Binding of Bindings · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #39: January 2020 Book Wrap-up

The first month of 2020 came and went.

It was lovely. It was glorious.

It was downright spectacular.

But now it needs to make way for February.

So, January, I think it’s time you…

 

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~* January 2020 Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, Book 1) by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood

My first read of 2020 started off with The Hazel Wood, and honestly, what better way to dive into 2020?!

It’s a dark YA Fantasy that’s like a blend between Once Upon a Time and The Brothers Grimm. It’s a fairy tale inside a fairy tale, but it isn’t full of happy princesses and helpful creatures. It’s downright haunting, and you KNOW I was loving every second of it!

After Alice’s mother is taken, she is forced to seek out the one women her mother has forbade her from talking about or to – her grandmother, Althea Proserpine. Althea is a writer of strange and unusual fairy tales set in a place called The Hinterland, and had been holing herself up in her manor called The Hazel Wood for years. Alice begins seeking her out in order to find her mother, but the truth she uncovers is more than she could have imagined.

“My love he wooed me

My love he slew me

My love he buried my bones

His love he married

His love I buried

My love now wanders alone.”

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

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

The Night Country

So of course my second read of 2020 was my ARC of The Night Country, the sequel to The Hazel Wood.

The Night Country still has the creep factor from The Hazel Wood, but it’s cranked up a notch. Not only is the book split between Finch traveling through strange and mysterious worlds and Alice, but Alice is dealing with some SERIOUSLY dark shit. There’s a struggle between two halves of who she is-one dark and one light-and in this installment, she really comes into her own.

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

Though I wasn’t as in love with this installment as I was with the first, due to it being more of an Urban Fantasy, I still enjoyed the creepy nature and getting to know more about these amazing characters. But even so, I just about died from happiness when THIS went down:

“‘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.’”

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Echoes Between Us

As I said in my review,

If you feel like crying, you’ve come to the right place.

Echoes Between Us is about a girl who experiences piercing migraines from a brain tumor, and speaks to the ghost of her mother. Veronica is the “weird girl” in school and hangs with a collection of misfits, and they’re honestly the damn coolest. Sawyer is the popular, attractive, “perfect guy” at her school who ends up moving with his family into the unit below Veronica and her dad.

Obviously a love blossoms, but…*sigh*…this book gets real AF and touches on some sensitive topics. It’s a depiction of two teens who go through separate events in their lives that forces them to grow up quickly, but also gives them a really mature and beautiful outlook on life. The two bond over these aspects of their lives, and…it’s just wonderful.

“Soft fingers, a delicate touch and my entire body sparks to life. As if I had been in darkness-the world was black and white-and then the flip was switched into color.”

4-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

4. Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, Book 1) by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits

So after reading Echoes Between Us, I decided I needed more Katie McGarry in my life and bought Pushing the Limits

It seems that this author loves to create stories that center on two charterers who are VASTLY different, but both have serious issues that they are fighting to overcome. This story is about Echo, a girl with “freakyscars on her arms but little recollection of how she received them, and a boy named Noah, a foster kid with a reputation for being a bit of a player.

This was a heavy one.

Noah lost his parents in a fire and was separated from his younger brothers through foster care, while Echo knows that a very traumatic event happened to her that included her mother, but she can’t exactly remember the events. Needless to say, this one hurts the heart in more ways then one. But these two characters are SO amazing on their own and even together. I LOVED them!

4-stars

 

5. Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea, Book 2) by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Beyond the Shadowed Earth

My first DNF of 2020.

That didn’t take long, did it?

But with the new year I decided that I will not be wasting my time by forcing myself to read books I either hate or just can’t get into. There are WAY too many amazing books in the world and I am done with making myself suffer through pages that make my eyes droop.

Beyond the Shadowed Earth isn’t bad. I was just bored to tears.

It started off decently and grabbed my interest, but the lack of connection with the characters, the way the main lead, Eda, would stomp her foot and throw childlike tantrums, and the weird insta-love was just rubbing me the wrong way. I felt nothing for this book, it was just words on a page and I couldn’t do it.

 

6. The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Will and the Wilds

Thankfully The Will and the Wilds didn’t slow my roll!

This YA Fantasy Romance was WONDERFUL! It’s a historical fantasy, set in a time where you have to walk to market to sell your goods and get supplies, ride a horse, go to another city to access their library…you know what I mean.

THIS is about these creatures called mystings who have come to roam the wildwood, a forest near where our heroine, Enna, lives. Mystings are demon-like monsters, some enjoy eating humans while others prefer to toy with them.

Enna’s house gets attacked by two goblers (a type of mysting, obvi) so she goes out to the wildwood to summon a mysting and “hire” it to track the gobler who had gotten away, and kill it. Long story short, the mysting she summons is Narval-a being who survives off the consumption of souls. Somehow he gets Enna to kiss him, which relinquishes part of her soul over to him, and so ensues a whole chaotic mess of romance and soul snatching.

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

7. Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, Book 1.5) by Katie McGarry

Breaking the Rules

Another Katie McGarry book, but also the sequel to Pushing the Limits.

As you read above, I really loved Echo and Noah and how their tragic lives intertwined. So I immediately bought Breaking the Rules and continued to read about their issues, love and overall struggles.

But GODDAMN, this book was literally a story of two people fighting about any and everything they could POSSIBLY fight about. That was literally my Goodreads review of it:

Breaking the Rules:

A book about two young people fighting.

Seriously. That’s all I wrote.

But I didn’t hate it, I actually gave it 3 stars and finished it. It was just a lot of arguing and me yelling at my book for them to shut up and stop worrying about inconsequential shit, but to be fair…they had a lot of these arguments because of their pasts. So, in all fairness, I guess it makes sense. But geez, my sensitive soul just can’t take that much bickering.

3-stars

 

8. The Gray Chamber (True Colors series) by Grace Hitchcock

The Gray Chamber

The Gray Chamber!

A Historical Fiction/American Crime story set in 1887 about a woman who is thrown in an insane asylum so that her uncle can steal her fortune!

One thing I may love just as much as a cult, is an asylum.

Edyth is an eccentric young woman who isn’t your typical lady out in society. She fences alongside men, doesn’t wear corsets and big fancy gowns, and rides her velocipede rather than taking a carriage like a civilized woman.

So her dear uncle calls in some doctors from Blackwell Island, the local Insane Asylum, and has her committed.

Oh yeah, it’s a good one. I really enjoyed the first part of the story, but Edyth did start to bother me while she was in the asylum with all her “don’t you know who I am” talk and expecting someone to come do her hair…? What? The ending also dragged on longer than it needed to, being spread out through multiple chapters when it could have been tied up in one.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

9. What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Release Date: February 4, 2020

What Kind of Girl

I have not posted my review of this BEAUTY of a story yet, but I will have it posted this weekend!

What Kind of Girl is about a girl who comes to school with a black eye, goes to her principle, and tells her that her boyfriend has been hitting her.

What ensues is a school divided. Those thinking it odd that she didn’t go to the police, wondering why she waited so long to tell if it’s true, and not believing their popular and sweet classmate could do such a thing vs. those who wish to rally for his immediate expulsion.

This is my second story by Alyssa B. Sheinmal, and it was just as amazing as the first book I read by her – A Danger to Herself and Others. This author knows how to talk about real mental health issues, and display them in a way that is both beautiful and scary. It seems like she reaches inside a persons soul and mind, extracts their fears and quirks, and displays them like she’s experienced every aspect of them.

*sigh*…it hurts so good.

Read it.

(review to come)

 

10. Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson
Release Date: February 4, 2020

Together We Caught Fire

“I wanted to scream at him and slap his face, kiss him until the world burned down. Dare him to call me cold again, once everything we’d known was ash.”

(review to come)

 

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Stay Witchy ❤

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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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Book Reviews · Netgalley

Book Review: The Life of Death by Lucy Booth

The Life of Death.jpg

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

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: One soul. One pact with the Devil. One chance at love.

Elizabeth Murray has been condemned to burn at the stake. As she awaits her fate, a strange, handsome man visits her cell. He offers her a deal: her soul in return for immortality, but what he offers is not a normal life. To survive Elizabeth must become Death itself.

Elizabeth must ease the passing of all those who die, appearing at the point of death and using her compassion to guide them over the threshold. She accepts and, for 500 years, whirls from one death to the next, never stopping to think of the life she never lived. Until one day, everything changes. She – Death – falls in love.

Desperate to escape the terms of her deal, she summons the man who saved her. He agrees to release her on one condition: that she gives him five lives. These five lives she must take herself, each one more difficult and painful than the last.

Opinion:

I am the woman you most want to see in those final seconds you live on this earth. I have been wives, daughters, best friends. I have been a beloved nurse, a primary school teacher. Your first love. I am the ultimate mother.

I am Death.”

Death is not the hooded figure you’ve heard about in stories. Death does not lurk in the shadows with a sadistic twinkle in it’s hollow skull, awaiting bloodshed and cruelty. Death does not take a life out of selfishness or evil. Death is a woman, and she only comes when she is called. She comes to those who are reaching their life’s end, to be a guide into their afterlife, wherever that may be. And for the last 500 years, Lizzie has been Death. She has been a familiar and loving face to those who are nearing their end, and she takes pride in helping others. But when Lizzie comes across a man named Tom, she is stricken with a love she never thought she’d have. Desperate to end her time as Death and to be able to have a life with Tom, He agrees to release her from her contract on one condition: she must kill five people of His choosing.

In 1590, I sold my soul to the Devil.”

After being accused of witchcraft, Elizabeth Murray is sentenced to be burnt at the stake. But as she awaits her impending doom in the dungeons, she is visited by Him – the Devil. He comes to her with an offer. He promises her, in exchange for her soul and complete ownership over her, she can “live” as Death. Naturally, she makes the deal. And so, for 500 years, Lizzie lives as Death. Constantly moving around the world, guiding souls across the veil between the living and the dead. She only comes when needed, as a means of comfort to the soul that is dying to ensure they go in peace and happiness. She does not take the lives she guides into Death, she only arrives as a servant in the circle of life.

Lives are given to me – I never take them. Never.”

This depiction of Death always takes the form of a woman, but her face changes to match the wants of the person dying. Whether someone wants to see their mother, sister, daughter, or aunt, Death becomes them. She is given the memories of the woman she becomes, and speaks with the person as they begin to enter the afterlife. But what is really interesting, is that some people are able to actually see Death for who she is, and keep her at arms length. Of course when this happens, it is utterly depressing to witness because those people go into a totally hysteria and shock as they realize what is happening to them. But Death has a job to do, and she does it well. She is a woman of a billion faces.

This is no place for a woman, I’ve heard it said.

I’ve never seen a place a woman was more needed.”

This is honestly one of the coolest and most unique stories I have ever come across. The outlook on death that this author possessed was truly special. She gave death a gentle and feminine quality that makes you feel comfortable with its presence. It is delicate and sweet, rather than a cold and fearful entity that we all seem to shrink away from. This author gives the reader an intimate introduction to an idea of death that almost brings peace and quiet. It is sensitive, caring, heart-achingly beautiful and truly one of a kind.

It is so seldom that a book can reach into my soul with such ferocity and gentleness.

But this book did that.

It crushed me.

This entire story feels like a poem written just for me. Like the author knew I would need this, and I am confident that I am not the only person who will feel this. The Life of Death is a love song, a sonnet. A message in a bottle that has traveled through storms of anger and eerie calm, only to wash up at the feet of its desired recipient. The writing is so descriptive and perfect. I was lost in this story, feeling waves upon waves of emotions for Lizzie and these fleeting characters.

It’s breathtaking.

But as soon as I began to see that this story was one of beauty and acceptance of death, the author drove a knife into my heart and cut the ties on the dam that was holding my tears in. DEVASTATION. Unending, literal, soul-crushing, weep-worthy devastation. And all I can say is, why? WHY?! Why did you fill me up with so much love and assurance, and then just cut me at the knees and leave me in a pool of my own despair?? Couldn’t we just let this be a story of happiness and good fortune?

Of course we couldn’t, this is the story of Death, after all. And in all reality, this isn’t the bright and happy story that I am making it out to be. It is a dark and gritty tale once Lizzie begins killing the people that He decides upon. Because each of these people are innocents. They aren’t supposed to die, but they must in order for Lizzie to be released from her contract with the Devil. And the worst part? Lizzie has to use other people to do the killings. So not only is she taking the lives that the Devil tells her to take, but she is also forever altering the lives of those she takes control of to do the deed.

This isn’t a fluffy tale.

It’s a tale about Death.

But even so, I can’t help but hold it close to my heart as a book that I will forever think fondly of. It’s just beautiful, in all of its depressing and dark glory. I highly recommend it to any reader that is looking for something truly different from the normal stories currently out there. It will give you a whole new outlook on death, and honestly, its for the best.

Fade to black.”

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Binding of Bindings #34: 10 Chilling Reads from 2019

10 books that will make you want to shed your own skin, cut out your own heart, and cry until the pain and truth of a cold reality escapes you.
These books are going to hit you where it hurts and leave you so cold, you’re burning hot.

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~*10 Chilling Reads from 2019*~

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1. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

The Cold is in Her Bones.jpg

This is a Medusa retelling that is strange, eerie and weirdly sentimental. It has been months since I read it, but I am still blissfully disturbed by it.

The Cold Is in Her Bones tells the story of Milla as she spends her days doing chores and never leaving her home, despite her wishes to wander freely. But when the arrival of a family comes to live beside her home, she meets the first girl her own age that tells her of a curse. The curse comes to young women in the village, and is one of demonic possession.

This isn’t going to be the story you’re expecting, and I really recommend it to anyone that wants something different. Because it is VERY different. It touches on themes of kindness, not judging others, friendship and loyalty. It is a STRANGE story, but one that is so original and unique.

(See my review here)

 

2. A Danger to Herself and Other by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mental Health

A Danger to Herself and Others.jpg

THIS. STORY. IS. EVERYTHING.

You’re going to assume this book is going to go down a certain path, but you’re going to be dead wrong. The turn it takes is shocking and heart-shattering, but also so beautiful and soul-touching.

A Danger to Herself and Others is about a girl who finds herself placed in an institution after an accident that happened with her roommate during a summer program. Hannah is a very focused student and only wants to return to her life, so she does everything in her power to prove to the staff that she is completely sane and can go home.

*sigh*

Just thinking about this book makes me need to take a deep breath.

Your soul wants you to read this.

(See my review here)

 

3. Girls with Sharp Sticks (Book 1) by Suzanne Young
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Sci-Fi/Feminism

Girls with Sharp Sticks.jpg

I just received an ARC of book two (Girls with Razor Hearts) in the mail from Simon & Schuster, and guys…it is taking all of my self-control not to devour it right now. It doesn’t release until March 17, 2020, so I need to wait a little bit. But I am seriously struggling.

Innovations Academy is an all-girl boarding school where math and science courses are non-existent, and growing beautiful gardens and being obedient is at the top of everyone’s to-do list. The girls of Innovation Academy are sweet, docile and humble creatures. Or…are they?

I literally cannot say more, but just know…Girls with Sharp Sticks is the most beautiful and sorrowful feminist Sci-fi/Fantasy ever.

(See my review here)

 

4. The Best Lies by Sara Lyu
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

The Best Lies.jpg

If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling lost, confused, unsure of your current relationships, angry, sad and utterly devastated

you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Lies is about toxic relationships, mental health, obsessive behaviors, manipulation, family dynamics, love, friendship and lies. It is a mystery/thriller but really, it should be categorized in the “Allow me to rip your heart out through your eye sockets“ genre.

This is one of the BEST books I have read in 2019.

It tells the tale of Remy Tsai as she recounts how her best friend Elise killed her boyfriend Jack. It’s a twisted web of intense love and loneliness, and one that I have been begging everyone to read.

(See my review here)

 

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

Wilder Girls

“My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.

It’s like that with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don’t know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over.”

Wanting your heart to lurch and your skin to shift?

Read this.

Wilder Girls is the hauntingly beautiful and soul-dismantling feminist horror that you need. A virus breaks out at a private school located on an island, leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves as the Tox takes hold of them. With each breakout comes a new torture for each girl. From bruising from the inside out, second spines and hearts, and a silver scaled hand to skin lesions and bubbles that grow worse by the day.

These girls are walking nightmares, but they look at each other with a dizzying amount of love and respect.

(See my review here)

 

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

The SUrface Breaks 2

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

The Surface Breaks is a Little Mermaid feminist re-imagining, and it’s going to shatter your soul into pieces.

My poor heart, is still breaking in two and filling over the brim from the sadness and strength I got from this book! This rendition is dark, gritty, and gets real AF. This isn’t a fluffy twist on mermaids and young love. It hits you where it hurts, yanks those heartstrings, and makes you rethink how much of yourself you are willing to shred apart in the name of love.

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

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

(See my review here)

 

7. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Religion-Cults

The Liar's Daughter.jpg

The window is no more than two feet wide and maybe half a foot tall. I can’t squeeze through it. It’s meant to let in sunlight, not hope.”

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 Liar’s Daughter is the story of Piper’s time in a cult. It is sad and upsetting, but it focuses on a survivors experience. The confusion, anger, sadness and betrayal that comes from learning the truth.

All I ask before you read this, is don’t look at the book description. It gives away the entire plot, and it angers me to no end.

If you want to experience the true sorrow of this story, just open it and start reading.

(See my review here)

 

8. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Re-Imagining

Love, Heather

Love, Heather is a book I read in October and loved, but still haven’t written a review for. Ugh…I know.

It’s about two girls (Stevie and Dee) who enact revenge on the bullies of their high school by playing a few pranks, and 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. But as things start to spiral out of control, and Dee begins to take things too far, Stevie fights to get out before it takes her under.

This is a Heathers re-imagining and it is SO GOOD!

 

9. I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

I Know You Remember

I participated in a Spooky Reads Campaign that Random House hosted in October, and my book to read and review was I Know You Remember.

I tells the story of Ruthie Hayden moving back to Anchorage, Alaska and seeking out her former best friend Zahra. But when she returns, she finds that Zahra is missing and everyone suspects foul-play. Ruthie takes it upon herself to go searching for his best friend and to bring home the only person who ever truly understood her.

This book, is twisted and so damn good. My mouth dropped open, and stayed open, as I sat in my reading spot wondering wtf I just read and how I didn’t see that ending coming.

(See my review here and a few mood boards and my dream casting)

 

10. Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Mystery/Historical Fiction

Songs from the Deep

For fans of The Wicked Deep and sirens – you’re going to love Songs from the Deep.

The story centers on an island that is plagued by fear of the sirens that lurk in the waters. As children, islanders are taught to never go into the ocean, but Moira Alexander has always had a deep fascination for the frightening beauties of the deep. When a boy turns up dead on shore and the sirens are blamed, she takes it upon herself to find the true culprit.

This is a totally Gothic and eerie Tim Burton-esque tale that is dripping in mystery. It’s as creepy as it is beautiful, and a book I wish was series instead of a stand-alone.

(See my review here)

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Stay Witchy ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Reviews

Book Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

The Lies They Tell

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

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Everyone in Tenney’s Harbor, Maine, knows about the Garrison tragedy. How an unexplained fire ravaged their house, killing four of the five family members. But what people don’t know is who did it. All fingers point at Pearl Haskins’s father, the town drunk, who was the caretaker of the property, but she just can’t believe it. Leave it to a town of rich people to blame “the help.”

With her disgraced father now trying to find work in between booze benders, Pearl’s future doesn’t hold much more than waiting tables at the local country club, where the wealthy come to flaunt their money and spread their gossip. This year, Tristan, the last surviving Garrison, and his group of affluent and arrogant friends have made a point of sitting in Pearl’s section. Though she’s repulsed by most of them, Tristan’s quiet sadness and somber demeanor have her rethinking her judgments. Befriending the boys could mean getting closer to the truth, clearing her father’s name, and giving Tristan the closure he seems to be searching for. But it could also trap Pearl in a sinister web of secrets, lies, and betrayals that, once untangled, will leave no life unchanged . . . if it doesn’t take hers first.

Opinion:

A quadruple homicide, rich Summer boys, a drunk father and unattainable love.

Pearl Haskins is about to have the summer of her life.

The Lies They Tell documents Pearl’s time working the summer at the Tenney’s Harbor Country Club as a server to the rich and dismissive families of the elite. As a lower-class working townie, Pearl is wellaware of the divide between the Summer crowd and those who reside in TH year-round. The summer boys come from extreme wealth, and they have reputations for starting flings with townie girls and discarding them by the end of summer. Having resided there all her life, and her father working as a caretaker for the homes of these families, Pearl has always known to keep her distance and to not get involved.

So naturally when Bridges, one of the summer boys who is close friends with Tristan Garrison, asks Pearl out, I was instantly screaming DON’T DO IT! He’s playing a trick on you! He just wants sex! HAVEN’T YOU SEEN CARRIE?! But don’t worry guys, she doesn’t get murdered or assaulted on their first outing, or even the one after that.

* whew *

The story takes the reader through Pearl’s summer as she gets to know the boys she has always seen at a distance.

For Pearl, she justifies her time with them as a means to get closer to Tristan in order to learn the truth of the murders, and in turn, hopefully redeem her father’s reputation (which had been soiled by rumors that he was drunk on the job on night of the murders). But as she gets closer to Bridges and his friends, she begins to see a new side of them. They seem genuine and caring, and she even begins to enjoy the friendships that begin to blossom.

Of course, my favorite character in this story has to be Pearl. She embodies the anxieties and stresses that being an eighteen-year-old girl represents. She is sassy and has quick remarks to protect herself, but deep down she just wants to feel accepted and desired like everyone else. I was constantly smirking at her quick wit and ability to adapt to the situations she was thrown in. The girl is sharp and knows how to handle herself, and I love her for it! When it comes to the summer boys, this girl can hold her own, but when it comes to her best friend Reese

*sigh*

That boy deserves to be slapped for the way he treats her in this, and that’s all I am going to say.

But the real focus of this story is Tristan and the death that surrounds him. After losing his entire family, for some reason he comes back to TH to spend the summer with his friendsdoing way too much cardio and barely eating. Soon after the murders he was brought in by the police as a suspect, but the charges were dropped after he provided an alibi and proof that he was hours away at the time of the crime. Due to the trauma that he recently had to endure, it’s not surprising that he acts distant and prefers to be alone. But what is really intriguing about him is the thick fog of mystery that surrounds his character. The author does an excellent job of making you dissect everything he says and does, because you aren’t sure if you are supposed to love or hate him.

He seems constantly lost in his thoughts and gives off the impression of not paying attention to anything around him, but its actually the opposite. He is sharp and opinionated, but not in a malicious or cruel way. His intelligence shines through and it is so easy to see the positive qualities in him that draw others in. And to be honest, he is just begging to be drooled over! With his uninterested facial expressions, quiet and closed-off demeanor, and resident tortured bad-boy aura – it was impossible not to fall in love with him. Tristan is the sorrowful beauty of a male who goes from king of the ball to social pariah overnight, and that’s just the beginning of his intrigue.


The author pulls you into the lives of the characters in such a natural and realistic way. She perfectly showcases the awkward encounters between boys and girls, the pressures and expectations that are put on you by your peers, and the person you have to morph into the fit in. These characters decisions are dictated by a look of expectancy or by a tension in the air that whispers prove yourself, prove that you are worthy. It made me angered and sad for what it means to be a teen, but it also gives me a thrill for how well French was able to shed light on how it truly is.

I was hooked on this story from the first page until the last, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to devour it. It’s a steady-paced YA mystery that gives subtle hints throughout the story, but keeps the reader completely in the dark until the end. As a true crime fanatic, I gravitate towards stories that slowly blossom and give insight into the human psyche. I want to know how the characters act to trauma or heated situations. I want to witness their reactions, read their body language and dissect the words and phrases they choose. I want to decide who is at fault by the evidence presented, and Gillian French allowed me to do just that.

In my book, this was a win and I absolutely love that it ended with answers shrouded in even more mystery.

4-stars

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

Book Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire

 

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

Plot: In the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain, human blood is scarce. For centuries, councils have sought to assuage the blood shortage by enslaving and breeding humans, turning them into profitable supply units for the rich and the abled.

Today, eighteen-year-old Wavorly Sterling is officially a supply unit, bound to serve her blood willingly to her master for the rest of her life. One of only few humans that was not bred in Cain, Wavorly knows freedom better than anyone, and she is determined to escape the clutches of her oppressors, even if by the hands of death.

But surprises lay beyond every certainty, and within every doubt. Where Wavorly’s hatred for both vampires and her enslavement once flowed free as blood, it merely trickles as she grows to admire her reserved, yet receptive master and savior, Anton Zein.

Although warmed by comforts never felt before, danger still lurks in the castle, and a prophecy calls from beyond the walls of a lavender gate—concealing the horrific secrets lodged between handsome smirks and cinereous eyes. It will take everything within Wavorly to face her fears and her doubts; to harness the truth of her past despite what that means for her future. The only question is, will she?

Set in a richly detailed world of fantasy, A Violet Fire is a gripping journey filled with passion, betrayal, lies, and the encouragement we all need to take a stand for our freedom—no matter the cost.

Opinion:

 

Oh.

My.

Nocturnal Nights.

It’s official.

My heart is broken, my feminine energy is bristling, and vampires are back with a bloodthirsty vengeance.

The world has been dominated by vampires for centuries now. In Cain, Humans are bred to serve vampires in whatever form necessary – as blood supply units, servants, or breeders. They are instructed in special schools in how to best serve their immortal masters, through meekness and subservience. But for Wavorly, one of the few humans who were born and raised outside of vampire rule before her inevitable capture, she would rather die than be a slave to a vampire. After countless escape attempts, her day of judgment has finally come: to see if her blood will qualify her a spot in her master’s household as a live-in servant and supply unit. Somehow Wavorly is accepted into Zein’s home, despite her insubordination and unabashed hatred for his ownership over her. But as time goes on, Wavorly wonders if the vampire who brought her to Cain isn’t the monster she believes him to be. And maybe he sees her as more than just a blood supply.

A Violet Fire has given me a book hangover from Hell, and it’s unclear if I’m going to make it.

Send help.

Finally.

An addicting YA Vamp Fantasy untainted by glittering blood-lusters and a female protagonist who lacks self-worth and looks to a man for breath.

This, is true living corpse bliss.

This book is the vampire Handmaid’s Tale I didn’t know I needed, and it is packed and layered with beautiful writing, witty and sharp dialogue and a plot that will make you weak at the knees. I am HOOKED by this story-line, and for good reason! Like The Handmaid’s Tale, this world is suffering from a distinct decline in human life, which is the main source of survival for vampires. Though some parts of this world give more respect to human life, Cain, much like Gilead, is the hub of humans enslaved to work as servants, blood supply units and breeders.

When a human comes of age, they are brought before their master at the Distribution Ceremony where their blood is sampled. If their blood is accepted, they are brought to their masters home to be used as a supply unit when needed. The brainwashed humans who were born and bred in Cain are raised to believe their life mission is to look pretty, be submissive and to strive for the honor of having their blood sucked out of them.

Dreamy, isn’t it?

But the kicker here is this: quality of blood is improved by quality of life and happiness. So naturally that means our sassy, foul-mouthed, and all-around pissed off gem Wavorly has got to have some top-shelf vital fluids right?

My blood should be the foulest thing to ever touch his lips.”

Swoon!

Wavorly is the definition of a strong, fierce, “gives no shits” female lead! We first meet her as she is attempting another escape from Cain the day before the Distribution Ceremony, and immediately we learn that she is not a damsel in distress sitting around twirling her hair around her finger. She wants nothing more than to be free of her enslavement to Zein, who swore to protect her when he “saved” her from a rouge vampire when she was a child, and to search for other humans off the grid. Though she is forced into becoming a supply unit for Zein, she does so with a sharp tongue and zero remorse for her rash actions.

Girl. Is. Fierce.

While you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror all your life, I’ve been training myself on how to best ruin your reflection.”

But where this story gets even more interesting is when we get to see more of Zein.

He is one of five of the most powerful and ruthless vampires in Cain, and has a long and bloody history on the battlefield and just…in general. He is said to be cruel and sadistic with zero regard for human life, but as time goes on, our girl begins to see a less murdery version of this mysterious immortal.

Now don’t worry, I’m not going into any more detail beyond that, but my oh my guys, Zein is giving me all the Lestat meets Rowan (TOG) vibes and I am dying. DYING. He’s vague, he’s angry, and he’s got sharp looks that will make your blood run cold and sizzle all at once. But in true form of my questionable taste in men, I am swooning over this vampires’ hot and cold demeanor. It has been a solid 24 hours since I finished A Violet Fire and I am STILL questioning my stance on him! I love him. I hate him. I‘d die for him. I’d die to stab him in the face.

It’s all very confusing.

“…his eyes return to their mysterious gray and appear to be lost in a sea I can’t even begin to navigate.”

I could go on for days about this book and the immense torture that I am experiencing due to this cliffhanger, but I must stop for fear that I am going to spill all the secrets just so I’m not the only one writhing in pain. This is so much more than just a possible vampire romance. It’s dripping in feminist vibes, has an epic and mysterious plot where a prophecy speaks of a human savior, and makes you question your feelings right alongside Wavorly. I am so obsessed with this book, I have already started reading it again just to find details that I’ve missed!

Do yourself a favor, buy this.

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Netgalley · New Releases

Book Review: The Last to Die by Kelly Garrett

The Last to Die.jpg

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

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: It all started out as a game.

Just a way to have fun. We figured as long as we had rules, it wouldn’t be a problem.

RULE #1: Only break into one another’s houses.

RULE #2: Only take stuff that can be replaced.

It worked for a while. Whoever’s turn it was to break in got a rush, and the rest of us laughed over the trophies they brought back. But then someone went too far. Lives got ruined. Someone is dead.

And I might be next.

Opinion:

Burglaries, Teen Angst, Competition and Murder?!

Why, it’s positively sinful!

Harper and her friends have spent the last weeks of their summer doing what regular teens do. Drinking, beach days, trips to the mall, a smattering of experimental drugs and a casual burglary or two. With strict rules to only steal replaceable items from each of their houses, marking their personal bedrooms as off-limits, the teens take turns stealing items and pawning them off. The rush of adrenaline and excitement to be doing something illegal gives each of them a high like no other, that is until one of them is found dead. Though the police believe it to be a suicide, Harper knows better and searches frantically for the culprit. But as the deaths begin to stack up, she realizes she may be next.

If you’re looking for a quick-paced book that you’ll have no problem reading in one sitting, this one is for you.

This group of teens is far from your normal squad wanting to enact in a little rebellion and mischief. They are each a little crass, moody and fairly disrespectful to one another on a daily basis…which makes for some pretty interesting dynamics. There are six friends in total – Harper, Paisley, Sarah, Gin, Benji and Alex. Early on into their Summer, the gang decides they need some excitement and a new game to spice things up. They decide to take turns breaking into each other’s homes, using house keys and alarm codes, and taking items from their parents and selling them in pawnshops. They steal things like luxurious watches, alcohol, subscription bottles and other random decorations. Never personal, irreplaceable items.

Harper is an interesting character and voice of this story. She has a snide comment and blunt opinion about any and everything, and literally no filter. Most of the time I enjoyed her freedom to say whatever she wanted (f<3ck politeness) but at times I wish she would just get her head out of her ass. Harper is dating Gin who seems to be the most responsible and levelheaded one in the group. Paisley is innocent and sweet and is dating Benji who is laid-back and has the vibes of an all-around good guy. Sarah is the slightly promiscuous and overly catty teenage girl that makes you want to smack yourself in the face, and she is dating the equally cringey and creepy Alex.  The weirdest dynamic here is the one between Harper, Sarah and Alex. Alex makes constant suggestive comments to Harper, which gets a huge rise out of Sarah, which amuses Harper to no end. But the real strangeness is between Sarah and Harper.

These two are supposedly friends, but oh my gosh do they go at it!! And not just figuratively, Harper literally punches Sarah and they are constantly making comments about how much they hate each other.

Anyways, eventually things go a tad too far (as they always do) and one of the characters turns up dead. Harper has a very strong opinion that they hadn’t committed suicide, and that one of their friends was actually behind it. Needless to say, things get a little wild and you’re left having no idea who to trust. In natural fashion for me, I was blaming Harper herself. But that’s probably because I’ve been listening to WAY too many murder podcasts in my spare time.

Basically, this book goes by really fast and before you know it, you find out ‘who done it’. Though it WAS a TOTAL blindside, I am still left with a scrunched-up face and thinking the ending was a tad silly and ridiculous. There is that dramatic moment of when the killer explains why they did it, and guys…it was cringey. Call the Soap Opera Awards, because this takes the cake for the most eye-roll worthy forced anger and jealousy award!

But that painful exchange aside, this was a fairly decent book and one I didn’t hate giving my time to. It had an interesting premise, very quirky and edgy characters, and a special something that we’re all looking for this November – Murder. ❤

3-stars

 

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