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

Binding of Bindings #11: 10 Book Retellings of 2019

It’s a gloomy and rainy Friday morning peeking in through my windows, so why not start it off with a few creeps and critters?

Just a couple gritty tales, some sinister characters…maybe a murder or five.

A plain stepsister living in a world of outer beauty, maidens and beasts, a poet with a love and a muse, witches and magic, and a young girl with a penchant for falling down rabbit holes.

These may sound familiar, and that’s because they are! These are the tales from your childhood, twisted and molded, poked and prodded. Some may seem lighthearted, but most of them aren’t. 😉

10 Book Retellings of 2019

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1. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Book #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Now Available

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is the first book in the series of the same name, and was released in January. I have seen this book making the rounds on Goodreads and Bookstagram, so I think it’s safe to say that this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a winner.

The story follows Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, and Harper Lucy, a young girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. Prince Rhen has been cursed by an enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year repeatedly, only ceasing if a young girl can fall for him. Harper has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but never lets that deter her from what she does or wants. Eventually Harper finds herself in Rhen’s lands and so begins the tale of breaking the curse that we all know and love.

I have yet to read this amazing story, but I have heard nothing but fantastic things about it. Now as I am writing this, I have the undying urge to go watch the Disney movies!

 

2. Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) by Crystal Smith
Now Available

Bloodleaf

I just reviewed Bloodleaf last week, and though it wasn’t my favorite YA Fantasy story, I am also not joined by the masses in my opinion.

Bloodleaf is a retelling of The Goose Girl but with a few extra magical twists. In this story, like the goose girl, a princess is forced to travel to a neighboring kingdom in order to be wed to its prince. Along the way, the princess is tricked and her place is taken by the maid who now possess as the princess in order to marry the prince.

This rendition has more magic and extra characters, but for me, moved a bit too fast. It felt like things were rushed over too quickly, especially when this is planned to be a series. However, I did enjoy the creative route the author went with this classic tale.

(See my review here)

 

3. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Now Available

Echo North

Echo North is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but a more common comparison would be Beauty and the Beast. It was released in January and has a plethora of amazing reviews.

The story is about Echo Alkaev who comes across her fathers half-frozen body in the forest after he had disappeared six months prior. But guarding her father’s body is a talking wolf, one that she remembers from her childhood as attacking her. The wolf then gives Echo an offer she can’t refuse, if she lives with him for a year then he will ensure her fathers safety.

This tale seems like a darker retelling of the story we all know, but one I can’t help but find incredibly intriguing. One Echo moves to the house of the wolf, she learns that each room must be sewn together in order for the house to stay one. The description gives hints that there are countless secrets and mysteries laying behind each door, and it sounds like it is going to be a WILD tale.

 

4. The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Now Available

The Cold is in Her Bones

The Medusa retelling you didn’t know you needed, and the book for all you beautiful Slytherins out there!

Milla spends her days doing chores and never leaving her home, though she has no idea why. 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 one of demonic possession.

This story touches on many aspects like practicing kindness, not judging others for differences, and friendship and loyalty. It is a STRANGE story, but one that is so original and unique. I LOVED it and truly recommend it to anyone that is tired of reading the same tales over and over.

(See my review here)

 

5. Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Amber R. Duell
Now Available

Dream Keeper

Dream Keeper was another less than inspiring read for me this year, but also another unique twist on a classic fairytale.

This story is all about the Sandman and the weaver of nightmares. It follows a girl named Nora who has been meeting the Sandman in her dreams for the last five years. One day she meets a strange new boy at her work and then suddenly, her boss is found dead. As a series of strange deaths start happening around Nora, she realizes that living nightmares are what is causing these deaths…and that she may be the reason.

I had a lot of issues with this story, which was disappointing because I loved the concept. Things weren’t fully explained and the reader gets dropped right into the middle of the story, so it can be tough to read at points. BUT, I do recommend trying it for yourself JUST for the fact that it is a retelling on the Sandman, which I haven’t seen done before.

(See my review here)

 

6. Enchantée (Book #1) by Gita Trelease
Now Available

Enchantee

Enchantée is an absolute DREAM of a story about magic, Versailles, sneaky courtiers and romance.

It is set in Paris in 1789, where Camille Durbonne is forced to use la magie at Versailles to turn cards in order to provide for her and her sister. Camille has the ability to turn bits of metal into money, but it is only a temporary transformation. In dire need of funds to pay for their rent, Camille beings turning cards with her magic at the tables held in the palace of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

This story is to DIE for! I am still sitting in a corner pouting because I can’t enjoy these beautiful gowns, extravagant gardens and the exuberance of Versailles!

(See my review here)

 

7. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Stepsister

Stepsister is the story of the ugly stepsister of Cinderella who cuts off her toes in order to fit into the glass slipper.

Isabelle has tried her entire life to measure up the beauty and sweetness of Cinderella, chopping away pieces of herself in order to become something of desire for others. Surrounded by those who value beauty above all, she feels pushed down and set aside.

I am SO excited to read this retelling of Cinderella because it is all about empowerment, perseverance and self-love. This sounds like it is going to be an uplifting story about confidence and strength, so I can’t wait!

 

8. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Release Date: August 6, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows

The anticipation is KILLING me!!!

House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. If unfamiliar, it is a story of twelve sisters (princesses) who are locked into their rooms at night by the king. But each morning, the dancing shoes of each princess are seen to have been worn. The secret is the girls sneak out each night through a trap door in dancing gowns and shoes, staying up all night twirling around in another castle.

But in THIS retelling, everything is a bit darker and more sinister.

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. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
Release Date: April 16, 2019

The Raven's Tale

The Raven’s Tale is a retelling/adaptation of the early life of famed poet Edgar Allen Poe. It is the story of his need to escape his home life, the love of his life, and the Muse that falls into his life. It sounds like it is going to be a beautifully haunting tale, which is perfect for any Edgar Allen Poe lover!

 

10. Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay
Release Date: August 1, 2019

Ever Alice

An Alice in Wonderland retelling, JUST what you asked for!

This Alice story takes a darker route and places our beloved main character in an insane asylum for her silly talks of Wonderland. In order to leave the asylum, Alice must undergo an experimental procedure, one that she knows very little about. But at the last moment Alice escapes and follows the white rabbit back to Wonderland where she is now stuck with the Queen of Hearts.

Supposedly there is love, scandal, attempted (maybe actual) murder and a whole host of strange happenings in this rendition…and I CAN’T WAIT!

 

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As always my dear readers, stay witchy!!

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

Binding of Bindings #5: Ball Gowns & Royals

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Once Upon A Time and A Kingdom Far Away,

is how every tale begins and how it will stay.

Stories of honor, battle and conquest,

courtiers who scheme and who fight to be best.

Some fight for kingdoms and some fight for love,

Some lose with class and some with a shove.

There is magic, wands, fairies and spells,

so they better be good or they’ll be put into cells.

Heroes, Heroines and Villians fill these pages,

Some perform on thrones, and some on stages.

This is about those who are fierce and most loyal,

this showcases simply:

 

Ball Gowns & Royals

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Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S. of Copper and Brass, Book 1) by Claire Warner

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Amber Sky is a fantastic way to start off this Ball Gowns & Royals post! A title that is less-known by the book community to my utter astonishment, and one that is a whirlwind of a read! In this story the nobility control everything from food to resources, which leaves many poor and dying in the mines. Our main character Tay is forced to beg for help from a noble named Darius after her father is arrested, and in return she makes a dangerous deal. Tay is thrust into the palace of courtiers and lies, whilst all the while fighting for the rebellion.

Think badass female spy in a ball gown.

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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If you have joined the obsession that is Enchantée, or you haven’t, allow me to overindulge you.

This is a BEAUTIFUL Fantasy/Historical Romance set in Paris right before the French Revolution. If you have a Marie Antoinette obsession, a Versailles obsession, or you are looking to get obsessed: read this now!

It is about a girl named Camille who begins to use la magie (magic) to turn cards at Versailles in order to bring in money for her and her sister. It goes through the repercussions of her decisions, the beauty and vile nature of the courtiers in Versailles, and even has some romance and the occasional hot air balloon.

 

Glitter and Shatter by Aprilynne Pike

 

 

Just like Enchantée, these two books are set in Versailles and have the same decadent yet vile vibe. Danica is forced to go to court by her mother, a place she loathes, and is eventually forced into the despicable young Kings hands by her mother, who is nothing but a social climber. Danica wants a way out, and that way is buy selling Glitter, an addicting drug in the form of makeup, to every courtier in the palace.

This series gets quite dark and gritty, and there is PLENTY of deviousness to go around. Danica is definitely the courtier dressed in black and up to no good.

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Kiss of the Royal (Book 1) by Lindsey Duga

Kiss of the Royal

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It’s like any other Disney fairy-tale, Princesses and Princes kissing.

Except this one has a comical and BRILLIANT spin!

In Kiss of the Royal the Princesses are who save the Princes. They follow the princes into battle, and wait on the sides until their prince is injured so they can rush to him and give him a healing kiss.

But Ivy isn’t okay with being a dainty Princess on the sidelines, as she shouldn’t be!

This girl gets RIGHT into the action to fight off evil, and eventually ends up on a long quest with a mysterious Prince from another land.

This book is ACTION-PACKED and VERY funny.

 

The Lone City Series by Amy Ewing

The Lone City Series

Look, if you guys are tired of me talking about this series….I get it…

But I also don’t give a s**t.

THIS SERIES GIVES ME BREATH!

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Or takes it away. It’s a tough call.

It’s a Handmaid’s Tale vibe for the YA book world. Less devastating, but equally f****d.

Extravagant mansions, nobility dripping in diamonds and throwing away money like it’s an apple core, and the ever-casual slavery and forced surrogacy.

OoOoOoOo…sounds fun, right?!

 

The Carnelian Legacy series by Cheryl Koevet

 

 

I have only read book one in this series, so I guess that proves just how behind in books I am!

This series is about a girl who is thrust into an alternate dimension where there are nobles, horses, battles and a few magical creatures. It’s a YA romance with our main character Marisa being the epicenter of turmoil and a possible full-out war in Carnelian.

I thoroughly enjoyed book 1, so I plan on reading the final two books….eventually.

 

The Frost Chronicles by E. Latimer

 

 

I requested Frost from Netgalley before its release date, and then tried to get Flame, but was cruelly DE-NIED.

HARD.

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Anyways, I mentioned Frost in my Winter Reads post not too long ago, so naturally I’m bringing it up again. It’s a YA Fantasy set in a world where Fire and Frost Giants are at war with each other. Our main character is forced to choose a side to fight with, but naturally gets to be decked out in a few fabulous dresses first.

 

The Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire Series

Another series from my Winter Reads post, and absolutely one worth mentioning again!

The Kanin Chronicles promises readers another fierce and badass female lead who wants nothing more to compete next to the “big boys” as a member of the King’s elite guard. When a former lover of our heroine begins kidnapping changelings, she is forced to travel to surrounding kingdoms in order to keep a war from breaking out.

This is an annual reread for me, so that HAS to tell you how good it is. Not only that, but it’s set in a snowy kingdom! What’s not to love?!

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Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Roseblood

Roseblood was a HUGELY anticipated release in 2017, and after reading, I knew exactly why.

It is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera that is set in the aftermath of this well-known romance. Rune is sent to a prestigious French arts conservatory in an opera house for her singing. She soon meets a boy named Thorn who is both secretive and entrancing. So begins a whirlwind romance doused in sweetness and sadness.

This book will satisfy that musical craving you didn’t know you wanted, while also serving you a little taste of finery and class.

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The Blood Rose Rebellion series by Rosalyn Eves

 

 

With only having read book 1 in this series, I can still tell you with full confidence that these books are a MUST for your TBR list.

Our story starts out with our leading lady, Anna, making a s**tstorm of her sister’s debutante ball by accidentally breaking her sister’s “coming-out-in-society” spell. In this world, magic is what makes you rise in the ranks in society, and to her family’s dismay, Anna is barren. Or…so they thought.

Blood Rose Rebellion tracks Anna as she is exiled to Hungary and learns the truth of the magic wielders, the Luminate. It is a story of oppression and rebellion, so put on those glass slippers and jump in!

 

The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

 

 

I know I keep talking about this series, but it’s the perfect Ball Gown and Royalty story!

Kestrel is forced to choose between joining her fathers military or get married. She comes across a young slave boy up for auction, makes the rash decision to buy him, and so ensues a tale of romance and rebellion. This story was FANTASTIC and has an old-timey feel to it.

I mean, there’s nothing better than a female who rocks a dress and then fights in battle.

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The Selection series by Kiera Cass

 

 

Probably the MOST royal set of books on this list!

These books are a dress addiction waiting to happen, so tread carefully you fashion slaves!

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The Selection is your typical story of a prince finding his princess through a televised competition. It’s a literal fight for the crown, and naturally a few skirts will be torn and punches will fly ❤

 

The Ash Princess Trilogy by Laura Sebastian

 

 

If you want to talk about a fierce Princess, let’s talk about Theodosia.

The poor girl has had her kingdom ripped out from under her, her mother’s throat slit in front of her, and is now the mascot in her own castle to the Kaiser who conquered her lands. She is paraded around at balls with people who despise her race, and forced to wear a crown of ash to show that she is a princess of nothing.

Brutal.

And yet, I CANNOT wait to read Lady Smoke!

 

The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

 

 

*Sigh*…let’s start this exactly how I start every conversation that involves these books. Shall we?

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THIS SERIES IS DEVASTATION!

DO NOT read this if you’d rather not have a cursing episode of anguish after finishing The Wicked King.

Because you WILL fall into a coma of DESPAIR and REGRET and I won’t be able to pull you out because I’M ALREADY IN IT!

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A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

A Face Like Glass

A TRUE MASTERPIECE AND FLAWLESS STORY!

I LOVE A Face Like Glass. And when I say LOVE, I mean I’m die-hard psychotic for it.

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This world, is WILD. Expressions do not exist in the city of Caverna, so the rich pay “Facesmiths” to be taught how to show a facial movement like sadness or excitement. For Neverfell, she has a face so terrifying that she has worn a mask since she was a young child. But when she is shown that her face can make expressions on its own, she is thrust into turmoil.

The book is insane and CRAZY addicting. The “high society” is ravenous, extreme and makes the people in the Capital of The Hunger Games look like men in boring suits!

Don’t think. Just buy!

 

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards

A book I have not had the pleasure of reading yet, but one I have on my list!

The premise is exactly what it sounds like, a tale of royal bastards. Tilla is the daughter of a Lord who cast her aside after he was gifted with “trueborn” children. Only wishing to be accepted as a royal and to wear beautiful dresses, Tilla and the other bastards are shunned by their peers.

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It promises rebellion, action and romance…so it’s an obvious MUST for me!

 

Coiled by H.L. Burke

Coiled

Another retelling…and another book I haven’t read.

This one is a twist on Eros and Pysche (if you know of it) and is about a Princess who is made bait for a serpent by command of her parents. She soon meets a Prince who has a curse of turning those who look at him into a serpent, and fights to free him.

It looks positively PRECIOUS!

The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

The Forest Queen

ANOTHER RETELLING!

And this one is based off your favorite man in tights…

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…except this Robin Hood is a female. WOO!

Sylvie runs away to the forest with her friend in order to help the poor survive the abuse her brother inflicts on them. It sounds like a classic tale of rebellion and fighting for justice!

 

Now, for the upcoming releases:

 

The Blood Heir Trilogy by Amélie Wen Zhao

Blood Heir

This series looks like it is going to be AMAZING!!

It is a story about a world where affinities are detested and a Princess who fights to keep her liking for blood a secret. But when her father is murdered and her yearning for blood is shown, she is framed and said to be the culprit.

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows

IT’S A RETELLING EXTRAVAGANZA!

A twist on the fairy-tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, of a family that is cursed by the Gods.

After four of her eleven sisters mysteriously die, Annaleigh suspects that the deaths were something more sinister than just an accident. She finds that her sisters have been sneaking off to nightly balls where they dance and dance for hours, and soon meets the mysterious stranger they are dancing with.

 

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

Never-contented things

That cover though, am I right?!

It’s a tale of the scary kind of fairies who entrap and seduce you, so get ready! If you’re needing a cure for you Cruel Prince and Wicked King hangover, maybe this will help. I know I’m willing to try anything at this point, and this cover and premise just hooked me!

 

The Bloodleaf series by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf

Bloodleaf is about a princess and a marriage arranged at birth to a Prince in another kingdom. Aurelia fights between doing what is expected of her and what she wants, which is the typical princess tale…is it not?

Well this one sounds a WHOLE lot more in depth and exciting, so I am ready to get it started!

 

That is THAT for the Ball Gowns and Royals!

Was it as magical for you as it was for me?

I love hearing what you guys think, so let me know if you have read any of these or if you found some new ones for your growing TBR lists!

Until next time my magical witchlings!!!

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Binding of Bindings · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #3: My Ten Anticipated February Book Releases

binding of bindingsthis

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Can you feel it guys?!

That first month of 2019 is just about to blow away into the wind. A distant memory. An inconsequential blip in the amazingness (shhhhh, it’s a word) that next month will be.

January was just a warm-up. It was a couple high knees, jumping jacks and about ten half-assed burpees. You were exhausted, you looked a little crazy. But it’s okay.

Because you’re conditioned now.

And Walking into February like…

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What BETTER way to get hyped for the big F-E-B than to check out its anticipated reads?!

Here it is boys and girls:

My Ten Anticipated February Book Releases

 

1. The Queen of Cursed Things (Book 1) by S.M. Gaither

Release Date: February 1, 2019

queen of cursed things

I’ll just never get enough of these rebellion stories.

And you better not either…because there’s a whole couldronload of them below ❤

This is a story about humans and Gods, and about a girl who brings back a clan that was thought to be eradicated decades before. Alana learns that she is the descendant of the serpent clan, and accidentally awakens them. It sounds like it is going to be a battle-royal and a great story where a female kicks some ass. You go girl!

 

2. The Cerulean (Book 1) by Amy Ewing

Release Date: February 5, 2019

the cerulean

A YA/Fantasy by Amy Ewing, writer of The Lone City series?

Psh. Say no more.

I have a REALLY strong inkling that this book/duology is going to be truly amazing and special. It already sounds like the perfect amount of fantasy and imagination that all of us crave! It’s about a girl who lives in a city above the sky which connects to the (or a…?) human world below. She feels like an outcast around her people, the Cerulean, and wishes they would just cut the tether that connects the two worlds.

So she is chosen as a sacrifice to break the tether of the worlds. Basically, she just has to throw herself off the ledge and die.

The….f**k?!

Honestly. Amy Ewing is a Goddess.

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3. Lady Smoke (Ash Princess, Book 2) by Laura Sebastian

Release Date: February 5, 2019

lady smoke

MY TOP ANTICIPATED READ FOR FEBRUARY!!!!!

Did you guys DIE for Ash Princess like I did?!?

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I have been waiting and waiting for book 2, but it seems my approval from Netgalley has…*cough cough*…gotten lost in the mail…

I don’t want to reveal too much if you haven’t read book 1 – Ash Princess (DO IT NOW), but it hards not to. Theodosia is a princess who has been trapped under the Kaiser’s thumb for years, and now she has finally made her move against the people her ruined her kingdom and life. It is a tale of deception and sadness, and royalty and rebellions. Obviously, my favorite.

 

4. Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Release Date: February 5, 2019

enchantee

I THANKFULLY received this beauty from Netgalley (thank the witches) and CANNOT wait to get it started. I have been hardcore into these YA/Fantasy/Historical fiction books. I don’t know what it is about these books.

The GLITZ, the GLAM.

The Murder.

It’s positively swoonworthy.

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5. Courting Darkness (Book 1) by Robin LaFevers

Release Date: February 5, 2019

courting darkness

Another Historical Fiction for February!!!!

 

to be honest, the description of this book has me a little lost. Sybella is the darkest of Death’s daughters (ugh to-die-for), accompanies a duchess to France to help with a battle of sorts, and to save her sisters in the process.

Look. Sometimes that’s all you need to get a girl hooked, okay?! Let’s do it.

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6. A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Release Date: February 5, 2019

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Another book I so graciously received from Netgalley, and one I cannot WAIT to sink my teeth into!

Call me a psycho, but I just love a tale about a character being put into a mental institution.

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Although the description of this story gives the reader a slight inkling that it may have a more serious mental health tone rather than a murder-y vibe, it still tells the reader that they are going to be guessing and guessing during the entire read.

Curiouser and Curiouser.

 

7. Crown of Feathers (Book 1) by Nicki Pau Preto

Release Date: February 12, 2019

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Fierce Warrior Queens? Pheonix Riders?

A young woman who infiltrates a man-driven legion of warriors?

Enough said.

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8. James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes by James Acaster

Release Date: February 19, 2019

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If you don’t know who James Acaster is, you need to get involved.

The British Panel Shows have a special place in my witchy heart, and so do all of the interesting characters who fill them. James is at the top of my favorites list for his comedy. He’s a man-boy prone to brooding with snarky comments and a whole host of embarrassing stories. His book details countless moments from his life when his NERD has shown proud, and he has made a giant ass of himself.

If that doesn’t grab you, just look at those yellow/brown color choices for attire.

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9. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Release Date: February 26, 2019

we set the dark on fire

The cover, the title…it’s just working.

You all know i love a rebellion book, and this one is just REEKING of rebellion. There are high and low factions, and a school where women are groomed to go into one of two roles: to run a husband’s household or raise his children. Daniela is the top of her class, but has a secret.

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Anything that leaves me in SUCH suspense with their description is a MUST read.

 

10. What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

Release Date: February 26, 2019

what we buried

This cover gives me tingly M.C. Escher vibes.

I saved the BEST cover for last…but also because it comes out the latest in February…so..

It’s about two siblings that couldn’t be more different, and who don’t have a keen fondness for one other. One if the siblings, Liv, decides to sue her parents for emancipation but on the day of the hearing the parents disappear. It’s in the mystery “aisle”, but I’m wondering what type it will be. Will there just be a wild hunt where the siblings bond? A murder?!?! A twist of all twists? Oh, the anticipation!

I hope you guys found some new reads for your overflowing TBR lists, and some you plan on reading in February!

As always, stay witchy my amazing readers!!

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Books · Netgalley · New Releases · TBR

The 2019 TBR Book List

2019 TBR Heading

Happy New Year boys and girls! My 2019 book goals have been dutifully organized and perfected into tiny little stars, put into a glass tea kettle and now wait earnestly to be chosen. My glorious list of books for 2019 goes well over my Goodreads goal to read 100 books, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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This 2019 list includes books from authors, publishing houses and Netgalley, both new and old. Seeing as how this list does NOT include the books I will be receiving this year from author and publishers, I think we can all agree that I have my work cut out for me.

This just might be a book fiend’s dream!

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Deep breath kids, this list is a big one! 😉

 

Let me know if we share books for our 2019 TBR, or if you have read any of these! I love hearing what you guys think!

On that note, I better get reading. I have a long ways to go! XoXo

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

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The Dark Beneath the Ice will be available for purchase on August 7, 2018

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

Amazon.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Barnesandnoble.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Goodreads.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Bookdepository.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

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

Genre: YA/Teen/Paranormal

Plot: Something is wrong with Marianne.

It’s not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.

But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has—everything it’s convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.

Opinion:

Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her”

So this was…interesting.

Marianne’s life has never been more out of control. With her parents announcing their divorce despite seeming to be so in love, her mother’s recent hospitalization, and the drama surrounding Marianne’s decision to quit dance; it feels like Marianne is drowning.  As she is sent to live with her aunt, strange things begin to happen in Marianne’s quiet world. Losing time, objects being moved without her moving them, strange knocking and banging on the walls, and the never-ending feeling of being watched. After a loss of time happens in one of Marianne’s classes, she attempts to reach out to the goth girl named Ron in hopes that her psychic mother may help her. But when communicating with whatever haunts Marianne only strengthens it, everyone close to Marianne is in danger. Something is coming for Marianne, and its angry at her for being shoved down and drowned. But in the end, Marianne may be the one being dragged beneath the ice.

Intriguing concept and idea, but a bit of a miss for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some positives! The story started out great in regards to the writing style. It was so descriptive and beautiful, I felt as if I was reading a more relaxed form of poetry. The writing feels like a well-choreographed dance, and I found myself having to read between the lines to figure out what these characters were hiding. It was constructed well, had an even tone throughout, and was a very quick and easy read. The theme that the author kept with through this story (as you can tell from the title) is a theme of being drowned or shoved down beneath ice. Marianne uses her memories of the river near her aunt’s house as a meditative tool when she begins to feel overwhelmed or scared. She pictures the calming feeling of her being submerged in the water, and the silence and security that comes with hiding under the surface.  The water is her safe place, and the ice on top of the water becomes her shield against anything negative. This theme is carried throughout the entire book, but becomes less of a symbolism and more of a….sighit honestly just becomes ridiculous.

As I started this read, I was really into it and devouring the words in order to find out WHAT exactly was going on. Is this a ghost story, is it a story of delusions and misconceptions, or is it a fantastical read about demons?! Halfway through the story I had decided that this was a ghost haunting/exorcism story that was about to be twisted and wild, and it was proving to be just that. Marianne would wake up at the piano in her aunt’s house banging on the keys in the middle of the night, or she would find herself up in front of her class at school being scolded by her teacher but having no recollection of what had happened. Things got worse after Ron, the goth/emo girl from school, tries to give Marianne a tame version of an exorcism. But even after enlisting the help of Ron’s mother, the physic, things turn dangerous. Knives floating in the air and being aimed at herself, bruises on her body, and a distinct pulling feeling that tries to drag her into the river and drown her.

However, how this turns out just DOES NOT ADD UP.

*Watch out, there’s a puddle of SPOILERS down there*

Nearing the end of this story I had a thought that MAYBE this was all just a symbolism for Marianne figuratively drowning herself in her hardships and woes and BLAH BLAH BLAH. MAYBE there isn’t actually a ghost or anything haunting her, MAYBE it’s just her.

Well, guess what?

It was literally both of those things.

It was her own “shadow self” trying to drown her because Marianne had pushed her “shadow self” beneath the figurative surface, and the “shadow self” wanted out because the “shadow self” was actually the original Marianne, and the Marianne that is now Marianne isn’t actually the original Marianne. The “shadow self” is actually the first Marianne, but in the end they are actually both Marianne.

Makes total sense right?

-__-

Apart from that complete mess, the character of Marianne that the reader follows during this read proves to be another negative in my eyes. Marianne is, simply put, annoying as all hell. She felt a bit dull, emotionally confusing, and extremely desperate and needy in a way that made me scrunch my face up in a “WTF” sort of way. She has this fabricated idea of friendships in her head that I just didn’t follow. She was so worried about looking needy all the time, but it just made her look doubly needy and a little stalkerish. She just wasn’t my cup of tea. Ron on the other hand, was a more agreeable character for me. This could be because of my tendency to favor the weird gothy kids though. But Ron proves to be a strong character, she is willful and a “take no s**t” kind of gal, and I love her for it.

Also as a heads up, there is a bit of LGBT moments that happen in this story. They are very tame and mild, so if this is your thing or isn’t, just a warning in advance.

All in all, that ending really ruined the story for me. It started out promising, I loved the writing style, but the main character and the conclusion just didn’t hit the mark for me. I appreciate where the author was trying to take this story, but I don’t think she was able to take this book to the place it needed to go. The ending just didn’t feel completely thought through, and the delivery was a bit lacking. Of course, this is just my own opinion, and not all readers share my thoughts. If you think this might be a story that interests you, then I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

2-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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Blood Rose Rebellion is available for Pre-order, and will be available on March 28, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Goodreads.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Barnesandnoble.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Bookdepository.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Opinion: As soon as I requested this book on Netgalley.com, I had my fingers crossed for DAYS in the hopes that I would be accepted to read and review it. After seeing quite a bit of hype about the release of this book on Goodreads and Bookstagram, I read the description and immediately felt the gut-wrenching yearning to get my hands on an ARC copy! Not only did I get that ARC copy, but I became absolutely enthralled as soon as I started reading.

In Anna Arden’s world, the high society figures referred to as Luminate wield magic and power.  Anna, even though her family is of high society and nobility, was pronounced barren at her Confirmation at the age of eight. But one thing Anna can do is unintentionally break the spells that others cast, which is exactly what she does on the most important night for her sister. Without knowing what to do with her, Anna’s family sends her off to Hungary with her grandmother. In the hopes that Anna will return a proper and civilized lady, Anna sets off to a new life. But things in Hungary turn from bad to worse as a rebel tracks Anna down, begging her to use her ability to break spells to destroy the binding – which restricts the use of magic to only Luminate. Soon Anna finds herself stuck in the middle of a rebellion, unsure which side to stand with and against.

Sometimes with such a hyped up book, I worry that once I start reading I will lose interest or it won’t be as amazing as everyone claims. I can happily admit that this story turned out to be WONDERFUL! I loved the imagery that the author used, especially how she turned our world into a place with magic and strange creatures. The idea that Anna is barren and cannot wield magic like the rest of her family and fellow Luminate jump-starts the quest for Anna to find out who or WHAT she is. The reader follows Anna through different countries where she meets people of different walks of life, and becomes entangled in wanting to assist the rebels in Hungary. Anna finds herself in a compromising position: help break the binding and let magic be free to anyone that possesses the ability, or to side with her fellow Luminate and let magic be “given” to nobility and those “deserving”.

I personally liked the character of Anna, but I felt that she lacked a bit of substance. I didn’t quite make a connection to her and to the emotions that the author was trying to portray…as a matter of fact, I don’t really recall making a strong connection with any of the characters. I felt curious about what might happen to them and hoped that they wouldn’t die, but I wasn’t too chocked up about it when some of them actually did die. The relationship between Anna and Gábor starts out cold and prickly but soon turns into the romance of this book. Because Anna is Luminate and Gábor is Romani (gypsy), their love is forbidden and would be frowned upon. I found it interesting that at the end of the story, their relationship suddenly doesn’t seem to be THAT forbidden. This felt rushed and thrown together to me. What will her parents say?? Where were they?

This story has a very unique blend of historical and fantastical elements. The characters do a lot of traveling in the world, which obviously brings the use of different languages. After Anna travels to Hungary, the language barriers start to rise. There is A LOT of words that get thrown around that most of us won’t be knowing, so it makes reading a little confusing. I was getting lost at times when Gábor would say “gadzhe” or when the names of a castle or town would be said. Little did I know that there was a glossary of the words and of Luminate orders in the back of the book… *sigh*.

Those tiny things aside, I loved this story and where the author took it. Though the ending felt a little rushed to me, I think that such an extravagant story is always going to be hard to wrap up into one book. I am VERY excited to read book 2 when it is released and to see where the author is going to take Anna. I really recommend this story to anyone that loves a YA story that involves fantasy and adventure!

4-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

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Devil in the Countryside is available for Pre-order, and will be available on February 15, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Devil in the Countryside (Of Witches and Werewolves) by Cory Barcaly

Goodreads.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Barnesandnoble.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Bookdepository.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Cory Barclay, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Supernatural

Plot: Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Opinion: Once again, I am PLEASANTLY surprised with a book that is completely out of the genre that I usually read. This story was AMAZING! I found myself having immense trouble putting it down and doing adult things such as going to work, or sleeping. The writing is perfection. It gives the reader the necessary balance of description and detail, while also eloquently weaving a tale of fantasy and realism.

Based loosely on actual events that took place in Germany over a 20 year span, Devil in the Countryside transports the reader to 1588 as murders in Bedburg start to rise. Fear spreads quickly through the town as gruesome and mangled bodies are found in the countryside, and threats against protestant reform begin to plague the Christian ruled town. As Investigator Heinrich Franz looks into the murders, he enlists the help of a hunter by the name of Georg Stieghart who has a past of being quite vicious. This story also follows Father Nicholas Dieter of the church in Bedburg, and young Sybil Griswold who is the daughter of a wealthy farmer. While the investigator tries to hunt down the Werewolf of Bedburg, the church tries to fight off Protestants from overtaking the town and the minds of their people.

Though I gave you guys a little description up there, I’m going to explain a little bit more about these characters/events so that you really get the idea. Probably the COOLEST thing about this book is the fact that it is based on true events. In 1589 a trial was held for a man that was presumed to be the famous Werewolf of Bedburg, who was accused of murder and cannibalism. Shocked? Me too. The fact that these people actually thought that a man was turning into a werewolf and slashing bodies to pieces is just…beyond me. The again, this was also a time when everyone thought witches were casting spells and dealing in dark magic…and here I thought my generation was cuckoo.

Heinrich Franz is the investigator that is put in charge of finding out who/what the Werewolf of Bedburg is, and he seems to go to any lengths to make someone responsible. I really can’t pinpoint my feelings for this character. He is an evil and emotionally unattached man, but I quite like his ruthlessness and cunning behavior. He is the type of person that will do ANYTHING to close a case, especially if that means framing someone in the process. Georg Stieghart is truly my favorite character in this story. He comes off as a drunken idiot most of the time, but he proves to be a very strong-willed and intelligent person. As Georg seeks revenge for the death of his family, who he assumes is the Werewolf, he assists the investigator and helps him hunt the killer down. The relationship between these two characters is fairly comical. They both act friendly towards one another and share news that they have, but they also don’t trust each other and have their own agendas. I enjoyed how the story turned out for Georg and how his character makes a complete 180. He loses some of his savagery and turns into a truly upstanding person.

Sybil Griswold is the daughter of wealthy farmer Peter Griswold. Sybil goes through a lot of dark events in this story, and I commend her character for taking everything in stride. Not only does a dear friend of hers come up dead, but her father begins to force her into a marriage with a nobleman’s son who proves to be vile and pretentious. Sybil finds solace in her time spent with Father Nicholas Dieter, who is a priest at the church in Bedburg. Father Dieter seems to be the most developed character, and for me, the most interesting. He starts out being a very faithful and dutiful servant to the religion that he preaches for, but soon starts to open his eyes to what is going on in the world around him. The relationship between these two characters brings the romance factor into this story, and gives the reader a little light in this otherwise dark and gritty tale.

This story overall was fantastic! The events that took place were gruesome and unnerving, and I kept picturing a less theatrical Tim Burton setting of gray buildings and woeful expressions. Though I am not a big fan of reading a story with religion being such a central theme, it was obviously necessary to this story but it didn’t overtake the actual plot and events that the author was focusing on. I highly recommend this story to any reader that likes thriller/mystery, or to anyone who wants to dabble in a different type of story. I am REALLY looking forward to see what happens in book 2, hopefully it will come out soon!

5-stars

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