Recommended Reading 101: Aussie YA

February 25, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 0 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?

Aussie YA 101


Book Tour Review – Fury by Shirley MarrIf you’re looking for a Aussie murder mystery…

Fury was such a thrilling debut read that made it impossible to put this down (I stayed up till 2am to finish it). Hands down one of the best YA mysteries I’ve ever read. A bit hard to get a hold of this but well worth it.


Early Review – Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

If you’re looking for something compelling and realistic…

Graffiti Moon remains one of my all-time favorites in realistic YA. Cath Crowley is a most amazing writer and this story of love, humor, and amazing characterization is completely unforgettable.


Book Review – Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

If you’re looking for an emotionally complex whirlwind…

Stolen was not a story that I anticipated to love so much that I’m still bringing it up five years later. Stockholm Syndrome is a delicate subject matter to tackle but I believe it was handled incredibly well.


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

Short & Sweet – Everything I Never Told You, Big Little Lies

February 24, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Short & Sweet Reviews 2 Comments

Short & Sweet – Everything I Never Told You, Big Little LiesEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published by Blackstone Audio on June 26th 2014
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Freebie
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


four-half-stars

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet....

So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James' case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family, Hannah, who observes far more than anyone realizes - and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping pause-resister and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

‘Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.’

Lydia is the third child of Marilyn and James Lee and is undeniably their favorite. Her absence from breakfast one morning arouses suspicion but never would they have imagined that her body would be found at the bottom of the lake near their house. Lydia’s death, while tragic, ends up being the catalyst for unveiling the multitude of issues within the Lee household. The year is 1970 and the steps that led to this tragedy began over a decade ago when Marilyn, a white woman from Virginia, and James, a first-generation Chinese-American, married despite the ill opinions on their interracial relationship. When Marilyn gets pregnant, she gives up her dream of becoming a doctor and instead devotes her time and energy to Lydia so that one day she can become what Marilyn could not, never stopping to consider what Lydia actually desired. James, after a difficult life of always being the outsider, he constantly pushes his children to fit in and be social so they never have to experience what it’s like to be an outsider. We may know from the very first sentence that Lydia is dead, but the path that brought her to this point remains a mystery. Ng rewinds to the very beginning and allows Lydia’s story to finally reveal the truth that she never dared speak aloud.

‘It would disappear forever from her memory of Lydia, the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.’

I have had this book on my shelf for an obscenely long time simply because family dramas usually possess suburban type spectacles that I’d rather do without. But this book had depth, it had the most well-written characters that I have read in recent memory, it had a captivating storyline, and it completely broke my heart. Ng gracefully unmasks the secrets kept by the Lee’s and their two surviving children, Nathan and Hannah, through multiple storylines without it once getting convoluted. Marilyn and James’ lifetime of broken dreams and of the racism that they faced is egregious, but it’s their complete lack of familiarity and understanding with one another and their own children that was truly terrible. The emotional intricacy of this superbly written tale and the devastating ending will resonate with me for a long time to come.

Short & Sweet – Everything I Never Told You, Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Published by Berkley on July 29th 2014
Pages: 460
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?).
And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body.

But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

“Did anyone really know their child? Your child was a little stranger, constantly changing, disappearing and reintroducing himself to you. New personality traits could appear overnight.”

In the coastal seaside town of Pirriwee, everything and everyone is covered in a thin veneer of gloss, though it only does so much to hide the imperfections underneath. And the fact that someone is dead after Trivia Night at the local school goes terribly wrong. But who it is and how it happened remains a mystery… or so it seems.

Madeleine’s youngest child is entering kindergarten, but so is her ex-husband’s daughter. The ex-husband that left her and their baby girl to survive on their own fifteen years prior. Celeste, a stay at home mom, and her husband Perry, a hedge fund manager, are the parents of twin boys and they live in a palatial house on the beach. Things definitely look perfect from the outside but Perry has an uncontrollable anger problem that is only getting worse. Jane is a single mom who’s little boy Ziggy was the product of a one-night stand; a one-night stand that left her mentally scarred and unable to heal. The adults all have their fair share of drama going on but to make matters worse there is a terrible ongoing situation of bullying happening at the kids’ school and the truth is far from easy to ascertain. Family drama, infidelity, domestic abuse, and bullying are all adequate plot points on their own but Big Little Lies combines them all for an intense story about the imperfections that many endeavor to hide from the world.

“They say it’s good to let your grudges go, but I don’t know, I’m quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”

This is my first Moriarty book and I’m still struggling to establish whether I actually liked it. The mystery and the anticipated big reveal was all that kept me going because the writing style felt very haphazard and slightly sloppy, written in a flippant and emotionally disjointed way. I would understand that demeanor for some of her characters, but everyone is written in such a way. The story starts off with a Quentin Tarantino type hook: someone is dead but you don’t know who it is and you don’t know what led up to this point. Now, let’s rewind it to six months before the death and go back through everything with a fine-tooth comb. Let’s also intersperse it with gossiping mothers (and the occasional father) who are all convinced it has something to do with a shocking affair, or it was because of some fight that happened between a couple of mothers months back on the playground, or maybe it was when one of the kids handed out birthday invitations to all but one child, or maybe it was Madeleine’s Erotic Book Club. Absolutely no one has any clue what’s actually going on.

idk chris pratt middle finger i dont care who cares

Okay, so basically if you didn’t guess, I gave zero fucks about their petty squabbles. But still, I zoomed through these 460 pages (honestly, that many pages were completely unnecessary). While the mom drama is pretty horrifying in the heavy doses we’re given, it’s despairingly accurate, I know because I have had to personally refuse to participate in that shit (fuck the PTA, honestly). There is also this constant veil of humor over everything, despite the seriousness of a few of the storylines, and I can’t say that I liked it, especially when the domestic abuse storyline had me breathing like I needed a paper bag. Moriarty’s stand against domestic violence isn’t handled poorly (although it could have been handled better), I just felt that the inclusion of comic relief in the story to lessen the seriousness only ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth. View Spoiler » Many readers may be pleased to have this comic relief to lighten the seriousness of domestic abuse, bullying, and infidelity, but I for one could have done without it. All it managed to do was lessen the depth and seriousness of these grim issues.

Divider

The Coffee Book Tag

February 23, 2017 Bonnie Book Tag 3 Comments

I am a coffee addict.

coffee

So this book tag totally spoke to me. 🙂

Found this post thanks to Jessie and Dani @ Ageless Pages Reviews and Lindsey @ Bring My Books.

02

 photo lotr_zpse1ufdn4f.jpg

Lord of the Rings immediately comes to mind. I’ve decided this is the year I’ll finally conquer it though! Wish me luck. lol

03

13087452

For years I’ve noticed people come out in droves to read Little Women. I always said that when I finally got around to reading it that I’d save it for Christmas. I’m happy to say I finally made that happen this past year.

04

248584

Juniper by Monica Furlong. I went through all my books that were boxed up recently and found this in there. I only have fond memories of this one.

05

Book Review – Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach

Fortune’s Pawn felt like a shot of adrenaline that I absolutely could not put down. SO GOOD, PEOPLE.

06

15711341

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

Everyone is reading this series (I blame Christina). I have no idea why I haven’t but I’m determined to start this year.

07

11356211

Darkhouse was one of the first Indie books I took a chance on and it paid off. Halle’s Experiment in Terror series remains one of my all-time favorites.

08

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The Girls

Most disappointing in recent memory is definitely Feedback. I’m just pretending it never existed, it’s better that way.

09

127459

The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3) by Libba Bray

Everyone loves to hate on the ending for these (because it certainly isn’t a happily ever after) but it’s one that has stuck with me for years. I can’t remember things from last week but I vividly remember the ending to this trilogy that I read over a decade ago. That’s saying something I think.

11

Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

I know it’s cliché to want to visit Paris, but it’s truly a beautiful city that I really do wish I’ll be able to see someday. Paris, My Sweet was such a fun (and delicious!) read that made me want to make it a reality that much more.

12

Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“Classic” is such a broad term. Is a book from 1962 a classic? If so, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This book broke my heart but damn, what a story.

10

11250053

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The story itself is magical but the real magic is Ivey’s writing. Goals.

bonnie blog signature

Divider

Waiting on Wednesday – Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

February 22, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona AndrewsWildfire by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Published by Avon on July 25th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Magic Bites

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

About Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs, and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

border24

hahaha Rogan finally got a shirt!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

bonnie blog signature

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday – Series I Quit After the First Book

February 21, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 15 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This is my black sheep post.

black sheep

I went into these series with the highest of hopes! Rave reviews, popular authors — for whatever reason I was looking forward to each and every one of these. Many of these are well loved by many but just didn’t do it for me and I liked these far less than I expected. It is what it is.

pooh shrugs

 photo ttt 2.21 - 1_zps70haabxk.jpg

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard [Review]
Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole [Review]
Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands #1) by Sarah Fine
The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd [Review]

 photo ttt 2.21 - 2_zpsjokr0i0g.jpg

The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir [Review]
Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger [Review]
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Divider

Something To Look Forward To – Week of February 20th, 2017

February 20, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 2 Comments

Something To Look Foward to
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 February 20th, 2017

 photo 29939230.jpg photo 9780374300593_d6cb6.jpg photo 9780316384933_0a903.jpg photo 9780062418685_96f29.jpg photo 9780399549816_6ec51.jpg

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor Books

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by HarperTeen

The Dragon’s Price (Transference #1) by Bethany Wiggins [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

 photo 27071332.jpg photo 26594801.jpg photo 9781524749804_7bfe7.jpg photo 9780062458544_c5163.jpg photo 9781524723026_292d1.jpg

Against All Silence (SOS #2) by E.C. Myers [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Adaptive Books

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Simon & Schuster

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Wendy Lamb Books

 photo 9780765378026_43d9a.jpg photo 31372245_zps52ybdcxt.jpg photo 30213123_zpssvnc95bz.jpg photo 30841984_zpsq4aq1ino.jpg photo 33640757_zpsh3ivs277.jpg

Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota #2) by Ada Palmer [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor Books

Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor.com

Empire’s End (Star Wars: Aftermath #3) by Chuck Wendig [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Del Rey Books

Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1) by Nicholas Eames [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Orbit

Steal the Lightning: A Field Ops Novel (Field Ops #3) by Tim Lees [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Harper Voyager Impulse

 photo 9781250087829_6c06b.jpg photo 30319964.jpg photo 9781478909774_be469.jpg photo 9780062475367_a5ee5.jpg photo 30363765_zpsat7ffowm.jpg

A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair #3) by Judith Flanders [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Minotaur Books

Most Dangerous Place (Jack Swyteck #13) by James Grippando [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Harper

Humans, Bow Down by James Patterson, Emily Raymond, Jill Dembowski [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 20th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Shining City: A Novel by Tom Rosenstiel [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Ecco

Rusty Puppy (Hap and Leonard #12) by Joe R. Lansdale [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Mulholland Books

 photo 30419416_zpsis5v3aqq.jpg photo 31160324_zpsnj6rzewu.jpg photo 30319967_zpsg47o9yic.jpg photo 30753710_zpsjzlmnw6p.jpg photo 30900136_zpsztwyjlmi.jpg

Spook Street (Slough House #4) by Mick Herron [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Soho Crime

I See You by Clare Mackintosh [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Berkley Books

The Drifter by Christine Lennon [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks

The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Random House

 photo 9781250058430_fb290.jpg photo 30256224_zpsztzq5d0h.jpg photo 29239940_zpst8kl0m11.jpg photo 31143826_zpsjvj5gdn0.jpg photo 30753683_zpsagdujkry.jpg

The English Agent (Christopher Marlowe Mystery #2) by Phillip DePoy [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Minotaur Books

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by William Morrow

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Mira

Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing

The Good at Heart: A Novel by Ursula Werner [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Touchstone

 photo 9780547734415_976c1.jpg photo 29239940.jpg photo 30753836_zpsulewik7y.jpg photo 30408678_zpsio4iwwsb.jpg

The News from the End of the World by Emily Jeanne Miller [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 28th 2017 by Mira

Running: A Novel by Cara Hoffman [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Simon & Schuster

The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Viking

 photo 30375706_zpsxryim1zs.jpg photo 30753684_zpszpspixib.jpg photo 30763898_zpsgao1bede.jpg photo 9781250077752_2af8b.jpg photo 9780062473530_21386_zpssoq84zex.jpg

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana Enríquez [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Hogarth

Last Day on Earth: Stories by Eric Puchner [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Scribner

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel by Ruth Hogan [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by William Morrow

_________________________________________________

Divider

Stacking the Shelves (163)

February 19, 2017 Bonnie Sunday Book Haul 5 Comments

I’m really kicking myself because I think this past Friday was the first day I didn’t have a post since the start of the year. Admittedly, it was kind of a shitty week so I should cut myself some slack but still grumpy about it. I ended up watching a lot of Friends because it always ends up putting a smile on my face. My reading has been all over the place too and I was headed towards a slump for a little while there but I think I’m back at it. Here’s to a more productive week. 🙂

Recent Posts

New Books

Only library books this week! I’ve already read (listened) to The Princess Diarist and it was fantastic. Men Explain Things to Me is a hard but necessary read.

Library Checkouts

3329031622124901

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Divider

Recommended Reading 101: Forbidden Love

February 18, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 1 Comment

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?

Forbidden Love 101

8179495If you’re looking for something literary and brutally honest…

A chance encounter with a stranger leads a woman to question everything about herself, her marriage, and her life. Love in Mid Air was beautifully written and hopeful tale of life continuing even when you didn’t think it could.


10843755

If you’re looking for something in verse…

Triangles bounces between three female characters all dealing with mid-life crisis clichés but Hopkins gives each an enthralling complexity in her first adult novel.


15719899

If you’re looking for a complex tragedy…

Indiscretion is full of characters that most will fail to sympathize with but their story will enrapt you. Dubow’s writing reads much like Fitzgerald and its sultry rhythm will be the highlight of this tale.


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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning World

February 16, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 6 Comments

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Oxford Inheritance: A Novel by A.A. McDonald
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published by HarperAudio on February 23rd 2016
Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library Thing
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


dnf

At prestigious Oxford University, an American student searches for the truth about her mother’s death in this eerie, suspenseful thriller that blends money, murder, and black magic.

You can’t keep it from her forever. She needs to know the truth.

Cassandra Blackwell arrives in Oxford with one mission: to uncover the truth about her mother’s dark past. Raised in America, with no idea that her mother had ever studied at the famed college, a mysterious package now sends her across the ocean, determined to unravel the secrets that her mother took to her grave. Plunged into the glamorous, secretive life of Raleigh College, Cassie finds a world like no other: a world of ancient tradition, privilege—and murder.

Beneath the hallowed halls of this storied university there is a mysterious force at work . . . A dark society that is shaping our world, and will stop at nothing to keep its grip on power. Cassie might be the only one who can stop them—but at what cost?

DNF @ 18% (and some scan-reading to see if I was missing out on anything)

‘All her work had finally come to fruition: the scheming and lies, the sacrifice and risk.’

Cassandra Blackwell is on a mission to discover the secret past about her mother after she died when Cassandra was just fourteen-years-old. Three years ago a mysterious letter arrives from Oxford addressed to her deceased mother: “You can’t hide the truth forever. Please come back and end this for good.” She quickly sets out to discover what the letter could mean but doesn’t uncover anything. She then spends the next three years of her life working to gain enough ground just to gain acceptance at Raleigh College at Oxford in hopes of discovering more information from the inside. It’s her Junior year abroad and she’s finally done it.

Her mother was a terrible human being who was constantly exploding into fits of rage and accusing Cassandra of being the reason she didn’t become a great poet because she got pregnant with her at twenty. She rehashes all the times she had to lock herself in the bathroom to escape her wrath until she had managed to calm down. She inevitably committed suicide and Cassandra ended up in foster care until she was sixteen at which point she chose to live off the grid. A random letter shows up years later and suddenly she decides she needs to show she’s smart so she can get into a college in England just so she can research her mother. Maybe this all seems trivial but I didn’t buy this plot at all and considering it’s the foundation of the entire mystery, I decided to call it quits.

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldBright Air Black: A Novel by David Vann
Published by Grove Press on March 7th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


dnf

Following the success of Aquarium which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and garnered numerous rave reviews, David Vann transports us to 13th century B.C. to give a nuanced and electric portrait of the life of one of ancient mythology’s most fascinating and notorious women, Medea.

In brilliant poetic prose Bright Air Black brings us aboard the ship Argo for its epic return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis—where Medea flees her home and father with Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Vann’s reimagining of this ancient tale offers a thrilling, realist alternative to the long held notions of Medea as monster or sorceress. We witness with dramatic urgency Medea’s humanity, her Bronze Age roots and position in Greek society, her love affair with Jason, and her tragic demise.

Atmospheric and spellbinding, Bright Air Black is an indispensable, fresh and provocative take on one of our earliest texts and the most intimate and corporal version of Medea’s story ever told.

DNF @ 7%

Considering Medea was one of my all-time favorite reads from my Ancient and Medieval Cultures class in college, I had high hopes for this one. Alas, it didn’t pan out. Bright Air Black is set before Medea and Jason have children but after Jason has secured the Golden Fleece. Medea’s father, King Aeëtes, is in pursuit of them and in an attempt to slow him down Medea sacrifices her brother, dismembers him, and tosses pieces of him overboard knowing that her father will stop to collect each and every piece.

 photo raw_zpssktefveq.gif

The writing is both difficult to read and impossible to put down due to the long-winded narrative style. The chapters are few and far between as well as any actual dialogue making this a monotonous yet grotesque read. At times it was like Hannibal meets mythology.

‘Medea takes a piece of her brother, a thigh, heavy and tough, muscled, and licks blood from it, dark and thick. She spits, licks and spits again and again, three times to atone. Mouth filled with the taste of her family’s blood, and she throws this piece of Helios into the waves.’

 photo raw 1_zpspuuv9xfs.gif

Then after she threw the thigh overboard and her father has recovered it:

‘Her brother gone. She misses him there, far away, in his father’s arms, and yet most of him is here. She kneels in him still.’

Then there was a scene of a man leaning overboard to take a shit and Medea describes how it fouls the air due to lack of wind. I’m sure she ran out of body parts to toss overboard and the men wouldn’t spend the entire book shitting over the side of the boat, but there just wasn’t enough to captivate me in this retelling of one of my favorite Greek myths.

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Burning World by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #2
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 7th 2017
Pages: 512
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Warm Bodies

dnf

R is recovering from death.

He’s learning how to breathe, how to speak, how to be human, one clumsy step at a time. He doesn’t remember his old life and he doesn’t want to. He’s building a new one with Julie.

But his old life remembers him. The plague has another host far more dangerous than the Dead. It’s coming to return the world to the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak, and stopping it will require a frightening journey into the surreal wastelands of America—and the shadowy basement of R’s mind.

DNF @ 13%

I had been heading towards a slump so that may be part of the reason for my complete intolerance and unwillingness to give this a chance, but this just did not work for me. Warm Bodies was an original (and slightly disturbing) tale of a zombie falling in love with a human, subsequently regaining his humanity in the process. It was a moving and touching novel in the unlikeliest of genres. The New Hunger was even more fantastic, well written, and it made me more excited than I had been for The Burning World to release. But before I had even hit double digits in progress, I was already ready to call it quits. This section was at 7%:

‘Her irises are the usual metallic gray, but as I stare into them, they flicker. A brief glint, like a flake of gold in the sand of a deep river.’

Very pretty words. Marion can definitely string some adjectives and metaphors together but then he had to go and mess it all up.

“What is it?” Julie asks in an awed whisper.
“I have no idea. I’ve never had less idea about anything. We’ve been calling it ‘the Gleam.’ Every once in a while it just… happens, and the Dead get a little less dead.”

And that is all we get by way of explanation.

 photo wait what_zpszy1du1gm.gif

It was just such a lame and half-assed attempt at explaining the whole plot point. The dead coming back to life after being zombies, being dead… and you give it some fancy capitalized name and that’s supposed to be sufficient? Sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me. I continued reading up to 13% where the settlement is attacked by a rival settlement and it officially became just like all other post-apocalyptic/zombie tales that I’ve already read at least half a dozen times. Does it switch it up somehow and become original and memorable again? Maybe. The introduction into this unexpected sequel was so lackluster that it wasn’t interesting enough for me to stick around to find out.

bonnie blog signature

Divider

Waiting on Wednesday – The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

February 15, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 8 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. ReichertThe Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
Series: , ,
Published by Gallery Books on May 16th 2017
Pages: 336
Genres: Foodie Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
Format: Paperback
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about an aloof but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Isaac Banks has spent years singlehandedly trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, taking odd jobs as they drove across the country from California, pulling up to Sanna’s orchard at exactly the right time...

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident, leaving her as his sole caretaker. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm. Can Sanna save the orchard and her budding romance? Or will she lose more than she knew she had?

From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman.

About Amy E. Reichert

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

border24

Reichert’s debut, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, was sweet, simple fun. The Simplicity of Cider, her third novel, looks to add a touch of magic mixed in with the romance which is one of my most favorite genre combinations.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

bonnie blog signature

Divider