Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #23: June Book Wrap-Up

There it goes…
Off into the sunset, out with the tide, out like a firecracker.
We had been waiting so long for its arrival, were so happy to see it here, but now it’s gone again.
Snuffed out for another year.
June.

 

WAIT.
No…not that June!
This June.

The happy one.
Well…anyways…

 

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~* June Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I LOVED The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which I read at the end of May.

So naturally I sprinted into June on the wispies of young love, murder and supernatural powersMORE than ready to continue smirking and swooning uncontrollably.

And it was wonderful..

Apart from those shameful moments of Mara turning herself into an Afghan and spewing silly notions like “I was his“.

Honey, you aren’t a rug.

Get control of yourself.

But the series turned out to be wonderful. Even if it did go in a completely RANDOM science fiction direction that I was not expecting. Some of the romance fizzled out a little near the end too, but I still devoured these books like my life depended on it.

 

3. The Haunted by Denielle Vega

The Haunted

I received The Haunted in a Goodreads Giveaway (shockingly) and was SO excited to get my black painted finger nails all over it!

Danielle Vega is the author of that oober super popular horror series called The Merciless, which I FULLY recommend you go read if you like blindsides and a little paranormal torment in your life.

The Haunted was a classic haunting story about a girl who moves to a new town with her family after a traumatic experience with her ex-boyfriend. But their new house is legendary to the inhabitants of this small-town, and various stories of murders and strange happenings are brought to light.

I liked this book. But did I LOVE it? Eh.

It was a super quick read, and one that will grab your attention and keep you hooked. I just felt the ending was a bit rushed and that it could have been longer.

I was definitely left wanting MORE!

(See my review here)

 

4. My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna

Ready to get your heart ripped out of your chest?

My Real Name is Hanna begins in May of 1941 in Ukraine at the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign. The book documents Hanna and her families journey into hiding as the Germans attempt to make Ukraine “Jew Free”.

It is a work of fiction, but based off a holocaust survivor named Esther Stermer and her extended family along with four other families who survived by hiding in caves for over 500 days.

This book is heavy. This book is devastating.

But it’s begging to be read.

My last thought, before I say the Shema, is of the young mother Jacob told us about, while he choked on his own tears-a mother who smothered her own child in her winter coat before the shot came, so the child would not feel the bullet.”

(See my review here)

 

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
(Again)

A court of thorns and roses

Okay…

…so maybe it IS the fourth time I’ve read this.

But you can’t blame me!

This book is…this SERIES is…

…it’s…

IT’S EVERYTHING!

In my defense, however, this reread is due to my lovely friend Tove (@fadingfairytale). She had NEVER read it and I have been on her case about starting the series for MONTHS. So she finally started it and MY OH MY, she loved it. OF COURSE!

My other friend Tabz (@literary_consumer) even joined our read, and now it’s turning into a hilarious slew of Instagram stories and even…something else 😉 (hint hint)

If you also haven’t read this series (cauldron forbid) then you MUST! NOWWW!!!!

It an amazing Fantasy Romance series packed with Fae, battles, curses, swoon-worthy high lords, love, heartache and badass females!

Just read it.

 

6. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

The Best Lies

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.

Sure the plot sounds simple and straight forward, but it isn’t. This book is complex. There are layers upon layers of intricate stitches, barely visible weaves sewn into the story, minute details and mannerisms applied to each character.

And all of it is so beautifully put together to make this GIANT quilt of…despairing love.

If you don’t read any of these other books, at least read this one.

(See my review here)

 

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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 · 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

Ghosts of the Shadow Market.jpg

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

The Rest of the STory.jpg

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

The Beholder.jpg

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

The Exact Opposite of Okay.jpg

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

The Girl in Red.jpg

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

The Evil Queen.jpg

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!

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

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

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

You’re welcome.

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

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1. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

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

The Raven's Tale

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

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

 

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

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

Nocturna.jpg

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

Happy Birthday to me.

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

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

Dun-dun-dunnnnn.

 

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

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

The living God

Can we take a minute to drool over this cover?

This one sounds epic.

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

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

4. The Haunted by Danielle Vega

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

The Haunted.jpg

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

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

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

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

 

5. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

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

The Best Lies.jpg

A YA/Mystery of love, deception and murder.

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

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

 

6. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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

Wilder Girls.jpg

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

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

Bring on the creep factor!!!

 

7. Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

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

Ever Alice

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

House of Salt and Sorrows

I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR THIS!!!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

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

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

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

 

11. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

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

Shadow Frost.jpg

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

Sounds good right?!

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

12. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou

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

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This one is for all you Heathers lovers out there!

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

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

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Stay Witchy, my friends!

 

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Books · Reviews

THE MERCILESS by Danielle Vega

6160nw7GzrL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Horror

Similar Writings: Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell

Plot: Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls…unless she wants to be next.

By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Opinion: The few times that I have seen this book at the bookstore, the pentagram on the cover was just SCREAMING at me to pick it up. Maybe it’s the “metal head” in me, or my obsession for anything with a little bit of evil in it, but I always noticed this book right away. The reason I never picked it up is because…well it’s f*****g pink. So I assumed it was a silly teen book about a girl who got dumped, got into Wicca and animal sacrifices, and tried to hex everyone. Yes, I did judge this book by its cover. Sue me. 😉 But then I got recommended it by a fellow bookstagrammer who said it is ALL kinds of twisted and demented, so I thought what the hell. Man oh Man, am I glad I finally bought this.

*Could we also just take a moment to appreciate the little upside down cross that the author put in her name on the cover? Perfect touch.

Sofia Flores has just started at another new school, befriending a group of three girls who are highly religious. However the three girls, Riley, Alexis, And Grace, believe that another girl in their class named Brooklyn is possessed by the devil. Brooklyn, who has a slightly edgier look with an “I don’t care” attitude, seemed pleasant enough to Sofia the few times they hung out together. But one night at a party the Brooklyn throws, Sofia sees Brooklyn making out with the boyfriend of her new friend, Riley. After Sofia confesses to Riley what happened, Riley insists that Brooklyn is evil and that they must perform an exorcism on her. After Riley brings Sofia to a deserted house and taken down to the basement, she finds out that the girls kidnapped Brooklyn and tied her up. As the girls start to perform the ritual, Sofia learns that they might be taking the situation much further than a pretend exorcism, and things start to turn gruesome. But with Riley calling the shots, and no way out of the home that they are torturing Brooklyn in, Sofia learns that she might be in over her head.

This book, gets REALLY creepy REALLY fast. Not only does the author give the reader a sense of mystery throughout the book, but I found that from the beginning the writing felt oddly disturbing and strange. From the slight looks that the characters would give each other, and the almost unnoticeable yet strange things they would say…this book was dripping in psychotic tendencies from the beginning.

What I loved about the characters was that you got a sense of knowing who they were, without getting too much overwhelming and useless information about them. Of course the obvious and typical themes were presented: the characters seem so pristine and innocent, and then you find out that they aren’t as perfect as they try to portray. There is quite a few twists and turns to keep you guessing, but the best part in any book is being surprised and that is exactly what happened for me. The author did a fantastic job of making me choose sides and then switch sides more than once, so clearly I was a little more than surprised with how the story ended. The character of Sofia reminded me a lot of the character of Melissa in the book Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell, and not just because of the twists in both stories. I was constantly wondering why Sofia was being so casual about the torturing and not saying a word. I understand she was trying to be smart and to “play her cards right”, but I kept saying to myself SERIOUSLY girlfriend?! GET IT TOGETHER!

There were a few things that weren’t as “tied up” (pun intended) or concluded as much as I would have preferred. Why was Alexis pulling her hair out and losing her mind all of a sudden? I guess we can chalk it up to the fact that she just lost it, but she was just as into torturing Brooklyn as Riley was from the beginning. I am also wondering what happens to Sofia at the end after we learn the truth. There is a sequel to this book called Survive the Night, which I was hoping would take off from where The Merciless left off…but it is actually an entirely new story. So I guess I will just have to leave the ending as it is 😦 But nonetheless, I am VERY excited to start book two and to get back into being frightened and scared…I am thinking this will be a nice theme for me to stick with for October!

P.S. If you have already read this or want to find something similar, try giving Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed with that ending! You can see my review for Guilt Trip here.

4 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF