Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Binding of Bindings #34: 10 Chilling Reads from 2019

10 books that will make you want to shed your own skin, cut out your own heart, and cry until the pain and truth of a cold reality escapes you.
These books are going to hit you where it hurts and leave you so cold, you’re burning hot.

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~*10 Chilling Reads from 2019*~

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1. The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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This is a Medusa retelling that is strange, eerie and weirdly sentimental. It has been months since I read it, but I am still blissfully disturbed by it.

The Cold Is in Her Bones tells the story of Milla as she spends her days doing chores and never leaving her home, despite her wishes to wander freely. But when the arrival of a family comes to live beside her home, she meets the first girl her own age that tells her of a curse. The curse comes to young women in the village, and is one of demonic possession.

This isn’t going to be the story you’re expecting, and I really recommend it to anyone that wants something different. Because it is VERY different. It touches on themes of kindness, not judging others, friendship and loyalty. It is a STRANGE story, but one that is so original and unique.

(See my review here)

 

2. A Danger to Herself and Other by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mental Health

A Danger to Herself and Others.jpg

THIS. STORY. IS. EVERYTHING.

You’re going to assume this book is going to go down a certain path, but you’re going to be dead wrong. The turn it takes is shocking and heart-shattering, but also so beautiful and soul-touching.

A Danger to Herself and Others is about a girl who finds herself placed in an institution after an accident that happened with her roommate during a summer program. Hannah is a very focused student and only wants to return to her life, so she does everything in her power to prove to the staff that she is completely sane and can go home.

*sigh*

Just thinking about this book makes me need to take a deep breath.

Your soul wants you to read this.

(See my review here)

 

3. Girls with Sharp Sticks (Book 1) by Suzanne Young
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Sci-Fi/Feminism

Girls with Sharp Sticks.jpg

I just received an ARC of book two (Girls with Razor Hearts) in the mail from Simon & Schuster, and guys…it is taking all of my self-control not to devour it right now. It doesn’t release until March 17, 2020, so I need to wait a little bit. But I am seriously struggling.

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

I literally cannot say more, but just know…Girls with Sharp Sticks is the most beautiful and sorrowful feminist Sci-fi/Fantasy ever.

(See my review here)

 

4. The Best Lies by Sara Lyu
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

The Best Lies.jpg

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

you’ve come to the right place.

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

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

It tells the tale of Remy Tsai as she recounts how her best friend Elise killed her boyfriend Jack. It’s a twisted web of intense love and loneliness, and one that I have been begging everyone to read.

(See my review here)

 

5. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT

Wilder Girls

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

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

Wanting your heart to lurch and your skin to shift?

Read this.

Wilder Girls is the hauntingly beautiful and soul-dismantling feminist horror that you need. A virus breaks out at a private school located on an island, leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves as the Tox takes hold of them. With each breakout comes a new torture for each girl. From bruising from the inside out, second spines and hearts, and a silver scaled hand to skin lesions and bubbles that grow worse by the day.

These girls are walking nightmares, but they look at each other with a dizzying amount of love and respect.

(See my review here)

 

6. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

The SUrface Breaks 2

“…I sewed my own mouth shut in the hopes that a boy I barely knew could kiss it open again.”

The Surface Breaks is a Little Mermaid feminist re-imagining, and it’s going to shatter your soul into pieces.

My poor heart, is still breaking in two and filling over the brim from the sadness and strength I got from this book! This rendition is dark, gritty, and gets real AF. This isn’t a fluffy twist on mermaids and young love. It hits you where it hurts, yanks those heartstrings, and makes you rethink how much of yourself you are willing to shred apart in the name of love.

“’And the pain?’” I ask. ‘Will that go away?’

‘Oh no,’ she replies. ‘But women are meant to suffer.’”

(See my review here)

 

7. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Religion-Cults

The Liar's Daughter.jpg

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

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. The outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth.

The Liar’s Daughter is the story of Piper’s time in a cult. It is sad and upsetting, but it focuses on a survivors experience. The confusion, anger, sadness and betrayal that comes from learning the truth.

All I ask before you read this, is don’t look at the book description. It gives away the entire plot, and it angers me to no end.

If you want to experience the true sorrow of this story, just open it and start reading.

(See my review here)

 

8. Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Re-Imagining

Love, Heather

Love, Heather is a book I read in October and loved, but still haven’t written a review for. Ugh…I know.

It’s about two girls (Stevie and Dee) who enact revenge on the bullies of their high school by playing a few pranks, and signing them with Love, Heather. But what starts out as innocent retaliation, quickly turns into a violent mess as students start to join in by pulling their own vicious pranks. But as things start to spiral out of control, and Dee begins to take things too far, Stevie fights to get out before it takes her under.

This is a Heathers re-imagining and it is SO GOOD!

 

9. I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

I Know You Remember

I participated in a Spooky Reads Campaign that Random House hosted in October, and my book to read and review was I Know You Remember.

I tells the story of Ruthie Hayden moving back to Anchorage, Alaska and seeking out her former best friend Zahra. But when she returns, she finds that Zahra is missing and everyone suspects foul-play. Ruthie takes it upon herself to go searching for his best friend and to bring home the only person who ever truly understood her.

This book, is twisted and so damn good. My mouth dropped open, and stayed open, as I sat in my reading spot wondering wtf I just read and how I didn’t see that ending coming.

(See my review here and a few mood boards and my dream casting)

 

10. Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Mystery/Historical Fiction

Songs from the Deep

For fans of The Wicked Deep and sirens – you’re going to love Songs from the Deep.

The story centers on an island that is plagued by fear of the sirens that lurk in the waters. As children, islanders are taught to never go into the ocean, but Moira Alexander has always had a deep fascination for the frightening beauties of the deep. When a boy turns up dead on shore and the sirens are blamed, she takes it upon herself to find the true culprit.

This is a totally Gothic and eerie Tim Burton-esque tale that is dripping in mystery. It’s as creepy as it is beautiful, and a book I wish was series instead of a stand-alone.

(See my review here)

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Stay Witchy ❤

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #33: Spooky Reads

Come one, come all!
Into the land of the decaying, decrepit and dead.
We’re rounding up our potions, candles, crystals and knives to take a trip into the veil.
So pull up those tattered stalkings, grab a torch and maybe a friend.
Because there’s no turning back.

Just because it’s November, doesn’t mean we have to stop being weird.

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~* Spooky Reads *~

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1. Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal
Smoke and Key.jpg

It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for in a spooky read?!

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

(See my review here)

 

2. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Genre: YA/Horror/Thriller

Survive the Night

Survive the Night is another YA Horror from Danielle Vega, and one that has gone unread on my bookshelf…like so many others…

*cough*

It is about a group of friends who go to a rave called Survive the Night, only to end up being hunted by a deranged killer in the creepy and dark tunnels of the subway. In true Danielle Vega fashion, the reader is promised bloodshed, mindf**kery and a whole host of wtf did I just read.

I can’t wait.

 

3. The Hollow series by Jessica Verday
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

The Hollow series has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen, and a set that I plan to read again in the coming weeks. It is a series set in a town called Sleepy Hollow, and you can bet your ghoulish friends that it’s oozing with paranormal activity.

After the mysterious death of her best friend, Abbey is stricken with loss and grief for losing the person closest to her. But when Abbey learns a secret about the friend she thought she knew everything about, she begins to question everything in their past. And the sudden appearance of a strange boy named Caspian has Abbey rattled in more ways than one, especially when she learns the truth about who he is.

From what I can remember of this series, it’s full of romance and swoonworthy sighs. So get ready to be swept away in the spooky love of this little number!

 

3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

The Wicked Deep.jpg

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 one boy each. A witchhunt ensues, there is possession and mystery, and even a little love. It’s a MUST read for this season, but also a must read in general.

(See my review here)

 

4. I know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

I Know You Remember.jpg

I just received this book in the mail from Random House Children’s as part of their Wicked Reads Blogger Campaign! Each blogger had their choice of candies to choose from, and each candy represented a specific book!

Mine was Kit Kat, and it was I Know You Remember!

After three years away from her hometown, Ruthie comes back to the news that her once best friend Zahra is missing. But the Zahra Ruthie knew years ago isn’t the same person. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, others describe Zahra as popular, outgoing and the first at a party. As Ruthie dives deeper into the girl’s life she once knew, secrets start to come up and she realizes she is in deeper than she would have liked.

This one was AMAZING!!!

If you want a spooky thriller that is going to blindside you, read this! It was so incredibly good, I cannot stop ranting about it!

(See my review here)

 

5. The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

The Cemetery Boys.jpg

I just finished reading this gem last week, and it was a great October read! It wasn’t too scary or gory, but it  had the perfect amount of sinister and gothy outcast vibes that I am always looking for in a YA.

The Cemetery Boys is about a small town that believes in a curse where creatures called the “winged ones” bring about the “bad times“, and where a group of boys spend their nights partying in a cemetery. When his father forced him to move to this dull and backwards town, Stephen finds friendship with the weird guys who hang out all night. But the leader of this group of boys is hiding something, and Stephen wants to know what.

This book was just as good as I was hoping it would be, and I read through it SO quickly. I highly suggest you try it out if you’re looking for an only semiscary book to read.

 

6. Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal

Fiendish.jpg

Fiendish is one of those books I countless bookstagrammers/book bloggers/book psychos and been pushing me to read. And I really should…

It’s just sitting on my bookshelf begging to be opened!

It’s about a girl who may or may not be dead that has been trapped in the cellar of a creepy old house for 10 years, in a town where supernatural and spooky magical things happen, with a guy her age that may or may not be a complete jackass?

Look, I obviously haven’t read it. But here, read this:

“What’s wrong with me? I never did anything to anyone.”

Fisher was quiet for a second and when he answered, he sounded strange.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “They’re just nervous about how your eyes are sewed shut.”

 

7. Hotel for the Lost by Suzanne young
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

Hotel for the Lost

I read this one earlier this year, and it has all the Disney Tower of Terror vibes you could ever ask for!

Now if some of you remember that epic Disney movie for the 90’s, you’ll know the spooky/regal vibes I’m talking about. If not, look it up and watch it!!!

Hotel for the Lost is about a girl named Audrey who arrives at the luxurious Hotel Ruby with her father and brother after breaking down on the side of the road. Thought the family only plans on staying one night, they find it incredibly easy getting caught up in the grandeur and alluring perks of the hotel. As Audrey begins meeting the guests and employees of the Ruby, she begins learning of the haunting past of the hotel, and what it truly means to be a guest there.

This was a pretty good read, and one I had devoured in hours on a Friday night. Though the romance may cause and eye-roll or two, it’s definitely a great read for those of you who want to sleep after reading.

 

8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

I just got this series to read in October, got WAY behind in what I planned on reading due to ARCs, and am now pushing it into my November reads.

Because I’m going out of 2019 staying Spooky AF, and I’m taking you all with me.

Hex Hall is the YA supernatural reform school story for witches, fae and shapeshifters. After Sophie Mercer discovers that she is a witch, and makes a disaster out of a prom-night spell, her warlock father ships her off to Hex Hall in order to “straighten her out”.

It’s basically the typical high school series, with magical elements and romance! Woo hoo!! If you want some spooky fluff, look no further.

 

9. Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror/Paranormal

Maplecroft

This one is for all you Lizzie Borden fans out there!

Who doesn’t love an axe-murdering woman, am I right?!

Maplecroft portrays the events after Lizzie Borden is exonerated for the brutal murders of her parents, when she and her sister take up residence at a mansion by the sea – Maplecroft. In this tale, Lizzie explains that her parents’ souls were “consumed” by malevolent entities. So now, as she cares for her sickly sister, she spends her days ridding the world of these demonic creatures, one swing of her axe at a time.

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….

 

10. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

Ten.jpg

Ten is another book I purchased during October, and perfect for you lovers of teen slashers

It’s about a group of teens who go to an exclusive party on Henry Island. Their weekend getaway is promised to be one of drunken debaucheries and luxury, as they’re accustomed to. But when they come across a DVD with a threatening message on it, a storm suddenly cuts off the power and the killing begins.

 

11. Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery

Here there are monsters.jpg

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls“?

I’m here for it.

The description for this one is vague, which makes me want it even more. Here There Are Monsters is about two sisters, Skye and Deirdre. Skye gets tired of having to look after and save her sister all the time, so she vows to let her handle things on her own. But when the girls move across the country, and Skye excels at making new friends, Deirdre becomes withdrawn and isolated. She begins traveling deep into the woods and creating strange sculptures from branches.

And then, she disappears.

 

12. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Witches

How to Hang a Witch

I have been wanting to read this little beauty for, FOREVER!

I know, it’s shocking that I haven’t read it yet. I’m a monster.

How to Hang a Witch is about a girl named Samantha Mather who moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. Sam is the descendant of a man named Cotton Mather, who was involved in the Salem witch trials that claimed the lives of countless women. When a group of girls called The Descendants find out, they make it their mission to make her life a living hell. But when Sam comes into contact with a ghost, she begins to learn about the centuries old curse that affects every descendant of those involved in the trials.

I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, so I am planning on reading it in the next week!

 

13. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Witches

Harry Potter.jpg

Do I even need to explain this one?

 

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The goal for the rest of 2019: Stay Spooky

 

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

Binding of Bindings #31: September Book Wrap-up

 

I may be seventeen days late with this Wrapup
but can you really blame me?
We haven’t entered just any old month!
It’s THE month!!

So to celebrate me being so happy, busy and overjoyed with OCTOBER and all it’s Gothy and Witchy beauty…
here’s what I did in September!

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~* September Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue

I was sweetly gifted The Lady Rogue by Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review, and OH MY WORD was this good!

It is a YA Adventure/Mystery about a young woman who begins a hunt around the world to find her missing father, who works as a treasure hunter. Usually left behind in lavish hotels and forced to sit out the expeditions, Theodora is called upon by Huxley Gallagher, her fathers’ protege and her once upon a time almost boyfriend.

Together the two find that her father was on the hunt for Vlad the Impaler’s long lost ring, or better known to the world, Dracula’s ring.

This was a KILLER (pun intended) way to start September! This book reminded me of a Lara Croft meets Pitfall meet National Treasure YA tale, and it did not disappoint! There is murder, turmoil, suspense, a little horror, magic, romance and a ton of interesting history!

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove

THIS is my favorite book of the month, but also, maybe one of my favorites of the year!

Serpent & Dove is everything, everything, EVERYTHING my Witchy heart has been needing and wanting in a YA Fantasy!

The magic, the immense killing, the turmoil between two sides who don’t understand each other but are more similar than they realize.

And of course, THIS ROMANCE!

The story is all about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a Witch Hunter, even though he is unaware that she is actually a Witch and is VERY good at gutting people.

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

The Liar's Daughter

Guys.

You KNOW I love a cult!

So when I saw this I screamed, pressed request in a panicked excitement, and got to reading IMMEDIATELY.

And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint!

Piper has one dream: to make her Father proud and to finally be initiated into the community as an adult. She has spent her entire life breathing in his teachings and doing anything in her power to make him proud. The outside world is toxic, and they are humanities only chance at survival. She knows the government seeks to control its people with pharmaceutical drugs and lies, pumping bodies full of toxins in order to keep them spending money. But Piper knows the truth.

The Community is Truth.

The Community is Loyalty.

The Community will keep you safe.

My ONLY grudge with The Liar’s Daughter is that the book description gives away the entire story! I wanted this to be shrouded in mystery, because it is written in a way where the reader follows Piper through this state on confusion and uncertainty as she tries to understand her upbringing and new life. So that said, please just buy this book and don’t read the synopsis on the back of the book!!!

Just TRUST me!

4-5-stars

(Maybe don’t even look at my review, here)

 

4. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

This book is SO beautiful!

To be honest, it did take a little time for me to get into it and stay focused. The writing is fantastic, the characters are SO well developed, and it is positively brimming with adventure and imagination!

It takes a few chapters for things to start picking up, but it is so worth it!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is about a young woman’s discovery and journey into doors that lead to other worlds. Her father travels the world in search of valuable artifacts for her guardian, Mr. Locke, and has been left to her own devices since she was a little girl. But when she comes across a curious book ranting of doors to worlds of snow, Amazonians and oceans, and a heartbreaking story of love, January begins to wonder if this book is more than just a tall tale.

4-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Exit

I had Exit sitting on my bookshelf and collecting dust for some time now, so I figured it was about time I dove into it.

After falling in love with The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, so many readers recommended this as the next book that will shatter my soul.

And I was READY!

Unfortunately…

It was just meh.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is about a teenage girl who is raped at cheer camp, and what happens afterwards. I really liked that it gave a different view on how someone may react to such a traumatic experience. A lot of times we see characters go into downward spirals and/or deep depressions, but Hermione does the opposite. She stays focused and strong and has a positive attitude about moving forward.

But that aside, I wasn’t really impressed with the book. I think it is a good introductory story about rape for a younger YA audience, but it just didn’t bring the emotional sorrow and hemorrhaging I was hoping for.

2-5-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Things we know by heart.jpg

Myself and my two sisters from other misters, mistresses and countries have decided to start a Sisterhood of the Traveling Book adventure together!

Since we all live in different countries (USA, UK, Sweden) we thought it would be so fun to each pick a book, send it to each other to read, maim it to all hell with notes and underlines of sentences/moments that resonate with us, and then send it back – with custom library cards and everything!!

Damn adorable, right?!

SO I had the pleasure of starting off this magical experience, and I chose Things We Know by Heart.

I don’t know if you’re catching on to the theme here, but my world centers around YA Fantasy and Contemporary that severely wounds my soul and makes me want to throw myself into a cauldron.

I want to FEEL, okay?!

Things we Know by Heart introduces us to Quinn a year after her boyfriend Trent dies in an accident. As a donor, vital organs and parts of Trent were given to recipients who were in need. Heartbroken and devastated, Quinn and Trent’s family began meeting with the recipients of Trent’s donations in an attempt to heal.  But the recipient of Trent’s heart gave no response to their request to meet, so Quinn tracks him down.

This is SUCH a cute story, and was a great way to start off out NAGC Library book sending. Though it didn’t have those “rip my heart out and make me beg for it back” vibes, I still found myself smitten with the story.

4-stars

 

7. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

The Memory Thief.jpg

Okay…

So I DNF‘d this little minx at 38%, and I am quite honestly questioning if I made the right call.

The Memory Thief is a YA Fantasy world where memories are like gold. They are traded, stolen and auctioned off to the highest bidder and people are killed in the streets over them. Etta is one of the gifted individuals who can take memories just by touching someone, but she is hiding in plain sight in order to protect herself and her mother.

TOTALLY something I would love, right?!

The author tried shoving SO much information at the reader way too quickly, while going into confusing flashbacks, and it is just made my head hurt. There was about 10 names mentioned in the first chapter, which makes it hard to follow who is who since I have no idea…who those people are.

I had super high hopes for this one, because the premise is phenomenal. But the excessive information, and lengthy dialogue, and the eye-roll worthy insta-love was WAY too much for me to deal with.

…I take it back.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven

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

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realizes that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Opinion:

Fridays are for dark retellings, murder and deceit.

In this twisted tale there are more than just stepmothers to defeat.

Vile stepsisters and wicked, forceful Kings,

Have a chance to be defeated with the help of paws and wings.

With a Princess clad in black and magic scorching through her veins,

A Queen must arise to break free from her chains.

I love a fairy tale retelling, especially one that flips the story from cheery to morbid.

But what I love even more, is a story of a Goth Princess Witch.

Rebecca Henry got our Princess’s name wrong though,

because this is DEFINITELY written about me.

Princess Zezolla lead a life of happiness and bliss with her parents in their castle. A life with a doting father and a mother that showered her in love and affection. At least until her mother was drowned at the hands of her father. Now Zezolla’s life is one doused in sorrow and cruelty. Countless deaths and misfortunes follow the Princess as she grows into a young woman, with only her Raven and her magic to keep her company. Forced into the cellars of her castle by her stepmother and her daughters to live for years, the only solace Zezolla can find is through the woods and its creatures. But the bloodshed in Zezolla’s life has only just begun, and to survive, she must trust in her magic and her guardians.

Zezolla is the witchy Princess that my childhood heart has always wanted!

This girl is sweet, caring, compassionate and loving to everyone and everything around her-even those who treat her horribly. After the death of her mother, she falls into a state of mourning that takes hold of her life and leaves her lonely and neglected. Her father, after being betrayed by his wife and then drowning her, becomes a nonexistent parent to Zezolla, only focusing his efforts on securing a new wife and improving his status. And so begins the onslaught of stepmothers that will enter Zeolla’s life, leaving a trail of cruelty and vile behavior in their wake.

It seems to be a theme in this retelling for characters to begin as somewhat decent beings, and then turn rather drastically into monstrous versions of themselves. It was so saddening to watch Zezolla lean towards so many figures in her life that she loved and respected, only for them to turn on her and wish for her demise. But another huge theme was the act of characters attempting to have ownership or control over our little Cinderella girl. She was constantly being thrust into the hands of those who either wanted her for gain or to be a slave that they could torture. This poor girl is beaten, betrayed, manipulated, verbally abused and treated like an object constantly.+

“You have witnessed man’s true desire…to own a woman.”

But before you think that she is totally helpless, don’t. Zezolla is a fierce and witty character with extraordinary abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Earth and the animals, and has extremely dedicated companions by way of a raven and a wolf. These two creatures steal and kill in order to protect their Princess, and to be completely honest, it is badass and ruthless! There is SO much blood being spilled in this story, but don’t fret, it isn’t graphic at all and won’t keep you up at night.

 

What I really enjoyed about this story as well, is the romance. It is a bit unexpected and not a huge part of the story…which I really LOVE! Look, I adore my fantasy romances just like the next YA obsessive out there. But what I adore even more, is a story where a female isn’t waiting in the damn shadows for a man to rescue her and fight her battles. I crave that feminine strength and power in books, and Rebecca delivered.

Overall, I am really impressed with this dark Cinderella retelling. The pace is quick, and this book covers a TON of ground in just 180 pages. It completely sucked me in and left me feeling a bit dismayed that it was over, because all I wanted was to stay with Zezolla. I would gladly welcome a series of The Lady Raven, or even a dark retelling of EVERY princess (hint hint, Rebecca). I definitely recommend this gritty and gothic fairy tale to those of you who are looking for a new retelling or a spooky read for October!

4-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #30: 10 Badass Female Leads…

Murder, revenge, plotting, espionage, manipulation and sarcasm.
These ladies just don’t give a f**k.

 

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~* 10 Badass Female Leads…

That Will Kill You in Your Sleep *~

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1. Fortuna Sworn (Book 1) by K.J. Sutton
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

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We’re starting this “Badass Bitch” list off with a true nightmare:

Fortuna Sworn.

Fortuna is literally a Nightmare – a creature whose face shifts and transforms in order to accommodate the onlookers tastes, but who can reach into your mind to find your fears, and make you think they are now reality.

Twisted, right?!

Not only is this lady FIERCE and lethal, but she says demented things like this:

“For a terrible moment, I considered snapping my brother’s neck.”

This Adult Fantasy is by the amazing Kelsey Sutton who has written a ton of fantastic YA novels, but this is her first adult Fantasy and it is hot, HOT, HOT! If you like a Fae story that shows off the evil side of those intoxicating creatures, then read this. It has ACOTAR and The Folk of the Air vibes ALL over it!

(See my review here)

 

2. Alarum (Walking Shadows, Book 1) by Talis Jones
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-fi

Alarum

Flinch, Vizsla, Kid, Fury.

All one person, and ALL total badassery!

Fury is the epitome of a ruthless, strong, sassy, resilient and dangerous woman. From being sold as a slave into a new world after the collapse of the United States, she is thrust into a simple lifestyle: kill or be killed. This tale tracks her childhood in a slave camp, her time working for a brutal family, and her transition into lawless renegade.

This lady is the shit!

Plus, Alarum will most likely make you cry…so that’s a plus.

(See my review here)

 

3. Serpent & Dove (Book 1) by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Serpent and Dove

No list is complete without a Witch to spice things up, right?!

Allow me to introduce the one and only, both incredible and crude, yet arrogant and hilarious, Louise le Blanc.

Look, a woman that will scream a pub song called “Big Tiddy Liddy” at the top of her lungs is a winner in my book. But throw in some SERIOUS Witch heritage, insane abilities, and murderous tendencies…then I will just turn to jello.

Serpent & Dove is a newly released YA Fantasy about Witches vs Church. Our main character is forced into marrying a guard of the church, even though he is unaware that she is actually a Witch and is VERY good at gutting people.

A Witch marrying a Witch Hunter.

Romance.

(See my review here)

 

4. Glitter (Book 1) by Aprilynne Pike
Genre: YA/Historical Fantasy/Dystopian

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Versailles, ball gowns and royals, high-tech automation and a courtier selling makeup with drugs in it?

Get it, girl!

Glitter doesn’t seem to be a super well-known series, and I am wondering WHY?! It has everything us YA book lovers need! Romance, scandal, an asshole young king and a leading female who just wants to take those bastards down…one jar of rouge at a time!

It’s a Historical Fantasy with a Science Fiction twist and it is SUPREMELY amazing!

 

(See my review here)

 

5. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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Drownings, scandals, near decapitationsOH MY!!

13 Minutes is a slinky little YA Contemporary Thriller that will have you mumbling “wtf” while also grinning from ear to ear. I really can’t say who the badass is in this without giving EVERYTHING away, but just know…it’s delightful

It follows Natasha as she wakes up in the hospital after being washed up on an embankment. Nobody knows how she got there, and worst of all, she can’t remember anything. Natasha links up with her friends and a former friend to find out what really happened, and the truth is…shocking.

But just know this, these girls are twisted.

(See my review here)

 

6. With Malice by Eileen Cook
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery

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Want to be completely blindsided, infuriated AND appreciative of the truly devious acts of women?

You’ve come to the right place.

With Malice is exactly as the title describes: Malicious.

It is another story about a girl waking up in the hospital not remembering what happened to her. Slowly it becomes revealed that she was involved in a car accident, and there was someone else involved.

There are some serious Amanda Knox trial vibes going on here, and involves some cutthroat behavior by a female that I just can’t help but slow-clap for. This book has a twist and an ending that will make you just

(See my review here)

 

7. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

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You know what I love?

A feminist retelling of men being drowned for treating women like they’re nothing.

The Surface Breaks showcases a mermaid named Gaia who starts out as a meek and subservient daughter of the Sea King, but swiftly turns into a truly glorious character hellbent on standing up for herself and her sisters.

It’s a darker version to the original Little Mermaid tale you know, but one that NEEDS to be read!

(See my review here)

 

8. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: YA/Mystery/Horror/LGBT

Wilder Girls

I am obsessed with this book, and even more obsessed with the female characters that grace its pages!

Wilder Girls is a YA Horror/Mystery filled with a collection of girls who are as freakish as they are resilient. These girls will claw at each other for food and kill you on the spot, but their hearts are filled with immense love and loyalty for one another.

This breathtaking and eerie story is about a school on an island that has been quarantined after a Tox infiltrates their walls. The girls are mutated and dying, and it is downright DARK! But oh so good.

(See my review here)

 

9. Darkness of Light (Book 1) by Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: New Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

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Looking for another Celaena Sardothien and Rowan Whitethorn to swoon over?

Okay, technically this isn’t like TOG at all, but it’s Fantasy, it’s hot and I just love a female who can fight alongside some fantastical creatures!

Darkness of Light is an Adult Fantasy series filled with demons, fae, goblins and dark dwellers. This series is exciting and soooo romantic, but most importantly, it gives you a female lead who is SO saucy and fierce!

I am planning on reading it again this weekend, so jump on the train with me and let’s all just drool over this series together!

(See my review here)

 

10. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary

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Killing November is not high on my list of favorite books…at all, but it IS stuffed full and exploding with various characters who are all passionate about one thing:

Killing. ❤

Academy Absconditi is a school for assassins and spies in training. Classes range from poisons, knife throwing and plain old manipulation. So in this case, there is a whole host of badass females who will kill you in your sleepliterally.

(See my review here)

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of january

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

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Opinion:

“…the Door seemed to be murmuring in a soft, clattering language made of wood rot and peeling paint. I reached toward it again, hesitated, and then-

I opened the Door, and stepped through.”

January Scaller has been under the care of Mr. Locke, a wealthy and highly prominent figure, for as long as she can remember. With her father under his employment and traveling all over the world in order to track down hidden and rare artifacts, January is left in the mansion where is expected to be a good girl. But with only strict nursemaids and colleagues of Mr. Locke to keep January company, she finds solace in her books and her vivid imagination. As January grows, confined to the walls of her wealthy yet lonely lifestyle, she searchs anyhwere she can for something or someone to fill her empty void. It isn’t until she stumbles upon a strange book about magical doors and a lost love that January finally begins to find new meaning in her life, while also learning how far from mundane her history truly is.

“Sometimes I was so lonely I thought I might wither into ash and drift away on the next errant breeze.

Sometimes I felt like an item in Mr. Locke’s collection labeledJanuary Scaller, 57 inches, bronze; purpose unknown.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a YA Historical Fantasy about a girl searching for a way out of the life that has been forced upon her. At a young age she is put into the care of Mr. Locke, a man with insurmountable wealth and a love for rare artifacts. He employs her father to travel around the world in search of these items for him, while he houses and cares for January from child to teenager. Set in the early 1900s, January is expected to act like a proper lady. To have proper etiquette, learn the necessary studies and skills that make up an accomplished woman, and to remain silent. To be a good girl.

“Be a good girl.

To hell with being good.”

While we watch January grow from a young girl to a young woman, the loneliness and isolation that she feels is deafening. She is mostly ignored by the men and women that come and go from Mr. Locke’s house for parties, her nursemaid is strict and unrelenting, and the only semi-friend she has is a delivery boy by the name of Samuel. Though January has a deep love for books and and vivid imagination, she is taught from a young age to not waste her time and energy on such silly ideas. It was so tragic to watch her spirit be broken by these people who seem to care for her, but you’re never really sure if they actually do. But maybe the most tragic aspects of this story, is January’s relationship with her father.

…there was just something about the shape of him in the doorway that made me dizzy with anger. Maybe because he smelled like jungles and steamships and adventures, like shadowed caves and unseen wonders, and my world was so ferociously mundane. Or maybe just because I’d been locked away and he hadn’t been there to open the door.”

For a good portion of the book, I was unsure of the relationship they had and when her father had the time to spend with his only daughter. It turns out, he didn’t spend much time with her at all. He completely left her in the care of Mr. Locke while he flounced around the world, forgetting birthdays and barely writing to her. Naturally, Mr Locke becomes her stand-in father figure, and at first he seems to be a stern and cold man, but someone who cares for January and who has a witty yet dry sense of humor.

That is until he locks her in her room for weeks on end, in order to rid her of her imagination.

You don’t really know how fragile and fleeting your own voice is until you watch a rich man take it away as easily as signing a bank loan.”

So this story took a little while to get going, because there is a TON of buildup and backstory that needs to take place before the actual fantasy can begin. I was having some trouble staying focused during the first 20% of this read, but once January starts to figure things out and begins…unlocking things, it really gets going. And when I say it gets going, it REALLY gets going! The amount of creativity and imagination it took to write this book is on full display, and the author does a fantastic job of making you feel as if anything is possible. The writing is elegant and descriptive, the characters well-developed and alluring, and the plot is…breathtaking!

I dreamed in gold and indigo.”

For a time in this story, the reader is taken back and forth between the present with January, and the past that is written in her mysterious book that she finds in the bottom of a chest. It is the beautiful and tragic story of a man and a woman, from two different worlds, who search for years trying to find a way back to one another. They travel around the world searching for thousands of doors that lead to various places of beauty and treachery, all to find a door of sea that will bring them back together. It is romantic and bleak, hopeful and gentle. This author has a way of opening little doors in your heart, while simultaneously setting them all on fire and burning them to the ground.

But another wonderful aspect of this intricate story, are the lovable and brave characters that are littered throughout its pages. Samuel, a young man who is a constant in January’s life who is always there when she needs someone the most. Bad, a scrappy and devilish dog who is fiercely loyal to January, and only January. And Jane, her new nursemaid that begins as stoic and reserved, but turns out to be a TRULY fierce and badass woman. These characters bring out the best in January, and show her another side to humans that she didn’t see a lot of growing up. They fight to protect her and keep her safe, and volunteer without question to follow her into danger.

I closed my eyes against the weight of guilt settling on my shoulders, heard the clock of claws and the scuff of worn shoes as Samuel and Bad approached. They settled on either side of me, warm and constant as a pair of suns.”

As a whole, I really liked this story and thought it was unique and a book I could truly get lost in. It felt exciting and sparked the notion in me that seems to be so easily forgotten – that anything is possible. Though I struggled a little at the beginning to stay focused, once I got about 20-30% in, I was hooked and loving every aspect of it. I cannot wait to see what else this author writes, and if it’s as good as this, I will be a lifelong fan!

4-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #29: 10 YA Book Love Triangles

Love comes in ALL shapes and sizes…
Especially TRIANGLES.

 

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~* 10 YA Book Love Triangles *~

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1. The Healer (The Healer series) by C.J. Anaya
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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There’s no better way to start off a love triangle post then with a love triangle of EPIC proportions!

Step the f**k aside moody werewolves and sparkly vamps –

the Gods have arrived!

The Healer series tells the tale of two gods who basically fight over a girl who is prophesied to save the world. It switches between present tense and 1000 A.D., where our main character (Mikomi/Hope) learns that she is a reincarnated princess with extremely powerful healing abilities. She is prophesized to marry Masaru Katsu (Victor), the God of War, so they they may seal the veil that is bringing demons into the world…but NATURALLY she finds herself being pulled to Musubi (Tie), the God of Marriage.

The series is wonderful when it is in the flashbacks, and meh when it goes back to present times. BUT the flashbacks are SO incredible and captivating, packed with romance, action and detail, that reading the series just for that would be worth it.

My Pick: Team Musubi/Tie

(See my review here)

 

2. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy

Throne of Glass

Hold on to your panties, boys and girls!

SJM just walked into the building to confuse your heart and give you a dose of book-boyfriend that will NEVER be replicated in real life.

sorry.

Throne of Glass is the downright AMAZING, WONDERFUL, EVERYTHING series that you need to get involved in if you STILL refuse to read it.

There are stacks on STACKS of love triangles in this colossal series, and they are heart-wrenching, raw and will make your heart implode inside your chest from all the feels.

There are practically 30 combinations of love interests and crushes in this series and it is…bloody fantastic. They’re exhausting, they’re passionate, they’re…

Just read them. You’ll understand.

My Pick: Team Rowan, Team Aedion, screw Chaol.

 

3. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Thriller

The Best Lies

Now this isn’t your TYPICAL love triangle, but I think it more than deserves its spot on this list.

The Best Lies is about Remy Tsai and the story of how her best friend ended up shooting her boyfriend and killing him. It switches between Remy being questioned by the police and dealing with the aftermath, with a bunch of flashbacks to moments with her boyfriend Jack and her best friend Elise.

As I said, this is an unconventional love triangle. You might think you know where it will end up, but you’d be wrong. It is beautifully written, will take your breath away, and then sprinkle dirt on top of you as you slowly begin to die.

Ugh. I’m still reeling.

My pick: Just be single, girl.

(See my review here)

 

4. Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls series) by C.C. Hunter
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

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Born at Midnight is kind of your typical teen fantasy love triangle series. Kylie Galen finds herself sent to a campy for “troubled youth”, but really the troubled youth is just a bunch of teen werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, witches, and fairies.

This love triangle is between Kylie, obviously, Derek (half-fae) and Lucas (werewolf). There is drama, there is secret kisses and tumultuous past feelings and there are EVEN countless attempts at our main character being killed!

How romantic.

My Pick: Lucas

 

5. The Selection (The Selection series) by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA/Romance/Fantasy

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The Selection: It’s like The Bachelor for the YA book obsessed boys and girls who have an affinity to ball gowns and castles.

The quest to LITERALLY marry your Prince Charming.

Thirty-five eligible girls are picked around the kingdoms to compete to win the hear of Prince Maxon. But our main character, America, has no desire to be in the running because she is in love with a boy named Aspen, who is in a caste below her.

This turns into a love triangle that I found myself conflicted with who to root for. The “down to earth” love from her past, or the regal and charming prince in her present?

My Pick: Aspen, but it’s a tough call!

 

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR series) by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy/Romance

A court of thorns and roses

Don’t act so surprised.

You knew I was going to put ACOTAR in this list.

It is THE love triangle!

ACOTAR is a loose beauty in the beast retelling about a human girl named Feyre who kills a wolf in order to provide for her poor and less than helpful family. But then a Fae beast show up at her house, demanding she live out her days in his territory for taking his friend’s life.

That isn’t even a smidge of the devastating beauty and sorrowful wrath that this book is.

But a love triangle LIKE NO OTHER is filled within these magnificent pages, and I think it is the best one I have EVER come across.

My Pick: The NAGC…and Cassian, even though that doesn’t count

 

7. Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely series) by Melissa Marr
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

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Wicked Lovely is a fae series that showcases the darker and more cruel side of the whimsical creatures you love to read about.

Aislinn is a human that has the ability to see faeries, even though she wish she didn’t. She has spent her whole life trying to avoid them, but suddenly, all her hard work is for not…and she is thrust into the thicket of these sneaky creatures.

This love triangle involves Aislinn, Seth and Keenan. Seth is a human friend of Aislinn’s and Keenan is Fae, but also the Summer King. Though USUALLY I always go for the mysterious, arrogant, dark creature type of love interest…I can’t help but like Seth a little more.

Well, at least in the first book.

My Pick: Seth

 

8. The Host (The Host series) by Stephanie Meyer
Genre: YA/Adult/Fantasy/Romance

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The Host is yet another lusty love triangle from Stephanie Meyer, but one that has WAY less cringe and a little more flare.

Aliens has taken over Earth, inhabiting the bodies of humans. Melanie Stryder is no playing host to an alien creature, but she refuses to go quietly. Hellbent on finding her brother, the battle for control of Melanie’s body begins.

So this love triangle is really more of a square, but you get the idea. Melanie is still in her body, but so is an alien. They can communicate with each other and…it’s just odd. Melanie is in love with Jared, the guy she was with before she became a host. But the “alien” inside Melanie, named Wanderer, begins to have feelings for Ian…but also Jared due to Melanie’s memories.

I know…sounds weird.

But sooooooo good!

My Pick: Ian, surprisingly

 

9. Red Queen (Red Quuen series) by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Dystopian

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Not my favorite series ever, but there is still a quote from it that I LOVE.

“I don’t miss her eyes flicker back to the notch, where half my heart sleeps. And then to the forest, where the rest wanders.”

Red Queen is about a world that is divded by the color of blood you have, red or silver. Red are the lower class, with silver being the high who possess powers. Mare is a red blood, but eventually begins working in the palace, and eventually she discovers that she has powers of her own.

Blah, blah, blah.

The triangle is this: Mare, Cal and Maven. Be aware, this is one of those very lonnggg drawn-out love triangles. The ones where little things are said, slight looks and movements are made, but not really anything of consequence happens for a while. It’s just a meh triangle for me, but a triangle nonetheless.

My Pick: Nobody

 

10. Splintered (Splintered series) by A.G. Howard
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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Splintered is the first in the Alice in Wonderland Retelling trilogy called Splintered, and follows Alyssa Gardner, a descendant of Alice Liddell who finds herself in Wonderland. But this Wonderland isn’t the cutesy little place with a couple of tricks and sassy characters roaming around. It is dark, gritty and full of countless dangers!

This love triangle involves Alyssa, her best friend Jeb and the mysterious and alluring Morpheus of Wonderland. This love triangle was super one-sided for me, inthe sense that I was rooting for Morpheus the ENTIRE time! Jeb was so blah and boring. Like stale bread, or unseasoned chicken.

My Pick: Team Morpheus, ALL. THE. WAY.

(See my review here)

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Stay Witchy

 

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