Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews · The Parliament House Press

Book Review: Hook & Crown by Nicole Knapp

Hook and Crown Cover

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House Press, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: You’ve heard of Neverland and its inhabitants… Fairies, pirates, mermaids and a boy who didn’t want to grow up. But you can’t always believe the stories.

Elena Hart arrives in London, bound for a new boarding school operated by her estranged uncle. A fresh start is exactly what she needs. But when strange things begin happening, things she can’t explain, she begins to wonder if she has lost her mind.
Until the night a strange girl appears in her room, claiming to be a fairy from Neverland, come to take her to the fantasy world at the request of its ruler.

Skeptical, Elena refuses. But the following night, a young man with strange green eyes appears, and though she tries to resist his charms, something about him draws her in and Elena is whisked away from the world she knows, to a world she always thought was make believe.
But when she arrives in Neverland, it is nothing like the stories and Elena realizes that she must figure out for herself who the true heroes and villains are.

Opinion:

A retelling of Peter Pan where Neverland isn’t the free and magical place that we all remember.  

It’s a beautiful place with a dark and sinister atmosphere.

And one where pretty girls are pulled from their bedrooms to be Queen.

I have been waiting months for this release.

Unfortunately

The result was…not stellar.

I wanted to LOVE this book. I have been SO incredibly excited for it’s release, and even more happy that I was gifted a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review. So when I started Hook & Crown, I dove RIGHT in and started devouring it. But the problem was…well…

There was a lot of problems.

There is ZERO connection to characters, barely any world building in London or Neverland (though there is SLIGHTLY more in Neverland), there is an excessive amount of useless information thrown at the reader, the story takes way too long to get going, there is Insta-love like you wouldn’t believe, and a lot of contradictory moments by way of dialogue and plot. It felt like the author was rushing towards certain moments that she was really excited to write about, but when she got there, she rushed through those moments too until everything felt disingenuous.

Elena is seventeen and starts out complaining profusely about men and how she doesn’t trust them, even though her first glance at a guy results in immediate eyelash batting and awkwardly forced flirting. Kind of contradictory, right? The funny thing is, Elena does this the ENTIRE book! She INSTANTLY switches her opinions/feelings if someone contradicts them, characters who don’t even know her say that she’s fiery but the reader is never shown proof, and it takes her an embarrassingly short amount of time to fall for a guy and get naked before she goes back to a different guy.

Aiden (Peter Pan) and Will (Captain Hook) are two other main characters, but I really don’t have much to say about them since I made no connection to them at all. They are both possessive and obsessive with Elena, and it’s not an enjoyable love triangle in the slightest. It’s weird, uncomfortable, forced, and I really don’t get it. There is also an instance where Aiden comes into his quarters and finds Elena drunk, makes a comment about how drunk she is and how he wishes he were more drunk, and then they have sex.

Yea. That’s super dreamy.

There isn’t a buildup of danger or mystery anywhere during this book either. Everything is given away to the reader WAY too soon. It’s a repetitive cycle of “Hey, guess what happens. But before you do, I’m going to give you the answer”. The writing is very “list” oriented – “I ate, then I showered, then I put these series of clothes on, then I sat down in bed, then I dreamed of this, then I woke up, then I did all that again” – and doesn’t let the reader come to any conclusions on their own. The author has a habit of telling the reader everything about the characters, but in a way that isn’t believable and leaves you feeling turned-off and annoyed. Things are brushed over too quickly and left unexplained, names are thrown out at random (Elena doesn’t even learn Will’s name until AFTER she has sex with him -_-), and you barely meet any other characters.

I feel like this review turned way more negative than I intended, but it was really hard for me to find a lot of positives. I appreciate the effort and intention this author put into this work, but it just needed a LOT more edits. It seems like this could also be the first book in a series, but I do not plan on continuing. This was enough for me.

1-5-stars

 

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

Book Review: The Haunted by Danielle Vega

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Razorbill – Penguin Random House, via Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Horror

Plot: From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

Opinion:

Grab your salt and sage, kids.

There’s a haunting in our midst.

After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what happened in Philly. As she tries to fit into the small-town atmosphere, Hendricks learns the history of the house her parents purchased to fix-up and flip. Steel House is haunted, a little girl was murdered there a few years ago, and rumors say that it was the brother that did it. But when Hendricks starts to hear male voices in the house and things start moving on their own, she wonders if the rumors are true. That Steel house is haunted, and that it wants revenge.

You’ll know Danielle Vega from her hugely popular series called The Merciless.

If you don’t…well.

What are you even doing?

If you have read the series (or even if you haven’t, I guess), you know that she LOVES to freak her readers the f*** out with demented scenes brought to life by truly evil, yet charismatic, characters. So naturally when I saw THIS little gem, I knew I had to have it! I, like the next darkness seducer and lover of loners and creepers, have an affinity for spiking my anxiety levels to ghastly rates so I can never feel safe again.

But can I say The Haunted was on the same level of creepiness and horror The Merciless is on? Did it make my skin crawl? Make my stomach twist into knots? Did I feel as if I could never close my eyes again for fear that I’d be transported into Steel House and forever haunted by sadistic ghosts and a cat that goes “mew” “Mew” “MEW”?!?!!?

No.

But it was good.

If there’s one way to get me hooked into a book, it’s to introduce a protagonist with a trauma that is kept hidden until halfway into the book. What happened with her ex-boyfriend? Did he dump her? Did he “Carrie-fy” her with a bucket of blood at prom?! Did he ASSAULT her?! Well, I’m obviously not giving those precious little details up. But that is definitely what spiked my curiosity and got me hooked.

The book as a whole, however, is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong! It was enjoyable, an easy/quick read and definitely had the spooky vibes I was looking for. But there’s nothing that really sets it apart from EVERY OTHER haunted house tale. It felt a bit rushed, especially near the end, and I wish the author would have made the book longer so the suspense and horror could REALLY build up!

Though the ending was rushed, I am left feeling pleasantly annoyed with the author. Danielle Vega really likes to build me up and then set my heart on fire. At first, I thought “oh, just a little gasoline on my aching heart. No problem, it’ll be doused later.” But then I got to the end where, instead of putting out the fire on my heart, SHE ADDED MORE GASOLINE.

*Le Sigh*

The characters are well-developed, the plot and history surrounding the house was molded well, and the book doesn’t get boring at all. BUT! By the end, I am left feeling like some things weren’t cleared up as much as I would have liked. I wanted more insight into the aftermath. What happened with Hendricks’s friends outside? What happened with popular smiley guy? What did her parents say?! Due to these little things not being addressed, I can see why other readers are miffed about the ending. Instead of the book gradually wrapping up, it just smacked us across the face with an ending and said bye.

That said, the book is good. I’d recommend it. I’d probably even read it again. It’s definitely for the reader that doesn’t read a lot of horror – because it is only MILDLY SCARY. If you want to dip your toes into the “scary stories” world, definitely start with this. You can’t go wrong!

4-stars

 

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

Binding of Bindings #20: May Book Wrap-Up

Wait.
Where did the time go?!
It can’t be June ALREADY!
Can it?!
But…
…where did MAY go?!

 

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~* May Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer
Drowning

Drowning is about a girl named Ivy who has been cutting for years, but has kept it hidden from her friends and family. There is a demon in her head that tells her to cut and hurt herself, and more times than not, she isn’t able to fight him off. But when a young man named Tobias enters the picture, Ivy wonders if it’s finally time to let the truth be known.

As I had said in my review, the intent for this book was solid, but the execution was lacking and cringe-worthy.

The author was SO focused on stuffing this book with hot topics (self-harm, sexual abuse, school shootings, homophobia, codependency, suicide, schizophrenia) that she forgot to focus on the character development.

I’m all for talking about important topics, but the way the author shoved all of this into one book felt so exaggerated and unbelievable. There was no connection to the characters, they were vapid and boring, and I just wasn’t impressed with this book.

2-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. The Unrepentant by E.A. Aymar

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I was VERY excited to start The Unrepentant, which was gifted to me from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, it was a DNF for me.

But trust me when I say, it had NOTHING to do with the writing style, the characters or the plot! The subject matter in this story is REALLY heavy. You will need thick skin to read it, and even then, I’d be surprised if it was easy for you to get through this book.

It is the story of a girl named Charlotte who is on the run from the gang that kidnapped and forced her into a life of sex trafficking and physical abuse. She is rescued by a man named Mace that happens upon her and her kidnappers in the woods, and the story follows the two as they flee.

WARNING: This is an ADULT book and depicts graphic sexual content, rape and violence.

This book has phenomenal reviews on Goodreads, so if you think you are up for it, I would really recommend this book. It has a powerful message and the first half that I read was really amazing.

 

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Yes.

This is my third time reading TOG.

Yes.

It is STILL hurting my heart.

I am taking my time reading these books again, since I am reading them in between every other book I have on my list.

*Sigh*

The series begins with 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien being dragged from the hard labor prison of Endovier, to the Crown Prince of Adarlan. She is to be the Prince’s champion in a competition to win the title of Adarlan’s Assassin, in exchange for her freedom after a few years of service.

If you haven’t read the books yet, YOU MUST!

They are action-packed, romantic beyond belief, full of magic and will make you sob all night long.

Do it, you know you want to.

 

5. Stolen by Marlena Frank

Stolen

Stolen is a YA Fantasy with Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth themes throughout.

It follows main character and sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet as she is kidnapped and taken into another world filled with mystical creatures and magic. There is an evil “Queen” residing over a garden, a cowardly lion, a rat-boy creature driving a flying bike…sound familiar? In this new land, Shaleigh must prove to the court that she is the reincarnation of a powerful magician that once ruled the land.

A very cute and wonderful world, but one that I was feeling a tad bored in. The pacing was a smidge slow, and I didn’t have a huge connection to any of the characters. I might suggest this book for a younger audience. Very enjoyable, but a little too simple for me.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

THIS BOOK!!!!!!

Still wondering how and WHY I waited SO long to begin this series!

Mara Dyer wakes in the hospital after a fatal accident that claimed the lives of her best friend, her boyfriend and another friend. Unable to remember the events of the accident, or to cope with her loss, Mara convinces her family to move. Once in Miami, Florida Mara tries to transition into life at her new school. But two students tormenting her, unwanted attention from the mysterious Noah Shaw, and daily hallucinations of her dead friends slowly put Mara over the edge.

I LOVED reading this.

The characters are incredibly molded and so amusing! The banter is witty and sarcastic, and I spent most of my time reading this laughing out loud or with a stupid smile plastered on my face.

Once you can get past Noah‘s initial asshat-ness, the romance is wonderful and sweet and OH SO swoonworthy. I am currently reading book two in the series, and really enjoying it!

(See my review here)

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May was cool, but I definitely need to up my reading for June. I am currently 9 books behind in my Goodreads reading challenge (trying to get to 100), and if I want to get back on track…I need to light a fire under my cauldron and get to cookin’.

As always my dear and wonderful readers, stay witchy! ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Plot:

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It Can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Opinion:

To say this book sank it’s mushy, dreamy, lovely and jagged death claws into me, would be a vast understatement.

I INHALED this book.

Praise Satan I had books two and three sitting on standby!

Why…did I wait SO long to read this?

When Mara wakes up in the hospital, she learns three very important things. 1. She was in an accident. 2. Her friends didn’t survive. 3. She has no idea what happened. With the death of her best friend looming over her, Mara convinces her family to up and move to escape the memory of the person she will never see again. Just a few months after the accident, Mara starts at a knew school in Miami, Florida in the hopes that she can put the past behind her. But seeing hallucinations of your dead friends and hearing their voices can’t be normal, right? With the two cruel students named Anna and Aiden tormenting her, and the unwanted attention from the gorgeous boy with a bad reputation, Mara is barely holding on to her sanity. Strange things are happening around Mara Dyer. Is she going crazy? Or is there something dark lurking beneath the surface, waiting to get out?

With a plot description like the one on the back of this book, no wonder it took me so long to read this.

Talk about VAGUE.

But when I FINALLY started reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I was gripped.

Overcome.

Slapped in the face, strapped down and injected with synthetic UHDICTION.

This. Book. Kills.

Pun intended.

What really seals the deal for me on this book isn’t the mushy love story though. It isn’t the mysterious plot that you don’t start figuring out until 70ish% in (and even so, barely), and it isn’t the well-developed characters. It’s the WRITING. I have never laughed out loud SO much at a book, as I have with this. Whether it was witty comebacks, smart and sassy banter, or truly quirky and accurate depictions of personalities – I was giggling, yelling and screaming SO many French MontanaHA’s” that I’m surprised nobody called the cops to 5150 me.

My face is in a state of agony this morning due to the constant smirks and smiles that were lighting up my face.

I don’t smile, okay?

It hurts.

But when there’s a twelve-year-old boy texting stock tips and getting numbers to “network”, you can’t help but grin through the pain. Mara’s youngest brother Joseph is a DOLL! He is bursting at the seams with personality and gumption, and he doesn’t even have a big role in this book! But it seems that every character Mara comes into contact with, whose role is big or small, is rounded and developed REALLY well. This author just knows how to capture the essence of people, to describe their quirks and charms in such few words, and I am so thankful for that.

Let’s get into the good stuff though, shall we?

Mara and Noah.

Noah and Mara.

So dreamy right?

Ehh…WRONG. Noah starts this story out as a MAJOR asshat. He is aggressive, rude, dismissive, demanding, and tells our main female character to shut up regularly. Swoon? NO! NOT SWOON! He’s a prick. But of course, as we women do, we make exceptions for his crappy behavior and forget it all when he starts being sweet to us.

So anyways, he does get nicer

Though I couldn’t STAND his and Mara’s moments of possessive and objectifying statements of “I was his” and “You’re mine”, their romance actually was very sweet and caring. Noah turns out to be a fiercely loyal and caring character (maybe a little too fierce at times), and I was enjoying the slow-build of their relationship that felt honest and true. These two characters play off each other SO WELL. Their relentless banter and bickering is SO enjoyable to read. They never cease their attempts in riling the other up, or making filthy innuendos and snarky comments. I was loving it!

For me though, Mara is the character who really shines in this story. As she should! The reader is whisked into a whirlwind of emotions with Mara. Is she sane? Is she crazy? Maybe she’s just grieving. But every moment of embarrassment, anger, sadness, annoyance, or look of distrust she is given from her mother – you feel it. Any girl will be able to connect with this character in some way. We have all been in similar situations that can mirror Mara’s time in high school, especially when it comes to awkward encounters with students or love.  

But my ramblings aside, I was SO hooked and into this book! I read it in 6 hours, and thankfully had books two and three on standby so I could immediately begin devouring those. The plot definitely went in a direction I wasn’t expecting (thanks book description) but I can’t say that I am at all unhappy with it. The story is taking it’s time to unravel, and I have a feeling I haven’t even dipped my toes into the reality of what these characters will be going through.

You need to read this series.

But buy all the books at once, your addictive personality will thank you.

4-5-stars

 

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

Book Review: Stolen (Book 1) by Marlena Frank

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House Press,  for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy…

Opinion:

I feel as if I’ve just fallen off a Yellow Brick Road into a Rabbit Hole.

Downdowndown

…into the dark depths of h

HAH, kidding.

It’s more like the magical depths of WonderOzRinth.

This author is clever.

While reading Stolen I got INSTANT vibes of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. A rat-boy creature driving a flying bike through the sky, a garden with an evil “Queen”, a cowardly lion, and a main character with the last name Mallet. Hmmm…something makes me think this book is FULL of little Easter eggs!

Though I loved the world building, writing and direction this author took the story, I was having a hard time getting through it.

Though there was an even pace throughout Stolen, it was a slow pace that seemed to drag on and on without a lot happening. Due to this being the first book in the series, I imagine this might be the grand setup for what is to come. But even so, I was expecting a little more turmoil and pizzazz! I wanted more examples of strange mythical creatures or examples of the differences between this world and the human realm. The writing was flawless and the author succeeded in describing details of the world intricately, but I wanted to know MORE about the world Shaleigh fell into. I felt like I was given a great TASTE of the magic and uniqueness of this place, but wasn’t fully enveloped in it.

I wanted to drown in it, not just stick my toes in.

I would have liked to connect to the characters more, because they came off as one-dimensional with not a lot of substance. Shaleigh started out as a unique character with an affinity for taking photos in decrepit abandoned buildings. I thought this was such a RANDOM attribute for a character, but one I instantly loved and connected with. But as the story progressed, I felt as if she was just in the background of the book, even though she’s the main character. She doesn’t seem that surprised/scared/in awe of this new world she was dropped into. Why? I would be FREAKING out!

I was also a bit unclear of ages of everyone, except Shaleigh. I know this doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but when I have little basis of how old a character is, it takes away from the intent of their dialogue and I am left feeling confused. My human nature wants to predict a love interest or friend/foe from the beginning, and I need ages and more descriptions of body language to do that. Out of everyone, I think Mawr and Colin were the most developed and likable characters, but we unfortunately don’t get a whole lot of time with them.

All in all, this story is a great read…even if I had a few qualms with it. The writing is PERFECTION and it transported me to a new world that feels familiar to my heart. It may not have gotten my heart rate up or made me overly obsessed with the characters, but I would be very interested to see where this series goes. The author left the book in a place where she can go several ways with the plot, and I am very curious as to how she will spin everything together.

I’d recommend it to anyone with a love for Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz or Labyrinth.

With that said…

 

3-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Bindings of Bindings #19: My Top 10 Anticipated June Book Releases

So this was supposed to be posted on Friday, just like every other Binding of Bindings post.
But…it wasn’t.
So…
Happy MONDAY!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated June Book Releases *~

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1. Before the Broken Star (The Evermore Chronicles, Book 1) by Emily R. King
Release Date: June 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Steampunk

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Before the Broken Star is said to be a “dark re-imagining and gender swap of Pinocchio“.

Intrigued?

Of course you are.

The series is a YA Fantasy, Sci-fi, Steampunk, Historical Fiction about a girl who turns herself in for crimes she hasn’t committed in order to avenge the murder of her family. In all honesty, the synopsis for this book is vague, and the reviews aren’t giving me much to go on here.

BUT there are mentions of a lethal female main character, clock shops and gadgets, deceit and murder, and a possible romance.

From my experience, sometimes the best books have the crappiest books descriptions.

Need I say more?

 

2. Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Books 1-10) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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If you have read any of Cassandra Clare‘s books (The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices) then you’re probably already losing your pretty little mind over this release.

This series follows Brother Zachariah and a smattering of other characters like Anna Lightwood, Mathew Fairchild, Tessa Gray and Valentine Morgenstern as they come and go in The Shadow Market.

This is the first release of all 10 books in one edition, and I am honestly so excited to get my greedy hands on it!

 

3. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

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Emma Saylor‘s mother died when she was 10 years old, leaving behind stories of the Lake she grew up near. Now a young teen, she is sent to the same lake to spend the summer with her grandmother and cousins. But North Lake is divided between the working class and the wealthy, and even her own identity is divided between the daughter she is to her father and the girl she is to her mother’s side of her family.

The Rest of the Story is about Emma‘s journey to learn who she is, and the secrets her mother left behind. It is a coming-of-age tell about a girl who must decide who she wants to be, when two sides of expectation are pulling her in opposite directions.

 

4. The Beholder (Book 1) by Anna Bright
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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The Beholder seems to be a retelling of various stories and fairy tales wrapped into one, but the two most prominent adaptations would be Cinderella and The Odyssey.

It is the story of a young Princess who yearns to marry a young man she has been in love with for as long as she can remember, but is rejected. Wishing to find her “Happily Ever After“, she is sent away by her stepmother on a voyage to find a future husband.

Though I have been seeing a lot of conflicting reviews on this story not being a true retelling of The Odyssey, I am still really excited for an sort of adaptation that follows the classic. It sounds like a very creative story, and I am a sucker for any type of period piece.

 

5. The Haunted by Danielle Vega
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Horror

The Haunted.jpg

YES!!!!!

I received an ARC copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and I have been talking about this book for WEEKS and WEEKS!

Finally…it will be releasing!

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.

SO EXCITED!

 

6. Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Retelling

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Teeth in the Mist is a retelling of Faust – the tale of a man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to receive knowledge and pleasures.

It switches between the lives of three women, all from different parts of history. Zoey is sixteen living in modern times, and explores the haunted ruins of Medwyn Mill House with her friend. Roan is seventeen in 1851 and is, along with two others, the newest ward of Mill House. Hermione in 1583, is a young bride married to a man with plans of building a mansion and water mill.

Their lives are intertwined in this spooky horror retelling, and their only chance of survival is finding the man that brought them all together.

 

7. Bunny by Mona Awad
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Suspense

Bunny.jpg

THIS. LOOKS. AMAZING.

Reviews are boasting of the weird, confusing, strange, creepy and obsessively wonderful characters and plot of this book…and honestly, it DOES sound weird AF.

It is about a group of strange rich girls at a University who call each other “Bunny“, who have an immense love and affection for one another, and who are always entangled in a fierce embrace. When outsider Samantha is invited to the Bunnies‘ “Smut Salon“, she is pulled into the dark and twisted world of the Bunny cult.

I know that sounds bizarre, but the actual synopsis of the book sounds much more intriguing and addicting. This book is at the top of my list for June – I can BARELY contain my excitement!!

What…a freak show.

 

8. The Exact Opposite of Okay (Izzy O’Neill, Book 1) by Laura Steven
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Feminism

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Feminist hearts, UNITE!

It is the typical tale of a young woman being labeled a slut after being found in a compromising position with the son of a powerful man. The Exact Opposite of Okay follows Izzy as she is forced to deal with peer judgements, gossip and ridicule.

In a world where women are standing up for themselves and each other more than ever before, this book is proving to be an important piece to educating audiences on the cruel reality that many women face.

I can tell this is going to be a heart-wrenching story, but one we can all relate to and appreciate.

Put this on your TBR list!

 

9. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Retelling

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I’m telling you guys, 2019 is the year of retellings!!

The Girl in Red is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling set in a post-apocalyptic world of evil, darkness and grit. It is a Horror based novel that follows Cordeila, or Red, after a mysterious viral outbreak has decimated the world. She sets out on a journey to her grandmother’s cabin in the woods, and along the way is forced to do anything she can to survive.

I cannot wait to dive into another dark and depressing world that Christina Henry so eloquently creates! She has a knack for turning our beloved fairytales into one’s of pure horror! 

 

10. The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, Book 1) by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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ANOTHER RETELLING!

A retelling of Snow White, The Evil Queen is about a girl named Everly who was taken away from the magical land of Enchantia as a baby and raised in the mortal realm. But as Everly grows older she learns of an ability to communicate through mirrors, and starts to see a strange girl in them. It is prophesized that she is the Evil Queen and enemy of Snow White, and that the darkness will soon take her over completely. Forced to return to Enchantia, Everly does everything she can to fight the prophecy and to change her fate.

There is a lot of Maleficent vibes flowing around this book, and I can’t help but be really excited for it. I love a story that twists the villain into a character that isn’t actually so villainous, and when the author gives them a spotlight to show how amazing they really are.

Bring on the darkness!

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

Are you guys excited for any of these releases?
I’d love to hear about any other books you are anticipating the release for in June, there are so many great ones coming out this year!!
As always, Stay Witchy! ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer

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

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mental Health

Plot: I’m a cutter.
I cut because I find solace in it.
I cut because it helps calm my frantic mind.
I cut because the voices inside my head tell me to.
I cut because this is the only way I know how to handle life.

Opinion:

Look, I totally see where the author was trying to go with this.

To bring awareness to Mental Health issues, to give a voice to those who might not be able to speak about their struggles, to help the public understand what it means to have inner demons.

I can really appreciate all of that.

These are important topics that REALLY need to be talked about more.

But for me, the way this story was executed – how the characters were developed, their dialogue, reactions and problem solving – was cringe-worthy.

And not in a good way.

I’m obviously completely in the minority on this one, because this book has nothing but amazing reviews on Goodreads. If we’re talking about the message the author is trying to send to the reader, then hell yes, it’s a 5-star read. It covers several difficult topics that so many people can relate to. It gives a voice to those who are suffering from similar demons and traumatic experiences, and sheds light on situations that other people may not know a lot about. The book gets HEAVY with these topics, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

But if we set that aside and talk about the writing, character development, dialogue, etc.

It’s just not done well.

It was SO hard to make a connection with any of the characters. Their struggles and personalities were voiced, but I didn’t have the chance to really KNOW any of them. The moments of Ivy cutting herself were the closest I could get to having a meaningful connection with her. They were detailed and really expressed the emotional terror that envelopes a person when they self-harm. In those instances, I could really feel her pain and confusion. The dark scenes translated well through the pages! But in every other aspect, Ivy’s character fell flat and seemed really all over the place in terms of her development.

Her character flips back and forth between being all-knowing and dishing out advice, to knowing nothing and not being able to practice any of the things she tells others to do.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

The dialogue felt awkward and forced, it didn’t have a nice flow, and I was cringing the entire time from how uncomfortable it kept making me. Some of the conversations run on for too long, and it causes a lot of repeated sentences and ideas. Every response is “nope” and every emotion that Ivy may feel is summed up with an “ugh” instead of being creatively described. Then when a REALLY serious moment is happening the characters can only come up with the same phrase to say over, and over, and over – “oh, man” or “It’s okay dad, tell me, I need to know dad”.

Can’t they say something else?

Tobias’s character is really frustrating to me too. He instantly latches onto Ivy with his INSTA-LOVE, and becomes REALLY controlling and possessive with her. Why do none of the other characters see an issue with this? He’s super pushy and aggressive. I KNOW HE’S WORKING THROUGH ISSUES, OKAY? But does that make it okay for his character to go around throwing punches and freaking out? AND WHY IS EVERY OTHER CHARACTER OKAY WITH HIS ATTITUDE?! They all continually make excuses for out of control behavior.

Someone gets hit in the face – “here, have a soda”.

Ivy comes clean about her demons and opens up to her friends, and their response? “Yea let’s just drop it and talk about it some other time”.

WHAT?!

It seems to me that the author was so focused on shoving every “hot topic” into this book, that she forgot to put work into her characters and what they say. There isn’t any FEELING behind their thoughts and actions, it’s robotic, stiff and dull. It just feels like lazy writing.

I really wanted to like this, because I feel strongly about Mental Health Issues NEEDING to be talked about in society, and handled with compassion and care. As a society I think we shy away from these topics, or look down on people who think or behave differently.

I commend the author for giving Mental Health a voice.

But in terms of a great book, this isn’t it.

 

2-stars

 

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