Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a Book

April 28, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 4 Comments

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Recorded Books on May 5th 2015
Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows


Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

‘I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.’

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales and it’s always so fascinating to see how authors mold fairy tales into a unique story of their own. A Court of Thorns and Roses definitely veers off the standard path making “Beast/Tamlin” a member of the fae court, making “Belle/Feyre” a badass female hunter, and removing the animated furniture entirely. The story still revolves around the curse and the time ticking down before it’s too late, but Maas adds a magical element (and a deviant female villain) to this already magical fairytale that I absolutely adored. What I loved most was the incredibly dark turn she took the tale which gave the added opportunity of adding a new level of complexity and intrigue to Feyre’s character.

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

Like spending time re-reading. I occasionally get hang-ups about “wasting” time re-reading when I should be spending my time reading stories that I haven’t yet experienced. But sometimes a re-read is necessary (like when you’re gearing up for the final installment of a beloved trilogy!!) and sometimes the second time is even better than the first. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses for the first time in June 2016 and it was far from love at first sight (mostly because I was never Team Tamlin) but during this re-read I was able to set aside my issues with the romance and focus more on the world building and the fascinating aspects of the story itself that I didn’t pay much attention to the first time. I also decided to splurge and bought the audiobook copies and guys, let me tell you, these are fantastic on audio with Jennifer Ikeda’s narration. I’m pretty devastated that she won’t be returning to narrate A Court of Wings and Ruin but it’s still well worth listening to her narrate the first two installments, I’ll just be reading the third one with my eyeballs instead. 🙂

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible


Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

Yeva has never been comfortable living among the town aristocrats but instead dreams of the stories her father would tell her when she was younger; of the forest and the magic contained within. When her father loses his fortune and they are forced to move back to his lodge in the woods, Yeva could not be more content knowing she can spend her days familiarizing herself once again with the woods even though she knows it’s not a reasonable way for her to spend her life. Her father also begins spending his days and nights in the woods, mentioning hunting a beast and when he fails to come home after weeks of being gone, Yeva sets out to help him only to be captured by the beast that her father was hunting.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be.
She reminds us of what we could be.”

Hunted is told primarily from Yeva’s point of view but is interspersed with short snippets from the Beast, showing the constant battle between his animalistic side while he fights to retain a hold of his humanity. Yeva is kept in a cell for weeks on end, telling him stories of Ivan and the Firebird to the one on the other side of her cell door who brings her food every day, having no idea that he is also her captor. The Beast finally shows himself to her and reveals that he captured her for a purpose: she must train to be a more superior hunter than she already is because she’s the only one that can kill the creature responsible for cursing him.

Hunted is a combination of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with the Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf Russian fairy tale and it’s a slow to unfold type of story. There’s also a disassociation from any sort of emotional connection that was key in my own connection with the story. I found it to be a beautiful story in essence of a young girl not knowing what to do with her life, wandering aimlessly, and I really wanted to feel her adversity but I never quite felt like there is much at stake for our young heroine. The significance behind the Firebird plays a huge role in this tale, as well as storytelling in general, and the romantic building blocks were left feeling incomplete in the attempts at focusing on the bigger picture. There is a note at the end Spooner includes regarding the origins of this story and the lengthy process it took to come to fruition was a heartwarming story. Her dedication to all of her readers was unbelievably touching and made me wish I had loved this story more than I did.

‘Male or female, young or old, if you’re reading this book, then you’re also that child reading by flashlight and dreaming of other worlds. Don’t be scared of her, that inner Beauty, or her dreams. Let her out. She’s you, and she’s me, and she’s magic.
There’s no such thing as living happily ever after — there’s only living. We make the choice to do it happily.’

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookBeauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Disney Press on January 31st 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible


Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

“Isn’t that what a good story does? It pulls you in and never lets you go.”


Lost in a Book replicates its Disney counterpart where Belle is a captive of the Beast in his castle that still includes Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and more. Beast reveals his library to Belle and she is awed, but instead of the bright shiny room of perfection we all have embedded in our minds:

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Belle immediately realizes how much the library has fallen into disrepair and needs to be cleaned excessively. Within this library, she finds a room and within this room a special book which transports her to a world of adventure where anything is possible. She quickly becomes enamored with the book and the world it shows her, despite her understanding that it isn’t actually real, and is constantly sneaking away to be in this world. When she isn’t hiding in the book, she’s complaining ad nauseam about her provincial life.

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Good gawd, we get it, you hate your life. Lost in a Book quickly becomes less about the Beast and all about Belle… more scenes from his point of view would have been welcome. Any scenes that showed the Beast’s feelings for Belle grow felt lacking any sort of emotion and instead felt like all it was was a last ditch effort to save his servants. Maybe those parts were left out with the understanding that we knew, based on the Disney production, how Beast actually felt, but I wanted to see it included in the story itself since there were so many changes I felt it should have been able to stand on its own. Especially in regards to the villain: Gaston was absent completely in exchange for a female villain: Death. Yes, Death. You see, the story actually starts with Death and her sister Love.

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Indeed. See Death and Love made a bet that Belle wouldn’t be the one to break the spell (Death obviously bet against her) and when she began to realize that Love might actually win, she set out to make sure that didn’t happen. *yawn* This could have been a charming addition to Beauty and the Beast retellings but the story lacked any real substance and most definitely lacked the magic the original tale had.


Early Review – White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews

April 27, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2017 1 Comment

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona AndrewsWhite Hot by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Published by Avon on May 30th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible

Also by this author: Magic Bites


Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada's "talent." But there's no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice . . .

Hidden Legacy Series

Book Review – Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews [Purchase|Review]

Nevada Baylor hasn’t spoken with Rogan in months and she’s slowly begun to move on with her life even though the maddening man (ha — see what I did there) is never far from her mind. She agrees to investigate the murder of Cornelius Harrison’s wife and Nevada not only finds herself in the middle of a massive conflict between multiple magical families (or “Houses”) but right back in the path of Rogan himself. This time around they realize that they simply get more done when they work together as allies.

‘Suddenly the past two months of normal life tore apart, like fragile paper, and I was right back next to Rogan, about to charge into a fight. And it felt right.’

The conflict between Houses puts the duo in serious danger when some of the most powerful members of the magical society become involved. When they’re not trying to keep one another from dying, they’re trying to work out what to do with the sparks flying between them.

“And now that I’m conveniently here, you decide to give it another shot. Is there a shortage of attractive women in your life, Connor?”
“There is a shortage of you in my life,” he said.

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This is my 17th Ilona Andrews book and I feel I can safely declare myself a rabid fangirl. (I have yet to dive into her The Edge series but give me time.) Ilona Andrews stories are absolutely one of the reasons I remain as hardcore an Urban Fantasy fan as I am today and her Hidden Legacy series only helps solidify that. Their characterization is superb and no character is left without a role or sounding like a replica of another. Nevada is one awesome badass lady that can hold her own, Rogan is far more beyond being just a love interest placeholder and professional of zingy one-liners, and even the side characters (Nevada’s sniper mother, crazy sisters, and hilarious grandmother) are fantastic.

Grandma Frida burst through the door in her yellow rubber-ducky pajamas. 
“Grandma’s here,” I added.

What I love about this series is how developed her world-building is beyond “people have powers” — we meet some new players in the game: summoners, fulgurkinetics, elementalists, and even some magically created monsters not of this world. In lesser hands, these unique aspects would easily come across as cheesy and overwhelming but Andrews makes everything so fascinating. If I’m being real, the fantastic world-building is only an added bonus when it comes to the romance though and it’s rare that I say anything along those lines (worldbuilding is typically always first because if you don’t have worldbuilding… you’ve got yourself a bodice ripper, amirite?) Urban Fantasy typically always includes a romance in some shape or form but there’s some crazy sexual tension going on (and has since book 1) but View Spoiler » And also, some good news… the wait for book 3 is not long at all: Wildfire comes out July 25th, 2017. I’m already chomping at the bit and even contemplating reading both again because this series is that good (horrendously bad covers aside, but at least Rogan finally found a shirt by book 3.) 🙂


Waiting on Wednesday – Odd & True by Cat Winters

April 26, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 10 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Odd & True by Cat WintersOdd & True by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on September 12th 2017
Pages: 368
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Hardcover
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her young adult works include IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, and the forthcoming ODD & TRUE (Sept. 2017). Her adult novels are THE UNINVITED and YESTERNIGHT. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and "best of" lists.

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, just a short drive down the freeway from Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

I’ve been all about the fantasy lately and especially Fairy-Tales/Retellings. This one sounds all sorts of fantastic and that cover is badass. 🙂


What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Turnoffs

April 25, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 8 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I don’t like to limit myself when it comes to books. I try my best to keep an open mind when trying new things, but some topics have been tried and most of the time they have failed. This week’s topic is about all those subjects that just never work out.

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Toxic Relationships (abuse, cheating, etc.) — There are just some topics that make me sick to my stomach and this is one of them. I’ve read very few stories that were done well.

Dying Kids/Suicide — There are just far too many of these sorts of stories and while I wholly believe the importance of making these issues aware to the general public I’ve just grown weary of their heartbreaking material.

Animal deaths — Look, kill off the main character. Kill off the best friend. Kill an entire village. I DON’T CARE WHO DIES BUT IT BETTER NOT BE THE ANIMAL.

Love triangles — There are a few stories that have love triangles that I’ve enjoyed… I think? There has to be at least one since there are approximately a billion of them. No… can’t think of any. Just kidding, I’ve always hated these.

Steampunk — Steampunk is one of those genres that I feel like I should love. It’s like some strange eclectic form of fantasy but no matter how many I try I absolutely cannot get on board with this genre.

Sports — A character plays sports? A character watches sports? A character talks about sports? Honestly, it doesn’t matter, I really don’t care about any of it.

Christian fiction or when “clean” romance is referenced — Simply put, I am not a religious person in any way and I certainly don’t want to read about it. And as far as “clean” romances go… honestly, why fucking bother? *snore*

Motivational shit — I’ve read Oprah’s book and Shonda Rhimes book and both were lovely. Sometimes they help when times are tough. But honestly, most of the time I just want to be like “SHUT UP, MY LIFE SUCKS, LET ME WALLOW.” How’s that for personal motivation?

Westerns — Admittedly, I haven’t tried too many of these but the ones I have were a snooze fest. Maybe I’m picking the wrong ones? Maybe I just have problems with cowboys. Who knows.

Plays — I remember having to read a lot of these in school so maybe that’s where it all went wrong. For me though, I don’t want to read a play… I want to see it.

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of April 24th, 2017

April 24, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 0 Comments

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Here’s what’s releasing this week: a blend of YA, Adult and the occasional Middle Grade. Something for everyone to look forward to! All book purchase links go to their respective Amazon page.
Help support this blog and use the purchase links to get your copy!


Week of April 24th, 2017

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Legion (Talon #4) by Julie Kagawa [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Harlequin Teen

Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Candlewick Press

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Razorbill Canada

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Sunkissed (The Ladybirds #3) by Jenny McLachlan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Looking for Group by Rory Harrison [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by HarperTeen

The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Point

180 Seconds by Jessica Park [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Skyscape

North of Happy by Adi Alsaid [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Harlequin Teen

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Blood Brothers by Colleen Nelson [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Dundurn Group

The Ship (The Ship #1) by Antonia Honeywell [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Orbit

The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit #1) by Sarah Jean Horwitz [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

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Walkaway by Cory Doctorow [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Tor Books

Within the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5) by Marie Brennan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Tor Books

Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by MCD/FSG (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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Skullsworn by Brian Staveley [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Tor Books

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Gallery Books

Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Pocket Books

Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires #13) by Chloe Neill [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Berkley Books

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Atria Books

No Easy Target by Iris Johansen [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Touchstone

Burntown: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Doubleday Books

Fallout by Wil Mara [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Forge Books

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The Man in the Microwave Oven (Theo Bogart Mysteries #2) by Susan Cox [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Minotaur Books

A Single Spy by William Christie [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Minotaur Books

The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the Deadliest Secret Society in American History by Stephan Talty [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Golden Prey (Lucas Davenport #27) by John Sandford [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Cold Earth: A Shetland Mystery (Shetland Island #7) by Ann Cleeves [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Minotaur Books

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The Standard Grand by Jay Baron Nicorvo [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Random House

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Beartown by Fredrik Backman [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Atria Books

The Unprotected: A Novel by Kelly Sokol [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing

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The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Ballantine Books

Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Touchstone

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Under a Sardinian Sky by Sara Alexander [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

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Making Waves (Beach Lane #1) by Laura Moore [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Ballantine Books

You’re the One That I Want: A Novel by Giovanna Fletcher [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2) by Laura Kaye [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Avon

Six Impossible Things (Rhymes With Love #6) by Elizabeth Boyle [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Avon

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Metal Blonde Books

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Oola: A Novel by Brittany Newell [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Holt Paperbacks

The F Word by Liza Palmer [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Flatiron Books

Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Random House

Startup by Doree Shafrir [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

One Good Thing (Ten Beach Road #5) by Wendy Wax [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 25th 2017 by Berkley Books



Stacking the Shelves (171)

April 23, 2017 Bonnie Sunday Book Haul 0 Comments

Hello, everyone! I missed posting last weekend because I had a terrible cold, so here are my posts for the last two weeks. 🙂

Recent Posts

New Books

Got two review books this week: The Boy on the Bridge and Lightwood. I snagged up a few Kindle sales too. I’m most excited to finally read Love is a Mix Tape… I’ve been wanting that for ages. And I had to snag up a digital copy of Darkfever because it was (and still is!) only $0.99.

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For Review
The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey [Purchase]
Lightwood by Steph Post [Purchase]


Love is a Mix Tape (Music #1) by Rob Sheffield [Purchase]
The Essential Rumi by Jalaluddin Rumi [Purchase]
Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning [Purchase]

I also keep forgetting to share my growing collection of audibles in part because of sales, an Audible giveaway I won, Kindle matchmaker deals, and my renewed membership. Here’s what I’ve snagged over the last couple of months.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater [Purchase]
by Stephen King [Purchase]
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas [Purchase]
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas [Purchase]
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders [Purchase]
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo [Purchase]
Legion (Legion #1) by Brandon Sanderson [Purchase]
Borderline (The Arcadia Project #1) by Mishell Baker [Purchase]


Recommended Reading: Psychological Thrillers

April 22, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 5 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Psychological Thrillers 101

6569735If you’re looking for a story from a survivor of a massacre…

…then pick up Dark Places. After her family was all killed and her brother is sent to prison for the crime, Libby Day tries her best to live a normal life, to no avail. She begins to reinvestigate the crime after a group known as “The Kill Club” shares with her their belief that her brother is actually innocent. Gone Girl may be her most popular but Dark Places is Gillian Flynn’s best story yet.

Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha PesslIf you’re looking for a literary mystery with unique visual incorporation…

An investigative journalist begins searching for a young girl gone missing and falls down the rabbit hole of an even bigger mystery at work. The actual story of Night Film is superb but the incorporation of visual aids (newspaper articles, websites, and case notes) that takes this mystery to a whole other level.

Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieIf you’re looking for a go-to classic…

And Then There Were None is a constant guessing game when ten people arrive on an island and one by one they each suffer a tragic fate. A nursery rhyme is the only thing that predicts exactly how each guest will fall, but who is next, and who is responsible for committing the crimes? Such twisted good fun.

If you joined in for today’s topic, link up below by sharing your blog post link in the comment box!

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly Garden

April 21, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 0 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 306
Genres: Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible

Also by this author: Mayhem


Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

‘Questions, question, question. It seems that ever since David and Adele came into my life I’ve been filled with questions. They’re like weeds in water. Every time I think I can swim away another one tangles around my legs to drag me back down.’

Everything about this story and its summary scream “typical suburban drama” but Behind Her Eyes is far from anything you’ve ever read, I can assure you. Sure, Louise is a single mom who meets a man in a bar. They share a kiss, but nothing more. When she gets to work on Monday to meet her new boss, David, it ends up being the man from the bar… who is married. Desperate to make everything less awkward, they both admit to it being a vast mistake in an attempt to make sure it’s never brought up again. But when Louise makes a new friend named Adele who ends up being David’s wife, Louise’s life becomes vastly complicated.

The present-day story progresses as David and Adele’s past unfolds which further complicates matters. It’s constantly alluded to that David is overly protective of Adele, that he keeps her literally locked inside their house, that he limits her access to her own personal finances, and that their relationship is far from anything healthy. Adele involves Louise in her personal drama but leaves vital pieces of the puzzle out in a desperate attempt to earn Louise’s empathy. But to what end?

Here’s where things get dicey and where I understand the negative opinions of many even though mine differ. The whole initial setup of this story appears very formulaic, establishing some preconceived notions of where the plot could possibly go. The massive emphasis by Flatiron Books Marketing team on the twist at the end is worthy because it’s one that absolutely no one could have seen coming. It didn’t come out of left field, so to speak, it wasn’t even playing on the same field. No, this twist is practically conjured out of thin air and while this would normally leave me feeling cheated (again, based on all those established preconceived notions) it was such an extremely bizarre and outlandish approach to transforming the a-typical suburban drama into something different that I really couldn’t help but love it. Pinborough never fails to surprise me.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenPoe by J. Lincoln Fenn
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Published by Brilliance Audio on October 22nd 2013
Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
Genres: Mystery, Horror
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible

Also by this author: Dead Souls


It's Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It's the one-year anniversary of his parents' deaths, he's stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries.

But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri is assigned to cover a seance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion. There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he's about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery. He wakes up in the morgue -- icy cold and haunted by a cryptic warning given by a tantalizing female spirit.

As town residents begin to turn up gruesomely murdered, Dimitri must unravel the connections among his family, the Aspinwall Mansion, and the secrets held in a pair of crumbling antiquarian books. If he doesn't, it's quite possible Lisa will be the next victim.

“Two weeks. Everything you love, own, and cherish, can be gone, liquidated, and lost forever in two weeks. Give or take a day.”

Dimitri Petrov is a would-be novelist and current obituary writer for an irrelevant newspaper. He gets tasked last minute with covering a séance at a local haunted house on Halloween (of course), he meets his dream girl, and there’s a lot of awkward conversation where he manages to win her over… somehow. But his life admittedly goes a bit downhill from there when he manages to fall through the floor, wakes up in the actual morgue, and finds that he has a new ghostly friend he dubs Poe that won’t leave him alone. Add in the mystery behind the haunted house, the strange family history of his new girlfriend, the truth behind the tragic deaths of Dimitri’s own parents, some curious ancient books that seem to possess powers, and a spleen-eating serial killer and you’ve got the plot of Poe. All in just over 300 pages.

“I have watched enough cheesy detective television shows in my young life to know that when one is presented with an inexplicable mystery, the first order of business (after procuring good donuts and coffee—check) is to create a wall of clues with photos of suspects and article clippings, preferably in an artistic yet seemingly random fashion.”

In the beginning, this story was entertaining, fast-paced, and fun, but just as it started out fine for Dimitri, unfortunately, the book went downhill as well. The characters themselves were never fully formed except for Dimitri who was the stories requisite guy who found humor and sarcasm in anything and everything (and reminded me a lot of the guy in The Last Days of Jack Sparks.) The mysteries were excessive and mildly convoluted, yes, however the horror elements brought about some very well-written pieces of terror. The descriptions were on point and were enough to churn even the hardest of stomachs. The biggest issue I had was how the author chose to focus more on the cutesy relationship aspects in a plot that didn’t require anything of the sort. Adding a romance factor certainly helps to appeal to a wider audience but it just didn’t work for me.

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Having already read Fenn’s sophomore novel, Dead Souls, I can see how far she’s come with her plotting and characterization(Dead Souls is absolutely incredible — read it). Her debut may not have been my favorite but she’s definitely fallen onto my radar on authors to watch out for.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenThe Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo, Mel Foster
Series: The Collector #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 1st 2016
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible


Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.…

“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are put in charge of interviewing a kidnap survivor that goes by the name of Maya who was recently rescued. According to her, she was one of many “butterflies” who lived in a garden. They were all girls who over the years had been kidnapped and brought to the garden by a man only known as The Gardener. He tattoos beautiful wings on their backs, renames them, rapes them, and cares for them until their expiration date of 21-years-old at which point The Gardener would kill them and preserve them in resin such as one does with perfect specimens. The Butterfly Garden switches back and forth between past and present and unveils the ordeals of the years that Maya spent behind the walls of the garden.

First off, yes, this is some sick and twisted sounding shit but whatever, I’m weird. Considering The Collector is one of my all-time favorite books, this story was immediately appealing to me and there were vast similarities. The kidnapped girl(s), the obsession with preserving butterflies (actual butterflies though), and the acclimating the victim(s) to transform their abnormal environment into something normal. Where The Collector was straight forward and quietly disturbing, The Butterfly Garden worked very hard at establishing the belief that we were working with an unreliable narrator and that there was clearly a big twist to anticipate. This was a most unsettling read and the author never flinches away from describing the brutality the girls were forced to suffer through. Also written well (and equally unsettling) was the mentality of The Gardener and how effortlessly he was able to convince himself that he was doing what was right for these girls by taking them in and caring for them.

I did have some serious issues with the technicalities of The Gardener’s whole operation that I’m sure could be easily overlooked with a little suspension of disbelief but sometimes I just can’t be that kind of reader. I’ll add in spoiler tags just in case: View Spoiler » All in all, I had a lot of questions that didn’t come equipped with a whole lot of answers.

And then that ending.

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I’M SO ANGRY. I don’t remember the last time I read such an immensely enthralling book that captivated me from page one, had me searching for extra time in the day just to read it, only to have it fall flatter than a fucking pancake at the end. I mean seriously, what even was that? Don’t market your book based on some hidden secret if all you’ve come up with is that. There’s apparently a second book too. No, thank you, please.


The Book Sacrifice Tag

April 20, 2017 Bonnie Book Tag 4 Comments

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I haven’t done one of these Book Tags in a while. Plus, I got sick last week/this weekend and fell behind on blog stuff so Book Tags to the rescue! Thanks to Jessie and Dani for posting this one. 🙂

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Let’s start this off with a Zombie Apocalypse! Let’s say you’re in a bookstore, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies’ only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated so you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

Book Review – An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

One of the more recent additions to my baa-baa black sheep shelf that seriously everyone seemed to adore. This book was said to have been inspired by ancient Rome with a fantasy twist. The brutality (primarily towards females) was simply gratuitous after a point and the plot itself moved at a snail’s pace. This one just didn’t do it for me so I would absolutely be chucking copies of these to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Runner Up: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

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Let’s say you’ve just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline KepnesBook Review – Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes

I thought You was absolutely fantastic and I eagerly awaited more crazy adventures of Joe. What I expected was not what I got and the more I think about it the more I feel like You could have easily stood on its own and Joe’s story didn’t need to get drug out past its shelf life. I’m clearly in the minority here because most people I know loved both stories and some loved Hidden Bodies even more. I hear there’s a third one coming too… I won’t be joining in.

Runner UpShadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

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Let’s say you’re in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at his face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it’s worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What Classic did you chuck?

Book Review – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I didn’t actually have to read this one in school although I didn’t actually get assigned a lot of classics at all in school (I think I went to a really shitty school.) I took it upon myself in my late 20s to finally read some of the classics I never got assigned in school (Frankenstein, A Clockwork OrangeOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Animal Farm, etc. — nope, I wasn’t assigned any of these in school.) The Great Gatsby was by far the biggest load of crap that I willingly wasted my time on. I’ve still got a long ways to go with my classics backlist but for now, Gatsby reigns king.

Runner Up: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Let’s say that you’re hanging out at the library when BAM! Global warming explodes and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You’re trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What is the book you first run to, your least favorite book of all life, what book do you not fully regret lighting?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel170453

Man, I’ve read some pretty shitty books in my lifetime but choosing which book to burn was a tough decision. Life of Pi always manages to be that one book that whenever I see it on any “Best Of” or “Must Read!” list I immediately disregard anything and everything else that could have been recommended. Because if that’s on the list then it must all be garbage, no? No, probably not but my hatred of this much-loved book isn’t exactly rational. It is what it is.

Runner UpThe Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel by Anton DiSclafani (aka Horsey Camp)


Waiting on Wednesday – She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

April 19, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – She Rides Shotgun by Jordan HarperShe Rides Shotgun: A Novel by Jordan Harper
Published by Ecco on June 6th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

A propulsive, gritty novel about a girl marked for death who must fight and steal to stay alive, learning from the most frightening man she knows—her father.

Eleven-year-old Polly McClusky is shy, too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere, when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life.

Nate made dangerous enemies in prison—a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off. They’ve already murdered his ex-wife, Polly’s mother. And Polly is their next target.

Nate and Polly’s lives soon become a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. Out on the lam, Polly is forced to grow up early: with barely any time to mourn her mother, she must learn how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She finds herself transforming from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate, in turn, learns what it’s like to love fiercely and unconditionally—a love he’s never quite felt before. But can their powerful bond transcend the dangerous existence he’s carved out for them? Will they ever be able to live an honest life, free of fear?

She Rides Shotgun is a gripping and emotionally wrenching novel that upends even our most long-held expectations about heroes, villains, and victims. Nate takes Polly to save her life, but in the end it may very well be Polly who saves him.

About Jordan Harper

Jordan Harper was born and educated in Missouri. He's worked as an ad man, a rock critic and a teevee writer.


Harper’s debut collection, Love and Other Wounds: Stories, still regretfully sits on my TBR but both of his books sounds like such me books. Really must make time for these fantastic sounding stories.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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