Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · TBR

Binding of Bindings: 10 Book Retellings of 2019

It’s a gloomy and rainy Friday morning peeking in through my windows, so why not start it off with a few creeps and critters?

Just a couple gritty tales, some sinister characters…maybe a murder or five.

A plain stepsister living in a world of outer beauty, maidens and beasts, a poet with a love and a muse, witches and magic, and a young girl with a penchant for falling down rabbit holes.

These may sound familiar, and that’s because they are! These are the tales from your childhood, twisted and molded, poked and prodded. Some may seem lighthearted, but most of them aren’t. 😉

10 Book Retellings of 2019

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1. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Book #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Now Available

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is the first book in the series of the same name, and was released in January. I have seen this book making the rounds on Goodreads and Bookstagram, so I think it’s safe to say that this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a winner.

The story follows Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, and Harper Lucy, a young girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. Prince Rhen has been cursed by an enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year repeatedly, only ceasing if a young girl can fall for him. Harper has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but never lets that deter her from what she does or wants. Eventually Harper finds herself in Rhen’s lands and so begins the tale of breaking the curse that we all know and love.

I have yet to read this amazing story, but I have heard nothing but fantastic things about it. Now as I am writing this, I have the undying urge to go watch the Disney movies!

 

2. Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) by Crystal Smith
Now Available

Bloodleaf

I just reviewed Bloodleaf last week, and though it wasn’t my favorite YA Fantasy story, I am also not joined by the masses in my opinion.

Bloodleaf is a retelling of The Goose Girl but with a few extra magical twists. In this story, like the goose girl, a princess is forced to travel to a neighboring kingdom in order to be wed to its prince. Along the way, the princess is tricked and her place is taken by the maid who now possess as the princess in order to marry the prince.

This rendition has more magic and extra characters, but for me, moved a bit too fast. It felt like things were rushed over too quickly, especially when this is planned to be a series. However, I did enjoy the creative route the author went with this classic tale.

(See my review here)

 

3. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Now Available

Echo North

Echo North is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but a more common comparison would be Beauty and the Beast. It was released in January and has a plethora of amazing reviews.

The story is about Echo Alkaev who comes across her fathers half-frozen body in the forest after he had disappeared six months prior. But guarding her father’s body is a talking wolf, one that she remembers from her childhood as attacking her. The wolf then gives Echo an offer she can’t refuse, if she lives with him for a year then he will ensure her fathers safety.

This tale seems like a darker retelling of the story we all know, but one I can’t help but find incredibly intriguing. One Echo moves to the house of the wolf, she learns that each room must be sewn together in order for the house to stay one. The description gives hints that there are countless secrets and mysteries laying behind each door, and it sounds like it is going to be a WILD tale.

 

4. The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Now Available

The Cold is in Her Bones

The Medusa retelling you didn’t know you needed, and the book for all you beautiful Slytherins out there!

Milla spends her days doing chores and never leaving her home, though she has no idea why. 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 one of demonic possession.

This story touches on many aspects like practicing kindness, not judging others for differences, and friendship and loyalty. It is a STRANGE story, but one that is so original and unique. I LOVED it and truly recommend it to anyone that is tired of reading the same tales over and over.

(See my review here)

 

5. Dream Keeper (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Amber R. Duell
Now Available

Dream Keeper

Dream Keeper was another less than inspiring read for me this year, but also another unique twist on a classic fairytale.

This story is all about the Sandman and the weaver of nightmares. It follows a girl named Nora who has been meeting the Sandman in her dreams for the last five years. One day she meets a strange new boy at her work and then suddenly, her boss is found dead. As a series of strange deaths start happening around Nora, she realizes that living nightmares are what is causing these deaths…and that she may be the reason.

I had a lot of issues with this story, which was disappointing because I loved the concept. Things weren’t fully explained and the reader gets dropped right into the middle of the story, so it can be tough to read at points. BUT, I do recommend trying it for yourself JUST for the fact that it is a retelling on the Sandman, which I haven’t seen done before.

(See my review here)

 

6. Enchantée (Book #1) by Gita Trelease
Now Available

Enchantee

Enchantée is an absolute DREAM of a story about magic, Versailles, sneaky courtiers and romance.

It is set in Paris in 1789, where Camille Durbonne is forced to use la magie at Versailles to turn cards in order to provide for her and her sister. Camille has the ability to turn bits of metal into money, but it is only a temporary transformation. In dire need of funds to pay for their rent, Camille beings turning cards with her magic at the tables held in the palace of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

This story is to DIE for! I am still sitting in a corner pouting because I can’t enjoy these beautiful gowns, extravagant gardens and the exuberance of Versailles!

(See my review here)

 

7. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Stepsister

Stepsister is the story of the ugly stepsister of Cinderella who cuts off her toes in order to fit into the glass slipper.

Isabelle has tried her entire life to measure up the beauty and sweetness of Cinderella, chopping away pieces of herself in order to become something of desire for others. Surrounded by those who value beauty above all, she feels pushed down and set aside.

I am SO excited to read this retelling of Cinderella because it is all about empowerment, perseverance and self-love. This sounds like it is going to be an uplifting story about confidence and strength, so I can’t wait!

 

8. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Release Date: August 6, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows

The anticipation is KILLING me!!!

House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. If unfamiliar, it is a story of twelve sisters (princesses) who are locked into their rooms at night by the king. But each morning, the dancing shoes of each princess are seen to have been worn. The secret is the girls sneak out each night through a trap door in dancing gowns and shoes, staying up all night twirling around in another castle.

But in THIS retelling, everything is a bit darker and more sinister.

Annaleigh lives in a manor by the sea with her once 12 sisters, father and stepmother. But four of the sisters have died by supposed accidents, though the villagers believe it to be a curse on the family. So when Annaleigh finds that her sisters have been sneaking out at night to go dancing, she can’t help but think that this may be a connection to the deaths of her sisters.

 

9. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
Release Date: April 16, 2019

The Raven's Tale

The Raven’s Tale is a retelling/adaptation of the early life of famed poet Edgar Allen Poe. It is the story of his need to escape his home life, the love of his life, and the Muse that falls into his life. It sounds like it is going to be a beautifully haunting tale, which is perfect for any Edgar Allen Poe lover!

 

10. Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay
Release Date: August 1, 2019

Ever Alice

An Alice in Wonderland retelling, JUST what you asked for!

This Alice story takes a darker route and places our beloved main character in an insane asylum for her silly talks of Wonderland. In order to leave the asylum, Alice must undergo an experimental procedure, one that she knows very little about. But at the last moment Alice escapes and follows the white rabbit back to Wonderland where she is now stuck with the Queen of Hearts.

Supposedly there is love, scandal, attempted (maybe actual) murder and a whole host of strange happenings in this rendition…and I CAN’T WAIT!

 

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As always my dear readers, stay witchy!!

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

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

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

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

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

Opinion:

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

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

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

“Too much thinking is bad for your looks”.

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

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

“Wake up.”

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

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

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

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

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

Because these girls are all of us.

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

These girls are everything.

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t thank Suzanne Young enough for that.

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

5-stars

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

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

Bloodleaf

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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

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

Opinion:

Bloodleaf.

A Retelling.

Witches, Magic, Royals, Murder.

Two Kingdoms. One Arranged Marriage.

And a really big wall.

So……..

is that it?

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

Bloodleaf isn’t terrible.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

3-stars

 

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Blogging Awards · Book Tag · Books · New Releases

The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

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Merry Meet my loves!
Big hugs and thanks to Amber from Step Into a Book World for nominating me in The Sunshine Blogger Award, SO long ago! I am finally catching up on my awards and tags, and I think this nomination was from 2017!
This is my second nomination, WOOT WOOT, and I am SO excited for a new set of questions! So let’s get this going!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
-Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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Amber’s Questions
1. What is your favorite book relationship?

UGH!

Rhysand and Feyre, Cardan and Jude, Rowen and Aelin and Rowan.

Look. I like a magical relationship where there are threats on both characters lives constantly, and where some cataclysmic s**t goes down.

I like turmoil okay? I can’t help it.

2. Who is your favorite minor character in a book series? 

Seamus Finnigan!!

3. Would you rather read only book series or a stand-alone?

If I had to choose between the two, I would say a series. I read a lot of Fantasy books,and I think they are done the best when the author has more than enough pages and books to unravel characters and stories. There’s nothing worse than a rushed story.

4. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

5. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I read Six of Crows and finished it, but I wasn’t overly obsessed with it or DYING to read book two. I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of the characters, so I probably won’t ever get around to continuing.

6. What is your favorite TV series?

The Handmaid’s Tale and The OA are…AMAZING.

But you know who will always be on top?

7. What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

Chaol from Throne of Glass!! He annoy me to now end, and I cannot stand the poor guy. It was INCREDIBLY hard for me to get through Tower of Dawn because of it.

8. What the name of a popular series that you have no interest in reading?

Game of Thrones and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I guess it’s more like “books I could read, but probably won’t ever read”. I tried watching the Game of Thrones show, and just could NOT get passed the first episode. I read Six of Crows, and really wasn’t crazy impressed with it. So I think that may be hindering my want to read any other of Leigh Bardugo’s books.

9. What movie adaptation did you like better than the book?

I have been sitting here for a good 10 minutes racking my brain, and I can’t think of one! I usually like the books more, partly because I am so weird about characters feeling authentic and the acting NEEDS to be flawless. If I can forget that I’m watching a movie, then it’s brilliant.

I think the Harry Potter movies could come close to being better than the books, but still…not really.

10. If you could have any book(s) coming in 2018 right now, what would it be?

So this question originally said 2018, but it’s 2019 now so I will go with this year releases!

I am REALLY looking forward to these upcoming releases!

Last Girl Lied To is a mystery/thriller about the disappearance of a girl and her friends hunt to find out what happened.

Girls on the Verge is labeled YA/Contemporary/Feminism story about a young woman and two friends traveling to across states, with the end goal being an abortion. Sounds a little strange I know, but also very appealing.

The Lost History of Dreams is a Historical Fiction/Mystery with Gothic tones and probably really sinister outcomes. It is the story of the confessions of a muse about the relationship between a poet and his wife.

The Raven’s Tale is a Fantasy Retelling of our dearly beloved Edgar Allan Poe. Enough said right?

11. What is a book(s) villain that you couldn’t help but love?

Malfoy and Voldemort, obviously.

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My Questions:
1. Where do you buy your books? Discount shops, Bookoutlet, your local bookstore?
2. Which book(s) lit you heart on fire and turned it to a pile of ash?
3. What is your favorite book genre to read?
4. Which books started out as required reading for school, but turned out to be a favorite?
5. Which character(s) do you wish would exit stage left and never return to the story?
6. What is your favorite read of 2019 so far?
7. If you could live with any character, who would it be?
8. Speaking of living spaces, what book world would you live in?
9. If you were placed in a school that trained you to be a Hero or Villain, would you be trained for Good or for Evil?
10. I wish it was still Fall, so what is your favorite spooky fall read?
11. Since this is the SUNSHINE award, what is your favorite summer read?

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My Tags:

~ Monika at Monika’s Books ~

~ Alejandra at Appraised Fiction ~

~ Way To Fantasy ~

~ Amanda at Once Upon A Book Dream ~

~ Raven at Dreamy Addictions ~

~ BookZone ~

~ Blair at Feed The Crime ~

~ Heidi at BookLoverBlogs ~

~ Maryam at The Road Less Read ~

~ Amy at Bookish Heights ~

~ Hannah at The Bookworm’s Feast ~

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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

Butterfly Bones

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

ODD

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

Stargirl.jpg

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

Holes.jpg

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

Hatchet.jpg

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.

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

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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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Takeover Tour · The Parliament House Press

Takeover Tour: Lanterns in the Sky by P.S. Malcom

Lanterns Banner.png

Publisher: The Parliament House
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Book Title: Lanterns in the Sky
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Series: (Book 1) The Starlight Chronicles
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Author: P.S. Malcolm

Happy Hump Day and Takeover Tour for the newest book by P.S. Malcolm, Lanterns in the Sky. I have partnered up with the amazing Parliament Press to bring you this wonderful story about a star falling from the sky and knocking a poor girl out cold!

Intrigued?!

I bet you are!

Lanterns in the Sky is the the first book in the Starlight Chronicles and is a YA story of magic, romance and a few royals (which you guys KNOW I love)! It was just released yesterday, so if you want to grab your copy then click here

But be sure to enter the giveaway for the chance to win a free physical copy of Lanterns in the Sky (US only) or a free digital ebook copy (for international). — See Below! —

Lanterns in the Sky

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Book Synopsis

Everything was normal for Lucy Maisfer until the day a star fell from the sky and knocked her out. Upon waking, she comes face-to-face with Jason Woods, who also happens to be the mysterious new guy in her best friend, Valarie’s, life.

Then the strange dreams begin, and she learns about the Starlight Princess— who must not under any circumstance be reawakened. Driven to uncover the meaning of it, she finds herself caught up in a strange twist of events that eventually lead to bigger danger than she ever anticipated. Before long, Lucy is forced to make a choice between saving the world, or saving her best friend; only to discover that Valarie cannot be saved… that she has an even darker secret, and that her supposed star-crossed romance with Jason might not be so destined after all…

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Social Media Tags:
Instagram: @p.s.malcolm , @theparliamentpress
Twitter: @PaganMalcolm , @parliamentbooks
Facebook: The Parliament House
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The Tour wide GIVEAWAY:

Head over to Bookstagram!

Find @theparliamentpress and click on the link in their bio to enter.

Prize: free physical copy of Lanterns in the Sky (US only) or a free digital ebook copy (for international).

Rules: MUST be following @theparliamentpress , @p.s.malcolm and @jenacidebybibliophile (yours truly!)

 

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

We Set The Dark on Fire

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

Genre: YA/Fiction/LGBT

Plot: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

Opinion:

I cannot tell you guys how excited I was to receive an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss+!

SO excited.

So, when I started actually reading, I realized…maybe, this isn’t exactly what I imagined it to be.

But naturally, I kept reading

And reading

And…reading

*Sigh*

This was ALMOST my first DNF book of 2019.

Daniela’s family sacrificed everything they had to give her a better life. In a world where men are the hierarchy and are sold two wives to prosper and be happy, there is a school for girls where such women are educated and molded. As a Primera, Daniela is made into a wife that is both strong and intelligent. One that is cunning and to be used as the right-hand for her future husband. It is a life of calculated sentences, practiced facial expressions, and complete modesty and structure. But when Daniela is forced into making a deal with a member of a dangerous rebel group, in order to hide the past that could get her killed, she begins to question the life that she has spent so many years striving for. Should she do what is expected of her and stand with a man that is both cruel and devious, or should she fight for her people to hopefully make a difference?

It took me almost 2 weeks to finish We Set the Dark on Fire, which is practically UNHEARD OF for me! What I was HOPING was going to be a creative and fresh YA story about the oppression of women in a world of men salivating on excessive power, was a dreary story that barely held my attention and one that resembled other books a little too closely. This is The Handmaid’s Tale set in the Latin Community, and resembles current events that can either be closely similar or completely off-base, depending on your stance and view of the world.

I wanted this book to be innovative and a new outlook on themes/issues that have/can/are happening in the world.

But it didn’t quite feel like that.

For me, this book didn’t touch on any feelings and issues that I didn’t already see or think about. It seems like SO much of this book was a parallel version of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is so spectacular and gut-wrenching, that I can’t imagine ANYONE wanting or even ATTEMPTING to try and replicate it. But that is what this story feels like to me, a less heart-shattering YA version of a story that is and was so incredibly impactful.

As soon as I started reading, I found I had a difficult time getting into the story and sticking with it. My mind was wandering, my eyelids were getting heavy, and it took a good few chapters for the story to make me want to keep reading. The turning point for me was when Dani leaves the Medio School for Girls, and begins her new life as a married Primera. Though I was hoping more of this story was going to be held at the school, because that is what the description lead me to believe and that, after all, is what grabbed my interest. But that aside, the story finally starts to “become something” when Dani is moved into her new home and given her wifely duties.

But as soon as I started to gain interest, I found myself bored and skimming pages again.

In this story, that author uses a writing style where she has Dani reflect on her childhood or what it was like over the border. I love flashbacks and moments from the present that will spark a memory for the character, but how it was done here just wasn’t executed well. At times, it feels like the author has put too much emphasis on making the story detailed and creatively written. Usually I am a HUGE advocate for a poetic way of words that describes everything so vividly, but the exuberance of reflections and descriptions kept losing my interest. There was TOO MUCH of this and it took away from the story and made me lose focus countless times.

Regarding the characters, everything felt rather predictable. Carmen became the chosen Segunda in Dani’s marriage, which the reader will have easily saw coming. Mateo was the typical villain with zero heart or even a glimmer of kindness in him, which I found to be slightly unbelievable. It made his character one-dimensional and simplistic, rather than a villain with layers and a backstory that molded him to be such a ruthless and cold soul. Carmen started out as a character that could have really stolen the show with her charm and charisma, but she was really put on the side and only made a love interest and the second wife of Mateo.

But where I really lost interest in this story, was the bizarre way the author introduces the romance of this book.

It was, to be simply put, sudden and uncomfortable. It didn’t flow smoothly, it came out of such an unimportant conversation and encounter and was suddenly justthere. WHAT?! Where was the hints that this could be a relationship? The buildup?? The moments of fluttery nervousness and thoughts from our main character that this COULD be something she wants?! It just made ZERO sense, and felt ridiculous. This could have been a beautifully woven romance that was gentle and made strong by their shared bond. But instead, it came across feeling like some fleeting little fling with no substance.

At this point, I just kept reading to get it over with.

This isn’t to say that the book is horrible, that it has no direction, and that the writing is impossible to get through. Because it isn’t any of those things. It just didn’t hold my interest and attention, and I couldn’t connect with the characters or what they were really FEELING in these serious and scary situations.

I just wanted more substance for this story.

I wanted to feel the anger, agony, anguish and sadness for these characters! I wanted to be excited for rebellion, understand every aspect of what they were fighting for, and be yanked into the story with no yearning to come out.

Unfortunately, We Set the Dark on Fire just wasn’t what I expected and what I was looking for.

2-5-stars

 

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