice finds herself drawn back to the ex-stories of The Hinterland as random murders begin targeting those who have escaped. With no explanation as to why, Alice tries to hunt down the culprit. While worlds away, Finch is in the Hinterland and it is tearing itself apart. With so many stories leaving, black spots and wastelands begin consuming what is left of the magical and eerie world. As he looks for a way out, and possibly a way back to his world, Alice and Finch’s paths come closer and closer together to crossing again.

Little mouse

Scratch scratch

Hasten to your home

Lock and latch, do up the catch

And pray that you’re alone

Little spider

Twitch twitch

Run to steal the gate

Weave and sew, stitch stitch

Pray it’s not too late.

Alice is back, and things are as creepy as ever.

So it has been two years since Alice returned to the human world (is that what it’s called?) and she has turned her life into one of productive normalcy. She spends time with her mother Ella, works at a quirky bookstore and hangs out with her best friend Sophia. Well, technically Sophia is Hinterland and had that whole fun tale about stalking Death (you go, girl) but you get the idea-Alice has turned a new leaf. Gone is the angry, murderous, black-eyed frost princess! Or…so we think.

‘Look at me,’ I told him. ‘Look at your destruction.’”

In this installment, Alice is having difficulty completely forsaking her Hinterland side. As much as she wishes to leave that side of her life in the past, for her sake and Ella’s’, Hinterland seems to seek her out wherever she goes. Suddenly random murders begin happening, with each victim having a limb missing from their bodies. A left hand, a right hand, left foot, right foot, eyes. Oh yeah. Super fluffy stuff, huh? But what makes everything ten times worse, is that the killings begin to resemble traits from Alice’s old abilities of frost.

Dun Dun Dun.

Alice is a bit more tame in The Night Country, but we get to see some of her old side spark back to life as well. I’m not going to lie, I do miss the old sassy and fairly angry Alice who wanted to scratch everyone’s eyes out, but this version is nice…if you like that “tame and reformed” type of thing. Basically the entire book follows Alice as she struggles with her identity and tries not to get killed. Sinister creatures from Hinterland now run rampant through New York, toying with humans and going unseen. But no matter what Alice does, she can never escape Hinterland. Because she IS Hinterland.


Though there are Hinterland creatures where Alice is, we really don’t get to witness a lot of the magical and strange imagination that comes from that world. Thankfully, the story flips over to Finch and we get to partake in his world jumping. As Hinterland starts to crumble, and people begin to panic to find a way out, Finch meets a traveler who promises to help him get back to his world after they do a bit of world jumping. He agrees, and THIS is where we really get to see the creative side of this author again.

There were patches of sky where the stars moved like living fireworks, creeks where girls with corpse-colored skin and dirty hair sang like bullfrogs and watched him through hungry eyes.”

I am still so impressed with how the author comes up with tales within a tale, and ties everything together so flawlessly. It is so much fun picturing these worlds and strange creatures in my mind. A place of huge walls of books that contain thousands of stories, and gadgets like a pen that sends messages right to the desired recipient or a mirror that would show you what your true love was looking at. The world building through each door is so creative and wondrous, and all I want is to see these stories come to life in movies!

Without giving too much away, I’d have to say this was a very enjoyable sequel to The Hazel Wood. Though Urban Fantasy isn’t really my thing, which is more what this book falls under, I found it to be a great story but not as addicting as the first book. Don’t get me wrong though, it was full of eerie and creepy happenings and I was loving the dark atmosphere that New York found itself in. It was twisted and murderous, which I love. But, I still think The Hazel Wood was my favorite of the two because it was like diving straight into a fairy tale.

I’ll leave you with this gem:

I’d opened my eyes and found Finch standing in front of me, looking at me like I was a door, too.

The kind he wanted to walk through.”

4-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · New Releases · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #35: My Top 10 Anticipated January 2020 Book Releases

Dear 2019,
It’s been real. It’s been fun.
But I can’t say it’s been real fun.

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~* My 10 Anticipated January 2020 Book Releases *~

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1. The Gray Chamber (True Colors) by Grace Hitchcock
Release Date: January 1, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/True Crime

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Let’s start 2020 off with some historical fiction and true crime, shall we?

The Gray Chamber is one of many stories in the True Colors collection. The books are written by a number of different authors, but all center on one thing: Historical Romances and American Crime.

*puuuurrrr*

This little gem is set in New York in 1887, in a sweet little lunatic asylum where all the women are dutifully cared for and not put there by powerful men who tire of them. *cough*

It is the story of how Edyth Foster is thrown into a women’s Insane Asylum by her uncle, who is in control of her vast inheritance until her 25th birthday. So just days before she is to gain full rights to her father’s fortune, her uncle commits her, planning to leave her there to rot. Whilst inside, Edyth meets a woman who claims to be an undercover journalist hellbent on getting the true story of what goes on in the institute.

P.S. Have I told you guys that I, myself, was written into a novel about an Insane Asylum? It’s true. I’m a poor little lass, committed by my husband for being “too sad” after a miscarriage. What a guy, right? Read it here: Whispers of Bedlam Asylum

 

2. A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, Book 2) by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the second installment to the ever popular Beauty and the Beast retelling – A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but comes from the POV of Grey.

Now, I STILL have not even read A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but in my defense – work is getting in the way! I have it waiting patiently for me on my shelf, staring at me every time I have a different book in my hands. But soon…SOON!

I have already read a few reviews on Goodreads and there are quite a bit of conflicting opinions, which makes me want to read it even more!

 

3. One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, Book 2) by Karen M. McManus
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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I’m going to just say it: this is yet another sequel to a book I haven’t read yet, and it’s not going to be the last.

One of Us is Next is the sequel to One of Us is Lying, a hugely popular YA Mystery/Thriller about five teens who walk into detention, with only four walking out. It’s The Breakfast Club meets murder mystery, and it has STELLAR reviews from readers.

One of Us is Next centers on Bronwyn’s sister and two new characters. It’s a Truth or Dare app game that gets dangerous quickly, and the teens are completely on their own when it comes to survival.

 

4. The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, Book 2) by Melissa Albert
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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The Night Country is the sequel to The Hazel Wood, and yes, another series I haven’t started. But, once I finish my current read, I am jumping into The Hazel Wood and then my ARC of The Night Country!!

The Hazel Wood is about a girl named Alice and her mother who are constantly trying to outrun their bad luck. But when her mother is abducted by a man who claims to originate from Hinterland, things turn curious. Hinterland is the supernatural setting for each of her grandmother’s dark fairy tale stories, which have gained quite the cult following. Alice enlists the help of a classmate named Ellery Finch, who also happens to be a fan of the stories.

In The Night Country, Alice and Ellery dive back into the magical world that has found its way into New York City. New characters and dark scenarios make up this little beauty, and I cannot wait to get started!

 

5. Scavenge the Stars (Book 1) by Tara Sim
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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Retelling Time!!!!

Scavenge the Stars is a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo and the first book in a planned duology. It claims to be for fans of SJM, Sabaa Tahir and Leigh Bardugo…so yes, my interest has been captured.

In Moray, children are forced to bear the debts accumulated by their parents in the event of their death. For seven years, Amaya Chandra has been working to pay off her debts after being sold to a debtor ship. Her only goal is to enact revenge against the man who shattered her world. But when she rescues a stranger from drowning, she realizes it may cost her in the long run.

Gambling, rich elitists and a badass female with a desire to kill?

I’m game.

 

6. Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Health-Mental Health

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Grab the tissues, I think this one is going to make us weep.

David Sheinman has everything. He’s popular, senior class president and well-liked by his peers. But he also has cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that attacks the lungs and digestive system. Jamie Turner is unlike David. After her father’s suicide and a lack of friends to reach out to, she is caught in a deep depression which soon becomes unmanageable for her.

Just Breathe is the story of how David and Jamie’s worlds collide at the hospital, where an unlikely friendship and support system is formed. If this doesn’t give me Me, Earl, and The Dying Girl or The Fault in Our Stars vibes…I’ll just have to cry harder.

 

7. Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea, Book 2) by Joanna Ruth Meter
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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Beyond the Shadowed Earth is the sequel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, but it is a book that can be read without reading the first. So basically, it’s totally fine that this is yet another series I haven’t started.

In Beneath the Haunting Sea, Sixteen-year-old Talia and her mother are exiled from the Emperor’s court to a distant sea-side estate after her rival seizes power. On the voyage across the Northern Sea, Talia begins to hear something beneath the waves, calling to her. When she arrives at her estate of exile, she meets a boy who also claims to hear the music of the ocean.

Dun. Dun. Dun

However, in Beyond the Shadowed Earth, we are given an entirely different plot and lead character, but set in the same fantastical world.

Eda has dreams of becoming empress, and will do anything to get what she wants. So she makes a deal with the gods by bargaining away the soul of her best friend in order to attain power. Years later when he friend dies, she becomes overcome with guilt for what she had done. So she sets off to find the god that she made the deal with, in the hopes of reversing it.

 

8. Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

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Hello young love!

Please break my heart.

But is this also a Paranormal/Fantasy?!

Echoes Between Us is the story of a girl who surrounded by loss, and a boy with a bright future.

Since the death of her mother, Veronica has been seeing the ghost of her mother with every piercing migraine that consumes her. Suffering from a brain tumor, which is the exact way her mother died, Veronica is beginning to feel as if she may be going crazy. But when Sawyer enters her life, things begin to change. Sawyer is popular and has a bright future ahead, with a life that seems perfect. But as the two become closer, they both realize that not everything one sees on the surface is reality.

 

9. Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Magical Realism

Follow Me to Ground

Follow Me to Ground promises to be weird AF, and I am all sorts of here for it.

Ada and her father have been blessed with the ability to heal illnesses, and they do so for local villagers by cracking open their damaged bodies and burying them in a dirt that revives them…or something. Ada then falls in love with a man that her father disapproves of and…that’s basically all I know.

The description says Ada is a being both more and less than human“, and I’m just like…

Wtf does that even mean?!

Give it to me.

 

10. Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Seven Deadly Shadows

THIS one, is going to be epic.

Seven Deadly Shadows is about a girl named Kira, who battles demons who attack her shrine in search of an ancient artifact. With the help of Shiro, a half fox/half boy, they learn that the only way to defeat a demon-lord and find said missing artifact, is to enlist the help of seven death gods.

I mean…

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Stay Witchy

 

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Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Release Blitz · The Parliament House Press

Release Day Blitz: The Reflections of Us (The Halves of Us, Book 2) by Sydney Paige Richardson

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Publisher: The Parliament House
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Book Title: The Reflections of Us
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Series: The Halves of Us, Book #2
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Author: Sydney Paige Richardson
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~*~ Release Day ~*~

Happy Tuesday and Happy Release Day for The Reflections of Us! This is book #2 in The Halves of Us Trilogy, described as an intense and exciting YA Fantasy Romance!

The Halves of Us Trilogy follows twin sisters Adie and Aura into their destined roles, Adie as the Ruler of Thindoral, and Aura as the destroyer of their world. As Adie begins to have disturbing premonitions of her twin bringing their planet to it’s demise, Aura must make a choice: to fall into the path the universe has paved for her, or to sacrifice herself in order to save those she loves?

~Click here to purchase on Amazon!~

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Book Synopsis for Book #2, The Reflections of Us

There will not be one, but two. The eldest will bring destruction upon her first breath. For by the sixteenth year she grew, the only salvation for Thindoral is death.

Sixteen years have passed since the fateful night the portal was opened. Adie has grown up on Earth, plagued with nightmares and knowing nothing of her home planet, Thindoral. That changes when she is confronted by a stranger called Auralee, who claims to be her twin sister. Her revelation thrusts Adie into a world overtaken by unimaginable evil, as she’s flooded with memories of a lifetime she never lived.

Aura has taken over Thindoral and controls the shapeshifting Sights, forcing those who survived into hiding. Darkness clouds Aura’s mind and fuels her thirst for vengeance. She has raised her younger self, Auralee, as her own. But Auralee has her own agenda, and if that means defying Aura, then so be it.

After making a deal with the enemy of her enemy, Adie faces off in a battle with Aura and realizes accepting her fate may be the only way to rebalance the worlds’ colliding timelines and save everything she holds dear. Yet Aura’s vow to make them all suffer a fate as wicked as her own now teeters as she discovers another force at play, one that she didn’t see coming. Even her own darkness cannot be trusted…

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Social Media Tags:
Instagram: @sydneypaigedecides , @theparliamentpress
Website: http://www.sydneypaigerichardson.com/
Twitter: @sydsayingthings , @Parliamentbooks
Facebook: Sydney Paige Richardson – Author The Parliament House

 

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

Binding of Bindings #14: 12 Upcoming Book Releases Gifted By Publishers

I don’t know about you, but my 2019 has been KICKING ASS!
Not only am I reading some fantastic stories, but the incessant drowning in books on a daily basis is like…Uh-mazing.
So THANK the Book Gods and our little black cauldrons, because Netgalley and Edelweiss are blessing us with some KILLER upcoming releases.
The best part is, you can go and get your greedy little book hands alllllllll over them still!

You’re welcome.

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~ * ~ 12 Upcoming Book Releases, Gifted by Publishers ~ * ~

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1. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: Retelling/Historical Fiction/YA
Available for Request on: Netgalley

The Raven's Tale

This is my third time ranting and raving about my excitement for The Raven’s Tale, and don’t you worry…it won’t even be my last!

This is a retelling of the life of Edgar Allan Poe during his youthful years before he goes to university. The story witches back and forth between Edgar and his Muse, Lenore, while they navigate through their tumultuous relationship. It portrays how Lenore helps Edgar write his dark poems of death and despair, while touching on his internal struggles as he grows.

 

2. Nocturna (A Forgery of magic, Book 1) by Maya Motayne

Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

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Nocturna is one I have been really looking forward to reading, and even better, it releases on my dad’s birthday!!

Happy Birthday to me.

From the book synopsis, I’m already envisioning a Lysandra-esque character (Throne of Glass) fighting her way through a world similar to A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge.

It follows a faceshifter named Finn who is tasked with an impossible mission, and a Prince who is looking for a way to bring his brother back from the dead. Their lives collide in chaos as they unleash a power that could bring the world to an end, unless they can stop it.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn.

 

3. The Living God (Book 1) by Kaytalin Platt

Release Date: May 21, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

The living God

Can we take a minute to drool over this cover?

This one sounds epic.

The story centers on two mages – Saran, a Princess with the ability to manipulate time, and Keleir, a fire mage whose body is the host for a demon and who is foretold to be The Living God. It is about how these two mages lives are intertwined and the eventual end of the world if Keleir does indeed fulfill the prophecy and become a living God. 

It is oozing in magical apocalypse and I am SO ready for it!

4. The Haunted by Danielle Vega

Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Horror/Paranormal
Available for Request on: Goodreads Giveaway

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I just won this little beauty in a Goodreads Giveaway, and am only semi-patiently waiting for its arrival!

If you don’t know my girl Danielle Vega from her Merciless series, then you just aren’t horroring right.

The Haunted is your typical haunted house tale. A young girl and her family move to a new town, to a house that has a reputation for being haunted, and basically…s**t just hits the dusty ceiling fans. But in typical Danielle Vega fashion, I know this is going to be a story that creeps me out more than anything. 

This author just knows how to keep you up at night.

 

5. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/LGBT
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

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A YA/Mystery of love, deception and murder.

Remy had an amazing life, until her best friend Elise shot her boyfriend.

Devastated and shocked, Remy reflects through her memories and tries to find any plausible explanation for what happened. The Best Lies takes the reader on a ride of toxic relationships, jealousy and revenge. Said to be a Thelma and Louise meets Gone girl psychological thriller!

 

6. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT/Feminist Fiction
Available for Request on: Netgalley

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I don’t know what it is about stories set in private schools, but I absolutely LIVE for them!

Wilder Girls is the private school meets fast-spreading virus meets feminist vibes story that you obviously just need. A virus breaks out at a private school located on an island, and three girls are forced to fight for their lives as it spreads. Reviewers are describing it as a Feminist Lord of the Flies and I’m…totally confused on how they are going to mesh…but I’m DOWN!

Bring on the creep factor!!!

 

7. Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

Release Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling
Available for Request on: Netgalley

Ever Alice

Thank our lucky breads and potions, August is blessing us with another Alice retelling!!

This tale of our lovely, innocent and silly Alice takes place in an Asylum!! YAY!

At 15, Alice will do anything to leave the asylum that she was placed in for her “delusions” of a white rabbit and a place called Wonderland. Her ticket out is an experimental procedure, but cold feet are her undoing, so she escapes back to Wonderland…only to be forced to serve the Queen of Hearts.

This version sounds like it is going to be grittier and WAY less innocent than the original.

 

8. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling
Available for Request on: Netgalley

House of Salt and Sorrows

I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR THIS!!!

A retelling of the childhood tale 12 Dancing Princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows takes the classic into a sinister form.

Annaleigh lives in a manor by the sea with her once 12 sisters, father and stepmother. But four of the sisters have died by supposed accidents, though the villagers believe it to be a curse on the family. So when Annaleigh finds that her sisters have been sneaking out at night to go dancing, she can’t help but think that this may be a connection to the deaths of her sisters.

 

9. Midnight Beauties (Grim Lovelies, Book 2) by Megan Shaphard

Release Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

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Book 2 in the Grim Lovelies duology, Midnight Beauties continues the tale of magical creatures.

If you haven’t read Grim Lovelies, don’t worry. No spoilers here!

The duology follows Anouk who is a Beastie, an animal that was enchanted into a human. It is set in a world of witches, goblins and tons of magic. Anouk is one of 5 Beasties that serve the witch that turned them, Mada Vittora, and are all forbidden to leave the mansion at any time.

The books document how Anouk fights to free herself, and her friends, from the enchantment they were forced under. All while going up against powerful Royals and magical creatures.

 

10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Edelweiss

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The Memory Thief is set in a world where memories are considered most valuable, and everyone will fight to get their hands on them. Memories are sold on auction blocks and the city is ruled under the brutal and callous Madame. Being trained in stealing Memories has helped Etta survive, but a dark deal made with the Madame may put everything in Etta’s life at risk.

I am again reminded of A Face Like Glass from all of these amazingly creative and twisted stories! This one sounds so unique and a little twisted, so of course it’s a MUST READ for me!

 

11. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Available for Request on: Netgalley

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Shadow Frost is about a young princess named Aesterin as she fights to save her kingdom from a demon hellbent on destroying every village in its path. With her fierce friends in tow, Aesterin and her party race to find the demon and slay it. But when they learn that there is a plan to kill the princess, Aesterin and those closest to her begin to realize the secrets that have been kept hidden.

Sounds good right?!

Best of all, this was written by Coco Ma when she was just 15!

12. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou

Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Thriller
Available for Request on: Netgalley

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This one is for all you Heathers lovers out there!

Love, Heather is about two girls who enact revenge on the bullies of their high school by playing a few pranks, signing them with Love, Heather. But what starts out as innocent retaliation, quickly turns into a violent mess as students start to join in by pulling their own vicious pranks. As everything turns dark, the girls fight to take back control of what they started.

I am a HUGE fan of the Heathers movie, and if you haven’t seen it, i suggest you do before reading this book!

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Stay Witchy, my friends!

 

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Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, Book 2) by Holly Black

the wicked king

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Opinion:

So there I was.

Curled up on the couch upstairs.

Enjoying my lunch break in silence. Reveling in the comfort and bliss of a book of fantasy and Fae, magical creatures and humans.

Devouring the pages and words with the eyes of a stalker, with the death grip of a blubbering woman not at all keen on letting go of a lover.

With the enthusiasm of a book junkie getting their long-awaited fix.

There I was.

Just…minding my own business.

And then

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Dear Holly Black,

Please accept this as my death letter. For 2019 is ruined, and I cannot go on.

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All of Jude’s scheming has finally paid off, or has it? With Oak safely in the mortal world with Vivi and Cardan successfully bound to Jude, things should be going smoothly. But Cardans constant antics and games have left Jude to be the one ruling faerie from the shadows, with Cardan fighting her every step of the way. But with new power comes something worse, the craving for more and a target on your back. There are whispers of an attempt to overthrow the High King, but when? Jude is told that she has been betrayed by someone she trusts, but who? With her feelings for Cardan in a constant state of confusion, and the fate of an entire world on her shoulders, Jude fights to keep her carefully constructed pieces from scattering in the wind.

I feel nauseous.

You’d think I would catch on to these blind-sides and surprises by now. If not from the mass number of books that I murder, then from reading The Cruel Prince and knowing that Holly Black likes to TORTURE her dear and devoted readers.

My day had STARTED out pleasant.

Now, it’s a swirling pit of misery and disgrace. I am DISGUSTED, yet slightly charmed. Wholly DEVASTATED and…a bit impassioned. My stomach feels like its attempting to crawl up my throat, dragging my heart from the depths of bleak outlooks and deprivation. As if my insides have decided “to hell with it”, and will begin seeping out and dissipating into the cruel air and harsh lighting that is my life as of now. First came the disbelief. The shock and the audible gasps. Then came the incessant repeating of No, NO, NOOOOO! The Anger! THE AGGONNNNYYY!

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Dramatics aside. This book is f*****g amazing. I flew down the stairs in a panic as soon as I finished; I immediately began furiously pounding my feelings away through my fingertips, onto this keyboard, and into this theatrical review. But now that I have finished throwing my feelings up all over these pages (because we ARE at two pages already), what do I say without spoiling everything?!

I say this.

Taryn is still a tripe. Madoc is still a devious strategist. Jude is still cold and cunning. And Cardan is still cruel, while also quite wicked. As I was reading through The Wicked King I wondered if Holly Black could really have any more tricks up her sleeve. I assumed everything that had come after The Cruel Prince would be on a milder scale. Sure, there would still be malicious games, callous moves and bloodthirsty characters. BUT, I thought the worst had passed.

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I am SO gullible.

The backstabbing has reached a new level here, along with the “blood is thicker than water” sayings. It’s almost laughable how righteously f****d these characters are to each other, especially when you stop to imagine yourself in this world. The constant looking over your shoulder and anxiety of being plotted against. The riddles and lies that are spewed in elegance. The stab wounds and death threats that skate alongside the small smiles and kisses. IT’S ALL TOO MUCH!

But as wicked as the king is to be said, Jude is truly the most wicked of them all. There’s just SOMETHING about a girl that can stab a man in the neck that just makes me do a little dance on my tippy toes. Whether it’s her Oscar worthy acting skills or her sarcastic taunts and digs, I can’t help but adore the girl to pieces. There is truly something to be said for a woman that can make her heart as cold as ice. Something of brilliance, I imagine. But next to Jude, we have Cardan. The sweet and infuriatingly dreamy Cardan. *SIGH*…what couldn’t one say of his character?! He is suave, he is arrogant and clever. He is still a jackass. Though I didn’t think much of Cardan before, I sure as hell do now! *Slow and sarcastic clapping* Well done Cardan. Well done.

Though now, I have even less I can say without being the Viscount of Vague! There are conversations in towers, a crown of foul-smelling mushrooms, plotted assassinations, betrayals by the trusted, time spent in the waters, poisonous poisons, duels ‘till the death, ruby rings and moves and counter moves! There is just so little I can say, but I CAN say this: waiting a year for book three is definitely and undoubtedly the bane of my existence.

Until then, I leave you with this.

giphy-9

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Book Review: Quelling (The Purification Era, Book 2) by Angie Grigaliunas

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

Genre: YA

Plot: For years, Rabreah has longed to overthrow the power-abusing Hulcondans who control her city. Yet in the wake of an unauthorized rebel attack, Lord Masrekah takes over the hunt for the“terrorists” – and it’s only a matter of time until he figures out her secrets.If he hasn’t already. Resistance leader Sorek’s return is a welcome sight, but his easy infiltration of the enemy kindles Rabreah’s suspicion of where exactly his loyalties lie – and threatens her growing feelings for him.

Unaware of her sister’s double life, Ariliah continues to support the Hulcondans. But as the city spirals into violence, everything she’s ever believed starts to unravel. Afraid to confront her doubts, she clings to her splintering trust and a dangerous new connection with Lord Masrekah.

Yet as the Hulcondans bear down on the resistance and its allies, the truth becomes clear: there aren’t just two sides, the greatest enemies lurk inside the city, and even the most faithful supporter has a breaking point.

Opinion:

*Soft, yet dramatic, whimpering through an endless stream of tears*

*Incessant poking of arms and legs to check if I’m real*

*Attempts at forming words that come out as incoherent mumblings and squeaks*

This series will be the end of me.

The “terrorists” continue to move against the Hulcondan’s and to voice their propaganda by way of posters, attacks, and the most recent attempted murders of one of their most prominent Lords. But with the threats against the city showing no means of slowing, Lord Siserah decides to step aside and let decisions be made by the ruthless and brutal Lord Masrekah. With each citizen under close surveillance and forced to travel with an escort to their assignments and homes, fear is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For Ariliah, the fear is that the Itzalin monsters will breach the wall to the city and destroy everything she loves. It is the fear of her abusive mother and the fear that the Hulcondans, who she trusts with her life, will parish trying to protect the citizens. But for Rabreah, it is a different form of fear entirely. Staying undetected as a rebel becomes increasingly difficult for Rabreah and her allies, especially when their leader, Sorek, returns to the city posing as a Hulcondan in order to get close to his enemy. Rabreah knows she must trust her leader with her life, even when her feelings for him start to change, but her distrust of men is always in the back of her mind. The truth of what they were taught as children to be right and wrong starts to blur for both of Ariliah and Rabreah, and they are forced to choose which side they want to be on when chaos hits.  

(Click here for my review of book one, Sowing, if you need a refresher haven’t read it)

*Sigh*…where to begin.

I was an Alpha and Beta reader for Angie for the second book in this amazing series, so this is my third time reading Quelling. As this is obviously the final edit, there were a few additions and changes from the copies that I read, but they only added to the splendor that these books possess.

I cannot stress enough how AMAZING this series is.

Angie has this irritating knack for ripping my soul into her characters, making me either trust them or hate them, and then completely twisting my feelings into something that I can barely grasp or fathom. I am a fiercely loyal person by nature, and Angie has made me overly protective of these characters and their lives. I feel every bit of anger and defiance that Rabreah possesses, and every act of pure innocence and uninhibited trust that Ariliah gives to those around her. Angie has put a mirror up to every woman in the world, sliced their beings into two, and thrown them into these fierce and brilliant female characters.

It is taking only the laws of physics to keep me from reaching through these pages and maiming anyone who tries to hurt these girls.

But Rabreah and Ariliah aren’t the only amazing characters in this series. The reader is introduced to several other members of the rebellion that each have heart wrenching and sorrowful stories. As Rabreah begins to meet more rebel members, she is introduced to an array of people with different jobs and backgrounds. This book holds countless eye-opening moments for Rabreah where her character is forced to question what she has been taught with what she can actually see. But of course, one of the most prominent rebel members is their fearless leader, Sorek.

Sorek returns as a Hulcondan in order to remain close to his enemy, and to act as a VERY convincing spy. Not only does this put Sorek RIGHT next to the frightening Lord Masrekah, but it tests the trust of Rabreah as she watches him immerse himself in his performance. Sorek is the epitome of a strong, upstanding and fearless male character. As the story went on I couldn’t help but love and adore him, as I think most of us will or have ended up doing. His tenderness and respect for Rabreah leaves me happily broken and weapy, and the ending to this book just about ripped my heart from my chest. In a good way.

Now on the other side of the fence we have the sweet and delicate Ariliah. Book two is where Ariliah shines, and where readers will REALLY begin to latch onto her. In Sowing Ariliah was a very timid girl who trusted and obeyed the hulcondan’s without question, never stood up for herself, and who seemed to be a shadow of who she could be. But in Quelling, she transforms into a woman who can and will stand up for herself. She is the little sister that we have always wanted, and you can’t help but want to standby her side and root her on.

But what I really can’t get over with this book, is that Angie has done the unthinkable.

She has made me question ALL of my previous opinions of this series,made me rethink one or two of my morals and beliefs, and even lessened a slight part of the man hater buried DEEP in my soul.

Brace yourselves.

I have a SLIGHT liking towards Masrekah now.

So it turns out that this horrible, ruthless, disgusting pig of a man just MIGHT not be the evil scum that he was perceived to be. Sneaky Angie, very sneaky. Lord Masrekah, to my utter shock, has become somewhat of a human being in book two. He has begun to show an interest in Ariliah, and even goes as far as to act almost protective over her but without making it seem beyond creepy…?! Trust me when I say, I am shocked at my changed feelings.Mostly because it took me three times of reading Quelling to have even ONE positive thought toward this guy.  But to make things stranger, I even sort of see the appeal of him now.

You know, like how a really attractive serial killer could be somewhat appealing. -_-

Characters aside, the overall story building in this series is really remarkable. These books keep me tense and hooked the entire time. It feels almost PAINFUL to put these books down and go to work! The countless attacks and threats, the gruesome moments, the literal “what in the actual f**k” moments in Quelling are what really put this series over the edge from great to AMAZING. There is SO much going on in this book and I can’t utter one word of it without revealing everything! This is a series that will force the reader to THINK and QUESTION their own feelings. I am blown away with the detail the Angie puts forth in her writing and the cruel yet beautiful world that she has created.

This is not a request for you to read this series.

This is a demand. Do it. You WILL NOT be disappointed.

 

5-stars

 

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Book Review: Dead Dog (Zombie Dog Series, Book 2) by Doug Goodman

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Amazon.com – Dead Dog (Zombie Dog Series, Book 2) by Doug Goodman

Goodreads.com – Dead Dog (zombie Dog Series, Book 2) by Doug Goodman

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, Doug Goodman, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Horror/Suspense

Plot: He couldn’t run anymore. He was just too tired. And the undead were getting closer. He wondered how long he could survive in the desert heat? His only hope for being found was a woman from halfway across the country and her uniquely talented dog, Murder.

For Angie Graves, hunting the dead was nothing new. She’d hunted them from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the bayous of Houston. But this vast national park the size of Rhode Island? The task seemed impossible. The scents were vanishing. Could Murder find the undead in time? Could she trust her dog?

Opinion:

Trust your dog. Trust your dog. Trust your dog. But never trust a zombie.”

Angie Graves, The Zombie Dog’s Handbook

These isn’t your regular zombie story.

It was in Colorado that Angie first came across a zombie when she was working on a case with one of her Cadaver Dogs, a dog that finds corpses. Nothing could have been more disturbing and grotesque to find that giant wasps had embedded themselves into the skulls of humans, in order to feed on other humans and reproduce. But after a dangerous search in the Colorado wildfires ended in the retrieval of a young girl, the services of Angie and her zombie tracking dog Murder are in high demand. With the outbreak of zombies in Harris county making Houston “Ground Zero”, Angie and her faithful dog are enlisted to help Harris County Wasp Control Unit in eradicating the threat. But a new group called the Missing Lone Stars who have come to Houston in order to help the zombie problem, succeed more in making a spectacle of it and Angie’s work. To make matters worse, a young park ranger frantically comes to Angie in need of dire assistance. He claims that a zombie is in the Big Bend National Park, though it seems impossible that one would have made it so far. But when a young hiker’s life is on the line in Big Bend, Angie makes the decision to change course. Now Angie must depend on Murder to find the trail to the zombies, and to a hopefully still alive hiker.

BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER, be sure to read my review for book of the Zombie Dog Series, Cadaver Dog.

It has been a LONG while since I have had the immense pleasure of following Angie and Murder into the depths of zombie hell! But might I say you guys, it is GOOD to be back. Now let’s first begin with why I love this author, Doug Goodman, so much. I first read Cadaver Dog, book one in this series, back in 2015. So naturally, when I picked up Dead Dog and was about to begin my glorious descent into horror oblivion, I suddenly panicked at the thought that I may need a refresher of what happened! But to my wondrous surprise that included a loud “HAH!” from me, Doug did what no author I had read before or after him had done before.

He put the most beautifully, depressing and haunting dedication I have ever seen.

And then, he put in a recap of book one. Without having to even be asked.

Doug, you amazing man!

So since I was able to jump right into this story, let’s do the same! Our main characters are of course Angie and Murder. Angie has most of her experience in training dogs to find dead bodies, a skill she uses to help find missing people or to solve cases for the police. She is a saucy young woman who has a love for dogs, and a tolerance for her fellow people. Murder is a dog Angie had found abandoned and half dead on the side of the road, having gained his name by being almost eaten alive by a murder of crows. After one of Angie’s cases leads to the discovery of zombies, her services swiftly change and she begins training Murder to track zombies.

But these zombies, are so NOT your regular zombies! Sure. They walk around like gurgling drunk college students, and yes, they like to eat other people. BUT. These zombies are controlled by giant wasps that have attached themselves to the back of their skulls. These things use their giant stingers, insert them in the back of the head to control the body, and just have them walking around finding other humans to gnaw on! To make it slightly more disgusting, inserting those stingers is ALSO how they reproduce

I’ll let that sink in.

Go ahead and vomit a little, I can wait.

Usually I would find myself a tad bored following characters into forests and foliage while they follow scents and tracks. But Dead Dog makes it impossible to get bored or lose interest. There is CONSTANT excitement, turmoil and danger around ever corner. I found myself in a constant state of anxiety while reading, because I was expecting a wasp stinger to come out of nowhere and attack someone’s face! Thankfully, I can report that a stinger to the face doesn’t happen…*gag*. But with a new adventure, comes new characters! A few saucy volunteers, some entertaining park rangers, and even a haughty woman hell-bent on ruining Angie’s career for no apparent reason! OH! Happy day. Our story really picks up when new main character, Tyler, arrives on Angie’s doorstep. Tyler is a young Park Ranger who thinks that zombies may have infiltrated the Big Bend National Park after stumbling upon a dog that was practically ripped apart. His character is quick and intuitive, and I find him to be a great match to work with Angie and Murder. He proves to be an extreme asset to their team when they go out searching for zombies in Big Bend, and he inspires some touching and special moments with our usually tough and closed-off Angie.

“The great big, blue, cloudless sky rained heat down on his isolated hell. He was ostracized by fate and nature’s cruel designs from the world. From technology. From his loved ones.”

But as always, the real gem of these stories by Doug  Goodman is the writing. This author has a true knack for writing a detailed story that the reader feels almost trapped in, but ensures the reader won’t feel confused or overwhelmed in by too much wording. There is one chapter in particular that comes to mind, and it is when our lost hiker is stumbling through Big Bend. He has been lost for days, is being followed by zombies, and quite frankly having one hell of a mind trip. It isn’t a long chapter, just about two pages of hallucinations and sadness. But after I read it I put my book down, blew out a deep breath, and just said “well s**t”.

“By nightfall, he had crossed a desert of sand and stone. He stopped to pull a needle out of his boot, but found that it had impaled his toe. He was bleeding now. He hoped that didn’t attract coyotes, but more importantly, he wanted to drink his blood. It glistened like water. He knew it was a messed up idea. But there it was. Drink your own blood.”

I obviously can’t give much more away about this fantastic follow up to Cadaver Dog, even though I could probably go on about it for another three pages. I am honored to be able to read and review these books for Doug, and to be able to share his amazing work with readers. I can only hope that there is plenty more of his writing in the future, and I cannot wait to get my hands on book three in this series. I HIGHLY recommend you guys try this series out. Even if the genre isn’t for you, the writing will hook you and make you obsessed. Trust me. I know these things.

5-stars

 

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