Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #37: 2019 Book Wrap-Up

2019 was a whirlwind,
full of murder, lies and romantic delights.
Some characters acted regal, and some started fights.
There were cults, secret societies, and courts of tricks and schemes,
there were proper young ladies, hushed voices, and bloodcurdling screams.
Some plots were gentle, some plots were vexing,
some plots were filled with rebellion, and some with magic and hexing.
There were retellings of classics and introductions to new tales,
with characters who crushed our souls and threw our lives off the rails.
But with each new book and world read in 2019,
You can bet 2020 will be anything but serene.

 

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~* 2019 Book Wrap-Up *~

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5-stars

the wicked kingThe GiverEnchanteea danger to herself and othersA court of thorns and rosesa court of mist and furyA court of wings and ruinYesterday I Was The MoonAs DirectedGirls with Sharp SticksWhite RoseStars in the Winter SkySmoke and KeyZombie DogThe Life of DeathThrone of GlassCrown of MidnightMy Real Name is HannaThe Best LiesWilder GirlsForsaken WrathThe SUrface Breaks 2The First gIrl ChildThe Lady RogueSerpent and DoveThe Sound of Blue1Songs from the DeepA Violet FireVanished 1Vanished 2

 

 

 

4-5-stars

AlarumThe Unbecoming of Mara DyerTerrible LizardThe Liar's DaughterLove, HeatherI Know You RememberThe Door to JanuaryGood Girls Lie

 

 

4-stars

the cruel princeThe Cold is in Her BonesThe Trutch ABout AliceThe Evolution of Mara DyerThe Retribution of Mara DyerThe Hauntedperf5.000x8.000.inddThe Ten Thousand Doors of januaryThings we know by heartThe Lady RavenThe Cemetery BoysThe Lies They TellMissing you

 

 

3-5-stars

Evenfall

 

 

3-stars

BloodleafKilling NovemberStolenThe Last to Die

 

 

2-5-stars

Immortal GirlsDream Keeperwe set the dark on fireExit

 

2-stars

Alice WanderlandDrowning

 

UNRATED/DNF

The UnrepentantThe Memory ThiefDamsel

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As Always, Stay Witchy

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Netgalley

Book Review: The Hazel Wood (Book 1) by Melissa Albert

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Opinion:

Alice and her mother Ella have been on the run from bad luck since she was a child. Never able to stay in one place for too long, Alice had grown accustomed to the constant bag packing and switching of homes, schools and cities. Of course, sometimes the bad luck would creep in too closely. Like Alice being kidnapped by a man in a blue Buick at the age of 6, promising her a meeting with a grandma she had only known by name, only to have Ella find her and take her back. But no matter where they went, Alice always felt an anger eating away at her.

So when her mother suddenly disappears, she is forced to turn to the one person Ella has kept her away from her entire life: her grandmother, Althea Proserpine – a famous writer of dark fairy tales about a world called The Hinterland. Now, Alice must learn all she can about The Hinterland and how to find it and the estate that her grandmother lived in before her death: The Hazel Wood.

But Alice will quickly learn that she is chasing more than just fairy tales, and that even her story is yet to be finished.

Look until the leaves turn read,

sew the worlds up with thread.

If your journey’s left undone,

fear the rising of the sun.”

Where do I even begin?!

The Hazel Wood is the YA Fantasy story for fairy tale obsessed readers who like an unconventional tale. This may not be the fluffy sort of story most are accustomed to, by way of beautiful Disney Princesses and romantic happy endings. There isn’t just one evil-doer, and there are more than just poison foods that can kill you in a flash. No, this is definitely not a tale of good fortune. It’s The Brothers Grimm meets Once Upon A Time, and it is wickedly good. The characters are oddities in their own right, with addictive quirks and flaws aplenty. It is set in a world of ruthless caliber with threats of death at every turn, and it is written like classic dark folklore with descriptions and haunting poems that twist your gut while making your heart sing.

My love he wooed me

My love he slew me

My love he buried my bones

His love he married

His love I buried

My love now wanders alone.”

The center of this story is Alice’s dear grandmother Althea, whom she has never had the pleasure of meeting. When we meet Alice, we learn that she knows of her grandmother and her legacy. She is a famous writer of a collection of fairy tales called The Tales of The Hinterland, and she lives on an estate called The Hazel Wood, where her mother Ella grew up as a child. Though Alice has only ever once come across one copy of any of the elusive and ultra-rare stories, she had been forbidden by Ella to ever read any of the tales her mother wrote about. She is also warned to stay away from her grandmother’s crazy obsessed fans, who seem to always track Ella and Alice down, begging for information about Althea and The Hinterland. Naturally, we need to know WHY!

So when Ella disappears and Alice is left all alone, she turns to a schoolmate that is the closest thing she has to a friend. Ellery Finch is a strange boy she knows from school, but one who shows her kindness…even if he does know who her grandmother is. It turns out, Finch is one of those crazy obsessed fans Alice is supposed to stay away from, but she enlists his help as he is the only one that has any information on her grandmother. Together they begin searching for clues as to the whereabouts of The Hazel Wood manor, all the while trying not to be killed by strange creatures.

The Hinterland is, well, wicked. It is dark and seedy, magical and dangerous, and alluring yet completely frightening. It is crawling with eerie beings who are both human and not, and I can only visualize it as Wonderland dropping into The Upside Down. The book is basically little fairy tales put into one giant fairy tale. It reads just like the dark folklore that makes your skin crawl while tickling your fancy. There are strange and curious characters at every turn, like a grandmother moon or  Twice-Killed Katherine. There are stories of a spoiled girl who makes a deal with the Night Women, a young woman who kills to seek death, and a princess born with black eyes.

It is such an incredibly strange tale, but one I am completely enraptured with. I have already began reading book two, The Night Country, and I can say that I am just as hooked. Though I did find that The Hazel Wood was a little slow at times, it wasn’t enough to make me want to put it down or sway my interest. I’m addicted to the odd and gritty nature of the book as a whole, and it just feels like a story I have been patiently waiting to be written. It is for the readers who, like me, want a little darkness poured into their magical teacups and just want to get lost in the woods.

Though I can’t say much else without giving everything away, I highly recommend this read for those of you who haven’t already read it. It is exactly what a YA Fantasy should be, and it is written like a dream with ripples of fog blurring the edges. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

5-stars

 

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Book Reviews · Netgalley

Book Review: The Life of Death by Lucy Booth

The Life of Death.jpg

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

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

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

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

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

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

Opinion:

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

I am Death.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this book did that.

It crushed me.

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

It’s breathtaking.

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

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

This isn’t a fluffy tale.

It’s a tale about Death.

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

Fade to black.”

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Opinion:

Jaw-dropping finale?

I mean…it was a finale.

Jude knows what it means to be hated by the Fae. To be a human in Faerie is wrought with dangers, and one slip of the tongue or an off-handed promise could be the end of your freedom and life. But Jude also knows what it means to have power. After successfully gaining control over Prince Cardan, putting him on the throne as High King and naming herself Seneschal, Jude was finally feared. And when things between Cardan and herself began to shift from deep hatred and cruelty, to something like affection, Jude relinquishes her control over Cardan in exchange for something more: marriage and a title as Queen of Faerie.

But it all came crashing down when Cardan banished her to the mortal lands for murdering his brother, and Jude is forced away from the home she loved and the power she so desperately craved. So when her twin sister Taryn shows up on her doorstep seeking help, Jude snatches the opportunity to return to Faerie and to reclaim what was once hers. But upon her return, Jude learns that Madoc plans to move against Cardan and to claim the position as High King for himself. Now Jude must decide what is most important to her: revenge or honor.

I have been waiting a YEAR for this finale with anxiety ripping apart my chest and a sadness so fierce, not even chocolate chip cookies and pie could remedy it! The Cruel Prince made me look at the Fae in a way that gave me chills. It made me squirm and think twice about being lured into the woods. But The Wicked King made me want to rip my heart from my own chest and offer it to a demon that would incinerate even the essence of my emotional being. It lit me on fire, turned my soul molten in liquid flame, and dripped through my rib cage out through my skinevaporating my body into a puddle of soupy despair.

And so when I finally got my hands on The Queen of Nothing, I devoured it with the eyes of fiend in a drugstore and the screams of a thirteen-year-old boy who just saw a PS5.

So how was it?

HOW. WAS IT?!?!

It was okay.

What I love most about The Folk of the Air is that Holly Black has given readers a side of the Fae that we don’t normally get to see in YA Fantasy. So many of us have fallen in love with the Sarah J. Maas depictions of these magical and powerful creatures who are both fierce and upstanding. They hold a sense of loyalty and honor, and want love and happiness.

And then there’s Holly Black’s Fae.

They are manipulative, twisted and demented creatures who find joy in twisting their words and making sneaky deals. Some kidnap, glamour and force humans to be servants in their homes, while others simply bite off a finger or two. They are immortal beings who flaunt their mystical beauty and use it to lure in unsuspecting victims like little mice lining up for slaughter. Humans are drugged through food and drink that makes them think that they are happy, but only glamors the truth of what is happening around them.

In short, it’s completely f***ed.

And I love it.

On its own, QON is a really enjoyable book. There is turmoil and a war that must be won, tricks and scheming to be had, revenge and romance to obsess over, and a few surprises that caught even me off guard.

But if I put QON next to the epic gut-wrenching tomes that are installments 1 and 2…

this book just falls flat and doesn’t impress me much.

I was expecting to be shocked, disgusted and infuriated by what happens to these characters. I was prepared to have Cardan crush Jude’s dreams AND mine, and I was more than ready to throw this book at a wall just to rush over to it apologizing and reading it over immediately.

But that just didn’t happen for me. In truth, this book feels more like fluff than the third and final installment of The Folk of the Air series. *There were countless plot-lines that weren’t tied up or were just randomly phased-out and unexplained. *Opportunities for Jude to really let her sadistic side shine were completely lacking (i.e. LOCKE). *It barely showcases Cardan, there is much less bloodshed and backstabbing, the story-line is fairly predictable, and everyone just seemed so…nice.

I am just overwhelmed with not feeling overwhelmed.

I think the biggest thing that has me annoyed is the relationship between Jude and Cardan. I needed ALL the information. ALL the explanations. ALL that happened while she was in the mortal lands. But did I get that?! No, not really. It’s a good thing I reread Cruel Prince and Wicked King before starting QON, because it gave me time to dissect every. single. thing. Cardan. said/did.

So without giving spoilers, I’ll leave you with all the things I wanted but just didn’t get.

Revenge. Double Revenge. Triple Revenge. Quadruple Revenge.

Wrap-up on Lady Asha, Nicasia, and Grimsen.

An actual profession of admiration, a gutting of a fox, why Jude has flowers in her side, the knowing to behead something and lastly…

THE LETTERS!

 

3-5-stars

 

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

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

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

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Opinion:

“…the Door seemed to be murmuring in a soft, clattering language made of wood rot and peeling paint. I reached toward it again, hesitated, and then-

I opened the Door, and stepped through.”

January Scaller has been under the care of Mr. Locke, a wealthy and highly prominent figure, for as long as she can remember. With her father under his employment and traveling all over the world in order to track down hidden and rare artifacts, January is left in the mansion where is expected to be a good girl. But with only strict nursemaids and colleagues of Mr. Locke to keep January company, she finds solace in her books and her vivid imagination. As January grows, confined to the walls of her wealthy yet lonely lifestyle, she searchs anyhwere she can for something or someone to fill her empty void. It isn’t until she stumbles upon a strange book about magical doors and a lost love that January finally begins to find new meaning in her life, while also learning how far from mundane her history truly is.

“Sometimes I was so lonely I thought I might wither into ash and drift away on the next errant breeze.

Sometimes I felt like an item in Mr. Locke’s collection labeledJanuary Scaller, 57 inches, bronze; purpose unknown.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a YA Historical Fantasy about a girl searching for a way out of the life that has been forced upon her. At a young age she is put into the care of Mr. Locke, a man with insurmountable wealth and a love for rare artifacts. He employs her father to travel around the world in search of these items for him, while he houses and cares for January from child to teenager. Set in the early 1900s, January is expected to act like a proper lady. To have proper etiquette, learn the necessary studies and skills that make up an accomplished woman, and to remain silent. To be a good girl.

“Be a good girl.

To hell with being good.”

While we watch January grow from a young girl to a young woman, the loneliness and isolation that she feels is deafening. She is mostly ignored by the men and women that come and go from Mr. Locke’s house for parties, her nursemaid is strict and unrelenting, and the only semi-friend she has is a delivery boy by the name of Samuel. Though January has a deep love for books and and vivid imagination, she is taught from a young age to not waste her time and energy on such silly ideas. It was so tragic to watch her spirit be broken by these people who seem to care for her, but you’re never really sure if they actually do. But maybe the most tragic aspects of this story, is January’s relationship with her father.

…there was just something about the shape of him in the doorway that made me dizzy with anger. Maybe because he smelled like jungles and steamships and adventures, like shadowed caves and unseen wonders, and my world was so ferociously mundane. Or maybe just because I’d been locked away and he hadn’t been there to open the door.”

For a good portion of the book, I was unsure of the relationship they had and when her father had the time to spend with his only daughter. It turns out, he didn’t spend much time with her at all. He completely left her in the care of Mr. Locke while he flounced around the world, forgetting birthdays and barely writing to her. Naturally, Mr Locke becomes her stand-in father figure, and at first he seems to be a stern and cold man, but someone who cares for January and who has a witty yet dry sense of humor.

That is until he locks her in her room for weeks on end, in order to rid her of her imagination.

You don’t really know how fragile and fleeting your own voice is until you watch a rich man take it away as easily as signing a bank loan.”

So this story took a little while to get going, because there is a TON of buildup and backstory that needs to take place before the actual fantasy can begin. I was having some trouble staying focused during the first 20% of this read, but once January starts to figure things out and begins…unlocking things, it really gets going. And when I say it gets going, it REALLY gets going! The amount of creativity and imagination it took to write this book is on full display, and the author does a fantastic job of making you feel as if anything is possible. The writing is elegant and descriptive, the characters well-developed and alluring, and the plot is…breathtaking!

I dreamed in gold and indigo.”

For a time in this story, the reader is taken back and forth between the present with January, and the past that is written in her mysterious book that she finds in the bottom of a chest. It is the beautiful and tragic story of a man and a woman, from two different worlds, who search for years trying to find a way back to one another. They travel around the world searching for thousands of doors that lead to various places of beauty and treachery, all to find a door of sea that will bring them back together. It is romantic and bleak, hopeful and gentle. This author has a way of opening little doors in your heart, while simultaneously setting them all on fire and burning them to the ground.

But another wonderful aspect of this intricate story, are the lovable and brave characters that are littered throughout its pages. Samuel, a young man who is a constant in January’s life who is always there when she needs someone the most. Bad, a scrappy and devilish dog who is fiercely loyal to January, and only January. And Jane, her new nursemaid that begins as stoic and reserved, but turns out to be a TRULY fierce and badass woman. These characters bring out the best in January, and show her another side to humans that she didn’t see a lot of growing up. They fight to protect her and keep her safe, and volunteer without question to follow her into danger.

I closed my eyes against the weight of guilt settling on my shoulders, heard the clock of claws and the scuff of worn shoes as Samuel and Bad approached. They settled on either side of me, warm and constant as a pair of suns.”

As a whole, I really liked this story and thought it was unique and a book I could truly get lost in. It felt exciting and sparked the notion in me that seems to be so easily forgotten – that anything is possible. Though I struggled a little at the beginning to stay focused, once I got about 20-30% in, I was hooked and loving every aspect of it. I cannot wait to see what else this author writes, and if it’s as good as this, I will be a lifelong fan!

4-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Harper Teen, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction

Plot: Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Opinion:

 

My throat is weeping.

Not tears. Something thicker, darker. Something that bathes my skin in scarlet, streams down my chest and soaks my hair, my dress, my hands. My hands. They scrabble at the source, fingers probing, searching, choking-desperate to stem the flow, desperate to make it stop, stop stop-”

Oh.

My.

Cauldron.

Boil me down to sludge and shove me in a bottle, for I think I just died.

My soul is lifeless in this vessel I call a body.

The blood along with every trace of fluid, tissue and muscle has left my carcass.

My heart has been ripped from my chest out through my throat, leaving a trail of murmured affection and promises of protection that dissipated into the wind as soon as it unwillingly passed my lips.

My rib cage has contracted, folding in on itself due to the empty void that now echoes through it.

I am crumbling.

Decaying into ash.

I’ve never hated reality more.

Serpent & Dove is a book my battered and bruised being has been waiting for since the romance of ACOTAR and TOG decimated the last of my hope in humanity. It slowly glued my sorrowful glass heart back together, lighting my face with smiles and my eyes with mischief. For the first day reading, I was a fiend gripped by the characters and world that Shelby Mahurin enchanted into words. On the second day I was leaking tears and whimpers of love, promises, hope and wistfulness. But now, on the third day…

I was positively enraged by this cliffhanger and the agonizing realization that I will have to wait until SOMETIME in 2020 to know WTF happens!!!


*deep breath*

I am die-hard obsessed with this book. I love it. I breathe it. If possible, I would sew myself into it and never leave. It is FANTASTIC! Sure, maybe it’s the fact that is centers on a feud between church and witches. And yeah, maybe I am biased to my witch sisters. But if you even just read the first chapter of this RIDICULOUS book, you will understand why I am so willing to lay my tortured existence down for these characters and this story.

The church is lead by the Archbishop who is loved among the people and preaches an intolerance of witches, insisting their deaths at the stake is Gods will. The witches, who are hunted down for their abilities and supposed abomination, fight back against the church in random attacks to bring down their royalty. The Chasseurs are sworn to the church and act as witch hunters who are as equally skilled as they are brutal. Any witch, Maiden, Mother or Crone, are put to death. The issues between the church and the witches are DEEPLY rooted, and quite honestly, shocking as hell! There is action, murder, magic, romance and blindsides DRIPPING from the seams of this book.

The premise and roller-coaster ride the author takes you on will be exhausting, so take a deep breath.

Because apart from a FANTASTIC plot, there are INCREDIBLE characters.

And firstly, Louise le Blanc is THE s**t.

She is sassy, crude, sarcastic, arrogant, and devious. She curses up a storm, lives to play tricks on unsuspecting people and screams filthy pub songs like “Big Tiddy Liddy” at the top of her lungs. She is selfish. She is loud and obnoxious. And…I love her. I feel like she COULD be compared to Celaena Sardothien, but that would be a piss-poor comparison and honestly a little offensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sadistic assassin. But where Celaena’s arrogance is so strong and practically a turnoff, Lou’s is flawless and incredibly just. She is witty and SO sharp. The retorts and insults that dance off her tongue are enchanting, and her ability to deflect is uncanny. She is gentle yet hardened. Sorrowful yet joyous. She is a BADASS witch who can take down men twice and thrice her size with a few easy movements, and I am beyond impressed. She is a woman who has walked the depths of darkness, but still allows a smirk and grin to dance across her face. She fills me with both unending joy and heartbreaking misery.

“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you.”

Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.”

But with Lou, comes Reid. He is Captain of the Chasseurs, and the church and word of the Archbishop is all he has ever known. For him, the word of God is law, and witches are vile inhuman creatures that must be eradicated. So when his life is suddenly bound to Lou’s by holy (or unholy) matrimony, he feels as if his world has shattered. But just when I thought I had Reid pinpointed…he surprised me. He is gentle, kind, sweet, caring and honorable…especially when it comes to this new wife he refers to as a heathen. He isn’t the swaggering, cocky and douchey male lead that we have become accustomed to in YA Fantasy. He is innocent and unsure, but not in a way that makes him weak. He is POSITIVELY swoon-worthy, and you will have such a hard time not comparing every man in real life to him from now on.

“Every aspect of Reid was precise, certain, every color in its proper place. Undiluted by indecision, he saw the world in black and white, suffering non of the messy, charcoal colors in between. The colors of ash and smoke. Of fear and doubt.

The colors of me.”

I have SO much to say about this book, but none of it can be said without be revealing every WONDERFUL piece of information. I felt so many emotions during this read. You know it’s an amazing book when you are constantly yelling out and making strangled noises or cackling into the air of your home. Serpent & Dove had me laughing, crying, yelling obscenities and smiling like an idiot. This book is fantastic.

My only issue is this:

I just want to know the last two verses to “Big Tiddy Liddy”.

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews · Simon and Schuster

Book Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Plot: Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Opinion:

A historical adventure fantasy about treasure hunters searching for a lost ring, that belonged to Vlad the Impaler.

a.k.a.

Count Dracula

a.k.a.

Mass murderer of THOUSANDS

a.k.a.

Romania’s crowned jewel and the world’s nightmare.

Oh, you KNOW it’s going to be good.

Theodora Fox is used to her father abandoning her in five star hotels around the world, while he slinks off to uncover hidden treasures and unearth rich history. So when he disappears again, leaving her in yet another ritzy establishment in Istanbul, she is forced to stay behind with only her crossword puzzles and obsession for history to keep her company. That is until Huxley Gallagher turns up in her hotel room, handing over her father’s journal and claiming that he is missing. What Theodora assumed was a typical expedition, turns swiftly into a hunt for her father and the truth behind his current hunt – to find the long lost ring of Vlad the Impaler for a wealthy client. Nobody said this adventure would be easy, especially when traveling with the boy who broke her heart and never spoke to her again. But what Theodora is about to uncover will change her and her family’s life forever.

The Lady Rogue is dripping in adventure, mystery, intrigue, wit and a TON of history! The author has artistically woven historical events with fantastical elements to bring a legendary story fit for any thrill seeker. Perfect for fans of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, Count Dracula, the Occult, dragons, fantasy…and, really everything.

This book is PHENOMENAL.

Set in the late 1930’s, this historical fantasy takes main characters Theodora and Huck to Romania in search of Theo’s missing father who is chasing after a much sought-after ring. The only clues of his whereabouts come from Huck, her father’s protege and a young man that her father took in at a young age. At an excavation in Hungary, Huck and Theo’s father, Fox, uncover a metal box with strange symbols encasing it that warned of the dangers kept inside. What they hoped was the resting place of Vlad’s long lost ring, turned out to be an empty box. Dismayed, they travel back to their hotel, where Fox suddenly disappears, leaving behind strict instructions for Huck to find Theo in Istanbul, where he is to give her Fox’s travel journal, and escape to Hudson Valley.

And so begins the WILD adventure that Theo and Huck embark on in search of Fox and Vlad’s infamous ring. While the two travel to Romania, Fox’s last known whereabouts, they are chased by dangerous men hellbent on taking them out.

And I don’t mean for dinner and a movie.

I’m talking murder, ladies and gents.

Because this book is PACKED with action! These characters are CONSTANTLY tiptoeing the lines of death and swing-dancing with fate. Both Theo and Huck are talented treasure hunters with extensive experience and passion for what they were raised around, and it shows. Theo is obsessed with history and any ancient topic that might involve a haunting or some form of magical element. She is proficient in multiple languages, has an uncanny ability to decipher codes, and above all else…this girl is witty as hell! Her sharp comments and sarcastic remarks had me nodding my approval during my entire read. She’s a saucy little minx who curses, throws obscene gestures in the air and has an epic drunken outburst where she dubs herself Lady Rogue – a lady of independent and royal standing!

Huck is also quite sarcastic and playful, but has a different set of skills and hates anything to do with spirits and magic. He is a pilot, a great lock-picker, and oh yeah…Theo’s ex. Once inseparable best friends as children and teens who began to have feelings for each other, now we meet them at a time when they haven’t spoken in over a year – due to events that later become revealed. This is the obvious romance of the story, but DON’T WORRY. This isn’t one of those books that has a killer premise and then becomes overshadowed by mushy teen love.

This book focuses SOLELY on the premise, and you will be so incredibly thankful for it. Because it is spectacular, exciting and downright addicting. The author did an outstanding job implementing actual historical events and facts into the story, which in turn lead me to researching different historical figures so I could learn more about them. There are countless elements that make up this gripping tale, and there is a little something in there for every type of reader. But I think what really struck me while reading, was Jenn Bennet’s uncanny ability to create a flawless book. It is detailed, well-constructed, comical, suspenseful and a TON of fun!

The book ends with everything wrapped up nice and tight, no cliffhangers in sight. BUT I am curious if Jenn plans on writing a sequel, because how everything is left, she definitely set it up to be a possibility. If so, you know I am going to be at the front of that line demanding a copy!

With that said, I’ll leave on this note:

5-stars

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