Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer

Drowning.jpg

 

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

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mental Health

Plot: I’m a cutter.
I cut because I find solace in it.
I cut because it helps calm my frantic mind.
I cut because the voices inside my head tell me to.
I cut because this is the only way I know how to handle life.

Opinion:

Look, I totally see where the author was trying to go with this.

To bring awareness to Mental Health issues, to give a voice to those who might not be able to speak about their struggles, to help the public understand what it means to have inner demons.

I can really appreciate all of that.

These are important topics that REALLY need to be talked about more.

But for me, the way this story was executed – how the characters were developed, their dialogue, reactions and problem solving – was cringe-worthy.

And not in a good way.

I’m obviously completely in the minority on this one, because this book has nothing but amazing reviews on Goodreads. If we’re talking about the message the author is trying to send to the reader, then hell yes, it’s a 5-star read. It covers several difficult topics that so many people can relate to. It gives a voice to those who are suffering from similar demons and traumatic experiences, and sheds light on situations that other people may not know a lot about. The book gets HEAVY with these topics, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

But if we set that aside and talk about the writing, character development, dialogue, etc.

It’s just not done well.

It was SO hard to make a connection with any of the characters. Their struggles and personalities were voiced, but I didn’t have the chance to really KNOW any of them. The moments of Ivy cutting herself were the closest I could get to having a meaningful connection with her. They were detailed and really expressed the emotional terror that envelopes a person when they self-harm. In those instances, I could really feel her pain and confusion. The dark scenes translated well through the pages! But in every other aspect, Ivy’s character fell flat and seemed really all over the place in terms of her development.

Her character flips back and forth between being all-knowing and dishing out advice, to knowing nothing and not being able to practice any of the things she tells others to do.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

The dialogue felt awkward and forced, it didn’t have a nice flow, and I was cringing the entire time from how uncomfortable it kept making me. Some of the conversations run on for too long, and it causes a lot of repeated sentences and ideas. Every response is “nope” and every emotion that Ivy may feel is summed up with an “ugh” instead of being creatively described. Then when a REALLY serious moment is happening the characters can only come up with the same phrase to say over, and over, and over – “oh, man” or “It’s okay dad, tell me, I need to know dad”.

Can’t they say something else?

Tobias’s character is really frustrating to me too. He instantly latches onto Ivy with his INSTA-LOVE, and becomes REALLY controlling and possessive with her. Why do none of the other characters see an issue with this? He’s super pushy and aggressive. I KNOW HE’S WORKING THROUGH ISSUES, OKAY? But does that make it okay for his character to go around throwing punches and freaking out? AND WHY IS EVERY OTHER CHARACTER OKAY WITH HIS ATTITUDE?! They all continually make excuses for out of control behavior.

Someone gets hit in the face – “here, have a soda”.

Ivy comes clean about her demons and opens up to her friends, and their response? “Yea let’s just drop it and talk about it some other time”.

WHAT?!

It seems to me that the author was so focused on shoving every “hot topic” into this book, that she forgot to put work into her characters and what they say. There isn’t any FEELING behind their thoughts and actions, it’s robotic, stiff and dull. It just feels like lazy writing.

I really wanted to like this, because I feel strongly about Mental Health Issues NEEDING to be talked about in society, and handled with compassion and care. As a society I think we shy away from these topics, or look down on people who think or behave differently.

I commend the author for giving Mental Health a voice.

But in terms of a great book, this isn’t it.

 

2-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)

 

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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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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

Nocturna.jpg

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

The Haunted.jpg

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

The Best Lies.jpg

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

Wilder Girls.jpg

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

Midnight Beauties.jpg

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

The Memory Thief.jpg

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

Shadow Frost.jpg

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

Love, Heather.jpg

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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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Simon and Schuster

Book Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks (Book #1) by SuzanneYoung

Girls with Sharp Sticks
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster: Simon Pulse, for an honest review.
Genre: YA/Fiction

Plot: The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Opinion:

Girls with Sharp Sticks is a YA Fiction with a message that is most certainly, non-fiction.

You’re not leaving here without a few stab wounds to your heart and soul, so get those bandages ready.

Innovations Academy breeds obedient, beautiful girls. They are taught to set a table in Modern Manners, how to speak and act formally in Social Graces Etiquette, to keep their figures in Running Course, and to never accuse a man of inappropriate behavior in Modesty and Decorum – for that would be worse than any crime! As graduation nears for the girls at Innovations Academy, they are primped and put on display for their parents and sponsors in order to find the “perfect opportunity through success”. The girls need only listen to the men and Professors at the academy, for they have their best interests at heart, and they know best.

“Too much thinking is bad for your looks”.

But when the sudden departure of one of the girls becomes know to the students of Innovations Academy, Philomena and her closest friends can’t let it go. As they search for answers to why their dear friend left, Mena starts to notice strange things from the men she so easily trusts and respects. Strange glances, lingering hands, comments and commands laced with possessive entitlement. It isn’t until the girls band together that they finally open their eyes and see, that their lives may not be exactly what they think.

“They’ve trained you not to believe what you’re told by others. You have to come to it on your own. I can’t wake you, Philomena.”

“Wake up.”

Girls with Sharp Sticks is everything your feminist heart has been looking for in a YA series.

It guides you into a building of structure and poise with a gentle tug on your arm, sits you at a table of love and respect with the smiles of every girl you see…

…all the while shredding your heart and leaving you feeling dirty, violated and used.

If you start to feel nauseous while reading, it’s because you can relate to some part of this.

The first thing that needs to be mentioned about this book, is the girls of Innovations Academy. They are pure innocence, inner beauty and kindness. They possess an amount of compassion so big your heart will seize, and you will care for them so deeply that you’ll feel as if a part of YOU has been endangered or hurt.

Because these girls are all of us.

They are light and happiness, delicate and resilient. They are unfiltered contagious smiles, and the sisters you always needed.

These girls are everything.

Therefore, it pains me to express how horrible these wonderful girls are treated. They are belittled by their teachers, taken advantage of by their guardians, thrown around like ragdolls, and told that what is best for them is to stay quiet and obedient. They are trained to be the perfect girls. Intelligent, modest, pure, compliant, and above all, beautiful and always put together. They are put on display at Open Houses where the girls can mingle with their parents, investors or sponsors in the hopes that they will be “purchased” for their exceptional looks and demeanor after graduation. For these girls, being pleasant and following the rules is of the utmost importance. Their worst fear is disappointing their parents or the staff at Innovations Academy.

This story has been created so intricately and worded so perfectly throughout, that it makes it SO hard to express the magnificence of it without giving away key details. I am incredibly impressed with how flawlessly Suzanne Young has woven this story into one with countless twists and dangers. The writing is breathtaking. It gives Mena and the girls HUGE voices and personalities that make them impossible to forget. There is an intricate balance of purity and grit throughout the story. It makes you want to latch on to every good fleeting moment, and wish that you could take a pill to forget the horrors.

An author having the ability to make me feel so sick after reading a book, is…an amazing gift to possess.

It’s almost impossible for me to focus while typing this, because I feel as if I was right next to these girls as they learned what their purpose really is. Where their friend really went. And it’s…devastating. The author has pulled out the inner child deep inside me and has both comforted and hurt her. She’s cut a hole in my stomach and sealed it back up with dirt and scotch tape. I am ravaged. I am stripped raw and laid bare.

I wish I could say more, because I feel like I need someone…ANYONE…to pour my heart out to about the tragic beauty that this book is. The story kept me hooked and addicted the entire time, pushing me to find the answers and to know what was happening at this elusive academy. The teachers were terrifying and sadistic, the investors even worse. But even though there was an overwhelming theme of possessive males forcibly overpowering what they thought was THEIRS, there is a bigger theme of strength and resilience. The message to RISE UP and fight for yourself and others is such an incredibly profound message that NEEDS to be screamed.

I can’t thank Suzanne Young enough for that.

With that said, I really cannot say anything more. I know this is vague by way of plot, but you would hate it if I told you more than this. All I can say, is YOU MUST READ THIS. It is The Handmaid’s Tale for the young adult and for every female who has felt frightened or overpowered. Your heart will thank you later for giving it this. I promise.

5-stars

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

Book Review: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

Opinion:

Bloodleaf.

A Retelling.

Witches, Magic, Royals, Murder.

Two Kingdoms. One Arranged Marriage.

And a really big wall.

So……..

is that it?

Bloodleaf is a retelling of “The Goose Girl” and tracks Princess Aurelia as she is forced to travel from her kingdom of Renalt to the kingdom of Achleva, after she is accused of being a witch. With an arranged marriage set between Aurelia and the sick prince of Achleva, Aurelia moves towards her set future with only duty propelling her forward. But when members of her entourage turn on her and attempt an assassination, Aurelia finds that a girl in her traveling party has taken her place and has entered Achleva disguised as the Princess, with her younger brother, the Prince, in tow. Alone and starving, Aurelia must try to make her way into Achleva to make things right and save her brother. But a run-in with a young man named Zan, and the threat of the wall of Achleva being shattered, Aurelia must decide if she should cower or use her powers to protect.

Bloodleaf isn’t terrible.

I actually found it to be a semi-enjoyable and quick read. But it’s never a good sign when reading a book, that you begin to feel like…you’re just reading a book. Especially when said book is in the fantasy genre and promises magic, witches, poison and bloodshed. When I see “fantasy” next to a book, I know to expect a story and world that I would sell every possession I own to be in. I’m a hopeless dreamer and romantic, so I obviously look for books that will reflect the things that I cannot just physically manifest with a snap of my fingers (i.e. fae, magic, witches, royals, rebellion that actually works).

With that said, Bloodleaf had a ton of great qualities…but the continuous theme of rushed scenes, lax explanations, and a romance that feels rather out of nowhere, has left me feeling rather disappointed. The story started out great, pulling me in with the promise of death and an ever-fascinating, yet depressing, witch hunt. But as the story continues, I am left feeling like there were gaping holes begging to be filled, and several opportunities missed to envelop the reader into this magical world.

Seeing as how this is supposed to be a series, I am left REALLY confused as to why things were skipped over or so hurriedly explained? The author could have taken the time to allow me to connect with the characters and learn about them, rather than just give me a watery reflection of who they are. The plot felt rushed, the villain was overly obvious, and it just left a bland taste in my mouth. This story had SO much potential, but it fell incredibly flat for me and left me annoyed because it only needed some slight tweaking to be AMAZING.

I found Aurelia to be a decent character, but her development was incomplete. She grew up in a kingdom where witches are hunted and magic is kept secret, especially her own. But when she is in Achleva and beginning to use her magic and control it, it seems like one moment she has no handle on it and then the next she just knows what she’s doing.

 

I kept feeling like she was just materializing into this character the author wanted her to blossom into, without there being any represented moments or time of her doing so. SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME! She came across as a character who could have developed more and been given a bit more substance, because she just ended up one-dimensional and simplistic. In regards to Zan, he was slightly better off in the creative department, but still didn’t meet the potential of what he could have been. He was witty, charming, sarcastic and slightly arrogant (which I loved), but there also wasn’t enough put into molding his character. ESPECIALLY when it came to the romance between Aurelia and Zan! The relationship made me feel so confused and flustered because of how forced it was. At one point they are just regular ol’ chums, and the next they are madly in love?!?!?! Can I just get a little romance build, please?!

Overall the story started off strong, but it just wasn’t tied together as much as I would have liked. It isn’t a horrible book and I think most of you will enjoy it, but it isn’t up there with ACOTAR or The Folk of the Air books by way of how the story builds and unfolds, or the characters. I would say that this is probably one of those stories you just have to try for yourself, because I think there will be a lot of mixed opinions on it. I just know that for me, Bloodleaf twas a dud.

3-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #7: Top 10 Anticipated March Book Releases

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It’s that time of month again, you little book stalkers!
And I’m NOT talking about the time of month for all you ladies out there!!!!
HAH!
…………..

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*cough*….anyways…
It’s nearing the end of February, we’re just about to enter MARCH, and I have some AMAZING new releases to share with you!
There’s a little Fantasy, some Romance and Historical Fiction, a couple murders and bad guys. Maybe a witch or two.
You know. The usual.

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~* My Top Ten Anticipated March Book Releases *~

 

1. Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Dystopian

Dealing in Dreams

Sixteen-year-old Nalah runs a vicious all-girl crew in Mega City, and has worked her crew to the top of the most feared and elite. But Nalah wants to get off the streets and make a life for herself in an exclusive and luxurious place called Mega Towers. This story follows Nalah as she tries to make her dreams a reality, while also trying to protect those she cares about in the process.

It looks like it has a dystopian vibe to it – so maybe a Mad Max/Mortal Engines/Six of Crows type of feeling? Can’t wait!

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2. Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Bloodleaf

I feel like there are so many AMAZING retellings coming out this year!

Bloodleaf is a retelling of “The Goose Girl” and tracks Princess Aurelia as she travels to her kingdoms rival territory in order to be married to it’s Prince, Valentin. With so much hanging on the impending nuptials between these courts, much danger is presented to Aurelia during her journey as assassination attempts are made on her, and she is eventually forced to swap places with her devious lady-in-waiting. 

This story sounds like a book filled with manipulative royals, which I LOVE, so I cannot wait to read it. It’s described as a mystery/fantasy, and tells the story of how Aurelia survives after being stranded and how she fulfills what is expected of her.

 

3. Lovely War by Julie Berry

Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

Lovely War

So THIS is an interesting combination of history, romance, and some Greek mythology.

It starts in 1917 and follows four characters as they try to fight for love during a pivotal time for the world as it gears towards the first World War. It also intertwines World War II and the Greek goddess of Love/Beauty/Passion, Aphrodite, as she tells the stories of these four lovers to her husband and her lover, Hephaestus and Ares.

This story begs the question of why Love and War are always so easily intertwined, and which one wins in the end.

It feels like Atonement for the Greek Mythology obsessed.

Show of hands, please.

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4. You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

You Owe Me a Murder

MUUUUURRRRR-DERRRRRRRRRRR!!!

This story is just like it sounds.

It’s about a girl, who owes another girl, a murder!

Kim and Nicki meet on a plane trip to London, where Kim confesses her contempt for her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Eventually her ex-boyfriend ends up dead, and YOU GUESSED IT, Nicki begins to blackmail her for not holding up her end of the murdering bargain.

It sounds like it’s going to be THRILLING and mildly f***ed-up, so I am MORE than ready!

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5. The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

The Waking Forest

This one is shrouded in a vague description and with a sprinkle of mystery, so let’s jump in to it confused together, shall we?

The Waking Forest tells the story of a Witch and a girl named Rhea as their paths cross. Rhea lives on the edge of the forest, but finds that she is drawn to the dark and mysterious place. The Witch lives in the forest on her throne carved of bone (dope) and waits to grant the wishes of children.

I’m assuming for evil purposes.

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6. Beware The Night by Jessika Fleck

Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Beware the Night

Beware the Night is a fantastical story of rebellion, sacrificial offerings, and worshiping the Sun so that you don’t get taken at Night to never be seen or heard from again.

Strange? You bet!

In Bellona the citizens pray to the Sun for protected from the Night, when innocents are snatched from their beds without reason or cause. It sounds like a story where the character begins to realize that what she was taught isn’t what it seems, and they there may be more to fear than just the people of the Night.

 

7. The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal, Book 2) by Zen Cho

Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

The True Queen

This is book 2 in the Sorcerer Royal series, and is a series I have been DYING to read!

Book 1 is Sorcerer to the Crown and follows Zacharis Wythe, a gifted magician and Sorcerer Royal of a highly respected and elite organization. The story takes Zacharis to Fairyland (YES!) in search of a “cure” for the magic that is beginning to fade in England.

Sounds like Harry Potter meets the Fae world.

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8. Never-Contented Things by Sara Porter

Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/LGBT

Never-contented things

Another story with little information, but one that sounds soooooo intriguing!

It is about two foster-siblings who possess an indestructible love for one another, who are seduced and ensnared by Prince and his cruel fairy courtiers.

Is it a “Cruel Prince” type of vibe? I’m really not sure. But it sounds like it is going to be EXACTLY the OPPOSITE of what you expect, and I am totally okay with that.

Can we also take a moment for this cover?

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9. Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery

Girls with Sharp Sticks

I have been waiting SO LONG to read this!!!!

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

I honestly have no idea what this story is going to turn into, AND I DON’T CARE!

Is it a Stepford wife tale for the Young Adults?! Is it a tale of murder and backstabbing?! ARE THEY WITCHES?!

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I HAVE NO IDEA.

But when I find out, I’ll let you know.

(I’m kidding, I’m not going to let you know)

10. Winter War Awakening (Blood Rose Rebellion, Book 3) by Rosalyn Eves

Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Winter War Awakening

Book 3 in the Blood Rose Rebellion series!

If you haven’t read the AMAZING that is book one, allow me to indulge you.

Anna’s family is part of the Luminate, magic users, but she is barren. Or so they all thought. She makes a COMPLETE mess of her sister’s debutante spell, and is shipped off to Hungary to be exiled. There Anna finds that the Luminate are not what they seem, and so ensues a tale of rebellion and even a little romance.

It is a really interesting and different sort of tale, so read it!

 

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There it is!

My Top Ten Anticipated Reads for March, and I am SO stoked to get this month rolling! I’d love to hear what you guys think of these books, as well as any other books that you are excited to release in the coming month.

As always, stay halfway classy but full-on witchy!

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Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles (Book 1) by J.M. Sullivan

Alice

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: “Always protect your queen.”

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

Opinion:

How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail…?

Apparently with a bleakness as black as night, and a book review that just says:

Fail.

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Look. The first book in Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles isn’t necessarily bad…it’s just …not great.  I found it boring, dull, overly dramatic and cheesy, and felt that I had already seen/read this same plot about thirty other times. With that ridiculous zombie movement that hit Hollywood and every book shelf a few years ago, it’s hard not to feel like you have read EVERY single zombie story out there. But when I saw this, I had to request it from Netgalley because I LOVE an Alice retelling.

I’ve read the twisted versions, and I’ve read the sweeter versions. I had even read another Alice/zombie version years ago, Alice in Zombieland, and absolutely loved it. So naturally, I assumed this was going to be another series to add to my love of Alice in Wonderland retellings.

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I found Alice to be…okay. Her character felt simple and not fully developed, almost like the author was just riding the coattails of the Alice that we already know and love and assuming they wouldn’t have to put much effort into giving her a full-blown personality makeover. I found that I enjoyed how much she talked to herself, which reminds me greatly of the original character, because it gave another instance for the reader to find out what was happening instead of us just “sitting in her head” and “watching” through her eyes. But the constant moments of her jaw dropping when the moment BARELY called for a jaw drop, or her saying things like “awesome” and “how interesting” without being given a chance to see WHY those things were “awesome” or “interesting” was just…EXHAUSTING.

As I continued to read, it seemed that none of the characters really had much substance or excitement spewing from their made-up pores. Chess was a slightly interesting character, with a creative name, and I liked that his character was left shrouded in mystery for a good length of the story. In my opinion, he was probably the most interesting of all the characters just because it seems like he had the most thought put into him by way of snarky comments and pet-names for Alice. There IS a love triangle in this story that involves Alice, so if you’re ALSO starting to tire from these shapes, then beware. It’s a romance crammed into just a few days, so enjoy if that’s your sort of thing.

My grumblings and negativity aside, there were some positives in this story. You’ll notice while reading there are random bold letters in different words and paragraphs. If you want to take the time, like you KNOW I did, then it will spell out a little message. I found it a cute little touch for this story, and a little treat for the reader if they caught on…even if it didn’t spell out a clue to the story, I still found it intriguing. Another positive was the action and fight scenes that were spilling from the pages. There was a LOT of exciting moments for Alice to show off her skills, even though I’m still wondering how she learned all those deadly and murderous moves.

OH, SHE JUST KNEW HOW?!

For sure. I get it.

Anyways…I was hoping this story was going to blow me out of the water. Instead, it just blew up an inflatable water toy for me and I floated around a pond for a while. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t keep my attention or really grab me in at any time. I had little invested in the well-being of these characters by the end of the story and even went as far as skimming most of the last half of the book just to end it. Hopefully the next Alice story I read, which is waiting patiently on my Netgalley shelf, will be a little better.

2-stars

 

 

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