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Book Review: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Smoke and Key

 

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

Plot: A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…

Opinion:  

Death, lost love, walking corpses, corsets, propriety, falling from graves, curious momentous and magic.

Finally.

The spooky Historical Romance that your Gothic little heart was searching for.

Smoke and Key was just as beautiful, dark, sorrowful and mysterious as I’d hoped it would be.

Kelsey Sutton is Queen when it comes to ingenious and creatively mind-bending YA plots. She brings fantasy to life and completely astounds me with her imaginative ideas for books. Countdown clocks to death in Gardenia, a book of poetry about a girl living a life of imagination in The Lonely Ones, and a world where emotions take human form in the Some Quiet Place series?!

*Swoon*

But my newest Kelsey Sutton obsession centers on Smoke and Key. It’s an eerie Gothic mystery dripping in fog and Tim Burton tendencies. The story takes place in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and moves between Key’s memories of her life and her time in Under. It is a time when young ladies are thrust into corsets and skirts, where propriety is everything, and when being caught with a member of the opposite sex in public, without a chaperone, is downright scandalous! It is a YA Crimson Peak (without the weirdness) and Corpse Bride mashup, stuffed with romance, murder and magic.

Under is neither heaven nor hell, it is a place in between, or so its inhabitants think. The place is downright creepy, and I was enamored with every moment of it. There is only dirt, cold and corpses in this depressing place and each person who walks its floor possesses the names of the objects they came with: Key, Smoke, Ribbon, Journal, Pocket Watch, Doll. The characters and the world of Under is like a funhouse for the dead. It’s filled with charismatic characters whose flesh and organs are literally decomposing before the readers eyes, and they’re tipping over the Looney Tunes side of the sanity spectrum.

Though there is no clear indication of what age characters like Key, Smoke and Journal are, I would have to guess that they are in their late teens or very early twenties. I found Key to be an absolute dream and am so grateful the author didn’t turn her into an immature wailing female. Key is the picture of poise and manners, even in death, and she comes off as an incredibly strong-willed lady of the dead. Match her up with the brooding, curious and dashingly Gothic Smoke, and we’ve got ourselves the match-up for every bleak black heart out there!

But obviously, the real addiction here is the thrilling ride the reader takes as they begin to uncover what Under is, and how these people got there. As Key’s memories begin to surface, she gets snippets and clues of her life when she was alive. A big house with a girl who calls her sister, a boy in a library, and American with an infectious grin and a knack for fighting. Each memory brings Key closer to learning about herself and how she died, but it also brings her closer to the dark side of her life.

This book brought out so many emotions in me while I was reading. Sadness, longing, excitement, disgust, curiosity. I LOVE the world this author created and the characters that fill its pages. It was so different from every YA Fantasy story currently out right now, and it is bound to be a favorite if you love a Gothic tale with magic. I devoured every page and am still hopelessly looking for more…*sigh*.

I’m going to be looking at cemeteries with longing in my eyes now.

 

5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #12: My Top 15 Anticipated April Book Releases

I thought this was going to be a nice, cheery, colorful and happy post about 15 books that I CAN’T wait to be released for April.
But….as I started adding each book on to my list…
….it started turning
super sad and dismal.

I love it.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

~* My 15 Anticipated April Book Releases *~

 

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1. White Rose by Kip Wilson

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

White Rose

White Rose reflects on the life of Sophie Scholl, who was a young German anti-Nazi activist born in 1921 and who died in 1943. This book documents her time in the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group, and the eventual capture of her and her brother as they were convicted of treason.

I don’t know about you, but i have a hardcore fascination for anything WWII. This sounds like an AMAZING story, and thankfully I received an ARC of it from Edelweiss!!

 

2. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Smoke and Key

I am SO STOKED for this release!

If you don’t know Kelsey Sutton, YOU NEED TO.

She comes up with these intricate and creative plot ideas, blends it with detailed characters and settings, and just turns you into a bumbling blathering bandicoot.

For example:

In Smoke and Key a girl wakes up in this dark, cold underground place with no idea of where she is or how she got there. Around her neck is a Key, the only clue to her identity. She comes across a boy named Smoke, who explains the she is dead and has fallen out of her grave into “Under“, a place filled with inhabitants who are named after the items they carry. “Under” is creepy, filled with secrets, and downright gritty.

Sounds trippy, right?

I JUST pre-ordered Smoke and Key on Wednesday, so I am SO excited to receive it on the release day…because it sounds…

 

3. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

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So apparently, Wicked Saints follows two characters, Nadya and Serefin. Nadya is a cleric (priest/religious leader) with magical powers and is being hunted by Serefin, a Prince who is also a mage.  It is described as a Gothic tale full of secrets, bloodshed, treachery and callousness.

Psh…sign me up.

 

4. Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: Adult/Fiction/Feminism

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Women Talking is for the mature reader, due to acts of rape and physical/mental abuse.

It is the story of eight Mennonite women meeting in secret to share their horrific stories of abuse that has reached more than a hundred girls. It is the story of how the men in their colony have drugged and raped them, and how the women come together to decide if they should stay or leave.

This sounds like it’s going to be a difficult read to get through, but due to it being based on a true story, I definitely want to give it the attention it deserves.

 

5. We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo

Release Date: April 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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This is the story of two young women who must come together in order to break a spell that has brought a cloud of disease and devastation of Duke’s City. For years the city has been sealed off from the rest of the world, not allowing anyone in or out.

After Lena is accused of being a Mage, she fights to escape the city, just as a young women named Constance, tries to get back in. Together the women must work together in order to save the city and the people within.

I love a Fantasy story, especially one that involves two badass women who save the day…hopefully.

 

6. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

Release Date: April 4, 2019
Genre: Ya/Fantasy

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The story of a seventeen-year-old captain of a mining ship seeks revenge on the River Raiders who robbed her two years prior.

Though the story sounds like a Pirates of the Caribbean type of tale, it centers more on grief, redemption, forgiveness and the path to find one’s self. It follow Poe as she tries to come to terms with her past, while also embarking on an exhilarating adventure.

 

7. The Last by Hanna Jameson

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

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The Last is described as a tale that combines a “nuclear apocalypse and murder mystery“. Now if that doesn’t grab your psychotic attention, I don’t know what will.

It starts with a man named Jon arriving at a hotel in Switzerland. Whilst there, news reports come flooding in of a nuclear attack on major cities. As hotel guests begin to flee, only twenty guests remain at the hotel, and Jon tells the reader of their story.  As the world is crumbling around them, with little knowledge of what is actually going on in the world, a young girl is found dead.

I received this title from Netgalley, and am really intrigued by the premise of this story. I think it is either going to turn out to be INCREDIBLE, or a dud…but we shall see!

 

 

 8. How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary

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Ahhhhhhhhhh chit!

We’re gunna cry during this one guys!

How to make Friends with the Dark is the story of Tiger after she loses her mother. We follow her as she deals with her loss, is put through foster care, and tries to navigate a world where she now feels lonely and isolated.

This book has a TON of amazing reviews on Goodreads praising the writing and story. Just makes sure you grab a box of tissues and a fuzzy blanket before settling into this one.

 

9. The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Mystery

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A Gothic ghost story with a chilling mystery, YES please!

The Lost History of Dreams is the story of Hugh De Bonne, and his wife and muse Ada. After Hugh dies suddenly, his cousin Robert Highstead, a post-mortem photographer, is called on to transport Hugh’s remains for burial. But when the niece of Ada comes forward to recount the truth of Hugh and Ada’s marriage, a secret begins to emerge.

It sounds creepy, it sounds spooky, and it sounds like it’s right up my “Forever Halloween Season” alley.

 

10. The Dream Peddler by Martine Fournier Watson

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

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Geezus, this post is just dripping in grieving characters and sadness, isn’t it?!?!

Well, here’s another one.

Robert Owens is a traveling salesman in the business of selling dreams. After the disappearance of a young boy rocks a small town into shock and grief, Robert begins to use his magic to help the inhabitants. But despite his effort to help, some of his dealing turn disastrous.

This author had me at “selling dreams“.

 

11. Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Mystery

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Another Gothic Mystery/Thriller, because the April Book Gods have answered my little gothy prayers!

Ivy has just been shipped off to Darkhaven to live with her rich uncle following the death of her strange and abusive mother. As Ivy begins to adjust to her new life, she starts to uncover some well-hidden family secrets. Secrets that have her waking up from nightmares. But when one nightmare causes her to wake up covered in blood, she starts to realize that maybe there was a reason behind her mother’s crazed behavior.

SPOOKY!

 

12. Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Feminism

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Ahh…a good old fashioned girls road trip!

Except this road trip consists of two best friends and a girl they barely know…to get…an abortion.

On the same night that Camille learns she has been accepted into a prestigious theater program, she also learns that she is pregnant. Felling like she has no other option, she decides to get an abortion. With nobody to turn to, as her best friend disagrees with her decision, she reaches out to a girl from the theater to accompany her.

This book documents a woman’s right to choose, and the strength it takes to go against social expectations.

 

13. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: YA/Retelling/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The Raven's Tale

I JUST mentioned this last week in my Binding of Bindings: Top Ten Retellings of 2019 post last week, so we might as well give it some more promotion, right?!

The Raven’s Tale is a retelling/adaptation of the early life of famed poet Edgar Allen Poe. It is the story of his need to escape his home life, the love of his life, and the Muse that falls into his life. It sounds like it is going to be a beautifully haunting tale, which is perfect for any Edgar Allen Poe lover!

 

14. Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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Last Girl Lied To is an emotional thriller about the disappearance of Trixie, and her best friend Fionas’ search to find her.

Though Trixies’ death was ruled a suicide, Fiona thinks that Trixie is actually alive. As Fiona hunts for clues as to what may have caused her friend to leave, she begins to realize that the friend she thought she knew may have been a complete stranger.

 

15. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Release Date: April 24, 2019
Genre: Poetry

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An anticipated release for months, April is finally making our wants and desires come true.

Twenty years ago, Laurie Halse Anderson released her book Speak, the story of a young girl who is the victim of rape. Still a favorite and an incredibly important story that has been shared across the world, Anderson still can’t fathom how rape culture still exists.

In Shout, Anderson has compiled countless stories, moments from her life, and poetry that is a love letter to every person who fights to rid our culture of sexual abuse.

THIS is the one we have all been waiting for.

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Keep those beautiful heads up, those eyes reading, and remember to stay witchy! XoXo

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #10: 18 Female Authors You’ve Probably Never Heard of

Friday may be the Binding of Bindings day, but Women Day is EVERY day!
LADIES!
Put those stomping boots and heels on, push the hair out of your face and don’t even bother to look like anything other than the complete BADASS that you are!
We’re stepping out of the shadows and landing SMACK dab in the middle of the book hierarchy!

We came to obliterate the competition with style and flawlessness.
We came to show these guys JUST how we do things!

These women take no prisoners, get the job done THEMSELVES, and DEFINITELY don’t need any Heroes to save them.
Welcome to the Sheroes!

Step aside lads, the women are taking over this post.

18 Badass Female Authors

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1. Maggy Farrell

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Guilt Trip is a YA/Adult Paranormal Suspense story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Melissa. After surviving in a car accident where her mother perished, she travels with her father to the English countryside on holiday.

Strange things start to happen by way of a woman screaming for help, and unexpected visions. But let me tell you one thing about this story, you will NOT expect what happens. If you love a good blindside, read this story!

You won’t be disappointed!

(See my review here)

 

2. Angie Grigaliunas

Are you guys tired of me talking about this series yet?

Too bad.

This series just might be everything your feminist heart desires…or…despises?

It follows two sisters who live in a place where Hulcondans rule over the people as their protectors, but also use their power as a means to get what they want. For Rabreah, the Hulcondans are corrupt and need to be taken down. But for Ariliah, they are who she trusts without a doubt.

This series is AMAZING and one i have become utterly obsessed with! These two female characters transform into strong and fierce characters who you will fall in love with. There is danger, murder and a TON of mind games.

Though I think Angie Grigaliunas is trying to kill me with this series, I still love her.

(See my review for book 1 here and book 2 here)

 

3. C.L. Clark

C.L. Clark is one of the first authors I had the pleasure of working with!

She has a knack for the ghostly Thriller/Suspense stories, and knows just how to pull the reader in and keep them interested until the last page.

Opening the Veil is about a young woman named Cassie as she delves into her new talent of being able to speak to spirits. But then she discovers that a paranormal entity is using her neighbor as a puppet while it goes on a killing spree. The series continues with A Brighter Light and tracks Cassie as she learns to hone her abilities and help spirits move on.

I have not yet read Staring Into Darkness, but it is on my TBR list and I am excited to get to it! It is a collection of ghost mysteries that promise to give a little spook and a lot of thrill!

(See my review for Opening the Veil here)

 

4. T.L. Schaefer

T.L. Schaefer has MANY books, so I am just going to give you the covers of the four that I know the best.

The C.A.S.I. series, Behind Blue Eyes and Shoot to Thrill, are a few favorites of mine that I read some odd years ago. It follows crime-scene photographer Sara Convington as she tracks a serial killer and works to catch him before his next killing. The series is SO exciting and there is even a little romance involved, if you like that sort of thing.

The C.A.S.I series is a great suspense thriller with a badass female lead. There’s just NOTHING better than a woman that is intelligent and can kick some ass!

(See my review for book 1 here and book 2 here)

5. H.A. Leuschel

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H.A. Leuschel is the QUEEN of combining psychology and fiction short stories!

Her book Manipulated Lives has five stories that each showcase how people can be manipulated by others and how to deal with it. These stories touch on abuse, narcissism, overbearing parents, first love, and even friendship and acceptance.

This collection is so beautiful and breathtaking. You will read through it so fast, but try to savor every story and every moment!

(See my review here)

 

6. Kathleen Valenti

Did you guys see my review for As Directed?

It was…SPECTACULAR!

This author writes in a way that is just perfectly dramatic and snarky, it feels like poetry for the reader that loves when sentences are explained in creative ways rather than just saying someone turned around and breathed.

I was given As Directed in exchange for a review, and yes, it is book three in the series. I HAVEN’T read books one or two, but I am most definitely planning on doing so.

As I said in my review, Kathleen Valenti is my new favorite suspense/mystery/thriller writer.

(See my review for As Directed here)

 

7. Talis Jones

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Okay…I haven’t read this yet…

But don’t you judge me!

I was gifted this story by Talis Jones in exchange for an honest review, and i am hoping to make it my next read. It’s got the dystopian/wild-wild-west vibes and is set in the future after the U.S. has fallen. It follows a girl as she tries to navigate this new world…and that’s honestly all I know.

This one is REALLY shrouded in mystery, but I am really liking that aspect of it. It seems like MANY writers are leaving their book descriptions vague, but that just makes them more alluring. I can’t wait to find out what happens, and judging from a few Goodreads reviews, some unexpected things are going to take place!

8. Meg Anne

The Chosen series is a Paranormal Fantasy about a girl named Helena who is plucked from her simple life and told she is the prophesized ruler of the Chosen, those who are blessed with magic and powers.

I have read the first book in the series and have the next three on my long, long list of books. Helena is a fierce, badass female lead who you will absolutely fall for. The best part is, she turns into this fearsome demonic all-powerful queen.

Um….to die for!

(See my review for Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

9. Rebecca L. Carpenter

I JUST mentioned Butterfly Bones in my YA Reads for the Young YA post last week, but i am still going to mention it again!

Rebecca Carpenter has come up with SUCH a unique and beautiful concept for these books, and i can’t believe more people don’t know about them! The Metamorphosis series is about a ril named Bethany who was born with a rare bone disorder that keeps her body from growing. Though she is a teenager, she physically looks like a child. The story is about how her father is trying to find a cure for her by using butterfly hormones, and how Bethany goes through social situations with her condition.

Though this story sounds like a Fiction/YA/Contemporary…it is…but it isn’t.

It transforms into this beautiful fantasy story that is both heartbreaking and sweet.

Do your inner child a favor and read these.

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

10. T.S. Pettibone

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T.S. Pettibone is the pen name for identical twin sisters Bittany and Nicole. Together they wrote the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Hatred Day series, and is set in 2052. Hatred Day marks the day when Earth was inhabited by an alien race that eventually lead to an environmental uproar. As an Inborn, Snofrid and her people are enslaved by the alien race, but worst of all, she wakes up with her memories stolen.

The first book in the series was AMAZING and I have been patiently waiting for the release of book two. I am not sure when it will be released, but i am hoping it will be soon. The Pettibone sisters possess such creative minds to come up with this world, and i thank them SO much!

  If you are as obsessed with this cover, and with a post-apocalyptic style of world where everyone is in gas masks, please read this.

(See my review here)

 

11. Cyndy Drew Etler

Ready for something heavy?

The Dead Inside is a true story about author Cyndy Etler’s experience in a “tough love” camp run by Straight, Inc. The camps were drug rehabilitation centers for troubled and out-of-control youths, and were extremely popular during between the late 70’s and early 90’s. Many of the children and young adults brought to these camps weren’t even on drugs, but were sent there because their parents didn’t have any way of dealing with them.

The experiences in these camps were both horrendous and shocking. Countless reports of physical and mental abuse have been reported during and since the closure of the camps, which can be found at http://survivingstraightinc.com/

The Dead Inside is Cyndy’s story of her time in one of these camps, and We Can’t Be Friends is the story of her struggles in society and her own mind after being released. It is almost unfathomable to know that this story is true, but I am so grateful to have been able to read it.

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

12. Kelsey Sutton

Gardenia is another great story that barely anyone has heard of, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!

The reason I love Kelsey Sutton is because she is gifted with a mind that comes up with the most CREATIVE ideas for books, see below:

Main Character Ivy has the ability to see the “countdown clocks” over everyone’s head, which indicated when that person will die. Though she has tried to save lives, she has never been successful and her own impending death is just on the horizon. But then girls start disappearing, and everyone begins to pint the finger at Ivy.

Now, I have not read Smoke and Key, Some Quiet Place or Where Silence Gathers, but I LITERALLY just put them on my TBR list because I just now came across them.

Smoke and Key is about a girl that awakens in the dark to learn that she is dead, has fallen from her grave and now resides in a place called Under. With no recollection of who she is or what happened to her, she tries to find a way out.

Some Quiet Place and When Silence Gathers is an interesting spin on emotions. Elizabeth doesn’t feel emotions, she seems them in human forms. None of the emotions can touch her, except Fear, who is her constant tormentor.

I’m a lover of anything dark and grim, and I think we can agree that Kelsey Sutton is too. If you share this strange deathly love with us, I highly recommend these books.

(See my review for Gardenia here)

 

13. Elizabeth Langston

I Wish is an adorable story about a girl who is forced to provide for her family and bring money in, with very little time for herself or to be a teenager. One day she comes across a music box at a flea market, and out of the box comes a genie willing to grant her one wish each day for a month.

It is a sweet and innocent story of friendship, strength, romance and doing what is right. A great story for all ages, and one all of us can relate to. I mean come one, who wouldn’t want to come across a genie?!

(See my review for Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

 

14. C.J. Anaya

The Prophecy series!!!

A series that starts out in modern times and goes back to 1000 A.D. There are gods, tyrannical rulers, and magic galore!

Hope starts out as a teenage girl in present times in book one, and by books 2-4 she learns that her previous life was lived as a Princess of the Kagami Empire. Her father was a cruel ruler that used her healing powers for selfish purposes. The story goes through both of her lives and the demonic threats that plague both.

It’s a fantasy series with a lot of romance, and a lot of action. It’s like a new-age Mulan/Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon story.

(See my review for Book 1 here, Book 2 here, Book 3 here and book 4 here)

 

15. Mary G. Thompson

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Flicker and Mist is set in a world where some people can Flicker, become invisible in an instant, but not without great threat against their life. Myra learned of her ability as a child, and since then her parents fought to keep her ability a secret. Because is a Flickerkin is discovered in New Heart City, they can be put to death.

I am ALWAYS looking for a story that is different and creative by way of plot and concept, and Flicker and Mist is one of those stories! It is so creative and exciting to read, and a story I wish I could fall into because my dream superpower is to become invisible at will!

(See my review here)

 

16. Elsie Chapman

DID YOU READ ALONG THE INDIGO YET?!

I have been ranting and raving about it for months now!

You know the one I’m talking about. Where people go to commit suicide, where a girl skims their bodies for money and valuables, and the one where said girl lives in a boarding house for woman who serve Johns.

Dreamy, right?

(See my review here)

The Dualed books are ones I have seen around, but haven’t gotten to read yet.

In this series every person has a genetic alternate, and one they must kill by their twentieth birthday in order to live. West thinks that she is the superior Alt until tragedy strikes, then she begins to question her very existence.

 

17. Stacey Marie Brown

THIS is the Big Kahuna of the Paranormal Romance books!

This series has magic, werewolves, faeries, goblins, demons and Dark Dwellers. Which is what our main character Ember is. After being thrown out of her school for accidentally causing an explosion, Ember is sent to a facility for troubled teens. There she learns who she really is, and which world she actually belongs in.

It’s like Twilight, if Twilight was written better and wasn’t so mushy.

This series is a MATURE YA/Adult series, so fair warning!

(See my review for Book 1 here)

 

18. Claire Warner

Amber Sky is the first book in the C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass dystopian/steampunk series. It is about a girl that is thrust into court life after making a deal in order to save her family from starvation. It has been featured MANY times on my blog and is one I cannot wait to continue…if the next book ever comes out..

(See my review for Book 1 here)

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You know the deal ladies, stay witchy and keep on being a badass!

 

 

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

Book Review: Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

Goodreads.com – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

Barnesandnoble.com – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

Bookdepository.com – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

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

Genre: Teen/YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been able to see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads indicating how long before they will die. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s, nor can she do anything about her own, which will hit the zero hour before she even graduates high school.

A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy does her best to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister. And she struggles to cope with the murder of her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was murdered in the woods, and everyone in town believes Ivy had something to do with it.

Then more girls start disappearing. Ivy tries to put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s. To save lives, and for her own sanity.

The clock is always ticking. And Ivy’s only hope is to expose the truth before it runs out completely.

Opinion:

AHHHHH! THIS book! THIS FREAKING BOOK!

You are probably thinking to yourself Wow, WHAT about this book. WELL, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK! I have been searching high and low for a specific genre of story to read for WEEKS now. A story that will make my heart hurt and my stomach flip due to eloquent and depressing sentences. You know the kind of story I am talking about. The sort of tale that doesn’t just make you sorrowful, but a story that makes you MAKE yourself sorrowful because you don’t want to stop feeling what the characters feel.

Well, this story comes pretty close to that.

Call it a gift or a curse, but ever since Ivy was a child she knew when the people around her were going to die. The ability to see a countdown of each person’s remaining time over their heads has proved to be most difficult for Ivy, especially when her own death has been approaching quickly over the past few months. After the murder of her best friend, Ivy falls into a downward spiral as she realizes that she can’t save the people she loves. But the need to find out the truth about what happened begins to consume her, and soon Ivy finds herself on the trail to figuring out who the murderer is. As Ivy’s last weeks begin to draw near, she fights to live her final days instead of just watching them tick by.

I can’t express enough how much I loved the concept for this story. Ivy is forced to watch the people around her die as their life clock comes to an end, while feeling helpless the entire time because she has no way to save them. I felt like I had a truly strong connection to this character. She is a loner at school and made to feel like an outcast because of events from her past, but she has a snarky attitude and is quick to fire off amazing zingers. When first introduced to Ivy, the reader quickly learns that there is a sense that she has already given up in life. With the death of her best friend being so recent and her own clock only being a few months before ending, Ivy has an overwhelming sense of despair and sorrow engulfing her. She has nobody close to her that she can talk to, and her family is very distant and wrapped up in their own lives.

As the story progresses, Ivy starts to become obsessed with finding out who killed her friend and why. In regards to the mystery aspect of this story, I was pretty surprised to figure out who it was. I had about one or two main suspects that I thought had definitely done it, but I was pleasantly surprised to have been wrong. The point where this story starts to get truly heart wrenching, apart from the already depressing events, is when the reader learns about Myers. Myers is the ex-boyfriend of Ivy, and let’s just say that relationship ended horribly on a night when everything else shattered Ivy’s world. I found that this author EXCELS when she is describing a sorrowful or dark moment. Not many authors know how to capture a feeling in words, and I thought Kelsey Sutton did a great job of it. This story is riddled with amazing descriptions of sadness and regret, and I adored every single minute of it.

Even after he’s gone I let my fingers linger on the glass, until the cold creeps under my skin and into my bones. Maybe if it goes deep enough, it will numb everything.

As numb as death.”

-Ivy

Overall, this was a TRULY wonderful read. I was hooked the entire time and felt connected to the characters and the story throughout the read. I am excited to see what else this author has done. If her writing is as good as this in all of her stories, then she is going to become a favorite of mine quickly. I recommend his to all ages, but primarily Teen and YA readers. It has a strong message of finding acceptance and living your life to the fullest, which I think anyone can relate to.

4-5-stars

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