Binding of Bindings · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #42: March 2020 Book Wrap-up

I may be slightly behind in posting my March Book Wrap-up
…but come on. It’s practically the apocalypse around here.
So.

 

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~* March 2020 Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Frozen Beauty by Lex Hillyer
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery

Frozen Beauty

Definitely not my most favorite read of March, but also not the worst.

Frozen Beauty had all the promise in the world to be a dreary and eerie, femi-powered contemporary mystery laced in sorrow and sadness. But instead it was just a bit…

It centers on the Malloy sisters and the strange and sudden death of the eldest, who is found half-naked and frozen to death. The sisters thought they knew everything about one another, but as they begin digging into what really happened… the secrets start to unravel. 

I wanted to love this, especially because of that cover art, but I just didn’t care for it much. I was able to get through it quickly and easily, but the characters just felt so BLAH. The ending was a bit predictable, and there was some weird/awkward insta-love that happened that I don’t even need to get into.

3 Stars

(See my review here)

 

2. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

All Your Twisted Secrets

THIS BOOK!

WOW!

All Your Twisted Secrets is a YA blend of The Breakfast Club and Saw. Six teens are invited to a scholarship dinner in a banquet room, where they are locked inside. On the table are three items: a syringe filled with a liquid, a bomb with a countdown clock, and a note indicating that they must pick a person to killor they all die.

Yeah. I know.

But just when I thought I had this little beauty figured out

Oh yeah. Epic.

4.5 Stars

(See my review here)

 

3. All the Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

All the Pretty Things

….

…there’s just not a lot to say here.

All the Pretty Things STARTED as a mystery set at an amusement park where an employee/well-known kid in town dies. It had a little bit of the Adventureland vibes that I was hoping for, but what it turned into was just…

…it’s not good.

If you like reading books where your face is scrunched up the whole time like this:

Then yeah, be my guest. And enjoy that father.

He’s a real gem.

2.5 Stars

(See my review here)

 

4. Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Feminism

Sparrow

Beautiful.

Sorrowful.

Stunning.

Sparrow is a YA twist on Black Swan that will surely cause tears to flow down your precious cheeks. It is about a ballerina who finds herself in an abusive relationship, and and shows the what lays broken on the ground after things go too far.

Books on abusive and manipulative behavior are so important and I am a big advocate for them, especially when they showcase different forms of abuse. But what makes this story truly important, is the fact that it doesn’t just show our main characters POV and how she is affected. It sheds light on the emotional toll it takes on her family, friends and those close to her.

It is beautiful, and though there were some parts that I found unnecessary to the story, it is a book worth reading.

4 Stars

(See my review here)

 

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

Girls with Sharp Sticks

I have been ranting about this AMAZING book for a year!

Every chance I get I am recommending it to my bookstagram girlfriends and begging them to read it! And since the sequel to it released in March, I decided to reread it to get a refresher before starting my ARC! Girls with Sharp Sticks is a YA Feminist tale with a twist that will blow your mind, while simultaneously making your heart rip itself apart because your feelings will be feeling FEELINGS.

It’s about a group of girls who attend Innovations Academy. Here they are bred to be obedient, to listen to the male figures in their life (because they know best) and to stay as beautiful as possible. If the girls misbehave, they are redirected and given therapy immediately, until they have been…realigned.

The story is about the girls waking up from their fog, and realizing that the place they are in does not have their best interests at heart.

5 Stars

(See my review here)

 

6. Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks, Book 1) by Suzanne Young
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Feminism

Girls with Razor Hearts

I had SUCH high hopes for the second book to Girls with Sharp Sticks, and I devoured Girls with Razor Hearts in such a short time. But it wasn’t because it was amazing and held my attention to the point that I couldn’t eat or sleep without knowing what would happen.

No…it was more like I kept reading in the hopes that SOMETHING would happen. But nothing really did. It was just a bit of a blah read next to the first book where the author focused way too much on shoving toxic patriarchy down my throat. This sequel just felt like preaching. It felt forced and didn’t have the same flow and heart behind it’s message as it did before.

The story just lost its way a bit here, and I am hoping that it will come back around in the next book. This seemed more like a “buffer book” or a stepping stone to set up for the next installment, so fingers crossed that it improves!

3.5 Stars

(See my review here)

 

7. Thorn (Dauntless Path, Book 1) by Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling – The Goose Girl

Thorn

THORN!

Ah, what a GEM of a retelling!

I know I’m not the only one that has been overjoyed with these countless fairy tale retellings coming out, so when I saw Thorn I knew I had to have it. And after reading Bloodleaf last year and not liking it, I was hoping that this Goose Girl retelling would be better.

And ohhhhhh child, it SO was!

You know the story: A Princess is married off to a Prince in another kingdom, and upon traveling there, her handmaid steals her body and poses as her, which forces the real Princess into a new life as a goose girl.

In this rendition, the same happens and so much more! The story keeps the atmospheric old-timey feel to it and spins in a layer of eeriness that perfectly blends with the poetic nature of the tale. It was a fantastic read and one I was fairly surprised by, because though I was hoping this would be a win, I had my doubts

But here I am, DYING for the next book!

4.5 Stars

(See my review here)

 

8. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: New Adult/Fantasy/Romance

House of Earth and Blood

Only 60 pages in and SJM had me, and everyone else, like

And then we get a little farther and it’s a whole lot of

A ton of

And then back to

Beyond. Epic.

5 Stars

 

9. The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
Genre: YA/Contemporary

All the Places Ivve Cried in Public

As I said above, a book that focuses on the several other types of abuse and manipulation that go on, are stories that need to be read.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public is in the style of Thirteen Reasons Why where a girl recounts the pivotal moments that lead to the end of her relationship with her boyfriend. They are all moments that she has cried, either from joy, despair, or confusion. But each place, and each moment is a clue into how they broke up and what happened between them.

This story was like a punch in the gut for me, because so many aspects of it were familiar or sparked a memory. For those of us who have experienced relationships like this, and for those who haven’t, the importance and reminder to look for signs of hurtful and manipulative behavior needs to be shown. This book does just that.

Every teenager needs to read this.

3.5 Stars

 

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Stay Witchy ❤

 

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Book Reviews · Edelweiss+ · New Releases

Book Review: Thorn (Dauntless Path, Book 1) by Intisar Khanani

Thorn

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

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling-The Goose Girl

Plot: A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

Opinion:

 

 

‘You are neither goose girl no veria, but something better than them both.’

‘You are mistaken,’ I say, the words bitter on my tongue.

‘I am nothing.’”

Alyrra is no stranger to cruelty and being looked down upon, even if she is Princess. Though her honesty may be seen as a virtue to some, in the eyes of court and her mother, it is her biggest weakness and downfall. After outing a courtier named Valka for stealing and trying to blame it on a servant, Alyrra has had to endure the consequences of her compulsion to tell the truth, through her mother’s sneers and the concealed beatings by her brother. So it is a slight reprieve when an arrangement of marriage is made between the kingdoms of Princess Alyrra and Prince Kestrin,promising safe haven from the family that despises her. But along the journey to her betrothed, Valka enacts revenge on Alyrra and makes a deal with a sorceress that switches their skin. Now Alyrra must navigate a new life as a goose girl, a drastic change from her life of nobility, but one she finds comfort in. But accepting her new life means forsaking her old one, and the obligations that came with it.

This is how you survive: one breath to the next, refusing each thought as it comes to you. This is how you get through the worst of things.”

This, was beautiful.

If there is one thing I love in a retelling, it’s when the author can effortlessly redesign a tale into one that still holds the atmospheric characteristics that blessed the original. This story feels like a classic old-timey and eerie fairy tale passed on through generations. It doesn’t feel like a fluffed new-age YA retelling stuffed with love triangles and whimpering teens. It’s characters are mature for their age, as most were in a time of traveling by horse and serving royalty, and their development isn’t rushed. They are thoughtfully revealed to the reader over time, allowing us to get to know who they are through their actions rather than a few words of their strength or demeanor. They have wit, charm, flaws, strengths, emotions and deep convictions. It reads like a classic fairy tale spun with YA Fantasy, and is laced with a rough purity much like a Jane Austen novel.

The geese are spread about the pasture, snapping up grass and tasty bugs, or dipping into the water. It is as if nothing has happened, as if the pasture exists out of time and none of the violence or illness I have seen can touch it. There is a wordless sort of hope in this field that bears me up.”

When I started reading this book, my only hope was that it would at least be better than the last Goose Girl retelling I read (Bloodleaf). The last one was…less than impressive so I figured we could only go up from there. And my word, did we go up. Thorn was a perfect re-imagining of the original story. It had many elements that mirrored The Goose Girl, but enough changes that it really created a descriptive and well-imagined full-length tale that I loved every second of. There was a perfect mix of seriousness and witty sentences littered throughout that made me fall in love with Alyrra, especially when she brings dark humor into her unfortunate predicaments.

At least the stream is too shallow for her to drown me in.”

Alyrra, called Thorn through most of the book, starts out meek and quiet due to how she was treated in her own kingdom. But as the story progresses, we watch her find her voice and the confidence to stand up for what she believes in. She blossoms into a sure and just woman who is impossible to dislike, especially next to that monster of a girl, Valka. I loved seeing her stand up to Valka every time they were forced to share the same air space, and the way she accepted this betrayal was beyond regal.

And I will make sure it fails if you betray the oaths of allegiance you took on when you stole my skin.”

Do you argue for the lives of men who cloak cruelty in the guise of justice?”

The overall theme of this tale is justice. What one will do to find it, and what it looks like to each person. For some it is revenge, for some it is mercy. But in Thorn, it is the driving force for this entire book and the decisions these characters make. It takes precedence over everything, even the romance. Though I usually love a romance (I mean come on, who doesn’t), the lack of one in Thorn is actually totally okay with me. There is a hint towards it and a little nudge as something that may come, but the lack of one was really fitting for this story and the times. Plus, there is going to be a sequel, so you know it will be picked back up in the next installment.

This is easily one of my new favorite retellings. It was written impeccably, had an even and well-paced flow throughout, and the characters were wonderfully crafted. Though I do wish to know more about Kestrin, I am expecting to learn more about him in book two. I cannot wait to see where the author takes this series!

4.5 Stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #26: 10 Book Retellings You Need To Own

Princes and Princesses.
Evil Queens and deadly magicians.
Magical kisses, tall towers, dragons, knights in shining armor and damsels who just can’t seem to get themselves out of their own distresses.
Fairy tales.

We know them by heart, don’t we?
But…
What if we didn’t?
What if everything wasn’t as pretty, peppy and perfect as it seemed?

 

Are you sure you know the true story?

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~* 10 Book Retellings *~

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1. Dorothy Must Die (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Wizard of Oz

Dorothy must die.jpg

Dorothy Must Die is the story of the OTHER girl from Kansas, Amy Gumm.

After Dorothy finds her way back to Oz, she seizes power and becomes crazed with ruling. Now, Oz is a land where the good are bad, the bad are good, and executions are more frequent than not. Amy must find away to take Dorothy down, once and for all. 

 

2. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

The Girl in Red.jpg

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Girl in Red is a Fantasy/Horror about a woman trying to survive in a decimated wasteland filled with vicious creatures: human AND animal.

This is a dark, twisted, gritty, and frightening version of Little Red Riding Hood, and one that NEEDS to be read. The reviews for this book are OUTSTANDING! Even if horror isn’t your thing, TRY to read this.

Christina Henry rewriting fairy tales is seriously, everything.

 

3. Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Faust

Teeth in the Mist

The tale of Faust is about a man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to receive knowledge and pleasures greater than his wildest dreams. In Teeth in the Mist, the story is told in the voices of three women from varying times in history.

Zoey is sixteen living in modern times, and explores the haunted ruins of Medwyn Mill House with her friend. Roan is seventeen in 1851 and is, along with two others, the newest ward of the eerie Mill House. Hermione in 1583, is a young bride married to a man with plans of building a mansion and water mill with a few rumors of dark rituals.

Their only chance of survival is finding the man that brought them all together.

Reviewers have been LOSING it all over Goodreads about the creepiness and obsession that is this book! If you don’t read it now, at least save it for October!

 

4. Stealing Snow (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Snow Queen

Stealing Snow.jpg

Snow White set in an Insane Asylum?

VIBE.

Stealing Snow is set at Whittaker Psychiatric, where seventeen-year-old Snow is spending her days…even though she isn’t crazy. But when her first kiss with Bale turns him violent, Snow is suddenly drawn to a new orderly who promises to whisk her away to a mysterious kingdom that could be the answer to all of their prayers.

 

5. Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance
Retelling of: Twelve Dancing Princesses

Entwined.jpg

You know the tale to the Twelve Dancing Princesses right?

12 Princesses, sisters, are on lock-down by their father, the King. But unbeknownst to him, the girls sneak out every night and go dancing until sun up. Once a sweet story, now…

Well. Not a sweet story.

Entwined is about Azalea and her eleven sisters who walk through an enchanted passage each night to go dancing in the silver forest, invited each night by The Keeper. The Keeper knows what it is like to be unable to leave, but the Keeper also likes to keep things.

 

6. Mechanica (Book 1) by Betsy Cornwell
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Steampunk
Retelling of: Cinderella

Mechanica

Mechanica is a steampunk Cinderella retelling about a sixteen-year-old inventor who discovers a secret workshop in her cellar filled with magical animal creations and gadgets.

After Nicolette’s mother dies, her father remarries a cruel woman with two even crueler daughters. But when her father dies, Nicolette is forced to live under the rule of her new family. But once Nicolette discovers the workshop that she knows can change her life forever, she sets her sight on the upcoming ball – a convention to showcase inventions and talents.

 

7. Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

Red Hood.jpg

Another Little Red Riding Hood retelling, because wine not?

Red Hood follows Bisou Martel who has grown up under the care of her grandmother. But then a wolf attacks her on homecoming night, and Bisou ends up killing it. The next morning, however, she realizes that one of her male classmates has been found dead. And she wonders, was he the wolf?

My description is s**t, I know. But I didn’t have much to work with here okay?

Basically what I am gathering from the reviews is this is a story of toxic masculinity and feminism, and really packs an emotional punch. I all ready to read it!

 

8. Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Goose Girl

Thorn.jpg

Thorn is about a princess who longs to escape her vicious family and cruel courtiers, and her betrothal to a Prince in a kingdom called Kestrin. So when a sorceress robs Princess Alyrra of her identity, she jumps at the change to start her life as a goose girl. But life in Kestrin is different from what she was expecting – less lavishness, and more suffering.

Now Alyrra must decide which kingdom she will stand for, the kingdom of her birthright, or the kingdom that offered her freedom?

 

9. Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Peter Pan

Lost Boy.jpg

Another Christina Henry Horror Retelling!

My gift to you.

Because I love you.

In Lost Boy, Jamie is Peter’s closest friend and favorite. When Peter took him from the Other Place years ago, he was enamored with the world that Peter created. A world where there weren’t any grownups to tell them what to do. A place where they could be young forever, playing tricks on pirates, and swimming with mermaids.

But Peter isn’t who Jaime thinks he is. Peter only wants to have fun, and doesn’t care if there are a few deaths and monstrosities along the way. Because the way the lost boys play is hard and dangerous.

 

10. Coiled by H.L. Burke
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Eros and Psyche

Coiled

Oh look, another sweet tale for all us Slytherins out there ❤

Coiled is about a Princess who has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister, due to the curse that was placed on them at birth. But each time her sister is cruel to another, she becomes lovelier. And each time Princess Lairda uses her power of healing, she becomes more ugly. 

Embarrassed of their daughter, she is shipped away to an island where another pair of male twins reside who are also cursed. The curse for one of the boys, Calen, is that each time anyone sets eyes on him, he is turned into a snake. But Laidra sees the good in Calen, and together they fight to break their curses.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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