Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #36: December 2019 Book Wrap-Up

The time of year where we all come together to spread joy, love and happiness!
Tree decorating, gift giving, romance, friendship, smiles and laughs.
December.
What a blessing.

 

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~* December 2019 Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing

The Queen of Nothing.

One of the most highly anticipated releases of 2019, and the ending to a series that almost literally incinerated our hearts into ashes.

But with all the hype for this release, and with the EPIC and BEYOND BRUTAL ending to book two – The Wicked King – the stakes for this book were high AF.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the conclusion I was looking for.

Everyone just seemed too nice. Cardan was no longer the cruel prince OR the wicked king. Jude was still a firecracker, but her blood-lust wasn’t up to par and WAY too many characters who should have been gutted remained alive. Sure, we all love a happy ending. But in true Holly Black fashion, I just wanted my hopes and desires to be ripped out from under me, and I wanted to land in a deep hole of depression.

It was good, but it was just missing the brutality I was expecting.

3-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire

Vampires.

They’re baaaaaaack.

I think most of us can agree that the Paranormal Vampire genre got a little tired after it was shoved down our throats over and over. But with A Violet Fire comes a YA Paranormal/Fantasy about ruthless vamps that I just had NO idea I needed!

It is set in a world called Cain, where Vampires have been ruling for centuries and humans are bred to serve as blood supply units, servants, or breeders. Wavorly is one of the few humans born and raised outside of vampire rule before her inevitable capture, and she has a fiery hatred for their kind. After countless escape attempts, her day of judgment comes where her blood is tested by her master to see if she qualifies a position as a live-in servant and supply unit.

Somehow, despite her complete lack of bowing to “the man” and simply not giving a shit, she is accepted. What’s weirder is she is requested regularly by her master, and suddenly…things begin to shift.

It’s a romance yes, but it is also an epic web of lies and deception and I JUST NEED BOOK TWO RIGHT NOW, OKAY?!

5-stars

(See my full review here)

 

3. The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

The Lies They Tell

December also turned out to be a Gillian French month, go figure.

And to start it off, I began the YA Thriller all about rich kids, manipulation, murder and confusing flirtations!

The Lies They Tell centers on the sudden and haunting death of a prominent family, with only the eldest son surviving. After they were killed in their beds and their home was set on fire, the story begins the following summer.

It documents Pearl’s time working at the Tenney’s Harbor Country Club as a server to the rich and dismissive families of the elite. As a lower-class working townie, Pearl is well–aware of the divide between the summer crowd and those who reside year-round. The summer boys come from extreme wealth, and they have reputations for starting flings with townie girls and discarding them by the end of summer.

This book is a classic tale of influence, privilege and murder. I was hooked from the first page and was blown away by how perfectly the author was able to capture the awkward encounters and social expectations that come with being a teen. 

This book kicks ass.

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

4. The Door to January by Gillian French

The Door to January

My second Gillian French book on the month, and another great and imaginative tale.

It is about a girl who has been having nightmares where voices call her to a house of frost and a door that leads to – where? To find out, Natalie goes back to Bernier, Maine – the place she and her family moved away from after a traumatic event in the woods two years prior.

The Door to January was surprisingly dark. I knew I was going to get a story of secrets and mystery, but the themes were actually painfully realistic and gritty. It’s a really nice blend of real-life and slight paranormal fantasy, and I could totally see it being a fantastic film…well…

Maybe an independent film, so Hollywood doesn’t ruin it.

4-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Vanished: When Lightning Strikes/Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You, Books 1 and 2) by Meg Cabot

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December ALSO turned out to be the month where I re-read a most beloved and favorite series of mine – 1-800-Where-R-You.

I usually read this series once a year, so I had to get it before 2019 was up!

The entire series is about a teenage girl named Jess Mastriani who is struck by lightning and suddenly able to find missing people. By looking at a photo of a missing person, after going to sleep, she wakes up and knows the exact location of where they are.

Vanished is books one and two of the series. The reader is introduced to the badass, spunky, tomboy spitfire Jess as she begins locating missing kids. The FBI learns about her abilities, recruits her to find some bad guys, and basically the shit just hits the fan.

Oh, and her love interest is a guy named Rob that totally wants her but is into that whole “I ride a motorcycle so I’m super cool and aloof” vibe.

He’s pretty dreamy.

 

6. Vanished: Safe House/Sanctuary (1-800-Where-R-You, Books 3 and 4) by Meg Cabot

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I just realized this edition of books three and four is also called Vanished?

Stupid.

But what isn’t stupid, is these two books! This is about the time where the series gets a little darker and touches on some more…gritty themes.

In book three a girl at Jess’s school is found dead, and everyone blames Jess for not saving her. In Jess’s defense though, she told everyone she lost her ability because the FBI was so on her ass AND she was out of town.

Like, what’s a girl to do?

In book four, the son of a new family in Jess’s neighborhood is found dead in a corn field, which leads to a dangerous and despicable militia group. She is still trying to keep a low- profile with the FBI, and of course, nothing works out exactly how she plans.

And don’t worry, Rob is still there being all mysterious and alluring.

 

7. Missing You (1-800-Where-R-You, Book 5) by Meg Cabot

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Missing you is the FINAL book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series, and….*sigh* I’m just so sad about it.

In this installment, Jess is a little older and has done some maturing. After agreeing to work with the FBI again, Jess was sent oversees to help capture terrorists alongside the US military. But the sudden loss of her abilities leads her to pursue a new life in New York at Juliard.

This book is obviously bittersweet because it is the end to a story I love and characters I absolutely adore. Jess has lost herself in the war, and she isn’t the spunky and ferocious girl we know from previous stories. But, as one would expect, everything turns out wonderful and SO good in the end.

And oh yeah, Rob is there.

 

8. Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie

My final book for December was Good Girls Lie, and it was sinfully good.

It’s a Mystery/Thriller that reminds me of the Private series by Kate Brian, where a girl finds herself in a private boarding school for daughters of the rich and influential.

After the unexpected deaths of her scion father and mother, Ash Carr arrives at Goode – a private college preparatory school for teenage daughters of the elite. As she struggles to adapt to the rigorous and high-level academics, she finds herself surrounded by even more death after her roommate suddenly dies.

This book is a TRIP. There are twists within twists that make up a web of lies so tangled, you’re going to wonder who you even are.

I just love a boarding school thriller.

4-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Netgalley · New Releases

Book Review: Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou

Love, Heather

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mental Health

Plot: What you see isn’t always what you get.

Stevie never meant for things to go this far. When she and Dee–defiant, bold, indestructible Dee–started all this, there was a purpose to their acts of vengeance: to put the bullies of Woepine High School back in their place. And three months ago, Stevie believed they deserved it. Once her best friend turned on her, the rest of the school followed. Stevie was alone and unprotected with a target on her back. Online, it was worse.

It was Dee’s idea to get them all back with a few clever pranks, signing each act Love, Heather–an homage to her favorite 80’s revenge flick. Despite herself, Stevie can’t help getting caught up in the payback, reveling in every minute of suffering. And for a while, it works: it seems the meek have inherited the school.

But when anonymous students begin joining in, punishing perceived slights with increasingly violent ferocity, the line between villain and vigilante begins to blur. As friends turn on each other and the administration scrambles to regain control, it becomes clear: whatever Dee and Stevie started has gained a mind–and teeth–of its own. And when it finally swallows them whole, one will reemerge changed, with a plan for one final, terrifying act of revenge.

Opinion:

The high school cafeteria. The great leveler of high school movies. It’s where the entire mass of beauties and weirdos come together to eat and do so much more: try to fit in, wish lunch would end, laugh with friends or stare at people they have crushes on. It is universally different and the same…”

Nothing really seems to be happening, but everything matters.”

Things at Woepine high school have gotten out of control. What started as a few harmless pranks to get back at few bullies and ruthless popular kids, quickly turned into a full-on war where anyone could be next. It wasn’t just the Haves vs. the Have Nots anymore, anyone can be a target and anyone could be taken down. But things weren’t supposed to go this far. Dee said that they just needed to be taught a lesson. That once they knew what it felt like to be cast aside and stepped on, that it would end. But Dee took things too far, and Stevie let her. But when Stevie finally becomes the target of a callous prank at a party, it is everyone who will feel the force of this final act of revenge.

No one will tell. No one says anything.

I didn’t do anything, they’re thinking.

They did everything.

They did nothing.”

This Heathers re-imagining shares a theme with the 1988 film of taking down bullies and giving them a taste of their own medicine, but that’s where the similarities end. Love, Heather is a gritty story about the complicated workings of teenage life in high school, and what drives a human to unspeakable acts when threatened or cast out by their peers. It touches on incredibly important issues of bullying, rape culture, social media witch hunts and the effects of social isolation. I came into this story expecting a lighthearted contemporary packed with drama and some epic payback, but what I got was a punch to the gut and a wicked threat to my tear ducts.

The only thing this school has ever made me feel is different. Weird. A Freak. I tried to fit in, and then I tried to change that place, and neither worked. And so, I’ll do things my way. I am an artist. A Maker. I’m not like anyone else. I am different.”

For most of this book, I was reveling in the creative pranks that went from juvenile to borderline felony-worthy. I love an underdog story. One where a quiet or less socially-inclined individual (or individuals) rises up to put an arrogant bully in their place. To show them what it feels like to have their physical and spiritual identity shredded to pieces because it doesn’t fit into a specific social construct. It’s a feeling most of us can identify with and have experienced, so naturally, I love when the “Weirdo” or “loner” rises up.

But let me tell you, this book goes from “Tuesday afternoon read” to “sitting in your room alone, staring off into the darkness for hours contemplating your feelings” really quickly.

Throughout the story there are little hints as to how our main character, Stevie, feels about her friends and her home life. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mother, who she feels is a close friend to her. They would spend so much time together watching movies and talking, and when her mother suddenly gets a new boyfriend, Stevie is brushed to the side. At home, she feels forgotten and isolated. Gone are her coveted mother-daughter moments of bonding. But to make matters worse, Stevie’s best friend turns on her as well. Lottie and her go from being inseparable, to barely speaking, in yet another case of Stevie being left behind. Lottie is inducted into a crowd of more popular kids, but they deem Stevie to be less than worthy of a position among them. They begin to bully Stevie, and Lottie sits back and does nothing to defend her friend. Stevie is left alone with no one to turn to, and no one to have her back.

I try to be myself, but no one wants that.”

But when Dee enters the picture, everything changes. Dee is everything that Stevie isn’t. She is sure of herself and her beliefs. Her convictions are strongly rooted inside her and she speaks her mind. She is fearless, strong, assured, alluring and infectious. And she sees Stevie and takes her under her wing, giving her a hand to hold onto. A voice to speak through and a friend to confide in.

I hid from you, but you found me.”

She gives Stevie the confidence to take charge and make a difference in her life, and so together, they begin the “Love, Heather” movement: a series of pranks that are left with a message saying “Love, Heather”, to those who have hurt others or deserve a little payback. And just as fast, other kids in the school begin adopting the signature and performing their own acts of rebellion against the people who have wronged them. Eventually, the entire school is flipped upside down and nobody is safe.

It feels like this author dipped their hands into my heart and head and pulled out every spec of heartbreak, fear and social guideline that I ever found myself in. Laurie Petrou perfectly showcases the strange nuances in teenage life. The pressure to feel included and seen by your peers. The irrational importance of high school etiquette of what to say, think, and wear. She highlights the minuscule things we would latch onto and obsess over – a strategically placed period in a text or seeing someone from your school and pretending you don’t know each other. The struggles to fit in and the awkward encounters in this story feel so real and raw, and it left me feeling anxious with flashbacks from my own experiences in high school.

Even if you have never seen or heard of the movie Heathers, I beg you to read this book. Give it to a teenager or a sibling, or just read it yourself and basque in the memories of how torturous teenage life was. But above all, remember this message and speak up when others are being bullied.

Sometimes all someone needs is a knowledge that they matter.

4-5-stars

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

Book Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

Plot: In the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain, human blood is scarce. For centuries, councils have sought to assuage the blood shortage by enslaving and breeding humans, turning them into profitable supply units for the rich and the abled.

Today, eighteen-year-old Wavorly Sterling is officially a supply unit, bound to serve her blood willingly to her master for the rest of her life. One of only few humans that was not bred in Cain, Wavorly knows freedom better than anyone, and she is determined to escape the clutches of her oppressors, even if by the hands of death.

But surprises lay beyond every certainty, and within every doubt. Where Wavorly’s hatred for both vampires and her enslavement once flowed free as blood, it merely trickles as she grows to admire her reserved, yet receptive master and savior, Anton Zein.

Although warmed by comforts never felt before, danger still lurks in the castle, and a prophecy calls from beyond the walls of a lavender gate—concealing the horrific secrets lodged between handsome smirks and cinereous eyes. It will take everything within Wavorly to face her fears and her doubts; to harness the truth of her past despite what that means for her future. The only question is, will she?

Set in a richly detailed world of fantasy, A Violet Fire is a gripping journey filled with passion, betrayal, lies, and the encouragement we all need to take a stand for our freedom—no matter the cost.

Opinion:

 

Oh.

My.

Nocturnal Nights.

It’s official.

My heart is broken, my feminine energy is bristling, and vampires are back with a bloodthirsty vengeance.

The world has been dominated by vampires for centuries now. In Cain, Humans are bred to serve vampires in whatever form necessary – as blood supply units, servants, or breeders. They are instructed in special schools in how to best serve their immortal masters, through meekness and subservience. But for Wavorly, one of the few humans who were born and raised outside of vampire rule before her inevitable capture, she would rather die than be a slave to a vampire. After countless escape attempts, her day of judgment has finally come: to see if her blood will qualify her a spot in her master’s household as a live-in servant and supply unit. Somehow Wavorly is accepted into Zein’s home, despite her insubordination and unabashed hatred for his ownership over her. But as time goes on, Wavorly wonders if the vampire who brought her to Cain isn’t the monster she believes him to be. And maybe he sees her as more than just a blood supply.

A Violet Fire has given me a book hangover from Hell, and it’s unclear if I’m going to make it.

Send help.

Finally.

An addicting YA Vamp Fantasy untainted by glittering blood-lusters and a female protagonist who lacks self-worth and looks to a man for breath.

This, is true living corpse bliss.

This book is the vampire Handmaid’s Tale I didn’t know I needed, and it is packed and layered with beautiful writing, witty and sharp dialogue and a plot that will make you weak at the knees. I am HOOKED by this story-line, and for good reason! Like The Handmaid’s Tale, this world is suffering from a distinct decline in human life, which is the main source of survival for vampires. Though some parts of this world give more respect to human life, Cain, much like Gilead, is the hub of humans enslaved to work as servants, blood supply units and breeders.

When a human comes of age, they are brought before their master at the Distribution Ceremony where their blood is sampled. If their blood is accepted, they are brought to their masters home to be used as a supply unit when needed. The brainwashed humans who were born and bred in Cain are raised to believe their life mission is to look pretty, be submissive and to strive for the honor of having their blood sucked out of them.

Dreamy, isn’t it?

But the kicker here is this: quality of blood is improved by quality of life and happiness. So naturally that means our sassy, foul-mouthed, and all-around pissed off gem Wavorly has got to have some top-shelf vital fluids right?

My blood should be the foulest thing to ever touch his lips.”

Swoon!

Wavorly is the definition of a strong, fierce, “gives no shits” female lead! We first meet her as she is attempting another escape from Cain the day before the Distribution Ceremony, and immediately we learn that she is not a damsel in distress sitting around twirling her hair around her finger. She wants nothing more than to be free of her enslavement to Zein, who swore to protect her when he “saved” her from a rouge vampire when she was a child, and to search for other humans off the grid. Though she is forced into becoming a supply unit for Zein, she does so with a sharp tongue and zero remorse for her rash actions.

Girl. Is. Fierce.

While you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror all your life, I’ve been training myself on how to best ruin your reflection.”

But where this story gets even more interesting is when we get to see more of Zein.

He is one of five of the most powerful and ruthless vampires in Cain, and has a long and bloody history on the battlefield and just…in general. He is said to be cruel and sadistic with zero regard for human life, but as time goes on, our girl begins to see a less murdery version of this mysterious immortal.

Now don’t worry, I’m not going into any more detail beyond that, but my oh my guys, Zein is giving me all the Lestat meets Rowan (TOG) vibes and I am dying. DYING. He’s vague, he’s angry, and he’s got sharp looks that will make your blood run cold and sizzle all at once. But in true form of my questionable taste in men, I am swooning over this vampires’ hot and cold demeanor. It has been a solid 24 hours since I finished A Violet Fire and I am STILL questioning my stance on him! I love him. I hate him. I‘d die for him. I’d die to stab him in the face.

It’s all very confusing.

“…his eyes return to their mysterious gray and appear to be lost in a sea I can’t even begin to navigate.”

I could go on for days about this book and the immense torture that I am experiencing due to this cliffhanger, but I must stop for fear that I am going to spill all the secrets just so I’m not the only one writhing in pain. This is so much more than just a possible vampire romance. It’s dripping in feminist vibes, has an epic and mysterious plot where a prophecy speaks of a human savior, and makes you question your feelings right alongside Wavorly. I am so obsessed with this book, I have already started reading it again just to find details that I’ve missed!

Do yourself a favor, buy this.

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Opinion:

Jaw-dropping finale?

I mean…it was a finale.

Jude knows what it means to be hated by the Fae. To be a human in Faerie is wrought with dangers, and one slip of the tongue or an off-handed promise could be the end of your freedom and life. But Jude also knows what it means to have power. After successfully gaining control over Prince Cardan, putting him on the throne as High King and naming herself Seneschal, Jude was finally feared. And when things between Cardan and herself began to shift from deep hatred and cruelty, to something like affection, Jude relinquishes her control over Cardan in exchange for something more: marriage and a title as Queen of Faerie.

But it all came crashing down when Cardan banished her to the mortal lands for murdering his brother, and Jude is forced away from the home she loved and the power she so desperately craved. So when her twin sister Taryn shows up on her doorstep seeking help, Jude snatches the opportunity to return to Faerie and to reclaim what was once hers. But upon her return, Jude learns that Madoc plans to move against Cardan and to claim the position as High King for himself. Now Jude must decide what is most important to her: revenge or honor.

I have been waiting a YEAR for this finale with anxiety ripping apart my chest and a sadness so fierce, not even chocolate chip cookies and pie could remedy it! The Cruel Prince made me look at the Fae in a way that gave me chills. It made me squirm and think twice about being lured into the woods. But The Wicked King made me want to rip my heart from my own chest and offer it to a demon that would incinerate even the essence of my emotional being. It lit me on fire, turned my soul molten in liquid flame, and dripped through my rib cage out through my skinevaporating my body into a puddle of soupy despair.

And so when I finally got my hands on The Queen of Nothing, I devoured it with the eyes of fiend in a drugstore and the screams of a thirteen-year-old boy who just saw a PS5.

So how was it?

HOW. WAS IT?!?!

It was okay.

What I love most about The Folk of the Air is that Holly Black has given readers a side of the Fae that we don’t normally get to see in YA Fantasy. So many of us have fallen in love with the Sarah J. Maas depictions of these magical and powerful creatures who are both fierce and upstanding. They hold a sense of loyalty and honor, and want love and happiness.

And then there’s Holly Black’s Fae.

They are manipulative, twisted and demented creatures who find joy in twisting their words and making sneaky deals. Some kidnap, glamour and force humans to be servants in their homes, while others simply bite off a finger or two. They are immortal beings who flaunt their mystical beauty and use it to lure in unsuspecting victims like little mice lining up for slaughter. Humans are drugged through food and drink that makes them think that they are happy, but only glamors the truth of what is happening around them.

In short, it’s completely f***ed.

And I love it.

On its own, QON is a really enjoyable book. There is turmoil and a war that must be won, tricks and scheming to be had, revenge and romance to obsess over, and a few surprises that caught even me off guard.

But if I put QON next to the epic gut-wrenching tomes that are installments 1 and 2…

this book just falls flat and doesn’t impress me much.

I was expecting to be shocked, disgusted and infuriated by what happens to these characters. I was prepared to have Cardan crush Jude’s dreams AND mine, and I was more than ready to throw this book at a wall just to rush over to it apologizing and reading it over immediately.

But that just didn’t happen for me. In truth, this book feels more like fluff than the third and final installment of The Folk of the Air series. *There were countless plot-lines that weren’t tied up or were just randomly phased-out and unexplained. *Opportunities for Jude to really let her sadistic side shine were completely lacking (i.e. LOCKE). *It barely showcases Cardan, there is much less bloodshed and backstabbing, the story-line is fairly predictable, and everyone just seemed so…nice.

I am just overwhelmed with not feeling overwhelmed.

I think the biggest thing that has me annoyed is the relationship between Jude and Cardan. I needed ALL the information. ALL the explanations. ALL that happened while she was in the mortal lands. But did I get that?! No, not really. It’s a good thing I reread Cruel Prince and Wicked King before starting QON, because it gave me time to dissect every. single. thing. Cardan. said/did.

So without giving spoilers, I’ll leave you with all the things I wanted but just didn’t get.

Revenge. Double Revenge. Triple Revenge. Quadruple Revenge.

Wrap-up on Lady Asha, Nicasia, and Grimsen.

An actual profession of admiration, a gutting of a fox, why Jude has flowers in her side, the knowing to behead something and lastly…

THE LETTERS!

 

3-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Netgalley · New Releases

Book Review: The Last to Die by Kelly Garrett

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

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: It all started out as a game.

Just a way to have fun. We figured as long as we had rules, it wouldn’t be a problem.

RULE #1: Only break into one another’s houses.

RULE #2: Only take stuff that can be replaced.

It worked for a while. Whoever’s turn it was to break in got a rush, and the rest of us laughed over the trophies they brought back. But then someone went too far. Lives got ruined. Someone is dead.

And I might be next.

Opinion:

Burglaries, Teen Angst, Competition and Murder?!

Why, it’s positively sinful!

Harper and her friends have spent the last weeks of their summer doing what regular teens do. Drinking, beach days, trips to the mall, a smattering of experimental drugs and a casual burglary or two. With strict rules to only steal replaceable items from each of their houses, marking their personal bedrooms as off-limits, the teens take turns stealing items and pawning them off. The rush of adrenaline and excitement to be doing something illegal gives each of them a high like no other, that is until one of them is found dead. Though the police believe it to be a suicide, Harper knows better and searches frantically for the culprit. But as the deaths begin to stack up, she realizes she may be next.

If you’re looking for a quick-paced book that you’ll have no problem reading in one sitting, this one is for you.

This group of teens is far from your normal squad wanting to enact in a little rebellion and mischief. They are each a little crass, moody and fairly disrespectful to one another on a daily basis…which makes for some pretty interesting dynamics. There are six friends in total – Harper, Paisley, Sarah, Gin, Benji and Alex. Early on into their Summer, the gang decides they need some excitement and a new game to spice things up. They decide to take turns breaking into each other’s homes, using house keys and alarm codes, and taking items from their parents and selling them in pawnshops. They steal things like luxurious watches, alcohol, subscription bottles and other random decorations. Never personal, irreplaceable items.

Harper is an interesting character and voice of this story. She has a snide comment and blunt opinion about any and everything, and literally no filter. Most of the time I enjoyed her freedom to say whatever she wanted (f<3ck politeness) but at times I wish she would just get her head out of her ass. Harper is dating Gin who seems to be the most responsible and levelheaded one in the group. Paisley is innocent and sweet and is dating Benji who is laid-back and has the vibes of an all-around good guy. Sarah is the slightly promiscuous and overly catty teenage girl that makes you want to smack yourself in the face, and she is dating the equally cringey and creepy Alex.  The weirdest dynamic here is the one between Harper, Sarah and Alex. Alex makes constant suggestive comments to Harper, which gets a huge rise out of Sarah, which amuses Harper to no end. But the real strangeness is between Sarah and Harper.

These two are supposedly friends, but oh my gosh do they go at it!! And not just figuratively, Harper literally punches Sarah and they are constantly making comments about how much they hate each other.

Anyways, eventually things go a tad too far (as they always do) and one of the characters turns up dead. Harper has a very strong opinion that they hadn’t committed suicide, and that one of their friends was actually behind it. Needless to say, things get a little wild and you’re left having no idea who to trust. In natural fashion for me, I was blaming Harper herself. But that’s probably because I’ve been listening to WAY too many murder podcasts in my spare time.

Basically, this book goes by really fast and before you know it, you find out ‘who done it’. Though it WAS a TOTAL blindside, I am still left with a scrunched-up face and thinking the ending was a tad silly and ridiculous. There is that dramatic moment of when the killer explains why they did it, and guys…it was cringey. Call the Soap Opera Awards, because this takes the cake for the most eye-roll worthy forced anger and jealousy award!

But that painful exchange aside, this was a fairly decent book and one I didn’t hate giving my time to. It had an interesting premise, very quirky and edgy characters, and a special something that we’re all looking for this November – Murder. ❤

3-stars

 

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

Book Review: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery

Plot: A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

Opinion:

“A flash of silver under sea, when siren song hath taken me.

Absent of color, absent of light, absent of all that I knew in life.

Bolt the latch and watch the waves, pray sirens do not take me tonight.”

The inhabitants of Twillengyle island know the dangers that lurk below the surface of the waters. They are taught as children to be fearful of the harbor, to wear iron at all times, and to never go into the ocean. But the fascination of sirens brings yearly tourists to the island, which always ends in a death or three. But this year, an islander is found dead on the shore. A young boy with his throat slit clean. The police deem the cause to be an attack from the sirens, but Moira Alexander disagrees. Moira has always been enraptured by the sirens, just like her father, and believes the death of this boy is due to foul play. She enlists the help of the light keeper, Jude Osric to help track down the true killer. But Moira has no leads, and is finding it difficult to trust anyone. But she must act quickly, before the bodies start piling up.

Allow me to introduce to you, my newest eerie fantasy of 2019.

Move over The Wicked Deep!

There’s a new creepy island in town with deadly beings in the water, and a meddlesome female lead to make you swoon!

 

“Playing for the sirens fills a dark and hollow yearning, a cavernous desire I’ve no other way to appease.”

The setting for this enchanting read is an island called Twillengyle, and my oh my, am I obsessed with it! It is oddly alluring island masked in fog and mystery, beckoning outsiders forward with a chilled bony finger. It whispers secrets on the wind, rains fear on its sandy beaches and coaxes sailors to the docks and out into the blue.

It gives me Sleepy Hollow tingles and caresses of Sparrow curses, but these waters aren’t filled with ghostly spirits enacting revenge. In this tale, songs flutter through the waves from the dark depths of the unknown, luring the souls foolish enough to walk unprotected. The sirens keep an alertness about the island and apprehension in the air, but it is the islanders who keep the darkest secrets.

“Twillengyle is a place to be embraced with one arm, with a dagger ready in the other hand. To be charmed by its magic is not the same as becoming its fool, Moira. Remember that.”

As soon as I began reading Songs from the Deep, I was hooked. I devoured this beauty in five hours, and all I can think is I need more. The writing was beautiful and eerie, and the historical fiction of the tale brought the creep factor up a notch. Each character was introduced in a manor where you can’t tell if they are good or evil, sincere or manipulative, like something straight out of a Stephen King novel. Who to trust, who to fear? Honestly, I’m not even sure I could tell you! The old-fashioned dialogue brings about an air of propriety and polite interactions, but mix that with a couple slit throats and you’ve got blood coating the sandy shores.

“Now I’ll have his blood on the soles of my boots.”

If you, like me, love a meddlesome girl, then you will surely adore our Moira Alexander. She is strength in a petticoat, authority in stockings, and a fiercely skillful young lady. Moira is a character who knows exactly who she is and what she believes in, and wouldn’t think twice about apologizing for either. She has strong morals and opinions, which she has no shame in voicing, but she does so in a regal and sophisticated way. As a child, Moira followed in her father’s footsteps of having a keen interest and love for the sirens. So much so, that she spends her days sitting on the cliffs playing songs on her violin to the creatures below.

 “When she disappears beneath the waves, I feel pinned to the moment. I replay it like a song, over and over, until it’s familiar as a heartbeat.”

But like all the islanders of Twillengyle, Moira has secrets of her own, and this one involves her former best friend and the love-interest of this haunting story: Jude Osric.

“On one dark bough, I curse my efforts to drain our friendship bloodless, when neither of us desired the ax.”

Jude is the epitome of good-natured and sweetness! So many times in YA Fantasy we have a bad boy character with secrets, regrets, a mournful past of death and dark hair with gray eyes. Well…the secrets and mournful past of death is still there, but you see where I’m going with this. Jude is kind and honest. He has an innocence etched into his bones that even the loneliness of his lighthouse can’t extinguish. He is an upstanding gent, an endearing friend and he’s just… pure goodness. This is one male love interest I could jump into the ocean for.

But obviously, the real treat of this story is the plot.

This siren story is one you need to buy now and devour. I know so many of you have been in an endless hangover from The Wicked Deep, and this is the cure! Not only is it a fantastic mystery full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end, but it ends on a note that makes you feel eerily complete. If a book was ever written for my soul, it would be this. This world, these characters, and the mysteries of the waters speak to my very being. If I could crawl into these pages, my heart would have finally reached bliss.

“Disquiet makes a home inside my heart.”

5-stars

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Penguin Random House · Reviews

Spooky Reads Blogger Campaign: I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson

Happy November 1st my Witchy readers!
Today I have a very special post for you! I have teamed with with Penguin Random House for their Spooky Reads Blogger Campaign, where each blogger picked a candy that corresponded with a surprise spooky book!
My candy was Kit Kat (yum!) and my book turned out to be I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson!!
I was beyond excited to receive this book and put this post together, so be sure you read my review below, take a look at my Dream Casting and maybe even head over to my Bookstagram to check out my photo of the book!
@Jenacidebybibliophile
(You can also see my unboxing of this book and some amazing extra goodies in my highlights under “Bookmail“)

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~* Book Review *~

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I Know You Remember

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Penguin Random House, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Opinion:

If this book doesn’t leave you feeling a little unhinged, I don’t know what will.

Oh.

My.

Days.

That was twisted.

It has been three years since Ruthie and her mother left their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to escape Ruthie’s alcoholic father. But following the sudden death of her mother, Ruthie is being sent back to Anchorage to live with her now sober dad and his new family. Things aren’t all bad though, because Ruthie will finally get to see her best friend Zahra again. Except when Ruthie arrives at her new school, news that Zahra has gone missing is announced, and all signs point to Zahra’s boyfriend. Now, Ruthie puts all her energy into finding Zahra and uncovering what really happened the night she disappeared. But along the way, Ruthie realizes that Zahra isn’t the same girl she knew. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, Zahra’s friends describe her as secretive, sometimes moody, and a big partier. As Ruthie comes closer to finding out the truth, buried secrets are dug up and the horrifying realities are uncovered.

I love nothing more than a story that gives me a physical reaction while reading.

And to say my mouth dropped open, would be a vast understatement to the reality of what shape my face contorted into after this ending.

Though I had a strong suspicion of how this story would turn out, and I was more or less correct in my assumption, I am still SO impressed with how the author kept me questioning my opinion until the very end. I have read one or two books that have a similar twist in them, and the clues as to where the story was shifting was really subtle, but it was all in the characters!

This story is told in the point of view of Ruthie as she comes back to Anchorage and begins searching for Zahra. Though, in the three years that Ruthie has been away, their interactions have been limited. Ruthie reminisces on their time together in the summer before she moved, and how they spent their days devouring books and creating stories where they were the heroines who triumphed over evil. She describes their friendship of one of imagination and creativity, and portrays Zahra as a beautiful and special girl that she was more than lucky to call her best friend. But as Ruthie begins to learn more about who Zahra is now, she begins to discover that she may not be the same girl she once knew.

“Part of me, of course, just wanted to find her. But part of me wanted to find her here. Because that would mean it still matters. That the world we created together is still meaningful to her.”

For most of this book, the reader is learning who Zahra is by how she is described by her friends and family. There are little snippets and trails of information that you can pick up to form a vague portrayal of who she is, but the reader never truly gets an in depth look at her until the end of the book. Because the author chose to keep her shrouded in secrecy, my imagination was going wild the entire time I was reading. Ruthie begins to discover that Zahra has episodes where she will shutdown and not talk to anyone, or where she falls into deep depressions ranting about how she wants to die and that she is a horrible person. Which instantly makes you think, did she run away?

Each of these characters has the right amount of detail to make you feel like you know them, but just enough mystery to make you question each expression and action. One of my favorite things about thrillers is that it makes me pause my reading to decipher what is going on, where I think the clues will lead, and who I think is guilty of what. But the clues in I Know You Remember are so faint and expertly entwined into the words and mannerisms of these beautiful characters, that you’ll miss it all if you blink even once.

The backdrop for this mystery is really what seals the deal for me and brings in the creep factor. Anchorage, Alaska with its beautiful scenery and huge wooded areas make it the perfect location for a young girl to go missing and/or the possibilities of a deranged killer being on the loose. But my favorite aspect of all, was the abandoned playground that Zahra and Ruthie had claimed as their territory for that magical summer three years prior. Rusted play structures, a lonely swing-set and a place they could create their magical stories and let their imaginations run wild.

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Of course…it gets much creepier toward the end of the book…*cough cough*.

I REALLY wish I could say more and give out every spoiler this is, because it is killing me keeping it all bottled up! This story is twisted, manipulative, secretive, and will make you question more than just where Zahra went. And best yet, I just found out that this is a follow-up to Jennifer Donaldson’s other novel Lies You Never Told Me. Obviously I Know You Remember can be read as a standalone (since I just did that) but now I must get my hands on “Lies”, because I need more!

I highly recommend this for readers who are still looking for some spooky reads, because Halloween season is year-round and we aren’t done being weird yet, are we? For those of you who get scared easily, don’t you worry your pretty little heads. This isn’t horror, it’s thriller! You’ll be juuustttttt fine.

4-5-stars

 

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~* Dream Casting *~

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Ruthie

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Ruthie was pretty hard to pinpoint as far as looks, because there isn’t a whole lot of detail surrounding her appearance. I mostly had to go off the cover which only shows the back of her, and I just let my imagination do the rest.

My top pick is the beautiful Taissa Farmiga.

Taissa

If you’re like me and love American Horror Story, then you would have fallen in love with Taissa in the first season. She is aloof and slightly mysterious, but has just the right amount of innocence and allure to pull you in – Just like Ruthie.

My other two picks for Ruthie were Kaitlyn Dever and Maude Apatow.

Kaitlyn Dever has proven her wide range of acting skills over the years, and there is something about her that makes me think she can switch her personality from sweet to horrific in .02 seconds.

Maude Apatow is a newer to the acting scene, but the little I have seen from her – I LOVE! I would be so interested to see how she’d make Ruthie come to life, and to be honest, I think she would absolutely kill it.

 

Zahra

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Zahra is also another tough character to pinpoint on looks, because her description is also on the more vague side. So again, this is my going off of the cover and the very little information I was given while reading.

I had a few picks for Zahra, but it always came back to Riele Downs.

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I just can’t get over how stunning this girl is! Zahra is described as a girl that people seem to be drawn to. Someone that is easy to confide in and trust, and who is beautiful inside and out. Riele Downs exudes that perfect amount of confidence and friendliness that I think would be perfect for Zahra.

 

Tabitha

Tabitha’s character is an interesting mix of bitchy mean girl and really devoted friend, so it was a challenge finding the right person to portray here. So, I’ve narrowed it down to two raidant reheads!

Ellie Bamber and Rosie Day are not only stunning with that red hair, but they also have a sharp edge to their looks that make you want to be careful around them. Tabitha comes off as a snippy, bitchy and fierce character most of the time, but when it comes down to itgirl is a little gem

 

Ben Peavy

Ben is described as having Native heritage, dark eyes, a full mouth, and black hair that is short on the sides and longer on top. For some reason though, there is a very small pool of young Native actors to choose from.

So I had to get creative for this one…

I give you, Vito Basso.

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Pretty sure this beautiful specimen is a model and not an actor, but c’mon…we could convince him to switch careers, couldn’t we?

 

Seb Collins

Immediately, and I mean immediately after Seb was described, two people popped into my head. First was the majorly talented Timothée Chalamet, who I just adore to pieces.

Timothée ticks off every box there is for the pale, skinny, sharp feature description..but he is also a little too clean-cut for this character.

But you know who would have been perfect?!

The late, amazing, wonderful Anton Yelchin.

Anton

Seb is described as a little shaggy and scruffy, and Anton Yelchin was definitely able to play this part. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago, which is positively tragic, because he was an immensely talented actor.

 

Bailey Sellers

Bailey is one of the youngest pivotal characters in this book, and is described as being a poor and skinny fourteen-year-old girl who is physically abused at home. She is fast and has a bit of a temper, but at the end of the day, she is just a lonely little girl looking for a friend.

My pick for Bailey is the oober talented Mckenna Grace.

Mckenna

This girl astounds me every time I see her in a movie. She is versatile and immediately grabs your attention! Her as Bailey is a no-brainer!!

 

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As always, thanks for reading and stay Witchy! ❤

 

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