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

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

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

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

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

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

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

Opinion:

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

I am Death.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this book did that.

It crushed me.

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

It’s breathtaking.

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

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

This isn’t a fluffy tale.

It’s a tale about Death.

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

Fade to black.”

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Binding of Bindings #34: 10 Chilling Reads from 2019

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

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~*10 Chilling Reads from 2019*~

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

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

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THIS. STORY. IS. EVERYTHING.

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

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

*sigh*

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

Your soul wants you to read this.

(See my review here)

 

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

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

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

you’ve come to the right place.

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Wilder Girls

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

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

Wanting your heart to lurch and your skin to shift?

Read this.

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

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

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. The outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth.

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

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

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

(See my review here)

 

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

Love, Heather

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

It’s about two girls (Stevie and Dee) who enact revenge on the bullies of their high school by playing a few pranks, and signing them with Love, Heather. But what starts out as innocent retaliation, quickly turns into a violent mess as students start to join in by pulling their own vicious pranks. But as things start to spiral out of control, and Dee begins to take things too far, Stevie fights to get out before it takes her under.

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

 

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

I Know You Remember

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

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

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

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

 

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

Songs from the Deep

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

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

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

(See my review here)

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Stay Witchy ❤

 

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

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

A Violet Fire

 

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

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

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

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

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

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

Opinion:

 

Oh.

My.

Nocturnal Nights.

It’s official.

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

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

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

Send help.

Finally.

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

This, is true living corpse bliss.

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

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

Dreamy, isn’t it?

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

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

Swoon!

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

Girl. Is. Fierce.

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

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

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

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

It’s all very confusing.

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

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

Do yourself a favor, buy this.

5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Netgalley · New Releases · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #33: December Anticipated Book Releases

It’s almost the end of 2019
and apparently the end of an abundance of book releases.

There may only be 5 books on my December Releases list, but trust me when I say, they’re gunna be good!

 

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~*My 5 Anticipated December Book Releases*~

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Yep, just five.

1. Reverie by Ryan La Sala
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/LGBT

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So this has obviously released already, but if you haven’t heard of it yet…allow me to indulge you!

Reverie follows a young man named Kane Montgomery after he is involved in a car accident that leaves him with amnesia. As he struggles to remember his day to day routine in high school, and is subjected to torment from his peers for his sexual orientation, Kane learns who he truly is – an Other.

The Others work together to save the world from rouge fantasies that transform into actual alternate realities, also known as Reveries.

This promises to be an action-packed and fantastically campy tale, with a blend of The Magicians and Inception.

 

 

2. Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Historical Romance

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Calling all Jane Austen fans!!!!

Dangerous Alliance is a fun and witty tale about a woman who consults her beloved Jane Austen stories for guidance and wisdom as she enters society in search of a husband.

Try as she might, she is finding little help in between the lines of her favorite tales and is still unsure of how to spot a man who just wants her dowry, a man of honor and duty, and how exactly to fend off unwanted affections. And best of all, there seems to be mysterious “accidents” following in her shadow.

I mean, I was hooked by the cover alone. Just as you should be too.

Also: This author is named Jennieke and mine is Jenaca and we both pronounce it the same…?

 

3. A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

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I know this cover isn’t much to look at, but I am halfway through this book AS WE SPEAK and oh em gee

I am loving it!

And yes, this is a vampire book. And yes, I agree, the vampire stories are a tad tired but for some reason I just had to request this book and I am soooooo happy I did.

A Violet Fire is basically a vampire vs. human version of The Handmaids Tale or Vox where vamps rule the world. To ensure there is no shortages of blood, for centuries vampires have been enslaving humans to work as servants, blood supply units and breeders. When a human comes of age, they are brought before their master to have their blood sampled. If their blood is accepted, they are brought to their masters home to be used as a supply unit when needed. If their blood is declined, they are fed to the fallen: humans who were bit by a vampire and turned into blood-thirsty creatures.

For Wavorly, one of the few humans enslaved that was captured in a human settlement and not inbred, she seeks only freedom or death. Unlike all the other supply units who worship their masters, Wavorly knows what she truly is: a slave.

Guys. Just read this. Please. READ IT!

 

4. Daughter of Chaos (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 2) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Witches

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Guess who.

Book two is about to come out and my witchy little heart hasn’t even read book 1 (the prequel) yet! Blasphemous, really.

Daughter of Chaos picks up where season 1 of the Netflix series does – with Sabrina leaving her mortal friends behind and attending the Academy of Unseen Arts. Here she begins to delve deeper into her magic, while making new friends and enemies along the way. Oh and of course there’s an uncanny amount of blood being spilled and demons being worshiped.

*sigh* what a dream.

 

5. Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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Good Girls Lie is another book I have an ARC of, so I am really stoked to get into this once I finish A Violet Fire.

It’s your typical posh boarding school experience where a sweet girl named Ashlyn arrives at a new academy after the sudden death of her parents. There are mean girls, creepy halls and buildings, and a mysterious history of the school. Ashlyn struggles to fit in and acclimate to her new environment, and to make matters worse, girls start dying.

I love a thriller and I love one that has potential to blindside me, and I am thinking this one is going to do just that!

 

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As always, stay Witchy

 

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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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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #32: Spooky Reads

Come one, come all!
Into the land of the decaying, decrepit and dead.
We’re rounding up our potions, candles, crystals and knives to take a trip into the veil.
So pull up those tattered stalkings, grab a torch and maybe a friend.
Because there’s no turning back.

Just because it’s November, doesn’t mean we have to stop being weird.

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~* Spooky Reads *~

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1. Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal
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It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for in a spooky read?!

Smoke and Key starts with a young woman waking up in a place of darkness. She learns that she is dead and has fallen out of her grave to a place called Under, a place that is neither Heaven nor Hell. Each inhabitant of Under is named by the possession they wake up with – Key, Smoke, Ribbon, Doll, Journal. But the problem is that nobody can remember their past lives, who they are, or how they died. Except Key. As she starts to regain the memories from her life, she begins to realize there is a much bigger reason for why she and the people of Under are stuck.

(See my review here)

 

2. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Genre: YA/Horror/Thriller

Survive the Night

Survive the Night is another YA Horror from Danielle Vega, and one that has gone unread on my bookshelf…like so many others…

*cough*

It is about a group of friends who go to a rave called Survive the Night, only to end up being hunted by a deranged killer in the creepy and dark tunnels of the subway. In true Danielle Vega fashion, the reader is promised bloodshed, mindf**kery and a whole host of wtf did I just read.

I can’t wait.

 

3. The Hollow series by Jessica Verday
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

The Hollow series has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen, and a set that I plan to read again in the coming weeks. It is a series set in a town called Sleepy Hollow, and you can bet your ghoulish friends that it’s oozing with paranormal activity.

After the mysterious death of her best friend, Abbey is stricken with loss and grief for losing the person closest to her. But when Abbey learns a secret about the friend she thought she knew everything about, she begins to question everything in their past. And the sudden appearance of a strange boy named Caspian has Abbey rattled in more ways than one, especially when she learns the truth about who he is.

From what I can remember of this series, it’s full of romance and swoonworthy sighs. So get ready to be swept away in the spooky love of this little number!

 

3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

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A 2018 favorite of many readers, The Wicked Deep is the perfect witchy story.

The legend goes that three sisters were drowned by the townspeople of Sparrow in the early 1800’s, and each Swan Season three girls are inhabited by one of the sisters who seek their vengeance by drowning one boy each. A witchhunt ensues, there is possession and mystery, and even a little love. It’s a MUST read for this season, but also a must read in general.

(See my review here)

 

4. I know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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I just received this book in the mail from Random House Children’s as part of their Wicked Reads Blogger Campaign! Each blogger had their choice of candies to choose from, and each candy represented a specific book!

Mine was Kit Kat, and it was I Know You Remember!

After three years away from her hometown, Ruthie comes back to the news that her once best friend Zahra is missing. But the Zahra Ruthie knew years ago isn’t the same person. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, others describe Zahra as popular, outgoing and the first at a party. As Ruthie dives deeper into the girl’s life she once knew, secrets start to come up and she realizes she is in deeper than she would have liked.

This one was AMAZING!!!

If you want a spooky thriller that is going to blindside you, read this! It was so incredibly good, I cannot stop ranting about it!

(See my review here)

 

5. The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

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I just finished reading this gem last week, and it was a great October read! It wasn’t too scary or gory, but it  had the perfect amount of sinister and gothy outcast vibes that I am always looking for in a YA.

The Cemetery Boys is about a small town that believes in a curse where creatures called the “winged ones” bring about the “bad times“, and where a group of boys spend their nights partying in a cemetery. When his father forced him to move to this dull and backwards town, Stephen finds friendship with the weird guys who hang out all night. But the leader of this group of boys is hiding something, and Stephen wants to know what.

This book was just as good as I was hoping it would be, and I read through it SO quickly. I highly suggest you try it out if you’re looking for an only semiscary book to read.

 

6. Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal

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Fiendish is one of those books I countless bookstagrammers/book bloggers/book psychos and been pushing me to read. And I really should…

It’s just sitting on my bookshelf begging to be opened!

It’s about a girl who may or may not be dead that has been trapped in the cellar of a creepy old house for 10 years, in a town where supernatural and spooky magical things happen, with a guy her age that may or may not be a complete jackass?

Look, I obviously haven’t read it. But here, read this:

“What’s wrong with me? I never did anything to anyone.”

Fisher was quiet for a second and when he answered, he sounded strange.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “They’re just nervous about how your eyes are sewed shut.”

 

7. Hotel for the Lost by Suzanne young
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

Hotel for the Lost

I read this one earlier this year, and it has all the Disney Tower of Terror vibes you could ever ask for!

Now if some of you remember that epic Disney movie for the 90’s, you’ll know the spooky/regal vibes I’m talking about. If not, look it up and watch it!!!

Hotel for the Lost is about a girl named Audrey who arrives at the luxurious Hotel Ruby with her father and brother after breaking down on the side of the road. Thought the family only plans on staying one night, they find it incredibly easy getting caught up in the grandeur and alluring perks of the hotel. As Audrey begins meeting the guests and employees of the Ruby, she begins learning of the haunting past of the hotel, and what it truly means to be a guest there.

This was a pretty good read, and one I had devoured in hours on a Friday night. Though the romance may cause and eye-roll or two, it’s definitely a great read for those of you who want to sleep after reading.

 

8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

I just got this series to read in October, got WAY behind in what I planned on reading due to ARCs, and am now pushing it into my November reads.

Because I’m going out of 2019 staying Spooky AF, and I’m taking you all with me.

Hex Hall is the YA supernatural reform school story for witches, fae and shapeshifters. After Sophie Mercer discovers that she is a witch, and makes a disaster out of a prom-night spell, her warlock father ships her off to Hex Hall in order to “straighten her out”.

It’s basically the typical high school series, with magical elements and romance! Woo hoo!! If you want some spooky fluff, look no further.

 

9. Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror/Paranormal

Maplecroft

This one is for all you Lizzie Borden fans out there!

Who doesn’t love an axe-murdering woman, am I right?!

Maplecroft portrays the events after Lizzie Borden is exonerated for the brutal murders of her parents, when she and her sister take up residence at a mansion by the sea – Maplecroft. In this tale, Lizzie explains that her parents’ souls were “consumed” by malevolent entities. So now, as she cares for her sickly sister, she spends her days ridding the world of these demonic creatures, one swing of her axe at a time.

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….

 

10. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

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Ten is another book I purchased during October, and perfect for you lovers of teen slashers

It’s about a group of teens who go to an exclusive party on Henry Island. Their weekend getaway is promised to be one of drunken debaucheries and luxury, as they’re accustomed to. But when they come across a DVD with a threatening message on it, a storm suddenly cuts off the power and the killing begins.

 

11. Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery

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The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls“?

I’m here for it.

The description for this one is vague, which makes me want it even more. Here There Are Monsters is about two sisters, Skye and Deirdre. Skye gets tired of having to look after and save her sister all the time, so she vows to let her handle things on her own. But when the girls move across the country, and Skye excels at making new friends, Deirdre becomes withdrawn and isolated. She begins traveling deep into the woods and creating strange sculptures from branches.

And then, she disappears.

 

12. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

How to Hang a Witch

I have been wanting to read this little beauty for, FOREVER!

I know, it’s shocking that I haven’t read it yet. I’m a monster.

How to Hang a Witch is about a girl named Samantha Mather who moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. Sam is the descendant of a man named Cotton Mather, who was involved in the Salem witch trials that claimed the lives of countless women. When a group of girls called The Descendants find out, they make it their mission to make her life a living hell. But when Sam comes into contact with a ghost, she begins to learn about the centuries old curse that affects every descendant of those involved in the trials.

I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, so I am planning on reading it in the next week!

 

13. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Witches

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Do I even need to explain this one?

 

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The goal for the rest of 2019: Stay Spooky

 

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