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Book Review: The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

The Liar's Daughter

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

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Religion/Mystery

Plot: Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.

Seventeen-year-old Piper knows that Father is a Prophet. Infallible. The chosen one.

She would do anything for Father. That’s why she takes care of all her little sisters. That’s why she runs end-of-the-world drills. That’s why she never asks questions. Because Father knows best.

Until the day he doesn’t. Until the day the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers–even from Caspian, the boy she loves.

Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.

With a woman They claim is her real mother–a woman They say Father stole her from.

But Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape.

Opinion:

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

This is the story of a girls path to self-discovery.

The weaving of lies into truth.

The voices that are battered into ones brain so a person ceases to think for themselves.

It is the story of a life lost, a life gained, and the art of creating a world of both.

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the Community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. She is the perfect sibling, ensuring all the littles are well cared for and that everyone acts their best. Because the Outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth. That all They do is lie, and that Father knows best. Because Father is a prophet, and Mother and Father would never lead her astray. They love her, and everything they do is to keep their family safe.

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

The Liar’s Daughter takes the reader to “before” and “after” Pipers time living at the community. The “before” portrays memories of what she calls home, a small house near a lake and an abandoned amusement park. Piper describes this place as if it’s heaven on earth. The peacefulness, beauty and sense of freedom. She is a girl of great gratitude and happiness for what she has, and the family she is blessed with.

But when we go to the “after”, it is Piper in present time after being taken out of the community. She is unable to discern delusions from reality, or memories from hallucinations. She is in a state of confusion, a haze of sadness and anger for being ripped from her parents and siblings. She believes she is being held against her will, kidnapped and held captive. She is fearful of what being on the Outside will do to her body and health. She refers to her new family as They and Them-those who mean her harm and feed her lies.

These people must’ve gotten into my head somehow, altered my memories.

What else could explain what’s happening?”

My love for Piper goes deep, because I was on this ride of discovery with her. I felt her confusion, her pain, her anger for being ripped from those she loves. Every day in the present is a time of mourning for her, and a search to figure out how to escape and run back to Mother and Father. I couldn’t help but share in the injustice of the situation with her. How dare these people rip her away from her siblings, her life of freedom. She was happy where she was, even if those on the Outside see it differently.

How does it feel? I want to ask. To have everything that’s precious to you taken away?”

It may seem strange to hear that I see any sort of an injustice for a girl to be returned to a home she was taken from first. To see her ripped from a family that brainwashed her, that gave her barely enough food. But that is where things get tricky, isn’t it? Piper only remembered her life at the Community, and she fiercely loved those around her. Is it the best thing for her to be ripped from those people, and thrust back into the arms of people who are now strangers to her? In the long run, maybe. But watching her try to piece her life together. Her own thoughts, her own emotions…it was hard to witness.

I want to be seen.”

It takes true talent to write the leader of a cult in a way where the reader is able to understand JUST how alluring he is. He is sensible, his arguments have just cause, and he makes you want to leave your cellphone behind and live a life off the grid. This is one of the first fiction stories about a cult I have read that really captures the essence of how enticing and pragmatic a cult leader can be. They weave promises into lies masquerading as truths, and everything feels and sounds so real and possible, until you realize it isn’t.

Monsters don’t have empathy. They have sharp claws and teeth that thirst for blood.”

This story turned out to be a delicate and sorrowful tale, but ultimately, one of hope and recovery. Piper is a gentle character who has so much love in her heart, and only wants to make people proud of her. She wants to be seen and acknowledged, to be loved and adored. I really appreciated the author shedding light on how Piper’s time in the Community affected those around her. It twisted the knife that was already protruding from my stomach, and then gave it a little extra shake when you begin to see the truth of what happened to her and her family. This is an amazing book that I think everyone should read. If this topic is usually sensitive to you, I do want to express that it doesn’t go into anything graphic and it isn’t a dark and evil book. It is a truly beautiful and delicate tale, and I highly suggest it be devoured.

“Last Warning. Do Not Stand Up.”

4-5-stars

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

Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s – Delacorte Press, via NetGalley for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Horror/LGBT/Mystery

Plot: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Opinion:

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

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

This book will make your skin shift,

your toes coil,

and your breath hurt.

With every page it slowly peels away layers of your heart while simultaneously sewing those pieces back together; until you’re left with nothing, but this mismatched, lumpy, irregular beating organ lost inside your chest that you aren’t even sure is yours anymore.

There is a rawness and truth hidden in these beautifully writhing words.

So make sure you’re listening.

“…and I miss the way the wind steals your breath like it never belonged to you in the first place.”

A year and a half ago, the Tox infiltrated their island. It crept its way through the trees and animals, tickled the locks on the gates and doors. It sighed through the ventilation like a whisper after lights out, and it took a hold of every girl with a beating heart and a smile. The Navy said they were looking for a cure. That there is still hope, they just needed more time. But the girls at Raxter don’t have time. The Tox is ripping them apart one by one, making them turn on one another, or worse, making them turn on themselves. But Hetty, Byatt and Resse have each other. And as long as they stick together, they can survive anything.

Unless the next flare-up shreds them from the inside and turns their bodies black.

“About three months into the Tox, they came back from the woods with their names torn out of their heads. The Tox took what they were, took everything except how to hold a knife. It made them stick each other in the main hall during dinner, made them watch themselves bleed dry.”

This book took my body through a mess of psychological and physical torment. My stomach is still writhing around and trying to jump out of my throat, and I’m honestly more than a little concerned that something might be crawling around inside me now. Wilder Girls…is wild. Rory Power has taken the typical “virus outbreak” story and dipped it in a drum barrel of mental terrorism to give you a tale of graceful misery and unorthodox beauty.

Because that is exactly what this toxic storm of starvation, terror, and savagery is.

It’s beauty.

“His skin peels off like strips of paper, gathering under my nails, soft and pulpy.”

These sweet, innocent and delicate young girls are trapped in an asylum that keeps them cut-off from the rest of existence. Their once normal lives have been drowned; washed away by an outbreak that leaves behind unpredictable flare-ups that leave the girls in a state of physical insanity. Bruising from the inside out, second spines and hearts, a silver scaled hand, skin lesions and bubbles. Each girl is a walking nightmare. A grotesque and brutal version of their former selves. But what makes these girls truly breathtaking and beautiful, is that they look at one another without judgement.

Each girl is wild, untamed and ferocious. They are monstrous creatures with brave hearts and convictions. They go to physical blows over scraps of food, but protect one another with a passion and savagery that is…enviable. These girls push through their bleak existence to find love and comfort in one another. It’s a story of strength and iron-will. Of yearning and love that doesn’t need to be explained. These girls aren’t pushed into categories and stigmas, they just ARE.

“Reese and Byatt, they’re mine and I’m theirs.”

The three main girls are Hetty, Byatt and Reese. The story mainly unfolds by the voice of Hetty, but flips over to Byatt’s viewpoint occasionally as it progresses. Hetty and Byatt are extremely close, to the point of near obsession for Hetty. She wants to be everything that Byatt needs, and credits Byatt for being the one to show her who she really is. But somehow, this obsession doesn’t feel poisonous or harmful. It feels loving, respectful and protective.

“Byatt was the one who put the bones in my body.”

The romance in this story is slight, but it is absolutely heartfelt and soft. It isn’t lustful or forced, and it doesn’t take away from the plot. To be honest, it’s one of the only truly good feeling moments in Wilder Girls. The sweetness of it is quick and will be gone before you know it, so enjoy that moment while it lasts. Because this book isn’t going to lull you into blissful dreams.  

“My back arches, eyes slamming open. Thrashing against the straps pinning me, throwing my weight from side to side. Paretta, at the foot of my gurney, saying my name, but she’s the one who did this to me. I scream.”

 

This is a horror story, and it is indeed horrific. It is eerie, creepy and doused in a gloom so thick you can barely focus your eyes. It made me cringe. It made me disgusted. It made me keep the lights an hour after I finished the book. But most of all, it created a pit in my stomach that I still can’t seem to shake. And honestly, that is all I ever want from a book.

For it to leave my body in a state of confusion.

“…I start to know what the rope is for. But I don’t do anything. I sit so my legs are tucked under me. I watch the Tox go to work. On his knees. A rope into a noose. His eyes never close. His grip never changes. He is pulling right until the end.”

5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #23: June Book Wrap-Up

There it goes…
Off into the sunset, out with the tide, out like a firecracker.
We had been waiting so long for its arrival, were so happy to see it here, but now it’s gone again.
Snuffed out for another year.
June.

 

WAIT.
No…not that June!
This June.

The happy one.
Well…anyways…

 

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~* June Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I LOVED The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which I read at the end of May.

So naturally I sprinted into June on the wispies of young love, murder and supernatural powersMORE than ready to continue smirking and swooning uncontrollably.

And it was wonderful..

Apart from those shameful moments of Mara turning herself into an Afghan and spewing silly notions like “I was his“.

Honey, you aren’t a rug.

Get control of yourself.

But the series turned out to be wonderful. Even if it did go in a completely RANDOM science fiction direction that I was not expecting. Some of the romance fizzled out a little near the end too, but I still devoured these books like my life depended on it.

 

3. The Haunted by Denielle Vega

The Haunted

I received The Haunted in a Goodreads Giveaway (shockingly) and was SO excited to get my black painted finger nails all over it!

Danielle Vega is the author of that oober super popular horror series called The Merciless, which I FULLY recommend you go read if you like blindsides and a little paranormal torment in your life.

The Haunted was a classic haunting story about a girl who moves to a new town with her family after a traumatic experience with her ex-boyfriend. But their new house is legendary to the inhabitants of this small-town, and various stories of murders and strange happenings are brought to light.

I liked this book. But did I LOVE it? Eh.

It was a super quick read, and one that will grab your attention and keep you hooked. I just felt the ending was a bit rushed and that it could have been longer.

I was definitely left wanting MORE!

(See my review here)

 

4. My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna

Ready to get your heart ripped out of your chest?

My Real Name is Hanna begins in May of 1941 in Ukraine at the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign. The book documents Hanna and her families journey into hiding as the Germans attempt to make Ukraine “Jew Free”.

It is a work of fiction, but based off a holocaust survivor named Esther Stermer and her extended family along with four other families who survived by hiding in caves for over 500 days.

This book is heavy. This book is devastating.

But it’s begging to be read.

My last thought, before I say the Shema, is of the young mother Jacob told us about, while he choked on his own tears-a mother who smothered her own child in her winter coat before the shot came, so the child would not feel the bullet.”

(See my review here)

 

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
(Again)

A court of thorns and roses

Okay…

…so maybe it IS the fourth time I’ve read this.

But you can’t blame me!

This book is…this SERIES is…

…it’s…

IT’S EVERYTHING!

In my defense, however, this reread is due to my lovely friend Tove (@fadingfairytale). She had NEVER read it and I have been on her case about starting the series for MONTHS. So she finally started it and MY OH MY, she loved it. OF COURSE!

My other friend Tabz (@literary_consumer) even joined our read, and now it’s turning into a hilarious slew of Instagram stories and even…something else 😉 (hint hint)

If you also haven’t read this series (cauldron forbid) then you MUST! NOWWW!!!!

It an amazing Fantasy Romance series packed with Fae, battles, curses, swoon-worthy high lords, love, heartache and badass females!

Just read it.

 

6. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

The Best Lies

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

…you’ve come to the right place.

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

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

Sure the plot sounds simple and straight forward, but it isn’t. This book is complex. There are layers upon layers of intricate stitches, barely visible weaves sewn into the story, minute details and mannerisms applied to each character.

And all of it is so beautifully put together to make this GIANT quilt of…despairing love.

If you don’t read any of these other books, at least read this one.

(See my review here)

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #21: The Vain Post (2) – 10 Books You’ll Buy for the Cover

Just because we were vain LAST week, doesn’t mean we can’t be vain THIS week too!
These books are pretty, popular and oh so perfect!

Get some superficial in yuh, boys and girls!
Because who ever said too much ego in a book relationship was a BAD thing?!

I sure didn’t.

 

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~* Another Vain Post *~

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1. The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

The Cerulean

The Cerulean is the story of Sera, who is one of the Cerulean, a people who live in the City Above the Sky. Sera wants nothing more than the tether between her world and the world below to be broken, and one day she is given the opportunity – she must jump off the edge of her world and sacrifice herself, in order to save her city.

But instead of dying, she lands in Kaolin.

 

2. Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Beautiful Borken Girls.jpg

Beautiful Broken Girls is a YA Contemporary Mystery that is both beautiful and haunting.

After her Death, Mira Cillo leaves behind notes in seven places where her and Ben touched. Each note will lead Ben closer to why Mira and her sister drowned themselves in the quarry. But the notes link Ben to his dark past with an inappropriate coach who took advantage of him, as well as the complicated and twisted tale of the two sisters.

 

3. Ice and Embers by Melanie Karsak

Ice and Embers.jpg

Aren’t these covers AMAZING?!

My eyes!

Melanie Karsak has a series of Steampunk Fairy Tale Retellings, and this is one of the many gorgeous books from the collection!

Ice and Embers is a Retelling of the Snow Queen and is set in 1814 London, during the Frost Fair. It follows Elyse, an actress who is madly in love with a Lord named John Waldengrave, but is told to keep their affair a secret. But her best friend Kai doesn’t trust John, and so entails a story of mystery as Elyse begins to discover the truth about the men in her life.

 

4. Golden Braids and Dragon Blades by Melanie Karsak

Golden Braids and Dragon Blades.jpg

Golden Braids and Dragon Blades (amazing title, right?) is a Rapunzel Retelling about a girl named Rapunzel who has spent her entire life living in Merlin’s cave, with only her dragons and visits from Mother to keep her company. But when a young man happens upon the cave, Rapunzel is forced to decide if he can be trusted.

Soon their destinies entwine and they are brisked away on an adventure in a London Steampunk world.

 

5. Curiouser and Curiouser by Melanie Karsak

Curiouser and Curiouser.jpg

THIS Alice Retelling sounds AMAZING!

Curiouser and Curiouser It is set in a seedy, dark and gloomy version of a Steampunk London where Alice spends most of her time surrounded by thieves and criminals. But when a heist is presented to Alice to steal a diamond from the Queen, she is forced to accept in order to save the man she once loved: the Hatter.

 

6. A Certain Slant of Light (Light, Book 1) by Laura Whitecomb

A Certain Slant of Light.jpg

A Certain Slant of Light is a Paranormal Romance of a ghost girl named Helen who has been haunting her way through the death for nearly 130 years, going by unnoticed and unseen. But it isn’t until Helen is haunting a high school English teacher’s class that she is finally noticed. By a boy who is alive, and can see her.

Usually these paranormal ghost romances are flipped, where the girl is living and the boy is dead. So I already love the idea of the roles being switched.

 

7. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Light Between Worlds.jpg

The Light Between Worlds is a Historical Fiction YA Fantasy that follows Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell as they were transported to a magical realm called the Woodlands, and then taken back to London. For Ev, she wants nothing more that to return to Woodland. But Philippa thrives in the real world, and moves to America in order to forget Woodland.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa is forced to relive the past in order to save her sister.

 

8. Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined.jpg

ANOTHER Retelling!

If you guys have been excited for House of Salt and Sorrows like I have, then hopefully you have read this OR are now going to.

Just like House of Salt and Sorrows, Entwined is a Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Sisters that centers on Azalea, the eldest of her sisters who is now in charge due to the death of their mother and their father going off to war. Confined in the palace for a year, the sisters soon come across a passage that leads them to the Silver Forest and The Keeper.

The Keeper invites the girls to come and dance, whenever they shall please, but things are much more sinister and dark than they seem.

9. The Soul Thief (The Horizon Chronicles, Book 1) by Kim Richardson

The Soul Thief

The Soul Thief is a Paranormal Fantasy about a girl named Alexa who is dead, and then recruited to the Guardian Angel Legion – a group of angels who protect mortal souls from demons.

It is said to be PERFECT for fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices…so you know.

It’s perfect for all of US.

 

10. Given to the Sea (Given Duet, Book 1) by Mindy McGinnis

Given to the Sea.jpg

Given to the Sea is a YA Fantasy set in the Kingdom of Stille where a young woman named Khosa is to be sacrificed to the Sea, just like her mother and her mother’s mother were before her. But before she is able to fulfill her purpose, she must produce an heir to follow in her footsteps. But Khosa can’t stand the touch of anyone that isn’t an Indiri. But the arrival of Vincent, who is to inherit the Stille throne, Vincent is torn between duty and this mysterious girl.

 

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Until next week my dears, stay Witchy

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.jpg

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Plot:

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It Can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Opinion:

To say this book sank it’s mushy, dreamy, lovely and jagged death claws into me, would be a vast understatement.

I INHALED this book.

Praise Satan I had books two and three sitting on standby!

Why…did I wait SO long to read this?

When Mara wakes up in the hospital, she learns three very important things. 1. She was in an accident. 2. Her friends didn’t survive. 3. She has no idea what happened. With the death of her best friend looming over her, Mara convinces her family to up and move to escape the memory of the person she will never see again. Just a few months after the accident, Mara starts at a knew school in Miami, Florida in the hopes that she can put the past behind her. But seeing hallucinations of your dead friends and hearing their voices can’t be normal, right? With the two cruel students named Anna and Aiden tormenting her, and the unwanted attention from the gorgeous boy with a bad reputation, Mara is barely holding on to her sanity. Strange things are happening around Mara Dyer. Is she going crazy? Or is there something dark lurking beneath the surface, waiting to get out?

With a plot description like the one on the back of this book, no wonder it took me so long to read this.

Talk about VAGUE.

But when I FINALLY started reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I was gripped.

Overcome.

Slapped in the face, strapped down and injected with synthetic UHDICTION.

This. Book. Kills.

Pun intended.

What really seals the deal for me on this book isn’t the mushy love story though. It isn’t the mysterious plot that you don’t start figuring out until 70ish% in (and even so, barely), and it isn’t the well-developed characters. It’s the WRITING. I have never laughed out loud SO much at a book, as I have with this. Whether it was witty comebacks, smart and sassy banter, or truly quirky and accurate depictions of personalities – I was giggling, yelling and screaming SO many French MontanaHA’s” that I’m surprised nobody called the cops to 5150 me.

My face is in a state of agony this morning due to the constant smirks and smiles that were lighting up my face.

I don’t smile, okay?

It hurts.

But when there’s a twelve-year-old boy texting stock tips and getting numbers to “network”, you can’t help but grin through the pain. Mara’s youngest brother Joseph is a DOLL! He is bursting at the seams with personality and gumption, and he doesn’t even have a big role in this book! But it seems that every character Mara comes into contact with, whose role is big or small, is rounded and developed REALLY well. This author just knows how to capture the essence of people, to describe their quirks and charms in such few words, and I am so thankful for that.

Let’s get into the good stuff though, shall we?

Mara and Noah.

Noah and Mara.

So dreamy right?

Ehh…WRONG. Noah starts this story out as a MAJOR asshat. He is aggressive, rude, dismissive, demanding, and tells our main female character to shut up regularly. Swoon? NO! NOT SWOON! He’s a prick. But of course, as we women do, we make exceptions for his crappy behavior and forget it all when he starts being sweet to us.

So anyways, he does get nicer

Though I couldn’t STAND his and Mara’s moments of possessive and objectifying statements of “I was his” and “You’re mine”, their romance actually was very sweet and caring. Noah turns out to be a fiercely loyal and caring character (maybe a little too fierce at times), and I was enjoying the slow-build of their relationship that felt honest and true. These two characters play off each other SO WELL. Their relentless banter and bickering is SO enjoyable to read. They never cease their attempts in riling the other up, or making filthy innuendos and snarky comments. I was loving it!

For me though, Mara is the character who really shines in this story. As she should! The reader is whisked into a whirlwind of emotions with Mara. Is she sane? Is she crazy? Maybe she’s just grieving. But every moment of embarrassment, anger, sadness, annoyance, or look of distrust she is given from her mother – you feel it. Any girl will be able to connect with this character in some way. We have all been in similar situations that can mirror Mara’s time in high school, especially when it comes to awkward encounters with students or love.  

But my ramblings aside, I was SO hooked and into this book! I read it in 6 hours, and thankfully had books two and three on standby so I could immediately begin devouring those. The plot definitely went in a direction I wasn’t expecting (thanks book description) but I can’t say that I am at all unhappy with it. The story is taking it’s time to unravel, and I have a feeling I haven’t even dipped my toes into the reality of what these characters will be going through.

You need to read this series.

But buy all the books at once, your addictive personality will thank you.

4-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Book Wrap-up · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #17: April Book Wrap-up

Another month, gone.
Deceased.
Extinct.
Dried up.
Blown away into a wind of little, to no, s**ts given.
It was fun while it lasted, but…
We’re

 

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~* April Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. White Rose by Kip Wilson

White Rose

I started this month out in typical fashion…

…with a gut-punch to the heart.

White Rose is a YA Historical Fiction based on the inspiring true story of Sophie Scholl, who became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group. The group was formed in June of 1942 by a group of University of Munich students who protested the Nazi regime and Hitler, by drafting and distributing political resistance leaflets across Germany.

It is a story of bravery and conviction.

But one of the most beautiful aspects of this story is that it is written entirely in poetry.

It is heartbreaking and daunting, but it will make your heart soar and make you feel happy to know people like this exist in the world.

Sophie & Hans Scholl with Christoph Probst 1942.jpg

A REALIZATION

Our deaths
Will mean
Something.

The world will react,
And someday
Someone
Will punish
The people
Who are doing
These terrible things.

The ribbon widens,
Flooding
My mind
With a river of hope.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. Stars in the Winter Sky by Michael Duda

Stars in the Winter Sky

Michael Duda is one of my FAVORITE authors, and thank the cauldron, he is FINALLY writing a full-length book.

Michael is known for his dark, eerie and somewhat twisted short stories. They each shine a light on human nature, the good and the bad. But his latest short story, Stars in the Winter Sky, comes with a lighter tone.

It is about two women who venture into the woods in search of the Winter Revelers, a group of people that would come once a year to celebrate the Snowfall. But one year, only two people come back, and the others were lost forever.

 Just like every Michael Duda’s story, Stars in the Winter Sky will make you think. This tale is beautiful and breathtaking, and definitely worth a read.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather

Killing November

This…is where my April went from a fast-paced roller coaster

to an aimless stumble in the dark.

Killing November wasn’t horrible for me, but it definitely let me down. I had VERY high hopes for this story, I even bought the hardcover on release day (even though I received a copy from Netgalley) because I knew it was a book I was SURE to love.

The story follows November as she arrives at Academy Absconditi, a place for students to train to be assassins and spies. Classes range from Knife Throwing, Poisons and the Art of Deception. But November has no idea why she is at this school, why her father would send her to such a place where every move and conversation is calculated and part of a game. So when dead bodies start turning up around the school, November is forced to learn more about her past and who she really is.

My issue with this story was the main character. She acted like a deer in headlights for 80% of the story, but during a class she would suddenly turn arrogant and pompous. It was such a confusing thing to have her go from timid to annoyingly confident, and back and forth. The romance had a strange pacing, and the entire story was sort of dull.

It was SO hard to get through this book, and it’s definitely the cause of why I didn’t get to read as many books this month as I hoped. Though I am in the minority on my opinion for Killing November, I’m sticking to my guns and my rating.

I mean honestly, 3 stars was generous.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

4. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Smoke and Key

SMOKE AND KEY!!!!!!!!!!

It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for?!?

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

Smoke and Key is mysterious, creepy, sad, uplifting, depressing and just downright EVERYTHING! I am STILL so crushed that I can’t dive into this story to wear the corsets and creep around in Under. I am SO in love with this book.

Kelsey Sutton is life.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Zombie Dog ( Book 3) by Doug Goodman

Zombie Dog

My last read of April, and it was a brilliant one!

This is the third book in the Zombie Dog series by Doug Goodman, and BY FAR, my favorite one yet.

The Zombie Dog series follows Angie Graves, who trained Cadaver Dogs to work with the police in searches. But when giant wasps are discovered to be attaching themselves to the heads of corpses, creating zombies, Angie transitions her field to train her dog Murder to be a zombie tracker. This installment follows Angie and Murder as they work in Houston, Ground Zero for the Zombies outbreak.

Zombie Dog is dark, gritty and twisted. I was sweating, I was cringing and I most definitely was flopping around in my chair wishing the horrors would JUST END!

But naturally, above all else, I was obsessed.

I am continually blown away by this author. The amount of detail and passion he puts into his writing is unbelievable. His knowledge screams through the pages, and easily immerses the reader in a world that feels all too real.

It was easy throwing five stars at this book.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

April may not have been my BEST month ever in terms of numbers, but it was filled with almost all winners!

But April is gone, and May is bringing new stories!

I’m stuffed to the broom with exciting reads for May, and my current read is AMAZING!

Until next time my lovelies, stay witchy! ❤

 

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

Book Review: Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather

Killing November.jpg

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.  

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim.

Opinion:

You know those books you come across that sound AMAZING, like they will be an EXACT fit for you, and are already praised and LOVED by EVERYONE?

And then you start reading it, all giddy and excited for what’s to come…

…but then you get about 60 pages in and are just kind of like…

Yeah.

Killing November.

November assumed she had a normal upbringing, that was until she arrived at Academy Absconditi. Here, the students aren’t animated with conversation, worried about calculus tests and pining over who will ask them to homecoming. Their movements are deliberate, and they are masters at mind games and killing. So why would November’s father leave her in a place like this? Where the teachers enact an “eye for an eye” punishment system,  family secrets are to be kept hidden for one’s safety and students keep turning up dead? Surrounded by people who assume she is weaving a clever game of innocence and daftness, November is thrust into a world she can barely navigate, all the while trying to learn the secrets of her family and who she is.

Killing November is a YA Mystery dripping in deceit, manipulation, darkness and brutality.

I witnessed all these themes and more while reading.

But in the end, all I was REALLY left feeling,

was indifference.

It started out great. November describes being named after a maple tree, how her father describes her as “too trusting”, and having awakened in dungeon-like room with little idea how she arrived there. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? As I started reading more, I learned that November is just like most of us readers – not entirely proficient in the art of deceiving and killing people via poisons, a bow and arrow or a set of freshly sharpened knives.

Woe is us for our normalcy.

She knows nothing of Strategia – an ancient secret society of spies and assassins, has barely heard a whisper about the Families of the Strategia who are responsible for pulling the strings behind MAJOR historical events throughout history, and has no idea how she fits into any of it. So as the story started picking up and November was thrust into her new lessons, I started noticing a constant theme of wishy-washiness with this character.

For most of the story, November is running around like a confused goose saying and doing the wrong things. I don’t blame the poor girl either, this school sounds like a nuthouse. But when November is given a task in lessons to steal a scarf off another player in the dark, or throw knives at targets…she becomes arrogant and cocky and just magically knows what she is doing.

Look, I love a confident character who has witty comments and a snarky attitude.

I know that she had a little training in these areas as a child.

But when the main character acts like a deer in headlights for 80% of the book, and has a few random and brief moments of god-awful one-liners boasting her perfection, it’s a turn-off.  After the first instance of this, and the multiple continuances of her silly demeanor and confusing personality after, I became increasingly checked out.

I almost DNF’d this book about 15 times, but kept at it because so many other readers were telling me how much they loved it. So I forced myself to keep reading…and reading…and…reading. In the end, they were right in some cases. It DID get better. But it wasn’t amazing and unforgettable.

It was just okay.

I really wish I could have fell in love with this story more, because the suspense was there. The mystery and grittiness were shouting through the pages, but I just couldn’t connect with November or any of the other characters for that matter.  The romance element was lacking in that it felt shoved together rather than formed naturally, and the friendship between Layla and November felt stiff. I just wasn’t invested in this read at all, and for that I am truly dismayed.

3-stars

 

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