Posts Categorized: eBook

Book Review – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen

May 29, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 5 Comments

Book Review – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. GaughenLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Childrens on February 11th 2014
Pages: 321
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Scarlet, Lion Heart

two-half-stars

Scarlet's true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet's love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet's past even she isn't yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman-a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin's cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet's tale will have readers talking once again.

Scarlet series

Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen {PurchaseReview}

Someday. Definitely not in this installment though. Good grief, this was DARK. And sick. And just relatively hard to stomach. And here I was hoping to like this one more than the first installment when I actually think I liked this one less.

*spoilers from Scarlet will follow*

Lady Thief opens with Robin Hood suffering through the effects of the torture he had to endure leading him to him developing PTSD. On numerous occasions, Scarlet would wake in the night to find Robin in the throws of an attack, unaware of what he’s doing, but hurting her nonetheless. I understand that Robin isn’t doing any of these things maliciously but maybe sleeping next to him at night isn’t the wisest of choices? And then there’s the fact that Robin isn’t as apologetic as one would hope him to be. There was also the feeling that “love can heal” but Robin was clearly dealing with some serious mental issues at this point that would go beyond “love”. I’m well aware that there weren’t exactly psychologists during this period of time but the whole love heals message and use of PTSD as a plot-point just didn’t sit well with me. When she begins to blame herself for it all is where this one just about lost me completely. Adding to all that, Scarlet then agrees to pretend to be with Gisbourne in an attempt to get an annulment so that she and Robin can finally be together! But of course, Gisbourne is abusive too (the difference is he’s fully aware of what he’s doing) but at this point, Scarlet is transforming in my mind to Sansa and for fucks sake how much shit is this girl going to have to go through?

And since I brought up Game of Thrones, the newly introduced character of Prince John is an exact, spoiled replica of Joffrey.

He’s a horrible, miserable human being but Scarlet is determined to suffer through it all just as long as she can get that annulment. Which, seriously? Thievery is cool. Murder? Sure, why not. But heaven forbid you allow yourself to kiss the love of your life because you just so happened to be forced into marrying a sadist.

Morals. Whatever. Moving on.

Lady Thief is the second in a trilogy and suffers from middle-book-syndrome. The plot doesn’t consist of any forward-moving progression, choosing instead to focus on stuff like pain, torture, pain, and some more pain. Seriously, I don’t understand why Gisbourne was even still alive at this point since they were able to swiftly deal with the sheriff in the last installment. Would have saved everyone a whole lotta torture (and pain) if he just ceased to exist. And alas, that ending failed to hint at any happily ever after in the near future. I enjoyed the continued expansion on Scarlet’s backstory but this poor girl just can’t catch a break. Lion Heart is the final installment and last hope for a HEA… we’ll see if it actually happens.

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Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

May 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 8 Comments

Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. GaughenScarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published by Walker Childrens on June 7th 2012
Pages: 305
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Lady Thief, Lion Heart

two-half-stars

Posing as one of Robin Hood's thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth-that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It's getting harder to hide as Gisbourne's camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.

But Scarlet's instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it's not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet. Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.

‘I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it.’

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m a huge fan of Robin Hood tales. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of my all-time favorite movies and never fails to give me the swoons. I mean come on, just look at those two.

*cue Bryan Adams*

When I first heard about this twisted retelling, I was a bit hesitant. I expected a love story and (hopefully) an interesting backstory leading up to how Scarlet became a member of Robin and his band of thieves and why she’s posing as a boy in the first place. There was definite potential there but my initial hesitation was dead-on seeing as I did not love this as most have.

In regards to Scarlet’s backstory, I really liked this aspect and somehow managed to not see the twist that was clearly coming from a mile away. But once all is revealed, there were some things that failed to add up for me. Primarily, her speech. She talks like Osha from Game of Thrones, it was ridiculous. It’s highly uneducated and once you realize who and what she actually is it begins to sound incredibly forced. I understand that speaking in such a way served only to put her in less of a spotlight and allows her to blend in with the village folk, however, if she was trying to stay out of the spotlight maybe she shouldn’t have constantly been taking so many highly unnecessary risks? She was constantly putting herself and the band in danger and after the first couple of times, I was ready to kick her out of the band myself. But the fighting was awesome and badass! Except… more things failed to add up. Like where Scarlet picked up those awesome fighting/knife skills. It couldn’t have all been self-preservation and learning on her own. There was zero mention of any of that and there should have been since her past would have never included any knowledge related to fighting/thievery.

And now for the love story. I’m sorry but… it irritated me.

While I’m fully aware that a love story happened in my previously mentioned favorite movie, this love story still managed to come off as completely ill-fitting. There just seemed to be entirely too much going between the Sheriff of Nottingham killing villagers and the new thief taker brought in from London for there to be a legit romance let alone a freaking love triangle. WITH JOHN LITTLE. I could have accepted the romance but the love triangle pushed me overboard. There was also the fact that I just didn’t swoon over these too as much as I would have liked. Then there were lines like this:

“You called me a whore, Rob. You said awful things.”
“Ah,” he said, and his hand took mine again, tight. “Hurting you is the best way I know how to punish myself.

Ha! Change of Robins. But seriously, I don’t even know where to begin with that line.

One last and final issue is the fact that this is a historical novel that failed to feel anything like a historical novel. I missed the detail and the feel of this medieval time period being brought to life. But this is definitely one of the smaller issues I had with this novel.

Scarlet was, unfortunately, a massive disappointment for me. I went into this one with high hopes and maybe that was the problem. It intrigued me enough to continue this series with the hope that it will improve.

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Classic Curiosity – The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

May 22, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Read in 2015 0 Comments

Classic Curiosity – The Lottery by Shirley JacksonThe Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Published by Penguin Classics on June 26th 1948
Pages: 16
Genres: Classics, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Literary Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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four-stars

Shirley Jackson's unnerving, macabre tale of random cruelty, The Lottery is one of the most iconic stories ever written, and a touchstone for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. "Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written". (Donna Tartt). Every year the villagers gather. They can't remember when the Lottery started. Much of the original ceremony has been forgotten or discarded; the first black box lost. But the ritual always ends in the same way...Shirley Jackson's chilling tales of creeping unease and casual cruelty have the power to unsettle and terrify unlike any other.

‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’

In a seemingly normal town, everyone gathers together to conduct the annual traditional lottery. What is the lottery exactly? Well, you don’t truly discover the magnitude of its horror until the final passage. A lottery is typically a good thing but in this small town its anything but. Certain things throughout this short story hint at what’s to come: the nervous energy of the people, the implication that the lottery serves a purpose regarding the future of the crops, and the piles of stones that the kids begin to gather.

What made this story the eeriest is the whole mystery behind the lottery. No one truly knows when it actually started, why it ever started, only that it is and must keep going for tradition’s sake. It’s mentioned that other towns have done away with the practice and the idea is immediately dismissed as folly. Just the concept of not doing the lottery, of doing away with tradition, is enough to frighten everyone not knowing the possible implications not doing it would cause.

This patriarchal society in the unnamed village has the men draw the slip of paper that ultimately decides whether their family is the selected recipient of the lottery. The only instance where this differs is when the man is unable to attend the lottery (such as the man named Dunbar that was home with a broken leg) or if an elder son is able to draw for his mother if she doesn’t have a husband. Once selected, each individual (even women) are then given their opportunity to select their own piece of paper. Published in 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story is a telling criticism of the powerlessness that women faced, and unfortunately still face to this day. While the idea of the lottery is clearly exaggerated, the idea of the strength and fierceness of traditions and patriarchy is extremely realistic.

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.”

classic curiosity

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Waiting on Wednesday – Shades of Treason (Anomaly #1) by Sandy Williams

April 22, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Waiting on Wednesday 9 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Shades of Treason (Anomaly #1) by Sandy WilliamsShades of Treason by Sandy Williams
Series: Anomaly #1
Published by Brimfire Press on July 1st 2015
Pages: 275
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: eBook
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Shadow Reader, Shades of Treason

Ash would have given her life to save her teammates.
Instead, they gave their lives to save hers.

Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn is an anomaly, a person whose genetic makeup makes her stronger and smarter than the average human. She’s pledged her life to protect the Coalition, an alliance of thirteen planetary systems, but when a top secret operation turns bloody, she’s charged with treason and the brutal executions of her teammates.

The Coalition needs the information Ash’s team stole on their last mission, so they send in Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus to get it. He’s the man who’s responsible for turning Ash into an elite soldier… and he’s a man who isn’t, never was, and never will be in love with the woman he trained. Or so he tells himself.

Ash wants nothing more than to clear her name and be the woman her former instructor wants her to be, but the enemy who killed her teammates did more than frame her for treason and murder: they telepathically silenced her mind, preventing her from saying anything that might point to the truth about what happened.

Now Ash is trapped and set to be executed, the truth dying with her. Unless she can prove her innocence. But taking that path could destroy the Coalition she’s sworn to preserve and protect…

About Sandy Williams

Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.

She loves hanging out with other readers and talking about books. For recommendations, check out her Goodreads account. And if you have a favorite book or author, she’d love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

I have only read The Shadow Reader by this author but LOVED it.  This new series sounds more sci-fi and gives me The Fortune’s Pawn feels which is most exciting.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

April 2, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa MeyerCress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 4th 2014
Pages: 560
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Sci-fi
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest

three-half-stars

The third book in Marissa Meyer’s New York Times/USA Today-bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, inspired by Rapunzel.

In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

The Lunar Chronicles series

Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5)  {Online Free Read}
The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.6) {Online Free Read}
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}
The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}

Picking up where Scarlet left off, we return to Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, and Iko all attempting to culminate a plan to stop Queen Levana before she marries Emperor Kai. Cress, imprisoned by Queen Levana on a satellite orbiting Earth, is an expert hacker and when she’s given orders to track down Cinder she does it with ease. Instead of turning this information over, she decides to help the group anyway she can. After a botched rescue attempt lands Cress and Thorne in the African desert and the rest of the group scattered, everyone has to survive long enough to find each other once again. The clock is quickly ticking down to the wedding that will give Queen Levana control of the universe unless Cinder can successfully stop her.

Scarlet shared page-time between Cinder and Scarlet’s storylines but with Cress we have even more storylines to follow not only with the addition of Cress as a character but because the group has been scattered. I really, really loved Cress’ storyline and how much it delved into her backstory and everything about her family and how she got to where she is was wonderfully done. There were some rather slow moments when Cress and Throne were plodding through the African desert that was a bit hard to get through but it helped us learn more about Cress and even a little it more about Thorne that really helped you to appreciate their characters even more. Scarlet wasn’t present as much as I would have liked but Meyer pushed her to the limit putting her on a nail-biting path that I believe will lead to her having a major role in the final installment, Winter.

This series continues to impress. I love the intricacies of the political system and the details of the ongoing strife, the evolution of the plague that lurks dangerously in the background and the fact that while these manage to be authentic and impressive you can still identify the well-known fairy tales these are built around. This penultimate installment will leave you waiting with bated breath for Winter, Meyer’s twist on the story of Snow White, the conclusion to this thrilling series.

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Book Review – Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

December 12, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 4 Comments

Book Review – Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5th 2013
Pages: 452
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Romance, Steampunk
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Cinder, Cress, Fairest

four-stars

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

The Lunar Chronicles series

Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.6) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}

From Cinder as cyborg Cinderella to Scarlet as Little Red Riding Hood (or hoodie, rather). Cinder has joined up with fellow inmate Thorne to bust out of prison in order to escape the wrath of Queen Levana. Scarlet is in search of her grandmother who has been missing for two weeks and the only one that seems to know anything is a guy who only goes by the name of “Wolf”.

I’ve always been a huge fan of fairytale retellings but the idea of steampunk/sci-fi/fairy tales blended together never inspired me to pick up these books and as more and more installments released the surer I was that these weren’t books I would ever enjoy. Not only do those same elements continue but the incorporation of multiple fairy tales all in one universe sounded like a big hot mess. I finally caved and read Cinder just to try to see what all the fuss was about… so. much. fun. I loved Cinder’s Cinderella story and all of the steampunk and sci-fi elements were done so, so well. But then came the end of Cinder’s tale and I was under the impression that the next story focused on an entirely different character which bummed me out so I didn’t end up picking it up immediately. Don’t make the same mistake I did because I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cinder gets plenty of page time. But also don’t be surprised if you manage to like Scarlet just as much if not more (serious, the girl even packs a gun for protection). That is hands down the best thing about these books and the main characters are that each of these female leads is imbued with some serious badass-ness that you can’t help but love.

The time spent on both Scarlet and Cinder’s stories was well-balanced and inevitably blended together rather seamlessly. The thing with fairy-tales and their re-tellings is you can’t help but not be surprised at the typical turn of events because we already know what’s going to happen. Meyer has managed to inject The Lunar Chronicles with an entertaining level of originality that continues to keep those pages turning. I have sky high expectations at this point and I won’t be wasting any time before picking up Cress.

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Book Review – Elevated by Elana Johnson

November 22, 2014 Dani Dani's Reviews 0 Comments

Book Review – Elevated by Elana JohnsonElevated by Elana Johnson
Published by AEJ Creative Works on February 14th 2014
Pages: 290
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Verse
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

“I’d told Travis ‘always and forever’ once, And look at us now. Caged in this elevator, Secrets thick as cement, Silence suffocating us both.”

I absolutely loved the concept, and have seen some non-YA versions of the novel-in-verse that blew my mind with how beautiful they were – check out Late Wife by Claudia Emerson. Elana Johnson’s use of language and structure were interesting at times and always highly accessible. My biggest issue with this book was the main character, Eleanor. Thus begins my mini-rant.

Can we stop with the young women who are completely crippled after a break-up? Like to the point they now need medical attention? I remember being young and dumb and wholly devastated, but developing a fear of riding the elevator simply because you used to ride that same elevator with your ex – that’s not ok. Let’s give our younger selves and our sistahs a little more credit than that. I am tired with the frequency with which I see hollow shells of girls and women – even in books that I unapologetically love, like Twilight. We can be strong and resilient, and damn it, awesome without men. Dust yourself off and ride the hell out of that elevator (or just use the stairs, seriously).

Eleanor faces some very real issues (that I won’t spoil in case you decide I’m batty and you still want to read). I found them mostly convenient and used for dramatic effect to the point it was ridiculous, rather than called for by the narrative or well established through the frequent flashbacks/forwards. Books like these legitimize the popular notion that YA is pithy and somehow removed from being qualified as “literature” – and that makes me upset for the genre. If you’re looking for a novel in verse, I would highly recommend some Ellen Hopkins, or Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Want something about how miserable and complicated love can be? Check out Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, or High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.

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Book Review – Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

September 18, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 4 Comments

Book Review – Wanderlove by Kirsten HubbardWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on March 13, 2012
Pages: 354
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Travel
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-stars

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists are hardly the key to self-rediscovery.

So when Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel through Mayan villages and remote Belizean islands, they discover they're both seeking to leave behind the old versions of themselves. The secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria realizes she can't run forever. At some point, you have to look back.

“See, wanderlust is like itchy feet.” […] “It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that… it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.”

Wanderlove is a coming of age story about Bria, an 18 recent high school graduate who is getting over her first bad breakup. Her and her ex had been planning a trip together but after the breakup, she decides it’d still be a good idea to go off by herself to gain some much-needed independence.

So… Wanderlove. Easily one of those books I’ve been wanting to read forever but because of the hype, I had been putting it off. And so two years later, I finally picked it up. Gawd. Was this ever one giant massive disappointment. Baa Baa Black Sheep, I know.

I was initially interested in this because I have a strong desire to travel the world someday, but don’t we all? Given this fantastic opportunity to travel wherever she chose to before going off to college seemed like a dream come true. The one thing I loved about this novel was the vivid descriptions of her surroundings. They definitely made me want to see the sights first-hand. The one thing I did not love was Bria. Bria’s heart was in the right place, having the desire to gain some independence and feel like she could get out into the world and take proper care of herself without anybody else. I could understand and appreciate that need to prove to yourself that you can do it on your own.

The trip started off right, but it slowly morphed into Bria trying to be somebody completely different, somebody that wasn’t even close to her seemingly true personality. It felt out of character despite how little I knew of her as a character. Then issues started coming out about things that she refused to do, primarily swimming, which we’re told had something to do with her ex-boyfriend. I feared the worst, thinking some sort of violence happened to her in the water. No, it was far less dramatic than that.

View Spoiler »

There were other major issues I had and most of them had to do with Bria putting her trust into strangers and going off with them into the mountains of Central America without even informing her parents she was leaving her tour group. Now maybe I’m a little hardened having seen Taken one too many times, but that whole situation was a recipe for disaster. Of course, nothing of the sort happened and Liam didn’t need to come save her but the possibility of disaster ruined the whole ‘adventure’ for me. Add to that, as the book progressed it slowly became less about independence and more about the new guy she found.

Overall, I was massively disappointed. I wanted this to be more ‘coming-of-age’ and less ‘romance’ and I definitely wanted to love it like everyone else seems to. Bria’s desire for independence kept me reading in hopes that she’d truly find it but the end result had me wishing I had quit while I was ahead.

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Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon

September 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana GabaldonWritten in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #8
Published by Delacorte Press on June 10th 2014
Pages: 848
Genres: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

three-stars

In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.

The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is  searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.

Outlander series

Outlander (Outlander #1) {Purchase}
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) {Purchase}
Voyager (Outlander #3) {Purchase}
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) {Purchase}
The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) {Purchase}
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) {Purchase}
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) {Purchase}
The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle on Kindle {Purchase}

After the dramatic conclusion in An Echo in the Bone and the five years it took for this installment to come out, I was expecting to swallow this whole as soon as I was afforded the opportunity. Instead? It took me upwards of almost THREE MONTHS to finish which is practically unheard of for me. When I finally read the last page, I ran joyously through the house a la Liz Lemon style.

But let’s back up and discuss what actually goes down in this book. There will be spoilers for previous installments.

So, there was drama. A lot of it. Written picks right up where Echo left off in 1778 with Claire discovering Jamie is, in fact, alive and kicking and her marriage (and consummation) to Lord John poses some mighty intense drama. Then there’s William who just recently discovered that Lord John is not actually his father, Jamie is, but raised him since Jamie was unable to. He proceeds to throw a tantrum about said drama for pretty much the full extent of the book making his chapters pretty interminable. We’ve got Ian and his dog Rollo, who have decidedly less drama but since he has become engaged to Rachel and just so happens to be well-liked by William, well there’s your drama for that storyline too. There are various other side stories too that are, you guessed it, full of drama. Oh, and we can’t forget about the fact that the American Revolutionary War is going on in the background of all this. Meanwhile, in 1980, Bree is frantic to find her son Jem whom she fears has been taken through the stones and back in time by an enemy who discovered that Jem knows the location of a priceless buried treasure. Roger has set off to follow them through the stones to get him back but his leaving brings more trouble for Bree back home.

Bree and Roger’s sections were my most favorite but were, unfortunately, the smallest part of the book as a whole. I’d say they got roughly 20% while the remaining 80% was spent in 1778. All of Gabaldon’s books have been large in size, Written clocking in at 848 pages of extremely tiny print, but this one honestly felt too long. An extreme amount of detail was placed on Claire’s methods for healing with the rudimentary tools available to her and some were extremely graphic and completely unnecessary for the storyline as a whole. There were several chapters spent on her saving Lord John’s brother from an asthma attack, the medical cases from various individuals that were injured in battle, an amputation, Lord John Grey’s eye injury which she heals with her fingers and honey and the worst of them all: the surgery she performs on a slave girl to fix her rectovaginal fistula. FYI? Don’t Google that. It was all super detailed and somewhat interesting for the most part but I wanted more actual story.

Yes, I did give this 3 stars so clearly there was some good to this. Again, like I said, Bree and Roger’s chapters were the best and I loved where their stories took them in this massive puzzle Gabaldon is masterminding. There were some terribly emotional scenes that managed to draw me back into the story: Ian and his dog Rollo, Henri Christian (Fergus’ son) and Jane’s whole sad story. I found the unrelenting drama too much but mainly because it didn’t manage to work my emotions like the other books always seemed to. Even though this one is most definitely my least favorite of the series there is no doubt that I’ll be continuing this series. I anxiously await the next installment (in a half dozen years or so if we’re lucky), especially after everything, got set up in the conclusion (but thankfully there wasn’t a dramatic cliffhanger).

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Book Review – Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

September 5, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 5 Comments

Book Review – Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren SumaImaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Dutton Children's on June 14th 2011
Pages: 355
Genres: Magical Realism, Mystery
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: The Walls Around Us

four-stars

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home two years later, a precarious and deadly balance waits. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, laced with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.

“…down in what was once Olive, you could still find the townspeople who never left. They looked up into their murky sky, waiting to catch sight of our boat bottoms and our fishing lines, counting our trespassing feet.”

Ruby and Chloe are sisters that live in upstate New York together. Their mother is forever absent and the two have learned to only rely on one another. The town they live in is located near a massive reservoir that is reported to have submerged a town called Olive, and older sister Ruby tells the story of the town as if the people are still down there living their daily lives. One night at a party taking place at the reservoir, Ruby boasts that her sister could swim across the reservoir and if so inclined even go down and get a souvenir from Olive. The only thing she brings back from her swim is a lone rowboat in the middle of the reservoir where the body of a dead girl lies.

After the rowboat incident, Chloe moves to Pennsylvania to live with her dad and step-mother, leaving Ruby behind. A random text every now and then is the only communication Chloe has with her sister, but two years go by and her sister has appeared suddenly in town to coerce her to return, insisting that things are back to normal. Chloe does return and finds that things are in fact back to the way they were, but they aren’t truly. Something eerie and mysterious is at work and Chloe knows that Ruby’s the reason for it all. The strange stories her sister tells about the town of Olive, and of the reservoir, and of the dead girl named London are all connected somehow and Chloe’s curiosity is overpowering. She trusts her sister implicitly despite the strangeness that her hometown now exudes.

Imaginary Girls is a mesmerizing tale that will leave you contemplating the magic that threads itself through this novel. It’s a strangely horrific tale with a subtle delivery causing the eeriness to come upon you slowly. The story of the town of Olive and the people that still live down there. Imagining their eyes following you as you swim in the reservoir. Ruby’s enthralling power and influence she holds over the town and its inhabitants is intriguing until she begins to take it too far.

Suma’s writing will captivate you with its skillful blend of magical realism but the focal point of the story, the unbreakable bond between two sisters, makes a powerful statement.


Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield {PurchaseMy Review}
Tighter by Adele Griffin {PurchaseReview}
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen {Purchase}

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