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Book Review: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven

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

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realizes that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Opinion:

Fridays are for dark retellings, murder and deceit.

In this twisted tale there are more than just stepmothers to defeat.

Vile stepsisters and wicked, forceful Kings,

Have a chance to be defeated with the help of paws and wings.

With a Princess clad in black and magic scorching through her veins,

A Queen must arise to break free from her chains.

I love a fairy tale retelling, especially one that flips the story from cheery to morbid.

But what I love even more, is a story of a Goth Princess Witch.

Rebecca Henry got our Princess’s name wrong though,

because this is DEFINITELY written about me.

Princess Zezolla lead a life of happiness and bliss with her parents in their castle. A life with a doting father and a mother that showered her in love and affection. At least until her mother was drowned at the hands of her father. Now Zezolla’s life is one doused in sorrow and cruelty. Countless deaths and misfortunes follow the Princess as she grows into a young woman, with only her Raven and her magic to keep her company. Forced into the cellars of her castle by her stepmother and her daughters to live for years, the only solace Zezolla can find is through the woods and its creatures. But the bloodshed in Zezolla’s life has only just begun, and to survive, she must trust in her magic and her guardians.

Zezolla is the witchy Princess that my childhood heart has always wanted!

This girl is sweet, caring, compassionate and loving to everyone and everything around her-even those who treat her horribly. After the death of her mother, she falls into a state of mourning that takes hold of her life and leaves her lonely and neglected. Her father, after being betrayed by his wife and then drowning her, becomes a nonexistent parent to Zezolla, only focusing his efforts on securing a new wife and improving his status. And so begins the onslaught of stepmothers that will enter Zeolla’s life, leaving a trail of cruelty and vile behavior in their wake.

It seems to be a theme in this retelling for characters to begin as somewhat decent beings, and then turn rather drastically into monstrous versions of themselves. It was so saddening to watch Zezolla lean towards so many figures in her life that she loved and respected, only for them to turn on her and wish for her demise. But another huge theme was the act of characters attempting to have ownership or control over our little Cinderella girl. She was constantly being thrust into the hands of those who either wanted her for gain or to be a slave that they could torture. This poor girl is beaten, betrayed, manipulated, verbally abused and treated like an object constantly.+

“You have witnessed man’s true desire…to own a woman.”

But before you think that she is totally helpless, don’t. Zezolla is a fierce and witty character with extraordinary abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Earth and the animals, and has extremely dedicated companions by way of a raven and a wolf. These two creatures steal and kill in order to protect their Princess, and to be completely honest, it is badass and ruthless! There is SO much blood being spilled in this story, but don’t fret, it isn’t graphic at all and won’t keep you up at night.

 

What I really enjoyed about this story as well, is the romance. It is a bit unexpected and not a huge part of the story…which I really LOVE! Look, I adore my fantasy romances just like the next YA obsessive out there. But what I adore even more, is a story where a female isn’t waiting in the damn shadows for a man to rescue her and fight her battles. I crave that feminine strength and power in books, and Rebecca delivered.

Overall, I am really impressed with this dark Cinderella retelling. The pace is quick, and this book covers a TON of ground in just 180 pages. It completely sucked me in and left me feeling a bit dismayed that it was over, because all I wanted was to stay with Zezolla. I would gladly welcome a series of The Lady Raven, or even a dark retelling of EVERY princess (hint hint, Rebecca). I definitely recommend this gritty and gothic fairy tale to those of you who are looking for a new retelling or a spooky read for October!

4-stars

 

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Book Promo · Books · Edelweiss+ · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #31: My Top 10 Anticipated October Book Releases

Something Wicked this way comes.

You know who it is, you’ve been waiting all year!
It’s the Twisted.
The Ghostly.
The eerie Daughter of Darkness and the gloomy Son of Spooky.

 

 

It’s OCTOBER!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated October Book Releases *~

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1. Angel Mage by Garth Nix
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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Some of you may know Garth Nix, some may not.

He is the author of the Abhorsen series, Sabriel, and has made a name for himself in the YA Fantasy genre.

Angel Mage is a historical styled fantasy with heavy influence from The Three Musketeers. Set in a world that is largely controlled by angelic magic, Liliath seeks to be reunited with her lost love, the archangel of Ystara, by forcing four Sarancians to fulfill her destiny.

It basically sounds like an epic fantasy adventure of four against one, I am here for it COMPLETELY!

 

2. Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

Resurrection Girls

Resurrection Girls is one of those books I see and go-

was this written specifically for me?

It follows Olivia Foster, a young girl who is still reeling from the death of her younger brother. But when Kara Hallas moves in across the street, Olivia is immediately enamored with her free spirit and strange hobby of writing to men on death row. So Olivia joins Kara, and together, they write as the Resurrection Girls.

This sounds like it’s going to be one of those “they aren’t who they seem” styles of books, but I am REALLY curious to see where this fantasy/paranormal element comes in to play.

But who am I kidding?

I’m just here for the morbid tone.

 

3. Shadow Frost (Book 1) by Coco Ma
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Shadow Frost

Shadow Frost is about a girl named Asterin, Princess of Axaria, who vows to slay a demon that is terrorizing her kingdom. With the help of her friends, they set off to kill the beast in question, but discover startling information in the process. But an assassination attempt against Asterin has been planned, and a series of lies begin to come to light as they fight for survival.

Magic, a princess, demon beasts?!

Sign me up!

 

4. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/Horror

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My Horror pick of the month, and you’ll know exactly why!

The Twisted Ones is about a young woman named Mouse who begins cleaning out her grandmother’s home after her death. What she thinks at first is just a bunch of useless junk, she soon finds that not everything in this house can be brushed off so easily.

Mouse uncovers a journal of strange writings by her step-grandfather, and soon begins to experience the strange and unusual events that she assumed was the musings of an insane man. 

This novel is said to read like The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show

HOW? I don’t know, but I NEED!

 

5. The Good Luck Girls (Book 1) by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The Good Luck Girls

So I JUST received this beauty in the mail from the amazing and wonderful Andrea @andreajanel_reads , and I cannot wait to start reading this Westworld meets The Hadmaid’s Tale fantasy!

The Good Luck Girls is the story of five young women who were forced into prostitution houses and called Good Luck Girls. When one of the girls ends up killing her client, the girls devise a plan to escape and find freedom.

This sounds like a Wild Wild West meets Sucker Punch meets The Accident Season, and I’m just over here like

 

6. I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

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I LOVE a thriller that blindsides the ever-living shit out of me, and I am hoping I Know You Remember does just that!

When Ruthie’s once best friend Zahra suddenly vanishes from a party, she makes it her mission to find out what happened. But as Ruthie begins to dig deeper into the life of the girl she once knew, she soon discovers Zahra is far from the introverted and artistic person she was as a child. Zahra is popular and a young woman of many secrets, and Ruthie is about to fall into them.

7. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Sci-fi/Dytopian

The Grace Year.jpg

THIS book is the Sci-fi/Dystopian novel I have been waiting for ALL YEAR!

Set in a world where girls are banished until the age of sixteen and told their skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac that lures men in and throws women into a jealous rage, Tierney James dreams of a better life. A life where the girls don’t rage against one another, and work to tear each other down.

The Grace Year is dripping in feminist vibes like Wilder Girls and Girls with Sharp Sticks. It is a world where women are shoved down and fight against one another to survive in a society that only wants to push them down farther. 

I cannot express how long I have been waiting for this release.

I am so ready to highlight every word in this book.

Bring it on.

8. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

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

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

 

9. Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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Gravemaidens follows Kammani, a young healer who fights to save her sister from her impending death.

When the ruler of Alu becomes ill, sacred maidens are picked to walk with the dying ruler into the afterlife. It is an honorable position, but one that Kammani only sees as an execution. So when her sister Nanaea is chosen as one of the Gravemaidens, she sneaks into the palace and attempts to heal the ruler. But the secrets of the palace are dangerous, and more than just her sister’s life may be in danger.

 

10. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Release Date: October 31, 2019
Genre: YA/Middle Grade/Fantasy

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I LOVE Francis Hardinge books!!!

Not only does she come up with some truly amazing and unique ideas, but the detail and character building in each of her stories is FANTASTIC!

I mean yes, I wish she would write a more Mature YA or even an Adult book, but I am more than happy with these beautiful middle grade tales!

Deeplight is set in a fantastical world called Myriad, a place once terrorized by powerful gods that come from the depths of the ocean, until one day they vanished. Since then, the remains of these gods are traded and highly sought after. For Hark and Jelt, scavenging for “godware” is their life, and they soon set out on an expedition that will change their lives forever.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #30: 10 Badass Female Leads…

Murder, revenge, plotting, espionage, manipulation and sarcasm.
These ladies just don’t give a f**k.

 

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~* 10 Badass Female Leads…

That Will Kill You in Your Sleep *~

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1. Fortuna Sworn (Book 1) by K.J. Sutton
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

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We’re starting this “Badass Bitch” list off with a true nightmare:

Fortuna Sworn.

Fortuna is literally a Nightmare – a creature whose face shifts and transforms in order to accommodate the onlookers tastes, but who can reach into your mind to find your fears, and make you think they are now reality.

Twisted, right?!

Not only is this lady FIERCE and lethal, but she says demented things like this:

“For a terrible moment, I considered snapping my brother’s neck.”

This Adult Fantasy is by the amazing Kelsey Sutton who has written a ton of fantastic YA novels, but this is her first adult Fantasy and it is hot, HOT, HOT! If you like a Fae story that shows off the evil side of those intoxicating creatures, then read this. It has ACOTAR and The Folk of the Air vibes ALL over it!

(See my review here)

 

2. Alarum (Walking Shadows, Book 1) by Talis Jones
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-fi

Alarum

Flinch, Vizsla, Kid, Fury.

All one person, and ALL total badassery!

Fury is the epitome of a ruthless, strong, sassy, resilient and dangerous woman. From being sold as a slave into a new world after the collapse of the United States, she is thrust into a simple lifestyle: kill or be killed. This tale tracks her childhood in a slave camp, her time working for a brutal family, and her transition into lawless renegade.

This lady is the shit!

Plus, Alarum will most likely make you cry…so that’s a plus.

(See my review here)

 

3. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Serpent and Dove

No list is complete without a Witch to spice things up, right?!

Allow me to introduce the one and only, both incredible and crude, yet arrogant and hilarious, Louise le Blanc.

Look, a woman that will scream a pub song called “Big Tiddy Liddy” at the top of her lungs is a winner in my book. But throw in some SERIOUS Witch heritage, insane abilities, and murderous tendencies…then I will just turn to jello.

Serpent & Dove is a newly released YA Fantasy about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a guard of the church, even though he is unaware that she is actually a Witch and is VERY good at gutting people.

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

(See my review here)

 

4. Glitter (Book 1) by Aprilynne Pike
Genre: YA/Historical Fantasy/Dystopian

GLitter.jpg

Versailles, ball gowns and royals, high-tech automation and a courtier selling makeup with drugs in it?

Get it, girl!

Glitter doesn’t seem to be a super well-known series, and I am wondering WHY?! It has everything us YA book lovers need! Romance, scandal, an asshole young king and a leading female who just wants to take those bastards down…one jar of rouge at a time!

It’s a Historical Fantasy with a Science Fiction twist and it is SUPREMELY amazing!

 

(See my review here)

 

5. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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Drownings, scandals, near decapitationsOH MY!!

13 Minutes is a slinky little YA Contemporary Thriller that will have you mumbling “wtf” while also grinning from ear to ear. I really can’t say who the badass is in this without giving EVERYTHING away, but just know…it’s delightful

It follows Natasha as she wakes up in the hospital after being washed up on an embankment. Nobody knows how she got there, and worst of all, she can’t remember anything. Natasha links up with her friends and a former friend to find out what really happened, and the truth is…shocking.

But just know this, these girls are twisted.

(See my review here)

 

6. With Malice by Eileen Cook
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery

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Want to be completely blindsided, infuriated AND appreciative of the truly devious acts of women?

You’ve come to the right place.

With Malice is exactly as the title describes: Malicious.

It is another story about a girl waking up in the hospital not remembering what happened to her. Slowly it becomes revealed that she was involved in a car accident, and there was someone else involved.

There are some serious Amanda Knox trial vibes going on here, and involves some cutthroat behavior by a female that I just can’t help but slow-clap for. This book has a twist and an ending that will make you just

(See my review here)

 

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

The SUrface Breaks 2

You know what I love?

A feminist retelling of men being drowned for treating women like they’re nothing.

The Surface Breaks showcases a mermaid named Gaia who starts out as a meek and subservient daughter of the Sea King, but swiftly turns into a truly glorious character hellbent on standing up for herself and her sisters.

It’s a darker version to the original Little Mermaid tale you know, but one that NEEDS to be read!

(See my review here)

 

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

Wilder Girls

I am obsessed with this book, and even more obsessed with the female characters that grace its pages!

Wilder Girls is a YA Horror/Mystery filled with a collection of girls who are as freakish as they are resilient. These girls will claw at each other for food and kill you on the spot, but their hearts are filled with immense love and loyalty for one another.

This breathtaking and eerie story is about a school on an island that has been quarantined after a Tox infiltrates their walls. The girls are mutated and dying, and it is downright DARK! But oh so good.

(See my review here)

 

9. Darkness of Light (Book 1) by Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: New Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

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Looking for another Celaena Sardothien and Rowan Whitethorn to swoon over?

Okay, technically this isn’t like TOG at all, but it’s Fantasy, it’s hot and I just love a female who can fight alongside some fantastical creatures!

Darkness of Light is an Adult Fantasy series filled with demons, fae, goblins and dark dwellers. This series is exciting and soooo romantic, but most importantly, it gives you a female lead who is SO saucy and fierce!

I am planning on reading it again this weekend, so jump on the train with me and let’s all just drool over this series together!

(See my review here)

 

10. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary

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Killing November is not high on my list of favorite books…at all, but it IS stuffed full and exploding with various characters who are all passionate about one thing:

Killing. ❤

Academy Absconditi is a school for assassins and spies in training. Classes range from poisons, knife throwing and plain old manipulation. So in this case, there is a whole host of badass females who will kill you in your sleepliterally.

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · JKS Communications · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #28: August Book Wrap-up

Look August
It was fun and all.
We had some good times, some bad times.
But, like, I just can’t anymore.

 

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~* August Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Terrible Lizard: A Memoir of My Time in the Police Dinosaur Unit by Doug Goodman

Terrible Lizard

Terrible Lizard is an Urban Fantasy that tells the tale of former law enforcement officer, Oak Jones, who spent 7 years in the Police Dinosaur Unit. This fantastic book is a collection of memories and action-packed moments that Oak experienced alongside his partner Banshee, a velociraptor with a tumultuous past.

I have read a lot of books by Doug Goodman, and each time I am more and more impressed with his attention to detail and superb storytelling. This book is suitable for ALL ages, so feel free to read it on your own or with your little dino-loving munchkins.

4-5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

2. Forsaken Wrath (The Scorpio Files, Book 1) by Alexander Ferrick

Forsaken Wrath

Forsaken Wrath is the first book in the adventure short story series called The Scorpio Files. It centers on the tales of fortune hunters Nick Reed, known as Scorpio, and Bartimaeus as they embark on an adventure around the world that will lead them to treasures and deep history.

If you were a big fan of National Treasure, The Da Vinci Code or even Pitfall (a game that was released on Atari, but revamped for Wii) then you will absolutely love this book. The writing is excellent, and it kept my attention for its entire 70 pages!

I’m honestly hoping these turn into full-length books, because I NEED!

5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

3. The Surface Breaks by Luoise O’Neill

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Guys!

THIS one.

My poor heart, is still breaking in two and filling over the brim from the sadness and strength I got from this book!

The Surface Breaks is a feminist re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, and it is EVERYTHING that you, your mother, your sister, brother, father, daughter and son need!

The amount of quotes I inserted in my review for this book was…slightly embarrassing, and honestly, I could have just written a review in quotes. Because I highlighted that many, and it was that good.

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 the shred apart in the name of love.

If you do anything after reading this post, buy this book.

5-stars

(Click here to see my review)

 

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

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Okay, my review for this isn’t up yet.

So I’ll be brief.

THIS is a newly released Adult Fantasy about a kingdom that becomes cursed to no longer bear daughters, after a chieftain denies his unborn child.

The First Girl Child tells the story of Bayr of Saylok, a bastard son of a cruel chieftain and the woman who cursed the Kingdom, and a daughter named Alba that was born 7 years after the curse went into effect. Bayr is blessed with in-human strength, and has been tasked with protecting Alba and acting as her guardian.

This book was NOT what I was expecting, but I’m not mad about it at all! THIS WAS SO GOOD! The writing, the story-building, the characters, descriptions, EVERYTHING was perfection!

I will have my review posted this weekend or early next week, so look out for it!

 

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So honestly, yea, my August was a little slow. I have been in a distracted slump and finding it hard to read, but I’m back on it.

I have 100 books to read this year, and I am NOT very far, so I have to get it into gear like…yesterday!

Stay Witchy, my loves!

 

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

Binding of Bindings #27: My Top 10 Anticipated September Book Releases

What…
What.
Is.
That?!

Could it be?!
Books releasing in September that you DON’T already have on you TBR?!?!?!
The outrage.
The HORROR!!

It would behoove you to get your sh*t together!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated September Book Releases *~

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1. Shadow Frost (Book 1) by Coco Ma
Release Date: September 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Shadow Frost.jpg

So author Coco Ma wrote this when she was ONLY 15. It has STELLAR reviews on Goodreads, and to be honest…I can barely wait to bury my precious, fantasy loving face in it.

Shadow Frost is about a girl named Asterin (TOG vibes, AH!), Princess of Axaria, who vows to slay a demon that is terrorizing her kingdom. With the help of her friends, they set off to kill the beast in question, but discover startling information in the process.

An assassination against Asterin has been planned, and a series of lies begin to come to light as they fight for survival.

 

2. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The Lady Rogue.jpg

I received an ARC copy of this book from Simon and Schuster for review, and let me tell you…this book is even more gorgeous in person!

The Lady Rogue is a historical fantasy that is kind of a Dracula retelling, but not at all? It centers on Theodora as she travels around the world with her father as he seeks treasure. But when her father suddenly goes missing on a search in Istanbul, her help is enlisted by her father’s protege and her ex-boyfriend, Huck Gallagher.

The two travel to Romania once they learn what Theo’s father was actually on the hunt for, Vlad the Impaler’s ring…or better known as, Dracula. So ensues a tale of adventure and mystery, with a wonderful gothic theme! 

 

3. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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ATTENTION, my dear witches.

There’s another magical book releasing this month, and it’s tailored JUST for us!

Serpent and Dove is the story of the war between the church and witches. It follows a female witch named Louise le Blanc who has fled her coven and given up her powers to go into hiding, and Reid Diggory, a young man who has sworn an oath to the church as a soldier and to never give in to the wickedness of witches.

But when the two are forced into marriage, they must make a choice between what is expected of them, and what they feel brewing between them.

Romance, witches, religious psychotics and turmoil?!?

Am I still breathing??

 

4. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

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If you know me even a little, you know I just love a cult vibe.

Stalk cults, witch cults, nerd cults, goth cults.

I just love a cult.

Piper has unknowingly been raised in a cult all her life, with her father being the supposed prophet and chosen one. That is until the government sweeps in and Piper is separated from her family, and placed into the world outside of the small circle she’s always known.

But when Piper is told that her father isn’t actually her father, and that she was kidnapped as a child, she refuses to believe that everything she has been taught was a lie.

The Liar’s Daughter looks AMAZING! I just know I am going to devour it, and that it will probably punch a hole in my already battered stomach/chest…but I don’t care.

Give me ALL the feels.

 

5. His Hideous Heart by Various Authors (see below)
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Retellings/Anthologies/Horror/Short Stories

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Check. This. Out.

Dahlia Adler, Kendare Blake, Rin Chupeco, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn, Amanda Lovelace, Marieke Nijkamp, Emily LloydJones, Hillary Monahan, Caleb Roehrig, and Fran Wilde.

His Hideous Heart is a collection of retold/re-imagined Edgar Allen Poe poems written into new short stories.

I mean…I feel like I don’t even have to continue at this point.

This is an obvious book buy.

 

6. A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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A Treason of Thorns is about a girl who has an immense devotion to a house of magic called Burleigh House. But for the last seven years, she has been in exile due to her father committing treason.

Now finally able to return Burleigh House, Violet finds it to be in dire condition and lacking the plentiful magic that it once exuded.

Annnd…that’s literally all I know about this book.

Confused?

Naturally.

So obviously…we have to read it!

 

7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

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Reviewers are calling this story “achingly beautiful” and I’m just over here like…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is set in the early 1900’s and is about a young woman who stumbles upon a strange book about doors to other worlds.

The book teaches her about love, herself, and countless important lessons along the way.

I am honestly having a really hard time even finding a complete description of this book, but all I can find is countless pleads to read this book and promises of how breathtaking and wonderful it is.

 

8. The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale, Book 2) by Margaret Atwood
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/Feminism

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PRAISE. F***ING. BE.

It’s finally here.

If you don’t know about The Handmaid’s Tale book, or even show, then you need to crawl out of the broom closet you’ve been living in and WAKE UP!

The Testaments picks up fifteen years after the ending of book 1, where Offred steps into the van and awaits her fate. This installment features three female voices from Gilead, and will supposedly explain the “inner workings” and much deeper details to the obsession that is this story.

 

9. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Release Date: September 19, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Paranormal/Feminism

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This book description has me at the cover, and then at Gothic, Feminist, Dark and Romantic!

The Deathless Girls is the untold story of the brides of Dracula, girls captured and enslaved in harsh conditions. It follows sisters Lil and Kizzy as they are forced to work in the kitchens of their newly cold life, and the connections that Lil makes with other inhabitants of the castle.

 

10. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery

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You’ve been waiting for a horror story, I know.

Don’t worry, I got you. ❤

Rules for Vanishing is a mystery horror in the style of The Blair Witch Project about a missing girl and a ghost.

A year after Sara’s sister disappeared and she has been exiled from her friends, a mysterious text suddenly has her and her former friends coming back together to “play the game” and find the ghost of Lucy Gallows, a legendary ghost story that still circulates their town. And so the friends meet with cameras and walk into the forest where Sara’s sister was taken.

Hopefully they all survive.

 

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Stay Witchy

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

Book Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

Plot: Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.

Opinion:

“’How much you are prepared to give up for one you know so little.’”

This isn’t The Little Mermaid tale you know and love.

It’s dark.

It’s painful.

It’s every hurt, wound and fear in your soul that you’ve been unable to express in words.

This book is for the girls who need to know their worth.

For the women who need reminding.

For the boys who must learn to be gentle.

And the men who need to be shown.

 

“A Woman’s no can so easily be turned into a yes by men who do not want to listen.”

 

These waters are dark and deep, so tread carefully.

 

“Either I am silent above the surface, or I spend the rest of my life screaming for mercy down here, the water muffling my cries.”

Gaia knows what it means to live in silence. To listen and obey her father, the Sea King, for his word is law and he is generous. To only speak when spoken to, to keep her tail and physique in pristine condition, and to never deny the wants of a man. But what Gaia truly yearns for is to know why her mother left them for the human world. What it is like above the surface, and how to escape her arranged marriage to a brutal man who looks at her with dominance and greed in his eyes.  As her fifteenth birthday nears, like all mermaids, Gaia will have the chance to break the surface and glimpse at what resides above the water. But when her desires to be free of her tail and to escape her future turns to desperation, she makes a deal that will change her life forever.

“Muireann of the Green Sea cursed me with wanderlust and a thirst for dry air that could not be quenched.”

The Surface Breaks is the heartbreaking feminist re-imagining that I have been needing all year. It beautifully details the sorrows, desperation and fear that women feel on a regular basis. That they are less than, that they are only wanted for their looks, and that they must strip themselves bare in order to be pleasing, worthy or loved. It portrays the life of a young girl and her sisters who have been taught that they are decoration for the pleasure of men, and that their desires are wrong and unnatural if they do not fit into the opinions of men that have been made into law.

“Please don’t touch me, I want to say, but I know that a woman’s body may always be touched if so desired. I am blessed to attract such attention. Everyone says it, so it must be true.”

Gaia is a sweet, gentle, innocent and delicate young girl who yearns to understand why her mother abandoned her. Just like Ariel, she is deeply attracted to the human world by the trinkets and baubles that she has been able to collect on the ocean floor. Her father tells the girls that their mother was weak and gave into her obsession to reside with the humans, and it resulted in her eventual death and capture at their hands.

It was incredibly difficult experiencing Gaia’s sadness and feelings of hopelessness as she went through the motions of her life. She is one of several sisters who are forced to be subservient, to attain a certain level of constant beauty and appeal, and who are married off by the desires and convenience of their father.

“I am the diamond in my father’s crown, and he is determined to wear me as such.”

This book has a dark and nauseating undertone that is necessary to the story, but still very hard to sit with. Gaia is betrothed to a man who is beyond creepy, inappropriate and vile. He treats her as if she is nothing but a doll that has been made for his pleasure and amusement, and she has no say in the matter. I felt suffocated and sick watching her character be treated so horribly. This book touches on some VERY serious themes that may be disturbing for some, so be weary. After all, Gaia was ONLY TWELVE when her father arranged her marriage to a man in his 60’s!

“His lips against my check, too close to my mouth. It is as if he wants to peel my skin away from my body and taste it on his tongue.”

“The nausea might subside when we are bonded”

But the theme of Gaia and the women in The Surface Breaks having zero control over their own lives is a constant! If a mermaid isn’t pretty, thin or appealing enough to the Sea King or any men in the kingdom, they are banished. Gaia is forced to give up her voice in order to be near the man she loves, and the Rusalka girls are treated as vile creatures hell-bent on bringing out destruction. The despair that these beautiful women feel is screaming through these pages, trying desperately to be heard. My heart was aching throughout this read, and I still feel a sense of loss and anger as I sit here typing away.

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

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

The romance in this story is also an unconventional one. It has honestly left me feeling hopeless for romance in real life, and just reinforces my opinion that book boyfriends are the ONLY boyfriends you should EVER allow in your home. Because the feelings and relationship that Gaia has with Oliver will be able to resonate with EVERY female. That feeling of giving everything about yourself away to gain the attention of a boy. How we so quickly and easily shred, distort and disfigure ourselves in order to feel a glimpse of love from another.

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

“All the things that I have ignored about this man in order to make the narrative of true love and destiny fit. I tried to make him as perfect as I needed him to be.”

I am so blown away by the love and intent that was put into this book. Every sentence is purposeful, every feeling, detailed and poetically written. I had SO many emotions racing through me while reading! I wanted nothing more than to reach into my kindle and wrap my arms around these girls. To protect them and tell them it will be okay…even when sometimes, it wouldn’t be okay. This book REALLY hits home and strikes hard.

To be honest, I could probably write this review with only quotes that I highlighted from this book, and that would be reason enough for you to want to buy it immediately. It is a beautiful and distressing tale, but it is a tale with an immensely important message. To know your worth and to stand up for yourself. To care for one another. To treat women with respect. To not shed who you are for the pleasure of another.

Please read this.

“’A woman needs to be strong to survive.’”

 

5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #26: 10 Book Retellings You Need To Own

Princes and Princesses.
Evil Queens and deadly magicians.
Magical kisses, tall towers, dragons, knights in shining armor and damsels who just can’t seem to get themselves out of their own distresses.
Fairy tales.

We know them by heart, don’t we?
But…
What if we didn’t?
What if everything wasn’t as pretty, peppy and perfect as it seemed?

 

Are you sure you know the true story?

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~* 10 Book Retellings *~

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1. Dorothy Must Die (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy Must Die is the story of the OTHER girl from Kansas, Amy Gumm.

After Dorothy finds her way back to Oz, she seizes power and becomes crazed with ruling. Now, Oz is a land where the good are bad, the bad are good, and executions are more frequent than not. Amy must find away to take Dorothy down, once and for all. 

 

2. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Girl in Red is a Fantasy/Horror about a woman trying to survive in a decimated wasteland filled with vicious creatures: human AND animal.

This is a dark, twisted, gritty, and frightening version of Little Red Riding Hood, and one that NEEDS to be read. The reviews for this book are OUTSTANDING! Even if horror isn’t your thing, TRY to read this.

Christina Henry rewriting fairy tales is seriously, everything.

 

3. Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Faust

Teeth in the Mist

The tale of Faust is about a man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to receive knowledge and pleasures greater than his wildest dreams. In Teeth in the Mist, the story is told in the voices of three women from varying times in history.

Zoey is sixteen living in modern times, and explores the haunted ruins of Medwyn Mill House with her friend. Roan is seventeen in 1851 and is, along with two others, the newest ward of the eerie Mill House. Hermione in 1583, is a young bride married to a man with plans of building a mansion and water mill with a few rumors of dark rituals.

Their only chance of survival is finding the man that brought them all together.

Reviewers have been LOSING it all over Goodreads about the creepiness and obsession that is this book! If you don’t read it now, at least save it for October!

 

4. Stealing Snow (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Snow Queen

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Snow White set in an Insane Asylum?

VIBE.

Stealing Snow is set at Whittaker Psychiatric, where seventeen-year-old Snow is spending her days…even though she isn’t crazy. But when her first kiss with Bale turns him violent, Snow is suddenly drawn to a new orderly who promises to whisk her away to a mysterious kingdom that could be the answer to all of their prayers.

 

5. Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance
Retelling of: Twelve Dancing Princesses

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You know the tale to the Twelve Dancing Princesses right?

12 Princesses, sisters, are on lock-down by their father, the King. But unbeknownst to him, the girls sneak out every night and go dancing until sun up. Once a sweet story, now…

Well. Not a sweet story.

Entwined is about Azalea and her eleven sisters who walk through an enchanted passage each night to go dancing in the silver forest, invited each night by The Keeper. The Keeper knows what it is like to be unable to leave, but the Keeper also likes to keep things.

 

6. Mechanica (Book 1) by Betsy Cornwell
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Steampunk
Retelling of: Cinderella

Mechanica

Mechanica is a steampunk Cinderella retelling about a sixteen-year-old inventor who discovers a secret workshop in her cellar filled with magical animal creations and gadgets.

After Nicolette’s mother dies, her father remarries a cruel woman with two even crueler daughters. But when her father dies, Nicolette is forced to live under the rule of her new family. But once Nicolette discovers the workshop that she knows can change her life forever, she sets her sight on the upcoming ball – a convention to showcase inventions and talents.

 

7. Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

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Another Little Red Riding Hood retelling, because wine not?

Red Hood follows Bisou Martel who has grown up under the care of her grandmother. But then a wolf attacks her on homecoming night, and Bisou ends up killing it. The next morning, however, she realizes that one of her male classmates has been found dead. And she wonders, was he the wolf?

My description is s**t, I know. But I didn’t have much to work with here okay?

Basically what I am gathering from the reviews is this is a story of toxic masculinity and feminism, and really packs an emotional punch. I all ready to read it!

 

8. Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Goose Girl

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Thorn is about a princess who longs to escape her vicious family and cruel courtiers, and her betrothal to a Prince in a kingdom called Kestrin. So when a sorceress robs Princess Alyrra of her identity, she jumps at the change to start her life as a goose girl. But life in Kestrin is different from what she was expecting – less lavishness, and more suffering.

Now Alyrra must decide which kingdom she will stand for, the kingdom of her birthright, or the kingdom that offered her freedom?

 

9. Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Peter Pan

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Another Christina Henry Horror Retelling!

My gift to you.

Because I love you.

In Lost Boy, Jamie is Peter’s closest friend and favorite. When Peter took him from the Other Place years ago, he was enamored with the world that Peter created. A world where there weren’t any grownups to tell them what to do. A place where they could be young forever, playing tricks on pirates, and swimming with mermaids.

But Peter isn’t who Jaime thinks he is. Peter only wants to have fun, and doesn’t care if there are a few deaths and monstrosities along the way. Because the way the lost boys play is hard and dangerous.

 

10. Coiled by H.L. Burke
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Eros and Psyche

Coiled

Oh look, another sweet tale for all us Slytherins out there ❤

Coiled is about a Princess who has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister, due to the curse that was placed on them at birth. But each time her sister is cruel to another, she becomes lovelier. And each time Princess Lairda uses her power of healing, she becomes more ugly. 

Embarrassed of their daughter, she is shipped away to an island where another pair of male twins reside who are also cursed. The curse for one of the boys, Calen, is that each time anyone sets eyes on him, he is turned into a snake. But Laidra sees the good in Calen, and together they fight to break their curses.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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