Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #18: 14 Summer Reads

It’s that time of year again, darlings.
Beach trips, sunscreen, bonfires and bathing suits.
I know you’ve been waiting for this

So grab those parasols and beach towels,
those water bottles and snack bags!
Summer is coming.

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~* 14 Summer Reads *~

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Yes, 14.
Because 15 would make too much sense.

 

1. The 1-800-Where-R-You series by Meg Cabot

The 1-800-Where-R-You series is one of my FAVORITES! I have been reading these books once a year for YEARS. I don’t think I will ever tire of them.

The series follows Jess Mastriani, a teenage girl who has a pension for hitting arrogant guys in the face and landing in detention.

A true hero, if you ask me.

On her way home from school one day, she is struck by lightning. The next day she discovers that she has an ability to find missing children, all she needs to do is see a picture of the child, go to sleep, and the next day she will know where they are.

This series is dark, adventurous, HILARIOUS and is even dripping in a nicely drawn-out romance with a bad-boy biker stud!

Commence the swooning.

 

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I mean…do I even need to explain this series?!?

The Hunger Games is a PERFECT read for Summer! Survival skills, hunting, murder, elegant gowns and death Death DEATH!

It’s a Dystopian series where each year one boy and girl from each of the 12 districts is offered up as tribute in the Hunger Games. It’s a fight to the death, and only one may come out as victor. Katniss is thrown into the games with little chance of surviving, but her time in the game will change the nation of Panem forever.

If you’ve never read these books and seen the movies, read these.

If you’ve never read the books OR seen the movies, read these.

You know what, just read these again.

You know you want to.

 

3. The Purification Era series by Angie Grigaliunas

If you guys still haven’t taken my glorious advice and read this series, then…

Just kidding

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

This series switches back and forth between the girls as their lives are thrust into chaos. Rabreah joins the rebel group to take the Hulcondans down, while Ariliah puts all of her trust and faith into them. These books are ADDICTING, will make you cry, and make you fall madly in love.

(The series DOES center on threats of rape and in a world where men take advantage of women, but there are no graphic scenes)

 

4. One Moment by Kristina McBride

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After a traumatic accident that leaves her boyfriend Joey dead, Maggie finds herself unable to remember the final moments that lead up to his death. Maggie remembers spending the day at the gorge with her childhood friends and boyfriend, and she even remembers climbing up the trail with him to jump off the cliff together. But for some reason, everything else is a blank.

The typical summer read.

Friends hanging out together, young love, death.

This one is mildly depressing, so hold on to those teenage hearts!

 

5.  Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes

An AMAZING movie, and an even better read!

I just included this in my “YA Reads for the Young YA” a few weeks ago, which made me watch the movie again. And honestly…

It NEVER gets old!

Stanley Yelnats believes the men in his family are cursed, why else would he have been sent to Camp Green Lake? There isn’t even a lake! After Stanley is unjustly caught stealing, he is sentenced to the camp in order to “build character“, by way of digging holes. But soon Stanley realizes that the boys at Camp Green Lake aren’t just digging holes to “build character“, and that the truth behind the curse on his family may be at the bottom of a hole.

 

6. The Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter

This series is just DRIPPING in all those dreamy summer camp vibes!

But these teens aren’t your typical camp goers. Werewolves, vampires, witches, faeries and shapeshifters are here to train and harness their powers. So why is Kylie sent there? A young girl learns that she is more than what she seems, all the while stuck in a love triangle with a half-fae named Derek and a werewolf named Lucas.

I’d suggest just buying the entire series at once. Don’t do what I did and only buy book 1 first.

Trust me, regret will follow.

 

7. With Malice by Eileen Cook

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When Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room she doesn’t remember being in; or even coming to for that matter, she quickly becomes panicked. Not only does she learn that she had been involved in a terrible car accident, but she soon realizes that she cannot remember the past six weeks of her life. But when Jill learns that she was the driver of the car accident that killed someone else, she rushes to find out what really happened.

This has the Amanda Knox trial ALL over it!

It’s a great story to get lost in this Summer that centers on a trip to Italy, and two best friends. It is sinister and honestly pretty messed up, but it is SO good!

 

8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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So I haven’t yet read The Help, but I am BEYOND obsessed with the movie and have watched it dozens of times!

It is set in Mississippi in 1962 where black women work as maids in white households, earning very little and being treated horribly by most. The story is told by three women – Skeeter a young white woman with dreams of becoming a writer, and Aibileen and Minney who work as maids in white homes.

The three women come together to tell their tale of life from the maids perspective. To shed light on how they are treated at work, and in their personal lives.

The movie is BEYOND powerful, and I can only assume the book will be even more so!

 

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars is the epitome of a YA Mystery doused in wealth and privilege. It is the coming-of-age story with a little bit of everything – innocence, love, family, tragedy, greed, heartbreak and of course…lies.

Coming from a family of old-money and pride, the “Four Liars” and their families spend every summer on Harris Sinclair’s privately-owned retreat. However, during Summer Fifteen (summer + current age of the Liars) Cadence was found alone on the beach, half-naked, and nearly underwater with a serious head injury that resulted in her losing her memory of what happened. For the next few years Cadence spends her time suffering from terrible migraines, taking painkillers, and no memory of most of Summer Fifteen. Now two years later, she is finally returning to Beechwood after her accident to be reunited with her liars and to find out what really happened to her that summer.

It is SO hard to not get lost in this creative and secretive story, and the writing is superb:

Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound, then from my ears, my mouth.
It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps of the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.
Mummy snapped. She said to get hold of myself.
Be normal, now, she said. Right now, she said.”

 

10. The Walking Shadows series by Talis Jones

Alarum

Alarum is the PERFECT Dystopian Western to tear your heart out over the Summer! It’s Mad Max meets Wild Wild West, and it is EVERYTHING!

The U.S. has fallen, and in its wake is a lawless country. Children have been ripped from their families, pushed into Corrals, trained to be soldiers and slaves, and then sold to the highest bidder. This story follows a girl with many names, as she traverses this new world and tries to make sense of it.

 

11. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting

This story was required reading in fourth grade, and it was one of the few books my entire class actually enjoyed being forced to read. It’s sweet and innocent, but also gives the reader insight into how important this one life is!

This is a story of a family who will live forever due to drinking from a magical spring, and a young girl who happens upon the youngest son of the family while he drank from it. It is a tale of romance, but most importantly, a story of choice: to live forever or to simply live.

It is a great story for all ages, and one with a fantastic and beautiful message.

 

12. Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

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I am a serious obsession with this book, and I think it’s mostly due to how incredibly weird it is. 

It’s a about a sixteen-year-old girl named Mars who seeks to leave her small town with her sister. Down by their home, which is a boarding house that serves Johns (yes, you know what I mean) there is the covert where townspeople go to commit suicide, and where Mars skims bodies for money in hopes of escaping.

It’s different, it’s dark, but it’s lined with a sunshiny innocence that makes it feel almost normal. It sounds strange I know, but it feels like an “old-timey” read that will instantly hook you.

It will forever be one of my favorite YA books.

 

13. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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This was another required reading in school, but one with a VERY powerful message.

In is set in South Carolina in 1964, and is about a young white girl named Lily Owens who is distraught by the death of her mother. She is raised by her abusive father T. Ray and her stand in mother and maid, Rosaleen. When Rosaleen gets put into jail for “disrupting” three white men, Lily helps break her out and they run away. They eventually come to stay with three black bee-keeping sisters, where she is taught valuable lessons and the truth about her mother. 

It is a necessity for every mother and daughter to read, but should be required reading for EVERYONE! It’s a feel-good story, and a GEM of a book!

 

14. The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

I saved this series for last, because you all already know that you need to read it!

I know a lot of you are waiting to start the series once the release date for book 3 gets closer, and might I just say…you’re a bunch of smart cookies!

Because this series is devastation.

My heart was torn out, and I’m still sitting here hyperventilating while I try to stuff it back into my chest and sew it up.

It follows a human named Jude who lives in Faerie with her sister and the murderer of their parents. She is ridiculed and tortured by the Fae, especially by the youngest Prince of the High Court and his minions. Usually choosing to be meek and keep her head down, Jude decides to fights to win a place at court. But she realizes that the politics and deceptions in the inner circle might just be more than she bargained for.

This is a DARK, DEPRESSING, GRITTY, and CRUEL Fae tale, so guard your loins.

Enjoy the series this summer if you do plan on reading, and I’ll keep you in my thoughts as you suffer through these books and then wait for book 3, like me.

Until then

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What books are you guys planning on reading this summer? Any from this list?!
Let me know!
As always, stay witchy! ❤

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #9: The YA Reads for the Young YA

binding of bindingsthis

Today

is a day of innocence.

Of care-free smiles, child-like bliss, and a moment

Stop pretending to work, stop doing those dishes!

For the LOVE of BOOKS, STOP taking yourself SO SERIOUSLY!

For today is a day for the child in our hearts, the teens we once were, and the young readers around us.

Here we get to act ridiculous, make silly faces, let our minds run wild and be nothing but everything that we dream of. Today I bring you:

The YA Reads for the Young YA

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1. Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis #1) by Rebecca L. Carpenter

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Though a…strange read, Butterfly Bones is a four-leaf clover in a meadow of California Poppy’s and daffodils.

It is about a teenage girl with a rare bone disorder that physically gives her the size and build of a ten-year-old child. As an infant she was told that she wasn’t going to make it, but she somehow defied the odds. This story follows Bethany as she navigates through high school and is subjected to ridicule and bullying for her appearance.

But the special aspect of this story comes from the work that Bethany’s father has diligently been working on for years, in which he tests the butterfly hormone on Bethany in the hopes that it will treat her disorder.

This story starts out with a contemporary/coming-of-age vibe, but blossoms into a beautiful and touching sci-fi/fantasy before your eyes.

I haven’t yet read book 2, but hope to get to it SOON!

(See my review here)

 

2. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped

If you guys saw my “Love is in the Book Air” post, you will have already heard me gushing and fawning over Flipped.

It is a contemporary romance and a coming-of-age story that switches narrative between two characters, Bryce and Juli. Juli has been in love with Bryce since he moved in next door when they were children, and Bryce has only wished for Juli to just leave him alone.

This is SUCH a sweet and innocent story of two characters with different beliefs and personalities growing up together. It has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid, and I adore every aspect of it.

Plus, there’s a movie!

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3. One Deed Dude by Robert Pence

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Robert Pence is one of the first authors to send my books for review when I first started out, and I am SO glad that he shared his two works with me.

The first of which being One Deed Dude.

This story is witty, creative and absolutely unique in every sense of the word. I believe I had started out my review of this book with “This book is so random, but in the best possible way“.

The story follows Otis who is cursed to only do one good deed a day after accidentally killing a gypsy boy-scout. Enraged by the accident, the mother of the gypsy boy-scout curses Otis to only be able to perform one good deed a day or else suffer terrible living nightmares.

But the concept for this book isn’t the only thing SPECTACULAR about this story. As Otis attempts to complete his daily good deed, he comes across other characters with curses SO ridiculous and comical, you won’t be able to help being completely charmed.

(See my review here)

 

4. Otherworld by Evan Ronan

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Evan Ronan.

What COULDN’T I say about this author?!

His Eddie McCloskey series were the FIRST books I was sent to review, and for that he has a special place in my book heart! BUT the reason I will ALWAYS and FOREVER accept any book for review from Mr. Ronan is because of his writing and creativity.

Otherworld is Evan’s first attempt at a YA story, and let me tell you…

He positively crushed it.

This story is BURSTING at the SEAMS with imagination, childhood adventures and pure bliss! It follows Aoife, a young girl with endless bouts of imagination and creativity. So much so, that her imaginary world she created in her head is actually possible for her to enter. And she must. Because her neighbor, Mr. Peterson, has begun stealing the imaginations of others in order to recapture his past.

Otherworld is one of the best young YA stories I have ever read, precisely because of the ability the author has to truly capture the voice, thoughts and minds of these children. There is a talking recycling bin named AL and “Leg Giants” which are literally giant legs with arms!

Its a world ANY child would want to get lost in, and one that I wish I could travel to!

(See my review here)

 

5. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Another book that was mentioned in my “Love is in the Book Air” post, and another great YA romance.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is about Steffi, a selective mute, and Rhys, a boy who is deaf. This story follows the two characters as they meet in school, and quickly form a bond over their isolation form their peers due to the uniqueness to each of their situations. The two quickly form a friendship through sign language, and it eventually turns into a beautiful and gentle romance that you’ll want to cherish forever.

This story is SO clever and gives the reader a NEW and DIFFERENT plot with characters you’ll instantly fall in love with!

(See my review here)

 

6. CUL8R Time Travel series by Bob Kat

 

The CUL8R series is a great middle-grade set of books about friendship and time travel, with a TON of adventure.

After moving to Florida to live with her aunt, Kelly quickly sparks a friendship with her smart next door neighbor and his quarterback best friend. The three new friends eventually come across an invention in Kelly’s garage called the Telephone to the Dead, which allows them to communicate to ghosts. After hearing the pleas for help from a young girl, Scott invents a time traveling so that the three can go back in time and help.

This series is PACKED with adventures and takes the reader through different parts of time so they can assist someone in need. It is a great series that will warm your heart, make you want to lend a helping hand, and just get you positively PSYCHED about science-fiction!

(See my review of book 1 here)

 

7. Stargirl (Stargirl #1) by Jerry Spinelli

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THIS is one of the earliest books I remember reading as a kid, and one of the most special! This story is about the yearning to be accepted for one’s self and originality, in the midst of popularity and social pressure to conform.

At Mica Area High School, Leo has learned to stay hidden and to not stand out. But with the arrival of Stargirl, the dynamic in this high school begins to shift. At first the students are taken with Stargirl and praise her unique look and personality, but just as quickly, she is shunned and put down for her uniqueness.

Stargirl is an amazing a breathtaking story with a message to ALWAYS be yourself, no matter what anyone says or thinks. It is the ESSENCE of a story that any young YA should read for its message, and for the pure pleasure that it brings.

 

8. Thump Squash by Robert Pence

Thump Squash

Another young YA by Robert Pence, and another clever tale!

Thump Squash is the tale of a creature who kidnaps children and chops off their feet. After the disappearance of eleven-year-old Billy, his friends go on the hunt to find Thump Squash and get billy back.

Though it sounds like it may be gruesome, it is a wonderful mystery/suspense for children and teens. It is the perfect who-done-it with relatable characters, funny moments and some very witty writing.

It’s almost like a Goosebumps story that won’t leave you with nightmares!

(See my review here)

 

9. Holes (Holes #1) by Louis Sachar

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HOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!

The true obsession of my childhood.

At first a forced reading for school, but soon…a deep love and admiration. And the movie being SO amazing definitely didn’t sway my enthusiasm for these characters.

Stanley Yelnats believes the men in his family are cursed, why else would he have been sent to Camp Green Lake? There isn’t even a lake! After Stanley is unjustly caught stealing, he is sentenced to the camp in order to “build character“, by way of digging holes. But soon Stanley realizes that the boys at Camp Green Lake aren’t just digging holes to “build character“, and that the truth behind the curse on his family may be at the bottom of a hole.

If you haven’t had the immense pleasure of reading Holes or watching the movie, YOU NEED TO GET ON IT! This story is fantastic for anyone of any age, and is SUCH a treat! I have watched this movie a million times, and will continue to watch it a million more.

 

10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting

We might as well start crying together now.

Tuck Everlasting. *Sigh*…this story is everything.

I read this in fourth grade right before the movie came out, and my teacher was so AWESOME that he took our entire class to go see it. You go Mr. Huberty!

This is a story of a family who will live forever due to drinking from a magical spring, and a young girl who happens upon the youngest son of the family while he drank from it. It is a tale of romance, but most importantly, a story of choice: to live forever or to simply live.

Another story great for all ages, and one with a fantastic and beautiful message to be present and live for now. Again, there’s also a movie to look forward to after reading! So hurry, hurry!

 

11. Hatchet (Brian’s Saga #1) by Gary Paulsen

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This was the first book I remember getting assigned in elementary school, and is definitely the most celebrated book on my list. It is an adventure story that can be placed right next to Call of the Wild, but for the younger audiences.

The story follows Brian as he becomes stranded in the forest after a plane crash, and as he learns to fend for himself and stay alive. This story will make the reader ask themselves if they could survive in the wild, and will most definitely spark the need to learn a few things.

It is a great story of perseverance, determination and courage. Fantastic for any age reader and a story that will keep you enthralled and connected to the main character.

 

12. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

Enders Game

The last of my school book recommendations, but still one of my ABSOLUTE favorites.

I remember this was on my summer required reading list before going into my Freshman year of high school, and let me tell you…I was NOT excited to read this.

I had never read a science-fiction story up to that point, and had no need or yearning to. AT ALL. I remember complaining to my mother that it was a “boy book” and that I would NEVER be able to get through it.

Oh the agony!!!! THE UNFAIRNESS of it ALL!

But, I’m not too proud to say that my preconceived notions about this book were dead wrong…because it is AMAZING!

This story is set sometime in the future and when aliens arrive on earth to eradicate it and every soul on it. But the military has a plan. They train young kids to defeat the enemy, and Ender is recruited at the age of six. So ensues Ender’s journey to save planet Earth. It is an exciting read and one that will spark the sci-fi interest in any reader.

Annndddd there’s a movie! Winner winner!

 

13. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events barely even needs an explanation.

We all know the obsession.

So of course, it MUST be mentioned in my Young YA Reads because there is almost nothing better than this seriesexcept maybe a more cheerful series.

And Harry Potter.

Maybe.

The series is exactly what you think, it is a set of books about truly unfortunate and downright ghastly events! Three orphans are tossed from caretaker to caretaker whilst trying to discover the events surround their parents mysterious death, and of course avoiding the evil Count Olaf. Though this series does get rather dark, it is highly enjoyable and creative.

There was one movie made of it with Jim Carey, that I really liked but was never continued. BUT there is also the Netflix series of it as well!

 

14. The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani

 

I bought this series two years ago, but have yet to read them. I was instantly drawn to them by those BEAUTIFUL covers, and of course the synopsis.

The series is about a school that trains ordinary boys and girls to be villains and heroes. It is the story of how two best friends arrive at the School for Good & Evil to be trained in their assumed roles. Sophie who is charming and bubbly, and Agatha who flows in dark colors and detests everyone thought they knew exactly which schools they would be going to, until their roles suddenly get reversed.

It sounds like a truly fun and witty story, and I hope I can make time to read it soon!

 

15. A Moon in Your Lunch Box by Michael Spooner

A Moon in your Lunchbox

My mother bought this for me when I was still tiny and dripping in innocence. It was my first book of poetry, and a HILARIOUS one at that.

This book is a great way to start any child on poetry, and might even be helpful to them in school. I personally took a poem out of here for a class assignment in 3rd grade, and my classmates LOVED it SO MUCH that they made me bring it in so my teacher could read us one poem a day.

I WISH I had the book on me to show you the poem I chose, but alas, it is safe in storage somewhere.

It had something to do with mashing up a banana and pouring your Pepsi on it.

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Here we are, the end of innocence road.

How do you feel?

Nostalgic? Warm and Fuzzy?

Good.

Because next week, that probably won’t be the case.

Stay witchy!

 

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

Book Review: Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy, Book 1) by Amber R. Duell

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

Plot: The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.

(Please note: This story contains vivid death scenes.)

Opinion:

When I saw Dream Keeper on Netgalley, I just knew I had to have it.

A retelling of the Sandman, the weaver of nightmares, and a young girl caught up in the middle of it all? Sold. A YA story or romance, fantasy and magic? Sold.

A Lord of Nightmares, and a Lord of Dreams.

A Night World, and a Day World.

It ALL just promised to be SO. AMAZING.

I mean I just…loved it…

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With the description above basically giving away the ENTIRE book, I realize that it would be vastly unnecessary for me to give my own synopsis. So, let’s just jump right in, shall we? I have a feeling this review if going to be short and sweet.

Well…short and sour.

This book had a TON of promise, but really fell flat for me. The reason for that MAY be because it feels like it targets a younger audience, Pre-Teen/Teen, by the characters coming across as childlike and adolescent rather than somewhat mature. The author chose to use phrases like “sorry, not sorry” in one instance, and then words like perturbed and grotesque in the next. Though the writing is VERY descriptive and paints a beautiful picture of the dream and nightmare world, I felt like I was caught in a wind tunnel of conflicting writing styles. At one point it feels eloquent and mature, and the next it is simplistic and feels cheesy. I almost felt like I was reading a soap-opera at times.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a strong connection to Nora and the Sandman, especially when it came to their romance. When the reader starts this book, they are thrust right in the middle of the story. There isn’t much of a premise, so it eventually “backpedals” you through past events to catch you up. Sometimes this works in stories, but in this case, it was just confusing. Due to the quick start, and even quicker romance, it doesn’t give the reader adequate time to connect to Nora and the Sandman. The Sandman ended up sounding like a brooding teenager even though he’s supposed to be decades old, and Nora didn’t seem to have much of an emotional response to the murders around her…which is strange. Shouldn’t she be freaking the f**k out? I would be! So instead of exciting and fresh, these characters came off as quite dull and unimpressive.

The flow of the writing and the structure of this story also left me a little unsettled. With the beginning starting from nowhere and being rushed, it made me think that this series was going to be PACKED with exciting moments. I mean, it would have to be for this to be a trilogy and start that way, right?! Well, yes and no. I wasn’t bored while reading, but I DID feel like there wasn’t a lot of meaningful and necessary moments happening. Things felt a little out of order, or rushed in spots and slow in others. My editing brain kept wanting to rearrange different paragraphs and sentences, so it was a bit hard to get through.

Another confusing aspect was that a bunch of REALLY important characters didn’t come into this story until the end. By the time I got to these new characters, I was already checked-out of the story and skimming the lines. Maybe if they were introduced earlier, it would have kept my attention and interest more. I thought the character of Baku was very creative, so I wish he would have had a bigger role and made a stronger connection with Nora or the Sandman. It could have been a memorable and amusing duo for the reader to get hooked on.

This really came off more negative than I was anticipating, which is unfortunate. This story had a lot of great ideas and moments, but I think some final editing could have really improved it. Though I am slightly curious to see if the writing and characters improve in book two, I probably won’t be picking up the next copy. With the characters and flow of writing falling short, Dream Keeper turned out to be a real dud for me. This is of course, is just my opinion. A lot of other readers really enjoyed this story, so don’t use my words as law. Even though you could. 😉

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2-5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Books · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #2: My Top 10 Best Books of 2018

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Happy Friday my lovely bookworms!

We are back with another weekly Binding of Bindings and showcasing my favorite reads from 2018, in a big black cauldron of Yes, YES, YESSSS!

Servings: 10

Read Time: 80-100 Hours

Book Hangover Time: Eternity

Calories: 0 (Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free)

Ingredients: Magic, tears, humor, anxiety, love, adventure and a royal or two

Directions:

  1. Start by opening your spell books to page 394
  2. Grease your cauldron with the heart of a Villain, and preheat to 975 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl add your dry ingredients: 1/4 Cup of Historical Fiction, 1 Cup of Adventure and 1 heaping Tablespoon of sarcasm. Mix together thoroughly.
  4. Add 4 cups of Fantasy and 1 Pound of fresh Young Adults.
  5. Stir in a handful of Science Fiction and a sprinkle of sadness and regret.
  6. Now carefully fold in your 2 cups of mini spells and curses, and maybe even a zombie (optional).
  7. Pour the mixture into your cauldron and stir rapidly until sparks fly and it begins smoking.

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Garnish your dish with mischief and a curse, and VOILA:

My Top 10 Best Books of 2018

 

  1. The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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The obvious place to start is at the most morbid one.

Did I say morbid? I meant soul-crushing.

This book is all the feels and the most brutal of my 10. It’s the story of how a girl lives the rest of her high school years after being raped one night. The reader follows Eden as she struggles to come to terms with what happened, and while she seeks to find a way to relieve her pain.

Clear a day and night for this read. You’ll need it.

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2. Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

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Along the Indigo is intriguing, unique and BEGS to be read. It’s slightly unorthodox in that the main character skims dead bodies and lives in a brothel.

HEAR ME OUT!

It sounds a little weird, but its actually a hidden-gem and something I guarantee you haven’t read before. It’s a about a sixteen-year-old girl named Mars who seeks to leave her small town with her sister. Down by their home there is the covert where townspeople go to commit suicide, and where Mars skims bodies for money to escape. It sounds strange I know, but it will forever be one of my favorite YA books. You can check out my review for Along the Indigo here.

3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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A 2018 FAVORITE of MANY readers, The Wicked Deep is the perfect witchy story. The legend goes that three sisters were drowned by the townspeople of Sparrow in the early 1800’s, and each Swan Season three girls are inhabited by one of the sisters who seek their vengeance by drowning a boy each. A witch-hunt ensues, there is possession and mystery, and eve a little love. It’s a MUST read. You can see my review here for more info.

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4. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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Deception, royals, torture, death, rebellion and crowns made of ash?

Um…YES PLEASE!

Ash Princess is the first in this amazing trilogy, and I know I’m not alone when I say I can barely stand waiting for book 2! It’s about a Princess who’s country was invaded when she was child, her parents were killed in front of her and she was enslaved by her conquerors. Years later, she is used as a trophy for the Kaiser to show his people (and hers) that he won. It is a tale of rebellion, and of brutality. Buckle in for this one! You can also see my review here for more!

5. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

I can’t believe it’s over!!

I devoured five of the seven books in this series in 2018, and I have read through them twice more to prepare me for the last two. This series is EVERYTHING a Fantasy addict could hope for in a series. A badass female assassin with a pension for stabbing people, magic, Fae, demons, WITCHES! This series did not disappoint, and all I am left with is a sadness and hole in my chest because it’s over….and I’ll never be the same.

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6. The Lone City series by Amy Ewing

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I know I mentioned this series in my last post. It’s only because it is THAT amazing. The Handmaid’s Tale meets the YA world in ball gowns and rebellions. It’s a vicious, vicious world in The Lone City, so bring your battle-gear readers! You guys won’t be able to stop yourselves from annihilating these books. They’re just amazing.

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7. Dead Dog (Zombie Dog series, Book 2) by Doug Goodman

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I was SO lucky to have received this second book in the Zombie Dog series from Doug Goodman! This series is great for the readers who love books set in the wilderness, and who also love science fiction. It’s all about a young woman who formally trained dogs to be Cadaver Dogs (to find dead bodies), but who now works with her lead dog Murder to hunt zombies. But these aren’t those virus-ridden drooling zombies. These are wasps who have attached to the heads of humans, and who are reproducing at a rapid rate.

Scared?

You should be.

See my review here.

8. Quelling (The Purification Era, Book 2) by Angie Grigaliunas

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*Le Sigh*

If there was one book I could describe as making me happy cry EVERY TIME I read it, it would be this book and this series.

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I was SO lucky to have been able to Beta/Alpha read this book, especially because I needed to know what happened. This books follows two sisters, with two very different outlooks on their governments. One appears to be meek and trust her superiors without question, while the other hates them and joins a rebellion to end their control. This book has a feel of The Handmaid’s Tale, but is completely of its own uniqueness.

This is not a recommendation. This is an order. Buy these books.

Click here for my review!

9. The Quantum Ghost (The Quantum Worlds, Book 2) by Jonathan Ballagh

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This is the second book in a series, but can be read as a stand-alone. The main character is a young child, but it is a great read for any age! It is all about traveling into a parallel dimension and fighting evil androids who have taken over humans. It is EXCITING and it is so incredibly enjoyable. See my review here for more information.

 

10. In The Company of Wolves (Of Witches and Werewolves, Book 2) by Cory Barclay

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If you have noticed from my reviews and posts, I don’t get around to reading too many Historical Fictions. Thankfully I gave this series a shot, because it is SPECTACULAR. The writing is fantastic, the characters are well-formed, and it twists a little fact with fiction. This series starts at the height of religious reformation in Europe in 1589, and is based on an ACTUAL trial that was held for a man called the Werewolf of Bedburg, who was accused of murder and cannibalism. This series snowballs into something truly fantastic, and I am so excited to read book three in 2019!

 

With that, ladies and gents, I give you my Top 10 Best and Favorite books of 2018!

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

Until next time, stay Witchy 😉

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*Warning: Severe weight loss may occur from the devouring of these books due to the raw emotions they may induce. Please do not operate heavy machinery after reading these books. Please do not mix books, as this may become lethal. In case of an emergency, please dial 9-1-1 dispatch*

*Don’t actually dial 9-1-1 dispatch*

 

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Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: The Giver, Graphic Novel by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell (Illustrations)

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The Giver, The graphic Novel will be available for purchase on February 5, 2019.

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

Genre: Teen/YA/Fiction/Graphic Novel/Comic

Plot: Placed on countless reading lists, translated into more than forty languages, and made into a feature film, The Giver is the first book in The Giver Quartet that also includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

In this new graphic novel edition, readers experience the haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas and his seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment, through the brilliant art of P. Craig Russell that truly brings The Giver to life.

Witness Jonas’s assignment as the Receiver of Memory, watch as he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, and follow the explosion of color into his world like never before.

Opinion:

I can picture it so clearly as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in class, a wee youngster at the time.

A black book with an old man on the cover was dropped on my rickety desk; assigned reading for the semester. Audible groans and grumblings of “this looks boring” and “dude, come on. Something from this century, PLEASE” were heard throughout the room.

The story of a young boy was given to us with a cover so wise beyond our years, with words so eloquently written, that it almost felt too much for our wandering minds to grasp. A book we appreciated and grew to love, but one that still left a dryness across our eyes.

If ONLY we had been given this beautiful version.

You all know the story of young Jonas and his path to becoming the Receiver of Memory. Living in a place where color does not exist, and the memory of it is not taught. But when he is given his Life Assignment, he is given a job unlike his friends. He is to be the Receiver of Memory, the one who holds all the memories of the world, including those with color. So ensues Jonas’s journey to learning about the world, one filled with happiness and pain, sadness and elation. This version of The Giver pulls in readers of all ages and gives them beautifully illustrated images of Jonas’ story.

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This graphic novel is AMAZING.

I honestly didn’t know how much I needed a graphic novel version of The Giver, until now. These illustrations are BEAUTIFUL and perfectly portray this story. Not only is it a great version for all us who had read this in school or when we were kids, but it is a FANTASTIC way to get the younger audiences and newer generations interested! I feel SO lucky that we were given a movie, and now this! The story is the same, but naturally, not every word from the original was transcribed to this rendition. This form of The Giver is much more direct with its delivery of the story, thanks to the illustrations being able to shorten the originals descriptions of scenery.

Instead of the reader having to imagine Jonas learning about colors and the world, they get to SEE it happening as they read. It’s a movie and a book in one! I think all ages can enjoy this adaptation of the classic novel by Lois Lowry, but I feel that it might end up targeting a younger audience overall. Due to the writing being shortened to accommodate the illustrations, it seems that some of the more dark and somber moments from this book are reduced. The reader can see the emotion from the illustrations, but it definitely doesn’t have that gut-wrenching effect that the original has.

Some things from the original were shortened, like Jonas’s big escape with the baby and some of the moments with the current Receiver of Memory. I also found it interesting that the illustrations only portrayed moments of full color for Jonas when he was receiving a memory, or when he had left. I would have expected him to have full color before then, but really, I suppose it doesn’t matter!

In comparison to the original form of The Giver, I found this graphic novel to be breathtaking and VERY enjoyable. As a long-time lover of this book, I was hit with a rush of nostalgia and happiness while reading. This version is truly a masterpiece and will be a great interpretation for younger audiences. I cannot WAIT to get this in a print version!

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5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Not My Life (Time Shifters Book #5) by Bob Kat

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~ Buy through the link below ~

Amazon.com – NOT MY LIFE: Time Shifters Book 5 (Time Shifters Romance / Time Travel) by Bob Kat


Barnesandnoble.com – Not My Life – (TimeShifters Book #5) by Bob Kat

~ Buy Books 1-4 ~

Amazon.com – CHANGE THE PAST: Time Shifters Book 1 (Time Shifters Romance / Time Travel) by Bob Kat
Barnesandnoble.com – Change The Past (Time Shifters Book #1) by Bob Kat

Amazon.com – DAY AT THE BEACH: Time Shifters 2 (Time Shifters Romance / Time Travel) by Bob Kat
Barnesandnoble.com – Day At The Beach (Time Shifters Book #2) by Bob Kat

Amazon.com – RUNAWAY LOVER: Time Shifters 3 (Time Shifters Romance / Time Travel) by Bob Kat
Barnesandnoble.com – Runaway Lover (Time Shifters Book #3) by Bob Kat

Amazon.com – FOREVER LOVE: Time Shifters 4 (Time Shifters Romance / Time Travel) by Bob Kat
Barnesandnoble.com – Forever Love (Time Shifters Book #4) by Bob Kat

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

Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Adventure/Mystery

Plot: Right place wrong time…that’s never happened before and what they don’t know could kill them.

On their way home from a trip to the Stanley Hotel in 1911, an accidental detour drops Kelly, Austin, Scott, and Zoey in 1977. They discover that their old friend, Dan Denucci has been arrested for murder. They knew him as a homeless man living under the fishing pier and making jewelry. How had this gentle old man become a killer?

He needs their help, but first they must convince him they have the power to travel through time. But can they trust him?

Opinion: Yes! We have made it to book 5 in the Time Shifters series by Bob Kat, and I am loving every minute. Our lovable gang is traveling back in time again, but this time they have personal ties. Readers get a whole new adventure to submerge themselves into, and we FINALLY get to see some sparks fly between our characters. *Sigh*…this must be what happiness feels like.

After successfully traveling back 1911 to save the life of a young girl named Emma, while traveling back to present time our young time travelers find themselves miscalculated into 1977. Scott, Kelly, Austin, and Zoey have no idea what went wrong, but soon they discover that there is someone in need of their help there too. As they learn of a serial killer being on the loose, they also catch wind that Austin’s good friend Dan had been accused of murdering his wife and newborn son. Shocked and confused, the group has no idea how such a nice man could have done such a thing. After finally making their way back to present time, Austin and Kelly find that they NEED to get to the bottom of what happened. In the hopes of proving Dan’s innocence, the four travel back in time again to 1977. This mission proves to be dangerous, and the lives of three people are at stake.

So if you guys have followed my reviews of the last four books in this series, you know that this is aimed at a younger audience. YA/Teen/Pre-Teen ages, but I think it is a great story for anyone. These books are extremely creative in how the authors have mixed the past and present, and they make sure to make some amazing references that will be sure to make you smile. The adventures that the reader takes with these characters makes reading this series MORE than enjoyable.

Speaking of the characters, my have they grown in such a short time! I think I am most pleased with the character of Zoey, who has turned into a truly warmhearted and sweet person. She started out being a very stuck-up and rude girl, and I was really having a hard time reading her snide comments and remarks. Thankfully, she is MUCH improved.  After I had finished book 4 in the series, Forever Love, I was DYING to get my hands on the next installment. The authors left me hanging in suspense about what would happen between Austin and Kelly, and it was driving me CRAZY! I am happy to say that their relationship has stepped up, but I am definitely sensing some serious roadblocks in the future. Fingers crossed that these two work out!

Maybe I’ve lost my mind a little, but I thought that this was going to be the last book in the series. Well, well, wellNOT the case. Bob Kat leaves us with yet another cliffhanger, and this one looks like it is going to be a DOOZY. I am very happy to see that this series is continuing and can’t wait for more. The only concern I had with this book was that it felt a little bit…less than the previous books. It was a bit slower and didn’t seem to have too much happening in it, which was kind of a bummer. The previous books had been much faster paced and packed with danger, so I think I was expecting more of that.

All in all, another enjoyable and pleasing installment to the Time Shifters series. As said above, this book is for all ages but is aimed at a younger audience. I have put the links to the previous books in the series if you guys haven’t started the series yet. Happy reading!

4-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: OtherWorld by Evan Ronan

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – OtherWorld: YA Fantasy Adventure by Evan Ronan

Goodreads.com – OtherWorld by Evan Ronan

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

Genre: YA/Teen/Fantasy

Plot: Aoife Finley is bursting at the seams with creativity. No one daydreams better than her and her imagination knows no bounds.

Mr. Peterson is old, his best days long behind him. He yearns for the past, mistrusts the present, and fears the future. But he’s just figured out how to recapture his past:

By stealing other people’s imaginations.

Armed with only her creativity, imaginary friends, and a few bickering classmates, Aoife embarks on an amazing, but dangerous journey into the OtherWorld that she created, a place that is slipping more and more out of her control and into Mr. Peterson’s, before the real world as she knows it—and as it could be—disappears forever.

OtherWorld is a YA fantasy adventure about the power of the imagination and how anything is possible. It is 80,000 words long and Evan Ronan’s first (but hopefully not last) YA novel.

Opinion: Seeing as how Evan Ronan was the first author to ever request a review from me (thanks Evan), and after reading five of his books and becoming obsessed with them, I naturally assumed that writing paranormal thrillers was a genre he would stay in because I felt he absolutely shined in it. Well THANKFULLY this author doesn’t stick to just paranormal thrillers, because WOW…I am once again super impressed with the stories that this guy comes up with. This is his first attempt at a YA story and he absolutely NAILED it!

Ten-year-old Aoife (pronounced Eef-uh) Finley has been pushing her imagination to the limits since as long as she can remember. Prone to constant daydreaming, Aoife often travels in her mind to a world she created called Paxsum (which is a re-creation of the actual town she lives in called Paxson). In Paxsum Aoife has the ability to imagine and create anything she desires, like a talking recycling bin named Al or “Leg Giants” which are literally giant legs with arms. Usually Aoife and her imagined friends are the only ones that can enter her made-up world, but one day that suddenly changes. Someone starts to steal the imaginations of Aoife’s classmates and neighbors, and suddenly Paxsum has turned into a place that is dangerous and almost impossible to escape from. With suspicions that old Mr. Peterson from town is behind it, Aoife and a few of her unruly classmates enter Paxsum together in the hopes of putting her world back together and restoring the imaginations of everyone in Paxson.

Let’s first start off with addressing how truly creative and different the premise for this story is. Hopefully we can all recall a time in our childhoods when our imaginations truly had no limit. Where we created other worlds and friends, and we fed off the imaginations of other kids as we traveled through those places together. Evan Ronan has literally taken a small piece of all our childhoods and expanded it into a story that shows the reader the endless possibilities to one’s imagination. Aoife Finley is a spunky 10-year-old girl who has a vast and wild imagination. I enjoyed the endless limit to her creaivity that the author gifted her, and I liked that her imagination is what expands and keeps Paxsum intact.

The characters that the reader is introduced to in this story are TRULY something else. Not only is there a BBQ named B that sounds like she has smoked for forty years, there are kids in Aoife’s class with nicknames such as Slob, Killer and Binky. The author has ensured to give us a nice potluck of kids to get to know and become invested in; as well as a feisty yet endearing young girl named Erica whose personality is prickly. As Aoife puts it: “Nobody clicked their gum as sharply as her”. Apart from amazing characters, this book is PACKED to the brim with countless turmoil and adventures. The characters find themselves running from larger-than-life Venus flytraps who try to eat them, ginormous rouge possums, and falling skyscrapers that they can only be avoided by yelling to the heavens “I am Steel Sunday!” With so many moments that the reader can relate to having imagined in their youth, I was able to be completely enthralled and entertained throughout this story.

One thing that I did have trouble connecting with was how many times our main character said “cool” at the beginning of this story. Understandably, a ten-year-old might not have a vast library of adjectives at her disposal when describing things…but a ten-year-old like this? She should be EXPLODING with adjectives. Though this is obviously not a huge problem for me in the story, the reader in me couldn’t stop focusing on the overuse of this word. Apart from this, I think the author did a fine job of putting the reader in the head of a young pre-teen. As Aoife was telling the reader countless moments when she couldn’t understand “adult talk” I found myself smirking at knowing that feeling all too well when I was her age.

Even though I think that target age for this book would be children or pre-teens, it is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Considering how many adults have reviewed this book on Amazon or Goodreads, I think you can trust me when I say that. With that said, this story is really something SPECIAL. It filled me with nostalgia for the wonderful times that I had as a little girl, while also putting a small smile on my face as I relived my childhood. I HIGHLY recommend this story to any age group, and it is a book that can be enjoyed with your entire family.

4-5-stars

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