Posts By: Bonnie

Bonnie

Lover of tea. Crazed Bibliophile. Daydreamer.
I have a ridiculous love for the written word. I read anything and everything: Adult fiction, YA, Middle Grade, even the occasional Non-Fiction.

When I'm not reading I'm caring for my step-children, drinking obscene amounts of tea and contemplating what life will be like in the impending apocalypse.

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Early Review – Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

October 14, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2011 3 Comments

I received this book 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.

Early Review – Triangles by Ellen HopkinsTriangles by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Atria Books on October 18th 2011
Pages: 529
Genres: Contemporary, Verse
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Crank, Burned, Fallout

five-stars

THREE FEMALE FRIENDS FACE MIDLIFE CRISES IN A NO-HOLDS-BARRED EXPLORATION OF SEX, MARRIAGE, AND THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE.

Holly: Filled with regret for being a stay-athome mom, she sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Will it bring the fulfillment she is searching for?

Andrea: A single mom and avowed celibate, she watches her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly’s castaway husband?

Marissa: She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay, rebellious teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts.

As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.

Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner. Hopkins’s gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse perfectly captures the inner lives of her characters. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.

Get lost in the world of Triangles, where the lives of three unforgettable women intersect, and where there are no easy answers.

’Two lines that never intersect are parallel. Two lines that intersect forming ninety-degree angles, are perpendicular. Perpendicular lines cross each other. Crossing lines. Today I’m thinking about how easy it is to be perpendicular. And about how, while parallel lines may not intersect, parallel lives too often do.’

Thoughts
I got this off of Galley Grab and it went on my list of ‘I might read… maybe’. Truth is I had heard about Ellen Hopkins YA books and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle the harshness of the subjects that she writes about and if her YA books were harsh I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from her adult novel. I picked it up one morning when I had some time to kill and was completely blown away. This woman is an amazing writer.

’Falling to pieces. That’s how my life feels. Fractured. Crushed. Disintegrating. And the weird thing is, it’s all because of that stupid little word: love. I’ve fallen in love with *name omitted*, and it’s tinting everything normal about me with shades of insanity.’

I could go into the storyline and what it’s all about, but the summary of the book pretty much says it all. The storyline wasn’t what made this book amazing though, it was the writing. The author also did the most amazing thing with the formatting of each page that really added something spectacular. I’m not often a fan of POV changes, and this book switches the POV often between the three main characters, but it totally worked in this situation. She also used a different font to differentiate between the characters which I thought was a brilliant touch.

As many of you already know, this author writes in verse, and I was not expecting to fall in love with that style of writing as I have. She would write in verse and then often between POV changes she would insert a poem… which was simply remarkable.

This was my favorite piece of hers:

Spilling a Secret
What its size,
will have varying
consequences. It’s not
possible to predict
what will happen
if you
open the gunnysack,
let the cat escape.
A liberated feline
might purr on your lap,
or it might scratch
your eyes out. You can’t
tell
until you loosen the knot.
Do you chance losing
a friendship, if that
friend’s well-being
will
only be preserved
by betraying sworn-to
silence trust? Once
the seam is ripped, can
it be
mended again?
And if that proves
impossible, will you be
okay
when it all falls to pieces?

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Audiobook Review – The Crucible by Arthur Miller

October 14, 2011 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – The Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
Published by L.A. Theatre Works on October 1, 2001
Length: 1 hour and 59 minutes
Genres: Classics, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Arthur Miller's classic play about the with-hunts and trials in 17th century Salem is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially-sanctioned violence. Written in 1952, The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip. Directed by Martin Jenkins.
A L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Richard Dreyfuss, Stacy Keach, Irene Arranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley, Jr, Georgia Brown, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearn, Carol Kane, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Marian Mercer, Franklyn Seales, Madolyn Smith, Joe Spano and Michael York

I never actually read this in school; however, I was very familiar with the storyline itself. The Crucible. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

This story was based on historical people and real events and was a very authentic depiction of paranoid and hysterical people in a tiny village. Despite knowing this was mostly factual, it was still hard to imagine such an unfortunate situation occurring. This village had laws established but it blew me away how everything was handled. These people were accused of crimes that many of them were innocent of yet they were denied a fair trial and the accusers were believed 100%. This is a prime example of what happens when there are gaps in due process and when local governments infringe on an individual’s civil liberties: chaos.

The scene that I will forever remember was where they speak about Giles Corey and the torture he suffered through. Giles had been one of the individuals accused of witchcraft (falsely) but he refuses to admit guilt or innocence as he is educated in the law. The law at the time stated that anyone who refused to enter a plea could not be tried. To force a plea, the townsfolk proceeded to pile large stones on top of his body in an attempt to get him to admit to his ‘crimes’.

At the end of the audiobook I listened to there was an interesting tidbit regarding what followed in future years that I was unaware of.

‘Twenty years after the last hanging, the government awarded compensation to the victims still living and to the families of the dead. However, some people were still unwilling to admit their total guilt. The town was still divided into factions for some of those compensated by the government were not victims at all, but informers.’

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Book Review – Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

October 14, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Speak by Laurie Halse AndersonSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on October 22, 1999
Pages: 220
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.

"Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson's powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger. And yes, I’m starting to feel like a broken record at this point. But at least I’m getting around to reading them! Better late than never.

Speak is a moving and heartbreaking tale about a young girl who is keeping a dark secret from everyone including her family. This kept secret cost her all of her friends who all hate her for what she did, yet she still lacks the will to speak the truth.

’I am BunnyRabbit again, hiding in the open. I sit like I have an egg in my mouth. One move, one word, and the egg will shatter and blow up the world.’

Speak is the story of her healing, coping, and coming to terms with it all. It was a truly enthralling tale that kept the pages turning despite the sadness each page is steeped in. To me, this was such a vivid and accurate depiction of a teen girl suffering through high school and the blowback from her kept secret. I may not have been able to personally relate to what happened to her, but I think everyone could relate in some way to how she was treated in high school by her classmates and how she felt. I don’t look back on high school (or school in general) with fond memories, I wasn’t popular by any means, and I often found myself dreading going to school. Reading about how she felt, how she was treated, definitely struck a chord with me.

It was such a touching novel and I was so pleased that she finally found her resolution in the end and that she finally found the ability to speak.

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Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

October 13, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 2 Comments

Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick Press on September 15, 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: More Than This

five-stars

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I can understand now why many readers had difficulty reviewing this book now that I have read it myself.

The Story
Conor, a 13 year old boy dealing with his dying mother and absent father is visited by a monster one night who says that he will tell him three stories and then Conor will tell his story. Confused by the monster’s presence and his purpose for being there, the monster simply says:

’Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.’

Who is this monster and what is his purpose? This is the basis of the story so I won’t ruin it for those of you who have yet to read this. With that said, the monster was such a revelation to me as I was clearly anticipating something different. Not bad different, just different.

Overall Thoughts
This was a beautiful yet heartbreaking tale of a boy having to survive the hardships of life at a very young age. This is a children’s book and the writing is very simplistic and straight forward; however, it can still be fully appreciated by all, so please don’t let the targeted age group dissuade you. Be prepared to need a tissue (or give) as this is a tragic novel that will have you feeling it completely. I know I did.

After taking the advice of a GR friend (Wendy :D) I held off on reading the e-book until I got my hands on the real book. Let me tell you… the illustrations are truly amazing and brings something wonderful to this story. They are an experience in and of itself. (See her wonderful review with a few of the illustrations and a link to the webpage of illustrator, Jim Kay, here.

As I finished this book, I turned to look at my boyfriend and the look on my face must have said it all. He asks me if I’m okay. I wasn’t sure how to answer him. It brings out an abundance of emotions and makes it difficult to fully comprehend how exactly you’re feeling.

A very valuable lesson is in between the pages of this little gem. When your monster comes and visits you in the night, how will you respond? Will you turn it away and refuse to accept its existence? Or will you accept it for you and what it is? This is certainly one book that I plan on purchasing so I can go back to it time and time again. Definitely a must read for anyone.

’You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.’

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Book Review – The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick RiordanThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion on October 4, 2011
Pages: 540
Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-half-stars

ONE CURSED DEMIGOD.
TWO NEW HEROES.
A QUEST TO UNLEASH THE
GOD OF DEATH.....

Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, God of the Sea, has woken from a very deep sleep and come face to face with two snake-haired ladies who refuse to die.

But they're the least of his problems. Because Percy finds himself at a camp for half-bloods, which doesn't ring any bells for him. There's just one name he remembers from his past. Annabeth.

Only one thing is certain--Percy's questing days aren't over. He and fellow demigods Frank and Hazel must face the most important quest of all: The Prophecy of Seven. If they fail, it's not just their camp at risk. Percy's old life, the gods and the entire world might be destroyed...

The Heroes of Olympus series

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

In true Rick Riordan fashion, the half-bloods are once again sent on a quest by the Gods, but this time Percy is on a quest with Hazel and Frank, two half-bloods from Camp Jupiter. Percy has lost his memory and can barely remember anything, and if he does it’s quite fuzzy in his mind. The three set off on their quest to release a God who has been captured by Gaea, the God responsible for keeping dead things… well, dead. With him captured, the enemies on their quest don’t die, which certainly makes things interesting and quite dangerous for the trio.

Thoughts
I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan and his Percy Jackson series. His books are always lighthearted and funny, although sometimes I’m reminded that these are in fact children’s books when the occasional goofy statements thrown in. Like how Amazons run amazon.com. (Sighing and eye rolling did occur). But there were some funny lines that had me gigglging.

”Um… is that thing tame?” Frank said.
The horse whinnied angrily.
“I don’t think so,” Percy guessed. “He just said, ‘I will trample you to death, silly Chinese Canadian baby man.’”
“You speak horse?” Hazel asked.
“’Baby man’?” Frank spluttered.

I gotta admit, the first half of the book I was pretty much indifferent and I had a hard time staying interested at first. It’s such a confusing storyline because Percy has amnesia, Frank and Hazel have multiple secrets, and nothing is revealed so you pretty much feel like you’re stumbling right along with the characters in the book. The characters were great, as usual, and I loved the introduction of the new characters Hazel and Frank. Once things started coming together, I was completely swept away and will be waiting quite eagerly for the next installment.

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Book Review – Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl GregoryRaising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
Published by Del Rey on June 28, 2011
Pages: 449
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.

The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret — until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

In Part I, the Mayhall family find a woman long dead on the side of the road with a baby wrapped up inside her coat. Shortly after, Wanda Mayhall realizes what he really is, yet decides that they are going to keep him anyways and hide him from the world. We watch Stony change and literally grow from a baby into a young man just as any normal living human being does. We watch him become an integral part of the Mayhall family and develop into his own unique person. This was my favorite part of the novel.

Following Part I, which I was absolutely in love with, there was a major shift in the story and I wasn’t exactly on board with it. It became overly political, it became slightly philosophical, and I realize in retrospect that this was the world that the author was creating but it wasn’t exactly how I thought the story was going to go (or how I would have preferred it to go). I did enjoy the scientific aspects of the story and how the Living Dead were researching to find out what made them the way they are and what made it possible.

’Here was Thomas’s blood before he died, six hours after the bite: perfectly normal. And here was Thomas’s blood after he passed, at the 6:12 mark: dark, viscous, waxy. The transformation had occurred between observations, like the state change in a quantum particle. Like death itself.’

Many parts of this book required a certain amount of imagination. The idea behind the zombies in this book was that “Consciousness was the key.” At one point Stony explains how he once removed one of his toes and yet it still failed to decompose even though it was completely separated from his body. Once the toe was finally off his mind and he had failed to continue checking on it and thinking about it, only then did it finally start rotting and decomposing. I found this to be quite an interesting concept yet extremely hard to understand. Was that the only thing that kept these zombies ‘alive’? That if they had stopped thinking about themselves as a living dead person would they simply cease to exist?

’Where one dead thing ended and another began was largely a problem of perception and definition.’

I was overall disappointed with this book; however, I think that was largely because I was expecting something different entirely. I thought the storyline with the LD ‘governments’ and the plans being hatched by them was pretty strange and largely unbelievable. I had a hard time understanding where all the money came from… how one person could be the sole benefactor of so many. Also, the ending was inevitable but a bit too anticlimactic I thought. I loved Stony in the beginning but I was pretty disappointed at how the rest of the story unfolded.

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

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 3 Comments

Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken KeseyOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Narrator: Tom Parker
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on 1962
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Genres: Classics, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

In this classic 1960s novel, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy. You've never met anyone like Randle Patrick McMurphy. He's a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the ward of a mental hospital and takes over. He's a lusty, profane, life-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and at every turn, openly defies her rule.

The contest starts as sport, with McMurphy taking bets on the outcome, but soon it develops into a grim struggle for the minds and hearts of the men, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Big Nurse, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Big Nurse uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax.

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger.

I don’t have much to say about this series as I know the vast majority of you have already read this, but I will say that I was most definitely thrown by the story as I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. ‘Wow’ was the most used word while reading/listening to this book, for sure.

The setting of this story is in a mental institution and you’d never think that you’d find yourself laughing, but you do. Patrick McMurphy really makes this story what it is, he was such an influential character: funny and rebellious and being in a mental institution certainly doesn’t stop him from doing whatever he damn well pleases. The one part that cracked me up (as wrong as the situation was) was following one of his electro-shock therapy treatments:

’…he just laughed and told me Hell, all they was doin’ was chargin’ his battery for him, free for nothing. “When I get out of here the first woman that takes on ol’ Red McMurphy the ten-thousand-watt psychopath, she’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!”’

As the story progressed I got so caught up in loving these men that I practically forgot that they were all in a mental institution… and because my mind glazed over this fact, by the end, my heart broke for them. This is a really powerful tale that I’m glad I finally read.

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Audiobook Review – Animal Farm by George Orwell

October 7, 2011 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – Animal Farm by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George Orwell
Narrator: Ralph Cosham
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on December 15th 1999 (first published 1945)
Length: 3 hours, 11 minutes
Genres: Classics, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Literary Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

 

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned--a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

 

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books.

Having missed this in my childhood education it’s always been one that I’ve heard so many things about but have never been able to experience. I have to say that I’m quite glad I didn’t read this until later in life because I don’t believe I’d be able to appreciate it or understand it half as much as I would have in my early teens. I remember hearing about this book when I was younger and thinking that it was literally about animals.

I was amazed at how easy a read it was (although I stopped about halfway and started listening to it on audiobook) yet how complex the topic really was. At the start of the book their rebellion against their owners was a beautiful thing and their strength was remarkable.

“The animals were happy as they had never conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master.”

Unfortunately, as time progressed, social classes were established. I found myself so wrapped up in this book that when the pigs that ruled and had all the privileges would change rules at random to suit their needs I was groaning and pitying these other animals who suffered because of it. The ending was inevitable and despite the fact that I saw it coming it still left me gasping. An incredible that was well worth the read; a novel I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”

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Book Review – The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolf #1) by Alice Borchardt

September 29, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 5 Comments

Book Review – The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolf #1) by Alice BorchardtThe Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
Series: Legends of the Wolf #1
Published by Ballantine Books on June 16, 1998
Pages: 480
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Regeane is a fatherless royal relation who happens to be a werewolf. Her guardian, Gundabald, and his venal son Hugo plan to recoup their fortunes by marrying Regeane to a wealthy bridegroom, even though she might inadvertently make him into a bedtime snack. Gundabald forces her into apparent compliance by threatening to reveal her secret to the Church, which would burn her at the stake. As the bridegroom, Maeniel, journeys to Rome to claim her, Regeane discovers allies in her quest to defeat Gundabald's machinations, including some very strong, funny, and levelheaded women. Unfortunately for Regeane, she also has more powerful enemies than Gundabald.
Alice Borchardt brings 8th-century Rome vividly to life. Her language is earthy and sensuously descriptive: "The wolf visited Regeane's eyes and ears. The girl staggered slightly with the shock. The light in the square became intense. Smells an overwhelming experience: wet stone, damp air, musty clothing, perspirations shading from ancient sticky filth to fresh acrid adrenal alarm."

Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, but she writes a very different sort of tale. Ghosts, the dead, and supernatural forces are here, but so is laugh-out-loud humor and a happy ending. --Nona Vero

The Storyline
Regeane is a half-Saxon and half-Frankish woman without a father; her mother, Gisela is the cause of his death. After Gisela discovers that Woflstan, Regeane’s father, is a shape shifter and is able to take the form of a wolf she is convinced by her brother Gundabald that he must be the devils child and must be killed. Gisela is thankful that her daughter doesn’t appear to have any of the traits of her father; however, when she gets older she gains the ability to change into a wolf as well. Regeane had an extremely hard life as her mother attempted to ‘fix her’ and forces her to drink concoctions, pray for hours on end, and to swear that she would never change into the wolf. Nothing works.

When Gisela dies, Regeane is left in the care of Gundabald and his son Hugo who treat her horribly by keeping her locked in her room, feeding her scraps, and barely passable clothing. Gundabald informs her one day that she is to be wed to a wealthy mountain lord named Maeniel. Scared for her life she runs away from Gundabald and seeks solace in the care of Lucilla, the Pope’s mistress. Lucilla learns of her secret and promises to keep her as safe as possible from having her future-husband discover it as well. As Regeane says regarding Maeniel:

”I don’t plan to love him. I plan to survive him.”

The Characters
The characters were positively vibrant. Regeane was the epitome of strength and smart beyond her years. My favorite though? Maeniel. He has his own secrets just as Regeane and you can’t help but be entranced by him as well. Read it, you’ll see exactly what I mean. 🙂 Regeane and Maeniel didn’t meet until close to the end of the book, but the passion and love that developed between the two was well worth the wait.

Just a Note
I feel the need to write a word of warning for this novel. Many of you who have briefly scanned over the summary of this novel and said, “Oooh! Werewolves!” Stop and listen before you read this, end up severely disappointed and end up rating it all kinds of awful. This is what I like to call a ‘big girl book’. You will not find any melodrama here nor any love triangles. The main character may be a teen girl; however, you will not find any typical YA storylines here. I think a lot of people have the wrong expectations when going into this book. This is like, werewolves being thrown into a Game of Thrones or Mists of Avalon type storyline. Very mature writing, very mature situations, just with a teen girl that turns into a wolf.

This book has been on my bookshelf for YEARS. Being a huge fan of Anne Rice I had always wanted to read her sisters writing as well. Yep, Alice Borchardt is the sister of Anne Rice. But as far as my first experience with Alice Borchardt’s writing? I was not disappointed in the least. This was truly a book to be savored rather than gulped down, so don’t let the fact that it took me forever to read it discourage you.

This was a very detailed and intricate story that was beautiful in its intensity. Alice Borchardt was an extremely talented writer and it’s a shame that she isn’t around to continue creating beautiful stories. I finished this book with a smile on my face and will most definitely be reading more from her soon.

My Favorite Quote
“Love is eternal. That is its terror and its final beauty. Love never ends. The joy may go out of it, and, in time, even the pain may end. But it lingers like a living thing and follows you every moment of your life.”

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Book Review – Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica Park

September 28, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica ParkFlat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Published by Self-Published on May 18th 2011
Pages: 400
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.

Oh my, I ended up loving this book far more than I thought I would. I don’t know about you, but when I think of ‘self-published’ I cringe and I generally tend to avoid reading them as my experience has led to the expectation of them generally being a waste of time (as the writing tends to resemble my youngest child’s book reports). After hearing such lovely, positive, statements regarding ‘Flat Out Love’ I figured it was worth a try to see what all the fuss was about.

So I’ve typed out my typical ‘Storyline’ paragraph quite a few times and every time I write it out I make the book sound ridiculously corny. For those of you who have read it, I’m sure you understand. For those of you who have read it, let me just put it to you this way. This book is one of a kind with a wonderfully original storyline to boot. This was an extremely well-written novel; no choppy 8 year old sentences here.

The characters literally came into existence right before your eyes and were so full of life that I often had to take a short break to absorb and really try and understand what I had read. I’m not saying this was a complex novel that required a lot of thought; however, there is so much feeling behind every word that it can leave you more than a little moved.

As much as the idea of crushing on a penpal or someone you’ve never met before sounds ridiculously silly … well Jessica Park makes this possible. I think I even fell in love with Finn to be honest here. All of the relationships that the characters develop with each other (Julie and Matt, Julie and Finn, Julie and Celeste) made me practically envious.

There was so much about this book that I absolutely loved: the uniqueness of it all, the simplistic yet complex storyline, the so very real characters, the many laughs and smiles that I got, and the Christmas decoration scene? It made my heart melt.

But that’s what love does to you. Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love. Highly recommended for those looking for a sweet, heartwarming book.

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