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

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

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

You’re welcome.

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

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1. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

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

The Raven's Tale

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

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

 

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

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

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

Happy Birthday to me.

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

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

Dun-dun-dunnnnn.

 

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

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

The living God

Can we take a minute to drool over this cover?

This one sounds epic.

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

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

4. The Haunted by Danielle Vega

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

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

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

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

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

 

5. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

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

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A YA/Mystery of love, deception and murder.

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

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

 

6. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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

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

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

Bring on the creep factor!!!

 

7. Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

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

Ever Alice

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

House of Salt and Sorrows

I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR THIS!!!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

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

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

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

 

11. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

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

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

Sounds good right?!

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

12. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou

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

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This one is for all you Heathers lovers out there!

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

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

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Stay Witchy, my friends!

 

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Blogging Awards · Book Tag · Books · New Releases

The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

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Merry Meet my loves!
Big hugs and thanks to Amber from Step Into a Book World for nominating me in The Sunshine Blogger Award, SO long ago! I am finally catching up on my awards and tags, and I think this nomination was from 2017!
This is my second nomination, WOOT WOOT, and I am SO excited for a new set of questions! So let’s get this going!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
-Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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Amber’s Questions
1. What is your favorite book relationship?

UGH!

Rhysand and Feyre, Cardan and Jude, Rowen and Aelin and Rowan.

Look. I like a magical relationship where there are threats on both characters lives constantly, and where some cataclysmic s**t goes down.

I like turmoil okay? I can’t help it.

2. Who is your favorite minor character in a book series? 

Seamus Finnigan!!

3. Would you rather read only book series or a stand-alone?

If I had to choose between the two, I would say a series. I read a lot of Fantasy books,and I think they are done the best when the author has more than enough pages and books to unravel characters and stories. There’s nothing worse than a rushed story.

4. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

5. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I read Six of Crows and finished it, but I wasn’t overly obsessed with it or DYING to read book two. I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of the characters, so I probably won’t ever get around to continuing.

6. What is your favorite TV series?

The Handmaid’s Tale and The OA are…AMAZING.

But you know who will always be on top?

7. What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

Chaol from Throne of Glass!! He annoy me to now end, and I cannot stand the poor guy. It was INCREDIBLY hard for me to get through Tower of Dawn because of it.

8. What the name of a popular series that you have no interest in reading?

Game of Thrones and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I guess it’s more like “books I could read, but probably won’t ever read”. I tried watching the Game of Thrones show, and just could NOT get passed the first episode. I read Six of Crows, and really wasn’t crazy impressed with it. So I think that may be hindering my want to read any other of Leigh Bardugo’s books.

9. What movie adaptation did you like better than the book?

I have been sitting here for a good 10 minutes racking my brain, and I can’t think of one! I usually like the books more, partly because I am so weird about characters feeling authentic and the acting NEEDS to be flawless. If I can forget that I’m watching a movie, then it’s brilliant.

I think the Harry Potter movies could come close to being better than the books, but still…not really.

10. If you could have any book(s) coming in 2018 right now, what would it be?

So this question originally said 2018, but it’s 2019 now so I will go with this year releases!

I am REALLY looking forward to these upcoming releases!

Last Girl Lied To is a mystery/thriller about the disappearance of a girl and her friends hunt to find out what happened.

Girls on the Verge is labeled YA/Contemporary/Feminism story about a young woman and two friends traveling to across states, with the end goal being an abortion. Sounds a little strange I know, but also very appealing.

The Lost History of Dreams is a Historical Fiction/Mystery with Gothic tones and probably really sinister outcomes. It is the story of the confessions of a muse about the relationship between a poet and his wife.

The Raven’s Tale is a Fantasy Retelling of our dearly beloved Edgar Allan Poe. Enough said right?

11. What is a book(s) villain that you couldn’t help but love?

Malfoy and Voldemort, obviously.

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My Questions:
1. Where do you buy your books? Discount shops, Bookoutlet, your local bookstore?
2. Which book(s) lit you heart on fire and turned it to a pile of ash?
3. What is your favorite book genre to read?
4. Which books started out as required reading for school, but turned out to be a favorite?
5. Which character(s) do you wish would exit stage left and never return to the story?
6. What is your favorite read of 2019 so far?
7. If you could live with any character, who would it be?
8. Speaking of living spaces, what book world would you live in?
9. If you were placed in a school that trained you to be a Hero or Villain, would you be trained for Good or for Evil?
10. I wish it was still Fall, so what is your favorite spooky fall read?
11. Since this is the SUNSHINE award, what is your favorite summer read?

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My Tags:

~ Monika at Monika’s Books ~

~ Alejandra at Appraised Fiction ~

~ Way To Fantasy ~

~ Amanda at Once Upon A Book Dream ~

~ Raven at Dreamy Addictions ~

~ BookZone ~

~ Blair at Feed The Crime ~

~ Heidi at BookLoverBlogs ~

~ Maryam at The Road Less Read ~

~ Amy at Bookish Heights ~

~ Hannah at The Bookworm’s Feast ~

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel Blog Tour

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MSF 2D High ResPublication Date: December 6, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Goodreads

Lying is a symptom shared by the most convincing, cunning and ruthless individuals such as psychopaths and narcissistic manipulators. They have an invincible sense of self-importance and an addictive urge to project an image of power and perfection at all cost which are fuelled by the rewarding tools of charm, diversion and … clever deception.

Like anything in life, whether the skill is morally laudable or not, skills require training, effort and hard work. The danger lies in the brain progressively adapting to the dishonest behaviour and the longer the lies, the harder it would seem to be able to change the conditioning of one’s sensitivity to telling the truth. The truth and nothing but the truth or at the very least the intention to do so most of the time therefore appears to be a basic requirement for any interpersonal trust.

In my new stand-alone novella, I explore the idea that when crossing the line between truth or lie too often, it becomes a curse the person is eventually unable to shed … (H.A. Leuschel)

Excerpt

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I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.

‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.

‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’

‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my attention.

When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.

Purchase My Sweet Friend Here!

Enter for your chance to win a digital copy (Format of Choice) of My Sweet Friend

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches yoga.

Helene Leuschel | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

Blog Tour Schedule

Feb. 19th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Brizzle Lass Books (Excerpt) https://brizzlelassbooks.com

The Repeat Mom (Review) http://Thethreepeatmom.blogspot.com

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Review) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Jill’s Book Blog (Review) https://jilljemmett.com

Feb. 20th

Books and Belle (Excerpt) https://booksandbelleblog.wordpress.com

Beware the Reader (Excerpt) http://bewareofthereader.com

Jenacidebybibliophile (Review) https://jenacidebybibliophile.com

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com

Cover to Cover (Excerpt) http://www.liisthinks.wordpress.com

Feb. 21st

Girl Masked (Review) http://girlmasked.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

The Starving Book Worm (Review) http://thestarvingbookworm.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Feb. 22nd

Splashes Into Books (Review) http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) https://www.muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Feb. 23rd

The Orangutan Librarian (Review) https://theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Love Books Group (Review) http://lovebooksgroup.blog

Just 4 My Books (Review) https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

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Amazon.com – Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Goodreads.com – Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Barnesandnoble.com – Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Bookdepository.com – Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, H.A. Leuschel, for an honest review.

Genre: Short Story/Fiction

Plot:

Five stories – Five Lives

Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.

In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well-balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

Opinion: Hello readers, today I bring you a collection of short stories! Manipulated Lives showcases five different stories, with each story portraying a different form of manipulation. The reader is introduced to five characters who either come in contact with a manipulative person or prove to be the manipulator themselves.

The first story is called Tess and Tattoos and focuses on an elderly woman named Tess who resides in an “old folks home”. Tess is a very kind and artistic person and yearns for company and affection from others. As Tess forms a friendship with one of the staff members, she begins to open up about her past and an abusive relationship. I found Tess and Tattoos to be an uplifting and hopeful story about friendship and acceptance. Tess was a very gentle character who had been manipulated when she was younger into staying in an abusive relationship. Though this story is about how Tess was manipulated by another, I found that Tess even had her own forms of manipulation that were more positive. She would do small things in the mornings of her assisted living home to receive extra attention from staff, and this COMPLETELY pulled on my heartstrings. I think this is a FANTASTIC example of how manipulation doesn’t always have to be negative either.

The second story is called The Spell and is one of the longer short stories in the collection. It is about a woman named Sophie who meets a young boy named Leo and forms an instant kinship with him. Soon after Sophie meets Leo’s father (David) and they begin to date. Sophie becomes a mother figure for Leo, as his mother is out of the picture. David explains that Leo’s mother was a horrible and manipulative woman, and was put into a mental hospital years before. The Spell is interesting because there are two manipulators that come into Sophie’s life. One more obvious than the other. I found this dynamic to be very interesting, and it proves how hard it is to know when someone is manipulating you. Like Sophie, I am still not quite sure who was telling the truth by the end of this story. And like life, sometimes you never really know.

The third story, Runaway Girl, really hits home for me. This story was the one I really connected with, and it left my heart aching quite a bit after reading it. It follows a sixteen-year-old named Holly who is saving up every penny she has in order to run away to Scotland to live with distant family. One day at school, a boy named Luke starts to show interest in Holly. At first Luke is charming and caring with Holly, but that quickly changes. He begins taking advantage of her for her money, and smoothly talks his way out of things to continue manipulating her. I was once a Holly, so this story really resonated with me. It saddens me that this sort of thing happens a lot to young girls and women, and that so many boys/men can get away with it. I adore the ending and the strength Holly has, you go girl!

The Narcissist is the fourth story in this collection, and a great example of another type of manipulator. In this case, the character the reader follows is the manipulative person. The reader is introduced to an old man in a hospital who is dying and is having a hard time remembering his life due to his medical condition. Eventually, the reader learns that this man has been manipulating people his entire life in order to get himself ahead. He lived a double life and challenged and mocked anyone who tried to tell him he was wrong or incapable of something. In the end, he does something horrible which leads him to dying alone. This story ends on a sad note where I wished that the main character could have realized things sooner. Karma, karma, karma.

The last story is The Perfect Child and is about a woman who coddles and gives way too much to her child, and the repercussions of doing so. This mother spends most of her life making excuses for her “perfect child” by blaming others for his faults and insisting that he does no wrong. This obviously teaches her child how to manipulate others for his advantage, especially his mother. I know a mother and son just like these characters, and let me tell you, this author is SPOT ON. It is a great example of how a parent needs to be more objective and standoffish with certain things when it comes to raising their kids, in order to teach them right from wrong. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect child.

Go out and get this story guys, the writing is descriptive and paints a beautiful picture for the reader to get lost in. I think anyone can connect with at least one story in this book, and hopefully it can bring clarity to your personal life. I am so glad to have read Manipulated Lives, and so grateful for the author for reaching out to me. I think this is a great story for all ages to read, because it can teach everyone something different. I strongly urge you to read this, and if not you, your friends or kids! There are so many important lessons in these stories. I wish someone would have given me this book years ago. It is something EVERYONE should read!

5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Bookoutlet.com – Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Amazon.com – Glass Sword (Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

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Bookdepository.com – Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Genre: YA/Adult/Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Opinion: As I sit in my desk chair at work, obviously not working, I can’t help but wonder why I don’t stop to write a review before moving onto the next book in a series. Once again I have read book 2 and then immediately rushed to book 3 without even a second’s hesitation. Now I am sitting here with the misfortune of having to decipher WTF happened in books 2 and 3, because they have COMPLETELY blended together now. Obviously my need to know what happens next overshadows my responsibility to share my thoughts with you guys, but you are just going to have to suffer due to my selfishness. Book obsessions are a fickle mistress my darlings ❤

If you read my review for book 1 in this series, Red Queen, then you know that I was having some deep deeeeeeep issues with the fact that I couldn’t connect with the characters. Reading that a character is sad/guilty/happy/blah blah blah is COMPLETELY different than feeling what the characters feels. I don’t want to be TOLD that Mare is disappointed in herself for getting more people killed, I want to know it and feel it. As I was hoping would happen, the author has only improved in this while she has continued to write. After reading Glass Sword I was finally starting to feel the things that Mare, Cal, Kilorn, Farley and various other characters were feeling. As the story started building into a darker and more cutthroat story, the personalities and actions of the characters grew as well. Though I still feel as if Mares emotions aren’t translating as well as they could, I definitely am noticing an improvement and growth in the writing.

For me, halfway into this story is where it really starts excelling. Mare and her “team” have begun the search to recruit/rescue newbloods, and the abilities that these new characters show are KILLER! Their skills range from manipulating sound, teleporting, playing with gravity, changing ones physical appearance to match another, or being able to kill someone or something with only touch. Here is where the reader is introduced to some amazing new characters, and where I think the story actually comes into its own. As they start training the newcomers to fight and control their abilities, it starts to become clear that we are in for some epic battles in the next few books.

I am all for action scenes and cutthroat battles happening in a Fantasy story, but I am really starting to tune out of these sequences in this series. I keep finding myself skipping over a lot of these scenes, and I mean just flipping pages and not even looking back. I think there is a way to detail a battle without using so much wording, because this is what keeps losing my interest. In the Throne of Glass series there is a TON of fighting and killing happening, but I never lost interest once. I think this is because Sarah J. Maas really knows how to describe a moment in detail, but in a way that you are hanging onto her every word and not feeling as if you are being thrown too much information. In the Red Queen series this just wasn’t happening, and I couldn’t help but skip past these parts.

Glass Sword is where we also have a heart attack moment in which the author hints at a love triangle. But then again, there’s already a weird love triangle happening between Maven, Cal and Mare isn’t there? Well for those of you who love a nice romantic drama full of heart ache and emotional woes between three people…sorry. That’s not really happening here. In saying the least amount possible: some emotions are expressed, some emotions are respectfully shot down, and some other emotions are…emotional. J But fear not my romantic readers!  Book 2 is where the heat begins between Cal and Mare, and by heat I mean a very VERY dim flicker of flame on a tealight candle. Yes, it’s kind of a letdown. Though now I think we are all starting to realize that Victoria Aveyard has decided to focus more on the story, less on the romance. Which I can full on respect. You go girl!

With that said, I think this is a nice step towards what is to come in this series. I always see book 2 as the stepping stone for everything else that is building up in a story, and I feel like that with this one as well. I was glad to see that some of my concerns from Red Queen had improved in Glass Sword, and I can’t wait to see if things only get better. Though this series still hasn’t hit the WOW factor for me and has left me a little disappointed, I still find it an enjoyable read. If an author is keeping at least part of me interested and I am speeding through the series, then they have to be doing something right. I have already finished King’s Cage and hope to have a review up soon, so keep a look out guys!

3-5-stars

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Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Amazon.com – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Genre: YA/Adult/Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. There, before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess, and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays the only certainty is betrayal.

This sweeping story of palace intrigue, class hierarchy, and deception will keep readers hurtling along, desperate to find out Mare’s fate. Her honesty and determination, quick wit, and no-holds-barred attitude will surely make readers fall in love with her.

Opinion: Red Queen has been sitting pretty on my bookshelf for a few months now, but I keep putting it off for a few reasons. The first being that I had WAY too many books from authors/publishing houses to get through, and the second being that I didn’t want to get addicted to this series and read it too quickly…which I always do. The Red Queen series has been very hyped up in the book community, so I figured it must be amazing. I found myself really enjoying the story line, but something was missing for me.

Mare Barrow lives in a world where humanity is separated by the color of your blood. Silver bloods are blessed with powers that make them both godlike and elite, while the Red bloods are forced into servitude due to their lack of abilities. Mare, being a Red blood, has been living in poverty her whole life and has mastered the art of stealth and pick-pocketing in order to survive. But as her 18th birthday nears, so does her conscription into a never-ending war. As Mare desperately searches for a way to save herself and her best friend Kilorn from being put on the front lines, she finds herself in an even more compromising position…being a new servant to the Silver King. But when Mare begins work in her new position, her world flips upside down as she finds that she not only possesses an ability of her own, she is now betrothed to a Prince of the Silver court. With a hatred for the Silver kingdom and everything negative that they have brought against the Red bloods, Mare secretly joins the Scarlet Guard, a rebel group. Now Mare must decide who she can trust and how to survive, even if that means living with the enemy.

Long description I know, but these books are LONG. I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities to The Hunger Games while reading this book, and I think it had to do with the themes of rebellion and a court of insane characters. The Silver bloods are very similar to those that live in the first 3 districts of The Hunger Games, they are cruel, cold, and calculated. Of course the obvious difference is that the Silver bloods possess some seriously amazing gifts from the gods. Their powers range from super strength, wielding fire, manipulating metal, having control over someones abilities or mind, and so on. These traits are what make the Silver bloods more powerful than the Red bloods, and what allows them to control the lives of every Red blood in their kingdom. The Silver bloods are a brutal group in how they act and what they can do, but their appearance only adds to their dominance. Having Silver blood running through their veins makes them look pale and hard, almost inhuman. These traits definitely work to serve as many reasons as to why the Silver bloods have taken power of the Red bloods, and why it has been so hard for the Red bloods to rise up over the years.

Mare Barrow is an interesting character. She is a Red blood and has been in poverty all of her life with her family. She has seen all three of her older brothers go off to war due to conscription, and she has fought hard to find a way to help provide for her family. Unfortunately for Mare, she lacks any particular skill and is unable to find herself work as an apprentice. While living in the shadow of her perfect sister, Mare uses her time to steal from the Silver bloods in order to compensate for what she cannot do. I like that mare has a fierce and quick tongue, and has no problem speaking her mind. She holds strong morals and beliefs, and she bares these on her shoulders throughout the story.

What I found frustrating was that the chemistry and connection between characters, and between myself and the characters, was really lacking. I didn’t feel Mare and Kilorn’s strong life-long connection to each other, or a connection between mare and any other character for that matter. The author EXPLAINS the relationship between Kilorn and Mare or how the bond between Mare and Cal and Maven grows, but I didn’t believe it. It’s like someone just telling you that they have undying trust for someone else, rather than you noticing it and believing it. I just didn’t buy it. So naturally when the romances started to come forward, I was left rolling my eyes and thinking that they felt forced and unnatural. I find this happening in so many YA stories now, and it saddens me. I JUST NEED MORE!

Characters aside, this story has a really great imaginative feel and flow. The world that the author has created is wonderfully described and made up, even though I sometimes get a little lost in the countless names of characters, places, and abilities.  There is A LOT of description and character reflecting in this story, so be prepared for that. I found myself skimming through some of the paragraphs once and awhile because of the overload of explanations, but that’s just me. Besides a lot of great detail putting this story together, the author does a great job of inserting some amazing blindsides and twists and turns. I honestly had NO IDEA that the story was going to take a turn like it did, and I LOVED it. I mean naturally I am a bit crushed, but I adore when an author can do something unexpected.

Long review I know, but this story deserves it. I know that my review ended up sounding a bit more negative than even I was expecting it to be, but rest assured that this story really is enjoyable. I think that because this story was so hyped up, I was expecting it to be “out of this world” amazing. I am currently reading book 2, Glass Sword, and trust me…it’s getting crazy good. I am hoping the character development improves and becomes stronger, because I really want to have a connection o these characters. Keep a lookout for my review of book 2, Glass Sword!

3-5-stars

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Book Review: A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge

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Amazon.com – A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell’s expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .

Opinion:

WHEW! Listen up guys, because this is one book that NEEDS to be noted and fawned over.

“It draws you in. You twist your mind into new shapes. You start to understand Caverna…and you fall in love with her. Imagine the most beautiful woman in the world, but with tunnels as her long, tangled, snake-like hair. Her skin is dappled in traplantern gold and velvety black, like a tropical frog. Her eyes are cavern lagoons, bottomless and full of hunger. When she smiles, she has diamonds and sapphires for teeth, thousands of them, needle-thin.”

-The Kleptomancer, A Face Like Glass

Neverfell’s story begins at the young age of five, when she is found by Cheesemaker Grandible after falling into a vat of his curdling Neverfell milk. After rescuing her and taking one look at the young girl, Grandible notices the differences in the young child, covers her face with a mask, takes her in and appoints her as his apprentice. After some seven years later, Neverfell is accustomed to her life as a cheesemaker. But unable to remove her mask around other people or to leave the cheese tunnels, she finds herself fighting a curiosity about what lays beyond. Soon Neverfell’s opportunity to leave the tunnels presents itself, and she gets her first look at the world that she has been hidden from. But her freedom is short lived when her mask falls from her face, and what lies beneath is shown to the people of Caverna. Neverfell, unlike the residents of Caverna, is able to make expressions on her own without having to be taught. As word travels of Neverfell, she becomes sold to the highest bidder. Caverna is flushed with experts in dangerous and strange delicacies, and murder is just another game for the members of the court. Pushed into a world where Neverfell finds trust in the wrong people, she struggles to find a way to protect herself and to recover the memories that she feels may be lost forever. But most importantly, to find a way out of Caverna.

Caverna. Woah. This place is seriously vicious guys. Do you remember reading The Hunger Games and being introduced to the strange people in the capitol? These people were insane and followed bizarre fashion trends that made them both appealing and frightening. Trust me when I say, the capitol has NOTHING on the court in Caverna. These people are PSYCHOTIC. They create wines that have minds and temperaments of their own, cheeses that can explode upon a slight bump, and strange foods that have creatures trapped inside gelatin. Not only do they spend all of their free time trying to poison rival families or hire assassins, but they are unable to make facial expressions on their own. The higher up in society and the better-off you are, the more “Faces” you are able to buy for yourself. People of a lower faction usually are unable to have 1 to 3 faces, depending on their job titles.

How to prepare the perfect Cardlespray Wine:

“One hundred and three years…The grapes spoil if they are exposed to loud noises, so they are tended by a silent order of monks, and all the local birds are killed. The fruit can be harvested only at night during the new moon, and must be crushed by the feet of orphans. The barrels are stored deep in the earth, and only the softest, sweetest music is played to them, continually, for over a century. And after all this, the Wine is fit to be drunk…unless somebody throws it over a table.”

-The Grand Steward, A Face Like Glass

Neverfell finds herself caught right in the middle of the chaos that is Caverna. The people of the court are all trying to get her hands on her for personal benefit, she cannot remember her past, and there is a strange person labeled “the Kleptomancer” running around Caverna stealing incredible objects with no apparent motive. I felt so horrible for young Neverfell throughout this story, and it was honestly staring to feel like something out of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Her innocence started to become her downfall, and it was heartbreaking to see her trust in so many people that proved to be using her in a game much larger than her. Her character grows a great deal in this story however, and I really enjoyed who she becomes. She still has her morals and good intentions, but acquires a cunning and righteous personality by the end of the story. Not only does Neverfell work to help herself be free of Caverna, but she fights to free those who have no voice at all.

The writing in this story is AMAZING, and I can’t wait to start reading other books by Frances Hardinge. She writes with an amazing creative and descriptive style, and it almost feels like poetry after a while. She PERFECTLY set the scene for Caverna as being a dark and curious place, one that can both thrill and kill a person. I thought the entire idea for having a civilization underground was amazing, but one where the characters aren’t able to make their own facial expressions? GENIUS! I seriously couldn’t get enough of this story, and I am wishing it was a full-blown 20 book series. This is one of those stories you wish would make it to the big screen because of how dazzling it looks in your head, but one you fear they will completely ruin…like they usually do.

All in all, I LOVE this story! I have nothing negative to say, not one thing. I can’t help but give this book 5 stars, which I hope will lead to many of you going and purchasing this story RIGHT AWAY. It is the perfect amount of fantasy and science-fiction, and a great read that will twist your mind into two. This book is suitable for all ages, but the youngest I would say is Teens because the writing could get a little confusing for a younger audience.

5-stars

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